Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

OU Academic Finds Herself in the Realm of the Senses: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

OU Academic Finds Herself in the Realm of the Senses: News

Article excerpt

Psychology lecturer's work on sex advice honoured at the Erotic Awards. Chris Parr reports.

Among the winners of the Erotic Awards 2013 were a burlesque drag act called Mr Mistress, a self-styled "English courtesan" named Charlotte Rose - and Meg Barker, senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University.

Alongside the categories you might expect to see at such an event - including accolades for the best striptease act and sex worker - was an academic award. It was this prize that Dr Barker took home.

"I was surprised to hear that the Erotic Awards even had an academic category, let alone that I had been nominated," she told Times Higher Education. "I still don't know who put my name forward."

The awards have been held 13 times since 1994 and recognise global achievements in the world of erotica. The ceremony forms part of the Night of the Senses event, which raises money for Outsiders, a charity that aims to increase awareness about sex and disability.

Dr Barker received the award for Rewriting the Rules: An Integrative Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships, her 2012 book examining the misleading and often contradictory advice given out on those subjects.

"I was disappointed with the range of self-help and popular psychology books that are already available," she said, citing Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus and The Rules: Time-tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr Right as two "pseudoscientific, counterproductive and quite problematic" books.

"There really wasn't anything very intelligent available," Dr Barker said. "Take the Mars and Venus idea - that men and women are different and they don't speak the same language. …

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