Sexuality Is Culturally Constructed? Essay
In this essay I will assess the various cultural views, values, and treatments of sexuality, as well as the power relations connected to them. I will weigh the amount of research done on men against the amount of research done on women and try to explain this difference, in addition to exposing the liberties men are given in expressing their sexuality as opposed to the restrictions women are made to comply with. Lastly, I will express my opinion on whether or not sexuality really is socially constructed, after analysing the multiple examples provided by anthropological fieldwork in different societies.
First of all, it is important to note that the term, “sexuality” has multiple definitions, but in this essay, it will be referred to as “sexual desire and behaviour”, and it will focus mostly on sexual orientation, as well as different cultures’ views on and treatments of it.
However, I must mention that behaviours that are seen as sexual in one culture may not be seen as such in another. For instance, according to Herdt’s research with a tribe situated in Papua New Guinea, called the Sambia (Herdt, 1999: 56,57), the young men of the tribe participate in a maturation ritual that involves swallowing the semen of older men. While this kind of behaviour is seen as inherently homosexual in Western societies, the…