Teaching America About Sex: Marriage Guides and Sex Manuals from the Late Victorians to Dr. Ruth

Teaching America About Sex: Marriage Guides and Sex Manuals from the Late Victorians to Dr. Ruth

by M. E. Melody, Linda M. Peterson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814755321

ISBN-13: 9780814755327

Pub. Date: 05/01/1999

Publisher: New York University Press

In this witty and provocative study of sex and marriage manuals, M.E. Melody and Linda M. Peterson reveal that permissiveness, prohibition, and, tellingly, persuasion and enforcement-from sermons and hellfire to mutilation and electroshock-have informed popular sex education over the past hundred and twenty years.

From the late Victorian obsession with

Overview

In this witty and provocative study of sex and marriage manuals, M.E. Melody and Linda M. Peterson reveal that permissiveness, prohibition, and, tellingly, persuasion and enforcement-from sermons and hellfire to mutilation and electroshock-have informed popular sex education over the past hundred and twenty years.

From the late Victorian obsession with masturbation and hygiene, to the "if it feels good, do it" ethos of The Joy of Sex, America's disposition to sex has evolved from a general squeamishness to a veritable cult of mutual orgasm. But despite the recent emphasis on "voluptuous pleasure," the basic power dynamic underlying the discourse on sex has been remarkably resistant to change. The authors reveal that, even as sexual behavior changed during periods of upheaval, the prescriptive literature on sex has remained traditional at its core, promoting sex within marriage for the purpose of reproduction.

A cross-generational account of the major constructions of masculinity and femininity from 1880 to the present day, Teaching America About Sex serves up a lucid and entertaining reading of the twentieth century's vexed relationship with sex.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814755327
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
05/01/1999
Edition description:
MANUAL
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.98(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsxi
Introduction1
1. The Late Victorians and the Spermatic Political Economy20
2 "No Gods No Masters": Margaret Sanger and America's Sexual
Future49
3. The 1920s and America's First Sexual Eruption72
4. Sexual Eruption and Then Reaction: The Interwar Years93
5 One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Sex and Pleasure in the
1950s115
6. Sexual Upheaval in the 1960s: Counterculture, Counter-Sex137
7. Joy through Peak Experiences in the 1970s158
8 Does Pleasure Demand the Conjunction of Particular Body
Parts? Gay and Lesbian Sex179
9. Another Reaction: Dr. Ruth Defends Marriage207
10. On Penetrative Power234
Notes261
References265
Index275
About the Authors287

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