Sex Radical Challenges to Marriage

Christina Simmons

in Making Marriage Modern

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780195064117
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199869565 | DOI:

Series: Studies in the History of Sexuality

Sex Radical Challenges to Marriage

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White and African American sex radicals in the 1910s, mostly leftists, feminists, and bohemians, rejected Victorian mores, proclaimed the goodness of sex, and labeled sexual repression damaging. They reconceived women's sexuality as more similar to men's and demanded greater freedom for both men and women from social surveillance and control. They promoted birth control, free love, nonmonogamy, interracial relations, and lesbianism, but men and women, whites and African Americans, differentially favored these practices. White men supported free love and nonmonogamy and black men supported interracial sex more than their female peers. Both white and African American women supported women's claim to a sexual life and to birth control. By the 1930s a few lesbians articulated their desire. But many women resisted the individualistic practices of interracial sex, free unions, and nonmonogamy.

Keywords: sex radicalism; lesbianism; interracial sex; nonmonogamy; free love; feminism; African Americans; marriage

Chapter.  19157 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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