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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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Sexual Advice for Modern Marriage

Sexual Advice for Modern Marriage

(p.178) 5 Sexual Advice for Modern Marriage
Making Marriage Modern

Christina Simmons (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Freer from censorship by 1930, reformers from the birth control and marriage education movements, many of them physicians, published a large body of sexual advice literature. Through it, they sought to assist couples in finding satisfactory forms of sexual relations for the new marriage. In these writings, strains of feminist support for women's sexual pleasure contended with demands for more sexual activity in the context of ongoing male control. Advice writers separated sex from reproduction by promoting birth control and more frequent intercourse. Unlike psychoanalysts, they made the clitoris central to women's pleasure and underplayed the vaginal orgasm. Yet they also sustained male initiative and symbols of male dominance like the missionary position. The highly unequal partnership of marriage limited women's ability to act on the advice, but the books normalized a new female heterosexuality for American women.

Keywords:   birth control, intercourse, clitoris, vaginal orgasm, missionary position, heterosexuality, sexual advice

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