Consciousness-raising 2.0, the New View, and a special issue of Feminism and Psychology

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cover of feminism and psychology I recently published an article, "Consciousness-raising 2.0: Sex Blogging and the Creation of a Feminist Sex Commons," in the journal Feminism and Psychology. I was invited to submit the piece by Leonore Tiefer , chief advocate of the New View Campaign against the medicalization of sexuality. She was putting together a special issue of the journal looking at the uses the New View has been put to since it's inception ten years ago. I immediately agreed because, while I believe in the importance of expert research guiding policy and knowledge, I think it is important for that research to be grounded in the experiences of real sexual people and should attend to their social environments and not only to their chemical and genetic components. Over-medicalization, and the privatizing of knowledge about sexuality distances us from our bodies and our experiences and frames our issues in terms of diseases instead of seeing the way that social and cultural factors influence our ability to experience sexual pleasure.

More on what's in the issue, on my contribution and how you can help me expand my article below the fold.

The issue looks great! It's got articles on genital cosmetic surgery (Leonore Tiefer) and on the making of the documentary "Orgasm, Inc." (Elizabeth Canner). There are pieces on empirically testing the New View classification system (Leanne Nicholls) and on the way that college students use New View language in discussing sexuality (Meika Loe). It's got discussion of the need for a new paradigm for psychiatric diagnostics and sexological research (Lisa Cosgrove, Melissa Pearrow, and Maria Anaya) and an article that asks "What makes women experience desire" (Ellen Laan and Stephanie Both). (And the answer may not be what you expect!)

My article is a look at the ways that women's personal-narrative sex blogs can build an important resource for people looking for ways to understand and express their sexual desires, to shed the shame they might feel about those desires, and to find other people who share their desires. The article also discusses the importance of keeping such information in "the commons," that is in a space where people can have open access, where even when writing is individually owned it is shared. Further, the article address challenges like censorship and corporate control over access to the 'net. It concludes with a call for researchers, sex educators, and other experts to participate alongside the rest of us in the expanding and maintaining of this commons so that its reliability as a resource is protected.

I am currently expanding the article. I want to add the kind of richness that more examples from blogs would give it. So I am asking you who read here and who contribute to the sex commons by writing your own personal sex narratives, in the spirit of collaborative publishing and participatory research: If you have a post that you think does an especially interesting job of articulating desire, of describing stigmatized sex in shameless ways, of extending a sense of sexual community, please let me know about it. Leave a link in the comments, or email me a link (elizabeth at sexinthepublicsquare dot org.

Technorati Tags: research, sex, Leonore Tiefer, New View, women, Elizabeth Wood

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