VIII: Inventing Heterosexuality

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Gender Studies, Human Sexuality
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INVENTING HETEROSEXUALITY Dr. M. C. Sengstock Professor of Sociology SOC 3300 – “Inequality 1

HETEROSEXUALITY: A NEW CONCEPT • All Dominant Groups Seek to Prove That They Are/Were the “Original” Group • Heterosexuals Are No Exception – View Today That the “Natural” State of Humans Is Heterosexuality: – Adam & Eve Were Normal Sexual Beings Like Us – Strong Sexual Motivation to Opposite Sex – NOT Sexually Attracted to Anyone/thing Else • EX: Same Sex, Animals, Masturbation, etc. • (Jonathan Katz #13) 2

REALITY OF SEXUAL HISTORY • Heterosexuality “Invented” in Victorian Era • Pre-Victorian Era: – Early Victorian “Pure Love”: – “True Womanhood” – “Proper” – Not “Lustful” – “True Manhood” – More Sexually Oriented … BUT – Males Still Aspired to Freedom from Sex Drives – Aspired to “Higher Things”: Economic Productivity



Sex Was for Procreation – Not Pleasure Lust Was for Prostitutes The “Home/Castle” Was for Love & Children Lust & Sex Was for Prostitutes This Pattern Prevailed Throughout Most Middle Ages EX: The Double Standard of Royalty & Nobility Sex for “Other Woman”– Male Royals Had Mistresses Think About Most U.S. Immigrant Groups: Marriages Were Arranged 4

LATE VICTORIAN SEX-LOVE VIEWS (1860-1892) Eroticizing of Western Society Middle Class: • Consciousness, Behavior, Emotion, Identity • Family Became Consumer (vs. Producer) Unit • Societal Focus Changed to Consumerism • New Bodily Focus: Pleasure vs. Productivity • Medicine Became More Professional … • Doctors Began Defining the Body & Functions • Literature & Advertising Focus on Body Pleasures 5

VICTORIAN CHANGES IN SEXUAL DEFINITIONS (1892-1900) 2 Major Medical Figures • James G. Kiernan, MD, Chicago • Dr. R. von Krafft-Ebing, Germany • Beginnings Stages of Medicalization of the Social? 6

James G. Kiernan, MD, Chicago • “Heterosexual” – Mixed Person – Psychical Hermaphrodites (Today’s Transsexual?) • Heterosexuals Have Abnormal Methods of Gratification (Sexuality w/out Procreation) • Homosexual – Persons Whose “Mental State” Is That of the Opposite Sex (E.g., Attraction is NOT Toward the Opposite Sex) (I.e., Same Sex Attraction) • Deviate from BOTH Gender & Procreative Norms • New View of Sexuality – Viewed in Terms of Gratification (vs. Procreation) & Gender Preference 7

Dr. R. von Krafft-Ebing, Germany • “Heterosexual” – Attraction to Opposite Sex • “Homosexual” – Erotic Feelings for Same Sex • “Hermaphroditism” – Erotic Impulses Toward Both Sexes • Still Viewed Opposite Sex Attraction Oriented Toward Procreation • Closest to Current Definitions • New View of Heterosexual Sex: Introduced Erotic Motivations (Not Just Procreation) 8

CONSEQUENCES FOR SEXUAL DEFINTIONS • Heterosexual: Persons Attracted to Opposite Sex • Homosexual: Attracted to Same Sex • Hermaphrodite: Attracted to Both Same & Opposite Sex • Introduced Concept of Sexual Attraction As Motive for Sexual Activity • Questions Previous Procreation Motive 9


TH 20

CENTURY (1900-1930)

• Society Still Viewed Purpose of Sexual Desire as Procreation • Increased Public Concern for Sexual Changes: – Falling Birth Rate – Rising Divorce Rate – War of Sexes (Women’s Liberation of the Day?)

• Support of Heterosexual Eroticism as Motive for Traditional Sexual Relations • Homosexual Relations Defeated the “True Purpose” of Sex  Had to Be Opposed 10

SOCIAL & RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS • Men Increasingly Worried About Changing Sex Roles • Focused on BOTH Biological & Social Differences – – – –

Shifting Work & Social Roles for Women Failure to Recognize Old Social Roles with Males Dominant Decrease of Male Power Women’s “Andromaniac” Tendencies (Rev. Charles Parkhurst)

• Objection to the “New Woman” (1890s) & “Flapper” (1920s) • These Threatened MAJOR Institutitons in Society 11

EVIDENCE FROM READINGS 1. Making Young Boys Heterosexuals (Emma Reynolds #14) • Boys in Grade School Pressured by Peers (Male & Female) to Exhibit Adult Heterosexual Characteristics 2. 5 Sexes? (Anne Fausto-Sterling #10) • Biologically Based Differences (Chromosomes, External & Internal Sex Organs) • “Herms, Werms, Ferms” (1.5%-4%, High in AK Yupik) • In U.S., Medical Modification Common in Infancy 12

CONNECTION BETWEEN WOMEN & HOMOSEXUALS • Destroys the “Pure Woman” of Early Victorian Ideals • Discrimination Against Women & Homosexuals Became Connected: – If MALES Could Satisfy Sexual Urges Through Same Sex Relations … – WOMEN Could Do the Same! – “The Lesbian” Was Viewed as a Monster – This Presented a Grave Threat to Sex Between Male & Female .., – Hence Grave Threat to Procreation 13

MID 20TH CENTURY • 1st Suggestion that People Could Alternate Between Hetero- & Homo- Sexual Categories • Conservatives Became Concerned That Limitations on Heterosexual Activity Would Activate Homosexual Activities • Encouragement of “Trust of the Opposite Sex” Became an Impetus for Increased Emphasis on “Heterosexual” as a Category 14

POST WW II: “CULT OF DOMESTICITY” • Return of Troops from WW II • Attempt to Return to Normal”: – “Women’s Place Is In the Home” – Only Men Work Outside the Home – Male Dominance – Procreation Emphasized – Sex Without Reproduction Immoral  Anti-Birth Control (Abortion Not Even an Issue!) – Homosexuality Clearly Threatened this Picture 15


Interviewed Males Re Their Sexual Behavior Found Very Wide Variety of Sexual Activity Both Hetero- & Homo-Sexual Acts by All Males Kinsey Questioned Appropriateness of “Normal” & “Abnormal” in Scientific Terms • Freed Many Homosexuals to Pursue Their Personal Inclinations • Gave Impetus to Gay Rights Movement 16

CONCLUSION • History of Views of Sexual Behaviors Have Changed Dramatically Over Past 200 Years … – “Moral” or “Immoral”? – “Normal” or “Abnormal”? – Socially Acceptable or Forbidden?

• “help[s] us understand the erotic relationships of women and men in terms of their modes of social organization.” (Katz, prev. ed.) 17

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