In the Joseph & Rosalie Segal Centre

A Touch of Masculinity

with Dr. Yoni Alkan

Male practitioners are a minority in the professional cuddling community, and they face different challenges and experiences than female practitioners. In this talk we will speak on what challenges male practitioners face, what stereotypes do they have to overcome, how their practice helps fight the Patriarchy, and how their practice helps fight the Patriarchy by presenting a new kind of masculinity.


Beautify and Perspective- How We Experience and Are Experienced Based on Physical Beauty

with Cathy Vartuli, Shadeen Francis, LMFT, Jet Noir, and Irene Leonis

Social and personal definitions can effect everything from who we date, to how much we earn at a corporate job, to how a doctor will treat us when we'll ill. Our sense of our own beauty can influence our self-esteem and confidence. Yet we rarely examine our internal concepts of beauty and most people have accepted social concepts of what's attractive without examining where they come from or their commercial origins.

Those not seen as beautiful by those standards are all too often deemed non-sexual or second rate. And those who fit the standards are generally over-sexualized and have challenges being seen as a whole individual.

Becoming aware of the lenses we use to view ourselves, coworkers, children, and current or potential partners, and the ways that subjective value is applied is the first step to breaking free and discovering the individual preferences we each have. Understanding the difference between social expectations and status, and what is actually attractive to the individual can allow freedom and authentic connection. Allowing individuals to explore what is desirable to them while discovering potential partners that might be dismissed otherwise.

We explore the challenges and strictures of beautism as it impacts self-expression across racial, ableist, sizeist and age divides and share personal experiences and insights from different perspectives.


Crip the Bedroom

with Q, Jesseca, Tasha, and Brianna

A panel of queercrips talking about disability & sexuality, Crip the Bedroom looks forward to covering topics from access intimacy, kinky crips, the intersections of medical & sexual violence, navigating consent & access needs, asexuality vs desexualization, & other queercrip topics as they naturally arise in the conversation. There may be time for 3-5 questions from attendees after the main panel discussion.

Q will be moderating rather than participating in the conversation. While they will gladly hold space for any able-bodied audience members, their main role is in creating space for crips & disableds in the room - both the panelists & any others attending. This may look like telling an audience member that a question is inappropriate; giving panelists a moment to breathe or step out as needed; advocating for access needs that are not being met; or many other things as they arise.


Finding the Courage to Take Next Steps, Even When You're Scared

with Cathy Vartuli, Shadeen Francis, LMFT, and Jet Noir

Too often we want to do things that would make our lives or the lives of others much better, yet fear stops us in our tracks, or derails us before we can get momentum. Whether we're doing something new at work or in business, or in the bedroom, going back to the status quo can see safer and much more reasonable. It’s easy to feel all alone and incapable of making meaningful changes. Yet it’s the small steps forward that often take our lives from dull and boring to engaged and inspiring!

We'll share experiences and techniques to help you though those fearful times so you can take action... No matter if you want to make changes in the areas of personal development, intimacy, connection, sexuality, and business.

When we're doing something that matters, it’s often scary, and hearing stories of courage, knowing other people struggle, and things that helped them move through the fear, can help us move forward.


From Cuckold To Raceplay: The Implications of Fetishizing Race

with Alex Wilson

In the last decade, digital media has become unavoidable; its omnipresence simultaneously shaping our identities, experiences, and society. This intersects with human sexuality in the form of internet pornography. Browse any pornographic website and tag names such as 'Ebony', 'Latina', 'BBC', and 'Asian' are easily found, however, there are no similar references to white identity. As this process takes place a particular question about sexuality arises: How has pornography impacted our conception of race and identity and what is the extent of this impact?


Wilson’s interactive presentation will answer this central question along with how we navigate spaces which harmfully juxtapose race and sexuality where pornography may reinforce racist societal attitudes. Through this deliberate hyper-sexualization and fetishization, non-white identity is commodified and portrayed as objective depiction rather than subjective experience. This skewed representation erases the complexity of people of color and contributes significantly to ‘othering’ of marginalized identity. Wilson focuses on the racial fetishization of people of color within pornography exploring how the line between fetish and fetishism demarcates attractive risk from real danger; analyzing what racial fetishism is, how it manifests in pornographic media, it’s origin and history and lastly the larger impact on people of color and society collectively. This presentation will discuss the role of race and how race informs identity, as it relates to digital pornographic material and how the othering of non-white identity poses danger for people of color-to ultimately answer what it means to fetishize race. Participants will walk away from this session understanding how to recognize fetishization, the implications of it on PoC, how to work against it in their own spaces, and be accountable to it as creators, educators, and professionals.


