Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 9, No 1 (2013)

Are Sex Scandals about Sex?: How We Tell The Stories of Our Subjects

Leslie Dorrough Smith
Issued Date: 21 Aug 2018


Many scholars who study sex scandals focus on describing the cultural circumstances under which such events transpire, such as looking at media coverage and public sexual mores. However, relatively few actually ask more fundamental questions about why sex is such a critical act. Such scholars appear to presume that they have theoretically exhausted the social significance of sex so long as they have simply acknowledged its moral prominence. Using K. Merinda Simmons’ understanding of scholarly arguments on authenticity and her description of scholars as those who “grant transcendence” to phenomena they find self-evident, I show that the presumption that sex scandals are primarily about the sex act itself employs a specific set of beliefs about morality, sex, and religion that work to reinforce a conservative (and yet very mainstream) understanding of these terms at the same time that it creates the conditions by which they become noticeable phenomena at all.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.31002


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