This collection focuses attention on an important but academically neglected area of contemporary operational policing: the regulation of consensual sexual practices. Despite the high-level public visibility of, and debate about, policing in relation to violent and abusive sexual crimes (from child sexual abuse to adult rape) very little public or scholarly attention is paid to the policing of consensual sexual practices in contemporary societies. Whilst ‘sexual life’ is commonly understood to be a matter of ‘private life’ that is beyond formal social control, this book shows that policing is implicated in the regulation of a wide range of consensual sexual practices. This book brings together a well known and respected group of academics, from a range of disciplines, to explore the role of the police in shaping the boundaries of that aspect of our lives that we imagine to be most intimate and most our own. The volume presents a ‘snap shot’ of policing in respect of a number of diverse areas – such as public sex, pornography, and sex work – and considers how sexual orientation structures police responses to them. The authors critically examine how policing is implicated in the social, moral and political landscape of sex and, contrary to the established rhetoric of politicians and criminal justice practitioners, continues to intervene in the private lives of citizens.
It is essential supplementary reading for courses in criminology, law, policing, sociology of deviance, gender and sexuality, and cultural studies.