In our contemporary erotic sphere, digital spaces have become central sexual arenas. We have witnessed the emergence and burgeoning of a variety of digital sexual spaces where sexual actors can consume pornography, meet romantic and sexual partners, and explore fantasies and fetishes. From Christianmingle.com to FeetFetishDating.com, digital spaces have opened possibilities for new sexual desires, practices, intimacies, subjectivities, and identities. This session aims to contribute to the empirical and theoretical sociological literature on dating and the erotic sphere in this digital age. We welcome submissions that aim to expand and re-imagine current theories to push our sociological imagination of sex and sexuality into the digital age. Submissions that offer potential research methods for empirically examining digital sexual spaces are also welcome. We are interested in papers that take critical and intersectional approaches, addressing how social locations, such as race, gender, sexualities, and class, within digital spaces affect the ways in which desires are structured and how ‘sexual actors’ navigate digital sexual spaces. We invite scholars to offer ways of understanding the mutual imbrication between sexual fieldsspaces, sexualities, and technologies. Areas of theoretical and empirical investigation may include, for example -social groups who are excluded from digital sexual fields or marginalized within them, -forms of stratification and inequalities within digital sexual fields, -the initiation and dissolution of romantic relationships that are complicated within digital spaces, -racism, disableism, sexism in digital spaces, -hierarchies of desirability being negotiated in these digital sexual fields, -“niche” online spaces for a variety of sexualities, sexual desires, and sexual practices, -the regulation of these sexual spaces, sexual harassment and violence in digital spaces, -the critical role of digital sexual spaces in enabling and constraining sexual preference structures based on age, race, class, body types, etc., -the emergence of desires, subjectivities, and identities within online sexual spaces.
Organizers: Alan Santinele Martino, McMaster University, Emerich Daroya, Carleton University, Nicole Andrejek, McMaster University