Sex Talk in the City

Thursday, February 14, 2013 to Monday, September 2, 2013

Sex Talk in the City is a multifaceted exhibition that teases out how people in Vancouver learn about sexuality, define pleasure, and respond to particular politics. Sex Talk in the City addresses issues of sexual expression, diversity, politics, and education in a fun, approachable, and thought-provoking manner. Sex isn’t only biological, it’s cultural.

Visitors can expect to gain context on the materials and stories they are exposed to every day - from online dating to safe sex ads to the pride parade. You're sure to leave recalling your own "birds and bees" talk with your parents and other such stories.

Hear more from the curator, Viviane Gosselin, in the clip below.

Note: This exhibition contains coarse language, sexual language, sexually suggestive scenes, and nudity presented within a historical, political, and educational context. Sex Talk in the City is intended for adults and youth 15 years and older who choose to learn about or discuss how ideas about sexuality have influenced life in Vancouver. Children younger than 15 may visit accompanied by an adult.

Sex Talk in the City is a co-production of Options for Sexual Health and the MOV. The project also involves the participation of Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver School Board, public health experts, sexologists, education scholars, historians, artists, activists, and youth.

Curatorial Lead: Viviane Gosselin, MOV Curator of Contemporary Issues
Design: Propellor Design

February 13, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Sex Talk in the City Opening Reception

Be among the first to discover an innovative exhibition that explores the history of sexuality in Vancouver – from education to pleasure to politics. Explore sexuality not as science, but as part of our exciting, fascinating, thought-provoking culture.

6:30pm Doors open (please allow time for paid parking and admission)
7:00pm Event Begins
7:15pm Remarks
8:00pm Mingling and exhibition exploration
10:00pm Closing

Dress: In Red

MOV Members Attend Free
*** Your invitations will be arriving by mail and/or email by the end of January***

Members and 1 guest attend for free ($30 value). It's a great time to become a member! More information at: http://www.museumofvancouver.ca/programs/membership .
Call 604.736.4431 ext.0 for more information.


February 21, 2013 / 6:30 PM
Made to Pleasure: DIY Design & Talk with Rachel Maines

Learn about the history of sexual satisfaction and construction of social pleasure while getting hands-on in ways that won’t earn you a scolding.

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Time: 6:30pm
Cost: Included with admission | MOV Members FREE

Adults (18+) only


Start by designing and creating a prototype of a vibrator from plasticine, with advice from the pros from Vancouver's own Womyns’Ware Inc. (With pleasurable prizes from Womyns’Ware!)

Then bolster your knowledge with a special talk by Rachel Maines, whose book, The Technology of Orgasm, inspired the movie Hysteria (released last year). Maines uses rich (and sometimes hilarious) stories to reveal the surprising connection between technology, culture, sex, and the law.

About Rachel Maines:

Technology historian Rachel Maines is a visiting scientist at the Cornell University School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She is also a consultant to the MOV’s Sex Talk in the City exhibition.

About our workshop leaders:

Vancouver-based Womyns'Ware Inc.'s design team is:  industrial designer Otter Louis, business law specialist Janna L. Sylvest, and retail display and design specialist Andrea Dobbs. They have taken dozens of sexual products from concept to production and retail.


This event is for adults only (18 years or over.)

MOV’s Sex Talk in the City exhibition contains course language, sexual language, sexually suggestive scenes and nudity presented within a historical, political and educational context.


March 07, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Special Curator Talk & Tour: A Clandestine History of Contraception

Join Sex Talk in the City curatorial lead, Viviane Gosselin, and Professor Christabelle Sethna in a Talk & Tour that looks into the history of contraception in Canada. Discover its intertwining history with the law, attitudes towards sex, secularization of society, and women’s changing status.

This presentation is possible in part with the support of the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU.

About Christabelle Sethna:
Christabelle Sethna is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Women’s Studies and the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa. She is currently writing a book about the history of the birth control pill in Canada, focusing on its impact on young, single female university students from 1960–1980.

Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 7:00pm
Cost: By general admission | MOV Members FREE


April 04, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Sex Talk in the City: Curator Talk and Tour with Viviane Gosselin

Sex Talk in the City involved the participation of a 17-people advisory committee and over 58 project allies! From producing content, to lending artefacts and giving interviews, project collaborators had a huge influence on the shaping of the project. Curatorial Lead Viviane Gosselin will share insights into the making of the exhibition and explain how very diverse perspectives on sex and sexuality have come to share the same space.

