PHIL 6320: Interactions Between Paraphilic Sexual Identity and The Gender Binary

Potential Paper Topic: Interactions Between Paraphilic Sexual Identity and The Gender Binary


The social construction of gender is filled with symbols. Some symbols are performative and some symbols are material. Paraphilic sexuality emphasizes the use of gendered symbols and makes them central to sexuality. Normative repetitions of sexuality utilize the biological manifestations of sex as their link to gender. Paraphilia are less centered on genitalia despite engaging gender more strongly at the social level.

I propose to construct an academic paper, resembling a sociological literature review, which will overview the current literature regarding the use of gendered symbols in paraphilic sexualities and analyze that literature with methods consistent with feminist theory. My primary theoretical tools for this will be Butler’s performativity and Burke and Stets’ social identity theory. I will also consider the potential applications of queer theory for deconstructing the sexual discourse of paraphilia. One such exercise will utilize Lugone’s “world traveling” perspective with a wider scope, to allow “gender traveling”.

One area of interest I would like to give specific attention to is the difference between “traveling” in different intensities of the gender to which one identifies compared with trying on a gender identity at the opposite end of the spectrum. My initial reaction to this particular area is that the restriction on such an exploration of gender is inhibited only by social norms.