Sex as commodity: Single and partnered men’s subjectification as heterosexual men

22 September 2014

Drawing on a discursive analysis of individual and group interviews with heterosexual men, this paper examines how men take up and resist discourses of sexuality and gender to (re)produce a recognisable heterosexual subjectivity. We being by exploring the commodification of sex in men’s accounts, and the various practices men undertake to obtain sex. We then draw on differences that emerged between single men and partnered men’s accounts, to argue that the contexts in which men (re)produce sexual subjectivity have significant implications for how they negotiate the discursive positions available to them. Three themes are explored in this section. In ‘just sex’, single men work to fix the meaning of the sex they are pursuing/having, thus resisting alternative meanings offered by women. In ‘more than just sex’, single men articulate a romantic discourse where sex is part of an emotional relationship. Finally, in ‘accounting for the lack of sex’ partnered men undertook work to remain recognisable as heterosexual men in the absence of sex. This paper explores the difficulties, dilemmas and ambivalences produced by the project of subjection, and how men resolve or accommodate them. Keywords: men, heterosexuality, subjectification, relationships, discourse analysis.