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It’s been a couple of months, so it feels like time for another newsletter on everything that’s been happening in my world of writing and research.
As Winter hits in Canberra I am thoroughly enjoying being able to hole myself up into my new office with some good books and some good writing. What a better way to spend the cold days. But here are some updates on things that have been happening.
Sex, sex, sex
As you all know, I do love to read and write about sex, and this past couple of months it feels like it’s been a bigger them than ever!
I was delighted earlier this year to be invited to speak at the Noted Festival Event: “The AIDS Action Council Presents: Gay Sex is Fun.” This night was filled with great speakers and I spoke about gay saunas and why I think being gay opens up a range of sexual possibilities that are often closed, or at least difficult to open, for others. You can check out my speech here. Thanks both to the Noted Festival and the AIDS Action Council for putting this event on.
I’m also really happy to have my second-ever piece published in BBC over the past month. In this article I investigate recent research which suggests that people in Western Countries are having less sex per year than we did ten, twenty or even thirty years ago. I wanted to know why this may be the case, concluding that it is potentially related to growths in mental health issues, spurred by feelings of anxiety and social and economic insecurity. This is a longish read, but I hope one you will enjoy!
Moving forward and rethinking ideas
Last time I wrote I spoke about a feeling of dejection after receiving rejections for my proposed book Sexy Capitalism, and for my novel as well. Rejection is something all writers face, but it still remains really difficult.
However, after those initial feelings I’ve been able to take a lot of the feedback I’ve received from reviewers on board and start to make some proactive changes. For Sexy Capitalism I realised that in my excitement for particular ideas I had narrowed my theory too much, making it quite niche and potentially a little boring. So I’ve been able to readjust some of my theory both to make it more interesting, but also more reflective of what I wanted to argue from the start. I’ve done this largely through readjusting my summary, but this will also mean reworking some of the draft chapters. While this is daunting, and means some further delays, it is the benefit of getting feedback from outside voices, and will eventually make the work a lot stronger.
I am doing similar stuff in my fiction writing as well, taking on the significant feedback I’ve received to redraft entire parts of the book. This is taking me a bit longer to do, as I’m squeezing writing into moments here and there, but it is getting there. I am enjoying both of these new challenges and finding the intellectual stimulation is really good fun.
What about that PhD?
On top of this of course I’m now 2 1/2 months into my PhD, and simply loving it! As I said in my last email being back on campus is great both for my thinking and ideas development. While it will result in some delays in other work as I naturally have to focus on my thesis, I think this will lead overall to greater products that have better thought processes behind them.
I’m doing lots of reading at the moment and really enjoying it, so will continue strong on this front! When I get around to it I hope to start doing book reviews for the material I’m reading, so keep an eye out for that.
Here is a collection of articles and podcasts since I last emailed
— BBC Future: The many reasons people are having less sex
— SBS Sexuality: First, do no harm: new report denounces human rights violations against intersex people
— SBS Sexuality: History lesson: why saunas remain so important to gay culture
— SBS Sexuality: Bro jobs: why can’t we just let men have the sex they want to have?
— SBS Sexuality: History lesson: how the rainbow flag became an important symbol for queer communities
— Green Agenda: Protecting Country — an interview with Larissa Baldwin
— ByLine: Cycles of capitalism, cycles of sexuality?
— What Do You Make? with Morgan Roberts (where we talk about writing and the difficulties of working freelance)
— Queers – Episode 28: Agree to Disagree
— Queers – Episode 27: Kids
— Queers – Episode 26: Weak Queers
That’s it for me this month. Thanks again for all your continued support and I will be back in touch soon!