Sexuality Issues

In few areas of the social disciplines are theory and methodology so frought with political and ideological overtones than in the study of the creation of sexuality. Political issues are reached not simply when plunging deep into theory; they may be encountered from the very first assumptions we make, for example that we are dealing with innate (rather than socially adopted) "male" and "female" genders (Stoltenberg, 1989). At a slightly less immediate level, enormous assumptions about how sexuality develops in men and in women are contained within the choice to classify "lesbian" and "gay" together (Rich, 1983).

Similar political questions arise when dealing with methodology. What does it mean, for example, if we carry out a study of gay and non-gay adolescent boys, and find (for example) that gay boys suffer more from self-image difficulties? Does this correlation mean that poor self-image in boys leads to gayness, or (more probably, perhaps) that it is hard for a teenage boy to be gay in our society? There is no way to approach such issues apolitically; sexuality and how it is created is a political subject. All we can hope to do is be continually aware of the political assumptions and political consequencies of our theories and methodologies alike.

Topic 2: It is difficult to identify a single central question in the interrelationship of social issues and sexuality, save perhaps to say that sexuality itself is central to our social life. The question arises ac



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