Sex/Philosophy Symposium

1st April, 10am-6pm, $50, Critical Path, 1c New Beach Road, Ruchsutters Bay

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What if theoretical investigation were truly to acknowledge its interest in the juicyness of lust? And what if sexual practices were informed without compromise by the values of rigor and close reading? By extreme attention to language, just as to what is unsaid and un-thought? 

After Xplore on Easter Monday, i.e., April 1st, we are planning at Critical Path a day of reflections and mediations with contributions from philosophers, theorists, academics, sex professionals and enthusiasts. This initiative is driven by the desire to foster a culture of thoughtful conversation about sexuality that is not divorced from, but remains linked to, direct physical and emotional experiences. 

This venture, we are hoping, will lead to academic quality publications and/or other thought-provoking testimonies and texts. As important as it is to reconnect with our bodies and sexual exploration, at a certain point it is also necessary to reflect on what has happened, to think, to read, to listen, perhaps even to theorize, but in such a way that we remain connected to our feelings and our bodies. 

The cost for the day (10am-6pm) is $50. A single session is $20.

We gratefully acknowledge support from The Philosophy Research Initiative at the University of Western Sydney for this project.



Leading a Double Life and Exploring Integration 

Because of the stigmatization in our culture of many sexual, and in particular BDSM practices, many people feel compelled to create a second identity, a different name or persona, behind which they can hide or compartmentalize this aspect of their lives. While for familial or professional reasons this solution may seem to be an absolute necessity, it can also lead to painful compromises and inevitable deceptions. It is inevitably also a form of capitulation, which leaves society’s stigmatization of certain practices uncontested. In this session we will explore possibilities of integration of the different aspects of our lives: sexual, professional, familial. We will also look at the advantages and the costs of so doing.


Queer/Straight, is there an opposition? 

Is queerness a sub-culture of the gay and lesbian movement? Or does it reach out to effect and perhaps transform the so-called ‘straight’ culture? Who has the right to be called queer? And why has queerness become a label or identity that some people feel obliged to protect from being ‘co-opted’ by others? Xplore is one of the very rare spaces where queer identified people and non-queer identified people mix together to learn and share intimate experiences. This is something to celebrate, because it breaks down barriers of suspicion and distrust – but also it is a possibility for conflict and debate. 



When you do something you otherwise wouldn’t do for the sake of a return: this might be a good definition of prostitution. Following such a definition, prostitution would be something more and other than what is commonly called sex work. It would be something that nearly every one of us engages in in one way or another. One could go so far as to say it is the very logic according to which our culture functions. We are constantly invited to expend our energies for the sake of a projected finality, an expected return (be it real or perceived). No doubt, the expected return very often takes the form of money, but it might also be for example attention, status, security or love. In this session, we will ask without judgment about the ways in which we prostitute ourselves in our lives and we will explore ways in which it may be possible not to do so…or to do so a little less…


Gala Vanting on Reinventing Pornography as a Commercial Genre

Dr. Matthew del Nevo on Verdi and Tantra

Janet Hardy (author of The Ethical Slut) will be speaking on Queer/Straight: Is there an Opposition?

Dr. Peter Banki (University of Western Sydney) on Exploring Integration

Felix Ruckert in discussion about the Xplore Concept


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