Sexual State of the Union Summit

Aug 17, 2012 • Events, Lifestyle

Sex conference from Good Vibrations

The San Francisco-based sex toy and education emporium Good Vibrations is holding a forum in San Francisco this fall to discuss the sexual state of the union. Their panelists and keynote speakers (which read like a Who’s Who of sex education, research, journalism and commentary) will examine the awkward relationship between sex and mainstream media, pop culture and national politics on October 27. Day-long intellectual intercourse will be followed by a cocktail party, and, well, who knows where that will lead? We can be sure a fair share of attendees will conceive a book or two during the proceedings.

The day will kick off at the Marriott Marquis at 10:00AM with remarks from renown sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, shortly followed by a keynote by Dr. Debby Herbenick, a research scientist and Associate Director at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion. Herbenick is also a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. Oh, yes. Welcome to the major league of sex.

At 11:00AM, the first panel –moderated by Charlie Glickman, will commence, discussing the regulation of pleasure with panelists Marty Klein, Yoseñio V. Lewis, Maggie Mayhem, and Judith Levine (don’t know them? Read their bios here). Per Good Vibration’s Sex Summit site:

Sex is regarded differently from other elements of life and is arguably regulated more than anything else, whether it’s restrictions on sex education, limited definitions of relationships, censorship of sexual images, laws against certain kinds of sexual expression, or circumscribed civil liberties. Our opening panel will explore some of the causes and effects of this social bias, including trends in censorship and sexual politics, and how some people are bringing a more sex-positive slant to this anti-sex playing field.

Following a short break, the second panel will come together to discuss sex and the media. Abiola Abrams will moderate this lively conversation among Brian Alexander, Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, Emily Morse, and Chauntelle Tibbals.

Sex and the media have a complex relationship. How does the use of sex to sell products affect sexual attitudes? When movies and TV become substitutes for sex education, what happens to our relationships? Why does porn get blamed for becoming more explicit, while sexy images elsewhere get a pass? In a society without real media literacy, what role do communications play in creating our sexual attitudes? Our media experts will explore these and other questions and discuss what they see happening on our screens and in our publications.

An hour lunch-break will follow at 1:15PM and, an hour later, a keynote from Dr. Marty Klein, a 31-year-veteran of marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, whose only career goals are to tell the truth about sexuality, help people feel sexually adequate and powerful, and support the healthy sexual expression and exploration of women and men.

At 3:00PM, Dr. Carol Queen will moderate a conversation among Dr. Debby Herbenick, Heather Corinna, Carmen Vázquez, and Liz Canner about sexual health and pharmaceuticals:

The increase in pharmaceutical and medical treatments for sexual concerns has shifted the definition of “sexual health” even further towards a performance model. But for all of the challenges that sexual medicine creates, it also can have the potential to change lives and improve sexual experiences. This panel will explore how our sexual lives are shaped by the medicalization of the erotic body and the workings of the medical industry, what benefits and challenges medical science can offer, and how alternative perspectives can contextualize the pharmacological point of view.

A ten minute break will follow, before Emily Morse takes the floor to moderate a discussion among Jaclyn Friedman, Tracy Clark-Flory, Lynn Comella, and Abiola Abrams about sex and popular culture:

Cultural attitudes about sex are changing faster than ever before and popular culture, fueled by technological changes, help create these shifts. What is it about celebrities that makes us so interested in their sex lives? Do we really want them to serve as role models? Who’s using the spotlight of fame or their pop culture platform as an opportunity to send a different kind of message? How can we use the contemporary folkways of mass culture to create different representations of sex? And how can media literacy help us understand sexual messages?

This last panel will be followed by a closing keynote from award-winning jounalist and author Brian Alexander. Alexander is a contributing editor at Wired and Glamour and author of America Unzipped: The Search for Sex and Satisfaction and the upcoming The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, which was co-authored by neuroscientist Larry Young.

Cocktail reception commences at 6:00PM at the View Bar. You dying to go yet, or what? Our editrix is practically already packed, if that’s any indicator of how great this first ever summit is going to be.

How much to ride this ride? Tickets will cost you $69 until October 1. After that they’ll be $99 — that’s less than most conferences even when you factor the plane ticket! As for the hotel, if you book your room before the first, you’ll get a nice discount by providing the code GDV or asking for the group rate for Good Vibrations. So? You coming or what?