Presentation Descriptions

Currently confirmed presentations

Bianca Laureano PhD

Bianca Laureano, PhD
Keynote Speaker

Humanizing Sex Positivity: Asking Harder Questions and Challenging Ourselves

As we are called on to do sexuality care work, we must acknowledge the world we have inherited and how our work is shifting. This current time of unpredictability, movement, expansion, world building, and afterworlds requires us to dig more deeply, ask harder questions, hold and honor the multiple truths we were trained to ignore — in short go all in and ante up! Together we will explore what has been missing, erased, and ignored from sex positive approaches and how to bring the human back into human sexuality. This keynote will discuss power, strategy, equity, joy, and celebration as vital to our work. You may leave with more questions than answers and with new paths forward to build the sex positive world you wish to be in and a part of creating!

Bianca Laureano PhD

Maya Moreno
Keynote Speaker

Humanizing Sex Workers

Epistemic injustice against sex workers is rampant historically, in our media, and our culture. With the growing films, books, podcasts, and other creative ventures on sex work by sex workers themselves, we are seeing much more diverse and deeper understandings on the industry and its workers. We are also seeing a larger willingness among institutions and media to include sex worker’s voices and lives. This presentation seeks to highlight various projects that collect and teach sex worker’s historical narratives, media made by sex workers, and how allies can help.


Sex for all: Intersectionality in Sex Positivity

by Apryl Alexander, PsyD

There is a growing movement to incorporate sex positivity into clinical and counseling psychology. Although sex positivity has a framework that promotes diversity and inclusion, intersectionality in sex positive research, training, and practice is practically non-existent. Critics of sexuality studies have noted that much of the sexuality literature is rooted from a White or Western perspective. The sex positivity movement appears to struggle from similar early beginnings of feminist and queer theories and movements in lacking the true integration of race/ethnicity, class, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability status, etc. This presentation will analyze issues related to sex and sexuality from an intersectional sex positive framework. Discussion surrounding intersectional issues among subgroups, sexualities, and relationship structures will be discussed and examples will be provided. In order to fully adopt an intersectional sex positive approach, recommendations for research, training, and practice will be described during the presentation.

Traversing the Path to Publication

by Brad Sagarin

The Journal of Positive Sexuality is dedicated to publishing a diversity of voices writing on a range of topics, but the academic publication process can seem daunting to those who haven’t navigated it before. In this brief presentation, Dr. Brad Sagarin, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Positive Sexuality, will attempt to demystify the process. Learn how to ready your paper for submission to a journal, what happens after you submit a manuscript, and how to respond to an editorial decision to maximize the chances of getting your paper accepted.

Others believing we need to get laid: An asexual perspective on sex positivity

by Max Jenkins, Emily Karp, &  Kadie Craighead

Someone can say “positive sexuality is humanizing”, but what happens when your sexuality is “lacking, “uninterested”, or “non-existent”? Are you still human and worthy? This poster discusses how the sex positive movement does or does not include those who are asexual, sex repulsed, and/or happily celibate. We will provide information so that others may better understand asexual and similar identities, and will begin to design ways to better include these identities in advocacy.

Kink vs. compulsory sexuality

by I. Nathan, Grey, & Bob O’Boyle

Compulsive sexuality is everywhere and impacts everyone – it is the social attitudes, backed up by institutions, that enforce the belief that everyone should and does want a socially acceptable form of sex. It impacts different people in different ways, depending on their identities and cultural context. While it is impossible to escape the impact of compulsory sexuality altogether, it is possible to engage with your own and others’ sexuality or lack thereof in a thoughtful and intentional way. One solution is kink, as it is founded on the premise of consent and questioning assumptions around intimacy and sexual expression. This workshop aims to teach participants both about the concepts of compulsory sexuality and kink, and explore the ways that kink can be satisfying in many ways, from sexual to romantic to aesthetic to sensory. We plan on using those concepts to help participants understand and develop their boundaries around various sexual and intimate activities. We will also discuss asexual and aromantic perspectives towards kink; the ways that people engage in non-sexual kink and how that can both reinforce an asexual orientation or be sexual in itself, as well as the ways people engage in non-romantic kink dynamics, and how relations free of compulsory romanticism can encourage a wider range of intimacy, sexual or otherwise.

