In the postwar decades, sexual revolutions - first women's suffrage, flappers, Prohibition, and Mae West; later Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, and the pill - altered the lifestyles and desires of generations. Since the 1990s, the internet and its cataclysmic cultural and social technological shifts have unleashed a third sexual revolution, crystallized in the acts and rituals of confession that are a staple of our twenty-first-century lives. In I Confess!, a collection of thirty original essays, leading international scholars such as Ken Plummer, Susanna Paasonen, Tom Roach, and Shohini Ghosh explore the ideas of confession and sexuality in moving image arts and media, mostly in the Global North, over the last quarter century. Through self-referencing or autobiographical stories, testimonies, and performances, and through rigorously scrutinized case studies of "gay for pay," gaming, camming, YouTube uploads, and the films Tarnation and Nymph()maniac, the contributors describe a spectrum of identities, desires, and related representational practices. Together these desires and practices shape how we see, construct, and live our identities within this third sexual revolution, embodying both its ominous implications of surveillance and control and its utopian glimmers of community and liberation. Inspired by theorists from Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze to Gayle Rubin and José Esteban Muñoz, I Confess! reflects an extraordinary, paradigm-shifting proliferation of first-person voices and imagery produced during the third sexual revolution, from the eve of the internet to today.
Thomas Waugh is a writer, programmer, and activist who taught film studies and sexuality at Concordia University from 1976 to 2017. He is the author of The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas. Brandon Arroyo is instructor of media studies at Queens College, City University of New York.
"This collection is a breath of fresh air, full of energy and exciting ideas that stopped me in my tracks. It is both a pleasure to read and a heartening read. There are many riches here of worth to scholars across a range of disciplines, and to the general reader as well." John Mercer, Birmingham School of Media