The purpose of this research is to study the construction of sexual selves. The research entails understanding how sexual selves emerge, develop, alter, sustain, transform or deconstruct. In all cases of sexuality, sex is something we, as active agents, do. It is for this reason that I adhere, in this work and otherwise, to the tenets of symbolic interactionism as this activity involves; (1) active agents who are composed of many different categorizations of selves including sexual selves, (2) the reflexive nature between the individual and the social realm wherein sexuality, in causal terms, takes the position of a dependent variable, and (3) the consistent attachment of meaning to social symbols.

I am not convinced that the origins of sexual selves have been addressed properly in the existing literatures and, because of this, there are many questions I have and many avenues I wish to explore with regard to the acquisition and development of sexual selves, including, but not limited to, how external forces in the environment affect sexual selves, the mechanics within the differentiation of hidden and public sexual selves, and why some sexual selves survive while others fail and die out. Utilizing narratives and accounts provided by 39 participants in the study, I produce a basic conceptual underpinning for which to understand how sexual selves are constructed.


Dennis Waskul

Committee Member

Emily Boyd

Committee Member

Eric Sprankle

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Corrections


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License