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.
Part II: Constructing Sexual Meanings
This section deals with exploring changing cultural meanings around sex and sexuality, along with how they come to change. We view these four chapters as being in conversation with one another, about these changes on the one hand and responses to them on the other.
In Chapter 6, Elliott and McKelvy paint a picture that we suspect contemporary undergraduates will find familiar, but which veteran sex researchers may find shocking. From a “sex-positive” perspective, the implications are rather disturbing. Elliott and McKelvy reveal the extent to which contemporary sexual education appears to be committed to a discourse of sex as dangerous. Nationwide over the past two decades, sex education debates have resulted in a compromise of sorts: abstinence-focused or abstinence-only ...