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 18: A Conflicted Mind
A Conflicted Mind
EDITORS’ NOTES: John P.'s story about his struggle with his sexual identity is a common one (see Plummer 1995; Weinberg 1983). Succinctly titled, “A Conflicted Mind,” his narrative perfectly illustrates the problems many gay men have in converting doing into being. John, like Stella and Ruby, suffered from cognitive dissonance, although the sources of his discomfort are different. “I didn't want to be gay,” he writes. “I wouldn't allow myself to be gay. I could change this. I was just going through a phase. ‘It'll pass,’ I kept telling myself.” His feelings are similar to those of “Thomas,” a college student quoted by Savin-Williams (2005), who fluctuated between seeing himself as straight, bisexual, ...