- On cultural transformations of sexuality and gender in recent decades (2004)
- Western cultures have witnessed a tremendous cultural and social transformation of sexuality in the years since the sexual revolution. Apart from a few public debates and scandals, the process has moved along gradually and quietly. Yet its real and symbolic effects are probably much more consequential than those generated by the sexual revolution of the sixties. Sigusch refers to the broad-based recoding and reassessment of the sexual sphere during the eighties and nineties as the "neosexual revolution". The neosexual revolution is dismantling the old patterns of sexuality and reassembling them anew. In the process, dimensions, intimate relationships, preferences and sexual fragments emerge, many of which had submerged, were unnamed or simply did not exist before. In general, sexuality has lost much of its symbolic meaning as a cultural phenomenon. Sexuality is no longer the great metaphor for pleasure and happiness, nor is it so greatly overestimated as it was during the sexual revolution. It is now widely taken for granted, much like egotism or motility. Whereas sex was once mystified in a positive sense - as ecstasy and transgression, it has now taken on a negative mystification characterized by abuse, violence and deadly infection. While the old sexuality was based primarily upon sexual instinct, orgasm and the heterosexual couple, neosexualities revolve predominantly around gender difference, thrills, self-gratification and prosthetic substitution. From the vast number of interrelated processes from which neosexualities emerge, three empirically observable phenomena have been selected for discussion here: the dissociation of the sexual sphere, the dispersion of sexual fragments and the diversification of intimate relationships. The outcome of the neosexual revolution may be described as "lean sexuality" and "self-sex".