In the cultural imagination, expressions of the erotic – sex, desire, relationships – are intrinsically linked to gender. Female gender stereotypes are often based on ideas about sexual behaviour, from the lustful Jezebel who preys on innocent men to the sexually passive ‘angel in the house’ who endures sexuality for the sake of procreation. Similarly, behaviour during sexual encounters is often strictly scripted based on gender, with an alleged set of rules of conduct, including sexual positions and questions of dominance. Representations of the erotic are also plagued by double standards: not only are women encouraged to be sexually available only to be disparaged for being ‘too’ available, but which behaviours are culturally acceptable also differs widely between the genders. This issue of gender forum presents works that critically engage with representations of the erotic, both on the page and on the screen.

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Absolute Erotic