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Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture




Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture

Meg-John Barker, Rosalind Gill, Laura Harvey

ISBN: 978-1-509-50912-6 March 2018 Polity 312 Pages


Mediated Intimacy looks at contemporary sex and relationship advice, exploring how our intimate lives are shaped through different media, from manuals and magazines to television and Twitter. By exploring how intimacy is constructed through different media texts, the authors consider which ideas and practices these changing forms of 'sexpertise' open up, and which they close down.

The book reveals the intimate operation of power in mediated advice, how words and images, stories and sound can work to shore up social injustice. It critically engages with the ideas of choice and responsibility in sex self-help, arguing that these can obscure and/or justify oppression, even if they're sometimes experienced as empowering and/or pleasurable.

This bold and incisive book provides a radical challenge to the assumptions underlying the sex advice industry, and presents a critical, collaborative and consensual vision for sex advice of the future.

Acknowledgements vi

1 Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture 1

2 History of Mediated Sex Advice 30

3 Gender, Sexuality and the Body in the Media 51

4 Being Normal 83

5 Work and Entrepreneurship 107

6 Pleasure 132

7 Safety and Risk 153

8 Communication and Consent 176

9 Conclusions 202

References 226

Index 261

"At a time when the field of sexual discourse is often characterized as unbounded we may fail to notice the structuring operations of new normativities. This exceptionally readable book tracks fraught concepts of intimacy as they arise in a range of media forms, and a period of more overt transactionalism and heavy cultural emphasis on production of the sexually desirable, sexually agentic self. The authors' meticulous and rigorous account of public discourses of sexual intimacy is a considerable achievement."
Diane Negra, University College Dublin 

"Investigating the varied dimensions of mediating our intimate lives, this brilliant book provides a far-reaching analysis of contemporary forms of sex advice, from sex television to sex apps and more. Importantly, Mediated Intimacy not only examines the contemporary media landscape, but it is also a guide for readers to create sex-critical advice on their own, using creative and thought-provoking examples for challenging conventional norms and practices about sexual intimacies."
Sarah Banet-Weiser, University of Southern California