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Sense About Sex London

November 1st, 2012

Dr Petra

This Saturday (3 November) we’ll be hosting an afternoon of talks, debates and activities about sex, sexuality and sexualisation. We will be exploring common myths, assumptions and attitudes about sex and drawing on cutting edge scientific and social research to consider how we might look at things differently. We’ll be inviting guests to reflect on popular questions about sex and relationships. Things like:
* What is normal sex? And who is having it?
* Is society becoming too sexualised?
* Are young people becoming sexual too early? * What impact does pornography have on people?
* How can we find out what we’ll enjoy sexually? And how do we tell our partners about it?
* What secrets do sex therapists learn about what people get up to in the bedroom?
* Why was 50 Shades of Grey so popular?
* How common are sexual problems and what can be done about them?
* Where do our sexual desires come from?
* How do orgasms work?
* Can you get addicted to sex? Has the internet made this more of a risk?
* Sexually speaking, are men from mars and women from venus?
* What new rules are there for sexual relationships?
* When it comes to sex, what are the vital statistics?

If you weren’t able to make this event, don’t worry. We have another on 6 November in Sheffield and several more planned across the UK for 2013.

We have sent an email to everyone who’s registered. But in case you didn’t get it I’ve included it below:

The venue is Graeae Theatre Company. Doors will be open from 12.45pm and the event will begin at 1pm. The event will end at 5pm. If you are no longer able to attend please cancel your place here so someone on the waiting list can take your place. For those on Twitter, our hashtag is #SenseAboutSex Tea and coffee will be available on arrival and soft drinks throughout the afternoon. We will have a dedicated networking space where you can catch up with colleagues and share flyers or other resources related to your work (if you wish).

Who is coming?
We’re expecting a diverse mix – artists, activists, academics, healthcare professionals, educators, therapists and students to name a few.

What is this event about?
This event is part of a programme of work funded by grants from The Wellcome Trust and Economic and Social Research Council aimed at bringing people together to talk about sex, sexualities and genders in relation to media, culture and research.

What will we be doing?
We will start with some speed debating, tackling topical questions. Followed by three workshops – Communicating About Sex (with Meg Barker and Katherine Angel), Flirting and Anthropology (Jean Smith), and Body Mapping (with Petra Boynton and Feona Attwood). Each session will last about 40 minutes and you will be in one of three groups that will rotate through each activity. These activities are designed to be fun and non-threatening, but will involve talking, drawing and reflecting on sex, desire, attraction, bodies and sexual pleasures and problems. You are welcome to join in as much as you like, just watch if you prefer. If a session is something you would prefer not to be part of you can sit it out in our networking space before rejoining your group for the next session. We will close the day with an informal panel discussion.

Capturing the event
We will report on the day both on our blog and to our event funders – the ESRC (who also have a questionnaire about what you got from the day which we will distribute). We hope you will tweet, photograph and blog about the day. Our colleague Cassie Robinson will be filming and photographing the day and we hope you’ll want to speak with her. We will include photos and films on our blog after the event. Please remember to ask permission before photographing, filming or directly quoting any guests at the event. Quoting presenters is fine, but please respect the confidentiality of others within the workshop activities who may not be expecting what they disclose to be shared more widely.

Ground rules
Some of the topics we will be covering may be personally relevant and/or politically charged, so we have these suggested guidelines for the event:
* Please treat speakers with respect. It can be daunting to talk in front of a big group, especially about your own work and ideas. It’s fine to disagree with the speaker but try to keep criticism constructive and to own your perspective ‘I think…’ rather than ‘you’re wrong’.
* Be kind to yourself and to others in discussions: When you have a comment to make, think first about whether it might feel too personally exposing afterwards, and also whether it leaves space for other people to express different points of view.
* If you have already contributed, or tend to do so a lot, consider stepping back to give others space. If you don’t often contribute, think about stepping forward (it is fine to write comments on post-its rather than speaking).
* Try to keep questions and comments on the topic and expressed in a way that everyone can understand (including those with no academic background)

If you have any questions please feel free to email us now or after the event. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

With best wishes
Katherine, Meg, Petra and Feona

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