Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes throughout Our Lives

Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes throughout Our Lives

Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes throughout Our Lives

Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes throughout Our Lives

Synopsis

Sexual beliefs, behaviours and identities are interwoven throughout our lives, from childhood to old age. An edited collection of original empirical contributions united through its use of a distinctive, cutting-edge theoretical framework, Sex for Life critically examines sexuality across the entire lifespan. Rooted in diverse disciplines and employing a wide range of research methods, the chapters explore the sexual and social transitions that typically map to broad life stages, as well as key age-graded physiological transitions, such as puberty and menopause, while drawing on the latest developments in gender, sexuality, and life course studies. Sex for Life explores a wide variety of topics, including puberty, sexual initiation, coming out, sexual assault, marriage/life partnering, disability onset, immigration, divorce, menopause, and widowhood, always attending to the social locations - including gender, race, ethnicity, and social class - that shape, and are shaped by, sexuality. The empirical work collected in Sex for Life ultimately speaks to important public policy issues, such as sex education, aging societies, and the increasing politicization of scientific research.Accessibly written, the contributions capture the interplay between individual lives and the ever-changing social-historical context, facilitating new insight not only into people's sexual lives, but also into ways of studying them, ultimately providing a fresh, new perspective on sexuality.

Excerpt

John Delamater and Laura M. Carpenter

How do sexual and social experiences—childhood sex play, immigration, or divorce, for example—at one point in a person’s life affect his or her sexual beliefs and behaviors later on? How are individuals’ sexual biographies shaped by broader cultural and historical changes, such as the sexual “revolution” of the late 1960s and the early 1970s or the increasing availability of same-sex marriage? in what ways do intersections among gender, race, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation influence these life course processes, even as life course processes influence those intersecting social statuses in turn? We explore these questions in this book.

As a relatively new area of inquiry, the study of human sexuality from a life course perspective is rapidly coming into its own. This burgeoning field began in earnest in 1994, with the publication of Alice Rossi’s highly regarded edited volume, Sexuality across the Life Course (University of Chicago Press). Since then, scholars of sexuality have greatly expanded the range of topics they study as well as the theoretical approaches they deploy. Although the sexual scripting approach remains ascendant, other perspectives—from biopsychosocial models to Foucauldian genealogies to Bourdieuian fields approaches —are increasingly employed. Life course theory and research have evolved as well, with researchers increasingly replacing models of linear progress—for instance, from education to work to retirement—with perspectives positing multiple and overlapping trajectories, such as work, health, and sexuality, that extend from birth to death. in addition to these theoretical and substantive developments, the past 15 years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of scholars interested in sexuality and the life . . .

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