Love & Sex Magazine

Nominated for an Erotic Award!

By Megbarker @megbarkerpsych

I’m very pleased to announce that my book has been nominated for an award. This was very unanticipated so I’m stoked about it. What was even more unanticipated was the kind of award. Something from the psychology or psychotherapy world might have been expected, but I have been short-listed for an ‘erotic award’!

For those who are not familiar, the Erotic Awards (initially called the Erotic Oscars) have been running since 1994. They were founded by Tuppy Owens, who is a sex therapist who campaigns particularly on issues of disability and sexuality, and the whole event raises funds for the charity, Outsiders, for disabled people and their relationships.

Awards are presented to campaigners, films, writers, artists, publications and sex-workers, as well as to academics, like me.

The other academic finalists are Brooke Magnanti and Sue Newsome. Brooke Magnanti is a biological scientist who recently wrote the book The Sex Myth to counter prevailing myths about sex, sexuality and sex-work. Brooke also wrote the best-selling Belle de Jour series of books which were adapted for a BBC series featuring Billie Piper. I’ve met Brooke at a couple of events that I’ve been involved with and she is an extremely friendly and approachable person, as well as somebody who has done a lot of good challenging assumptions about sex and sex-work.

The other nominee, Sue Newsome, is somebody who is involved in a conference which I’m putting on for COSRT later this year. She is a sex coach, educator and therapist who is also involved with SHADA (the Sex and Disability Alliance) and does very important work in this field.

I’m guessing that my own work was nominated because, like Brooke’s, part of its aim is to challenge assumptions and myths about sex and relationships. Also, one aspect of Rewriting the Rules is to counter conventional psychological work which often tries to explain less common sexual and relationship practices by – instead – seeking to discover what can be learnt from people in diverse sexual and relationship communities. This is important to me because it moves away from the idea that there are normal ways of doing things, and that any other way is strange and problematic, towards the idea that there is a great variety of possible sexual and relationship experiences and understandings possible, and that it is worth tuning in to those which work best for us, as well as reflecting upon the ethics of different possible practices and identities.

However I’m up against two very impressive co-nominees who both certainly deserve the award. We will see what happens on the night!

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