This encyclopedia article on the philosophy of sexuality discusses the main themes, concepts, and debates in the field, including the metaphysics (or philosophical anthropology) of sex, the morality of sexual behavior, pragmatic and utilitarian evaluations of sexuality, and sexual perversion.
In theological discourse of sexuality, queer theory has often been regarded as an extension of the project of gay and lesbian liberation, when it actually challenges an organizing value of the entire discourse, because it challenges any ascription of ultimate value to "sex," an imaginative formation of power relations. Rather than appeal to God to authorize the privileged status of sex, queer commentary suggests that theological writers should refuse assertions of the absolute importance of any particular formation of human (...) imagination as a basis of relation between self and God. The goal is to recognize the violence—symbolized and real—that enforces the worth of certain imaginations of intelligibly sexed personal identity and stunts the formation of alternative imaginations of intelligible personal identity. Critical account of this violence as sentimental-homicidal-suicidal opens space to confess a theological discourse of personal identities that is entirely beyond sex. (shrink)
This paper investigates the way in which the sexuality of women has been posited in relation to rats as experimental subjects, exploring the stakes of a scientific debate that takes the social world of female sexuality as its focus and as a political problem. Studies that purport to understand female sexuality by investigating rat behavior rely on problematic assumptions about sovereign agents motivating sexual behavior. Such studies also aim to do away with so-called deviant sexual behaviors and, (...) as a consequence, gay people. Theories of agential realism and hybridity serve as counterforces to these inherently repressive perspectives by insisting on the multiple determinations of sexuality and subjectivity among women. (shrink)
Gender staff in the World Bank -- the world's largest and most influential development institution -- have a policy problem. Having prioritised efforts to get women into paid employment as the ȁ8cure-allȁ9 for gender inequality they must deal with the work that women already do -- the unpaid labour of caring, socialisation, and human needs fulfilment. This article explores the most prominent policy solution enacted by the Bank to this tension between paid and unpaid work: the restructuring of normative heterosexuality (...) to encourage a two-partner model of love and labour wherein women work more and men care better. Through a case study of Bank gender lending in Ecuador I argue that staff are trying to (re)forge normative arrangements of intimacy, a policy preference that remains invisible unless sexuality is taken seriously as a category of analysis in development studies. Specifically, I focus on four themes that emerge from the attempt to restructure heteronormativity in the loan: (1) the definition of good gender analysis as requiring complementary sharing and dichotomous sex; (2) the Bank's attempt to inculcate limited rationality in women such that they operate as better workers while retaining altruistic attachments to loved ones; (3) the Bank's attempt to inculcate better loving in men, such that they pick up the slack of caring labour when their (partially) rational wives move into productive work, and; (4) the invocation of a racialised hierarchy resting on the extent to which communities approximate ideals of sharing monogamous partnership. Aside from providing clear evidence that the world's largest development institution is involved in micro-processes of sexuality adjustment alongside macro-processes of economic restructuring, I also critique the Bank's sexualised policy interventions and suggest that they warrant contestation. (shrink)
In 2002 the constitutionality of the Sexual Offences Act, which criminalizes the behaviour of sex workers but fails to punish their clients, was at issue in the South African Constitutional Court. The majority of the Court held that the legislation does not constitute indirect discrimination on the basis of gender. The minority judgment found indirect gender discrimination, but held that the legislation did not infringe upon sex workers’ rights to dignity and privacy. This note argues that the reasoning in both (...) the majority and minority judgments reflects and contributes to detrimental stereotypes of feminine sexuality, which, in turn, exacerbate women’s vulnerability to H.I.V. infection in South Africa. (shrink)
This brief article introduces a special issue of Feminist Legal Studies addressing gender, sexuality and human rights, and comprising papers drawn from an E.S.R.C.-funded workshop held at the University of Kent in June 2004 on the theme of “Gender-Auditing the Human Rights Act”. The article begins by situating the themes of the special issue within the broader context of feminist engagement with rights discourse. It goes on to consider the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 into the U.K. (...) with a view to assessing its implications in terms of engendering a positive legal and political culture for equality-seeking initiatives. The article concludes with a survey of the contributions to the special issue, highlighting the possibilities for feminist theory and strategy posed by a wider intersectional engagement with rights issues. (shrink)
This is a book on feminist theory from a socialist-feminist (materialist feminist) perspective. I categorize existing paradigms of Western feminist theory in the 1980s and contrast them with my own view, which adds to a critique of capitalism inspired by Marxism another system in which male domination persists, which I call the system of "sex-affective production" (inspired but going beyond Freud, Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari). I also discuss motherhood and sexuality using my paradigm personally, politically and philosophically.
