Chapter Title

The Cultural Economy of Urban Sexuality

Type of Work

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Book Title

The Sexual Organization of the City

Book Editor

Edward O. Laumann, Stephen Ellingson, Jenna Mahay, Anthony Paik, Yoosik Youm


University of Chicago Press


Chicago, IL, USA

First Page


Last Page





The closing chapter in a collection devoted to Chicago's sex markets reviews the key findings regarding the cultural economy and social structure or urban sexuality. Contributions, which drew on the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey, are cited to discuss broader ideas of individualism and choice, the patterning of concomitant outcomes by race/ethnicity, the Sexual Revolution, and the institutional politics of sexuality. Organizational/institutional control of sexuality and the moral heterogeneity surrounding this effort are addressed. The sexual choices of Chicago residents is deemed best characterized as "bounded individualism," which stands counter to cultural myths of sexuality; the two major cultural myths -- the unitary nature of the sexual life course and cohabitation/divorce/remarriage -- are then set against the more complex picture that emerged from the analyses. Sex market choices are seen to be differently constrained by culture, structure, space, and social networks and require attention to the cultural economy and social structuring of sexuality.

Hamilton Areas of Study


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