Asexuality, Autism, and Neurodiversity

by Lauren Feder, Sofia Vanderlaan, & Arya Gandhari

Approximately 1-2% of people are asexual or on the ace spectrum, experiencing limited or no feelings of sexual attraction. Several recent reports have noted substantially higher rates of asexuality within samples of autistic adults, ranging between 6% and 24%. Although these numbers suggest that rates of autism would also be high within an asexual sample, no previous studies have confirmed this directly. Our work sets out to measure the prevalence of autism within an ace spectrum sample. We draw on data from the 2019 Ace Community Survey, an annual international survey focused on individuals who identify as asexual or on the ace spectrum. This data offers the opportunity to examine both self-diagnosis and professional diagnosis as autistic, along with participants’ identification with related categories of neurodivergent, ADHD, mentally ill, and disabled. We also look at correlations between these categories with gender identity, anxiety, and depression. We consider the implications for future research and work within both communities.

Why your sex positivity needs to be anti-amatonormative

by I. Nathan & Grey

This presentation will teach participants about the basics of amatonormativity, the assumption in society that romantic coupledom is necessary for all people and the pinnacle of all kinds of relationships, and show how pervasive and damaging this idea is. We will do so by introducing the basics included in the concept, including relationship hierarchy, and showing how amatonormativity both reinforces and is supported by other harmful systemic prejudices, including white supremacy, misogyny, toxic masculinity, sex shaming, transphobia, and homophobia. We will share strategies for resisting amatonormativity, particularly ways that sexuality professionals can support their clients, patients, and students more effectively.

Reclaiming dehumanization: Revolutionary kink In transgender relationships

by Juniper Martin

The focus on positive sexuality is significant, especially within a society that is often sex negative. It is crucial to evaluate the standards of positive sexuality to assure it includes all peoples. This panel will focus on transgender and nonbinary sex positivity.

Transgender individuals experience systemic dehumanization every day, facing discrimination on every level: culturally, socially, and institutionally. This discrimination and dehumanization we face compounded with other marginalized identities that we may hold, often results in feeling inhuman. As a method of reclaiming identities, some transgender people will choose to proudly identify with this label of inhumanity that they have been given by society. Reclamation is unique, and every person explores these ideas in different ways. It is important that such exploration happens within a safe space, including in their relationships.

The whole body as a sexual organ. Rethinking what sex is and how it can be done

by Renita Söresndotter

Sex is commonly defined as something including genitals. By being born into a certain culture our bodies learn how to interpret and perform sex. But the body is plastic and constantly becoming. Accordingly to Spinoza we cannot know what our bodies can do until we test it empirically. What would happen if we did not limit the definition of sex to genital acts? In this presentation I will explore how we can understand sex and sexual pleasure beyond genitals as the primary sex organ. By doing this I want to contribute to a more open definition of how to interpret and experience bodies and sexuality.

I will use Deleuze and Guttariâ’s philosophy about bodies without organs, in which the use and experience of our bodies is open for exploration. If we understand our bodies as having sex organs everywhere, we can interpret and experience our erotic bodies differently. If we focus on sensations, pleasure, touch and bodily surface, instead of genital sex, we can change how we talk about, experience and practice sex. In a feminist future we can define sex by sensations, touch and bodily surfaces, and arrange our bodily organs in whatever ways that give us most pleasure.

An analysis of vulva appearance in mainstream vs. made-for-women pornography

by Samantha Maki

Media uses implicit imagery to tell women which genital standards are deemed acceptable by society. Explicit depictions of genitals are usually reserved for pornographic materials, which women often describe as depicting uniform vulva appearance. It is possible that viewing invariable images of vulvas could have a negative impact on women’s self-perceptions. To better understand the vulva representations women are exposed to, the current study collected images ( N = 743) of vulvas from video pornography via two websites: and We categorized images based on the level of pubic hair grooming and labia minora protrusion. Bellesa did not differ from Pornhub for the labia minora feature. We found that the majority of images from both websites had barely any protrusion of the labia minora past the labia majora. Pornhub showed vulvas with no hair most often, whereas Bellesa had slightly more variation in level of grooming. It is evident that both websites are depicting mostly uniform vulvas: small, groomed, and tidy. Undeviating depictions could influence women’s genital ideals, pushing them to seek out extreme surgery and beauty measures in order to adhere to the standards presented. Much like clothing advertisements, which now present a range of body shapes and sizes, presenting a diverse set of images of vulvas could be beneficial to viewers. Makers of pornography should consider diversifying their search and hiring criteria when selecting actresses, while also providing image disclaimers for their viewers.

