chapter
Our Bodies Are Not Ourselves, Or Do (Female) Monkeys Have Orgasms?: Introduction to the New Edition
Pages 16

Revisiting a book one wrote decades ago can be both a discomforting and a reassuring experience. It is good to find consistency and continuity, to note that one is, after all, in some ways at least, still the same person. But time also changes much, and it especially changes the social context and the cultures and disciplines of knowledge within which books such as Sex, Gender and Society come to be written. The social issues that preoccupied us in the 1970s have elided into others; the landscape of data that informed the argument of Sex, Gender and Society has adopted a new geography; conceptual frameworks have fragmented and reassembled in different ways. The result is that some of what made obvious sense when Sex, Gender and Society was written fortythree years ago now has a slightly anachronistic and/or politically incorrect air. However, the book still apparently serves its purpose as a basic primer on the subject for students of social science, and its central disputation – the need to separate our bodily endowments from our cultural positioning – remains critical in academic work, as well as to policy and personal choices.