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In this panel, we investigate the claims made on the body in sexual relationships in order to understand how the pleasures of the body owned, had or shared constitute and unsettle the romantic ideals of love.
Starting from the monogamous claims of sexual exclusivity, the specific ways of sharing the pleasures of the human body is central to the constitution of social understandings of love (Berlant and Warner, 1998; Reddy, 2012). Yet, the anthropology of intimacy has paid little attention to the contestations over the ownership of the human body in sexual relationships (cf. Spronk 2014). In this panel, we investigate how the ideas and contestations over bodily pleasures desired, derived and shared constitute ideals of romantic relationships. We invite papers to examine discourses about the body across a wide range of intimate practices: courtships, hook-ups, marriages, break-ups, open and polyamorous relationships. For example: what kinds of claims are made over human bodies in different kinds of romantic relationships and what understandings of love emerge therein? What kinds of bodily experiences are appropriately experienced in particular types of relationships and how do these constitute ideals of relationality? How, furthermore, do digital technologies and new dating apps transform (or not) understandings of sex as an expression of love? What are the new vocabularies to name such relationships? And what does it tell us about the constitution of public/private, market/domestic and sex/love dichotomies of social organization? By integrating the understandings of bodily pleasures as owned, had or shared into the analysis of intimacy, this panel aims to explore post-love relationalities, where love is dislodged from its coveted position in assembling relationships (Povinelli, 2006).