SSSS Symposium Agenda

Saturday, June 24, 2017

University of Guelph

Rozanski Hall – Room 105




Advancing Methodologies in Sexual Science




9:00 am to 10:00 am - Registration and Continental Breakfast




10:00 am to 11:15 am - Strategies for Incorporating Sex and Gender Diversity in Sampling, Measures, and Analysis





Dr. Greta Bauer, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. She came to Western in 2005, after completing her PhD at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Bauer’s research interests are in sexually transmitted infections, health care access, the broader health of sexual and gender minority communities, and in quantitative research methodology for studying communities that experience marginalization. With her community and academic colleagues, Dr. Bauer designed and implemented the first large survey of trans health conducted in Canada: the Trans PULSE Project. She currently leads a team studying medical, family and social outcomes for trans youth undergoing gender-affirming medical care. As part of her ongoing research to incorporate intersectionality and multidimensionality frameworks into population health research methodology, she is addressing issues in survey measurement of sex/gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and discrimination.


Abstract:   Biological sex and social gender can play different roles in human sexuality and sexual health. While consideration of both sex and gender is increasingly advocated in health research, each of these is in itself a multidimensional concept. Genital sex, for example, and hormonal sex may play different roles in sexual functioning. Likewise, gender identity and gender expression may not only differ, but may interact in shaping experience. More fully incorporating sex and gender diversity into research presents opportunities to promote respect for equity, to honour diversity, to produce more valid research results, and to support better understanding of causal processes. We will discuss the implications of incorporating a multidimensional approach to sex and gender into quantitative research, including for sampling, for survey measurement, and for data analysis.




 11:30 am to 12:45 pm - Turn up the Heat: Use of Sexual Psycho-physiological Measures




Tuuli Kukkonen, PhD, CPsych is an Assistant Professor of Human Sexuality and Director of the Psychophysiology of Sexual Health (POSH) Lab at the University of Guelph, and an associate member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University.  Her research focuses on using remote technologies to measure physiological sexual response. Specifically, she is interested in examining how sexual response changes across the adult lifespan and how various psychosocial variables interact with physiological indicators of sexual arousal as individuals age.  Her early research on thermography as a measure of sexual arousal has earned her numerous international and national awards including a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to build the POSH laboratory at the University of Guelph. Dr. Kukkonen has served as a committee member for the 4th International Consultation on Sexual Medicine, as well as on the editorial board for the Journal of Sexual Medicine.  She is currently on the editorial board for the Archives of Sexual Behavior and the scientific program co-chair for the Society for Sex Therapy and Research 2018 annual conference. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Kukkonen is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice with a focus on sex and couples therapy.


Abstract: A variety of instruments have been developed over the years to measure physical indicators of sexual arousal in men and women.  Although most genital measurement tools are sex-specific, some can be used to detect sexual arousal across sexes, for example, thermographic cameras. The purpose of this presentation is to introduce various psychophysiological tools and discuss advantages and disadvantages with each measurement type in the study of sexual response.  The presentation will also serve to introduce the planning and execution of psychophysiological experiments, basic data analysis questions and answer questions regarding the set-up of a sexual psychophysiology laboratory. Research validating remote genital temperature measurement through thermography will be presented as will the various applications of measuring physical sexual arousal. The presentation will end with a walk through of the Psychophysiology of Sexual Health (POSH) laboratory at the University of Guelph so that participants can better visualize the laboratory environment (space limited).




12:45 pm to 1:15 pm - Lab Tour with Dr. Kukkonen




1:15 pm to 2:15 pm - Lunch at Bullring





 2:15 pm to 3:30 pm - Storying Change: The Impacts of Indigenous Youth Sharing HIV Prevention Digital Stories  





Dr. Sarah Flicker, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University.  She is engaged in an exciting and innovative program of research that focuses on youth HIV prevention and support, as well as, environmental, sexual and reproductive justice. More broadly, she is interested in community-based participatory methodologies and is active on a variety of research teams that focus on adolescent sexual health with youth in Canada and South Africa. Recently, she has published in the areas of Indigenous youth health, health promotion, ethics, the social determinants of health, decolonizing methodologies and community-based participatory research methods. Her research has informed policy at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.  Sarah and her teams have won a number of prestigious awards for youth engagement in health research.


Abstract: This presentation focuses on the impact of making and sharing digital stories as a public health intervention. Taking Action II brought together eighteen Indigenous youth leaders to create digital stories about HIV activism. Over the course of the following year, they each planned and executed screenings of the work in their home communities to foster dialogue about the content of the videos. They were reunited to collaboratively analyze the themes and meanings of their stories the following summer. The collection of stories created make connections between HIV and structural violence, culture and relationships.  Many storytellers reflected on how the process was an empowering and meaningful experience that helped them expand their leadership scope and potential. Their stories were used to spark important new dialogue around HIV prevention and sexual/reproductive health in many Indigenous communities. Community members and relatives demonstrated immense pride and a new openness for talking about taboo subjects. Public health practitioners remarked on how the stories helped them think differently about HIV prevention in Indigenous communities. Both the process and product arts-based methods have the potential to transform and help us re-imagine HIV prevention possibilities.




 3:45 pm to 5:00 pm - It Takes (at least) Two: Dyadic and Longitudinal Methods in Sex Research





Amy Muise, PhD is an Assistant Professor at York University. Before starting this position, she completed her PhD at the University of Guelph followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Dr. Muise’s research focuses on understanding how couples can maintain happier relationships and have more fulfilling sex lives over time. She applies social psychological theories of close relationships and uses dyadic and longitudinal research methods and analyses (i.e., daily experience studies, multi-level modeling) to understand when and for whom sex is associated with benefits and when it might detract from the quality of relationships. Dr. Muise is interested in understanding how sexual processes unfold to impact relationship well-being in the context of couples’ daily lives as well as over the course of time as relationships grow and develop. 


Abstract: The majority of sexual experiences take place in the context of an ongoing romantic relationship. This means that to understand how people can have more positive sexual interactions, it is necessary to consider how partners influence each other, as well as how sexual processes unfold in daily life and over time. In recent years, key methodological developments, online options for data collection and advances in statistical analysis have enabled sex researchers to answer novel and nuanced questions that take into account the influence that sexual partners have on each other and fluctuations in sexual relationships over time. For example, how do a person’s reasons for engaging in sex influence their partner’s sexual satisfaction? Why are some sexual experiences in a relationship pleasurable and fulfilling, while others are less satisfying? How can couples maintain their sexual connection when they face challenges and stressors in their relationship? These and other questions have broad implications for maximizing personal and relationship well-being, but effectively answering these questions requires obtaining the data from both (or more) partners in a relationship and collecting repeated assessments over time. In this talk, I will discuss how dyadic and longitudinal methods can be used to answer key questions in sexuality research, offer tips and tricks for utilizing dyadic and repeated measures study designs, and provide helpful resources for researchers interested in learning more about dyadic and overtime analytic techniques. The use of dyadic and repeated measures designs have shaped the kinds of questions that sexuality researchers can ask and answer and there many novel, important questions left to inform.





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