SUMMARY FOR POLITICS OF PLEASURE

Content Warning: Smoking

In this module we have seen that the type of sexuality that is most well understood both by scientists and by the general public is adult male sexuality. In contrast, children are generally assumed to be in need of protection from premature exposure to sex and sexual predators rather than of information about sex and opportunities to explore their own developing sexual identities. While women are no longer understood as innocent, this position having been taken over by the child in the 20th century, we saw that their sexuality has often been misconstrued by male bias in science and is consequently not well understood by the population. We learned in this module that what we do not know is as political as what we do know, and silences, ignorance, and misinformation about children’s and women’s sexuality is not coincidental, accidental, or neutral but has been constructed for particular purposes in particular sociopolitical contexts.

Test Yourself

Challenges

The Politics of Pleasure CHALLENGE ONE

CHALLENGE ONE: In Elisabeth Lloyd’s lecture she provides an overview of her book, The Case of the Female Orgasm, as well as an account of and response to how this book was received by feminists. For this Challenge, explain Lloyd’s arguments to at least two friends or family members who identify as female and feminists and ask them to respond. Do they think that understanding the female orgasm as lacking in adaptive evolutionary purpose is liberating (hurray! the female orgasm can just be about fun!) or do they find it diminishing (whaaaaat?! she says the female orgasm is a mere by-product of the male orgasm?!). How do you respond to these responses? Are you convinced by Lloyd’s response to the negative reactions she has received from feminists? Write a short (500 – 750-word) report in which you summarize the responses you received from friends or family members as well as your own reflections on these responses and on Lloyd’s response to her critics. Share your report in the Challenge Sharing Forum by Friday at noon.

The Politics of Pleasure
CHALLENGE TWO

CHALLENGE TWO: In Nancy Tuana’s article, “Coming to Understand,” she discusses what students in her undergraduate sexuality studies course enter the class knowing and not knowing. As an undergraduate student in a sexuality studies course yourself, write a short (500 – 750-word) reflection in which you engage with Tuana’s article and consider your own knowledge and ignorance about sex when you started this course. Why do you think you knew what you knew and didn’t know what you didn’t know? Tuana argues that her students’ knowledges and ignorances are political; is this true in your own case as well? Why or why not? Share your reflection in the Challenge Sharing Forum by Friday at noon.