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Make way for the New Romantics – sex positive campaign begins to get media recognition

May 18th, 2009

Dr Petra

You’re all used to my moaning on about very bad sex coverage in the media, but here’s a really lovely surprise. Drake Bennett of the Boston Globe has written a fantastic piece called The new romantics: should we get the doctor out of the bedroom?

In it, Bennett documents the work carried out by pioneering sexologists Masters and Johnson and raises the question that some of their focus on categorising sex as a form of functional behaviour has allowed for a medicalisation of sexual behaviour. The article is based, in part, around the concerns raised by the New View Campaign (of which I’m an endorser). It aims to challenge medicalisation and bring a humanistic approach to tackling women’s sexual dissatisfactions/problems.

I’d strongly recommend reading Bennett’s piece. It’s a great example of what a good story you can find (and report) if you’re willing to go that extra mile and ask questions about things we take for granted. It’s also a very good example of how mainstream journalism can tackle complex issues within sexology – a lovely contrast against the usual ‘lite’ (and poor) reportage of sex.

You may also be interested in following the comments section below Bennett’s article. Those raise a number of issues about how female sexuality is understood and I think will be helpful to those of us working to bring a more holistic take on sex to the public.

I rather like the reclaiming of the term ‘new romantic’ to describe the way some therapists, educators and activists are trying to change how we view sex. Aside from having a link with an often misunderstood and undervalued cultural movement (one that particularly enjoyed playing with gender and having fun), it further endorses a caring and passionate view of human sexuality.

All too often I find when talking to journalists about challenging some of the quick fix approaches to female sexual problems that it’s easy to come across as negative or critical. Perhaps the new romantic rebranding might help with that.

Maybe this new romantic classic might even be our new theme tune?

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