Sexuality and Madness with Sarah Roffey

For many years queer people were identified as having a mental disorder by the medical professions. Only recently thanks to queer activism have homosexuality and non-normative gender presentations begun to be recognised as expressions of human diversity. 

Nonetheless, confusion about one’s developing sexuality or disclosure of a non-normative sexuality is still often met with punishment, discrimination and pathologisation. Such confusion may result in anguish, breakdown and suicidal thoughts.

This workshop will offer an invitation to bring sexuality and madness together in an affirmative way without stigma or pathologization. It will make space to think madness/distress alongside sexuality and intimacy; to think WITH sex and madness. Art and literature have recognized the connection between sexuality and madness for millennia. Yet, in the modern Western discourses, both within the field of adult sex education and psy-care system (e.g. psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy), the two are more than uneasy companions.

This workshop will guide you through a series of writing, discussion-based and reading exercises as well as body-based and spatial interventions borrowed from acting, bodywork and dance training. Thus you will have an opportunity to reflect on your assumptions, feelings and personal and professional experiences at the intersections of madness and sexuality, as well as explore, in a contained and supported space, responses and behaviours that play with the question of what is normal/sane/rational/permissible. In the second part of the workshop, we will co-create and experience “The Asylum” - a nurturing and stimulating experiential space where we can explore being 'mad' in a way that is perhaps more spacious or open to all diversity.

The concept was developed by Sarah Roffey and Natalia Je.