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Making Marriage ModernWomen's Sexuality from the Progressive Era to World War II$
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Christina Simmons

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195064117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195064117.001.0001

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Sex Radical Challenges to Marriage

Sex Radical Challenges to Marriage

(p.58) 2 Sex Radical Challenges to Marriage
Making Marriage Modern

Christina Simmons (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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