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Title: Naughty but Nice, Or Never on Sundays: Sex and Sin, Past and Present
Contributor(s): Hawkes, Gail (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: "It's not the harlot or the adulteress who is spoken of: but women's love in general is accused of ever being insatiable; put it out, it bursts into flame; give it plenty, it is again in need, it enervates a man's mind, and engrosses all thought except for the passion it feeds." --Jerome, 'Adversus Jovinainum', AD 395, quoted in Salisbury 1986. "There are rules against public sexual activity at Hedonism II, but they are pretty loosely enforced. While you don't see a lot of full fledged sex in the nude areas - at least until after midnight - there is a fair amount of more playful sexual activity such as body shots and the occasional bottle of chocolate syrup." --, accessed 29 September 2004. The two quotes above suggest very different social attitudes to sex and sin. They come from very different social contexts, separated by sixteen hundred years of Western culture. The first is taken from the writings of one of the key figures in the creation of Christian ideas about sex. It focuses on female sexuality as being dangerous, full of temptation, and to be avoided. The second is taken from the website of a popular 'superclub', Hedonism II, which offers sexual pleasure as one of the many bodily indulgences to be consumed. The common feature of both these attitudes is that sexuality can be seductively dangerous - that pleasure and moral transgression can be directly connected. Yet in the contemporary context there is an association between sex and shame that speaks to the [persistence of the sinful sex connection. Some sex is freely mentioned in the popular media and in common parlance. 'Nice sex' or, as one respondent put it to me in my doctoral research, 'pure wholesome sex', has certain qualities that render it more socially respectable. The type of sex we can speak about without shame or embarrassment is associated with love and commitment, is monogamous, coital, and subject to self-control. Other aspects of sexual behaviour are a little more problematic: masturbation (we can read about it but it is more difficult to admit to), sex toys and aids, multiple partners, group sex, and sexual fetishism. This is not an exhaustive list but it suggests a common factor - that the pursuit of unlimited pleasure as a primary motive for sexual encounters risks a negative judgement or at least requires us to negotiate acceptance in mainstream society.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Perspectives in Human Sexuality, p. 155-167
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Place of Publication: Melbourne
ISBN: 0195517016
Field of Research (FOR): 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
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