Talking about bodies online: Viagra, YouTube, and the politics of public(ized) sexualities

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Abstract

The development of Viagra in the late 1990s ushered in a new age of conversation about sex and sexuality, as men's bodily abilities were put on display for all to discuss. In 2005, the video-sharing technology YouTube was launched. Taken together, these technological innovations – both biomedical and representational – have produced debate around sex, sexualized and gendered bodies, and sexual health. This article interrogates Viagra-related representations posted on YouTube and analyzes sexuopharmaceuticals as a set of intertextualities that create space for both normative discourses and social critiques. Three analytic themes illustrate how Viagra-related YouTube videos (1) reinforce a regime of self-care within a wider context of individualized responsibility for one's sexual health, (2) highlight the values attached to the pharmasexed gendered body for men and women in the age of Viagra, and (3) provide disruptions, in the form of criticism, to the assumption that healthy bodies and relationships need pharmasexual enhancement. The article concludes by suggesting that social networking sites such as YouTube are managed public spaces through which one can interrogate the intertextualities that link discourses related to bodies and sexual health to the virtual and material spaces of everyday life.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages474-493
Number of pages20
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 2015

Fingerprint

sexuality
politics
Sexuality
YouTube
health
Sexual Health
video
discourse
Intertextuality
Discourse
New Age
technical innovation
public space
everyday life
networking
conversation
criticism
regime
responsibility
ability

Keywords

  • gendered and sexualized bodies
  • sex
  • sexuality
  • technology
  • Viagra
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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