A panel of experts gathered in the Gore Auditorium for a conversation called “Sex-Positive Aesthetics: On Beauty, the Erotic, and Capitalism” during Westminster College’s Sex Positive Week on March 8. They discussed their perspectives on the future of sex and how its definitions and the conversations surrounding it may evolve.
The week-long symposium, now in its second year, explored a variety of issues related to sex from different perspectives through multiple panels, a poetry workshop and a film screening.
“The point of this week and all of its events is to have a conversation that are purposely positive and talking about things we don’t usually talk about when we think about sex — about queerness, about kink, about bondage,” said Mariela Vazquez Gordo, a senior sociology major and a research assistant for English professor Eileen Chanza Torres, who organized the Sex Week events.
During the panel, disability rights activist Eliza McIntosh Stauffer said that people are talking about disability and sex more frequently.
“It’s only been since the 1990s that the US has really considered people with disability as people capable of full lives,” Stauffer said. “One of the areas of development for the future of sex is an open discussion about the right to consent for your body and the ability to explore your full sexuality in a healthy safe environment.”
Kristofer Weston — a public figure in the bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism (BDSM) community — said he thinks workers in the sex industry will eventually become the content creators.
“The stars are becoming the content creator, which is not a bad thing because they own their image and what they are putting out there,” Weston said.
But J. Pilapil Jacobo, an assistant professor of literature at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, said the future of sex will depend on how persons, things or energies connect and relate to one another.
Emily Churilla, an assistant professor at Salt Lake Community College, also noted that people need to define sex differently.
“Perhaps we will define sex in a much more open way and not just this act that happens between these two kinds of people and looks like this,” Churilla said.
Torres said at the end of the panel that she didn’t know exactly what people would take away from the lecture but hoped attendees come away with new ways to converse about sex in an open-minded way.
“[I hope they take away] the freedom to talk about sex,” she said. “The freedom to know someone who is in the porn industry or a sex worker is not bad person. That they produce intellectual knowledge and data that we could talk about and that we can pair someone who is an activist with a pornographer and academics who work from different fields. And we can go across gender, race, and sexuality as a way to think about how we speak together.”