The Asylum: Sex and Madness with Natalia Je


Have you done or felt things that you can’t rationally explain? Is 'madness' always unacceptable, unwelcome, warranting ‘treatment' or need for surveillance and protection? 

Lust and longing can drive one out of their (rational) mind. Similarly loss of love/lover, or infidelity and betrayal can plunge one into depths of despair or into fear and trembling.

The modern Western discourses on sex and sexuality education tend to privilege rationality and the language of reason. We talk about consent, responsibility, politics, ‘conscious’ sexuality, emotional maturity, overcoming jealousy etc. What these narratives neglect is that in sex, there can be madness and distress: times of unreason, of alterity, turmoil, uncertainty, dread, elation, suicidality or murder fantasies, fascination, grief and loss; that extreme and altered states and actions may follow.

Perhaps you will discover that madness has touched your life as well.


This workshop will extend an invitation to give some space to madness - to encounter madness within us, and madness of others; to be mad alone or alongside someone else.

Within its scope we will consider diverse understandings of madness and distress (outside of the dominant bio-medical model of ‘mental disorder’) and explore our own brushes with madness at the intersections with sex and sexuality.

We will also open a unique and much needed space to talk about challenges, risks and potential ‘negative’ consequences of attending a sex festival. Time permitted, we will also create and experience “The Compassionate Asylum” - a nurturing space where we can explore and/or perform our madness.

The above topics will be explored with curiosity and delicacy, a great attention to language and respect for diversity of experiences. Psychiatric survivors and people with lived experiences of madness and distress or neurodiversity are welcome to attend.

Debriefing will be available afterwards by facilitator.  Max 15 people.