Winner of the 2015 Ruth Benedict Prize for Outstanding Edited Volume

Sex, sexuality and sexual relationships are hotly debated in Indonesia, triggering complex and often passionate responses. This innovative volume explores these issues in a variety of ways. It highlights historical and newer forms of sexual diversity, as well as the social responses they provoke. It critiques differing representations of sexuality, pointing to the multiplicity of discourses within which sexuality and ‘the sexual’ are understood in modern-day Indonesia.

Placing sexuality centre-stage and locating it within the specific historical context of the Reformasi era, this landmark volume explores understandings and practices across a wide variety of sites, focusing in on a diverse group of Indonesian actors, and the contested meanings that sexuality carries. Beginning with a substantive introduction and concluding with a scholarly reflection on key issues, the volume is framed around the four themes of sexual politics, health, diversity and representations. It seeks both to present new empirical findings as well as to add to existing theoretical analysis.

This work fills an important gap in our understanding of the evolution and contemporary dynamics of Indonesian sexualities. It will be of interest to scholars and academics from disciplines including gender and sexuality studies, global health, sexual and reproductive health, anthropology, sociology and Asian studies.

chapter |25 pages


Mapping sex and sexualities in contemporary Indonesia

part I|60 pages

Sexual politics

chapter 2|18 pages

Masculinity, sexuality and Islam

The gender politics of regime change in Indonesia

part II|77 pages

Sexual health

chapter 4|18 pages

Negotiating risk

Indonesian couples navigating marital relationships, reproduction and HIV

chapter 5|20 pages

Sexual tensions

HIV-positive women in Papua

part III|66 pages

Sexual diversity

chapter 8|14 pages

Discursive contestations concerning intersex in Indonesia

Stigma, rights and identities

chapter 9|20 pages

“I just ate some chilli”

Identities, bodies and sexual practices of young female sex workers in Java

chapter 10|17 pages

Belonging, community and identity

Gay men in Indonesia

chapter 11|14 pages

Lesbian subjectivities

Butch, femme and andro from the New Order to Reformasi era Indonesia

part IV|82 pages

Sexual representations

chapter 12|16 pages

Indonesian grannies and transnational sexualities

Negotiating sexuality, gender, age and belonging through cultural dance performance

chapter 13|20 pages

Sex on Indonesia's screens

chapter 14|20 pages

Indonesian beauty queens

Embodying ethnicity, sexual morality and the nation

chapter 15|14 pages

Sexuality, politics and loss of innocence

Recent literary explorations

chapter 16|11 pages


Reflections on sexual rights, politics and sexuality studies in Indonesia