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Location: Hyatt Regency (HR) Inman

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The theme of the fifth annual SPSP Sexuality Pre-Conference is “Global and Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Human Sexuality.” In this pre-conference, a diverse set of topics will be addressed through a series of four invited keynote speakers. In addition to learning about cutting-edge research on sexuality and gender issues, including both theoretical and applied approaches, these talks will help attendees understand how to add an international component to their own teaching and research. 

This year’s pre-conference will also feature a one-hour symposium in which three or four emerging scholars will present a set of shorter talks on several important and understudied sexuality issues.

Finally, there will be a data blitz, in which 10-12 attendees will describe their latest findings in brief.  See below if you would like to be considered for a spot in the data blitz. 

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Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Paul Vasey, University of Lethbridge
Intersexual Mate Competition in Two Non-Western Cultures

In many cultures worldwide, more than two genders are recognized. In such places, individuals exist that are perceived as being neither men, nor women. Instead, such individuals are recognized as “third” genders. Dr. Paul L. Vasey works in two such cultures. Since 2003, he has conducted research in the south Pacific island nation of Samoa, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally as fa’afafine. Since 2015, he has worked concurrently in the Istmo region of Oaxaca, Mexico, where feminine, same-sex attracted males are recognized as a third gender, known locally by the indigenous Zapotec as muxes. In this talk, Dr. Vasey will examine how the presence of third gender males in the local environment influences the sexual psychology of men and women. His discussion will highlight a previously underappreciated pattern of mate acquisition—inter-sexual mate competition—which has implications for sexual selection theory.

Dr. Michelle R. Kaufman, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Developing and Testing Interventions to Improve the Sexual Health of Women in Nepal and Ethiopia

This presentation will focus on the process of developing and testing sexual behavior change interventions in developing world settings. Examples of research focused on improving the sexual health of women in Nepal and Ethiopia will be used to outline the process of intervention development and testing. The presentation will also highlight factors that make such work especially challenging in some contexts, including traditional gender roles, the normalizing of violence against women, and poor infrastructure and civil unrest. Practical tips will be provided for working with local communities and partners when attempting to change sexual behaviors that are largely influenced by gender and relationship power.

Dr. Daragh McDermott, Anglia Ruskin University
Ambivalent Homoprejudice Theory: A Conceptual Discussion and Cross-Cultural Comparison

Typically, prejudice towards gay men is conceptualised as antipathy directed towards an individual due their perceived or actual homosexual status. Recently, this form of prejudice has been characterised in terms of old-fashioned and modern homonegativity towards sexual minorities (Morrison & Morrison, 2002). Prevailing evidence indicates that among westernised nations, measured levels of this form of prejudice are declining or demonstrate scale 'floor-effects' (McDermott & Blair, 2012; Morrison, Harrington & Kenny, 2005). Alternative conceptualisations of prejudice have been mooted in order to account for apparent discrepancies that exist between available measurement evidence and data collected from LGBT participants. One such theory is Ambivalent Homoprejudice Theory (Brooks, Luyt, Zawisza & McDermott, In Prep [a]) which accounts for adversarial, repellent, romanticised, and paternalistic attitudes towards gay men. To date, this conceptual model has been developed and tested in a British context with evidence supporting the aforementioned dimensions described herein and has resulted in the psychometric validation of the Ambivalent Homoprejudice Scale (Brooks, Luyt, Zawisza & McDermott, In Prep [b]). In this study, data collected from British, American, Irish and Canadian participants are examined to determine whether cross cultural differences in levels of ambivalent homoprejudice across each of these cultural contexts exists and to what extent apparent discrepancies are explained by key demographic variables (i.e., age, gender, education and contact). Limitations and directions for future research are described.

Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller, Ball State University
Teaching Sex and Culture: Designing a Study Abroad Course as a Sex Educator

Study abroad courses have the potential to dramatically shape students’ worldviews in ways that traditional learning environments can not; however, few sex educators take advantage of the unique learning opportunities afforded by these courses. The goal of this presentation is to highlight the value of study abroad programs focused on sexuality issues and offer insight and advice on crafting an effective study abroad course.  Dr. Justin Lehmiller will talk specifically about a study abroad program he developed in the Netherlands, which was designed to help students explore cross-cultural differences in sex work, LGBTQ issues, sex education, and sexual health promotion. He will describe the process of putting such a class together and identify helpful resources that may assist audience members in creating study abroad courses of their own; however, he will also give due consideration to the potential challenges and complexities of teaching an international course. 