“Fuck Yes!”: Clear Communication in the Bedroom

with Marcia Baczynski

Do you often find yourself less than satisfied with what you receive from your partner(s) and other relationships?

Do you hide what you really want from your partner, or even yourself?

Would you like to learn how to ask so that you get a “FUCK YEAH!” instead of an “OKAY, SURE”?

In this workshop, we unravel and discuss the murky and mysterious issues around desire and communication, including:

  • Why we don't ask & what we do instead

  • Desire smuggling (what it is and why it matters)

  • Why "Is this okay?" is NOT the question to ask (and what to ask instead)

  • Why "Do you want to ___?" is only 1/4 of the equation of asking

  • How to make room for fun experimentation in bed

  • What to do when your partner doesn't "get it" and you don't know how to describe it

  • How talk about something that you want to do often, without it feeling pressured or bringing it up at a bad time

Using real-world examples and interactive Q&A from the class, you will learn practical and immediately-useful tools to help you and your partner find your way to “FUCK YES!”


Fumbling, Failing and Fucking Up

with Mason Jenkins

Our communities are shifting power from perpetrators to survivors. We are beginning to see the inequities within our judicial systems, work environments and social groups regarding sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. In ‘Fumbling, Failing and Fucking up’ Mason Jenkins shares his misguided journey into masculinity. He discusses how he saw himself change from oppressed gender minority to oppressor, without him consciously choosing the path of abuser. Within his talk, Jenkins discusses his past as a sexist lesbian, and transman misogynist and his process of personal liberation of masculinity, self-awareness and restorative justice.


Healing Through Kink: BDSM, Trauma, and Illness

with Melody Anne and Alex Wilson

What if we could use pain we can control to heal the pain we cannot? Is there more than one way to heal a wound? Is it possible to use BDSM as a platform for healing? Is it possible to use pain to heal from pain? This workshop will examine the relationship between kink, trauma, and both mental and physical illness/pain.

We will explore how trauma, whether related to sexual violence, cultural violence, and systemic/state violence, creates a disconnect from the body, keeping us bound to a pain we have not chosen. By creating intentional spaces where consensual violence, control, and pain are often an objective, can we work through past trauma to overcome and heal?

We will also discuss whether BDSM can be a catalyst for personal growth and healing for those experiencing physical or mental illness. While the saying rings true that “kink can be therapeutic, but it isn’t therapy,” the benefits of catharsis and increased self-awareness are worth noting. We will also touch upon the challenges of navigating the kink community while living with chronic physical and mental illness.

Finally, we will delve into how BDSM can allow us to renegotiate how we experience our bodies, perhaps reimagining what a “healthy” sexuality looks like on an intrapersonal level. Join us for a deep dive into trauma, illness, and kink!


Keeping It Wet and Wonderful - A Guide to Sexual Lubricants From A Sex Doctor

with Shauna Correia

Are you aware of the potential risks and benefits of different lubricants? How knowledgeable are you about the pros and cons of different lubes in different sexual contexts? Have you ever even thought more about your lube beyond knowing where it is stashed away???

The truth is sexual lubricants can be trickier than you might think. During this session, we will discuss the different classes of lubricants and explore the potential benefits and risks associated with them, from both a medical/health perspective and from a pleasure perspective.

Other topics we will touch on include:

  • how to tailor lube choices based on sexual practices in general and in the face of certain medical conditions that make penetrative sexual activities painful

  • how hormone changes can affect personal lubrication and/or penetrative sexual pain

  • some vaginal hormonal treatments that even your doctor may not know about!

  • and… any other questions you may want to ask a medical doctor that specializes in sexual medicine!


Making Love to A Trans Woman

with Hailey Heartless and Oilvia Cutie

Do you have a trans girlfriend? Do you have a crush on a trans woman? Perhaps you're just curious about how intimacy would work with a trans woman. Our ideas about trans sex are heavily influenced by politics and porn. In this discussion, we'll work to examine the stereotypes, myths and hangups around trans women's sexuality and present the real facts. This workshop should answer your questions as well as give you a space where it's safe to ask your own.


