Introduction to Shame and Sexuality

Dear beloved avid readers, supporters, and general inquirers,

My name is Joshua Hummel and I have been asked by PTS Executive Assistant Kayla Miller to create a new workshop called Shame & Sexuality for September of 2012. The new workshop will focus on the two core concepts that are indicated by the workshop’s name. It will consist of eight sessions that are two hours in length and each session will place emphasis on a particular topic on shame as it relates to sexuality. While the project is currently in its preliminary stages as I figure out the most important topics that need to be covered in each session, Kayla and I have agreed upon an initial five:

* Shame & Orientation

* Shame & Sexual Activities

* Shame & Consent

* Shame & Non-Conformity

* Shame & Expression of One’s Identity

These initial five topics may be subject to change as they are debated and scrutinized. However, those who are considering whether or not to take this workshop when it is finalized can expect some elements that are certain to be present in the workshop. The workshop will mostly be approached from a social and psychological angle with contributions from other related disciplines. The workshop is going to be professional and research-based while simultaneously interactive, explorative, and fun. The goal of the workshop is to be informative and also self-fulfilling. Individuals who take the workshop will learn about research conducted on each topic and they will also be exposed to philosophical debate and general conversation as part of the interactive exercises in Shame & Sexuality. The atmosphere will be intellectually stimulating while also being light, funny, co-operative, and group oriented. Members will be encouraged to make friends and contribute to the discussions as they occur but must remain respectful and considerate to others at all times.

If anyone is interested in helping me with this project they are welcome to contact me at

I am looking for creative, outgoing, fun, and intelligent collaborators who are passionate about PTS and professionalism.


— Joshua Hummel, PTS Volunteer

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3 thoughts on “Introduction to Shame and Sexuality

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m just wondering how you propose to keep the atmosphere that positive with such heavy topics? I do believe that these things need to be talked about to develop open communication and deconstruct stigmas.

    Perhaps I am paranoid, but Ottawa’s queer community is small. I’d worry that a person who has been shamed might end up in the same room as the person who shamed them as shaming is often part of unhealthy romantic dynamics.

  2. Joshua Hummel says:

    Hello, while I agree with you that the topics are quite heavy I am confident that the atmosphere, as well as the results, of the workshop can be positive. The underlying idea behind this workshop is to increase communication and openness by breaking down stigma’s and biases based on false pretenses. I expect that there will be individuals taking this workshop that belong to a sample of those feeling shame over their current identity. But I also expect that there will be those who are taking the workshop out of general interest and may not be learning or participating to build on their own identity but simply to build on their understanding. I have to be able to combine both sides so that I can have a cooperative and accepting group. It is as important for someone to be able to come into Shame & Sexuality and learn about themselves as it is for someone to be able to come into it and have a greater understanding of those around them.

    There could very well be an instance in which the one who has been shamed is in the same room as the one who has shamed them. If that is the case then there will be ways that I or one of the other workshop facilitators will deal with the situation. If the atmosphere is non-cooperative because the ‘shamer’ has set out to further the damage that they have done then they will be removed. There is a zero tolerance policy for those who cannot or will not accept the content and the people involved in the workshop.

    This workshop is meant to cause self-identification as well as self-verification; to teach people about themselves and about others, while also having them come out at the end of each session better knowing how to deal with, or move past their feelings of shame. I am not going to preach information that doesn’t offer a resolution. Like in all workshops the idea is that the attendee learns something but also comes out with practical knowledge that will ultimately make them more functional as a member of society. This cannot be achieved through brooding. It may be difficult for many to come to terms with their experiences and accept the current condition of things, as it may also be difficult for many to come to terms with other members experiences and accept others conditions as human beings. However, the ultimate goal that I hope to achieve is to run the workshop in a way that allows everyone to be comfortable and open to promote learning and growth. The situation and the information is ‘heavy’ and will be treated with great care, but that doesn’t mean that the tone of the workshop must be ‘heavy’ as well. Rather, by confronting the serious nature of each topic we can then learn how to relate it back to our functionality with others. Human communication and association doesn’t always have to be as serious as the nature of the content of their conversation and promoting such a ‘rigid’ and ‘one-sided’ mode of thinking will inadvertently sabotage assimilating the knowledge from being moot and esoteric to being commonly accepted. If it is treated in such a way then it will only make it more vital to those who can relate and less vital to those who are trying to understand.

    I hope that I provided the answers that you were seeking, if not then please feel free to clarify further, thanks!

  3. tedchartrand says:

    Did this workshop happen? This is just a suggestion, but, you might have considered a more positive tone for the workshop title. If the objective is to address negative feelings towards personal sexuality, perhaps “Pride and Sexuality” would have been a more appropriate choice? That way, you would be clearly messaging the desired outcome right from the start. Just a suggestion.

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