Chapter Ten: Age and Sexuality
Age is socially constructed, and our experience of life stages, and even the life stages we
recognize, is based on the culture we live in. Age is also a basis for inequality. Elderly people often experience ageism, and there are a variety of challenges the elderly experience as they age, such as dealing with retirement and social isolation. Young
people, however, also experience inequality based on their age, in part because children and adolescents rarely have the power to voice their interests. In addition, each age cohort has had different experiences and will shape our culture in different ways. Although there are certain aspects of sexuality that are biologically based, sexuality is socially constructed, varying by culture, over time, and among different groups within a society.
Major scientific studies on sex and sexuality have found conflicting and controversial results, but overall seem to indicate that Americans are fairly sexually conservative in their practices.
American sexual behavior is highly gendered and also varies by race. There is an increasing convergence between men’s and women’s sexual identities and behavior, as we can see in sexual behavior among college students. Sexual identities are also a major source of social inequality. This may lead people who have stigmatized sexual identities to form subcultures for their own comfort and protection and also to engage in political action. There are also a variety of political issues and debates around topics related to sexuality, such as sex education and pornography.
rocess defined by culture, and understanding how a culture
experiences and explains death provides a window through which to view the
III. Age and Inequality: The term ageism refers to differential treatment based on age (usually affecting the elderly rather than the young). The elderly often experience restrictions on their options (for example, rules...