Chapter

Families and Sex between Men

Charles Upchurch

in Before Wilde

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780520258532
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943582 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520258532.003.0002
Families and Sex between Men

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The family was a site where the transgression represented by sex between men was assessed and where the consequences of those acts were decided. Many situations that eventually became court cases had first been debated and assessed within families, and family interventions long preceded increased state interest in this behavior. Families invariably condemned sexual acts between men when they were made public, and in all recorded cases they also worked privately to separate and sanction men known to be engaging in such acts; but family reactions also varied widely. By understanding patterns in the regulation of sex between men within the family, and how those patterns differed according to class, this chapter can form a clearer picture of how society understood these acts. Family connections and networks of mutual economic support were essential to individual survival and social status at all levels in Britain.

Keywords: family; transgression; sex; men; regulation; class; social status; Britain

Chapter.  12826 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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