Mind The Gap: Mapping the Implications of Emotion Logic Binary

with Alex Wilson & Shadeen Francis, LMFT

Within our society, there exists a divide between a binary between emotion and logic. Society imposes this binary between the two and claims one represents intelligence and control where the other represents irrationality; while simultaneously devaluing emotion for its perceived proximity to femininity. Unfortunately, this leaves many people with few resources to navigate emotion or emotionality within themselves or their interpersonal relationships. At its root, this is a conversation about gender, identity, and emotional intelligence. A lack of emotional intelligence makes navigating feelings incredibly difficult. Logic is part of emotion, emotion is part of logic; without emotional intelligence sustainable growth isn’t achievable. As educators, we are charged with a task- we must approach teaching emotional intelligence in a way that meets people where they are, we must address the collective unlearning and healing necessary to foster emotionally intelligent people, and work to dismantle the binary set before us.

Ultimately this session takes aim at several central questions:

  • What is the implication of binary thinking related to emotions, logic, and beyond?

  • How does this binary relate specifically to gender and other aspects of identity?

  • What is emotional intelligence?

  • How do we cultivate and practice being emotionally intelligent in our personal and professional lives?


Pleasure Mastery: How to Create Deeper Intimate Connection and Greater Sexual Satisfaction

with Angela Thurston

Discovering how you are erotically wired is the foundation for greater sexual understanding therefore greater sexual satisfaction and deeper intimate connection.

In this session you will learn:

- The Secrets to Having Hot, Juicy Sex

- Myths Surrounding Sexual Fulfillment

- Your Erotic Blueprint™ Type

Whether you are single and craving satisfaction, together but feeling alone and unfed, or hot and wanting to expand your pleasure, this session will give you insight into what can take you into higher states of arousal!! Providing you with a map to overcome low libido, lack of sexual connection, blocks, feelings of sexual starvation or taking things to the next level if you’ve reached a plateau.

Sexual aliveness, loving connection and satisfying hot passion are yours to claim when you have the foundation of understanding what truly turns you on.


Reclaiming Sexuality After Sexual Violence and Abuse: Tips From A Sex-Positive Counsellor

with Lauren Shay MSW, RSW, RCC

In this workshop we will discuss the long-term sexual impacts of sexual violence and abuse and explore approaches to healing. We will review and critique the history of counselling and sex therapy approaches to sexual trauma through a feminist, intersectional, and sex-positive framework and expose problematic threads in this work that have harmfully stigmatized sexual expression with misogynistic and pathologizing attitudes toward sexuality. We will look at some of the dysfunctional worldviews and patterns that can emerge after experiencing sexual violence and end with practical steps that can be taken by survivors to create a new healthy relationship with their sexuality and regain control over their sex lives.

This workshop is open to everyone. All genders and orientations are welcome. It is especially relevant for people who have experienced violence, as well as anyone who wishes to gain knowledge and understanding that will equip them to support others who have experienced violence.


Sex Workers' Rights as #PeakFeminism: How to be an Effective Ally

with Carrie Hill

At present, sex work is increasingly being recognized as legitimate work. High-profile international organizations such as Amnesty International and the World Health Organization have called for the decriminalization of sex work. At the local level, sex workers and sex work non-profit organizations have noticed an upswing of well-meaning support, particularly on social media; however, misleading information, language conflation, and a general lack of understanding can threaten or ultimately discredit what was intended to be positive and supportive action.

This facilitated talk will discuss not only what it means to be an ally to sex workers and their [consensual] work, but also will lay out some key elements of how individuals can be more effective when discussing sex work, and how supporters of sex workers can help in creating platforms for sex workers’ voices to be amplified.


The Desire Gauge: When Sexual Desirability Is Tied To Self-Worth

with Little Woo

What are the different ways in which your Sexual Desirability may be tied your Self-Worth? Many of us have been objectified or hyper-sexualized so that we derive our sense of value, power or opportunity from how much desire we can provoke in others. Whether we like to hunt or be hunted, we can be extremely consumed with it or be extremely depressed when there is a lack of it. While sexual desire is an invigorating and healthy energy, it can be also very debilitating to equate it with happiness or self-worth. The obsession with being desired can also lead us to engage in interactions that are not safe or not aligned with our true wishes. If we measure ourselves by the Desire Gauge, it can take up a lot of our precious energy and block us from sharing the fullness of who we are.

