Psychoanalytic Insights into Sexuality and Trauma

An online talk with Avgi Saketopoulou and Lakshmi Padmanabhan.

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20 November, 2023, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Tickets are based on a pay-what-you-can basis.

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Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou will be discussing her groundbreaking book Sexuality Beyond Consent with Dr. Lakshmi Padmanabhan.

Arguing that we have become culturally obsessed with healing trauma, Saketopoulou calls attention to what traumatized subjects do with their pain in her book Sexuality Beyond Consent. The erotics of racism offers a paradigmatic example of how what is proximal to violation may become an unexpected site of flourishing. Central to the transformational possibilities of trauma is a queer form of consent, limit consent, that is not about guarding the self but about risking experience. Saketopoulou thereby shows why sexualities beyond consent may be worth risking-and how risk can solicit the future.


Moving between clinical and cultural case studies, Saketopoulou takes up theatrical and cinematic works such as Slave Play and The Night Porter, to chart how trauma and sexuality join forces to surge through the aesthetic domain. Putting the psychoanalytic theory of Jean Laplanche in conversation with queer of color critique, performance studies, and philosophy, Sexuality Beyond Consent proposes that enduring the strange in ourselves, not to master trauma but to rub up against it, can open us up to encounters with opacity. The book concludes by theorizing currents of sadism that, when pursued ethically, can animate unique forms of interpersonal and social care.


This event is taking place online only. All registrants will receive a Zoom Link after booking. All registrants will also receive access to the recording afterwards. This event is held as a Zoom Webinar and participants will not be visible.




Dr. Avgi Saketopoulou is an immigrant Cypriot and Greek psychoanalyst, living and working in NYC. She is on faculty at the NYU Postdoctoral Program, where she also trained, and teaches nationally in several psychoanalytic institutes. Her published work has received numerous prizes, including the annual JAPA Essay Prize and the Ralph Roughton Award. She is the 2022 recipient of the Scholarship Award from the division of psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association (Div. 39) and, with Ann Pellegrini, the recipient of the first Tiresias Essay Prize, from the International Psychoanalytic Associations’ committee on sexual and gender diversity. Her interview on relational psychoanalysis is part of the permanent collection of the Freud Museum in Vienna and in 2021 she co-chaired the first US-based conference dedicated to the work of Jean Laplanche. Her book, Sexuality Beyond Consent: Risk, Race, Traumatophilia, is forthcoming in February 2023 from the Sexual Cultures series, NYU Press. When she is not working, she rides her motorcycle, hoping for good weather.


Dr. Lakshmi Padmanabhan is an assistant professor of Radio, TV, Film at Northwestern University. Her academic writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in journals including Art History, Camera Obscura, Cultural Critique, JCMS, Women & Performance. She is the editor of the forthcoming volume, Forms of Errantry. Her current academic book project examines the aesthetics of independent documentary and the failed dreams of decolonization in India from 1970s to the present. She received her PhD in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University and held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College.


Sexuality Beyond Consent- Risk, Race, Traumatophilia - Avgi Saketopoulou Book CoverBuy the Book

Sexuality Beyond Consent: Risk, Race, Traumatophilia is available to purchase from the Freud Museum Shop.

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Ticket pricing: Suggested donation £10. All proceeds from this event will support the Freud Museum London, which receives no regular government funding. We endeavour to make our events available to all, but we hope you can support our Museum as generously as possible.


20 November, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Tickets are based on a pay-what-you-can basis.
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