Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Best Sex Writing 2008

I went to a reading on Thursday night from Best Sex Writing 2008. It’s an excellent collection of essays covering topics from circumcision to racial identity in human sexuality research. I am really impressed by the work that is being done in sexuality. We’ve come a long way since Freud. We’ve even come a long way since Foucault addressed the nature of identity thereby (in my opinion) creating the foundation for modern research in human sexuality.

As anyone who has ever written, in an academic fashion, about human sexuality can attest it is a fine balance between professional and boring; between sexy and lewd; and between mass market appeal and pop-psychology. It is a balance that I believe is very important to this field because I am not interested in writing sex for men in white lab coats. I am not interested in recording data in the annals of scientific journals. No, I want my work to be accessible and influential on an individual level. Foucault gave us the parameters in which to do our research. However, it is contemporary authors such as Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, and Dossie Easton who gave us sexual non-fiction that penetrates our own lives. They laid the foundation for a sex-positive culture, and for the acceptance of sex work. They addressed our own desires, and challenged our established notions of morality. This is not social science research in the tradition of Freud, it is a personal narrative steeped in the methods of women’s studies courses, and second wave consciousness-raising. As such, I would not call it science. Though there is some excellent scientific research being done on topics such as the physical phenomena of orgasm, the effects of circumcision, and spread of sexual transmitted diseases, the field of human sexuality emerges from an interdisciplinary curriculum and must broach the spectrum from biology to fine art.

A couple of days ago I was slightly drunk and planning the rest of my life with a friend over drinks in the Mission. It had been a toss-up as to whether, come Fall, I would be applying to graphic design programs or human sexuality/sociology programs. My reaction to the idea of putting off a graduate program in human sexuality demonstrated to my own satisfaction that this is what I want to do with my life. I don’t actually know what I would do with a master’s in human sexuality. I suspect I would get a PhD and sell my soul to academia. My mother did it, and her father before her – it’s a family tradition. Hell, in my family you sit at the kids table until they can call you doctor. “Could you pass the potatoes, Doctor.” It’s really interesting to work with sex in a non-sexual manner. It makes perfect sense to me, but it’s hard to explain to other people. Maybe I’m over saturated, after all sex isn’t just a fun thing I do late at night, it’s my work, my writing, and my art. To do that, and still be able to interact with society at large, requires some compartmentalization, but I think that’s a post onto itself.

Written by kinkinexile

March 30, 2008 at 3:13 am

3 Responses

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  1. Academic sexuality makes more sense to me than its real-life, practical counterpart. And academia is something to be treasured. I say go for it.

    alterisego

    March 30, 2008 at 6:39 am

  2. I find your project excellent, worth establishing a research centre and an associated Ph D program. I would like to know more, since I only know Foucault (who was a must at the epoch, when I was teaching Economcs at Architecture, Venice; plus my brother made his studies upon him) of the frontline people you mention, unfortunately not yet
    “contemporary authors such as Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, and Dossie Easton who gave us sexual non-fiction that penetrates our own lives. They laid the foundation for a sex-positive culture, and for the acceptance of sex work. They addressed our own desires, and challenged our established notions of morality”.

    enzofabioarcangeli

    April 11, 2008 at 5:28 am

  3. Wonderful post – and go for the masters in sex – I did and it’s a great degree to have! Not many people have it or know it exists. It’s a really fun conversation starter as well. My husband and I got our degrees at the same time, so it makes for extremely good conversations. lol Just do it! 🙂

    Speak Sexy

    July 31, 2008 at 1:53 pm


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