Graphic Sex Project: Arts-based research

by Jennifer Beman & Amanda Freise

The Graphic Sex Project was introduced at SexPosCon 2020 as a public interactive art installation to de-shame sex and de-stigmatize talking about it. Participants made “graphs” of a good sexual experience, and contributed over 700 to the project. Since then, the artist Jennifer Beman has collaborated with Dr. Amanda Freise to analyze the graphs and see what the collection has to tell us about people’s sexual scripts and what they value in their sexual experiences. The collection is cross-section of the sex lives of people of all ages, races, genders, and orientations. One major takeaway of the analysis is that within the tremendous variety of sexual activity represented in the graphs, people’s preferences aren’t determined by their demographic. Jennifer and Amanda will present their process, their findings, and discuss how this technique could be used to collect data about sexual scripts from people in marginalized communities. By creating a playful and de-stigmatizing social/sexual public space, sexuality research can reach a diverse community.


Pandemic Polyamory: The Impact of COVID on Non-Monogamous Relationships

by Daniel Copulsky

The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching and potentially long-lasting effects on our daily lives, including our intimate relationships. Although the pandemic may cause relationship conflict and stress, it can also provide opportunities for partners to discover creative and positive ways to connect, and for individuals to reflect deeply on what they want from their current and future relationships.

Kink in an English Field

by Mark McCormack

This presentation examines the drinking, illicit drug use and sexual practices of people who engage in kink from a novel sample of attendees at an English festival. Despite research increasingly framing kink as a leisure activity, little is known about the associated leisure activities of people who engage in kink. Furthermore, research on kink tends to come from community samples. Drawing on a dataset from the English Festival Study, of 966 respondents, 64 reported having engaged in kink within the past 12 months. We provide information about these respondents’ demographic characteristics, alcohol and other drug use, as well as other sexual practices they engaged in. The nature of the sample and data means we focus on the practices of individuals who report engaging in kink. Thus, we draw on a unique data set that does not rely on snowball sampling or recruiting from community venues or websites, which are the predominant approaches in research on kink. This study illustrates the value of accessing participants through in situ festival fieldwork to understand non-normative behaviors, and helps us move beyond notions of clustered risky activities toward a leisure studies approach to understanding the practices of people who engage in kink.

Pleasure Mountain: Black Women's Descriptions of Sexual Pleasure

by Shemeka Thorpe

Black women’s sexual pleasure has largely been excluded from Black sexology. Historically in the United States (US), Black women’s sexualities have been marked by silence, hypersexuality, dehumanization, and repression. Living in the US Black women are often told that their pleasure is not important, thus being able to define what pleasure means for them is a radical act. Using intimate justice and sex positive frameworks, the purpose of this study was to explore cisgender Black women’s (ages 18-50) definitions of sexual pleasure the feelings that they associate with it. The results of the study informed a framework known as Pleasure Mountain. There are the foundational themes to the mountain: emotional, physical, and mental aspect. There are also facilitators of peak pleasure such as: partnered interactions, mind-body awareness, orgasms, and liberation.

Pleasure as Prevention: A Qualitativ Study to Reduce HIV Risk among Black Women in the US

by Lorraine Lacroix-Williamson

In 2018, African Americans accounted for 42% of all new HIV cases, even though they only make up 13% of the U.S. population. Black women alone account for 57% of new cases among women, yet, Black women are no more likely to engage in riskier behaviors than other women. Pursuit of pleasurable experiences is one of the primary reasons people engage in sexual activity, and this factor must be addressed when motivating individuals to engage in safer sex activities. Although individual factors such as age, condom-use, and partner-characteristics contribute to the burden of HIV, research has shown that social and structural factors contribute to disparities in HIV prevalence. The ability to explicitly communicate sexual needs, act intentionally and responsibly, and to set appropriate boundaries within the context of sexual relationships is an important pathway to improving sexual satisfaction and a critical area to address within HIV prevention efforts. Sexual consent, a form of sex communication can be modeled in a way that promotes open communication around sexual preferences that values pleasure and positive-outcomes. This presentation will outline a research proposal to assess how sociocultural factors impact Black women communicate sexual consent to achieve sexual satisfaction and to promote safer sex behaviors within sexual relationships.

