Campus News

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

News Release

May 31, 2004

‘Sexual realities’ to be explored at Guelph Sex Conference

Teens’ new sexual realities, e-relationships, disability and sexuality and the causes of sexual fear will be among the topics of discussion at the 26th annual Guelph Sexuality Conference June 12 to 16 at the University of Guelph.

Talks and workshops will explore the theme “Sexual Realities: Working in a Changing Social Context,” drawing on social and demographic changes in communities over the past 25 years. The conference will bring together more than 400 educators, nurses, physicians, therapists, social workers, clergy, students and other health professionals.

The “open” portion of the conference runs June 14 to 16 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 14, 7:30 p.m.
• “Loving the Difference: Drag Queens, Transvestites and Me.” In the first part of the conference opening, U of G theatre studies professor Sky Gilbert will discuss being an outsider to another alternative gender culture. After a break, Gilbert will reappear transformed into Jane (his glamorous alter ego) and discuss the political implications of drag.

Tuesday, June 15
Personal stories panel, 8:45 to 10:30 a.m.
• “Creating Queer Muslim Community.” Panel members will share their journeys toward reconciling their queer and Muslim identities.

Morning concurrent sessions, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
• “Identifying and Meeting the Sexual Health Needs of Aboriginal Youth.” The session will highlight findings based on the collaboration of 10 aboriginal community-based service agencies with university researchers focused on understanding sexual behaviours and needs of aboriginal youth.

• “Enhancing Sexual Empowerment: Therapeutic Use of Sex Toys.” A workshop that looks at the role sex toys can play in personal sexual fulfilment, introducing or re-introducing sexual expression to people experiencing loss or difficulty with sexual functioning.

• “Manufacturing Sexual Fear.” Modern culture is often portrayed as sexually sophisticated, but most people harbour primitive sexual anxieties. The session will discuss the cause of sexual anxieties, giving sexuality professionals new tools for work.

Afternoon concurrent sessions, 2 to 5 p.m.
• “Disability and Sexuality: Supporting Our Clients, Supporting Ourselves.” This session will give practical strategies to support people living with disabilities toward sexual expression and discovery.

• “I Want to Be Passionate With You: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Couples.” A workshop for counsellors and therapists to assist couples in enhancing the emotional, intellectual, sexual and spiritual well-being of their relationships.

• “E-Relationships: The Agony and the Ecstasy.” Members of this personal stories panel will discuss their perspectives on and experiences with using the Internet to find companionship, love and sex.

Wednesday, June 18
Plenary address, 9 a.m.
• “Sexual Realities: Working With Youth and Teens in a Changing Social Context.” Dr. Miriam Kaufman, a specialist in adolescent medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, will discuss the sexual realities of teens today and how to help them become sexually healthy people.

Morning concurrent sessions, 10:30 a.m. to noon
• “Teens ’N’ Sex: Positive Approaches to Teaching and Counselling for 2004.” Rather than focusing on negative aspects of teens’ sexual behaviour, the presenters will share successful strategies that build on young people’s assets and respect teenage sexuality.

Afternoon concurrent sessions, 1:30 to 3 p.m.
• “An Insider’s View of the Exotic Dance Industry.” Two former exotic dancers will shed light on how the exotic dance industry in Ottawa currently functions, drawing attention to health, safety and social barriers faced by dancers.

• “Reclaiming Menopause: Celebrating Aging and Sexual Rebirth.” The presenters will share stories they’ve gathered from more than 1,000 women seeking to demystify menopause and reconnect with their bodies and their sexuality.

Closing plenary, 3:15 to 4:30 p.m.
• “Sexual Realities: Making a Difference.” In her story of transformation and resilience, a former homeless drug addict and sex worker who now runs her own communications company will weave conference themes with her own experience of reclaiming a personal sense of sexuality.

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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