Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 205-221

First online:

Of Rats and Women: Fetal Sexuality and Hybrid Agency

  • Alice AdamsAffiliated withWomen's Studies Program, University of Maine at Farmington

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This paper investigates the way in which the sexuality of women has been posited in relation to rats as experimental subjects, exploring the stakes of a scientific debate that takes the social world of female sexuality as its focus and as a political problem. Studies that purport to understand female sexuality by investigating rat behavior rely on problematic assumptions about sovereign agents motivating sexual behavior. Such studies also aim to do away with so-called deviant sexual behaviors and, as a consequence, gay people. Theories of agential realism and hybridity serve as counterforces to these inherently repressive perspectives by insisting on the multiple determinations of sexuality and subjectivity among women.

sexuality Dörner agential realism hybridity gay/lesbian studies homosexuality