Sexuality and Technology

deadline for submissions: 
June 8, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Dr Rob Fisher / Progressive Connexions

Sexuality and Technology
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference

Saturday 1st December 2018 - Sunday 2nd December 2018
Vienna, Austria

It has become evident that Technology is affecting our Sexuality.  From how we form, maintain, and end relationships to how we seek and have sex, technology has a pervasive impact on every facet of our sexuality. As such, the lexicon of dating has evolved to include terms like swiping left, swiping right, ghosting, breadcrumbing, catfishing, and hatfishing among many others.  Advances in sex toys include smart toys, wearables, artificially intelligent toys, remote controls, virtual reality (VR) pornography, customization with 3-D printing, toys with built in cameras, and advances in sex dolls as some examples.

This conference sets out to investigate the ways in which technology is changing sexuality, as it revolutionizes the ways in which we seek and select partners, shapes the types of encounters we engage in, and re-writes our scripts for erotic action. Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her pasks an important question in its examination of the unlikely relationship between Theodore and Samantha, the virtual assistant of his operating system.  Samantha asks in the film: “Like are these feelings even real?  Or are they just programming?”

Our first interdisciplinary Sexuality and Technology conference seeks to create a lasting network of professionals, practitioners and researchers in all fields related to this topic; to isolate, discuss, and explore the main issues, pressing matters, and recent developments in this field of activity; to identify areas to be subsequently explored in further depth; and to generate collaborative action that will lead to real, lasting change in the way sex and tech is perceived and approached globally. We welcome any relevant and insightful kinds of contribution from classic presentations to proposals for workshops; topics for debates, panels or round tables; brainstorming sessions for creating policy materials or research instruments; sharing of event-appropriate professional or personal experience or new apps, tools, toys, or technologies; or meaningful forms of artistic expression (film, poetry, photography exhibitions etc.)

Some of our suggested main issues to be approached include (but are not limited to):

~ Connection – Is the sex we are engaging in thanks to technology fundamentally different or is technology simply facilitating access to sex and relationships? Are we having more sex, better or worse sex thanks to technology? How is it creating and fostering relationships? What impact are advances in virtual reality creating? How will continued advances in technology impact our relationships?
~ Disconnection – What negative effects has technology had on our romantic relationships; The unplugging by plugging in phenomenon; The “alone together” phenomenon; Technology fails and its impact on relationships
~ Diversity, Inclusion, Exclusion – How has technology helped with diversity and inclusion? How has it amplified exclusion?
~ Managing Risk – Fake profiles, bad dates, the dangers of “proximity dating”; Revenge pornography; Safeguarding sexual history and anonymity on line; Risk management tactics; ‘Catfishing’; Stalking; Creating false meaning; Trolling
~ Online Dating – Historical perspectives of dating in comparison to online dating; Advances in dating apps; Censorship in dating apps; Ghosting; Face to face (FtF) vs virtual communication; Intimacy enhancers or detractors?
~ Online Pornography – Changes in the pornography field due to technology; Advances; Ease of accessibility; Risks; Online sexual compulsivity; Financial Dangers; Desensitization to FtF relationships
~ Sexual Wellness and Health – Sex education and mobile apps; STI management Apps: The advantages and disadvantages of posting STI status on line
~ Sex Work and Technology: Is on-line sexual commerce booming? What impact does technology have on sex work? What policies are needed? What policies are hurting?
~ Sexuality and Affect – How did that hookup really feel? Empowerment/disempowerment narratives; Ghosting and its impact; Virtual versus FtF relationships; Intimacy and vulnerability; Avatars and multiple personas
~ Sexuality, Technology, and Education – How is technology influencing the way we learn about sex in schools, higher education, or in general? Online pornography as sex education.
~ Sexuality, Technology, and Gender – What are the gender and identity issues due to the rise of technology?
~ Sexuality, Technology, and Geography – What cultures seem more willing to experiment? What is it about these cultures which allows this to happen?
~ Sexuality, Technology, and Robots – What advances are being made? How will robots or similar technologies impact our relationships?  Advances or problems in developing new apps, tools, toys, or technologies?
~ Sexuality, Technology, and The Generations – How does technology impact the young versus the old differently?
~ Social Media and Sexuality – What impact does social media have on how sexuality is perceived and viewed?
~ Technology and Sexual Violence: New media’s role in the normalization or prevention of sexual and gendered violence: New forms of sexual and gendered violence via new media and technology; Survivors and media exposure/coverage; Media propaganda upholding state violence
~ Teens, Technology, and Sexuality – Sexting; The criminal distribution of the naked selfie as child pornography; Codes and neologisms (“Netflix and chill”)

We also welcome additional proposal themes related to sexuality and technology.

What to Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, roundtables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 8th June 2018. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 22nd June 2018.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 19th October 2018.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Sexuality and Technology Submission

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Organising Chair: Kristine Seitz:

Project Administrator:

What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.

A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.

A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.

An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.

An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.

Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.

Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Please send all enquiries to:

Further details and information can be found at the conference web page:

Sponsored by: Progressive Connexions