Mar 202013

Or, “CatalystCon: where children teethe on cock rings and I shake the hand of the man who invented one of the best dildos in history

CatalystCon swag bag. Apparently Wet makes a lube called Uranus.

IT’S ALREADY OVER. Who’s surprised, though, really? Catalyst was bound to go by in the blink of an eye. Even staying up late, as per usual for me, did not remedy this unfortunate fact of life.

Strange how quickly life goes back to normal, even if “normal” means talking about dildos all day. It’s just depressing not being physically surrounded by like-minded people. That’s saying something, for an introvert like me.

It probably goes without saying that I had an epic time, but as I adjust back to my default life, there’s this weird sensation that the whole weekend almost didn’t happen. Which is why I must preserve it, if even in a scattered blog post.

The only toy I brought: the LELO Mona 2The hotel was, overall, pretty great. The bed was SUPER comfortable (two styles of pillow to choose from), the window was huge and made me feel like Doctor Eggman, the body products smelled good (orange ginger, how did you know?!) and the bar had some swanky areas to hang out in. Some of the conference rooms were ungodly cold, though, and I had to pay for internet in my room. WHY AM I REVIEWING THE HOTEL. I’m insatiable!


Rather than write something actually cohesive or exhaustive, I’m going to preserve my sanity and present you with a list of some of the amazing, hilarious, and heartwarming things that happened to me during Catalyst. I jotted a lot of it down during my return flight so I wouldn’t forget, because it’s all the little moments that made the experience so wonderful.

  • I feel like this should go first: Carol Queen’s partner, Robert Morgan Lawrence, told me he reads my blog.1
  • Sandra from SheVibe bought me drinks, and she is just as feisty and lovable as I imagined. Never hesitate to shop with them, you guys. They’re really good people.
  • Joan Price followed me into the bathroom to make sure this tweet was okay with me. Emphatic YES.

"Sweet looking for such a snarky toy reviewer!" says Joan Price.

  • The consensus is that my name is pronounced epi-FOR-a. with an emphasis on the “for.” Numerous online pronunciations endorse my way, eh-PIFF-er-a, but I’m starting to wonder if I should alter my brain.
  • No matter how cool you think Tantus is, they’re exponentially cooler. I was really gooey on Metis a few times, which I am not even going to apologize for. That woman is a boss. As is the incomparable Jenna.
  • Tristan Taormino’s Sex Educator Boot Camp was life-changing. I have a whole list of things to do on this blog thanks to it. If you have a chance to attend this ever, do not pass it up.
  • Dunkin Donuts with KaylaHad a lot of fun with my new friend Kayla, who made me laugh and graciously taught me how to order my coffee at Dunkin Donuts. Also, I single-handedly took her from “I want a Pure Wand, but they’re too expensive” to buying one, using it, and soaking hotel room towels in less than 48 hours. GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?
  • Speaking of the Pure Wand: I missed Dirty Bingo… because I was too busy shooting the shit with njoy Greg. Priorities.
  • Ran into Cooper from Life on the Swingset, who said he sends his toy reviewers to my 15 rules for writing a sex toy review that doesn’t royally suck (!). We compared our Converse and discussed how to best clean them, like you do.
  • Watched Crista’s child teethe on a Tantus C-Ring. If one can teethe casually, that little guy definitely did.
  • Tobi Hill-Meyer and I commiserated about what happens to us when we lack motivation, reminding me that even awesome people who do awesome work struggle with the same shit I do.
  • Wore all of Loraxs bat things (cape, pillow, stuffed animals) while brainstorming and giggling in their room late at night. That is all I can tell you… for now. [edit: this is why.]
  • Dylan Ryan was just straight chillin’ in various locations as I walked around. As small and insular as our community can be, it makes everyone so accessible and human. (I was still too nervous to talk to her, though.)
  • Mused on some CineKink shorts with a dude whose name tag read simply “sex-positive feminist.” I told him to get on Twitter, so, GET ON IT DUDE.

