Feminism and the Politics of Sexuality

  • Roger Horrocks


It is striking how the first three accounts of sexuality that I dealt with treat women and female sexuality as obscure or dangerous subjects. In Christianity, in psychoanalysis, in Foucault’s work, women are either absent, or are treated as the mysterious and sinister Other. In Freudian language, women are the repressed; or to use Lacan’s formulation of this, ‘a woman is a symptom’.1


Female Sexuality Heterosexual Woman Sexual Relation Muslim Woman Sexual Pleasure 
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  1. 3.
    See Siân Morgan, ‘The dream of psychoanalysis: Irma s dream, some commentaries and a contemplation of its navel’, in British Journal of Psychotherapy 12: 2 (1995), pp. 160–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 10.
    See Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger (eds), Heterosexuality: A ‘Feminism and Psychology’ Reader (London: Sage, 1993).Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    E. Grosz and E. Probyn (eds), Sexy Bodies: The Strange Carnalities of Feminism (London and New York: Routledge, 1995);Google Scholar
  4. Pat Califa, Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex (Pittsburgh: Cleis, 1994); L. Segal and M. Mcintosh (eds), Sex Exposed;Google Scholar
  5. P.C. Gibson and R. Gibson (eds), Dirty Looks: Women, Pornography, Power (London: BFI, 1993).Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    The two wings are illustrated by the anti-porn book, Catherine Itzin (ed.), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (Oxford: OUP, 1993); and the anti-anti-porn collection, L. Segal and M. Mcintosh (eds), Sex Exposed. Google Scholar
  7. 30a.
    Robin Morgan, The Demon Lover: The Sexuality of Terrorism (London: Mandarin, 1990).Google Scholar
  8. 31.
    On the use of allegory, see Marina Warner, Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (London: Picador, 1987).Google Scholar
  9. 32.
    See Camille Paglia, ‘Madonna I: Animality and artifice’, and ‘Madonna II: Venus of the radio waves’, in Sex, Art and American Culture (London: Viking, 1992); for a more complex view, see M.J. Hardie, ‘“I embrace the difference”: Elizabeth Taylor and the closet’, in E. Grosz and E. Probyn (eds), Sexy Bodies, pp. 155–71.Google Scholar

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© Roger Horrocks 1997

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  • Roger Horrocks

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