DIY Education

By PHOENIX STAFF  |  September 26, 2012

Classes_ScubaBasketGirl_NoPb
Sex Changes: Progress, Play, and the Ethics of Fetishism

If you're going to do some heavy reading this semester, it's best to do it on a topic you can get down with. Learn to talk about the culture of sex beyond its everyday limitations, exploring history and practice as it changes through time. Texts will approach the topic holistically, looking at sex in its intersections with culture, labor, identity, philosophy, and the imagination. An equal mix of heady, weird, and fun. Those enrolling should bring an open mind, sharp tongue, and a rucksack full of anxieties.

• Get warmed up

Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex by Katharine Gates, Juno, 1999. (Probably the porniest book in the syllabus, it's rigorous, comprehensive, fun, and silly.)

The History of Sexuality: Part One, the Will to Knowledge by Michel Foucault, Penguin, 1976. (Liberating Western sexuality from its historical perception as repressed, with "the truth of sex" pushing into thornier areas, like racism, eugenics, and power.)

• Prepare for the end (of the millennium)

The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, Vintage, 1949. (In the landmark of second-wave feminism, de Beauvoir dismantles male-propagated myths about women through literature and history; essential not just because the Catholic Church blacklisted it, but also to understand the difference between sex and gender.)

Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture by Lisa Duggan and Nan D. Hunter, Routledge, 1995. (The role of sex in the culture wars.)

The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, Greenery Press, 1997. (The bible of non-monogamy.)

• Know your fetishes

I, Insect, or Bataille and the Crush Freaks by Jeremy Biles, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, 5(3), August 2004 (or janushead.org/7-1/biles.pdf. (An essay exploring the bizarre and unsettling phenomenon of "crush freaks" — the term for those who get turned on by the sight of bugs exploding under the weight of human feet.)

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter, Penguin, 1972.

The Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, Penguin, 1928. (Surrealist, transgressive, and disturbing post-Freudian novels of desire fantasy in hallucinatory landscapes.)

The Plague of Fantasies by Slavoj Zizek, Verso, 1997. (A comprehensive and occasionally wacky investigation of the perversions of modern culture, covering the significance of pubic hair stylization, toilet design, and the neurological differences between viewing sex in person vs. on screen.)

• Prepare for modernity

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, Harper Collins, 2010. (A popular, well-written, comprehensive tome covering mating from primitive times through the present; a scientific, easy-to-read companion to the Dan Savage era.)

<< first  ...< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |   next >...  last >>

10 of 11 (results 11)
  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Books, Sociology, Architecture,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY PHOENIX STAFF
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MICHAUD FOR GOVERNOR  |  November 03, 2014
    However you’ve been following the race for Governor this election season, you’ve been hearing it from all sides, so we’ll make this one brief. We urge you to vote for Michael Michaud.
  •   ADVANCED BEAUTY LESSONS  |  November 03, 2014
    Described as a “body-positive visibility project,” Portland’s Jack Tar 207 is all about representation. Models are encouraged to bring their own clothing and personal belongings to the shoot, which owner-designer LK Weiss says brings out “a level of confidence that many people don’t feel in front of a camera.”
  •   LITERALLY LGBT  |  October 31, 2014
    A community-compiled list of important GBLTQ works through the years.  
  •   DEAR PROVIDENCE PHOENIX...  |  October 15, 2014
    Some made us chuckle, others made us choke up.
  •   BACK TO REALITY  |  September 18, 2014
    If you’re a student in southern Maine and are at all interested in arts and humanities, and have a budget of exactly $10 to spend on any one event, there’s a lot in your favor.

 See all articles by: PHOENIX STAFF