Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America

John DeMillo, Author, John D'Emilio, Author, Estelle B. Freedman, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24.95 (428p) ISBN 978-0-06-015855-2
The history of sexuality in the U.S. is not a progressive jump from repression to freedom, the authors maintain. Instead, sexuality has been continually remolded in each era, reflecting the dictates of economics, family structure and politics. This interpretive framework lends coherence to a sweeping survey peopled with anti-prostitution crusaders and free-love advocates, celibate Shakers and swingers, vice cops and sexologists. Today's commercialized sexuality, promising personal fulfillment through intimate relations, is contrasted with the family-centered, reproductive sexuality of the prudish New England colonists who nevertheless produced bastards and engaged in adultery, sodomy and rape. The authors cram into 400 pages balanced discussions of racial sex-stereotyping, Chinese slave rings, abortion, same-sex relationships, women's rights and AIDS-engendered conservatism. D'Emilio is the author of Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities; Freedman wrote The Lesbian Issue. Illustrations. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
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