Dying for Sex: Cultural and Forensic Narratives of Autoerotic Death

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Dying for Sex: Cultural and Forensic Narratives of Autoerotic Death. / Downing, Lisa.

In: New Formations, Vol. 89/90, 01.09.2016, p. 137-152.

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@article{f950a206637040a4b94feaec79b6f338,
title = "Dying for Sex:: Cultural and Forensic Narratives of Autoerotic Death",
abstract = "This article explores representations of autoerotic death in a range of discursive fields: the media, forensic pathology, the psy sciences, literary fiction, and internet humour. It adopts a broadly Foucauldian approach to the study of the topic; i.e., rather than interrogating what sexual practices leading to autoerotic death mean, or what motivates people to experiment with these {\textquoteleft}extreme{\textquoteright} practices, it explores instead what attitudes towards autoerotic death tell us about normative cultural understandings of sexuality and gender. The article interrogates the ways in which gender norms and roles are at play in the apprehension of autoerotic fatalities, marking some of the men who die in this way as effeminate, failed men; while others are represented as hyper-masculine misadventurers. It also discusses why the rare female autoerotic fatality troubles assumptions about the nature and role of women. The biases guiding definitions of {\textquoteleft}normal{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}abnormal{\textquoteright} sexuality and gender are thus revealed in particularly striking ways by moving the focus of interrogation away from the pathologised practices and the bodies they produce, and onto the discourses that pronounce about them.",
keywords = "autoerotic death , erotic asphyxiation , gender , sexuality, sexual perversion, Michel Foucault",
author = "Lisa Downing",
year = "2016",
month = sep,
day = "1",
doi = "10.3898/NEWF:89/90.08.2016",
language = "English",
volume = "89/90",
pages = "137--152",
journal = "New Formations",
issn = "0950-2378",
publisher = "Lawrence and Wishart",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dying for Sex:

T2 - Cultural and Forensic Narratives of Autoerotic Death

AU - Downing, Lisa

PY - 2016/9/1

Y1 - 2016/9/1

N2 - This article explores representations of autoerotic death in a range of discursive fields: the media, forensic pathology, the psy sciences, literary fiction, and internet humour. It adopts a broadly Foucauldian approach to the study of the topic; i.e., rather than interrogating what sexual practices leading to autoerotic death mean, or what motivates people to experiment with these ‘extreme’ practices, it explores instead what attitudes towards autoerotic death tell us about normative cultural understandings of sexuality and gender. The article interrogates the ways in which gender norms and roles are at play in the apprehension of autoerotic fatalities, marking some of the men who die in this way as effeminate, failed men; while others are represented as hyper-masculine misadventurers. It also discusses why the rare female autoerotic fatality troubles assumptions about the nature and role of women. The biases guiding definitions of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexuality and gender are thus revealed in particularly striking ways by moving the focus of interrogation away from the pathologised practices and the bodies they produce, and onto the discourses that pronounce about them.

AB - This article explores representations of autoerotic death in a range of discursive fields: the media, forensic pathology, the psy sciences, literary fiction, and internet humour. It adopts a broadly Foucauldian approach to the study of the topic; i.e., rather than interrogating what sexual practices leading to autoerotic death mean, or what motivates people to experiment with these ‘extreme’ practices, it explores instead what attitudes towards autoerotic death tell us about normative cultural understandings of sexuality and gender. The article interrogates the ways in which gender norms and roles are at play in the apprehension of autoerotic fatalities, marking some of the men who die in this way as effeminate, failed men; while others are represented as hyper-masculine misadventurers. It also discusses why the rare female autoerotic fatality troubles assumptions about the nature and role of women. The biases guiding definitions of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexuality and gender are thus revealed in particularly striking ways by moving the focus of interrogation away from the pathologised practices and the bodies they produce, and onto the discourses that pronounce about them.

KW - autoerotic death

KW - erotic asphyxiation

KW - gender

KW - sexuality

KW - sexual perversion

KW - Michel Foucault

U2 - 10.3898/NEWF:89/90.08.2016

DO - 10.3898/NEWF:89/90.08.2016

M3 - Article

VL - 89/90

SP - 137

EP - 152

JO - New Formations

JF - New Formations

SN - 0950-2378

ER -