Sensual Politics – Daniel Mang

The T&P Spectrum for this workshop is: , , ,

The basic ideas up for reflection and discussion in this lab:

a) The boundary between sexuality and sensuality is drawn differently by different people. This is rarely a conscious choice but mostly a question of people’s sexual and body socialization, which often differs systematically according to gender and sexuality. One major factor determining people’s strategies of desire, their personal constructions of sexuality/sensuality is the overwhelming patriarchal and heterosexist structuring of sexuality. In very very broad strokes, a structuring that posits men as hunters, women as prey, that defines desire itself as an active, symbolically male energy, where men have bodies and women are bodies, that encourages men to convert all kinds of affective energies into aggression and/or sexual excitement, while encouraging women to convert all kinds of affective energies into caring, tenderness and tears.

I am interested in the question of how and why people sort their feelings into “sexual”, “sensual” or other, specifically in the context of contact improvisation and in how they feel about the potential of contact improvisation to contribute to an emancipatory transgression of how mainstream society orders sexuality/sensuality.

b) Doing a lot of contact improvisation can change sexual desire. It can diminish, possibly because some of what usually gets channeled into sexuality (needs for nourishing touch, spontaneous movement expression, being held, etc) are satisfied through contact improvisation. Sometimes it gets more, presumably because the practice wakes up and circulates vital energy and sexual desire is one expression of that. It can also change quality, feeling deeper and fuller, sometimes more rooted in physicality and less hotwired to images and thoughts.


A session of this lab could start with a sensory/physical warmup, move into contact improvisation, followed by a discussion of specific questions in small groups, then a mix of moving and talking, followed by a round for exchanging impressions.

Read Daniel Mang’s biography