Taking Back the Power of the Erotic: Understanding the Construction of Young Black Sexuality

by Dominique Dillard

Much of the literature written about young Black folks interprets their sexual behavior as unhealthy, risky, and non-normative. Black people are seldom acknowledged as humans, so it is not surprising to discover a discourse that does not portray them as sexual subjects. Studies comparing Black youth to their peers in other racial groups dominate the discussion, often establishing negative narratives that reinforce historical sexual stereotypes ascribed to Black bodies. Guided by Black feminist theory and Audre Lorde’s concept of the erotic as power, I propose a research study applying a positive sexuality framework to reveal authentic narratives about young Black folks. I argue construction of Black sexuality must focus on a sexual selfhood to grasp how this population conceptualizes and makes sense of their sexuality while navigating a sexually oppressive and repressive culture dominated by white standards. In review of prominent literature surrounding Black sexuality, previous sociological approaches have failed to define Black sexuality beyond Eurocentric perceptions. Rejecting a deficit perspective, this study does not aim to respond to the reported prevalence of teen pregnancy and HIV/STI transmission among Black youth. Instead, I propose a study highlighting suppressed experiences, narratives, and choices young people make to construct a positive sexuality and fulfill their sexual desires. The proposed study includes a semi-structured focus group and in-depth interviews with 10-15 young Black folks between the ages of 18-21.

Race in the Erotic Hypnosis Community

by  Sam Hughes and Alicia Charles D’Avalon

Erotic hypnosis fetishism is a practice involving deriving erotic or intimate pleasure from engaging in and/or roleplaying hypnosis, mind control, brainwashing, and/or hypnotic suggestion activities. Despite its surprising popularity as a sexual fetish interest, little is known about erotic hypnosis within the peer-reviewed academic literature. Simultaneously, the experiences of fetishists and kinksters of color are also often missing from academic literature on kink, which disproportionately centers white voices. To fill these gaps, this study seeks to better understand the lives and experiences of people of color with an interest in erotic hypnosis fetishism. A set of 83 in-depth semi-structured interviews with erotic hypnosis fetishists were conducted, intentionally oversampling for racial diversity. Participants were recruited via online advertisements, snowball sampling, and at four erotic hypnosis conferences (both in-person and virtual). Data collection ended as reflexive memoing and research team discussions indicated the dataset was at saturation. Data analysis will rely on both conventional content analysis and inductive thematic analysis, grounded in considerations of reflexivity and researcher positionality. This study will provide unique insights about the intersections of race and sexuality among a poorly-understood sexual minority group, as well as the intersection between kink, race, and ethnicity more broadly.

Kinky People of Color, Experiences of Discrimination, and the BDSM Community

by Mina Beveney

While BDSM practice and identity is fairly common and has begun to receive increasing attention in academia, study samples are often so racially homogenous and/or white that there is not a good understanding of the experiences of people of color in these communities (Martinez, 2021; Sheff & Hammers, 2011). Research, however, suggests that people of color in BDSM contexts may experience racialized sexual discrimination (or discrimination within romantic, sexual and/or intimate realms) (Erickson et al., 2021; Stember, 1976), and may attempt to cope with these experiences in a variety of ways (Choi et al, 2011; Schuerwegen et al., 2020). Within BDSM contexts, racialized sexual discrimination may affect both perceived BDSM identity of kinky people of color (i.e. how others assume they identify) and how kinky people of color relate to their own BDSM identity (Norman, 2020), suggesting that these experiences may negatively impact sexual self-concept. Accordingly, this presentation will discuss kinky people of color’s racialized discriminatory experiences within BDSM contexts and the implications for sexual self-concept.


Sex-positivity and child protection: not a contradiction in terms

by Jeremy Malcolm

This session will explain what a sex-positive approach to the prevention of child sexual abuse (CSA) looks like, and explore the difficulties of communicating the benefits of this approach to the general public. When viewed through a sex-positive lens, CSA is wrong not because it is sexually immoral, but because it is a consent violation—since a child cannot, by definition, consent to sex. Comprehensive sex education that includes consent, and stigma-free support for people are concerned about their thoughts towards children, are just two examples of CSA prevention policies that are supported by this sex-positive approach. However, when viewed through an alternative sex-negative lens, CSA is wrong because it stems from immoral thoughts, and such thoughts should directly be stigmatized and criminalized even if they are never acted upon. Through this alternative lens, the sex-positive approach is as characterized as “pro-pedophilia.” This tension will be explored by reference to the real case study of sex-positive child protection organization Prostasia Foundation.

