sex and sociology

A lot of people in sociology study sexuality, but precious few study the act itself. Even less outside of sociology. This is unfortunate because sex should be very important to all of the social sciences. In my intro class (see tomorrow’s post), I have a section on the sociology of sex where I explain why sex should be of extreme importance to social science:

  • No sex, no people. No people, no sociology.
  • Sex is, for most people, an important factor in personal well being and life satisfaction.
  • Sex affects health – people can contract STD’s from unsafe sex.
  • Sex is associated with social identities. For example, in Laumann et al.’s study, enjoyment of sexual experiences is highly correlated with religion. It was also found that ethnicity correlates with specific practices.
  • There are a lot of taboos and other forms of social control aimed at sex.

These strike me as rather important, and rather obvious, reasons to study sexual practice from a social science perspective. Yet, in many quarters, even within sociology, sex is still a marginal topic and it doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Tomorrow, I’ll discuss my freshman course and the section on sex.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street!!


Written by fabiorojas

April 20, 2015 at 12:01 am

Posted in fabio, sociology

7 Responses

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  1. I was thinking, the other day, about the act of sex as a performed interaction (i.e., Goffman). This lead me to think about the kind of aligning actions (disclaimers or accounts) that–perhaps–a transgender individual might have to perform in a sexual act with a new partner. I’m thinking this something we couldn’t study. But I wish we could!



    April 20, 2015 at 4:54 am

  2. Actually, now that I think about it, Weinberg at Indiana studied deviant sexual acts. Not anything with transgendered folks, and not sex as a performance (that I know of). But he did study Zoophilia and what the sexual act entails for the participants. Super interesting.



    April 20, 2015 at 5:32 am

  3. Randall Collins has a whole chapter on sexual interaction in the Interaction Ritual Chains.



    April 20, 2015 at 7:01 am

  4. Laude Humphreys’ Tearoom Trade and Tavory and Swidler’s “Condom Semiotics” come to mind. As is the debate on whether there is such a think as a “hook up” culture.



    April 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm

  5. thing, not think*



    April 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

  6. Reblogged this on les idées qui plaisent ou pas and commented:
    un blog que j’aime


    Lony Mugisha

    April 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm

  7. While the sexual revolution of the 1960s was clearly a good thing, I think that it has now gone too far, leading to a society that is literally obsessed with the mechanics of sex. It would be interesting to explore why this is the case and its implications from a social science perspective.



    April 27, 2015 at 4:47 am

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