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Initmate Relations
January 23, 2012
The invention of heterosexuality (in 1869)
- yes, people had sex with people of the opposite sex in the past
- binary thinking
ogood/bad
omen/women
olight/dark
owhite/black
oheterosexual/homosexual
onormal/perverse
We look back retrospectively on what the past is like based on how it is now in the
present… but the past and the present are different things; we see the past differently with
the knowledge of the present.
Lesbian women were assumed to be “mannish.” That lesbians fulfill gender roles
differently than heterosexual women.
Sodomy is a very loose term: including all homosexual sex and non-procreative forms of
heterosexual sex, and bestiality. Sodomy does not necessarily correlate to the term
homosexual.
Very specific notion that there is something that separates homosexuals apart from
heterosexuals.
Children were seen as a different species. Masturbation highly discouraged.
Sex as population control. Social Darwinism, eugenics, etc.
Perverse sexuality as DANGEROUS.
Great emphasis on the control of masturbation (division of onanists and non-onanists…
Biblical character Onan spilled his seed), this changed however, is now seen as normal.
In the 60’s “Gay is Good” campaign. One of the most important tactics was “coming out.”
Identifiying was key. Concept of people knowing someone gay would change their
negative ideas of homosexuality.
Sappho wrote poetry about sex with men and sex with women. Hard to tag her as lesbian
as she has written more about heterosexual sex than she has about homosexual sex.
Evidence like paintings, sculptures, poetry, etc is important evidence.
Boston Marriages:
- women who lived together, shared a household
- describes a very specific historical and geographical phenomenon
- even though they were called marriages, the relationship was assumed to be asexual
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