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I am looking forward to expanding on what I already know in regards to sex, sexuality and intimacy. I would like to challenge my own thinking and expose myself to the often overlooked ways they are socially constructed. I have taken feminist studies classes in the past but there is plenty of space to grow and expand my knowledge. Specifically, I am most interested in how the many topics (sex, gender, intimacy, sexuality etc.) is constructed politically and the impact our socialization on these topics have on our definitions of them. I hope to develop and strengthen my skills in understanding these topics and walk away with the ability to identify these things in my daily life. These week’s assigned readings have already challenged what I thought I knew about sex and sexuality. I really believe they have opened up a lot of new ideas I have previously been unfamiliar with. I most enjoyed the piece by Carol Vance (1998) as it introduced essentialism and social constructionism to me. Social constructionism is introduced as a theory that challenges “the ‘natural’ status of many domains, presenting the possibility of a truly social inquiry as well as suggesting that human actions have been and continue to be subject to historical forces and ,thus, to change” (Vance, 1998, p.161). While I am familiar with the idea that sexuality is not determined by biology and the body, Vance’s discussion about female circumcision really opened up that perspective even more. The question: “are there ways to integrate bodily sensation and function into a social construction frame, while still acknowledging that human experience of the body is always mediated by culture and subjectivity, and without elevating the body as determinative?” really caught my attention (Vance, 1998, p.167). How can we broaden our interpretation and understanding of the body and what role does it play? For me, this section of the reading really exemplified how much more complex the theory of social constructionism is. Another reading I found to be interesting was by Jane Ward (2008). “Dude Sex: White Masculinities and ‘Authentic’ Heterosexuality Among Dudes who Have Sex with Dudes” introduced the intersection between queer and straight culture. While I’ve been exposed to more well-known ideas of how straight white men can use their various forms of privilege, I have not known how it can be used in this particular way. The study highlights that white heterosexual males harness the ability to participate in queer sex without actually identifying as queer. This allows them to appear as sexually normative and avoid the struggles that come with identifying as queer. The study was surprising as it “ reveals the permeability of the categories ‘straight’ and ‘queer’, which signify not only the divide between normal and abnormal sexual practices but also the divide between normal and abnormal interpretive frames for understanding these practices” (Ward, 2008, p.431). This week’s readings introduced new ways to apply and understand ideas that I am already familiar with. I think they have effectively broadened my understanding and proposed new ways to interpret sex, sexuality, gender, and other identities.

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