Sexuality and Modernity
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Sexuality is a multi-valued concept. It most clearly embodies the relationship between biological and social aspects of human behavior. In everyday practice, sexuality is usually defined as biologically determined motivation or impulse to the opposite sex (normal sexuality) or any other object (the so-called deviant sexuality), which is manifested in behavior (Blatterer 2014). During the previous century, the processes of sociological investigation largely influenced the distribution of marginal sexuality, the revision of the concepts and norms regarding sexual behavior. Therefore, nowadays, what was once considered a perverse sexuality (for example, homosexuality, sadism, masochism) are now increasingly seen as a manifestation of normal sexual behavior. Moreover, the vision of “normal” and “deviant” changed a lot. Therefore, this paper aims to reflect and investigate the transitional processes within society in terms of sexuality, which led to its current state.
Irvine claims that “sociology has an impressive history of denaturalizing sex and theorizing its social origins” (2003, p. 430). The overwhelming majority of people consider sexuality being far from sociological science. However, sociology can tract and explain the transition of sexuality notion to what people observe nowadays. Irvine tracts the history of sexuality notion in the sociology from the early twentieth century and claims that the social transitions and changes happening in the society directly influenced the notion as people know it now. The only conclusion after this is that the democratization of sexuality from the one side made the society more free and tolerant o “deviants,” but on the other – it led to the fact that today’s “sexual climate is far more complex and far more problematic” (Jakson 2008, p. 59).
Modern sexuality can be considered as wide sexual experimentation (Armour 2010). Despite the development and democratization of sexuality, the situation of social “disconfirmation,” in which deviants are placed, not only has a negative impact on their personality, but also pushes on the creation of separate “closed” subculture, the entry which provides a high level of social adaptability. Being a deviant means being a member of a separate and, to some extent, unique society. Alienating this subculture, suppressing the “deviant” society does not allow “deviants” to develop a socially acceptable behavior model, therefore they do not have socially regulated transition from game to serious life and a favorable context for the establishment of permanent links is also absent (Irvine 2003). Therefore, the way of life established by homosexuals and other “deviants” from the one side separates them from the “normal” society and gives the power to be unique: empowers it for further existence and development (Irvine 2003).
Modern sexuality notion helps to define what is normal, what is deviant and whether one should divide the society into normal and deviant in terms of sexuality (Armour 2010). From the beginning of the pervious century until nowadays, the sexuality from the reproduction terms turned into self-hood and self-actualization (Irvine 2003). The development and transition of sexuality into sociological notion was pusshed not only by sociology itself but also by other studies: feminism, gender studies, political studies, and even pharmacy. The sexual revolution, i.e. transition of sex from something intimate to something opened, made Viagra not only a popular sexual drug, but also gave a push to further development of sexuality (Tiefer 2008). After Viagra establishment, the sexual problem became not the thing to hide, but an issue to treat.
The question of sexuality in modern time is still acute since the issue of deviance and normality still stays opened. The urgency of a comprehensive sociological analysis for deviance is determined by the need to systematize and rethink the experience of related sciences, lack of a unified sociological theory of sex-deviance, the importance of socio-cultural reframing and changing the auto- and heterostereotypes about deviants in contemporary society leading to the rigidity of social systems. In this regard, the need for a sociological analysis of sexuality seems natural both in terms of gender sociology and deviance sociology, and in the aspect of contemporary realities of social development.
The considered question of sexuality started to develop as early as at the beginning of the previous century and still have not achieved its final point (Irvine 2003). The set of issues should be overcome in order for sexuality to be perceived as something natural and for it to become the individual choice of every individual. The question of society rigidity comes to the foreground and the question of its readiness to such progressive step. In addition, the further study is required for understanding the sexuality and its perception by the society.
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