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Innocent Ecstasy, Updated EditionHow Christianity Gave America an Ethic of Sexual Pleasure$
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Peter Gardella

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190609405

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190609405.001.0001

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Medical Prophets

Medical Prophets

(p.65) 4 Medical Prophets
Innocent Ecstasy, Updated Edition

Peter Gardella

Oxford University Press

Some doctors dissented from the Victorian consensus. In Corning, New York, in 1877, where Margaret Sanger was born two years later, Dr. Andrew J. Ingersoll urged patients to welcome every sexual feeling. He also taught a yoga-like method of relaxation and breathing. Ingersoll’s book, In Health, went through four editions, and the last had endorsements from John Ruskin and John Greenleaf Whittier. Other prophetic medical writers included Frederick Hollick, whose Marriage Guide (1850) stressed clitoral stimulation and multiple orgasm; William Hammond, a former surgeon general of the US Army, who prescribed a compound of marijuana, strychnine, and aloes to encourage orgasm in women in 1887; and Robert Latou Dickinson (1861–1950), a pioneer gynecologist who dispensed contraceptive devices in New York. But such doctors reached small audiences, partly because their writings were restricted by Comstock laws. Before sexual ecstasy was broadly accepted, Americans found deliverance from sin through religious ecstasy.

Keywords:   doctors, Victorian, sexual, clitoral, orgasm, gynecologist, contraceptive, sin, ecstasy

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