The Science of Sex: Saturday 9th February, Brighton Science Festival
Saturday 9th February was a day dedicated to a grown-ups sex-ed class. Featuring a hugely varied array of speakers, it was Something of a mixed-bag: Dr Malcolm Vandenburg enthusiastically got the day off stories from the ‘clap clinic’ – an impressive tale of firsthand experience of sexual health. Dr Meg Barker, author of new book “Rewriting the rules”, then offered a master class on the development of monogamy and the alternatives today’s culture is exploring in the conquest for a perfect love life. ‘Do I Look Gay?’ followed this philosophical event in a taboo-busting discussion lead by Charlie Bauer on the gay identity. Petra Boynton, Senior Lecturer in International Primary Health Research at UCL and agony aunt for The Telegraph, followed with a witty behind the scenes look at the media manipulations and made up advice that pervades the media. Professor of Media at Middlesex University Feona Attwood told us of her research project into firsthand accounts of child sexualization and the use and affects of porn.
In a raucous end to a day of ethics, debate and reflection, Emily Dubberley, founder of women’s sex website Cliterati, lead a heated debate on how porn affects our health attended by a variety of speakers including Doctor Brooke Magnanti (author of Belle du Jour) Professor Feona Attwood, Robert Page (author of a Lover’s Guide) and porn performers Daisy Rock and Benedict Garrett.
It was a fitting and fiery end to an interesting day, however, I the ‘Science of Sex’ day slightly disappointing. Rather lacking in ‘science’, the focus was on the politics and ethics of sex. Perhaps better termed the ‘Social science of sex’, it was a packed day that would satisfy the philosophically inclined but, as a science-lover, I was left a little unsatisfied. Recommended for anyone interested in the wider implications of today’s sexualised society, but the hardcore science-fan might seek their fix elsewhere.
This article was written for digital science magazine Guru Magazine, for which I am currently Food Guru. Guru magazine is a brilliant innovation: a crowd-sourced magazine bringing you fun and entertaining articles around the theme of science but without all the jargon! Perfect for anyone with an inquisitive mind, Einstein IQ not required!