Social constructionism and sexual desire


Authors
James Giles
Roskilde University
Abstract
Various scholars argue that sexual desire is socially constructed. There is, however, little agreement surrounding the nature of social constructionism. Vance contrasts social constructionism here with a cultural influence model and distinguishes between degrees of social constructionism. There are, however, problems with this classification. These problems can similarly be found with Foucault whose arguments fail to support his claim that sexual desire is a social construction. Difficulties also appear in Simon and Gagnon's scripting theory of sexual desire, a theory that is commonly applauded as establishing a social constructionist account. This is because scripting theory depends entirely on theatrical metaphors. But there is much inconsistency involved in applying such metaphors to everyday life. This does not, however, imply a biological essentialist view of sexual desire must be true. For there is the further alternative that sexual desire has its origin in existential features of human awareness. Sexual desire arises simply because we are aware of both our own gender and the genders of others, and that gender phenomenologically presents itself to us as something in need of completion. This awareness is something that is fundamental to the human condition and thus has little to do with social construction.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2006.00305.x
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Sexual Desire.James Giles - 2008 - University Press of America.
From Inwardness to Emptiness: Kierkegaard and Yogacara Buddhism.James Giles - 2001 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (2):311 – 340.
Desire, Sexual.R. Jacobsen - 2006 - In Alan Soble (ed.), Sex From Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia. Greenwood Press. pp. 222--228.

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Citations of this work BETA

Sex Hormones and Sexual Desire.James Giles - 2008 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 38 (1):45–66.
Naked Love: The Evolution of Human Hairlessness.James Giles - 2010 - Biological Theory 5 (4):326-336.

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