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Title: plastic sexuality
Contributor(s): Hawkes, Gail  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: The concept of plastic sexuality is developed theoretically by Anthony Giddens (1993). "Plastic" refers to the malleability of erotic expression, in terms of both individual choice and frameworks of social norms. "Flexible sexuality" is argued to emerge in the context of the social changes in late modernity and postmodernity. It stands in contrast to the features associated with modernist sexuality, conceptualized as fixed, by biology or by social norms. "Fixed sexuality" is associated with the binaries of modernity – either heterosexual or homosexual, either marital (legitimate) or extramarital (illegitimate), either committed or promiscuous, either normal (coital) or perverse (anal, autoerotic, sadomasochistic).For Giddens, plastic sexuality is the consequence of effective contraception, of the economic and social independence of women that also "liberated" men from the constraints of traditional gender expectations. Plastic sexuality is that which can be shaped according to individual erotic needs and wants. It can also serve as a marker of individual identity and/or as the means by which to make radical sexual demands. Thus, the consequence of disengaging sex from reproduction is to increase the emphasis on pleasure and decrease the emphasis on phallic sexuality.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: Blackwell's Encyclopedia of Sociology, v.7, p. 3411-3413
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Place of Publication: Malden, Mass. USA
ISBN: 9781405124331
Field of Research (FOR): 160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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School of Psychology

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