The papers in the following section arose from a roundtable discussion organised by the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality, titled ‘Law, Gender and Sexuality: The Making of a Field’. Participants in the roundtable were asked to reflect on the challenges confronting law, gender and sexuality (LGS) as an area of research and scholarship, and to ask what benefits, possibilities, risks and dangers accompany the establishment of a research terrain. The papers address such questions as (...) ‘what is a field and how is it made?’; ‘has LGS attained the status of a field?’; ‘what does it mean to locate oneself within the field of LGS?’; and ‘what is the relationship between feminism and LGS?’. They also consider possible future directions for the field of LGS. Together, the papers provide a variety of differing, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives on the developing body of intellectual and political activity that might be labelled ‘law, gender and sexuality’. (shrink)
Resumo Pergunta-se pelo elo de ligação entre as concepções de corpo e de sexualidade presentes em diferentes momentos da história do cristianismo-catolicismo e o lugar ocupado pelo corpo e pela sexualidade na cultura mais ampla, em períodos históricos paralelos. Descobriu-se, então, alguns elos de ligação que, por sua vez, estão fortemente interligados entre si: vida, morte, medo, pecado. Para realizar a análise de tal fenômeno, utilizou-se o pensamento de autores que tinham apresentado os significados do corpo e da sexualidade como (...) construções culturais; buscou-se verificar, a partir da literatura disponível: como o medo da morte, que é um dado da natureza humana, se expressa nas concepções de corpo e de sexualidade apresentadas pela tradição cristã-católica; como se percebe esse medo hoje e como ele repercute nas concepções de corpo e de sexualidade na atualidade. A investigação apontou para a conclusão de que um dos possíveis motivos pelos quais o cristianismo-catolicismo investe tanta energia no controle da sexualidade e do corpo é que este representa um espaço de enfrentamento do medo da morte. Tal concepção encontra eco na cultura mais ampla, levando as pessoas a aderirem, ainda que parcialmente, por tanto tempo, o ideário cristão-católico de controle da sexualidade e do corpo. Palavras-chave: corpo; sexualidade; medo; catolicismo.Our questions refer to the connection among existing body and sexuality conceptions in different moments of Christian-catholic history as well as to the place occupied by those conceptions within a broader culture, establishing a parallel to historic periods. We face a few connected links that remain strongly interacted among themselves such as: life, death, fear and sin. In order to accomplish our analyses we rely on the thoughts of authors that have shown the meanings of body and sexuality as cultural constructions. Through the available literature we search to verify how fear of death, recognized as a characteristic of human nature, is expressed in the conceptions of body and sexuality shown by Christian-catholic tradition; also how this fear is perceived today and how it reflects upon the conceptions of body and sexuality nowadays. The research pointed to the conclusion that one of the possible reasons why Christianity-Catholicism invests so much energy in the control of sexuality and the body is that this represents an area of confrontation of fear of death. Such design is echoed in the wider culture, leading people to join, albeit partially, for so long, the ideal Christian-Catholic control of sexuality and the body. Key words: body; sexuality; fear; Catholicism. (shrink)
This article endeavours to open up a dialogue between succession law and the field of gender, sexuality and the law. It presents a detailed analysis of five cases concerning inheritance disputes relating to lesbians or gay men. The sexuality of the parties in the cases is ‘doctrinally irrelevant’ but the analysis demonstrates the significance of sexuality in the resolution of the legal disputes. In doing so it identifies how legal discourse remains a critical site for the production (...) of societal norms and in particular how lesbian and gay perspectives reveal the gendered assumptions underlying a number of key succession law doctrines. It emphasises the importance of taking difference seriously and the limits to formal legal equality. (shrink)
Understanding female sexuality and mate choice is central to evolutionary scenarios of human social systems. Studies of female sexuality conducted by sex researchers in the United States since 1938 indicate that human females in general are concerned with their sexual well-being and are capable of sexual response parallel to that of males. Across cultures in general and in western societies in particular, females engage in extramarital affairs regularly, regardless of punishment by males or social disapproval. Families are usually (...) concerned with marriage arrangements only insofar as those arrangements are economically or politically advantageous, but females most often have a voice in arranged marriages. Extended families also concentrate on a couple’s future reproduction rather than on sexual exclusivity. Although marriage for females is often compromised by male or family reproductive interests (which may not in fact differ from female interests), females appear to exercise their sexuality with more freedom than has previously been suggested. Notions of human females as pawns in the male reproductive game, or as traders of sex for male services, should be dispelled. (shrink)
