Desire, Pleasure, Power: Understanding Young People’s Sexual Relationships
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Chapter 4 revealed that relationships are the context in which young people’s sense of themselves as a sexual person is realised and formed. As such relationships are an important site for contextualising our understandings of how young people live out (hetero)sexuality. Relationships are also the place in which sexual knowledge can find application and exploring their micro-politics may shed light on why knowledge retained from sexuality education is not always translated into practice. The aim of this chapter then, is to gain a sense of relationships as experienced by young people in this research. A number of key questions are addressed in order to better understand how relationships offer a site in which young people’s knowledge and subjectivities are played out. The first question is descriptive and asks what do young people’s relationships look like in terms of their length, frequency and way they are characterised for example, as fun or serious. How young people talk about the pleasure they derive from relationships is also considered. Endeavouring to understand how pleasure is conceptualised in this context is a political act in its acknowledgement that this is an important element of young people’s lives and one often institutionally ignored. A final question concerns the micro practices of relationships and the gendered operation of power within them.
KeywordsYoung People Young Woman Sexual Intercourse Sexual Desire Sexual Relationship
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