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Sexual learning and the seaside: relocating the 'dirty weekend' and teenage girls' sexuality

Hemingway, Judy (2006) Sexual learning and the seaside: relocating the 'dirty weekend' and teenage girls' sexuality. Sex Education, 6 (4). pp. 429-443. ISSN 1468-1811. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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This paper explores the geographical constitution of the „dirty weekend? and teenage girls? sexuality by interrogating the cultural habitus of the seaside resort. It reidentifies the littoral pleasure zone as an active agent in sexual learning and disrupts taken-forgranted inscriptions of the seaside as an inert backdrop against which only traditional family holidays or hedonistic youthful activities take place. In the cultural imaginary of Britain, the seaside assumes centre-place as a site of normativity. At the same time, it indexes the social and spatial limits of disorder and connects coastal towns with diverse moral panics. While this place-image binary resists other interpretations, closure can be challenged by recognizing the seaside as a cultural text which is to hold open the possibility of further re-readings and re-writings. In alignment with this broadening, two liminal sexual/textual topographies are narrated which cohere around the heterosexual carnivalesque of Brighton and the local experiences of adolescent girls in Margate. Issues are raised about the ways in which the specificity of place inflects sexual learning and how geographical insights can contribute to sex/sexuality education.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This cross-disciplinary paper is published in a special issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Sex Education and arises from a conference which addressed cultural aspects of sex/sexuality and relationship education. It is conceptually underpinned by the ‘cultural turn’ in the social sciences and draws on an analysis of popular cultural texts to explore the politics and production of sexualised places and spaces. In particular, it interrogates the cultural habitus of two British seaside resorts in relation to sexual learning and in so doing unusually crosses boundaries between academic geography and sex education. Registering the often under-examined cultures of the ‘dirty weekend’ and teenage girls’ sexuality, the paper attempts to demonstrate that a spatial problematic is relevant to the field of sex/sexuality education. It argues that without producing maps of pathology geography educators can creatively engage in sex and relationship education. This is an electronic version of an article published in Hemingway, Judy (2006) Sexual learning and the seaside: relocating the 'dirty weekend' and teenage girls' sexuality. Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning, 6 (4). pp. 429-443. Sex Education is available online at:
Controlled Keywords: Cultural studies , Sexual and reproductive health (inc. HIV/AIDS)
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and Science
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2010 10:49
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:20
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