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Selves, Symbols, and Sexualities

Selves, Symbols, and Sexualities
An Interactionist Anthology

Edited by:

March 2014 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Offering an anthology of original articles on sexuality from a sociological perspective, this book focuses on the diverse and multi-layered meanings of sexuality, sexual behaviors, and sexual identities. The essays 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 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 I. Theorizing Sex
Ch.1 Sex, Symbolic Interactionism, and Social Constructionism by Chris Brickell
Ch.2 Muscle and Blood: Erotic Fantasy in Theory and Practice by Don Kulick
Ch.3 Stating Desire: Sexuality, the State, and Social Control by Misty Luminais
Ch.4 Scripting Sexual Practice in Differing Social Contexts: Young Women Negotiating Mothers' Expectations in Hong Kong and Britain by Stevi Jackson and Petula Sik Ying Ho
Ch.5 Sex as Theater: Action, Character and the Erotic by Charles Edgley
Part II. Constructing Sexual Meanings
Ch.6 Talking Sex: Parents, Schools, and Sexuality by Sinikka Elliott and Josephine Ngo McKelvy
Ch.7 Techno-sexuality: The Sexual Pragmatists of the Technological Age by Dennis D. Waskul
Ch.8 Painting Desire Pink: Meaning-Making at a Romance Sex Store by Alison Better
Part III. Negotiating Sexual Selfhood
Ch.9 "'Somewhere between Evangelical and Queer': Sexual-Religious Identity Work in an LGBT Christian Church by J. Edward Sumerau
Ch.10 Negotiating Promiscuity: Straight Edge (sXe), Sex, and the Self by Jamie L. Mullaney
Ch.11 The Challenges of Identity Formation for Bisexual-Multiracial Women of Asian/White Descent by Beverly Yuen Thompson
Ch.12 "Give Me a Dominant of Any Gender Over Any Kind of Non-Dominant": Sexual Orientation Beyond Gender by Brandy L. Simula
Part IV. Sex, Emotion, and Identity
Ch.13 "Bittersweet" Emotions, Identities, and Sexualities: Insights From a Lesbian Community Space by Clare Forstie
Ch.14 Not Necessarily Broken: Redefining Success When Polyamorous Relationships End by Elisabeth Sheff
Ch.15 A Symbolic Interactionist Approach to Asexuality by Susie Scott, Matt Dawson, and Staci Newmahr
Part V. Sexual Stories
Ch.16 The Unfortunate Adventures of a Girl in the Know by Stella Meningkat
Ch.17 Backroom "Dance" by Ruby Pearson
Ch.18 A Conflicted Mind by John P.
Ch.19 On Confessing One's Kink in a Sexuality Textbook by Tanya Bezreh
Ch.20 Intersections of Vampirism and Sexuality: A Narrative Description of a Vampire Feeding by D J Williams
Ch.21 Adjusting the Inner Face by Giselle Ridgeway

Brilliant selection of articles, and very nicely written covering a broad spectrum of papers theoretically admiring Symbolic Interactionism. I loved this book!

Dr Lyndsey Moon
Department of Psychology, Roehampton Univ.
June 2, 2014
Key features


  • All readings in the book are original works, written specifically for this collection and not available anywhere else.
  • Section introductions use theories from microsociology to frame the essays, and readings feature a clear and consistent symbolic interactionist perspective throughout the book.
  • Personal narratives with sociological framing are helpful for student engagement; real-life examples and implications for empathetic understanding are utilized and specifically designed and written for undergraduate students

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 10

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