The Effects of the Medicalization of Sex The medicalization of sex has led to changes in society, in cultural understanding of sex, and in how people engage in sex. Cultural discourses about sex have largely shifted since the late nineteenth century’s rise of sexology, from sin to biology, from religious stigma to medical stigma, with a rise of the construction of medical sexual “normality” that both reinscribe and give rise to resistance to sexual norms. The cultural effects of the medicalization of sex include cultural assumptions about sex and medicine: that some sexual “normal” exists and can be medically quantified, that science and medicine are the best and final authorities on what sex is or should be—and conversely, what it isn’t,...The end:
.....ation, and reinscribed cultural norms that oppress women, people of color, queer people, and transgender and intersex people. Medical constructions of sex and sexuality, especially through big pharmacology, put forth a definition of “normal” sexuality that ignores social inequality and privileges straight white men over everyone else. The resistance to medicalization has helped gay people find community, trans people find each other and define for themselves how they want to live in their bodies, helped women reclaim their bodies and reproductive rights—but just as medical institutions are still patriarchal and white male-dominated, so do the effects of medicalization of sex continue to shape our cultural understanding of sex and sexuality.