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Journal Cover   Sexuality & Culture
  [SJR: 0.269]   [H-I: 9]   [15 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1095-5143 - ISSN (Online) 1936-4822
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2302 journals]
  • Do I Qualify for a Love Relationship? Social Norms and Long-Distance
           Relationships in Post-Soviet Latvia
    • Abstract: Not all couples live together; some partners live far from each other, causing potential challenges to relationship maintenance in terms of keeping the relationship ongoing. In the present study, complications in relationship maintenance experienced by heterosexual long-distance partners in post-Soviet Latvia are analysed. The complications are examined in the light of social norms as conceptualized by Parsons and Shils (Toward a general theory of action. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1962) in their notion of dominant value orientations. The article suggests that the norm conflicts experienced by the long-distance partners are illustrative of the value transitions in societies undergoing rapid social change, such as in Latvia. The analysis is based on 19 in-depth interviews with individuals with long-distance relationship (LDR) experience. The social norms complicating or hindering LDR maintenance were found to be generation-specific and gender-specific. The interviewees born and raised in Soviet Latvia referred to collective-oriented norms while the interviewees born in the independent neo-liberal Latvia referred to their own interests that complicated their LDR maintenance.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Sexuality of ‘Dehumanized People’ across Post-Soviet
           Countries: Patterns from Closed Residential Care Institutions in Lithuania
    • Abstract: Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, former Soviet countries inherited a widely developed network of residential social care institutions intended for persons who have intellectual disabilities. Monitoring inspections carried out by disability and human rights organizations in these regions reveal fundamental human rights violations at the institutions concerned. The aim of this article is to analyze one of the most severe and under-reported human rights violations experienced by women who have intellectual disabilities, while residing in social care institutions: the violation of their sexual and reproductive rights.
      Authors of this article employ Foucault’s viewpoint with regard to disciplinary society and understanding of control of sexuality as an expression of power. The institutional culture that prevails in residential care institutions and allows room for hiding serious human rights violations is also discussed in this article. Restrictions imposed on sexuality in care institutions are not merely limited to a number of individual cases, but they are connected with broader systematic issues. Above all others, the system of residential care institutions itself allows for violations of most of its residents’ rights to occur, including violations of sexual and reproductive rights. None of these rights can be safeguarded and promoted sporadically or partially; therefore, systematic changes are needed, as well as shifts in public mentality and amendments in mental health policy.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Banning “Homosexual Propaganda”: Belonging and Visibility in
           Contemporary Russian Media
    • Abstract: This article investigates Russian mainstream media’s coverage of the 2013 legislation banning “propaganda for non-traditional sexuality”. Inspired by theories on belonging, media and visibility, it reconstructs a dominant narrative representing non-heterosexuals as threatening the future survival of the nation, as imposing the sex-radical norms of a minority onto the majority, or as connected to an imperialistic West which aims to destroy Russia. This story, it is argued, functions as a hegemonic grammar regulating how non-heterosexuality is seen and heard in the public sphere. However, it is argued that sometimes the linearity and cohesiveness of the narrative breaks down, when things appear that do not fit this model of interpretation. The analysis illustrates how contestations of belonging in contemporary media are increasingly structured according to the logic of visibility: dominant actors attempt to regulate what can be seen and heard in the public sphere whereas oppositional actors attempt to establish their own visibility in the mediated space of appearance, putting forward alternative constructions of the nation and who belongs to it.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • The Changing Meanings of Russian Love: Emotional Socialism and Therapeutic
           Culture on the Post-Soviet Screen