Included with regular admission / MOV members free.

April 26, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Brothels, Strolls, & Stilettos: Histories of Sex Work in Vancouver

Vancouver was once a haven for bawdy houses, with more than 100 brothels operating in the city's east end in the 1930s. Decades later, in the early 1970s, the city's West End emerged as home to a gender-diverse, racially-mixed, and pimp-free stroll of sex workers. After vigorous opposition to prostitution in the West End, sex workers were expelled from the neighborhood in 1984. As they were displaced further and further east, the era of missing and murdered women began. With challenges to prostitution laws now being considered by the Supreme Court of Canada, it's time to learn about the multi-faceted history of on-street and off-street sex work in Vancouver. 

This panel event will include rich stories and images from the past and from the courts, and an opportunity to ask sex workers (currently working and retired) questions about their changing world.

Moderator: Becki Ross
Panelists include: Jamie Lee Hamilton, Scarlett Lake, Susan Davis, Sheri Kiselbach and others.

Admission: by donation (suggested $10, includes entry to Sex Talk in the City exhibition)

Reserve your ticket now: http://brothelsstrollsstilletos.eventbrite.com


April 27, 2013 / 2:00 PM
Strolling the stroll: a tour of sex work history in the West End

Join us for a guided tour of the area of the West End that provided a safe environment for sex workers before they were evicted in the 1980s. This fascinating journey through not-too-distant history will be lead by Jamie Lee Hamilton, who will share rich stories and insights from her own days working the Davie Stroll.

This tour will focus on 8-10 stops in the Davie Street area, then continue down to the Aquatic Centre. We'll take water transportation across False Creek to a debrief at Museum of Vancouver. Tour fee includes water transport and admission to Museum of Vancouver's Sex Talk in the City exhibition. 

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Time: 2pm
Meeting Location: Little Sisters Bookstore, 1238 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6E 1N3.
Tickets: $15 (includes Aquabus ticket and admission to Museum of Vancouver exhibitions)
Purchase: http://strollingthestroll.eventbrite.com

Tour length: 1.5 hours to Aquabus, option to continue to MOV


May 02, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Special Curator Talk & Tour: Designing for Sex w/Propellor Design

Designing for Sex is always a challenge, but more so when there’s history, storytelling, and artefacts added to the mix!

For this special talk and tour, curatorial lead Viviane Gosselin will be joined by exhibition designers from Propellor Design to lead tour participants through the Sex Talk exhibition highlighting and talking about the creative inspiration and integrative design process involved in the conception and realization of the exhibition.

Propellor is a multi-disciplinary design studio committed to creating useful, beautiful and ecologically minded objects and experiences. Propellor’s work spans a broad range of disciplines from furniture and lighting design to exhibition design and sculpture.

Included with Regular Admission | MOV Members Free


May 07, 2013 / 2:00 PM
Hot Times for Seniors: Sex in Every Season

Join us for an afternoon tour of the MOV exhibition Sex Talk in the City followed by an informal workshop-style discussion designed to engage seniors in care or communal living situations, as well as their friends and caregivers, or anyone interested in learning more about senior sexuality, STI’s, and the need to express one's sexuality at every age and season of our lives.  Part of the workshop will draw from the Seniors A GOGO project, an initiative that endeavors to start a conversation between seniors, caregivers and families about this issue in a theatrical way.

Workshop will be facilitated by exhibition advisor Jane Langton a certified sexual health educator & consultant who advocates for access to relevant sexual health education and information across the lifespan, based in Vancouver.

*light refreshments will be served during the workshop portion, and group bookings/discount available.  Inquire with Visitor Services at 604.736.4431 or email guestservices@museumofvancouver.ca

Included with Regular Admission | MOV Members free

May 31, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Libido Liberation

Sexuality, fetish, makeout music, art, and a whole lot of suggestive body language go off leash at the MOV on Friday, May 31 as we invite Vancouverites to a special after-dark exploration of our current feature exhibition, Sex Talk in the City. Arrive dressed to the nines for this sultry dance party amid our provocative collection of vibrators, historical peepshows, and archive of diverse expression and storytelling.

