The Shape of Experience

  • William S. Wilkerson
Part of the The Future of Minority Studies book series (FMS)


The common understanding assumes that the meaning of experience is obvious and given. If we accept this view, little actually needs to be said about experience except, “Here is my experience, here is what it means.” According to this view, my sexual experiences would provide a self-evident foundation for my knowledge of my sexual identity. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, according to many postmodern criticisms of this view of experience, the meaning of experience is shifting, uncertain, and produced by external forces. According to other criticisms, however, individual experiences never contain their meaning in themselves, but always run off into other experiences, in an endless hall of mirrors, with each experience referring to others.1 Either of the criticisms would lead us to give up on experience altogether as a starting place for knowledge about sexual identity.


Sexual Orientation Sexual Desire Sexual Identity Perceptual Experience Sexual Fantasy 
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© William S. Wilkerson 2007

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  • William S. Wilkerson

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