Sex(ualities) and Symbolic Interaction


Direct all correspondence to Dennis D. Waskul, Department of Sociology and Corrections, Minnesota State University, Mankato, 113 Armstrong Hall, Mankato, MN 56001; e-mail:


What goes on sexually has to be placed in a context of meaning. This might seem a very simple and obvious idea. And yet this is what makes it so important: most people still cannot see sexuality in this way. We continue to think of our sexualities as remaining firmly locked in the chains of biology. Whereas for humans surely the biological is really the least interesting aspect of our sexuality. So, whilst there remain huge armies of sexologists studying the biological in its various guises, the radical importance of the social still fails to find its proper place in the study of the sexual.

—Ken Plummer, “Memoriam for Bill Simon” (2001)