In this extract Jeffrey Weeks is writing about the

In this extract Jeffrey Weeks is writing about the paradox that, as
sociologists, we have become increasingly aware of the culturally
dependent nature of human sexualities, whilst, at the same time, the
claiming of certainty about our sexuality has become increasingly
important to us as individuals:
The very idea of a sexual identity is an ambiguous one. For many in
the modern world – especially the sexually marginal – it is an
absolutely fundamental concept, offering a sense of personal unity,
social location, and even at times a political commitment. Not many,
perhaps, say ‘I am heterosexual’ because it is the taken-for-granted
norm, the great unsaid of our sexual culture. But to say ‘I am gay’, ‘I
am lesbian’, or even ‘I am a paedophile … or sado-masochist’ is to
make a statement about belonging and about a specific stance in
relationship to the dominant sexual codes. It is also to privilege sexual
identity over other identities, to say in effect that how we see
ourselves sexually is more important than class, or racial, or
professional loyalties. As the song puts it: ‘I am what I am, my own
special creation’ and in saying that we are ostensibly speaking of our
true essence of being, our real selves.
Yet, at the same time, we now know from a proliferating literature
that such identities are historically and culturally specific, that they
are selected from a host of possible social identities, that they are not
necessary attributes of particular sex drives or desires, and that they
are not, in fact, essential – that is naturally pre-given – aspects of our
personality. … So there is a real paradox at the heart of the question
of sexual identity. We are increasingly aware, theoretically,
historically, even politically, that ‘sexuality’ is about flux and change,
that what we so readily deem as ‘sexual’ is as much a product of
language and culture as of ‘nature’. Yet we constantly strive to fix it,
stabilize it, say who we are by telling of our sex.
(Jeffrey Weeks, ‘Questions of identity’ in Pat Caplan (ed.), The Cultural
Construction of Sexuality, London: Routledge, 1987, p. 31)