Space, Place and Sex

Cyber-sex and online dating, mail-order brides, the history of the church in relation to weddings, and sex, romance and beaches. These are just some of the themes that Professors of Geography Lynda Johnston and Robyn Longhurst explore in their latest book Space, Place and Sex: Geographies of Sexualities.

"Sexuality affects the way people live in and interact with space and place, and space and place, in turn, affect people's sexuality" says Longhurst.

"Hamilton’s statues are obvious examples of this. The ‘Farming Family’ statue at the north end of Victoria Street reinforces the familiar image of the nuclear heterosexual Pakeha family. Riff Raff, at the south end of Victoria Street, offers the public an alternative expression of gender and sexuality."

The two geographers examine the role of place in shaping sexual identity in an accessible way, drawing on queer, feminist, gender, social, and cultural studies.

"Our own bodies, where we live and how we live can all influence our sexuality," says Johnston.

"We wrote the book to unravel some of the diversity and complexity that surrounds and inhabits the embodied experiences of sex and sexuality."

Amongst the New Zealand stories are Mystery Creek Fieldays’ Bachelor of the Year, the Middlemarch singles’ ball, Air New Zealand’s Pink Flight to Sydney Mardi Gras, asexual Gerald, a character from Shortland Street and Georgina Beyer, New Zealand’s and the world’s first openly transsexual mayor.

Each chapter in the book weaves original research and popular culture with critical reviews of existing literature to advance the carefully nuanced argument that space and place matter to sex.