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And yet words sometimes fail us.

Foto André Wunstorf

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How do we talk about sexuality?

How do we talk about our bodies and the things that we need, want, and do when it comes to sex and sexual pleasure? And who do we talk to about these things? Categories to Come is interested in the seemingly infinite space between the various categories of mainstream porn and the clinical terms for different body parts. We invite everybody to put their sexuality into words, and to discuss new words or new uses of words with other people.

Goal of the project is to create a platform and gather ressources, that open up so far unnamed subject areas of sexuality. They will be accessible both for personal gain and interdisciplinary research.



How can I contribute?

Categories to Come wants to know what you find arousing and stimulating, and how you describe these things. It doesn’t matter if you experience them alone or with other people, in your fantasy life or your real life.

Perhaps there are words that you use in conversations with all kinds of different people to describe what you like. Perhaps there are words that you use only with your sexual partners. Or perhaps there are things that you don’t know how to describe.

You can provide new ideas for researchers and help design the future of the language that we use for our sexualities.

By answering the following questions, you can help us to study these topics and to break new ground in the research of language and sexuality:

  • Sexual Vocabulary   What words do you use? What new words have you invented to describe sex acts or sexual fantasies?

  • Language and pornography   If you consume porn online, what search terms do you use to find what you’re looking for? And how do you define these terms?

  • Arousing scenes or passages from cultural works   What books, photos, songs, or other works of art do you find sexually arousing? How would you describe the specific sensations or feelings that you associate with these works?

Foto André Wunstorf

Join the conversation

What do you think about different words?

Read other people’s words and definitions on Instagram or Twitter, and tell us what springs to mind. We want to know what you think about these words, and to translate them into other languages. You can help! 

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Über das Projekt

About the project

Research into language and sexuality

The first step in research is to name or describe what is being investigated. The way we speak about sexuality is affected by the values and morals of our society. And that discussion is generally shaped by social taboos.

In part because of these taboos, it’s safe to assume that the sexual fantasies and practices of individuals are far more varied than those that society puts into words. This means that there are aspects of sexuality that are inaccessible (or only accessible with a delay) to researchers studying linguistic usage. It also means that our sexual vocabulary is smaller than it otherwise could be.

The artistic research project Categories to Come combines artistic and academic research interests. We invite everybody to contribute their own terms and definitions, to reflect on and describe their own sexuality. Participants can help to design the sexual vocabulary of the future, and to identify new directions for the research field.

The collected terms will be organized and made available as a database to researchers and to members of the public. 

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