We’re documenting some interesting challenges that were thrown at us in doing a sex-related workshop in China. Publicising while staying under the radar of anything that would flag us up as explicit became quite a challenge. After all, even Garfield the cartoon cat could become banned as pornographic content on the internet (which spoke more about the quality of fake tan in the porn industry). There was a lesson to be learnt from this.

I was staying with elderly relatives who were amateur photographers when making the posters. They wanted to lend a hand, helping me hunt for the only donuts in the town, explaining away custom-made pink-whipped cream (bakers here didn’t use icing) and arguing in a legitimate fashion for the hole in the dough. The next thing I knew, we were in full photo-shoot and I had taken the trusting hands of my elderly supporters into the world of hardcore food porn.

There were a few awkward silences after I had to explain the tooth-pick image… and possibly the extra banana & doughnut…and there was certainly no rationale for the cherry tomato. The elderly couples started hunting in their bedrooms to add further objects into the background, interestingly reflecting their own lifestyle. I found myself blushing at the familiarity at seeing their newly acquired Buddhism, travelling and love for photography. Was it alright to suggest that their sexual preferences had become more contextual than physical? They were interestingly really making a poster about relationships than sex.

From this learning, we began to create scenarios for “How to” problem-solving tasks for our participants, such as:

Helping parents to avoid the constant presence of their only child in order to be intimate.

Interactive/imaginative instructions to aid the first time couples who’d not had sex education.

Alleviate awkwardness for “the talk” between parents and children.

Adding excitement for a couple who’d been married for a long time.

Further suggestions Welcome!

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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