Sex, Cancer and Cocktails: An In-Home Conversation About Doing It During Treatment with contributions from Dr. Ali Mears, Beth McCann, Professor Jackie Stacey, SH!, Lush and Stav Bee.

Read a review of Sex, Cancer and Cocktails in Disability Arts Online.

Cancer and pleasure: two words that rarely party together, until now. Sex, Cancer & Cocktails is a performance event mixing Sex Toy and Tupperware parties with expert information, intimate sharings and a radical perspective on illness and feeling (or not feeling) sexy. Facilitated by Brian Lobel and featuring presentations by a sexual health doctor, cancer nurse, and sex toy sellers, this evening for adults only, behind closed doors, inspires and challenges the way we think about our bodies.

Illustration by Jason Elvis Barker.

Few words remain as taboo as cancer or sex. Both words trigger, stimulate, excite, terrify, and discombobulate in various ways. And yet, few words are more universally impactful.  I have spent the last decade charting my own relationship with cancer and sex in my performances - sometimes as minor themes, and sometimes featuring explicitly as the only content. For me, the two were inextricably linked, from being diagnosed with testicular cancer three months after coming out as queer (talk about fear of cosmic retribution!), to negotiating my scarred post-surgical body with partners, to discussing my history with illness with potential lovers. And I loved talking about it, as the topic always felt quite dangerous, uncharted, alive.

Study after study confirms that people want more information about how sex, sexuality and intimacy are affected by cancer and other illnesses, but it seems as though people keep asking the question about if they want more resources, instead of just creating more resources. Perhaps this is because each person's needs with cancer are so wildly different, or because people are still that uncomfortable talking about sex. or because people think that talking about fertility (and the saving of fertility) is conversation enough.

So let's talk. Let's try. Let's be uncomfortable together. Let's laugh and let's learn. Take a deep breath... here we go.

Sex, Cancer & Cocktails was produced by Tracy Gentles, and supported by Wellcome Trust's Sexology Season, as part of SICK! Festival. 


Cocktails Created by Stav B - inspired by the aesthetic of blood cells, traditional cancer-fighting herbs, and the glamour that everyone needs from time to time.

Blood Drop - Welcoming Shot
Gold Tequila or Ginger Beer
Homemade Bloody Mary Mix (V8, horseradish, tabasco, bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, celery salt, lemon, pepper)
Topped with Crushed Chillies

Needles and Spice
Rosemary syrup (Rosemary pack, 4 cups water, 2 cups sugar, boiled)
Top with Prosseco and Silver Edible Glitter

Dazzle Nectar
Homemade Lemonade (strained, no pulp)
Infused with basil leaves.
Serve over ice, with Gold Edible Glitter.