Towards a Culture of Consent and Care

by David Leitch

Due to the tireless work of scholars, activists, and educators, consent has become the primary criterion for evaluating whether sexual encounters fall short of our ethical norms. This centralization has largely been a policy triumph, allowing the law to cover sexual misconduct such as date rape, marital rape, stealthing, and nonconsensually rough sex. The rise of hybrid concepts (e.g. enthusiastic consent) suggests that consent may not fully cover the range of sexual norms worth exploring. I draw on work in the ethic of care as a supplement to consent in understanding sexual norms. Including a dimension of care advances on previous writing in three ways. First, it helps respond to concerns raised by second wave feminists regarding the impossibility of consent within a society suffused with rape culture. Second, care also provides a vocabulary that allows us to articulate why some sexual interactions leave the participants and the surrounding community with the moral intuition that something wrong has gone on, despite being formally consensual. Finally, including care helps reorient sexual norms towards what we ought to do and away from what we ought to avoid, thereby recentering sexual joy in our normative framework.

TASHRA's Core Competencies: The development and introduction of Clinical Competencies for the Treatment of Kink Populations

by Richard Sprott and Anna Randall

Due to the tireless work of scholars, activists, and educators, consent has become the primary criterion for evaluating whether sexual encounters fall short of our ethical norms. This centralization has largely been a policy triumph, allowing the law to cover sexual misconduct such as date rape, marital rape, stealthing, and nonconsensually rough sex. The rise of hybrid concepts (e.g. enthusiastic consent) suggests that consent may not fully cover the range of sexual norms worth exploring. I draw on work in the ethic of care as a supplement to consent in understanding sexual norms. Including a dimension of care advances on previous writing in three ways. First, it helps respond to concerns raised by second wave feminists regarding the impossibility of consent within a society suffused with rape culture. Second, care also provides a vocabulary that allows us to articulate why some sexual interactions leave the participants and the surrounding community with the moral intuition that something wrong has gone on, despite being formally consensual. Finally, including care helps reorient sexual norms towards what we ought to do and away from what we ought to avoid, thereby recentering sexual joy in our normative framework.

Health Care Fears, Needs and Experiences of People who Practice BDSM

by Hannah Sprod

Australian adults who practice BDSM (n=118) completed an anonymous online survey about their health care experiences (medical and psychological) in April and May 2020. For binary questions proportions and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Free-form answers were thematically analysed using a social constructionist viewpoint.
Ethics Approval through University of Melbourne, Australia (HEAG # 1955711.2). The majority of participants reported that BDSM had an impact on their health and almost one third reported an injury related to their practice of BDSM. Almost all felt that knowledge of BDSM could be relevant for some HCPs; however, less than forty percent had ever disclosed to their doctor. Participants were afraid that disclosure would lead to judgement, discrimination and possible reporting of abuse. When participants did disclose, most found their HCP receptive and professional.

Be Human Now: Humanizing Surrogate Partner Therapy

by Janet Trevino

Oftentimes our clients comment that they “feel human again”. There is no work more humanizing than Surrogate Partner Therapy in that we have the ability to offer a full spectrum experience for our clients. While talk therapy can take a client so far, some clients need real-to-life interactions with another human to build the confidence to connect with other people, including connecting with themselves. That involves sharpening communication and consent skills while others may need empowering opportunities to push through the obstacles keeping them from their relational and sexual potential. Janet Trevino and Michelle Renee both come from a background in Cuddle Therapy, which is a rather unique background to move into Surrogate Partner Therapy. Through our work in the full spectrum of platonic through erotic, client outcomes show the power of attunement and connection, often times not available in traditional talk therapy alone. In our lecture, you’ll hear stories of our work with clients that aligned them more fully to their human self and to the ability to exist as themselves in their communities. Let us introduce you to how SPT and cuddling, uncommon tools, have supported clients and how they can be supplemental in supporting your clients.