In this session, we’ll look at how this gauge has impacted our lives in real ways and explore how we can cultivate a healthy self-esteem that includes desire but is no longer run by it. Little Woo is a spiritual mentor who helps unconventional creatives express their true selves and honor their higher purpose in their relationships and livelihood. To contact her directly or learn more about this work, visit her website at littlewoo.org.


Trauma on the Road to Sexual Liberation

with Shadeen Francis, LMFT

Sexual liberation is not just about feeling good - we carry pains and wounds in our bodies that need acknowledgment. What do we recognize as trauma? How does trauma keep us from showing up in spaces in the way we want to for the work we feel is needed? The ability to feel and know our traumas is an important part of our responsibility as healers, educators, clinicians, and members of a joint community. If we truly want to labour towards sexual freedom, we also need to free ourselves. While this process can look different for everyone, it can feel very scary to revisit our pain without a plan for moving through it. This session will explore the dynamic nature of trauma, unpack the risks of ignoring our traumas, and offer strategies for navigating trauma with intention to create real possibilities for collective healing.


Womanhood Without Competition: Building a world where we welcome collaboration and inclusion

with Cora Bilsker, RSW & Cherish Dorrington RTC, MTC

Women have long been pitted against one another, competing for the men in their world. This, of course, coming from an era wherein heteronormativity reigned supreme. Competition and distrust shows up everywhere from beauty competitions to the workplace to excluding trans-women from the conversation. This can be true, even for those of us who seek to be progressive. We have all been conditioned, yet, we have the power to create change. We need to know that we don't stand alone. Together, we will explore the arena of women distrusting women and how we can begin to bridge the gap toward trust and collaboration, creating a world of support and encouragement.


In the Fletcher Challenge Canada Theatre

Using Humour in Sex Ed: When and How to Use Humour to Make Information More Accessible

with Cathy Vartuli and Jet Noir

When dealing with sexuality, especially the taboo aspects of sexuality, trauma, fear and shame can shut the brain down and put the client into a flight, fight, freeze mode where learning and growth is hard and survival mechanisms kick in. humour can be an effective tool to break the cycle and allow powerful growth and healing. Laughter can bring perspective and can introduce a sense of safety and ease to the learning process.

Using humour in appropriate doses and in ways that are responsive to the clients needs can be challenging without guidelines and understanding. Misuse of humour could potentially retrigger shame and fear and break down communication.

When and where is it appropriate to use humour when educating clients on sexual education and when helping them through trauma and fears. How do you know when to introduce humour when dealing with the deep shame around taboo subjects of self-expression or abuse? While many in the sex-positive education and healing world use humour, creating a conscious understanding of how and when to implement this tool can add confidence and strength to the technique.

We'll share guidelines and best practices for working with clients with different needs and interests, from casual interest to deeply rooted trauma. We'll discuss types of humour and when each might be appropriate, and share personal experiences and learning points. We'll also show how to clean up missteps around humour with clarity and ease.


Corporal Punishment for Evil Gits: Dialling it to 11 (interactive)

with Carrie Hill

Corporal punishment is a skill that everyone has heard about, and many people tend to view (read: groan) about being "overrated." Join Domina Katonika as she dives into the world of spanking, caning, flogging, and more! This interactive, facilitated workshop will focus on learning new skills, honing existing skills, or simply getting a few new wicked ideas of how to make your bottom squirm. Watch how a Pro Dom does it, and try some ideas for yourself!

* having your own stunt bottom is encouraged, but not mandatory


Female Domination

with Sara Blaze

The stereotype of a whip wielding woman dressed entirely in black leather is not only tedious, it's ultimately a harmful, idealized construct of what a FemDom should look like.

Join Sara as she deconstructs what female domination 'should' be. Topics covered will include finding your own authentic persona as a female dominant, how to step into your dominance and how to harness your unique power.


Pleasure Bound - What You Need to Know About Rope Bondage

with Melody Anne and Victor Salmon

Power. Pleasure. Connection. Surrender. Rope bondage can be all of this and more! Come to this interactive workshop for an eye-opening intro to the joys of rope. Through discussion, demo, and hands-on practice, we’ll explore our motivations for tying and being tied, consent and communication for rope, safety considerations, a sizzling live demonstration of a bondage scene, and an introduction to the ever-versatile single-column tie - the building block of all rope bondage. Spare rope will be provided to practice with, although the hands-on tying portion of this workshop is 100% optional. Either way, arrive prepared to have fun and get knotty!