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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Sex and Technology: How technological innovation pushes the boundaries of human sexuality and vice versa

Back in June, I began writing down some of my thoughts regarding how technological advancements, particularly telecommunications technologies, have changed the way people relate to sex and sexuality. I've been thinking about this sort of thing for a very long time, but what finally solidified it in writing was the deadline of August 25th, the day I was scheduled to do a one-hour long presentation on the topic for The Floating World.

Thankfully, despite weeks of worry, I managed to get way more than enough material to fill an hour and gave what I think was a rather engaging talk. The feedback was positive and quite a few people seemed to get a lot of new ideas out of my presentation. That was my goal; I wanted to get people thinking.

Finally, after a week of procrastinating, I've managed to re-work a fair portion of my notes into a sort of white paper on the subject and post them online. While far from what I would consider complete (there's not even an ending, for instance), it's certainly dense enough to post and share with the rest of you.

If you were at my presentation last weekend, a lot of this is going to be the same (there is little new material). However, if you weren't able to attend and want to know what the hell my presentation was all about, check this out.

I'd love to hear feedback on the content or suggestions for improvements. At the moment, the thing is pretty much a copy-and-paste affair from my haphazard, plain-text writing style, so please forgive the lack of hyperlinks and whatnot for the time being. When I have more motivation (and less emotional haze, as I do right now) I'll see if I can go back through it and clean things up.

In the mean time, enjoy my white paper on Sex and Technology: How technological innovation pushes the boundaries of human sexuality and vice versa.

Also, if you're really interested in this sort of thing and are lucky enough to be able to work out the logistics, you may enjoy learning about Arse Elektronika, a three-day conference hosted by Kink, Inc. all about technological innovation in the pornography industry. If you do go, please tell me about it, you lucky bastard.


Curvaceous Dee said...

May, that's an amazing presentation, and very well put together. I found it a fascinating read.

This cultural branch of the effects of technology on our sex lives is incredibly underrepresented and yet earth-shatteringly powerful. Very true - how else would you and I be communicating about this very thing?

xx Dee

Juliet said...

Interesting stuff, & looks like it was a great presentation!

One general comment: it currently ends very abruptly (sufficiently so that I hit reload to make sure I hadn't had my network drop out & fail to complete the page). You probably want to stick some sort of general conclusion on the end.

I like the personal/political point :)

Sex & biochemistry: I think various illegal drugs may also be relevant here. I'm thinking particularly of MDMA & LSD, both of which can have fascinating (& very positive!) effects on sexual impulse, experience, connectedness, etc. And both of which are products of a technological age.

Community: I think I've seen you (or someone else?) say something recently about cyberbalkanisation - might that be relevant? It's to some extent the flipside of the positive impact of the increased ability to connect with people you identify with.

maymay said...

Thanks, Dee, Juliet.

Juliet, the thing doesn't end because I never finished it. I kept trying to draw things to a close realized I had so much more to say that it just never finished. If you check the source of the HTML you'll see more of my notes inside comments that I just haven't got around to finishing. I was able to wrap up the presentation a lot better because I talked through it all—giving a presentation is very different from writing a paper.

Good points on MDMA and LSD. There's a ton I could add to that section, of course.

Regarding cyberbalkanisation, you're probably thinking about my kink culture of fear post where I mention that during the presentation, a young woman actually made that point and taught me that word. (Another difference between presenting a topic and writing a paper: audience participation. It's lovely!)

Juliet said...

I have the not-finishing problem with college essay drafts :) The in-comments notes are pretty interesting as well, in fact.

Cyberbalkanisation: whoops, sorry to quote you quoting someone else back at you!

leila said...

looks like it was a great class. i'm sorry i missed it. i've been listening to the podcast and they're great! this is leila from floating world, by the way. G-spot #2.

maymay said...

Hey Leila nice to see you stop by. Thanks for the kind words on the material and the podcasts. :)