    • Abstract: Based on an analysis of post-Soviet Russian cinema and TV productions, this article explores the new emotional culture in post-Soviet Russia and the ways in which it articulates the concept of love. The new emotional style develops through the adoption of popular psychologized therapeutic models and genres of the emotional culture of late capitalism. The article deciphers the encounter of different scenarios of love at the contemporary “therapeutic turn” in Russian culture. I argue that in Russia, the therapeutic script of love meets powerful cultural counterparts, either anchored in the Russian literary tradition, Soviet discursive culture, or constituted in the post-Soviet condition. I use Anna Karenina as a key Russian love scenario, and then refer to contemporary media productions that echo this canonical Russian-Soviet love model and represent its post-Soviet treatments. Some post-Soviet versions differ both from the vantage point of Russian psychological prose and from the global media narrative of therapeutic love. Engaging with the well-established model of “emotional capitalism”, I introduce its contemporary Russian post-Soviet alternative of “emotional socialism” and the moments in which the categories of emotional socialism pose a challenge to the “therapeutic”.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Receiving Gifts for Sex in Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk: A Compensated Dating
    • Abstract: “Compensated dating” (CD) indicates the exchange of sexual intimacy for material compensation. This article investigates CD as receiving gifts for sex, such as luxuries, rent, travel, or monetary gifts. It proceeds by describing who engages in the practice and why, while comparing Russia with its cultural and linguistic neighbors, Ukraine and Belarus. A survey, which was answered by a representative sample (n = 678) from the cities of Moscow, Kyiv, and Minsk, indicates that CD reception rates are comparable to elsewhere in the world. Moreover, while these cities have similar CD rates, there are important inter-city differences in the characteristics that make people more or less likely to take part. CD reception is linked to status in Kyiv and Moscow but is more closely tied to economic survival in Minsk. Moreover, while Kyiv and Moscow CD reception is affected by the importance of instrumental economic logic within relationships, there is no indication that other relationship values, such as love, have suffered as a result. This paper contributes to the literature on CD by describing the practice for the first time using a wide sample in Eastern Europe, noting its prevalence in diverse cities, and characterizing those who are most likely to receive gifts for sex.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Post-Soviet Intimacies: An Introduction
    • Abstract: This article frames the “Post-Soviet Intimacies” special issue collection. We begin through briefly using Russia as a special case for the wider Soviet sphere and situating recent Russian developments in sexual politics alongside its internal and external conflicts. Our key interpretive frame is that intimacy politics serve as a master key for understanding political and economic patriarchy. After this, we provide some definitions of our concepts, describe our approach and process of creating the special issue, and introduce important literature which is widely applicable for understanding this theme as a whole. Finally, we briefly introduce the seven articles of this special issue within three wider groupings of Harnessed-, Material-, and Scorned Intimacies. We suggest that readers analyze our contributions from a perspective that situates intimacies as the objects of state and market power, where the linchpin of such power is the patriarchically naturalized pursuit of rule.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Political Awareness and Self-Blame in the Explanatory Narratives of LGBT
           People Amid the Anti-LGBT Campaign in Russia
    • Abstract: How do homo- and bisexual people explain the launch of a homophobia campaign that violates their basic human rights? Which narratives do they use to adjust to the hostile environment? On the basis of 77 in-depth problem-centered interviews with LGBT in Russia we explore the explanations they use to talk about their experience of a homophobia campaign. Respondents demonstrate their awareness of the political reasoning behind the campaign and explain it as a tool for electoral mobilization, the repression of pro-Western oriented opposition and as a part of biopolitical technologies adopted by the government to increase its control over people’s bodies and minds. Contrary to intuitive expectations, this political awareness does not protect the informants from self-blame, social escapism and moral suffering.
      PubDate: 2015-06-01
  • Homophobic Labeling in the Process of Identity Construction
    • Abstract: Abstract Even if from a cultural level we have implemented substantial progress in terms of discrimination, in many countries gay people are still considered abnormal or deviant. This view still triggers stigmatization and labeling that affects how people, not just homosexuals, represent themselves and how they interact. This research examines the labeling processes suffered, and the role that they have played in homosexual identity construction, in particular with regard to homophobia. Based on semi-structured interviews, applied to homosexuals coming from the same Italian region, we have found that labeling on the part of friends and acquaintances has affected people’s lives, especially during adolescence. We also highlighted theories used by the interviewees on how to handle labeling, and where one can get ideas for improving interventions against discrimination to be implemented in educational contexts, especially with regard to the need to counter the internalization of homophobia.
