The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex, and Contraception, 1800-1975

The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex, and Contraception, 1800-1975

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By (author) Hera Cook

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 428 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 26mm | 662g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199252181
  • ISBN 13: 9780199252183
  • Illustrations note: Numerous tables
  • Sales rank: 1,267,539

Product description

In this book Hera Cook traces the path of sexuality in England, and shows how its route was determined by the gradual exertion of control over fertility. Most sexual activity had major economic and social costs, the most fundamental of which was the physical cost of children upon women's bodies. Around 1800 birth rates reached historical heights. Using a combination of demographic and qualitative sources, Dr Cook examines the connection between the struggle to lower fertility and the increasing repression of sexuality throughout the nineteenth century. Contraception became a viable option in the early twentieth century. The book charts the resulting slow relaxation of attitudes to sexuality and the remaking of heterosexual physical behaviour, culminating in the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

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Review quote

Hera Cook's study of English Women, sex and contraception, is a welcome reminder of the struggle for sexual reform...a book full of useful information. Shaile Rowbotham, The English Historical Review This is an admirable book ... It is refreshing to find a monograph that is soundly researched, logically argued, and women-centered, on, of all subjects, women and sex. Judith S. Lewis, Journal of Social History ...a fascinating examination of sexual attitudes, practices, discourses and debates ... Expressed clearly but subtly, and clinically but sensitively, with many original insights and provocative explanations. M.L. Bush, History This is an ambitious and genuinely challenging book...[it] represents a productive intervention in ongoing debates in the history of sexuality. We would do well to take up the challenges posed by Hera Cook's work. Matt Houlbrook, History Workshop Journal Cook's compelling and convincing conclusions will reshape our understanding of nineteenth and twentieth-century sexuality. It is a refreshing challenge and essential reading. Anna Clark, American Historical Review ...a bold and ambitious book...essential bed-time reading. Local Population Studies, No. 78

Table of contents

PART I. THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONTRACEPTION ; 1. Birth Rates and Women's Bodies: Reproductive Labour ; 2. 'Nature is a Blind, Dirty, Old Toad': The Withdrawal Method ; 3. 'Conferring a Premium on the Destruction of Female Morals': Fertility Control and Sexuality in the Early to Mid-Nineteenth Century ; 4. 'One Man is as Good as Another in that Respect': Women and Sexual Abstinence ; 5. 'Mastering the Sexual Self': Contraception and Sexuality 1890s-1950s ; 6. 'Physical "Open Secrets"': Hygiene, Masturbation, Bowel Control, and Abstinence ; PART II. SEXUALITY AND SEX MANUALS ; 7. English Sexuality in the Twentieth Century: Ignorance and Gendered Sexual Cultures ; 8. 'The Wonderful Tides': Sexual Emotion and Sexual Ignorance in the 1920s ; 9. 'The Spontaneous Feeling of Shame': Masturbation and Freud 1930-1940 ; 10. 'Thought Control': Conjugal Rights and Vaginal Orgasms 1940s-1970 ; 11. 'The Vagina, too, Responds': Vaginal Orgasms, Clitoral Masturbation, Feminism, and Sex Research 1920-1975 ; PART III. THE ENGLISH SEXUAL REVOLUTION ; 12. Sexual Pleasure, Contraception, and Fertility Decline ; 13. 'Truly it Felt Like Year One': The English Sexual Revolution ; 14. Population Control or 'Sex on the Rates'? Political Change 1955-1975 ; 15. 'A Car or a Wife'? The Northern European Marriage System and the Sexual Revolution ; Conclusion: Living through Changing Sexual Mores ; Appendices ; Bibliography ; Index