Private Sexuality, Public Morality and Modern Sexology: What Prospects of Sexuality in Times of Uncertainty?
This chapter investigates the heteronormativity and dominance of the conformist heterosexual ideal in Western society. It examines the heteronormative foundation of the social scientific interest in human sexuality, how this biased perspective evolved particularly during the modern epoch and how it has been transformed. The chapter provides a picture of contemporary politics of sexuality as moulded by the sexual prescriptions of more than 100 years of heteronormative social science. It proposes a tentative alternative to this heteronormative bias in science as well as in society, in which individual freedom of choice is coupled with obligations and responsibilities, not to morality or social convention, but toward other individuals. Where the morality of conformity promises certainty mixed with fear, the morality of choice, on the other hand, promises uncertainty and anxiety mixed with freedom. The chapter seeks to illustrate the historical backdrop for the social and scientific bias and aspires to point to new horizons in the understanding of sexuality.