Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 05, 2006

Sex Conference Promotes Sexual Health, Advocacy For All

The 28th annual Guelph Sexuality Conference runs June 10 to 13 at the University of Guelph. Started in 1978, the conference is recognized as Canada’s largest and longest-running annual training and educational forum for sexual health professionals.

Focusing on the theme “Sexual Health for All: Promotion, Prevention, Advocacy,” this year’s conference includes a half-day workshop on intersexuality, the rarely talked about condition where physical sexual anatomy is either mixed or ambiguous at birth. Other topics on the agenda include sexual rights and health of people with disabilities, teen sex and sibling incest. Sessions related to sexually transmitted infections and the relationship between sex and religion are also planned.

“Despite some greater openness and willingness to talk about sexual concerns, there are still many individuals and communities who are denied information, who are marginalized, or are voiceless,” said Richard Barham, chair of the conference planning committee and retired U of G professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition.

“This year’s conference will assist professionals working in the area of sexual health move a little further on the road towards inclusiveness in providing for the health and well-being of an even greater part of our highly diverse community.”

The event will bring together more than 400 educators, nurses, physicians, therapists, social workers, clergy, students and other health professionals.

The conference is open only to registrants and the media. Media passes may be arranged in advance. A media registration desk will be set up on the ground level of the Thornbrough Building. It opens with a two-day sexual attitudes reassessment weekend June 10 and 11 designed to give participants an opportunity to assess their beliefs, attitudes and values regarding aspects of human sexuality, including developmental sexuality, sexual myths, extra-couple relationships, sexual abuse and cybersex.

Program Highlights

Monday, June 12

• “STI Clinical Update,” 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is designed for nurses and physicians that offers leading-edge updates on the treatment and management of sexually transmitted infections.
• “Intersexuality – A Case of Emergency?,” 1:30 to 5 p.m., encourages health-care professionals to move toward a flexible understanding of intersexuality, rather than an “emergency” that needs to be fixed.

Concurrent sessions, 8:30 to 10 a.m.
• “Helping Couples Through the Crisis of Infertility,” focuses on the issues facing couples, techniques for overcoming communication obstacles and the infertility treatments available.
• “How to Conduct Successful Heterosexism and Homophobia Awareness Interventions and Why They Work."

Concurrent sessions, 10:30 a.m. to noon
• “Getting It On…line: The Teen Sex Information Program” explores an innovative program that trains peer volunteers to provide sexual health information to youth by phone, e-mail and instant messaging.
• “Intimacy, Inclusion and Mental Health: Practical Approaches."

Concurrent sessions, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
• “Friend and Lover, Sexuality After Spinal Cord Injury” shares the personal story of a couple who discuss making love and sharing life after a spinal cord injury.

Concurrent sessions, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
• “Exploring Attitudes Toward LGBTQ Individuals: Creating Allies for All — A Research Forum," a series of three research presentations followed by a question-and-answer period.

Opening plenary, 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.
• “Reflections on Sexual Health Education Over the Years."

Tuesday, June 13

Plenary address, 8:45 to 10 a.m.
• “Sexuality in Canada: What's Going on in Research, Education and Therapy?” an overview of the current state of Canadian academic research, sex therapy and youth sexuality education.

Concurrent sessions, 10:30 a.m. to noon
• “Contraception Update” is a session providing information on what’s new and on the horizon in the evolving field of contraception.
• “Supporting Parents as Primary Sexuality Educators Through Parent Education Programs."

Concurrent sessions, 1:45 to 3:15 p.m.
• “Muslim Immigrant Sexuality in Canada” is designed to familiarize participants with the cultural and religious perspectives that influence Canadian Muslims and outreach methods that respect those sensitivities.

Closing plenary, 3:30 to 4:45 p.m.
• “Claiming Our Moral Values: Sexuality, Faith and Spirit," a discussion about core moral values that are surrounded by faith and spirit, how sex educators address ethical and moral issues in their own work.

For more details and a full program of events, contact Lise Smedmor, manager of program development, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53412. The complete program and registration form are available online.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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