218 Pages
    by Routledge

    218 Pages
    by Routledge

    Sexuality is the fifth revised and updated edition of the classic text for understanding human sexuality. This new edition brings the arguments and evidence fully up to date and explores their implication for many topical controversies, around LGBTQ+ rights, the trans experience and gender fluidity, same-sex marriage, sexual autonomy and consent, and the meanings of sexual choice.

    Since it was first published in the 1980s, Sexuality has been at the cutting edge of the study of the social and historical meanings of sexuality. Blending deep empirical knowledge with theoretical sophistication and an acute sensitivity to the politics of sexuality, the book offers an informed framework for understanding the complexities of sexual life. A key insight of the book is that the ways we think and speak about sexuality make a major contribution to the ways we live it. Sexuality may be rooted in biological possibilities, but it is shaped and experienced through languages and meanings which are inevitably historical and social in nature. The book explores with clarity and precision the invention and re-invention of sexual meanings, the question of what constitutes a true sex and the biological and social roots of sexual difference, the challenges of diversity, the re-making of sexuality as a highly divisive political subject and the implications of the transformation of intimate life in the past few generations. These are seen in the context of profound changes that are re-fashioning the world, especially globalisation, cyber-sex, and the rise of new forms of agency, including among women and LGBTQ+ people, which have fed into new claims for sexual human rights.

    This new edition of Sexuality will be an indispensable guide for students in the social sciences with an interest in the ever-changing worlds of sexuality.

    1 Introduction: languages of sex

    The significance of sexuality

    Words and meanings

    Sexualities in history and society

    2 The invention of sexuality

    A brief history of the history of sexuality

    A subject in constant flux

    The ‘social construction’ of sexuality

    The organisation of sexuality

    Why sexuality is important


    3 The meanings of sexual difference

    A true sex?

    The biological imperative

    Evolutionary diversions

    Biological modes of argument

    Sexuality and social relations

    Multiple realities and diverse social worlds

    Performing identities

    Sexuality and the unconscious

    Affect and the structuring of emotions

    Phobias and norms

    4 The challenge of diversity

    The language of perversity

    Categorising sexualities

    The discourse of diversity

    Deconstructing the categories

    Making choices

    5 Sexuality, intimacy and politics

    Sexuality on the front line

    Beyond tradition

    Living with uncertainty: HIV/AIDS

    Sexual and intimate citizenship

    Globalisation and human sexual rights

    6 Private pleasures and public policies

    The limits of science

    The ethical dilemma

    Towards sexual democracy

    The human gesture

     Suggestions for further reading


    Jeffrey Weeks is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at London South Bank University, UK. He is a renowned historian and sociologist of human sexuality and a pioneering writer on LGBTQ+ identities and ways of life. He is the author of numerous books including Sexuality and Its Discontents: Meanings, Myths, and Modern Sexualities (Routledge, 1985), The World We Have Won: The Remaking of Erotic and Intimate Life (Routledge, 2007), The Languages of Sexuality (Routledge, 2011), and Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800 (Fourth Edition, Routledge, 2017). His work has been widely recognised internationally and translated into various languages. He is the recipient of the Gold Medal of the World Association for Sexual Health and was awarded an OBE in 2012 for his contribution to social science.