TITLE

Sexual ideology and sexual physiology in the discourses of sex advice literature

AUTHOR(S)
Connell, Erin; Hunt, Alan
PUB. DATE
March 2006
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2006, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p23
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
This paper explores the connection between changing knowledge of sexual physiology and normative prescriptions about gendered roles within sexual relations. An analysis of marital/sexual advice literature reveals a profoundly gendered construction of male and female roles within heterosexual relations. Texts from the opening years of the twentieth century stressed the duty of the husband to court and woo his wife and fulfill two distinct responsibilities: first, to arouse his wife and second, to control his climax. This gendered model of male as initiator and tutor and female as responding student has proved remarkably persistent throughout the twentieth century. The period between the two World Wars was decisive for the formation of modern heterosexuality. Shifts in the prevailing sexual knowledge induced significant changes in the normative prescriptions which responsibilized husbands for ensuring the sexual pleasure of their wives. The ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s weakened the link between sex and marriage as demonstrated, for example, in the shift from ‘marriage’ manuals to ‘sex manuals’ and the increasingly hedonistic quest for mutual sexual pleasure through an emphasis on technique and the relocation of sex into the realm of consumption. In addition, the new sexology of Kinsey and Masters and Johnson insisted on the existence of strong female sexual desire equal to that of men. However, the underlying discourse emphasized polar differences between the sexes. The HIV/AIDS crisis has continued to advance themes of responsibilization, normalization and moralization where the new pattern of sexual advice moved decisively toward themes of ‘risk’ and ‘safety’ through the discourse of safer sex.
ACCESSION #
22123729

 

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