Talking about sex

Earlier this year, we held some in-gallery discussions in the Institute of Sexology exploring the definitions and terms used in Britain’s Natsal survey for different aspects of sexual behaviour, and how these map onto visitors’ own ideas about sex. Soazig and her team look at how you describe something as fluid as sex.

In the late 1980s, amid growing fear and uncertainty about the spread of HIV and AIDS in Britain, the idea for a large-scale representative national sex survey was born. The aim was to use the best available sampling methods to collect robust, reliable, data for a National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles; the first time something like this had been attempted anywhere in the world.

But once you’ve got your representative sample, how do you actually go about asking those difficult questions? What kind of language do you use to make sure that people of all ages, and from all backgrounds, can understand – and will answer – the questions? Are some questions too offensive or personal to ask? Continue reading

Transvengers: Youth Review & Interview

The Transvengers webcomic was created by a group of young trans people aged 13-19 from Gendered Intelligence and is featured in our Institute of Sexology exhibition. Find out more about the project on our website. This review and interview with one of the young people involved has been re-posted from the LGBTQ Arts and Culture Review.

Article originally posted on the LGBTQ Arts and Culture Review


The four sexologists featured in Transvengers.

The four sexologists featured in Transvengers.

Review: The Transvengers | by Harri

The Transvengers comic is an online comic created by a group of 13-19 year olds from Gendered Intelligence, it’s also on display at the Institute of Sexology exhibition. It’s an incredibly powerful piece of work, but also demonstrates a sharp sense of humour from its creators – we’d certainly recommend a read.  This week, LGBTQ Arts’ Harri wrote up some thoughts having read the comic, and also interviewed Shaun, one of the creators.

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Touching/Feeling (Owen Parry), photo by Christa Holka.

Cruising for art

We’re halfway through the run of an in-gallery event series as part of the Institute of Sexology exhibition. Brian Lobel is the curator of Cruising for Art and explains how the rules and etiquette of cruising inspired this event format and how your eye contact, smile or wink may start a wild journey, tender moment or intimate conversation.

For two weeks at the Institute of Sexology, Cruising for Art brings unpredictability and live interaction to the already adventurous and bold exhibition. Each day, three different artists are spread throughout the gallery: some under tables; others inside Orgone Collecting Boxes; some just looking at exhibition pieces. Audience members grab a bandana to wear and so become cruisers, encouraged to make eye contact and connect with a stranger.  They cruise around the gallery hoping to make eye contact with a performer: while some performers are extravagantly dressed, others are dressed normally, encouraging people to make eye contact with everyone…who knows what can happen?

Blurring the boundaries between performer and audience has always been one of the most thrilling aspects of Cruising for Art which has previously featured in the V&A and Latitude Festival, among others. It opens up possibilities for unexpected conversations and tentative approaches between non-perfomers which genuinely mimic the motion of people looking to connect romantically, sexually or intimately. If an audience member and Cruising artist connect, the Cruising artist brings the audience member to a private space for a one to one performance.

Everything About You (Season Butler), photo by Christa Holka.

Everything About You (Season Butler), photo by Christa Holka.

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Condoms: beneath the sheath

The Institute of Sexology opens 20 November 2014. A candid exploration of the most publicly discussed of private acts, it features over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film and photography. In one last attempt to whet your appetite, Taryn Cain tells us a little about the history of the condom, some examples of which will be on display.

The original condoms, which first showed up over 3,000 years ago, probably weren’t all that good for safe sex. They were more likely to protect you from the elements than from your sexual partner. The first documented use of a condom in Europe was in 1564 by the anatomist Fallopia (who also gave his name to fallopian tubes).

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The Transvengers: Origins

A group of young trans people from Gendered Intelligence worked with an artist to produce The Transvengers: a web comic that will feature in the forthcoming Institute of Sexology exhibition at Wellcome Collection. In this series, Jason Barker, the artist in question, writes about his experience of working with the group. In this post he talks about the process.

In the beginning we drew a lot. We drew self portraits, played drawing games, drew in pairs and we made collaborative drawings on long rolls of paper. We shared jokes, stories, ideas or silence while we drew. These drawings were part of the process of finding out what our comic was about, the characters that would be in it, their backstories and the locations in which events would take place.

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The Transvengers: Sexologists

A group of young trans people from Gendered Intelligence worked with an artist to produce The Transvengers: a web comic that will feature in the forthcoming Institute of Sexology exhibition at Wellcome Collection. In this series, Jason Barker, the artist in question, writes about his experience of working with the group, starting with how the group went about researching some of the sexologists featured in the exhibition.

When we began this project, none of us knew very much about sexology, so that was a very good place to start. We found out who the main sexologists who will feature in the exhibition were and did some research. It seems to have been a common pattern for sexologists to have begun their careers as scientists.

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