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 V: Sexual Stories
In addition to the academic papers appearing in this book, we have also included several sexual stories or “narratives.” All but one of these are first person accounts written by nonsocial scientists about their personal experiences. We include these narratives for two reasons. First, they illustrate one of the core interests of symbolic interactionists, how people make sense of their behaviors and selves and their relationship to others as they progress through what sociologists have variously called “careers” (Becker 1963) or “moral careers” (Goffman 1961a). More importantly, however, we wish to provide students with an empathetic understanding of how people, who may feel stigmatized, cope with their situation. This is what Cooley (1909) called “sympathetic introspection.” The modern social psychologist, says ...