The evolution of nonconceptive sexuality in bonobos and chimpanzees is discussed from a functional perspective. Bonobos and chimpanzees have three functions of sexual activity in common (paternity confusion, practice sex, and exchange for favors), but only bonobos use sex purely for communication about social relationships. Bonobo hypersexuality appears closely linked to the evolution of female-female alliances. I suggest that these alliances were made possible by relaxed feeding competition, that they were favored through their effect on reducing sexual coercion, and (...) that they are ultimately responsible for the relaxed social conditions that allowed the evolution of “communication sex.”. (shrink)
Foucault’s critique of the science of sexuality takes aim at both Freud and science. Foucault does not, as is common, seek to undermine psychoanalysis by claiming that it does not meet the rigors of science. Instead, he shows that scientific and psychoanalytic theories intersect because they are mechanisms of modern politics—biopolitics. Foucault suggests that politics determines the value of life and these sciences help to disseminate and promote knowledge about the privileged lives and lifestyles. Psychoanalytic, biological, and anatomical readings (...) of sexuality are given credence because they dovetail with the dominant political discourse about life. (shrink)
In Method in Theology (chapter 3) Lonergan points to a parallel between instances of a mediated return to immediacy: “Finally there is a withdrawal from objectification and a mediated return to immediacy in the mating of lovers and in the prayerful mystic’s cloud of unknowing.” Soto’s essay explores the question: “If it is possible, as some couples report, for the mating of lovers to be a prayerful, mystical experience, what does this mean?”Soto explores the physiological, psychological and spiritual dimensions of (...) the lover’s immediacies. She finds three centers of natural immediacies in the lovers’ return via their lovemaking, and one supernatural immediacy. They include a primitive psychological state, Lonergan’s notion of spontaneous intersubjectivity, and the self-presence of contemplation. All three immediacies have transformative potential for the lovers, and position them for mystical experience. The fourth center of immediacy is the supernatural gift of the indwelling Christ. His presence in the lover’s awareness is mystical immediacy. Christ is mediator and mediated in the couple’s objectification of their mystical immediacy and their ensuing graced living, or, life of prayer.Through scholarly research and supporting, concrete interviews of couples, Soto sketches out some of the ways the lovers cooperate with the precept to “be in love.” The ethic is framed around the developments and conversions in Lonergan’s trajectory that moves from eros to friendship and to a special order of charity. (shrink)
This book traces the genealogy of ideas of reason, self and sexuality in the West, opening the way to a richer and more diverse understanding of sexual experience. Western philosophy and religion have distorted and continue to distort our experience of sex and love through three far-reaching constellations of reason, self and sexuality. Thinkers like Plato, Aquinas and Kant helped to fashion an ascetic ideal of reason hostile to bodily pleasures and sexual diversity. By contrast, philosophical hedonism advocates (...) a less demanding conception of rationality and defends sexual pleasure. But this approach of thinkers like Hume, Bentham, La Mettrie and de Sade is still one-sided and limiting. A third constellation, Romanticism avoids the limitations of both forms of rationalism, but in the name of a religion of love and passion that ultimately threatens the integrity of the self. In Reason and Sexuality in Western Thought, a richer understanding of sexual experience is traced to a dissident philosophical tradition. In their different ways Montaigne, Spinoza, Hegel and Kierkegaard, Marcuse and Foucault contribute to a more holistic, multi-layered and open conception of reason, sexuality and the self. This book will be essential reading for all students of philosophy and gender studies. (shrink)
A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality offers an historical sociological analysis of ideas about expressions of sexual desire, combining both primary and secondary historical and theoretical material with original research and popular imagery in the contemporary context. While some reference is made to the sexual ideology of Classical Antiquity and of early Christianity, the major focus of the book is on the development of ideas about sex and sexuality in the context of modernity. It questions the widespread assumption (...) that the anxieties and fears associated with old sexual mores have been overcome in the late twentieth century context, and asks whether the discourses of Queer sexual politics have successfully fractured the binary categories of heterosexuality and homosexuality. A Sociology of Sex and Sexuality will be of interest to students in the fields of sociology, sexual history, gender studies and cultural studies. (shrink)
