New Research on Sexuality and Embodiment Featured in Special Issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC

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Researchers report on different aspects of sexuality from the unifying perspective of how we experience the world through our bodies and listen, or not, to what our bodies are feeling.

"Through a Lens of Embodiment: New Research From the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality" is the title of the new issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of the NSRC (SRSP) made available exclusively online today at http://www.SexualityResearch.net.

The issue contains findings from five research studies conducted at the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality (CRGS). Researchers report on different aspects of sexuality from the unifying perspective of how we experience the world through our bodies and listen, or not, to what our bodies are feeling. The research covers topics as diverse as how 12th grade girls talk about their sexuality, challenges transgender people face in accessing health care, how yoga practice can affect acceptance of our bodies, and the difference it makes when parents sit down and watch TV with their teens rather than just setting rules.

"Embodiment is a powerful concept for the study of sexuality---it raises new, taboo questions about sexual desire, sexual development, and denial of one's sexuality," stated Dr. Deborah L. Tolman, guest editor for SRSP's special issue and director of CRGS. "Researchers have a tendency to abstract the individuals whose lives they are studying and need to remember that people live in bodies---bodies that are positioned for privilege, power, and pleasure depending on visible factors such as race or invisible factors such as class. The rigorous, innovative research conducted at CRGS reflects our understanding of the ways in which people are oppressed through and because of their sexuality, especially as it intersects with gender, and our commitment to social change."

Deborah Tolman is available to discuss this special issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, Volume 3, Issue 4. Tolman is a professor of Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, a noted author, and a developmental psychologist whose research focuses on adolescent sexuality, gender development, gender equity and research methods. Her book, Dilemmas of Desire: Teenage Girls Talk about Sexuality (Harvard Press), was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Book Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. She is often quoted in the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Salon.com.

In "Risky Business: Sexuality Education and Research in U.S. Schools," Tolman and co-author Jessica Fields explore recent efforts to push education and scientific inquiry about sexuality out of schools. They analyze how adult resistance to sex education in Lubbock, Texas and to sexuality research in Fairfax, Virginia won out in spite of young people's (and their adult allies') recognition of the importance of knowing about sexuality. Tolman and Fields conclude that when positive discourse and inquiry about sexuality are a dynamic part of schools, it benefits students and broadens our knowledge about young people's sexuality. In contrast, viewing sexuality as only risk---and youth as only vulnerable---fails to acknowledge young people's subjectivity and embodiment.

"Dis/Embodied Voices: What Late Adolescent Girls Can Teach Us About Objectification and Sexuality," by Celeste Hirschman, Emily A. Impett and Deborah Schooler, suggests that girls who are less self-objectified than other girls and who are not embodying social demands may be in a process of sexual development that will yield better sexual well-being.

"On Bodies and Research: Transgender Issues in Health and HIV Research Articles," by Rita M. Melendez, Lathem A. Bonem and Robert Sember, is the first-ever systematic review of research literature on transgender health and shows how transgender people's health needs challenge practices that are unwittingly organized by gender.

"Minding the Body: Yoga, Embodiment and Well-Being," by Emily A. Impett, Jennifer J. Daubenmier and Allegra L. Hirschman, evaluates how the intensive focus on connections with the body in yoga practice impacts positive outcomes for body awareness, affect, and overall satisfaction. They explore how yoga may have benefits for healthy sexuality.

"Setting Rules or Sitting Down: Parental Mediation of Television Consumption and Adolescent Self-Esteem, Body Image and Sexuality," by Deborah Schooler, Janna L. Kim and Lynn Sorsoli, suggests that the embodied activity of parents sitting down with their teens when they watch television may be supportive of adolescent development.

In addition, Volume 3, Issue 4 of the journal includes "Sensation Seeking as a Moderator of Internet Use on Sexual Risk Taking Among Men Who Have Sex With Men," by Keith J. Horvath, Blair Beadnell and Anne M. Bowen. This article reports on a study that tested the effects of Internet sex seeking on the risks that men who have sex with men take with sex partners they meet online.

Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC is published by the National Sexuality Resource Center in partnership with University of California Press and is available exclusively online at http://www.SexualityResearch.net. For full versions of articles contact Ellen Vaz at 212-229-0540.

The Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality (CRGS) is an interdisciplinary community of San Francisco State University faculty, students, and staff dedicated to producing and sharing new and useful knowledge about sexuality and gender. CRGS is committed to developing innovative questions, methods, and theories to promote social justice and well-being and to diminish inequalities and violence stemming from racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, heterosexism, and other forms of prejudice. http://crgs.sfsu.edu/

The National Sexuality Resource Center gathers and disseminates the latest accurate information and research on sexual health, education, and rights. NSRC initiates constructive dialogues---both online and face-to-face---on sexuality to promote social justice and to improve the quality of life in the United States. http://nsrc.sfsu.edu

The University of California Press is one of the largest nonprofit publishers in the United States, introducing over 180 new books and 56 journals each year in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Visit http://www.ucpress.edu or http://www.californiajournals.com.

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