Discourses of desire: the normative in online sex talk
This thesis, grounded in feminist sociology and queer theory, examines sex, sexuality, and desire in naturally occurring synchronous conversations within a non-sexually themed online community. Although the community is rooted in computing culture (i.e., a multi-user domain) and is not sexual in scope or purpose, sex talk is prevalent and persistent in the corpus. Seventy-five conversational logs, each covering 24 hours of conversations, are analysed using qualitative sociolinguistic discourse analysis. The findings demonstrate that the participants engage in sexual conversations (e.g., automated sexual commands, joking, self-disclosure, cybersex) that make use of the spatial and technical resources available to them, and that there are clear boundaries in the language used for sexual conversations. Sexual conversations are found across virtual spaces in this community and are based on in-group talk, often to create social belonging and shared meaning between speakers. While participants sometimes challenge existing social discourses of sexuality when adopting group-specific norms and narrative styles, they often enact them, particularly in regards to heteronormative heterosexuality and gender. This thesis proposes that sex and sexuality can be seen in relation to the social comprehensive, which includes individual agency, social infrastructure, everyday experience, discourses, and shared meaning. The framework underscores the relevance of sex and its relationship to the larger social world in spontaneous and everyday conversations about sex and desire from an online community. It contributes to our limited scholarly knowledge of how people discuss sex, allowing for the examination of the discourses that emerge in and through speakers’ words, the stories that they tell, how they are told, and to whom.
AuthorsMyketiak, Chrystie Layne
- Theses