Main Index ® Introduction


A recent substantial revision of the lay-out of volume 1 (September 2004), augmentation of two earlier modes of presentation with a third bibliographic volume, as well as continued enthusiasm for the theme of “Growing Up Sexually” I guess invites a brief word of introduction addressing purpose and rationale of the present project, if only pro forma. Previous more argumentative hints have been provided elsewhere[1].


Project “Growing Up Sexually”, or “GUS”, (born January 2002) is a slowly meandering effort to “read” developmental sexualities, that is, to identify, archive and notify of publications informative of processes commonly addressed as “sexual development”.  From the start, this project has been “archival” by all means. The project is entirely web-situated and web-operative, and this will be the way to go in future time. Thus, it serves as an open door for those pre-/per-/post-/non-academically occupied with the theme in all its diversity (see below). Its existence currently also is entirely non-budget and enlarges in an air of spontaneity and personal commitment only. The backbone materials are currently and kindly hosted by Prof. Dr. Dr. Erwin J. Haeberle’s Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology. The project’s homepage is Needless to say I am much indepted by the kind hospitality of my host, Prof. Dr. Dr. Erwin J. Haeberle, and his associates.


In a sexological centralising of chronologies, a score of questions present themselves (Janssen, forthcoming)[2]. In GUS I like to look at how curricula construct and control sexual/erotic/pleasure bodies in a chronological/sequentially hierarchical regime. In which way are curricula presented as necessity and how are (necessary) curricula subverted and transgressed? For instance, how are bodies reduced to curricula, thus governed or disciplined by them? Also, how does curriculum figure as a contemporary paradigm for societal control of stratified bodies? What are curricula made of? How do curricula re/produce and precede self-disciplining bodies? In terms of genealogy, how are curricula retained and reinvented historically (e.g., from taboo to discourse)? How are biological ramifications of pre/adolescent bodies regimented, hijacked and recruited in/through curricula? In answering these questions, we need to address hegemonic and historical discourses about pleasure as taught, educated, learned; as sex play vs first/serious sex (notionally, rehearsive vs real sex) and familiar curricular ideas about sexual derivation, inauguration, substitution, seduction. Thus, we might be better able to ramify instances of culture critique on issues of precocity (e.g., ‘sexualization’ and sexualized media coverage) and its pedagogization. So there is anthropological well as political utility in an effort to try and digest materials as a field (rather than an instrumental dimension). For instance, might there be merit in a critical humanistic approach to sexual auto/biographies (a defense is found in Plummer, 2001)[3]?.

Thus, I have ventured in what I still experience as a facultative (‘parallel’) and to some extent subversive positioning within the sexological realm: taking “developments” as a preset (rather than the legitimate diversities that they would produce, or diversity as such) and as explanandum rather than explanans. To some extent this is a lonely and dissatisfying experience. “Developmental sexology”, a territorial concept most prominently busied by celebrated Dr. John Money, appears to connote a discipline unpractised and underrepresented in any imaginable way when looking at today’s academic paradigms (gender features as one of three canonical postmodern axes, including race/ethnicity and class). In due course, I introduced some “downloadables” that appeared (and still appears) to me unpresedented: (1) a 3-volume study comprised of a world atlas of growing up sexually plus a thus-inspired ethno-sensitive thematic monograph and  auxilliary bibliographies, (2) a thematically focused web-ography and associated digital archive, and (3) a thematically dedicated reading/subscription email list facility. I concurrently argued for a sustainable platform that was to serve as a “culture monitor” but it was never established, since I received few productive and cooperative responses. Made me figure. Using three basic representational schemes (ethnogeographic, topical, bibliographic) the project aims to address ethnographic and ethnological aspects of “sexual”/gender/erotic/bodily “development”, during childhood and early adolescence.

My personal (rather inclusive) mind-set includes references commonly classified: critical, poststructual, and multi-axial. In concordance with my past and contemporary academic formation, I am mostly interested in comparative writings in areas traditionally identified with the terms: ethnology, ethnography, anthropology of the body, ethnohistoriography, literature and media studies, critical pedagogy and philosophy of pedagogy.

Apparently and surprisingly, this project is unique in more than one way, one major feature is that it aims to be inclusive and multidisciplinary, rather than being restricted to some traditional genre or event or ways of “publication”. It is also per- rather than postacademic, as far as I am still a student as I write. I guess this has halted and will halt the way to established sexology and established sexologists; on the other hand, my activities will not be too commodified, politically representative, paradigmatically compromising or institutionalised.

For staying in tune with sexual “developmental” issues, one may consider subscribing to Topica “Growing Up Sexually” List. This free reading and subscription facility offers (digest) email notification of new and recent academic research. It is as much a daily reflection of my learning as it is of concurrent webavailability, as will be apparent from the thematic preoccupations over time.

The author, February 2005

Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Feb 2005

[1] 2002 Guidelines, 2003 PostScript, 2004 Preface; 2003-4 Reflections, 2005 Critique

[2] Janssen, D. F., Current Western Problems of “Taught” and Propaedeutic Sexualities. Paper read at the “Cultural Aspects of Sex/Sexuality Education” One-day Conference at the Institute of Education, University of London, May 25 2005 [abstract]

[3] Plummer, K. (2001). Documents of Life 2: An Invitation to a Critical Humanism. London: Sage