The term queer has recently come into wide use to designate distinctive emphases in the politics and the intellectual study of sexuality. This article explores the unfortunate irony that most work falling under the rubric of queer theory has been undertaken largely at some remove from the discipline of sociology, despite the pioneering role that an earlier generation of sociologists played in formulating influential conceptions of the social construction of sexuality. The article suggests important continuities between the earlier (...) sociological theories and recent queer theory, but also analyzes the new challenges that queer theorists have posed by insisting on the indispensability of questions of sexual "marginality" to the larger understanding of social and cultural organization. The article concludes by suggesting how sociologists might engage with such a project. (shrink)
This paper outlines the main tenets of poststructuralism and considers how they are applied by practitioners of queer theory. Drawing on both Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, queer theory explores the ways in which homosexual subjectivity is at once produced and excluded within culture, both inside and outside its borders. This approach is contrasted with more sociological studies of sexuality (labeling theory, social constructionism). Whereas queer theory investigates the relations between heterosexuality and homosexuality, sociologists tend to examine homosexual identities (...) and communities, paradoxically ignoring the social construction of heterosexuality. Poststructuralism can inform a sociological approach to sexuality by emphasizing the generative character of all sexual identities. A sociological study of sexuality which is informed by poststructuralism would examine the exclusions implicit in a heterosexual/homosexual opposition. In this process, bisexual and transgender identities can become viable cultural possibilities, and a broad-based political coalition established. Whereas mainstream sociology focuses on the ways in which homosexuals are outside social norms, and whereas queer theory exploits the ways in which this outside is already inside, this perspective suggests that a critical sexual politics seeks to move beyond an inside/outside model. (shrink)
Fundamentalist forms of religion today claim authority everywhere, including the debates over the politics and constitutional law of liberal democracies. This book examines this general question through its critical evaluation of a recent school of thought: that of the new natural lawyers. The new natural lawyers are the lawyers of the current Vatical hierarchy, polemically concerned to defend its retrograde views on matters of sexuality and gender in terms of arguments that, in fact, notably lack the philosophical rigor of (...) the historical Thomism they claim to honor. The book critiques forms of fundamentalism and offers an original argument both for how they arose and why they are unreasonable in contemporary circumstances. (shrink)
My essay is framed by Hypatia's first special issue on Motherhood and Sexuality at one end, and by the most recent special issue (as of this writing) on the work of Iris Young, whose work on pregnant embodiment has become canonical, at the other. The questions driving this essay are: When we look back over the last twenty-five years, what has changed in our conceptions of pregnancy and maternity, both in feminist theory and in popular culture? What aspects of (...) feminist debates from the 1970s and 1980s are still relevant today? And, how might what appear to be radical shifts in popular perceptions of pregnancy actually continue traditional values that objectify and “abjectify” the maternal body?Here, I will focus on three central elements of the revaluation of pregnancy and maternity as they show up in feminist philosophy and in popular culture: 1. The relationship between pregnancy and sexuality, both in terms of pregnant sexuality and in terms of the pregnant body as sexual object; 2. The “choice” to become a mother as a “feminist choice”; 3. The temporality of pregnancy and birth as marking something like “women's time.”. (shrink)
This essay brings to bear insights from continental philosophers Michel Foucault and Judith Butler on the science of (homo)sexuality and, more importantly, the desire to use such science to resolve contemporary conflicts over homosexuality’s acceptability. So-called queer science remains deeply beholden to modern notions of sex, gender, and sexuality, the author argues, a schematic that its premodern (Christian) roots further denaturalize. The philosophical insights drawn from this analysis are then applied to the controversy over homosexuality within global Christianity (...) that often pits the backward former colonies against the modern west. (shrink)
: This paper investigates the mutual embeddedness of "nature" and "culture," as well as the intersections between race, gender, and sexuality, in the story of the HeLa cell line as viewed by a practicing feminist scientist. It provides a feminist analysis of the scientific discourse surrounding the HeLa cell line, and explores how feminist theories of science can provide a constructive and critical lens through which laboratory scientists can view their work.
