Leisure Sciences Call for Papers

Innovation and Impact of Sex in Leisure Research and Practice

Leisure Sciences

This special issue on sex in leisure research invites contributions from different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. The issue will focus on the links between sex and leisure and their impacts on health and wellbeing (Berdychevsky, 2018).

Leisure is fundamental to understanding contemporary issues associated with sex and the sexual (Carr, 2016). To this end, sex can be broadly construed as any activity (with or without penetration) that has some sexual overtones, including voyeurism and exhibitionism. Sexual activity that is consensual, freely chosen, pleasurable, and performed for its own sake fits most definitions of leisure (Godbey, 2008; Meaney & Rye, 2007). Indeed, sex for recreational purposes is typically a self-contained activity with intrinsic sensual, diverting, and relational meanings. In the late modern societies, sex has acquired a status of recreational activity related to the sense of self, freedom, and happiness (Attwood & Smith, 2013).

The links between sex and leisure present both risk and protective factors. For instance, leisure experiences and environments offer the potential for sexual exploitation, either by the leisure industry, other industries that are arguably linked to leisure (e.g., the sex industry), or leisured individuals. Additionally, various leisurely characteristics (e.g., sense of freedom or boredom, and search for self) can motivate people’s involvement in sexually risky or transgressive behaviors (Weybright, Caldwell, Ram, Smith, & Wegner, 2015), which can lead to various physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and socio-cultural risks affecting health and wellbeing (Berdychevsky & Gibson, 2015). However, sexual risk taking can also offer some positive psychological outcomes associated with sexual exploration. Furthermore, the protective roles of leisure should not be overlooked in sexual health education programs since humor, role-playing, self-expressive exercises, and connection with others through leisure can contribute to the effectiveness of these initiatives (Berdychevsky, 2018).

The multiplicity of leisure contexts (e.g., everyday leisure, tourism experiences, sporting events) should also be explored in relation to gendered sexual attitudes and practices as different leisure contexts can encourage conformity to social norms or prompt authentic uncensored expression, empowerment, transgression and inversion of gendered rules (Berdychevsky & Gibson, 2015; Parry, 2016; Parry & Light, 2014). In addition, leisure scholars have something to offer in investigating sex across the life course because, in adolescence and young adulthood, leisurely sexual experimentation supports various developmental tasks while, in older adulthood, it can serve adaptive purposes and help resist ageist asexual stereotypes (Berdychevsky, 2016; Berdychevsky & Nimrod, 2017). Hence, leisure spaces serve as important playgrounds where sexual, gendered, and age-related identities can be negotiated, contested, and transformed.

Therefore, sex and the sexual, in all their diversity, are under-researched yet essential components of many leisure experiences, while the vast potential for innovative conceptual insights and practical implications remains untapped. This gap in leisure scholarship is problematic because investigating the links between sex and leisure adds a psycho-socio-cultural perspective to understanding sexuality, which complements a more commonly adopted bio-medical approach (Berdychevsky, 2018). Moreover, sex-related investigations connect leisure scholarship to the fields of sexuality, public health, social work, and criminal justice, which helps to advance leisure studies and overcome its marginalization and isolation from other disciplines.

To this end, this special issue is aimed at addressing an important area of leisure research and fostering debate and critical dialogue among scholars from different disciplines and fields (including leisure, tourism, sport, sexuality, media, and health) investigating the links between leisure and sex and the sexual. We invite empirical and conceptual papers that explore a wide range of topics related to sex and leisure, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Sexual practices and lifestyles and leisure
  • Sexual violence and abuse in leisure contexts
  • Sexualization of the leisure industry and its employees
  • Sexual discrimination, stereotyping, and harassment in leisure contexts
  • Sex addiction and leisure
  • Roles of leisure in sex education and therapy
  • Extradyadic sex/infidelity and leisure
  • Pornography, cybersex/online sex, virtual reality, sexting, and leisure
  • Sex toys/robots and leisure
  • Sexual fetishes and sexual leisure with non-human animals—bestiality and zoophilia
  • Sexual leisure spaces (e.g., sex clubs, bath clubs, striptease clubs)
  • Sexualization and sensationalization of leisure practices
  • Methodological and ethical issues related to conducting research on sex and leisure

How to submit your abstract

Authors, including those in post-doctoral positions and graduate students, are invited to submit abstracts of 500 words based on in-depth empirical studies or conceptual discussions from a broad range of perspectives that explore links between sex and leisure. It is important to note, to be considered for the special issue authors must clearly outline in the abstract how their work contributes to and advances thinking on sex and the sexual in the leisure literature.

Please submit abstracts no later than July 01, 2018 via email to Liza Berdychevsky (lizabk@illinois.edu) and Neil Carr (neil.carr@otago.ac.nz). Invited papers will be due no later than December 15, 2018 through the Leisure Sciences manuscript submission site (https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ulsc) and should indicate that the manuscript is being submitted for consideration in the special issue. The target publication date for the special issue is late 2019.

Authors should direct questions about the special issue to Liza Berdychevsky and Neil Carr.

For more information, view Leisure Sciences full Instructions for Authors.

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Liza Berdychevsky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Guest Editor: Neil Carr, University of Otago