Doors/Exhibition: 7:00pm
Performances: 8:30pm sharp
Bar and DJ K-Tel: until 11:00pm
Dress Code: Saucy

Be titillated by the sophisticated sex comedy of The Wetspots, and a live art performance of “The Insiders” by Coral Short. Tour the exhibition, score a scandalous snapshot, take part in a hands-on “artefact” handling workshop, and lose yourself in the late night sounds by DJ K-Tel. Don’t miss this one-night only opportunity to explore the Sex Talk In the City exhibition while wearing your best interpretation of our “saucy” dress code!

Tickets at: http://may31libidoliberation.eventbrite.com 
Early Bird Tickets:  $15 (Early Bird MOV Members $12) 
Regular Tickets: $17 (MOV Members $15)
Students/Seniors: $10
*limited tickets, available online March 1. Don't miss out!!!


August 01, 2013 / 7:00 PM
Curator's Talk & Tour: Sex Talk in the City w/Jennifer Breakspear (Opt)

Learn the intimate stories behind the creation of the MOV's much-talked-about Sex Talk in the City exhibition. Curatorial advisory member and exhibition contributor Jennifer Breakspear will share insights into the collaborative process behind the research and formation of the exhibition partnership with Options for Sexual Health (Opt), including how MOV's curatorial worked to include diverse perspectives on sex and sexuality within the same space.

Jennifer Breakspear is the Executive Director of Options for Sexual Health (Opt), the largest sexual health care provider in Canada. She is also a leader, writer, media commentator, wife, sister, daughter, auntie, bass player, paddler and cyclist. And, in everything she does Jennifer is committed to the celebration of individuals, the development of community and, the realisation of human rights for all.

August 15, 2013 / 6:00 PM
Redacted Readings

Join Sex Talk in the City exhibition research contributor Amber Dawn, Vancouver poet Liz Bachinsky, writer/performer Billeh Nickerson as they share readings from published works that have traditionally been considered “banned” materials, touching on erotic experiences, life in the sex trade, and kink.

Date: Thursday, August 15
Time: 6:00pm
Location: MOV Studio, Museum of vancouver
Admission: $12 (by general admission) | MOV Members FREE
RSVP: http://redactedreadings.eventbrite.com/

Amber Dawn is a writer, filmmaker, and performance artist. Author of Lambda Award-winning novel Sub Rosa, she has an MFA in Creative Writing (UBC); she is creator of the award-winning genderfuck docuporn, Girl on Girl. Until recently, she was the long-time director of programming for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Amber Dawn was 2012 winner of the Writers' Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT writers.

Elizabeth Bachinsky is the author of five collections of poetry, including the Governor General's Award-nominated collection Home of Sudden Service. Her poetry has also been nominated for awards including the Pat Lowther Award, and The George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature., the Kobzar Literary Award and others. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies and on film around the world. She lives in Vancouver. Elizabeth will read from The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, which explores themes of sexuality, addiction and redemption across Canada and on the road.

Billeh Nickerson is a writer, editor, performer, producer and arts advocate who divides his year between Toronto and Vancouver. He is the author of Let Me Kiss it Better: Elixirs for the Not So Straight and Narrow, and his most recent collection, McPoems. He is also the co-editor of Seminal: the Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets, and a former editor of PRISM international and Event, two of Canada’s most respected literary journals. He teaches Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.



No Posts

Sex Talk in the City [Exhibition] - Politics

Sex Talk in the City [Exhibition] - Pedagogy

Sex Talk in the City [Exhibition] - Pleasure

Sex Talk in the City - Videographer Gwen Haworth

Video (Posted: 08/02/13)

Videographer Gwen Haworth talks about creating the Sex Talk videos

Videographer Gwen Haworth speaks about her involvement in the making of Sex Talk in the City and the use of vintage sex education footage.
Video (Posted: 05/09/13)
Sex Talk in the City - Exhibition Video: Politics
Video (Posted: 05/09/13)
Sex Talk in the City - Exhibition Video: Pedagogy
Video (Posted: 05/09/13)
Sex Talk in the City - Exhibition Video: Pleasure
Video (Posted: 08/02/13)
Videographer Gwen Haworth talks about creating the Sex Talk videos
January 09, 2013 / 3:45 PM
Sex Talk in the City Press Kit

The attached press kit includes:

  • press release
  • image selection sheet with cutlines
  • exhibition team biographies
  • backgrounder on the Museum of Vancouver


Media preview is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12, at 11:00am.
Please RSVP to Amanda (see below).

To request high resolution images or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Amanda McCuaig
Marketing Officer