Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America
As April R. Haynes shows, the crusade against female masturbation was rooted in a generally shared agreement on some major points: that girls and women were as susceptible to masturbation as boys and men; that “self-abuse” was rooted in a lack of sexual information; and that sex education could empower women and girls to master their own bodies. Yet the groups who made this education their goal ranged widely, from “ultra” utopians and nascent feminists to black abolitionists. Riotous Flesh explains how and why diverse women came together to popularize, then institutionalize, the condemnation of masturbation, well before the advent of sexology or the professionalization of medicine.
1. The Gender of Solitary Vice
2. Licentiousness in All Its Forms
3. Making the Conversation General
4. A Philosophy of Amative Indulgence
5. Flesh and Bones