Exploring the idea of knowledge as embodied, engendered and embedded in place and space, gender and sexuality are re-examined through the methodological and conceptual lenses of cartography, fieldwork, resistance, transgression and the divisions between local/global and public/private space. BodySpace brings together some of the best known geographers writing on gender and sexuality today to explore the role of space and place in the performance of gender and sexuality. The book takes a broad perspective on feminism as a (...) theoretical critique, and aims to reassess notions of sexuality, citizenship, work, violence, "race" and disability in their geographical contexts. (shrink)
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well. In The Mirror of the Self , Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self. Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this (...) complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus , for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea , The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception. Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike. (shrink)
In this paper, I provide an analysis of the emergence of “problematic of alien sexuality.” I first locate discourses about “alien sexuality,” and the so-called anchor baby in particular, within other national discourses surrounding maternity, the fetus, and citizenship. I analyze the ways that national political discourses surrounding “anchor babies” and “alien maternity” construct the “problematic of alien sexuality,” thus constituting the “alien” subject as always-already perverse. I suggest that this production of a sexually deviant and threatening (...) “alien” subject functions in the normative dichotomy that places the sexually pure citizen on the one hand, and the perverse anticitizen on the other, in what I call “backwards uncitizening.” My analysis of this process shows that the perverse “alien” subject, as constituted in significant part by nonjuridical normalizing mechanisms of biopower, resists the juridical discourse that is supposed to determine it. (shrink)
Sexual self-determination is considered a fundamental human right by most of us living in Western societies. While we must abide by laws regarding consent and coercion, in general we expect to be able to engage in sexual behaviour whenever, and with whomever, we choose. For older people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), however, the issue becomes more complex. Staff often struggle to balance residents' rights with their duty of care, and negative attitudes towards older people's (...) class='Hi'>sexuality can lead to residents' sexual expression being overlooked, ignored, or even discouraged. In particular, questions as to whether residents with dementia are able to consent to sexual activity or physically intimate relationships pose a challenge to RACF staff, and current legislation does little to assist them. This paper will address these issues, and will argue that, while every effort should be made to ensure that no resident comes to harm, RACFs must respect the rights of residents with dementia to make decisions about their sexuality, intimacy and physical relationships. (shrink)
Many feminists have found inspiration in Donna Haraway's myth of the cyborg (1990). From the standpoint of feminist bisexual identity, however, I contend that this myth evades the very issues of race and sexuality which it seems to be addressing. I examine the uses of a bisexual standpoint for a more concrete, situated approach to theorizing sexuality, arguing that reflection on racial identities must be incorporated as well.
This anthology of contemporary articles (and court cases provides a philosophical analysis of race, sex and gender concepts and issues. Divided into three relatively independent yet thematically linked sections, the anthology first addresses identity issues, then injustices and inequalities, and then specific social and legal issues relevant to race, sex and gender. By exposing readers to both theoretical foundations, opposing views, and "real life" applications, the anthology prepares them to make critically reasoned decisions concerning today's race, gender and sex social (...) issues. Sex and Gender Identity. Sexuality and Sexual Orientation. Race and Ethnicity. Racism. Sexism. Heterosexism and Homophobia. Equality and Preferential Treatment. Discriminatory Harassment. Identity Speech and Political Speech. Sexual Speech. Sexual Assault. For anyone interested in the philosophical underpinnings of today's Race, Sex, and Gender issues. (shrink)
The practice of confessing one's sexual sins has historically provided boys and men with mixed messages. Engaging in coercive sex is publicly condemned; yet it is treated as not significantly different from other transgressions that can be easily forgiven. We compare Catholic confessional practices to those of psychoanalytically oriented male writers on masculinity. We argue that the latter is no more justifiable than the former, and propose a progressive confessional mode for discussing male sexuality.
