Sexual behaviour and its medicalisation: in sickness and in health Graham Hart, Kaye Wellings Religion used to define morally acceptable conduct, then doctors became interested in sexual behaviour. Now we live in a world where celibacy is the new deviance, and surgery and drugs are used to enhance sexual pleasure. Graham Hart and Kaye Wellings reflect on the extent and consequences of the medicalisation of sexual behaviour “Sex survey ruined our wedding,” screamed the front page of the Sun . 1 The newspaper reported how a “cou-ple had a furious row and called off their wedding after the bride-to-be revealed their sex secrets in a university survey.” This could be a routine example of how the press uses research on sex to sell papers. This case is more interesting, however, because the groom to be was clearly unhappy with the extent of sexual surveillance, which arguably is a feature of the medicalisation of sexual behaviour in British society. To what extent has there been a medicalisation of sex, and what are the consequences of this? Medical authority and sexual behaviour The exercise of medical authority over sexual behaviour has a long history. Religion once defined morally acceptable sexual conduct, but in an increas-
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2010 for the course ENG 000121 taught by Professor Mcgrand during the Spring '10 term at Cornell.