SS 102: Sex Positive Community Building & Conferences – Guest Dee Dennis from CatalystCon


Dee Dennis decided to join us for a discussion on building sex positive communities (and the perils within doing so), and how to translate that into a great conference experience! It's apropos as she's also the founder of CatalystCon so… we chat about that just a little bit. 🙂

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A podcast about swinging, polyamory, open relationships, and "the lifestyle" from the trenches. A diverse group tackles many issues involved with non-monogamy and what it means to be a swinger or polyamorous from the point of view of educating and illuminating what, for many, is a confusing journey to start on. Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Stitcher Subscribe via RSS


  1. Loved this one. It is actually the best endorsement for a con I have EVER heard. Everything you talked about just made the entire con more and more inviting. SO much so that I bit the bullet and made my hotel reservation while I was at work listening to the podcast. LOL

    Its been a helluva couple of months financially, and honestly, like most Americans, I struggle with “do I take a vacation when there are bills to pay”. But dammit, its hubby’s and my 25th anniversary in March, and so Ive decided that when its something like this – a once in a lifetime chance to be where so many of my favorite podcasters, writers, and sex positive people are going to be, and hear them speak on topics so important to who I am trying to be in my own community, how can I not just jump in with both feet????

    So kudos to you all for making the con so absolutely irresistable that for once in my life I threw away my numbers, ledgers, type A concerns and stress and said I CHOOSE ME, we’re going to CatalystCon East!!!

    • Making this conference a priority, and as your choice to celebrate your 25th anniversary… wow, so cool. That should be -the- lead endorsement for CatalystCon East.

      See you there. 🙂

  2. So you know I love you guys, right? That said, this was the first episode in quite some time where I really disagreed with you all on some stuff. Rant incoming. 🙂

    I got the impression that at least some of you think that we’re past the point where people need to consider what they say–that is, we don’t need to “check our privilege” anymore. Sure, in some groups and bubbles things are all happy and nice, but there’s still plenty of oppression out there, even if it’s mostly unseen. Being a girl in the tech industry, I experience the realities of male privilege often. Most people don’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong. There are still guys who give presentations at tech conferences that include sexist remarks (and pictures of half-naked women) because it’s seen to be light-hearted and funny.

    I didn’t like the phrase “post-PC world”. It makes it sound like nothing is (or at least, should be) offensive to anyone anymore. Dylan, you made the point that no one has the right to not be offended, and sure, that may be true. However, that doesn’t make it wrong for someone to point out that something someone said was offensive to them. And if they say it’s offensive, then it doesn’t matter if you weren’t being intentionally offensive. You should rethink what you were saying and try to say it better the next time around.

    I guess it just irked me that you all seemed to be against the terms and ideas of PC and privilege. If we can’t use these words, what should we be using? Because there’s certainly lots of privilege existing right now that people need to be aware of (and they need to be told when they’re showing their privilege), and being “PC” has turned into a bad thing nowadays, implying that there can’t be jokes or serious conversation about something. It’s not bad, though. As long as it’s being done with respect and awareness of why something should be said in a certain way, it works.

    I am certainly very much for quality conversation that doesn’t need to be censored. However, I believe that that sort of conversation can still happen while being aware of how one’s words might affect another person. I know that you guys are respectful, and in practice I think you already do this. But you all have such a great opportunity to make sure that others are approaching the sex positive community in a good way too, and I think a big part of that is to realize that privilege exists, we all have it in some form, and that’s okay as long as you’re aware of it. And being PC doesn’t mean you have to hold back on topics that might bother some people. It just means that you should approach them in a respectful manner.

    If you haven’t read it yet, this post is very useful in terms of realizing that having privilege isn’t a bad thing:

    Sorry about the rant. I do truly believe that you guys are doing great things with the podcast/website/etc. I guess that’s why it made me especially saddened to hear you guys talk about these topics like this; I feel like you all take these ideas into account in practice, but you basically told everyone that they shouldn’t do so themselves, and that the ideas don’t really matter and/or are toxic. It took me a long time to come to terms with them myself, and I certainly still screw up sometimes. But I’ve found that many types of conversations can be more enlightening if they’re done in ways where these ideas are known and acknowledged.

