During my academic career, I have been to and presented my work at many academic conferences, where scholars present their research to other scholars in a very scholarly way.
This year, I will be going to my first non-academic sex conference, where non-academics (and some academics) present all sorts of sex-related knowledge to mostly non-academics in a less scholarly, more interactive and engaging sort of way. As described by founder/Creator Dee Dennis, CatalystCon is a “melting pot of sexuality that will unite sex educators, sexologists, sex workers, writers, activists, those in the adult industry and anyone with a passion for creating change. “Knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting change.”
This sounds like an excellent opportunity to share my knowledge gained from researching sex with people for whom this information would be relevant and valuable not just theoretically (i.e., from a scientific viewpoint), but personally and practically.
In two different sessions, I will be talking about my two favorite topics: casual sex and mostly heterosexuality. Presenting for non-academic audiences is a whole different animal than presenting for academic audiences. It is both scary and exciting to ponder this new world. I hope I can do a good job.
Here’s more info about, and links to, the two sessions.
Panelist: Zhana Vrangalova
When: Saturday, March 15, 12:00 – 1:10 pm
Casual sex – sex without love – seems to be everywhere, and love it or hate it, everyone has an opinion on it. More often than not, casual sex is vilified as bad for your physical, mental, and social health. But what does research really say about this topic? And are things really that simple? Perhaps not all casual sex encounters are equally harmful (or beneficial) and not all people are equally sensitive to these harmful (or beneficial) effects. In this session, Zhana Vrangalova, a sex researcher who studies hookups among young people, will examine the scientific evidence linking engagement in casual sex to various health outcomes, and discuss different factors that this link may depend on.
When: Sunday, March 16, 12:00 – 1:10 PM
The largest sexual minority group is not gays, lesbians, or bisexuals. It’s the “mostly straights” – those with a slight degree of same-sex interests who are not exclusively straight, but not same-sex oriented ‘enough’ to consider themselves or to be considered by others as bisexual. Mostly straights are typically ignored and lumped together with either heterosexuals or bisexuals in research, clinical practice, and education. However, recent research shows that mostly straights form a unique sexual orientation group that is distinct from both exclusive heterosexuals and more substantial bisexuals in their sexual orientation profile as well as a number of different personality characteristics, life experiences, attitudes toward sexuality, and health outcomes and behaviors. In this session, Zhana Vrangalova and Ritch Savin-Williams, two leading scholars in the area of mostly heterosexuality, will summarize the research on mostly straights and discuss ways in which this new knowledge influences how we talk and think about sexual orientation in research, theory, practice, and our daily lives.
If anyone is in or near Washington, DC/Arlington, Virginia, you might want to consider checking out CatalystCon, March 14-16, 2014. I hear it is not only highly informative, but also loads of fun!