      PubDate: 2015-05-24
  • Women’s Experiences of Sexual Pleasure in Ghana
    • Abstract: Although sexual intercourse is an important aspect of women’s sexuality, there is little knowledge on how women experience sexual pleasure in Ghana. In this paper we explore how women and men express sexual pleasure and highlight women’s experience of sexual pleasure based on the narratives of 20 women and 16 men. Specifically, we focus on describing how women and men understand sexual pleasure, the factors that stimulate sexual pleasure, and show how women experience it. The interviewee’s expressions of sexual pleasure were symbolic and had both direct and indirect manifestation. Ejaculation was reported to indicate a direct manifestation of sexual pleasure. Screams, facial and other expressions were reported to indicate indirect experiences of sexual pleasure, and were seen to be associated with female sexuality more than male sexuality. Women and men expressed sexual pleasure in a variety of ways (e.g., ejaculation, screaming, “good pain”, treating a partner nicely after sex, asking rhetoric questions during sex, and prolonged sex intercourse) and there were no differences in the meanings both women and men ascribed to sexual pleasure, regardless of their demographic profiles. Women reported experiencing sexual pleasure as their male partners did based on meanings they attach to erotic sensuality as expressed in romance, foreplay, and physical attractiveness. If sex is sexually stimulating (e.g., due to a partner’s agreeable personal hygiene), women would engage in it. Well-intentioned sexuality programmes emphasizing partners’ touching each other for pleasure, as well as educating partners to maintain erotic sensuality is compelling for inducing sexual pleasure.
      PubDate: 2015-05-19
  • For Black Models Scroll Down: Webcam Modeling and the Racialization of
           Erotic Labor
    • Abstract: This article presents data from a sociological investigation of online webcam modeling. Webcam models represent a cohort of sex workers who sell a range of erotic fantasy to online voyeuristic patrons—from benign conversation to exotic strip tease to explicit sex acts. First, the article presents descriptive data based on participation observation on the website of focus, which here will be called Second, this article presents statistical analyses of models’ success as measured by the website-generated camscore (how the site measures monetary model success) with the independent variables of race and nation of origin (N = 343). Also drawing on data from participant observation, and by applying intersectionality, this study aims to highlight the intricate ways that race-, class-, and gender-based inequities are perpetuated on a popular webcam site. Webcamming is a form of online body work that is highly racialized. Given that scholars have recognized the ways in which the conditions of labor impact a sex worker’s success, experiences of exploitation, job satisfaction, and agency, this article examines race as a factor that overwhelmingly thwarts the success of black women in the online world of webcam modeling.
      PubDate: 2015-05-15
  • Profiles of Risk for HIV/AIDS Among Young Malawian Adults: Understanding
           Behavioral Intentions
    • Abstract: Young adults are especially vulnerable to HIV and engage in sexual activities that expose them to the HIV virus. Although into a third decade of HIV/AIDS epidemic, few studies have examined the heterogeneity in the population of young adults at risk for HIV in Malawi. This study utilizes a Latent Class Analysis method to identify profiles of young adults at most risk for contracting HIV/AIDS to include: High Risk and At-Risk. A Chi squared test was used to determine whether class membership was associated with reported changes in sexual behavior to avoid HIV. The results indicate that of young adults who report to change their behaviors, 61.4 % were in the At-Risk Group, whereas 38.6 % were in the High Risk Group. We conclude that practice and policy measures that involve High Risk Group would be beneficial. This group would benefit from additional interventions encouraging them to change their sexual behaviors. Results from this study highlight the importance of identifying profiles of culturally formed attitudes, beliefs, and norms as a step towards targeting interventions that may decrease the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among young adults.
