A History of Sexuality Essay

1960 Words8 Pages
Unlike sex, the history of sexuality is dependant upon society and limited by its language in order to be defined and understood. In his paper which is called Is There A History of Sexuality, Halperin drew a distinction between the topics of sexuality and of sex. He claimed that the two concepts are separate ideas. In Halperin's view, sex is a natural function that has not changed in many years, if ever at all. He says that sex “is a natural fact, grounded in the functioning of the body, and as such, it lies outside of history and culture” (Halperin 416). This means that sex cannot be measured in historical thought, for it has not changed since the beginning of time. As a natural function, it will continue to exist without the influence…show more content…
According to Halperin, “the 'sexuality' of the classical Athenians...was constituted by the very principles on which Athenian public life was organized” (Halperin 419). By this he is referring to the fact that sexuality in the Ancient Athens society was socially constructed, but not in the way that it is understood to be socially constructed in modern thought. The so-called sexuality of the Ancient Greek peoples in Athens was directly related to how the society worked, how it was built and how it was understood. Halperin provides a quote from a French anthropologist who is named Maurice Godelier in order to make this point more apparent. This quote states that “it is not sexuality which haunts society, but society which haunts the body's sexuality” (Halperin 419). This statement re-emphasizes the fact that sexuality is a socially constructed concept, entirely dependant upon the society in which it is created in order to be best understood. The history of sexuality, therefore, is a brief history in the sense that the idea of sexuality is constantly being rethought and changed. Halperin sums up the concept of sexuality very well when he says that “[it]...is not a cause but an effect” (Halperin). The paper written by Kennedy and Davis, which was called The Reproduction of Butch-Fem Roles: A Social Constructionist Approach, provides further evidence that the history of sexuality is young and
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