Richard Berkowitz: Inventing Safe Sex

03oct16:3018:30Richard Berkowitz: Inventing Safe SexVirtual Event16:30 - 18:30 FacilitatorRichard BerkowitzCategoryQEB4


(Sunday) 16:30 - 18:30





Event Details


Today, to people not familiar with its history, “safe sex” can sound anything but revolutionary. It can come across as tired and moralizing, especially to those who grew up as conservative and “respectable” versions of safe-sex advocacy became relatively commonplace in some public institutions. At the heart of safe sex, however, is the story of a gay S&M hustler and a radical ethos of sexual autonomy and communal care. In this session, Richard Berkowitz will discuss his all-too-often written-out role in the invention of safe sex. He will reflect on the political and historical context of safe sex’s creation and the change in its reception. Along the way, participants will have a chance to discuss the legacies of gay liberation, political shifts in gay advocacy, the gentrification of the gay rights movement, and the lessons that can be learned from all three.



This session is part of the Queer Practices / Queer Embodiment remote transdisciplinary conference that aims to bring together artists, theorists, and practitioners. The conference continues our work of building a community that is focused on intentionally developing bodily practices. We want our space to be a place for political growth and experimentation using all the materials that bodywork, sex education, and cultural inquiry can provide.

We aim to take advantage of the opportunity for an online conference. We seek to engage a broader audience that may be familiar with sex-positive culture but is not necessarily attuned to a wider set of political concerns, or approaches to gender and sexuality that are more often encountered within academic, activist, and artistic spaces. We want to put together a conference that will be open to the public and focus on fostering challenging yet accessible conversation.

Queer Practices / Queer Embodiment is curated and organized by a collaborative team consisting of Andrea Rimon (an intimacy choreographer and movement artist) and Georg Barkas (a tying and sexuality educator) and Karada House in Berlin (a queer art/research space). It is sponsored by Karada House and Github for Good.

You can browse the full program and get access to this session/the conference here


Event Details

Date & Time:  October 3rd, 2021, 4:30 pm – 6:30pm CET (Berlin time)

Format: transdisciplinary conference


Language: English, automated closed captions provided

Recording: yes, will be available for 30 days to the participants of the conference


What else to know

After your successful ticket purchase, you will be sent an email with all the necessary data for this event.

This event is free. You can also choose a payment for your ticket which will be used by Karada House to finance similar events in the future.

photo: Caio Oviedo


Richard Berkowitz

Richard Berkowitz is the subject of the 2009 film SEX POSITIVE, which won Best Documentary at OUTFEST film festival. The film was inspired by his 2003 book, Stayin’ Alive: The Invention of Safe Sex, A Personal History. Both tell the story of how and why safe sex had to be invented when AIDS began. In 1983, Richard co-authored, with the late activist Michael Callen, a 40-page pamphlet titled, How to Have Sex in an Epidemic: One Approach, which is widely regarded as the invention of safe sex. What's astonishing is that their safe sex guidelines were created before the discovery of HIV, yet they stood the test of time. The booklet, along with his other writing is available on his website,

Learn More

Privacy Preference Center