      PubDate: 2015-05-15
  • Cultural Scripts, Reasons for Having Sex, and Regret: A Study of Iranian
           Male and Female University Students
    • Abstract: The present study aims to identify the relationship between the experience of the first sexual intercourse and its ensuing regret among Iranian male and female university students. The population studied includes 2566 students from five universities in Tehran and Tabriz, which was selected through a stratified convenience sampling method. We apply discriminant analysis (DA) and Chi square test to analyze the data. The findings reveal that men are more driven by pleasure, recreation, peer pressure and impulsivity into having sex. According to DA, females—either regretful, and unregretful—have emotional reasons for engaging in sexual intercourse, while males, either regretful or unregretful, do not have such reasons. On the other hand, both regretful males and regretful females engage in sexual intercourse impulsively. We discuss that, although cultural scripts discriminate between males’ and females’ reasons for having sex, sexual regret among university students is not affected by conformity to gender scripts, but by agency and actor’s intentionality.
      PubDate: 2015-05-10
  • Gamified Eroticism: Gay Male “Social Networking” Applications
           and Self-Pornography
    • Abstract: It is taken for granted that face-to-face contact is the ultimate goal of gay male social networking applications such as Grindr and Scruff. I, however, challenge this assumption and argue that these applications have succeeded not because they fulfill their tacit promise to connect gay men, but by doubling as do-it-yourself (DIY) amateur porn platforms. Gay male social networking applications are screening tools that facilitate self-pornification through a process of gamified surveillance. I contend that the rewards for playing the game are often not the sanitized ones promoted by application creators and their public relations departments but the erotic exchanges and byproducts produced during the screening process these applications ambivalently disavow—nude images and erotic chat.
      PubDate: 2015-05-09
  • “We are Arabs:” The Embodiment of Virginity Through Arab and
           Arab American Women’s Lived Experiences
    • Abstract: Virginity is part of our existence in the world as embodied sexual subjects. While many meanings are associated with virginity, in most of the Arab world virginity relates to the presence of a hymen and extends to encompass the honor of the Arab community, and virginity loss commonly relate to first vaginal intercourse. This study explored the meanings of virginity from the perspectives of Arab and Arab American women. A qualitative phenomenological approach, informed by the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, was used to conduct in-depth interviews with ten women. We identified one over-arching theme Virginity as Identity, and two major themes Embodiment of Virginity and “We are Arabs.” To reach an embodied virginity, participants went through a disembodied virginity process, reflecting society’s perceptions and values of virginity related to anatomical presence of a hymen and society’s honor. “We are Arabs” describes the ways women identified with the Arab ethnic identity as a shared overall identification, but differed from one lived experience to another, and influenced how participants embodied virginity. Our participants provided a better understanding of the diverse meanings of virginity that move beyond the binary of virginity and virginity loss, and into a spectrum of embodied meanings. Findings suggest the need for future research around sexuality in Arab Americans with attention to socio-political contexts in order to understand the nature and context of sexual initiation and its impact on sexual behaviors and well-being.
      PubDate: 2015-05-01
  • Perceptions of Sex Work-Related Stigma in Female Sex Workers from the
           Dominican Republic: Implications for HIV Interventions
    • Abstract: Stigma is an important obstacle that affects access to health resources for groups vulnerable to HIV, such as female sex workers (FSW). Experiences and types of stigma are diverse, and vary across cultural settings. Consequently, research that places stigma within appropriate socio-cultural contexts should be the first step towards developing effective HIV-prevention interventions. This study examined the stigma related to engaging in sex work in a group of FSW in the Dominican Republic. The present investigation used the Sex Worker Stigma (SWS) Index to identify factors associated with sex work-related stigma along two perceived stigma domains: the community and family. A verbally administered, tablet-based questionnaire was completed by 338 FSW. Results indicate that multiple independent factors influence perceived sex work-related stigma from community and family sources. FSW who engage in sex work on an independent basis, Haitian FSW, and women who live in the same household as their dependent children perceive less sex work-related stigma from the community. Conversely, FSW who spend more time engaged in sex work per week perceive more sex work-related stigma from this source. Within the family domain, women who live in the same household as their dependent children and FSW with higher levels of education perceive less stigma from family members. FSW who provide the principal household economic support perceive more sex work-related stigma from family members. Findings show that sex work-related stigma is unique and should be taken into account for interventions focused on HIV prevention and/or stigma in female sex workers.
