Traces of the erotic are all around us, embodied in images, music, advertising, stories, inter-personal interactions, dreams and desires. Whether expressed in symbolic or literal form, the erotic has captured human imagination across time and cultures, shaping our understanding and experience of pleasure and intimacy along the way. While there is no denying that the erotic has an irresistible appeal, it is also viewed as a taboo to be suppressed or hidden.
But what is the role of erotic desire in an individual’s everyday life? How does it inform the way we interact with others in private and public contexts? What is the function of eroticism in romantic relationships and can romance exist without eroticism? What does it mean when an individual’s notion of erotic pleasure is considered taboo within their society? To what extent have changing notions of taboo affected our relationship with the erotic? How do art, literature, film, television, music and other creative outlets inform our understanding of and experiences with the erotic? What are the public policy implications of our relationship with the erotic? Is the erotic always related to pleasure?
The 10th meeting of this global conference on Exploring the Erotic aims to provide a platform for participants from diverse contexts and backgrounds to participate in dynamic inter-disciplinary dialogues on a range of critical issues. The focus of this year’s meeting will centre on bodies, desires and practices. In order to ensure a fully inter-disciplinary conversation, the organisers invite participation by academics, clinicians and medical practitioners, business people (including escort agencies, the sex industry), educators, civil servants, representatives from the volunteer sector and NGOs, creative practitioners (artists, filmmakers, musicians, writers), lawyers, scholars and others interested in the topic.
Presentations, papers, informal talks, performances, workshops, directed discussions, screenings and other types of interactive engagement might address themes such as:
Cultural Attitudes Toward Erotic Desires and Practices
- Media portrayals (both journalistic and narrative-based)
- Acceptable vs. unacceptable types of erotic desires and practices
- Double standards around attitudes toward erotic pleasures for men and erotic pleasures for women
- Attitudes toward children’s experiences of erotic bodies and desires
- Cross-cultural attitudes toward erotic desires and practices
- Historical/comparative analysis of cultural attitudes toward eroticism
- Impact of religion on attitudes toward bodies, erotic desires and practices
- Social media, erotic desires and portals for erotic practices
The Economics of Erotic Desires and Practices
- Geographies of the erotic: spaces and places of erotic desires and practices
- Fashion and erotic desires
- Clothing erotic practices
- Erotic industries: examples, operations and implications
- Sex workers: exploitation, autonomy, pleasure, policing, people-trafficking and sexual slavery
- The 50 Shades of Gray effect on the sex industry
- Pornography and erotic desires
- Regulating the sex industry
- Cross-cultural and historical industry analyses
Psychological and Medical Perspectives on Erotic Desires and Practices
- Physiological processes on and in bodies and erotic desires
- Consequences of erotic practices; sex sent me to the ER
- Relationship between erotic pleasure, love and romance
- Coping with the absence of erotic pleasure
- Bodies, desires, fetishes and obsessions
- Relationship between erotic desires, practices and mental health
- Crime and the erotic
- Enhancing erotic desires: medical advances and technologies
Erotic Desires and Practices in Politics and the Law
- Politics and the erotic
- Good sex, bad sex.
- Legal and legislative provisions for regulating the pursuit of erotic practices
- Sadomasochism, dominatrix, spanking, the eroticization of pain and other practices
- Erotic practices and damaged bodies
- Challenges of dealing with erotic desires in virtual environments
- The state, the law, the private and public: ‘abnormality’, ‘perversity’ and ‘immorality’
- Human rights, erotic desires and practices
- Activists, NGOs and social movements related to issues dealing with erotic desires and practices
Erotic Desires, Appreciation and Education
- Strategies for erotic education
- Erotic Bodies, Desires, Practices and the Arts
- Erotic Bodies, desires, practices and the Humanities
- Erotic Bodies, desires, practices and the social sciences
- Sex education, the erotic, teaching the curriculum and schools
- Researching erotic bodies, desires and practices
- Approaches to talking about erotic desires and practices in non-academic contexts
Critical and Creative Issues in Erotic Desires and Practices
- Race and erotic bodies, desires and practices
- Inequality and erotic bodies, desires and practices
- Fantasy and the erotic
- Storytelling and erotic desires and practices
- Disability and erotic bodies, desires and practices
- Nudity and the erotic
- Erotic desires, practices and homosexuality
- Erotic desires, practices and transgendered experiences
- The erotic and class identity
- Power, shame and physical violence in erotic contexts and encounters
The Advisory Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.
Call for Cross-Over Presentations: The Exploring the Erotic project will be meeting at the same time as two other projects: Love Letters and Exploring Sexuality and Spirituality. All three groups will share at least one creative workshop in common led by a poetess who writes sensual and erotic poetry. In addition we welcome submissions which cross the divide between two or even all three project areas. If you would like to be considered for a cross project session, please mark your submission “Crossover Submission”.
Workshop: As part of the conference, there will be an afternoon workshop focusing on "Reading Erotic Poetry". The workshop is an ongoing project within the Exploring the Erotic project. You will explore the ways in which poems can accommodate the erotic, moving from subtle erotic love expressions over blunt eroticism to hard pornographic features in erotic poetry.
What to Send
- 300 word abstracts, proposals and other forms of contribution should be submitted.
- All submissions be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
- Abstracts may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.E-mails should be entitled: Exploring the Erotic Abstract Submission
- Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs: Natalia Kaloh Vid: nkv[at]inter-disciplinary.net / Rob Fisher: ete[at]inter-disciplinary.net