How Sex Got Screwed Up: The Ghosts that Haunt Our Sexual Pleasure - Book One: From the Stone Age to the Enlightenment

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Vernon Press, Mar 31, 2019 - Psychology - 1078 pages

The ghosts that haunt our sexual pleasure were born in the Stone Age. Sex and gender taboos were used by tribes to differentiate themselves from one another. These taboos filtered into the lives of Bronze and Iron Age men and women who lived in city-states and empires. For the early Christians, all sex play was turned into sin, instilled with guilt, and punished severely. With the invention of sin came the construction of women as subordinate beings to men.
Despite the birth of romance in the late middle ages, Renaissance churches held inquisitions to seek out and destroy sex sinners, all of whom it saw as heretics. The Age of Reason saw the demise of these inquisitions. But, it was doctors who would take over the roles of priests and ministers as sex became defined by discourses of crime, degeneracy, and sickness.  
The middle of the 20th century saw these medical and religious teachings challenged for the first time as activists, such as Alfred Kinsey and Margaret Sanger, sought to carve out a place for sexual freedom in society. However, strong opposition to their beliefs and the growing exploitation of sex by the media at the close of the century would ultimately shape 21st century sexual ambivalence.  
Volume I of this two-part publication traces the history of sex from the Stone Age to the Enlightenment. Interspersed with ‘personal hauntings’ from his own life and the lives of friends and relatives, Knowles reveals how historical discourses of sex continue to haunt us today. This book is a page-turner in simple and plain language about ‘how sex got screwed up’ for millennia. For Knowles, if we know the history of sex, we can get over it. 

 

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Contents

The Rise of the Sexual Taboo
35
Ziggurats Pyramids and the Pentateuch
57
The GreatWall
99
The Boys Club on the Acropolis
123
With the Hearts of Gladiators
157
The AntiSex Junta that Took Over the World
219
Celestial Sex Terrestrial Sin
285
Romance on the Rise
337
Déjà Vu All Over AgainPart Two
477
Beyond the Shadow of the Cross
559
Desexing the New World
601
From Sin to Sickness to Going Straight
695
Voices of Resistance
769
Getting It On in the Enlightenment
863
Appendices
959
Index
1023

Déjà Vu All Over Again
417

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2019)

 Jon Knowles’s interest in sex and society was crystallized in 1981 with the onset of the AIDS pandemic. Knowles formed part of the initial group of people trained by Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) to care for people living with AIDs in New York City. For 13 years Knowles witnessed first-hand the pain and suffering caused by individual and societal fears of sex and sexuality.
In 1983, he got a position as a temp with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Owing to his invaluable experience and knowledge of AIDs, he was later offered a full-time position as PPFA’s sexual health writer. During his 30 years at PPFA, Knowles contributed greatly to its print and online media presence.
In 1994, Knowles joined the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) to supplement his knowledge about sex and sexuality. Through GMHC, PPFA, and SSSS, he heard thousands of stories about how people cope with their sexuality and their sex lives. In his research, Knowles looked to find answers to the questions: Why health professionals saw sexuality mostly as a risk behavior? Why most people seemed ambiguous about their sex lives? And why the increasingly powerful, conservative right was so negative about human sexuality? After 22 years of research, his answers are in this book.

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