    And yes, I still love you. 🙂

    • Janine,

      None of us claimed there was no oppression. No one claimed being a woman in the tech industry, or in a gaming community, or in sales, or in any other area of life where women typically are seen as either getting ahead because of their feminine ways or because they’re being handled with kid gloves wasn’t tough because of men who feel superior or feel they’re at a competitive disadvantage. It’s tough out there. Fuck, Remember Duke Nukem Forever, presenting at a strip club with pole dancers around? Great PR stunt for marketing to the asshole testosterone crowd.

      You shouldn’t have to smile because someone thinks killing a prostitute is hilarious. You shouldn’t be told to be flattered while getting cat called across the street. It’s there, it’s real. Thing is, that’s not what we addressed here.

      Privilege that we need to be aware of… that statement in and of itself has no real world application. Anyone who actively is doing what you and I really want, examining who they are, how they may have gotten ahead through no fault (or merit) of their own, and may accidentally lose sight of people that aren’t in there position or haven’t had the same advantages they had… anyone that’s actively “checking their privilege” aren’t the people we need to worry about. So going around telling all the other people who actually know what checking privilege means to check it is nothing but unproductive word salad to be tossed around and disgarded.

      Lets have that conversation and do it with respect and awareness for other people, their origins, and their sensitivites.

      I think the most important thing I said in that entire podcast is that people do not have the right not to be offended. YOu know what though, they have the right to be treated with respect, the right to self-expression, the right to be acknowledged and not dismissed. THing is, politically correct, privilege… I get it, I endorsed it, I rode with it, and I used it as a conduit to examine myself and make sure what i spoke, I did consider how it was used. I took the best parts of PC and privilege and integrated it into a cohesive way of communicating with people that has substance but respects sensitivies as much as possible.

      Having said that, I’m occasionally going to offend someone, and if that happens it’s not because i’m a middle class suburban heterosexual cisgendered male, it’s because I have a different opinion and a different experience, and finding someone that have different experience, a different outlook, and yes… maybe an offended sensibility, is an opportunity to build a bridge and cross it with that person, learn from it, and go on hopefully better for it. Maybe I’ll disagree even more, but I can still respect the differences between that person and myself.

      I endorse the removal of PC and Privilege from the legitimate toolkit of language that we have to discuss experience, sexuality, and community because it’s useless. It’s a joke to anyone that isn’t part of a community that knows what it is. It’s a parody, something that the asshole testosterone crowd can laugh at. To people in the community that don’t have great ideas of their own, it’s a blunt instrument wielded to beat people with different opinions into submission because they can’t POSSIBLY understand what that person has gone through and therefore their opinion is invalid.

      See, the thing is here… I completely agree with you top to bottom with a single exception;

      I agree that if we offend someone we should rethink what we’re saying and try to say it better the next time around.
      I agree most people don’t even know that they’re doing anything wrong and they should be called on it.
      I agree there are very real issues of oppression and subversion when it comes to trans, queer, and women in heteronormative society.
      I agree that quality conversation doesn’t need censorship.
      I agree that we, having a pedestal to speak on, should be encouraging other people to realize that this stuff exists, that privilege (for me, by some other description) should have light shed on it.
      And … fuck yes, I certainly agree that we all screw up sometimes.

      I just think PC and privilege have long since passed their time as useful vectors and agents of change, of stimulating real substantive discussion. Do we need a word? Not sure. But if we do, in my opinion privilege just won’t do.

      and… hey, keep up the challenging. Anything worth expressing on the podcast is worth defending, or… revising. 🙂

  3. I was thinking about this as I listened to that episode, and because of the discussion about 50 Shades of Grey I was wondering if you guys could maybe do an episode or just a segment or something about alternative reading. I have only tried reading a few books in the “erotica” genre, but they were REALLY badly written and tended to take great pleasure in things like incest and rape. There are some really gross things being printed out there, and I am sure there’s some great things, too, but I just don’t know where to find them. Ginger sounded like she knew of some really good authors but since that wasn’t the focus of the show it went by really fast. Just a thought. 😀

    Btw, regarding 50 Shades, I did read it and also the second one. It wasn’t THAT bad, really. The writing was no worse than some romance novels I have read, and some of the sex scenes were fairly hot. My favorite parts are the main characters’ emails to each other, though. They are the funniest and best-written part of the whole thing. My least favorite part of it is the assumption throughout that people into BDSM must have something “wrong” with them, mentally. The title comes from the main character’s off-hand comment that he is “50 shades of f’d up.” In context, he’s kind of busy and doesn’t have time to explain why he likes being a dom, but it’s still kind of a flip, stereotype answer.

    Well, I’ll leave you with that–love the show and keep it up, guys!

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