This proposed book is an anthology of both original and reprinted articles on sexuality from a sociological perspective. The readings in this collection focus on the diverse and multi-layered meanings of sexuality, sexual behaviors and sexual identities. The essays in this book will explore sexuality as a social process. As a whole, the book takes the perspective that what each of us understands to be sexual is constructed through everyday social processes and interaction, situated in particular spaces and moments, identified through our social-sexual presentations, and symbolized through language, objects and practices. The book is organized around these four distinct but interrelated processes, and augmented by personal narratives around relevant issues. The purpose of this book is to broaden students' perspectives on sexuality by providing them with a consistent framework to help them understand sexualities as social phenomena. The authors' goals for the book are: to engage students in the sociological enterprise by providing interesting and insightful entries that emphasize the importance of meaning-making in human sexuality, and to provide them with conceptual tools to understand human sexuality in a complex and quickly-changing sexual landscape.
Chapter 1: Sex, Symbolic Interactionism, and Social Constructionism
Sex, Symbolic Interactionism, and Social Constructionism
Sexuality is a profoundly social phenomenon. When we talk about sex, we use the language provided by our culture. We may be “horny,” “celibate,” or “lesbian”—all three at once, perhaps—“puritanical,” “bisexual,” or “vanilla.” When we have sex, we work with numerous social expectations: Who should we get together with, where should we do it, and what should it feel like? Our media tells us all about sexuality on a daily basis. Newspapers, magazines, and websites reveal celebrity relationships and affairs, show us the sexiest bodies, and instruct us on the secrets of better sex. The social construction of sexuality is even more profound than this. What activities ...