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

Front Cover
University of California Press, Mar 7, 2005 - History - 305 pages
1 Review
When Alfred Kinsey's massive studies Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female appeared in 1948 and 1953, their detailed data spurred an unprecedented public discussion of the nation's sexual practices and ideologies. As they debated what behaviors were normal or average, abnormal or deviant, Cold War Americans also celebrated and scrutinized the state of their nation, relating apparent changes in sexuality to shifts in its political structure, economy, and people. American Sexual Character employs the studies and the myriad responses they evoked to examine national debates about sexuality, gender, and Americanness after World War II. Focusing on the mutual construction of postwar ideas about national identity and sexual life, this wide-ranging, shrewd, and lively analysis explores the many uses to which these sex surveys were put at a time of extreme anxiety about sexual behavior and its effects on the nation.

Looking at real and perceived changes in masculinity, female sexuality, marriage, and homosexuality, Miriam G. Reumann develops the notion of "American sexual character," sexual patterns and attitudes that were understood to be uniquely American and to reflect contemporary transformations in politics, social life, gender roles, and culture. She considers how apparent shifts in sexual behavior shaped the nation's workplaces, homes, and families, and how these might be linked to racial and class differences.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

American Sexuality and National Character in the Postwar United States
17
Male Heterosexuality Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and the Crisis of American Masculinity
54
Sexual Behavior in the Human Female and the American Woman
86
Remaking Postwar Marriage and Reconfiguring Marital Sexuality
128
Homosexuality and National Character in the Postwar United States
165
American Sexual Character Revisited
199
NOTES
219
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
255
INDEX
287
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Miriam G. Reumann is Visiting Scholar at Brown University and Instructor in History at the University of Rhode Island.

Bibliographic information