Campus News

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

News Release

May 30, 2003

Guelph sex conference celebrates 25th anniversary

The 25th annual Conference on Human Sexuality runs June 9 to 18 at the University of Guelph. Since its inception in 1979, the conference has been recognized as Canada's leading annual training and education forum for sexual health professionals.

This year's theme, "Looking Back, Moving Forward," will explore changes in the sexuality field over the last 25 years and will look ahead to future opportunities and challenges. Talks and workshops will explore topics such as Internet pornography, lesbians/gay men creating families, and radical trends in body modification. The event will bring together more than 500 educators, nurses, physicians, therapists, social workers, clergy, students and other health professionals.

The "open" portion of the conference runs June 16 to 18 and includes more than 40 workshops and sessions. 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 floor of the Thornbrough Building.

Program highlights:

Monday, June 16, 7:30 p.m.

• "Sexual Science: Looking Back, Moving Forward." The keynote address will look at some of the major findings and political controversies of the past quarter-century of research and establish a context for discussion of the future of sex research.

Tuesday, June 17

Personal stories panel, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

• "Reflections on Lesbian and Gay Sexuality in Canada." Panel members will share their personal stories of the legal, political and social changes they have faced.

Morning concurrent sessions, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• "Internet Pornography." An exploration of sexually explicit material on the Internet and its impact on users.

• "Beyond the Binaries: Getting Messy with Sex and Gender." A workshop that looks at the histories and geographies of sex and gender led by a genderqueer.

• "Challenging Convention: Lesbians/Gay Men Creating Families." This interactive presentation will explore commonly held ideas about the impact on children growing up in lesbian/gay households, experiences of non-biological parents, and the current legal framework and debates.

Afternoon concurrent sessions, 2 to 5 p.m.

• "The Fertility Awareness Method: The Best-Kept Secret in Women's Health." This session will dispel the myths surrounding the natural Fertility Awareness Method (FAM): an effective, scientifically validated, pro-choice birth control method, which is not to be confused with the rhythm method.

• "Affairs: Past, Present and Future." A workshop that examines the latest research on types of affairs, motivations for pursuing affairs, and the impact of affairs on the couple and family members.

• "My Question Is...Popular Media as a Reflection of Current Sexual Issues and Concerns." Session panellists representing television, radio, print and Internet media sources will highlight key questions and concerns raised through their programs.

Wednesday, June 18

Plenary address, 9 a.m.

• "Shaken Clear Down to the Core: Lessons Learned in Research Across Cultures." A presentation reflecting on research in sexuality with a look at studies in other countries and cultures.

Morning concurrent sessions, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• "The Soul Wound of Native Peoples: Exploring the Link Between Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence and Residential Boarding Schools." This presentation will look at the history of federal residential boarding schools forced on the Peoples of the First Nations.

• "The Cutting Edge: Radical Trends in Body Modification." This session, led by a professional body piercer, will examine strategies to bring the piercing and tattoo community together with health workers to address mutual health and safety concerns.

Afternoon concurrent sessions, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

• "Tough 'n' Talkin': A Program Designed to Help ‘At-Risk' Young Men Develop Positive Relationship Skills." A workshop presenting interactive and innovative new approaches to helping "at-risk" young males develop positive social relationship skills.

• "Dating...the Second Time ‘Round." A dating primer for those working with clients who are re-entering the dating scene after the end of a long-term relationship.

25th-anniversary closing plenary, 3 to 4:30 p.m.

• "Light and Shadow: Toward a Bright Future for Human Sexuality." This presentation examines how to overcome the impact of "compassion fatigue" faced by many sexual health professionals.

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

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

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