I argue that Spinoza’s account of appetition, and its application to human sexuality, is more original than many commentators suggest; and that it offers resolutions to several puzzles in the philosophy of sex. The paper first situates these puzzles in contemporary debates, offers a detailed analysis of Spinoza’s remarks on love in general and sexual love in particular, and concludes with some of the normative consequences which Spinoza attempts to derive from these.
This is a review essay that also serves as an introduction to the other essays in the issue. It discusses feminist theory's relation to Freud, feminist ethical questions on motherhood and sexuality, the historical question of how systems of socially constructed sexual desire connect to male dominance, the question of the role of the body in feminist theory, and disputes within feminism on self, gender, agency and power.
If Augustine's view of human sexuality is to be understood properly, it must be represented across the history of creation, fall and redemption. His notion of sexuality prior to the fall, although defective in its understanding of personal bodily presence, does integrate sexuality into the essentially human. His account of fallen sexuality expresses not a body-soul dualism but a disordering of the self which finds a partial and redemptive remedy in the "goods of marriage." His treatment (...) of sexuality in relation to redemption-in-course has a distinctively historical dimension that must be respected if sexuality is not to be left merely to the endless rhythms of nature, but drawn into the human story in its Christian telling. (shrink)
There are three “scandals” that appear in most discussions of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), the so-called father of modern Art History: his allegedly careerist conversion to Catholicism in 1754; his semi-secret homoerotic discourse while under Vatican employ in the early-to-mid 1760s; and his shocking murder in Trieste in 1768. Of the three, Winckelmann's sexuality has garnered the most attention in recent scholarship. A little-known story reported by Casanova during his second visit to Rome in 1761 has something to do (...) with that. In this essay, I argue that we make too much of sexuality these days and, in so doing, fail to register the far more radical religious activities in which Winckelmann was involved, most notably the creation and curation of the Vatican Museums, with their almost casual display of naked statues of pagan divinities. Winckelmann's “profanity,” not his sexuality, constitutes the revolutionary core of his life's work and enduring influence. The statues he discussed so passionately were not simply naked; they were pagan. (shrink)
The last decade has seen the transformation of the study of sexuality from a marginalized effort to a fully respected discipline at many major universities. There are numerous publications devoted solely to the topic and queer theory, a force to be reckoned with, has its own celebrities. Nonetheless, queer studies is considered to be the brainchild of the humanities, with the social sciences slowly coming around to apply its principles to empirical research. Long, Slow Burn, a powerful collection of (...) essays by Kath Weston, argues that social science has been talking about sex all along; to deny this one would have to overlook Kinsey's pioneering sex research in the 1950s, or the psychiatrist Evelyn Hooker's pathbreaking study of homosexuality, but also in the "sex talk" that lies at the heart of classic debates on kinship, inequality, cognition, and other foundational topics in the social sciences. What is different now, Weston claims, is the way sexuality has been isolated from other contemporary issues. Long, Slow Burn lays out a radically different approach to the study of sexuality. Not content with its ghettoization as a contained subfield, Weston refuses to draw an artificial line around sexuality. Her essays do not attempt to make sexuality a discrete object of study. Rather, each essay "sexes up" a conventional subject, such as kinship, race or labor, proving that once you start paying attention to sexuality, you can never look at social issues in the same way again. Long, Slow Burn offers an intervention, an attempt to see sexuality as it permeates the multiple fibers of our social fabric. It demonstrates that sexuality has always been a part of the social sciences, but more importantly, is the key to their future. (shrink)
The subject of sexuality among elderly patients with dementia was examined, focusing on two main aspects: the sexual behaviour of institutionalized elderly people with dementia; and the reactions of other patients, staff and family members to this behaviour. The behaviour was found to be mostly heterosexual and ranged from love and caring to romance and outright eroticism. Reactions varied, being accepting of love and care but often objecting to erotic behaviour. Understanding of the sexual needs of elderly people should (...) become an integral part of the training and continued education of health care staff, thus helping to resolve conflicts and clarify common misconceptions. (shrink)
