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SOC102H1 (285)

Sexuality Reading

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Lorne Tepperman

Oct 23 reading (1) Points 6: Sexuality Sex- both the biological characteristics that define a person as male or female; the act of sexual intercourse Sexuality- feelings of sexual attraction and any behaviour related to them Functionalism -sexual deviations (prostitution and pornography) play a valuable role in our society -all deviations test the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviour, and thus help society to celebrate and promote social cohesion Sexual deviance provides people with varied sexual outlets -prostitution gives people opportunity to fulfill sexual desires without putting undue pressure on spouses to engage in sex that they may not like -helps to keep families together Critical theory -dominant groups in society have the greatest influence over defining what kinds of sexual activities are to be considered normal and control whether they will be legal or illegal In prostitution, men gain income or pleasure, or both, by exploiting women (managers of an escort service, or purchasers of sexual service it provides) male prostitutes: gigolos Symbolic interactionism Sexual scripts- the guidelines that describe socially acceptable ways of behaving when engaging in sexual activities (sexually assertive man/ passive or resistant woman who is expected to desire less sex) -with more acceptance of varieties in the sexual behaviour, people see formerly abnormal behaviours as ‘normal,’ -interaction with members of minority sexual groups makes them more accepting of deviance -is useful in studying the socialization of prostitutes, their entry into the line of work, and how they develop strategies to deal with ‘johns’ and ‘pimps’ -also useful in studying the social construction of social problems around sexual activity Feminism -Canadian society is patriarchal (male-dominated), unfair, and exploitive of women and their bodies -sexually active teenage girls are condemned more strongly than sexually active teenage boys -gendering of blame: blames of teenage sex and pregnancy are directed at girls Boritch (1997) ‘fallen women’: one who has violated her gender role, losing her culturally required purity through Oct 23 reading (2) sexual looseness (troupe) -female prostitutes are seen as deviant, whereas male prostitutes are just out for fun Postmodernism -questions ‘normality,’ what we think is normal, and how we came to think that Michael Foucalt -modern thinking about sexuality = power structures of modern society (Christianity’s dominance) - sex is made an object of allegedly scientific analyses that offer knowledge and domination of their objects - homosexual marginal position helps understand how others interpret and act out their sexuality -any change in sexual thinking is just another form of constraint—not liberalization Sexuality= seeking pleasures and consuming commodities Classic Studies: The social organization of sexuality (1994) -Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels -sexually conservative nation -Americans favour monogamy both in principle and in practice -norm is to have more than one sexual partner in a lifetime -American marriage ‘regulates sexual behaviour with remarkable efficiency’ -people are more likely to have sex with others who are like themselves in many ways (religion, race, social class, age) Double standard—the notion that women are supposed to feel or behave differently from men where sexual matters are concerned Sexual infidelity- sexual relations between a married (or cohabiting) person and someone other than his or her spouse Marital infidelity -cyberspace relationships has increased the likelihood of marital infidelity at a distance -women are worried about their husbands’ emotional infidelity (online pictures) Classic Studies: The sociology of prostitution -Kingsley Davis -structural functionalist -prostitution fills a biological need when other intimate
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