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Sex and Madness

Art and literature have recognized the connection between sexuality and madness for millennia. Yet, in the modern Western discourses, both within the field of adult sex education and psy-care system (e.g. psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy), the two are more than uneasy companions.

People who experience intense and enduring social and emotional distress (labelled as ‘mental illness’) often don’t have satisfying sex lives. People with psychiatric diagnoses are often assumed (by mental health professionals and the mainstream) to be either inappropriately hyper-sexual or asexual. 

Or, from another angle: Lust and longing may be overpowering to the point of making people ‘lose their mind’. A loss of a lover, an experience of infidelity or grappling with one's non-normative sexuality can plunge one into despair, breakdown or into fear and trembling.

This workshop will offer an invitation to bring sexuality and madness together. It will make space to think madness/distress alongside sex and sexuality; to think WITH sex and madness.

We will guide you through a series of writing, discussion-based and reading exercises as well as body-based and spatial interventions borrowed from acting, bodywork and dance training. Thus you will have an opportunity to reflect on your assumptions, feelings and personal and professional experiences at the intersections of madness and sexuality, as well as explore, in a contained and supported space, responses and behaviours that play with the question of what is normal/sane/rational/permissible. In the second part of the workshop, we will co-create and experience “The Asylum” - a nurturing and stimulating experiential space where we can explore being 'mad' in a way that is perhaps more spacious or open to all diversity.

The workshop will take place in Darlinghurst. Exact address given on registration. 

Facilitators: Natalia Je & Sarah Ro. This workshop is a collaboration between the School of Really Good Sex and Off the Wall Inc which produces the Critical Perspectives on Madness Reading Group.

WHO FOR: EVERYONE with an interest in or experience of the topic, including people with lived experiences of emotional distress or extreme states, people who support others in professional or non-professional capacities, sexuality educators, researchers, artists etc.

There will be no nudity or explicit sexual activity. There will be invitations to touch. All exercises are optional and it’s always possible to sit out, pause or leave.

If you’re dealing or living with restrictions (e.g. physical, intellectual or psychosocial impairments or variances) or neurodiversities, have concerns about aspects of the workshops and would like to come, please contact us to discuss ways in which we might assist.

Spaces will be limited to 15, please register fast.

COST: By donation (to cover the rental costs).

WHAT TO BRING: water bottle, pen and writing pad.

WHAT TO WEAR: something you will feel comfortable in.