The five-day SEXPO event aims to support sex positivity, sex and consent education
UVic’s Gender Empowerment Centre (GEM) is once again running SEXPO this year. Hosted by the UVSS advocacy groups, this student-run fair is set to feature various events aimed at encouraging education around sex, including understanding consent and promoting sex positivity.
This year, the event is being expanded from a one-day affair to a dynamic five-day festival, stretching from Feb. 13–17. According to an email from GEM’s Outreach and Communications Coordinator, Cristina Venturin, last year’s SEXPO event was a smash hit at the SUB and seems to be greatly anticipated once again.
This year’s SEXPO week seeks to be even more satisfying. Some of the events include a two-day exhibition of sex-positive art and on Feb. 16 an epic fashion show finale conducted in partnership with UVic’s Live Music Club — which will be the grand climax of the week, spotlighting Victoria’s finest lingerie and helping to combat sex negativity. The fashion show will be followed by a liquor event and dance party at Vertigo to send off a sex-positive and educational week.
Four separate panels will be led by educators and scholars such as Noah Klöze and Sage Lacerte. Klöze is a somatic sex educator and sexologic bodyworker, who works virtually and in-person helping assist clients with education around pleasure and bodywork, as well as providing coaching and counselling services. Lacerte is a UVic alumni, a birthing doula, as well as founder and CEO of the Sage Initiative, and will be leading a workshop about intimacy during SEXPO.
Discussions will focus on a variety of issues and are invitingly titled, with panels such as “Sex and Disabilities,” “What You Missed in Sex Ed,” “Sex and Religion,” and “Reproductive Justice.” A BDSM and consent workshop and even a sex-positive dance class offer additional activities during the week. There will be live entertainment, including a Valentine’s drag show presented by Henrietta Dubét, one of Victoria’s star drag queens.
SEXPO is a great way to support local Victoria artists, as many vendors from the community will be selling their merchandise. It is also an excellent opportunity for students to connect with local resources and discuss issues related to sexual health, well-being, and engage in changing cultural attitudes and norms around sexuality. “Our aim is to foster community among individuals and organizations who work in various sexuality and health-related fields within the greater Victoria area,” says Venturin. “We hope that bringing together this diverse group will help connect the university community to a range of resources for fostering improved sex positivity, consent, and wellness education.”
The full schedule, lineup, and tickets sales for SEXPO were released on Jan. 30, and while many events will be in-person, SEXPO is also offering some hybrid events, which will include streamable options. Many of the workshops and panels are free to attend, though there is an option to donate to the panelists who are running these events. However, the big events such as the drag event, the lingerie fashion show, and the dance party require paid tickets, ranging from $11–$18. The ticket website mentions that spaces for some of the more anticipated events are limited, so getting tickets as early as possible is the best way to secure a spot.
“SEXPO has connected so many of UVic’s resources to students and amplified the message that sex positivity is inherently harm reduction,” says Venturin, in her email.
Overall, the week is shaping up to be a great way for students to have fun with friends, celebrate sex-positivity at UVic, and get a bit more sex education knowledge under their belt.