Sexuality pp 37-63 | Cite as

Approaches II: anthropology and sociology

  • Chess Denman


Human sexual experience is shot through with the influence of language and culture and it is various beyond belief. For this reason, neither biology nor psychology can provide the whole of any explanation of the social affair which is human sexuality. For a number of decades work carried out in a range of disciplines (cultural anthropology, sociology, history, social psychology, and feminism) challenged approaches to sexuality which emphasised its universal features (perceived as most prevalent within biological and psychological perspectives). They focused their attention on the social, cultural, economic and political forces shaping sexual variation. It is a field studded with conflicting positions on almost every aspect of theory and practice. One thing remains constant. Ironically, it is the fact of social diversity across time, and across and within cultures, which undercuts any easy claims of sexual universality and any easy standard of sexual normality. The topic is too large for a single chapter to cover all aspects. Instead, topic areas in anthropology and sociology are presented.


Sexual Attitude Male Circumcision Teen Pregnancy Sexual Expression Sociological Perspective 
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© Dr Chess Denman MBBS MRC Psych 2004

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  • Chess Denman

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