Open: Mon – Fri, 8.30am – 4pm
+27 11 717 4239

Seminar: A Case for Pleasure in Sexualities and Relationships Education (SRE)

1 pm
Wits University, Graduate School Seminar Room, South West Engineering Building, East Campus
+27 11 717 4239

Speaker: Dr. Julia Hirst, senior lecturer in Sociology in the Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University

Pleasure and desire were highlighted as omissions in constructions and discourses of female sexuality by feminist works more than twenty years ago (Fine 1988). Though enduring norms can operate to maintain passive notions of female sexuality and silence on pleasure, particularly in school cultures and education on sexuality and sexual health, recent research has begun to challenge this impasse. Though there is less research on young men, there are indications that motivations for enjoyable and safe sexual relations are not unlike those of some young women. This seminar will refer to research on young people to offer a rationale for Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) based on pleasure and sex-positive notions of sexual health. It will be argued that sex positive SRE can challenge heteronormative and gendered constructs of sexual identity and practices, contribute to developing sexual competence, resisting coercion, avoiding regret and supporting safer and more egalitarian relationships. The seminar also offers cues for debate around the challenges of positive sexuality education and research in climates which lack universal agreement and cultural and/or religious resistance.

This is a seminar jointly hosted by Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, the Wits School of Education, and Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria.

For more information please contact Hoosain Gabriel Khan at hoosain.khan@wits.ac.za and +27 11 717 4239.

About Dr. Julia Hirst

Julia has a background in education, sociology and public health and is a teacher and researcher with a passionate interest in sexualities, gender, health and young people. She leads undergraduate and postgraduate modules on these areas, is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, visiting international research fellow at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, Faculty lead on public health, and research lead on sexualities, health and youth in the Centre for Education and Inclusion Research. Julia has a particular interest in researching the experiences of marginalised or 'hard to access' individuals and groups.


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