Sexual Interactions
Why we should talk about Sex in HCI
  Johanna Brewer, U.C. Irvine | Jofish Kaye, Cornell | Amanda Williams, U.C. Irvine | Susan Wyche, GaTech






Important Dates

Workshop Details

Workshop Papers

Workshop Proposal




CHI 2006 Workshop: Sexual Interactions

Call for Participation

Everyday interactions with technology – occurring in homes, streets and cars as much as at the office increasingly draw upon the social, emotional and physical. There is growing interest at CHI in moving beyond cognition to examine these aspects of the human-computer experience. Sex lies at the intersection of these concerns; it is an important part of our domestic, social and emotional lives and a topic of and means for communication. Yet we tend to desexualize technology, the practices around it, and the environments into which we deploy it.

Academic discourse about sexual behavior is commonplace in anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, and essentially every area of intellectual inquiry that purports to study people. We believe that understanding human computer sexual interactions can provide HCI researchers and practitioners with a deeper understanding of established research themes in the community. For instance, online pornographers were among the first to adopt online security technology that was later adopted by the general public. The ways in which domestic and health surveillance technologies impact and are impacted by everyday sexual practices can serve as a lens to better understand issues of privacy and disclosure.

HCI is also a design-oriented discipline, and to this end it is worth understanding how an examination of sex can inform design. We believe that the rich patterns of human sexual behaviors provide opportunities both as inspiration and object for design. We welcome discussion of specific designs that consider sex as well as discussion of broad implications for HCI.

• To understand how sex and themes related to it can inform current HCI practice and discourse.
• To explore the challenges in conducting human-computer
sexual interactions research.
• To brainstorm novel technologies, interactions, and
research methods inspired by human sexuality.
• To create a community for future discussion and
exploration of the topic.

We encourage participation from many disciplines including computer science, design, psychology, anthropology, sociology, social studies of technology, and media studies as well as practitioners in industry.
Participants will be selected based on 2-4 page position papers. We welcome papers that:

• Present a novel technology, interface or system inspired by or supportive of sexual interactions.
• Examine areas of HCI in which sex plays an important role. This includes but is not limited to online dating, online communities, intimate interfaces, production, consumption and regulation of pornography.
• Discuss field studies of technology use in which sexual practices may have impacted or been impacted
by technology adoption.
• Discuss problematic areas of sex in HCI, such as abusive, immoral or criminal activity.
• Discuss implications of sexual practice on broader areas of HCI research.

We ask presenters to be sensitive other workshop participants in the presentation of their papers. Submissions should include an additional page
discussing the author's background, interests, current work and its relevance to workshop goals. Send submissions (PDF) or questions to Johanna Brewer via e-mail at johannab[at]