The Importance Of Sexual Citizenship

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The debate about sexual ethics has, to date, largely been articulated in terms of sexual citizenship. Although some writers such as David Evans have seen sexual citizenship principally as a side-effect of capitalism; a ‘partial, private, and primarily leisure and lifestyle membership’ of society (1993:64) in which we trade the commodification of our lives for limited social rights, others have used the term to denote something which is a real cause for optimism. Jeffrey Weeks argues that the ‘sexual citizen’ is ‘a harbinger of a new politics of intimacy and everyday life’, a ‘hybrid being’ arising from the ‘intermingling of the personal and public’ and made possible by the shift towards detraditionalization, egalitarianism and autonomy in late…show more content…
Managed largely by women, this project involves the development of equality and self-determination in personal relationships. The key factors in this development are autonomy, respect, communication, the negotiation of rights and obligations, and the cultivation of accountability and trust. This evolution of life politics also makes possible the reintegration of sexuality and emotion in a form of eroticism deployed in the service of pleasure, communication and mutuality, rather than instrumentality and unequal power relations (Giddens, 1992:202). The establishment of what Ken Plummer terms an ‘intimate citizenship’ (Plummer, 1995, 2003b) which emphasizes radicalism, pluralism, democracy, participation, choice and difference are seen as providing an important corrective to the ‘anything-goes libertarianism’ (Weeks, 1999:44) associated with the hedonistic, consumerist and capitalist organisation of…show more content…
That is, it is celebrated in popular culture as an important ingredient in South Asian social life and flaunted to attract tourists to the region, yet is shrouded in double entendre, secrecy and shame. The present study presents a review of the main trends in studies of South Asian sexuality, arguing that while there are few exclusive studies on the subject there is much we can draw upon for insights into South Asian sexual relations, sexual expressions and sexual identities. Drawing from published as well as “grey” materials, this article points out that South Asian sexuality is often perceived and analysed as linked to force and (domestic) violence against women and children, and economic imperatives. It is also widely accepted as attached to heterosexuality and gendered imbalances of power, as well as to men’s sexual agency. Studies of same-sex relations, transactional sex, prostitution and sex tourism suggest, however, a far greater complexity, which demands more elaborate and complicated understandings of sexuality. Moreover, given the range of sexual practices and relations that appear in the studies, we argue here for a conceptualization of sexuality as semiautonomous from gender, and begin to map the contours of a specific area that can be designated as South Asian sexuality

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