ATLOSCon 2012 Recap

by Jason Stotts

As you probably know, I’ve been on vacation for roughly the last week in Atlanta for ATLOSCon 2012.  It was a great experience like last year and I had a really good time reconnecting with old friends and getting to know some new people.

Thursday night was the opening banquet and I got to see a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a year and meet lots of new people.  It’s funny that people tend to assume, because I’m a blogger and I write about sex, that I’m very extroverted.  That is, however, just not true.  I wouldn’t say that I’m shy per se, but I’m certainly not extroverted and if I didn’t come up and say hi, it wasn’t you, it was me.  If you want to meet me and we don’t have mutual friends, you’re going to have to just come up to me and introduce yourself.  I’m very friendly, though, so don’t fear for your life or anything.

I took several interesting classes while at ATLOSCon, one of which was Jenn Casey’s and Kelly Elmore’s class on temperament that I took friday morning.  I  learned some really interesting things and also learned that temperament is one issue that I will be looking more closely into in the future as I think that it may have a bigger role in relationships and even ethics in general than it is generally believed now.  If anyone has a good book recommendation about general temperament or personality theory, I would appreciate it.

I also took Miranda and her dad Antonio’s class about what it was like growing up as an objectivist.  I personally can’t imagine having grown up an objectivist and it was interesting to hear them talk more about it (I also saw this last year).  I think my biggest take away from their class was that if you want your children to be objectivists when they grow up, you shouldn’t force ideology onto them, but rather model the virtues and teach them how to think independently.  I think this is an important point for all parents.

Friday night I went shooting with the Objectivists, which was a lot of fun and I took my mom shooting for the first time in quite a while.

Saturday morning I took Jenn and Kelly’s positive discipline class for parenting and the more I learn about positive discipline, the more it seems like the best way to raise a child.  I may not be about to have kids yet, but it’s never to early to start learning things about it.

Saturday afternoon I gave my talk “Sexual Attraction and Fantasy: a Philosophical Exploration” and it was well received.  I think that people really liked the talk and there were some really good questions.

Saturday evening was the big ATLOSCon party at the Casey house and I had a good time hanging out with everyone.  I talked about a lot of things, but somehow sex kept coming up.  I just want to point out that it’s not always me bringing it up, people seek me out to talk about sex.  Which I like.  But I think that some people think it’s all I talk about, when it isn’t.

Sunday morning I was back at the Casey house to see Diana Hsieh do her Philosophy in Action webcast live, which was very interesting.

Sunday afternoon I saw Rachel Miner give a talk on Romantic Extras, or things that one can and should do in order to maintain love and intimacy in relationships.  There was a lot of good concrete advice and she did a good job with the presentation.  I followed that by the OHomos panel, where several gay Objectivists talked about their experiences growing up gay, becoming Objectivists, and fielded questions from the audience.  Nothing surprising here for me, but it was interesting to hear their stories.

After, I saw Stephen Bourque’s “Exploring Ayn Rand’s Theory of Concepts” and it was the only talk at ATLOSCon that I didn’t like.  Perhaps I simply know too much about epistemology, but I thought the class was poorly executed.

Afterwords, we went out to a rushed dinner and then to my Practical Sexuality Workshop.  We were a couple of minutes late, which I was pretty annoyed about (it wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I hate being late), but the workshop went really well.  There was a running trivia challenge throughout the presentation and there were three teams competing.  We started with sexual anatomy, then moved to different orgasm techniques, and finally to anal.  People seemed to have a really good time competing in the trivia contest and I think everyone learned something new.  Although there was quite a bit of hype leading up to “the orgy” (which, incidentally, I appreciated all that free advertising), there was no nudity or even anyone injured.  I had a lot of fun putting on the workshop and I definitely would like to start doing more workshops and helping to spread sexual knowledge and good technique to people.  Sex is, after all, a skill that can be learned and mastering that skill will make your sex more pleasurable and help your relationship with your partner.

Overall, I thought ATLOSCon went really well and I had a great time attending.  There is a great sense of belonging being in a group of people who share your fundamental ideas and who are working to help bring them into reality with you.  It is that same sense of “being in the valley” that one gets at OCON, but with a warmer Southern hospitality element.

Some administrative comments, with the understanding that I thought everything went really well this year, are:

1. Less time between sessions.  Having 45 minutes between morning and afternoon sessions was just too much.  In the evenings it also made it nearly impossible to have dinner before the evening activity.

2. Starting at 10am was much better than starting at 9am, since inevitably, we’d stay up way too late having fun.

3. Can we get a little ribbon on name tags or a special speaker badge so that we are more easily identifiable?

4. I realize that the Cherokee recreation center is well suited to the conference and I’m sure it’s not expensive given where it is, but it’s hard to have so many of the other events 30-45 minutes from the conference site.  This may not be feasible, but it would be helpful if everything were closer together.

So, that’s just a couple of little things.  I thought the conference went really well and that things were very organized. I want to thank Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore and the rest of ATLOS for inviting me out and having such a nice conference.

Finally, if you want to help support Erosophia, buy a copy of the lecture I presented on Sexual Attraction and Fantasy or my Practical Sexuality Workshop.  I’ve decided, just to make it a little cheaper, to sell each for $10, which is less than I was initially going to price them at.  Additionally, if you attended either of my events, you can purchase either for half-price!  I prefer Amazon or Paypal payments to Jason(at)JasonStotts.com, but I’m open to other avenues. The descriptions of the talks are below.

Sexual Attraction and Fantasy: A Philosophical Exploration

What causes sexual attraction? Is it simply a physical response to a person’s body or is there something more going on? In this talk, I will delve into the deeper nature of sexual attractions and examine the cognitive element of sexual attraction and how it can enhance or destroy attractions. Further, we will look at the role of fantasy both by itself and its role in sexual attraction. Through this, we shall come to see that sexual attraction is more than merely a physical response and is, in fact, a robust phenomenon that ties together much more of ourselves than is commonly thought.

and

Practical Sexuality Workshop

Join your fellow conference attendees in a workshop on practical sexual skills hosted by Jason Stotts, author of Erosophia (one of the top 100 sex blogs of 2011). The workshop will be in three parts. The first part is an in-depth inquiry into anal eroticism, including anal sex and prostate play. The second part is all about orgasms, both male and female, including orgasmic edge play (also called extended orgasms or massive orgasms) and orgasm denial. The third part will be open Q&A where the floor will be opened to questions from attendees who can either ask questions there or submit them in advance if they’re not comfortable asking in front of the group. The workshop will be interactive and participation is encouraged. Price: $10 per person.

The workshop is obviously adult oriented in nature and no one under 18 will be permitted to attend. The workshop is open to singles, couples, poly-groups, and everyone of any orientation.

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