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Session Overview
Session
RN23_02b_P: Sexualities, Health, Technologies
Time:
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sebastian Mohr, Aarhus University
Location: PC.4.25
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Presentations

About having issues: Boundary-work in the practices of relationship and sex counselling

Marjo Kristiina Kolehmainen

University of Tampere, Finland

This presentation draws upon an ongoing study on the formal and informal practices of relationship and sex counselling in Finland, employing ethnographic observations on various relationship counselling events and relationship enhancement seminars as well as textual data obtained from magazines and guidebooks as its data. As a part of the widespread therapeutic cultures, several organizations and professionals from parishes to LGBTQI organizations and from psychologists to sex workers now peddle relationship and sex advice. Advice is also targeted at diverse groups such as heterosexual, gay and lesbian couples, singles and the recently divorced. Within this presentation, the constitution of problems is explored in order to learn how particular understandings of gender, sexuality, class and ethnicity emerge in the processes of advice seeking and advice giving. The aim of this presentation is to examine what is considered or recognized as a problem within intimate relationships, and how the definition of problems operates as a form of boundary-work producing, renewing, disrupting and challenging hierarchies and exclusions based on gender, sexuality, class and ethnicity.


(De)sexualisation of old age - ambivalent representations of sexuality of older people in media and active ageing policies

Jaroslava Hasmanova Marhankova

University of West Bohemia, Czech Republic

The paper maps images of older adults’ sexualities using an interpretive content analysis of 1) newspaper articles addressing issues of sex and sexuality in older age in Czech newspapers over two years’ span (2015-2016) and 2) booklets published by various Czech NGOs and public institutions that focus on the promotion of active ageing policies. The paper focus on the ways sexuality and sexual life of older people are portrayed. It points out the inherent ambivalence of the representations of older peoples’ sexual life. Older people are portrayed as desexualized while simultaneously their sexuality is often constructed as persistent and potentially dangerous and "active" sexual life is presented as a way to healthy ageing and longevity. The paper critically analyses those representations with respect to the disciplinary practices surrounding the ageing bodies and highlights the need to critically evaluate the representations of active ageing. Although the discourse of active ageing present a more positive representation of sexuality in older age, it simultaneously creates a new normative vision that is both ageistic and heteronormative and where sexuality serves as one of the vector of the (in)ability to age "actively".


Medicalizing the sexy oldie? Age, gender and sexuality in the Viagra era

Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto

Dept. Cultures, Politics and Society, University of Turin, Italy

The paper aims at investigating the transformation of social representations and cultural norms concerning ageing and sexuality in Italy, exploring the intersection of two cultural phenomena which are analytically distinct but empirically intertwined: the “active/positive ageing” imperative and the advent of sexuo-pharmaceuticals like Viagra and its competitors. At the crossroads of these two phenomena we find a shift from “asexual old age” or “sexually retired” ideal type to the new “sexy oldie” (Gott 2005) or “sexy senior” (Marshall 2010, 2012).

The paper is based upon an ongoing mixed-method qualitative research project, placed in a Northern-Italian metropolitan city, Turin, entailing participant observation in medical conferences and courses, in-depth interviews, net-ethnography of medical websites, online forums, social media. For the scope of this paper, I will mainly focus on general practitioners’ accounts of their clinical experience with elderly people’s sexual health problems.

Previous research pointed out the difficulties GPs face when dealing with sexual issues, especially with midlife and older patients (Gott et al 2004a and 2004b; Hinchliff et al 2004; Hinchliff et al 2005; Bauer et al 2006; Andrews and Piterman 2007; Byrne et al 2010; Giami 2010).

The analysis of GPs’ accounts will show how GPs both adopt and question socially available scripts of ageing, gender and sexuality. In their clinical practice, GPs are medically reframing as “sexual health” what they perceive as a “respectable sexuality” (Bertone and Ferrero Camoletto 2009; Wentzell 2013) for ageing men and women.


"Artificial intimacy” or “augmented sexuality”. Human-machine sexual relationships from sociological perspective.

Grzegorz Kubiński

Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland

Contemporary culture is often criticized for being highly pornographic. Traditional media have been replaced by internet, mainly social media, which evolves as environment where pornography is omnipresent. From sociological perspective, internet-based pornography is well-known phenomenon, however there is also few new elements, requiring broader and more extensive research. Augmented reality, virtual reality or Internet of things give new opportunities for exploring human sexuality. Proposed article, focus on this new kinds of sexuality, which can be called “artificial intimacy” or “augmented sexuality”. I would like to discuss and explore development of relations between human and machine, analyzing mostly users of internet forums concerning different sexual objects, beginning from 90’s. My research shows, how humans attitude to pleasure-objects has changed and how important in this process new technologies are. The future forms of sex involving machines or robots (fembots) are coming and we should look at them, trying to find answer for the question, how human sexuality and intimacy will change. In my research, I compare not only internet sites, but also presents results of human studies who are in intimate and sexual relation with inanimate objects (called themselves “objectophiles”, 20 in depth interviews) comparing them with research on real-dolls’ users (12 in depth interviews). All this results show extremely new space of contemporary human sexuality.



 
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