Pleasure/desire, sexularism and sexuality education

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Pleasure and desire have been important components of researchers' vision for sexuality education for over 20 years, a trend inspired by Michelle Fine's seminal paper, Sexuality, Schooling, and Adolescent Females: The Missing Discourse of Desire. This essay considers how discourses related to pleasure and desire have been taken up in the USA and internationally by researchers who have been sympathetic to Fine's lament regarding the missing discourse of desire in sexuality education. Rasmussen argues that pleasure and desire are always political within the context of sexuality education but there has been a lack of scrutiny of the political motivations that underpin research supportive of pleasure and desire within comprehensive sexuality education. Drawing on critiques of sexularism, the idea that secular society is a guarantor of sexual freedom and liberation, this paper demonstrates how research on pleasure and desire in sexuality education has been framed by secular logics, and considers some of the consequences of this framing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-481
Number of pages13
JournalSex Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


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