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Edited by Robert A. Nye

Publication Date - 01 April 1999

ISBN: 9780192880192

528 pages


Sexuality has always been a rather obsessive human concern. Although it has been the true subject of countless past cultural, religious, and political discourses that did not dare to mention it directly--or even indirectly--today we possess both the language and the cultural gusto to discuss it as straightforwardly as we like. Indeed, we sometimes do so with a frankness that would have shocked people only a few decades ago. For now it seems impossible to contemplate human happiness without some measure of sexual fulfillment, although this topic remains a notoriously elusive and negotiable ideal. Furthermore, we are unlikely to understand the promise or the limits of our contemporary sexualities unless we understand those of the past.
Sexuality offers a fascinating look at this controversial subject, collecting texts ranging from antiquity to the present. It is the only reader of its kind that organizes material chronologically and covers such a long period. Part I forms a chronological narrative of the development of thinking about sexuality from the ancient Greeks to the present. Part II discusses nineteenth-century investigation of phenomena such as hysteria. prostitution, and fetishism. Part III brings together contermporary conceptions of the sexual body, and Part IV addresses the issue of whether the sexual revolution of the late sixties and seventies has brought about a permanent change in the sexual landscape of western civilization.
Sexuality is ideal for use in undergraduate courses in a variety of disciplines including history, women's studies, medical history, sociology, gay and lesbian studies, anthropology, religion, and literary studies.

About the Author(s)

Robert A. Nye is the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History at Oregon State University. For previous and forthcoming publications, see below.

Table of Contents

    Part I Before Sexuality I a The Ancient World; I b Early Christianity; I c The Middle Ages; I d The Renaissance and Religious Reform; I e Enlightenment and Revolution; I f Up from the Beast: The Triumph of Middle-Class Sexuality
    Part II The Discovery of `Sexuality' at the Century's Turn II a Doctors and Sexual Disorders; II a i Experts; II a ii Hysteria; II a iii Prostitution; II a iv Masturbation; II b The Perversions; II b i Inversion; II b ii Sadism; II b iii Masochism; II b iv Fetishism; II b v Exhibitionism; II b vi Freud and Psycholanalysis; II b vii Heterosexuality
    Part III The Twentieth-Century Sexual Body III a The Evolution of Sex; III b Hermaphroditism/Intersexuality; III c The Discovery of Hormones; III d Developmental Biology and Psychology; III e The Physiology of Sexual Function; III f Transsexuality; III g The Gay Gene and the Sexual Brain
    Part IV Sexual Revolution? IV a Pioneers of Sex Reform; IV b Second Wave Sexology; IV c Stripping Off; IV d Coming Out; IV e A Golden Age for Pornography?; IV f AIDS; IV g Sex Surveys: Have We Returned to Normal?
    Notes; Select Bibliography; Biographical Notes; Index

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