Quantified sex: a critical analysis of sexual and reproductive self-tracking using apps

Deborah Lupton

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    77 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Digital health technologies are playing an increasingly important role in healthcare, health education and voluntary self-surveillance, self-quantification and self-care practices. This paper presents a critical analysis of one digital health device: computer apps used to self-track features of users’ sexual and reproductive activities and functions. After a review of the content of such apps available in the Apple App Store and Google play™ store, some of their sociocultural, ethical and political implications are discussed. These include the role played by these apps in participatory surveillance, their configuration of sexuality and reproduction, the valorising of the quantification of the body in the context of neoliberalism and self-responsibility, and issues concerning privacy, data security and the use of the data collected by these apps. It is suggested that such apps represent sexuality and reproduction in certain defined and limited ways that work to perpetuate normative stereotypes and assumptions about women and men as sexual and reproductive subjects. Furthermore there are significant ethical and privacy implications emerging from the use of these apps and the data they produce. The paper ends with suggestions concerning the ‘queering’ of such technologies in response to these issues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)440-453
    Number of pages14
    JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
    Volume17
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Fingerprint

    Privacy
    Sexuality
    quantification
    Reproduction
    privacy
    surveillance
    sexuality
    self-responsibility
    data security
    Computer Security
    Biomedical Technology
    Malus
    Self Care
    health
    Health Education
    neoliberalism
    Sexual Behavior
    search engine
    health promotion
    stereotype

    Cite this

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    Quantified sex: a critical analysis of sexual and reproductive self-tracking using apps. / Lupton, Deborah.

    In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2015, p. 440-453.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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