Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR

Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR

by Josie McLellan


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In the aftermath of the reunification of Germany one former dissident recalled nostalgically that under the East German regime 'we had more sex and we had more to laugh about'. Love in the Time of Communism is a fascinating history of the GDR's forgotten sexual revolution and its limits. Josie McLellan shows that under communism divorce rates soared, abortion become commonplace and the rate of births outside marriage was amongst the highest in Europe. Nudism went from ban to state-sponsored boom, and erotica became common currency in both the official economy and the black market. Public discussion of sexuality was, however, tightly controlled and there were few opportunities to challenge traditional gender roles or sexual norms. Josie McLellan's pioneering account questions some of our basic assumptions about the relationship between sexuality, politics and society and is a major contribution to our understanding of the everyday emotional lives of postwar Europeans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521898911
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/30/2011
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Josie McLellan is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Bristol. Her previous publications include Antifascism and Memory in East Germany: Remembering the International Brigades, 1945�989 (2004).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the East German sexual revolution; 2. 'A bit of freedom': sex and young people; 3. Marriage and monogamy; 4. 'The dictatorship of love': sex, love, and state hypocrisy; 5. Gay men, lesbians, and the struggle for the public sphere; 6. The naked republic: nudism; 7. Picturing sex: East German erotica; 8. Conclusion: space for love?

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