      PubDate: 2015-04-28
  • Attitudes of Violence and Risk for HIV: Impact on Women’s Health in
    • Abstract: This study was designed to investigate the pathways that lead to HIV exposure, based on Malawi Demographic Health Survey data (2010). It examines the factors that correlate to gender violence in Malawi, including cultural attitudes towards violence, spousal violence factors, and HIV risk factors. Structural equation modeling (SEM) identifies associations among these constructs. A perfect model fit was achieved to build a simultaneous model that includes attitudes towards violence, violence factors, and HIV risk (GFI = .998). Education attainment (.039) and number of partners (.120) had a weaker association with HIV risk than condom use (.418) and HIV testing (.412). We hypothesized that gender attitudes and incidents of violence would be related to greater risks for HIV infection among women. SEM affirmed a robust association between attitudes towards violence and how women in Malawi perceive gender violence. We conclude that policy and practice design should acknowledge the impact of cultural, educational, and familial characteristics on the populations in order to achieve robust change to reduce HIV transmissions especially among women in Malawi.
      PubDate: 2015-04-25
  • Stories We Tell Ourselves: Writing the Mature Female Protagonist
    • Abstract: This article is concerned with the construction of the older female protagonist in a number of British, Irish and French films. In order to identify what knowledge is legitimated about aging women, and what is not, a close textual analysis of four films: Night Train (Ireland 1998), Keeping Mum (UK 2005), Une Liason Pornographique (France 1999) and Partir (France 2009) was undertaken. All these films feature a female protagonist, in her late forties or early fifties, and challenge, in varying degrees, myths about the asexual nature of older women. At a thematic level, the female characters in all four films undertake a journey, real or imagined, in order to experience sexual passion. In the course of that journey they each become enriched by a sexual experience and make significant discoveries which, in varying degrees, deconstruct preconceived notions about aging women. Some of the specifics of the British, Irish and French film industry and culture are also explored in order to gain a nuanced understanding of factors that contribute to the marginalization or valorization of the older female protagonist. The different treatment of mature female sexuality in the French films is explained with reference to different cultural discourses surrounding female sexuality, a film industry that privileges art before commerce and generous film funding.
      PubDate: 2015-04-22
  • There are Different Ways of Knowing
    • PubDate: 2015-03-18
  • Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin. Birthplace of a Modern Identity
    • PubDate: 2015-03-12
  • The Sexual Scripts and Identity of Middle-Class Russian Women
    • Abstract: The purpose of this article is to provide an analysis of changes in the organization of sexual life among Russian women and to describe a spectrum of sexual scripts that characterize different generations. Based on biographical interviews with urban middle-class women we identify five such scripts of sexual life. On one hand, the analysis shows that representatives of the late Soviet generations are oriented towards the pronatal, romantic and friendship scripts of sexual relationships. Soviet women faced structural barriers in their sexual lives: gender inequality and lack of institutional provision of sexual practices. On the other hand, the analysis shows that the sexual culture of women belonging to the younger, post-Soviet generation differs considerably from that of their (demographic) mothers and grandmothers, the women of the Soviet generations. Among the women belonging to the post-Soviet generation, the hedonistic and instrumental scripts become more articulate. The current rationalization trend in sexual life presumes women’s conscious choice of sexual partners and reproductive strategies. Women are reflexive towards their sexual desire and represent agency, acting intentionally in order to control intimate relationships in which they are involved. However, young women also face numerous barriers caused by the lack of institutional reflexivity on sexuality and gender polarization.
      PubDate: 2015-03-01
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