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Women's Studies, Gender, and Sexuality > Human Sexuality

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The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

Vol. 23 (2014) through current issue

The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality (CJHS), published since 1992, is the scholarly, peer reviewed journal of the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN). The journal publishes articles from a variety of disciplines related to the study of human sexuality. The journal prioritizes the publication of scholarship addressing the sexuality and sexual and reproductive health of Canadians. However, articles from other countries are also welcomed.

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The Castration of Oedipus

Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism, and Feminism

Joseph Smith, Carla Ferstman

The intellectual movements of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and feminism have redefined the ways in which we think about human experience. And yet, an integration of these movements has been elusive, if not impossible. In this landmark book, J.C. Smith and Carla J. Ferstman combine these disparate traditions to create a provocative, unified, and tightly woven perspective that transcends the misogyny implicit in much of Freudian psychoanalytic theory.

The dialectics of domination and submission are central to Smith and Ferstman's argument. Men and women, they insist, must avoid the temptation to fetishize equality and recognize the roles of domination and submission in the human psyche, or, in Nietzsche's terms, the Will to Power. They argue that the unification of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and feminism leads us to a shocking conclusion--that women and men cannot move beyond the suffering which so haunts the human condition, unless heterosexual men surrender the power that is causing their misery and affirm life by joyfully accepting domination by women. And women, conversely, must reaffirm their power by rejecting Oedipal genderization and embracing a liberating matriarchal consciousness and a matriphallic sexuality.

A work of tremendous insight and extraordinary intellectual energy, The Castration of Oedipus will provoke strong reactions in all readers regardless of ideology.

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The Color of Kink

Black Women, BDSM, and Pornography

Ariane Cruz

The Color of Kink explores black women's representations and performances within American pornography and BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism) from the 1930s to the present, revealing the ways in which they illustrate a complex and contradictory negotiation of pain, pleasure, and power for black women.             

Based on personal interviews conducted with pornography performers, producers, and professional dominatrices, visual and textual analysis, and extensive archival research, Ariane Cruz reveals BDSM and pornography as critical sites from which to rethink the formative links between Black female sexuality and violence.  She explores how violence becomes not just a vehicle of pleasure but also a mode of accessing and contesting power.  Drawing on feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, and media studies, Cruz argues that BDSM is a productive space from which to consider the complexity and diverseness of black women's sexual practice and the mutability of black female sexuality. Illuminating the cross-pollination of black sexuality and BDSM, The Color of Kink makes a unique contribution to the growing scholarship on racialized sexuality.

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Constructing Medieval Sexuality

Karma Lochrie

This collection is the first to be devoted entirely to medieval sexuality informed by current theories of sexuality and gender. It brings together essays from various disciplinary perspectives-literary, theological, philosophical, medical, historical, and art historical-to consider how the Middle Ages defined, regulated, and represented sexual practices and desires.

Always considering sexuality in relation to gender, the body, and identity, the essays explore medieval sexuality as a historical construction produced by and embedded in the cultures and institutions of that period. Examining a range of medieval texts and images, the contributors explore the medieval understanding of sodomy, the historical construction of heterosexuality, the polymorphous erotics of female mysticism, and the intersections of sexuality with race, gender, and religion. This work not only offers new perspectives on the ways in which queer theory might inform our views of sexuality in medieval Europe, but also suggests that medieval constructions of sexuality may offer important contributions to both queer theory and the history of sexuality.

These essays, situated in the context of current debates, linger over various definitions of medieval sexuality; they speak to each other in their differences and their similarities to further productive thinking about the sometimes conflicting and always fascinating ways in which the Middle Ages regarded sex and sexuality.

Contributors: E. Jane Burns, U of North Carolina; Joan Cadden, U of California, Davis; Michael Camille, U of Chicago; Dyan Elliott, Indiana U; Louise O. Fradenburg, U of California, Santa Barbara; Mark D. Jordan, U of Notre Dame; Steven F. Kruger, CUNY.

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Conversations about Psychology and Sexual Orientation

Janis Bohan, Glenda Russell

Psychology's approach to sexual orientation has long had its foundation in essentialism, which undergirds psychological theory and research as well as clinical practice and applications of psychology to public policy issues. It is only recently that psychology as a discipline has begun to entertain social constructivism as an alternative approach.

Based on the belief that thoughtful dialogue can engender positive change, Conversations about Psychology and Sexual Orientation explores the implications for psychology of both essentialist and social constructionist understandings of sexual orientation. The book opens with an introduction presenting basic theoretical frameworks, followed by three application sections dealing with clinical practice, research and theory, and public policy. In each, the discussion takes the form of a conversation, as the authors first consider essentialist and constructionist approaches to the topic at hand. These thoughts, in turn, are followed by responses from distinguished scholars chosen for their expertise in a particular area.

