Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 495–499 | Cite as

The Power of (But Not In?) Sexual Configurations Theory

  • Kari Lerum
  • Shari L. Dworkin
Commentary on van Anders (2015)

Rubin (1984), in her article, “Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of sexuality,” observed that “[i]t is difficult to develop a pluralistic sexual ethics without a concept of benign sexual variation” (p. 153). Nearly more than 30 years later, van Anders (2015) may have answered Rubin’s call for conceptualizing benign human sexual variation (making room for a pluralistic sexual ethics) by introducing Sexual Configurations Theory (SCT). Put simply, SCT provides a three-dimensional (3D) map of existing empirical complexities; this allows for a comprehensive conceptual understanding of contemporary sexual diversities by drawing from the grounded experience of individuals.

In this commentary, we evaluate van Anders’ SCT in terms of its contribution to interdisciplinary sexuality research and scholarship. We begin with discussing the ways that SCT has a powerful impact from which sexuality researchers and practitioners should benefit. At the same time, we suggest that notions of power...


Sexual Orientation Power Relation Minority Sexuality Sexual Diversity Sexual Category 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Interdisciplinary Arts & SciencesUniversity of Washington BothellBothellUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of NursingUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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