Symposium Speakers:

Andrea Haugen, Texas A&M University
Hypersexual Stereotypes as a Cultural Tool of Prejudice

This line of research investigates hypersexual stereotypes, defined here as any characterization—including those related to physical traits, sexual practices, or sexual desires—of a person or group that positions their sexuality as somehow more abundant than an imagined or perceived norm. Across three studies using mixed methods, I show the extant explicit knowledge people have of hypersexual stereotypes; the gendered and racialized nature of these stereotypes, including their content, how they vary, and how they are applied across marginalized groups; and how racism and sexism might interact as explanatory systems of the deployment of hypersexual stereotypes. Qualitative, correlational, and experimental data indicate that perceiver characteristics (e.g., gender), target characteristics (e.g., race), and cultural systems of oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism) interact to influence the application of hypersexual stereotypes. Taken together, these studies provide strong evidence that hypersexual stereotypes exist to serve the function of continuing group inequalities by elevating Whites and marginalizing other racial groups. Additionally, they provide preliminary evidence that stereotypes across groups, while seemingly different, can share important similarities that help explain the maintenance of systemic inequalities such as those due to racism, sexism, and heterosexism.

Erik Boyd, San Francisco State University
The New Kink: Human Pup Play in the Contemporary Moment

Pup play (also known as puppy play) refers to a form of role-play in which adult humans embrace characteristics that mimic the behavior of real dogs (McCormack & Wignall, 2015). McCormack and Wignall (2015) confront the origins of pup play as a behavior which remains unclear. However, it is not possible to make conclusive claims about the origins and current prominence of pup play given the dearth of academic literature and research on this topic. Given this absence, it is not currently possible to categorize this behavior. Accessible studies of sexual subcultures have not concentrated on human pup play. Bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) is something that people write about, and pup play reflects BDSM in some general or specific way(s). For example, E.L. Turley et al. (2011) state BDSM practitioners can experience other, non-sexual positive outcomes of their play, including self-exploration, sense of well-being, strengthened relationships, the opportunity to experience bodies in different and exciting ways. BDSM play is driven by fantasies or escapism, where fantasies/escapism become safe, sane, consensual, and fun experiences. BDSM must be safe and consensual or it's not S/M. BDSM is not always about pain; the encounter and/or "scene" are mostly about a power dynamic (i.e. exchange), which is commonly used, in a wide range of erotic leisure behaviors. This research will provide a qualitative exploration of a behavior that has never been empirically studied before--human pup play—and examines the ways in which "pups" experience community with other pups in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.  

David A. Frederick
What Makes Your Sex Life Sizzle or Fizzle? Variability in Sexual Activity and Satisfaction In a National Sample of Gay, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Adults

Keeping sex fresh and lively as relationships progress is important to many men and women. The importance of sexual satisfaction in relationships makes it critical to understand the attitudes and behaviors that enhance people’s sexual lives. Couples employ a variety of strategies to keep their sex lives from fizzling, but the efficacy of these strategies is not well known.  Using a large national survey of over 50,000 adults, we draw attention to common romantic and sexual behaviors that are rarely assessed in the literature but are likely important contributors to maintaining sexual passion.  These include intimate behaviors (e.g., cuddling, kissing, laughing together during sexual activity), incorporating sexual variety (e.g., trying new sexual positions; wearing lingerie), setting a romantic/sexual mood (e.g., lighting candles; playing music), and using different types of sexual communication.  We also examined commonly assessed behaviors that have been the focal point of previous research (e.g., frequency of sex, oral sex, and orgasm).  One of the key limitations of most research on sexuality is that the experiences of gay men and lesbian women are underexplored.  We used coarsened exact matching (one of the most sophisticated statistical matching techniques) to identify of set of heterosexual men and women in our dataset who most closely resembled the gay men and lesbian women in age, relationship length, cohabitation length, parental status, and BMI.  This allowed us to conduct meaningful comparisons between these groups and enhance our understanding of variation in sexual satisfaction and behaviors across genders and sexual orientations.

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Save $25 when you register for both convention and preconference together!

Registration for preconferences is limited and fills quickly.
Registration is now open and will not reopen once this preconference fills.

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Data Blitz:

This year’s Sexuality Pre-Conference will feature a data blitz, in which a selected group of pre-conference attendees (students and faculty) will present some of their newest findings in brief. If you would like to be considered for a spot in the data blitz, please fill out this online form.

You will be asked to include your name and all co-authors’ names, title of the talk, affiliations, your highest degree earned, and an abstract of up to 250 words describing the data that you would like to present. Please note that all data must be collected prior to submission and that you will need to register for the Sexuality Pre-Conference to present (please keep in mind that SPSP allows attendees to register for only one pre-conference). To ensure full consideration, materials must be received by the end of the day on November 1, 2017.  If you have any questions please email dana.weiser@ttu.edu.

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Justin Lehmiller, Ball State University
Dana Weiser, Texas Tech University

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