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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Building on theoretical discussions regarding the institution of heterosexuality and heteronormativity, this chapter demonstrates how language and heterosexual sex (that is, heterosex) are intimately intertwined. The chapter teases out the ways in which the norms of heterosexuality have changed over time yet also remained the same in several fundamental ways. The first section maps the broad discursive conditions that shape dominant norms of contemporary heterosexuality in Anglo-Western contexts. The second section demonstrates the cultural imperatives that govern the desires, norms, and acts of heterosex, outlining how they create specific modes of being and doing in everyday practice. Finally, the conclusion considers the possibility that recent global activism may lead to a revamping of gendered norms and their tired rigidity.

Keywords: heterosexuality, heteronormativity, heterosex, cultural imperatives, gendered norms

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