How are sexuality and erotic desire expressed in language? Do gay men and lesbians have a language of their own? Does 'no' always mean no? Is sexual desire beyond words? This lively and accessible textbook looks at how we talk about sex and why we talk about it the way we do.
Drawing on a wide range of examples, from personal ads to phone sex, from sadomasochistic scenes to sexual assault trials, the book provides a clear introduction to the relationship between language and sexuality. Using abroad definition of 'sexuality', the book encompasses not only issues surrounding sexual orientation and identity – for instance whether gay men and lesbians use language differently from straight people – but also questions about the discursive construction of sexuality and the verbal expression of erotic desire.
Cameron and Kulick contextualize their findings within current research in linguistics, anthropology and psychology, and bring together relevant theoretical debates on sexuality, gender, identity, desire, meaning and power.
Topical and entertaining, this much-needed textbook will be welcomed by students and researchers in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology and gender/sexuality studies, as well as anyone interested in the relationship between language and sex.
DEBORAH CAMERON is Professor of Languages at the Institute of Education, University of London. She is the author of numerous books, including Feminism and Linguistic Theory (1992), Verbal Hygiene (1995) and Good to Talk (2000).
DON KULICK is Professor of Anthropology at New York University. His published works include Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction (1992), Taboo (1995, with Margaret Willson) and Travesti (1998). He is co-editor of the journals Ethnos and GLQ.