By providing an array of comments and thoughtful responses to topics surrounding psychology's approaches to sexual orientation, this valuable study sheds new light on the contrasting views held in the field and the ways in which essentialist and constructionist understandings may be applied to specific practices and policies.

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Diversité sexuelle et constructions de genre

Edited by Line Chamberland

Ce livre examine les dimensions socioéconomiques, professionnelles, familiales, relationnelles et psychologiques afin de mieux saisir les variations existant entre hommes et femmes, et leurs problèmes psychosociaux spécifiques et les formes de sexisme et d'homophobie qui peuvent être amplifiées par les préjugés racistes ou ethniques dans le cas des groupes ethnoculturels.

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An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain

Adrienne Laskier Martin

Early modern Spanish literature is remarkably rich in erotic texts that conventionally chaste critical traditions have willfully disregarded or repudiated as inferior or unworthy of study. Nonetheless, eroticism is a lightning rod for defining mentalities and social, intellectual, and literary history within the nascent field that the author calls erotic philology. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain takes sexuality and eroticism out of the historical closet, placing them at the forefront of early modern humanistic studies.

By utilizing theories of deviance, sexuality, and gender; the rhetoric of eroticism; and textual criticism, An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain historicizes and analyzes the particular ways in which classical Spanish writers assign symbolic meaning to non-normative sexual practices and their practitioners. It shows how prostitutes, homosexuals, transvestites, women warriors, and female tricksters were stigmatized and marginalized as part of an ordering principle in the law, society, and in literature. It is against these sexual outlaws that early modern orthodoxy establishes and identifies itself during the Golden Age of Spanish letters.

These eroticized figures are recurring objects of contemplation and fascination for Spain's most canonical as well as lesser known writers of the period, in a variety of poetic, prose and dramatic genres. They ultimately reveal attitudes towards sexual behavior that are far more complex than was previously thought. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain thoughtfully anatomizes the interdisciplinary systems at the heart of the varied sexual behaviors depicted in early modern Spanish literature.

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Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities

Freud and Beyond

Nancy J. Chodorow

Nancy J. Chodorow takes her fellow psychoanalysts to task for their monolithic and pathologizing accounts of deviant gender and sexuality. Drawing from her own clinical experience, the work of Freud, and a close reading of psychoanalytic texts, Chodorow argues that psychoanalysis has yet to disentangle male dominance from heterosexuality. Further, she demonstrates the paucity of psychoanalytics understanding of heterosexuality and the problematic polarizing of normal and abnormal sexualities. By returning to Freud and interpreting psychoanalysis through clinical eyes, Chodorow contends that psychoanalysis must consider individual specificity and personal, cultural, and social factors. Such a methodology entails a plurality of femininities and masculinities and enables us to understand a variety of sexualities.

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Flirting with Danger

Young Women's Reflections on Sexuality and Domination

Lynn Phillips

In Flirting with Danger, Lynn M. Phillips explores how young women make sense of, resist, and negotiate conflicting cultural messages about sexual agency, responsibility, aggression, and desire. How do women develop their ideas about sex, love, and domination? Why do they express feminist views condemning male violence in the abstract, but often adamantly refuse to name their own violent and exploitive encounters as abuse, rape, or victimization?

Based on in-depth individual and collective interviews with a racially and culturally diverse sample of college-aged women, Flirting with Danger sheds valuable light on the cultural lenses through which young women interpret their sexual encounters and their experiences of male aggression in heterosexual relationships.

Phillips makes an important contribution to the fields of female and adolescent sexuality, feminist theory, and feminist method. The volume will also be of particular use to advocates seeking to design prevention and intervention programs which speak to the complex needs of women grappling with questions of sexuality and violence.

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Heinrich Kaan’s “Psychopathia Sexualis” (1844)

A Classic Text in the History of Sexuality

by Heinrich Kaan and Edited by Benjamin A. Haynes and translated by Melissa Haynes

"With Heinrich Kaan's book we have then what could be called the date of birth, or in any case the date of the emergence, of sexuality and sexual aberrations in the psychiatric field."⎯Michel Foucault, Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1974–1975

Heinrich Kaan’s fascinating work—part medical treatise, part sexual taxonomy, part activist statement, and part anti-onanist tract—takes us back to the origins of sexology. He links the sexual instinct to the imagination for the first time, creating what Foucault called “a unified field of sexual abnormality.” Kaan’s taxonomy consists of six sexual aberrations: masturbation, pederasty, lesbian love, necrophilia, bestiality, and the violation of statues. Kaan not only inaugurated the field of sexology, but played a significant role in the regimes of knowledge production and discipline about psychiatric and sexual subjects.

As Benjamin Kahan argues in his Introduction, Kaan’s text crucially enables us to see how homosexuality replaced masturbation as the central concern of Euro-American sexual regulation. Kaan’s work (translated into English for the first time here) opens a new window onto the history of sexuality and the history of sexology and reconfigures our understanding of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s book of the same name, published some forty years later.

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