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American Sexual CharacterSex, Gender, and National Identity in the Kinsey Reports$
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Miriam Reumann

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238350

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238350.001.0001

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“A Missing Sense of Maleness”

“A Missing Sense of Maleness”

Male Heterosexuality, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, and the Crisis of American Masculinity

(p.54) Two “A Missing Sense of Maleness”
American Sexual Character

Miriam G. Reumann

University of California Press

Kinsey's study encouraged a national referendum on sexual behavior, prompted new research on related topics, and provided ammunition for social reformers of all stripes. The report also affected Americans' understanding of gender norms and relations, focusing popular attention on the relation between ideal codes of masculinity and actual male sexual behavior, and promoting discussion of what it meant to be a man in the atomic age. Few kinds of men—heterosexual, white, able-bodied, and financially comfortable—held unquestioned title to masculinity, with more problematic modes of masculinity represented by those whose sexuality, race, body, or class placed them outside of the normative ideal. However, the postwar years saw attention paid to maleness that was unprecedented in its scope. Theories of marriage and family, patterns of class formation and consumption, and mass culture all focused popular and expert attention on the shifting boundaries and meanings of masculinity.

Keywords:   social reformers, heterosexual, maleness, norms, race

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