Sex-Positive Criminology proposes a new way to think about sexuality in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. Sex-positivity is framed as a humanizing approach to sexuality that supports the well-being of self and others. It is rooted in the principle of active and ongoing consent, and it encourages perspectives that value bodily autonomy, the right to access education, and respect for sexual difference. In this book, the authors argue that institutions such as prisons, schools, and healthcare facilities, as well as agents of governments, such as law enforcement, correctional officers, and politicians, can unduly cause harm and perpetuate stigma through the regulation and criminalization of sexuality.
In order to critique institutions that criminalize and regulate sexuality, the authors of Sex-Positive Criminology examine case studies exploring the criminalization of commercial sex and related harm (at the hands of law enforcement) experienced by those who sell sex. They investigate sex education in schools, reproductive justice in communities and institutions, and restrictions on sexuality in places like prisons, jails, juvenile detention, and immigrant detention facilities. They look into the criminalization of BDSM practices and address concerns about young people’s sexuality connected to age of consent and privacy violations. The authors demonstrate how a sex-positive perspective could help criminologists, policymakers, and educators understand not only how to move away from sex-negative frameworks in theory, policy, and practice, but how sex-positive criminological frameworks can be a useful tool to reduce harm and increase personal agency.
Written in a clear and direct style, this book will appeal to students and scholars in criminology, sociology, sexuality studies, cultural studies, criminal justice, social theory, and all those interested in the relationship between sexuality and the crimino-legal system.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part One: Reducing Harm, Increasing Agency 1.Selling Sex 2.Institutional Violence Against Those Who Sell Sex 3.Sexual Education 4.Reproductive Justice Part Two: Decriminalizing Desire 5.Carceral Facilities 6.BDSM and Consent 7.Young People’s Sexual Identities and Behaviors Epilogue: Since We Started Writing This Book
Aimee Wodda is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Law and Society at Pacific University. Her research focuses on the intersection between institutionalized forms of harm and gender, sexuality, and the law.
Vanessa R. Panfil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University. She is also the author of The Gang’s All Queer: The Lives of Gay Gang Members (NYU Press, 2017).
'Wodda and Panfil’s Sex-Positive Criminology is an act of courage—the courage to explore sexuality, desire, crime, and criminal justice in all their perilous complexity. Brilliantly critiquing those institutions of control that stigmatize and criminalize human sexuality, the book in turn proposes an inclusive, sensual, liberatory rethinking of criminology itself.'
Jeff Ferrell, Professor of Sociology, Texas Christian University, Author of Drift: Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge
'This book is long overdue and sheds a much-needed light in understanding sex-positivity in criminological theory and research. Traditional criminology scholars often explore sexuality negatively, as it pertains to sexual deviance and violence. With a sex-positivity framework, Wodda and Panfil offer the reader a more nuanced and complex "sexual universe" to consider and fully shed light on the harms caused by regulating and criminalizing sexuality. This book is a fascinating read for anyone interested in sex, law, crime, and justice.'
Lisa Pasko, Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology, University of Denver, Author of Girls, Youth Justice and the Regulation of Sexualities