I’m sure others will write about the incredible sessions that took place, because they were incredible (I have SO MANY notes), and I’m still updating my Cataslyst highlight tweets list, but what really sealed the deal for me was all the interactions with people. There were times, sure, when I felt like just a lowly sex blogger. I am not sure if I identify with the “sex educator” label like others do, simply because it feels like a lot of responsibility. But the sentiment of so many presenters — that all of us matter, that we all have something to contribute to the world — is the best takeaway.

It’s possible that I should’ve done this years ago. Very possible. But I also feel that this was the right moment. Years ago, I didn’t have this confidence, this sense that what I’m doing is worthwhile. Now I do, and Catalyst only strengthened those beliefs. It does feel a bit like a turning point — taking what’s been, for so long, something that mostly only existed on the internet, and transferring it into the world. And now, I really think I’m hooked.

  1. Sure, it’s because of all the times he’s stuck in bed with nothing better to do, but STILL. []
  • I wish Robert were on twitter. I genuinely like him an awful lot. Also- I pronounce your name like you do.

  • I used to pronounce your name the way the others do, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue effectively like the way you pronounce it.
    It was nice meeting you!

  • He said nice things about you too, Lorax. And Hi!

    ‘Piph, thanks for the shout-out. It’s truly appreciated.

  • We have been struggling with the name pronunciation since we found out we were botching it – somehow we have come up with even crazier ways to say it. Oh and we have decided that you will have to marry Keith, move to Florida and stay with us forever and ever.

  • nuala macmoragh

    What toys did you take with you? Obviously the Mona 2 made it.

    WTG on the Pure Wand conversion. ^5!

    I almost said “eew gross” about the teething on a c-ring, but then I thought, is there really a good silicone alternative for babies? Probably not! And better than.. nevermind!!!

  • TheRedheadBedhead

    It was so great to spend some time with you over the weekend. Thank you for reminding me to introduce myself as my blog name!

    Kayla was adorable with her Pure Wand- I should have known that was your doing.

    “It’s just depressing not being physically surrounded by like-minded people.” YES! This! Yesterday was brutal.

  • Guest

    Okay, obviously I don’t know how to use Disqus—sorry about that. 🙂 The previous comment is from me. I’m Emerald, erotica author at

    Sorry for the commenting incompetence! 😀

  • Joan Price

    You ARE a sex educator, Epiphora. You have a niche (sex toys), and there aren’t many bloggers who know more about them than you do.

  • I say eh-PIFF-ora, like you do. Don’t make me alter my brain!

  • Emerald_theGLD

    Okay, wow. My efforts to comment here were obviously a major fail! 🙂 What I said, and apparently then somehow deleted, was that I had wanted to meet you at Ccon, since I have known of your blog for some time, but didn’t get the chance. I was sitting in the back in Sunday’s sex and disability session and heard you mentioned, but I had to run off right after it and never caught up with you after that. Anyway, sorry for not knowing how to comment here, lol, and I’m really glad you had a great time at the conference. 🙂


  • This is true.

  • Just the Mona 2, and as I suspected, I never used it. Way too busy!

  • I completely agree Joan, I really respect and rely on what Piph and a handful of trusted bloggers offer in the way of education. It’s been essential to my own growth and knowledge.

  • Artemisia Absinthium

    I’m actually really glad to see the pronunciation discussion. Whenever I mention your blog out loud, I have a tendency to say it both ways, just to keep all my bases covered. Like, “Did you see the new review that EpiPHORa? EPIPHora? posted?” Now I feel slightly less silly…

  • If you don’t feel comfortable with that label, then by no means are you obligated to use it. There are many labels that I technically “qualify” for, and few of them that I choose to identify with. I totally understand both sides of this coin.

  • I squealed so much as I read this! I’m so proud of you and your trip sounds like so much fun. You are, by far, my favorite toy reviewer and it’s so cool that you got to meet so many awesome people!

  • Adriana

    I’m so happy for you.

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