American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National by Miriam G. Reumann

By Miriam G. Reumann

Whilst Alfred Kinsey's sizeable reviews Sexual habit within the Human Male and Sexual habit within the Human woman seemed in 1948 and 1953, their designated information spurred an extraordinary public dialogue of the nation's sexual practices and ideologies. As they debated what behaviors have been common or standard, irregular or deviant, chilly warfare american citizens additionally celebrated and scrutinized the country in their state, touching on obvious adjustments in sexuality to shifts in its political constitution, economic system, and folks. American Sexual personality employs the experiences and the myriad responses they evoked to envision nationwide debates approximately sexuality, gender, and Americanness after global battle II. targeting the mutual building of postwar rules approximately nationwide id and sexual existence, this wide-ranging, clever, and full of life research explores the various makes use of to which those intercourse surveys have been placed at a time of maximum anxiousness approximately sexual habit and its results at the nation.

Looking at genuine and perceived alterations in masculinity, woman sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality, Miriam G. Reumann develops the suggestion of "American sexual character," sexual styles and attitudes that have been understood to be uniquely American and to mirror modern alterations in politics, social lifestyles, gender roles, and tradition. She considers how obvious shifts in sexual habit formed the nation's offices, houses, and households, and the way those will be associated with racial and sophistication transformations.

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Extra resources for American Sexual Character: Sex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports

Sample text

It had “entered the realm of discussion,” one sociologist wrote in 1949; authorities increasingly recognized that “changes in sex behavior are taking place . . 12 Hasty war marriages promised to pose additional social problems in the years after the war, and experts braced themselves for trouble from the American women and girls whose war experiences encouraged them to view themselves as sexual actors. 14 In the decade and a half after the war, sex assumed a central and unprecedented place in discussions of America’s troubles and future.

The bulk of its interviews for the first volume during the mid-1940s; but despite the authors’ reminders that the cohort most heavily represented in the reports was born around the turn of the century, readers repeatedly interpreted the volumes as snapshots of the present. One of Kinsey’s most important findings—that sexual behavior changed gradually, and that the social and behavioral transformations evident in his informants’ histories had long roots—was buried under this popular impression that the study referred primarily to contemporary postwar Americans.

A wild-eyed young mother comes in. She begs to be locked up. 66 In this narrative, as in a host of similar analyses of postwar American life, inappropriate sexual urges and behaviors represent the flip side of the American Dream. The Split-Level Trap—promoted as “a Kinsey Report on 36 chapter one suburbia”—suggests that affluence could not protect Americans from danger. The kind of sexuality that concerned the Gordons and other social scientists was not one that affected individual bodies so much as it targeted something broader.

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