In this essay, I offer an interpretation of J. G. Fichte’s account of human sexuality and its relation to sexual inequality and social justice and apply this interpretation to contemporary questions about gender, equality and justice. According to my interpretation of Fichte, sexual intercourse provides a primary natural relationship—initiated by woman—wherein human beings cultivate their capacities for communication or reciprocal influence by expressing desires guided by both feeling and reason. Thus, the interchange of sexual love and solicitude is the (...) original basis for all other social skills and ultimately for any form of social justice. (shrink)
Research over the last decades has stimulated a paradigm shift in biology from assuming fixed and dichotomous male and female sexual strategies to an appreciation of significant variation in sex and sexual behaviour both within and between species. This has resulted in the development of a broader biological understanding of sexual strategies, sexuality and variation in sexual behaviour. However, current introductory biological textbooks have not yet incorporated these new research findings. Our analysis of the content of current biology texts (...) suggests that in undergraduate biology curricula variation in sexual behaviour, sexual strategies and sexuality barely feature, even though sex is discussed in a range of contexts. In this aspect, biological teaching is lagging behind current research. Here, we draw attention to new findings in the biology of sex, and suggest how these might be incorporated in undergraduate teaching to provide a more contemporary and inclusive education for biology students. (shrink)
In this essay I examine the history of the sexuality debates among feminists. In both the nineteenth century and the recent sexuality debates the personal is taken to be foundational for a political stance, while simultaneously the debates transform feminist understandings of the extent to which the personal is political. I suggest that this transformation undermines the epistemological assumptions of the debates, resulting in a feminism that cannot be radical.
This paper aims to deal with the change of sexual discourse through the rise of a feminist movement in Korea from a constructivist point of view. First, the paper discusses the Confucianism of the Chosun dynasty as an historical background of the issue of sexuality (since Confucianism still has a far-reaching grip and effect on many aspects of everyday life in Korea). Second, it deals with chastity ideology and the double standard of sexuality between men and women as (...) ongoing Confucian sexual discourses. Third, it focuses on three themes: (1) the change from sex for procreation to sex for pleasure, (2) the change from genitally-oriented sexuality to intimacy- or relationship-oriented sexuality, and (3) the change from a woman as a sexual object to a sexual subject as part of the changes of sexual discourses. Fourth, it tries to show clashes and/or alliances between the Confucian and feminist discourses on sexuality, which make up the process of the social construction of sexuality. This shows that sexuality is a socio-historical construction in Korea as elsewhere. (shrink)
In America by the 1930s, albino rats had become a kind of generic standard in research on physiology and behavior that de-emphasized diversity across species. However, prior to about 1915, the early work of many of the pioneer rat researchers in America and in central Europe reflected a strong interest in species differences and a deep regard for diversity. These scientists sought broad, often medical, generality, but their quest for generality using a standard animal did not entail a de-emphasis of (...) organic diversity. They chose white rats as test animals for two primary reasons. First, rats develop very slowly. They therefore made features of physiological, neural and psychological development accessible to the experimental method at a time when its application to the phenomena of development remained controversial. Secondly, rats were thought to have unusually strong sex drives. For this reason they became central to the experimental study of sexuality and, in the work of the reproductive physiologist Eugen Steinach, sexual development. Connections among three research institutes that stressed experimental approaches to the study of brain and development demonstrate the importance of the rat's institutional role. As the emphasis on experimentation in the study of development grew, two of these institutes bred rats to provide uniform materials. Eventually, however, their reasons for selecting rats were lost; and the ready availability of a uniform test animal led to a shift in scientists' presumptions about diversity, as the standard rat became a tool for assuring generality. (shrink)
