THE POLITICS OF PLEASURE

Madeleine Roger-Lacan, “Fente” (2022)

If sex is a web of meanings, we can spin new threads. Pleasure and its value can be learned, and once learned, are not readily relinquished.

Katherine Rowland, The Pleasure Gap: American Women and the Unfinished Sexual Revolution, 2020.

Introduction

Sexual pleasure can be experienced in many ways and experiences can look like many different things, varying by individual preference, and depend on many things, including comfort levels, feeling safe, being in the right mood, right location or right position. Expressing our sexuality in ways that promotes health and well-being and respects others is an important part of our identities as a sexual beings.

In this module, we will focus on an organ that is often missing from conversations about sexuality and sexual pleasure: namely, the clitoris. In order to fill some of the gaps left by sex ed and its absence from public discourse, we will situate the clitoris in its political and socio-cultural context. Indeed, it is crucial to consider the various representations and omissions of the clitoris based on who is representing the clitoris, for what purposes, and under what conditions.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Understand the history of the clitoris and how it is linked to sexual pleasure and experiencing an orgasm
  • Identify the shape and form of the clitoris
  • Define the terms epistemology of ignorance and intimate justice
  • Recognize how contemporary media sexualizes people and objects
  • Understand the differences between narratives of sexual pleasure or experiences of sexual acts for men and women in contemporary society

Moving Forward

Each module contains a big idea + lesson, assigned resources, and a summary page. Visit each section below by clicking or tapping the images.

BIG IDEAS +
LESSON

ASSIGNED RESOURCES

SUMMARY