"Sexed Texts" explores the complex role that language plays in the construction of sexuality and gender, two concepts that are often discussed separately, although in practice are closely intertwined. The book draws on a range of theoretical perspectives and published research including performativity theory, feminism, queer studies, psychoanalytical theory, Marxism, social constructionism and essentialism. Illustrative examples are taken from written, spoken, internet, non-verbal, visual, media-scripted and naturally occurring texts. Some of the questions addressed in the book include: how do people construct their own and other's gendered or sexual identities through the use of language? What is the relationship between language and desire? In what ways do language practices help to reflect and shape different gendered/sexed discourses as 'normal', problematic or contested? Taking a broadly deconstructionist perspective, the book progresses from examining what are seen as preferable or acceptable ways to express gender and sexuality, moving towards more 'tolerated' identities, practices and desires, and finally arriving at marginalized and tabooed forms.
The book locates sexuality and gender as socially constructed, and therefore examines language use in terms of socio-historical factors, linking changing conceptualisations of identity, discourse and desire to theories surrounding regulation, globalisation, new technologies, marketisation and consumerism.