This article explores the possibility of developing a feminist approach to gendered and sexual embodiment which is rooted in the pragmatist/interactionist tradition derived from G.H. Mead, but which in turn develops this perspective by inflecting it through more recent feminist thinking. In so doing we seek to rebalance some of the rather abstract work on gender and embodiment by focusing on an instance of 'heterosexual' everyday/night life - the production of the female orgasm. Through engaging with feminist and interactionist work, we develop an approach to embodied sexual pleasure that emphasizes the sociality of sexual practices and of reflexive sexual selves. We argue that sexual practices and experiences must be understood in social context, taking account of the situatedness of sex as well as wider socio-cultural processes the production of sexual desire and sexual pleasure (or their non-production) always entails interpretive, interactional processes.
Bibliographical note© 2007 SAGE Publications. An author produced version of this paper will be freely available from July 2008.
- feminist theory
- symbolic interactionism