Sexual Pleasure, By Kelly James: Textual Analysis

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Sexuality is a concept that has been socially constructed. People live their lives judging others and themselves based on what society has taught them to believe is “normal” and “abnormal” to the extent that they begin to neglect their own thoughts and beliefs. While many sexologists believe that sexuality is purely based on reproduction and heterosexuality, Freud encourages the idea that a person’s sexual instincts revolve more around their feelings for contentment and gratification. Kelly James reinforces Freudianism by sharing similar beliefs and ideas in her text, “Sexual Pleasure,” saying that pleasure is the main focus in a person’s sexual desires and that various cultures and the society have a huge influence on a person’s view on sexuality.…show more content…
She uses Freudianism to look beyond sexual intercourse and reproduction to explore the various types of pleasures and feelings that come with it. James captures Freud’s main point early on in the text by stating how people’s main motive in sex is to “have a good time” and how their “sexual desire, interest in sex, and sexual behavior mix together to yield pleasure” (James 32). Even though society constructs the idea that sexual expressions are based mainly around genitals and heterosexual activity, she also views non-genital pleasures to be normal and explains how they can occur in various different ways. A person does not only receive feelings of happiness and contentment through sexual intercourse, but can also achieve it by “exchanging glances or hearing a sultry voice” from someone nearby (James 33). James suggests that a person can realize they are “turned on” simply through a hug or a light smell of someone’s fragrance. The mind is the decision-maker of what happens next, but a person’s sense of touch, taste, smell and hearing are the things that trigger their desires. James explains that the moment the “body is aroused, the person chooses the partner(s) and the sex acts that yield pleasure” (33). This conveys that the rush of feelings from a person’s senses act as a trigger in wanting more, which demonstrates that the core to a person’s sexual desire is…show more content…
In the same way that Freud suggests the social environment shapes and influences a person’s “psyches and sexualities” (Seidman 5), James work reflects on that. James observes how societal norms affect a person’s judgment, behaviour and view towards various sexualities. People struggle to understand themselves, as they struggle between their sexual desires and the expectations of society. The way people view other sexualities and their own sexual identity is not entirely based on their own personal beliefs, but their society’s. For instance, any type of sexuality other than heterosexuality may be looked upon as a sin for some people, not because that is what they personally feel, but because that is what they are taught to believe in. Moreover, cultural norms influence what men and women perceive to be “sexy” or “appealing” by advertising products in different ways, such as by selling lace clothing for women or displaying images of muscular men or skinny, curvy-bodied women. These ideas of sexiness and what it means to be “feminine,” “beautiful,” and “masculine” is constantly being enforced, which influences people to believe that it is the correct way of thinking. Consequently, a person’s beliefs and sexual feelings are a mirror of the values, beliefs, and standards that the society has

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