Abstract Because norms related to sexuality are an important determinant of the nature of society, sexuality education in schools is the subject of passionate debate. This discourse reflects a struggle between Restrictive and Permissive sexual ideologies. These ideologies compete for influence in shaping sexuality education. As a result, some sexuality education programmes constitute ideological indoctrination. Many other programmes, because of the ideological conflict surrounding sexuality, omit important sexual health information. The objective of this paper is (...) to articulate the basic parameters of a democratic philosophy of sexuality education. The aim of this philosophy is to accommodate ideological pluralism related to sexuality while simultaneously ensuring that educational programmes provide the necessary information and skills to facilitate the human right to sexual health. Based on Rawls? (1993) theory of political liberalism, this philosophy proposes that sexuality education ought to be centred upon the overlapping consensus within a democracy on the right to freedom of belief. In contrast to many prevailing forms of sexuality education, it is contended that a democratic educational approach must facilitate the ability to deliberate critically between competing ideological perspectives on sexuality. The Canadian Guidelines for Sexual Health Education are offered as an example of a democratic philosophy of sexuality education. In conclusion, evidence is provided to suggest that parents support a democratic approach to sexuality education. (shrink)
Abstract This paper suggests that sexuality education needs to take into account the myths by which teachers educate and students learn. Here myth is understood as a narrative, paradigm or vision. The paper does not argue against myth. Rather, it argues that myth or narrative provides a much needed depth dimension to sexuality education. It does argue, however, that the existing myths serve sexuality education poorly. The final section of the paper proposes three narratives which provide rich (...) alternatives to the dominant myth. (shrink)
This article argues that the social constructivist paradigm falls into the same dualistic trap as biological essentialism when attempting to respond to questions of gender and sexuality. I argue that social constructivism, like biological determinism, presumes a ‘split’ world, where subjective lived experiences are separated from the world of socio-cultural forces. Following a phenomenological approach, grounded in Merleau-Ponty’s ontological view of the body, this article attempts to move beyond the dualistic metadiscourses of social constructivism in maintaining that identity is (...) a fully embodied process. I see gender and sexuality as necessarily embodied and corporeally constituted. In the light of this, I propose an understanding of gender and sexuality that focuses on the centrality of the body as open project. This approach sees gender and sexuality as embodied processes that are enmeshed with the complex fabric of lived everyday experiences and concurrent socio-cultural and historical processes. Drawing on real-life examples, I conclude that gender and sexual embodiment are not one-dimensional according to a binary system of male versus female. Rather, given the documented experience of the indeterminacy and ambiguity of human existence, there are a variety of possible embodiments of humankind. (shrink)
This paper looks to evolve a discourse about the body in medieval women's mystical experience via an understanding of the life and work of Saint Catherine of Genoa as écriture-féminine. Drawing upon Catherine's resolution of binarism through the articulation of sexuality and textuality, I argue that the female mystic's experience of the body as site of struggle helps move beyond analysis of a binary experience to a politics of speaking the body directly.
This study considers the role of epistemic turning points in the historiography of sexuality. Disentangling the historical complexity of scientia sexualis, I argue that the late 19th century and the mid-20th century constitute two critical epistemic junctures in the genealogy of sexual liberation, as the notion of free love slowly gave way to the idea of sexual freedom in modern western society. I also explore the value of the Foucauldian approach for the study of the history of sexuality (...) in non-western contexts. Drawing on examples from Republican China (1912—49), I propose that the Foucauldian insight concerning the emergence of a ‘homosexual identity’ in the West can serve as a useful guide for thinking about similar issues in the history of sexuality and the historical epistemology of sexology in modern East Asia. (shrink)
Introduction : critical ethics, or, the subject of reform -- An ethics of Gesellschaft -- The "new ethic" : a particularist challenge -- Conflicted sexualities and conflicted secularisms -- Global influences, local responses -- Moral laws and impossible laws : the "female homosexual" and the Criminal Code -- Social matters : social democracy and the ethics of materialism -- Losses and unlikely legacies : psychoanalysis and femininity -- Afterword : moral citizenship, or, ethics beyond the law.