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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 12 June 2021

“An Age of Sexual Ambiguity”

“An Age of Sexual Ambiguity”

Homosexuality and National Character in the Postwar United States

Chapter:
(p.165) Five “An Age of Sexual Ambiguity”
Source:
American Sexual Character
Author(s):

Miriam G. Reumann

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520238350.003.0006

One of the biggest surprises of sexual behavior was how many American men had had sex with other men. Kinsey found that nearly 40 percent of his male subjects had experienced homosexual sex “to the point of orgasm,” and among men who remained unmarried until the age of thirty-five, this increased to 50 percent. Americans had a long history of concern about homosexuality. Same-sex sexual acts in the early republic had been seen as a legal and often a moral transgression, and after the emerging science of sex “discovered” the homosexual as a species in the late nineteenth century, surveillance and discussion of homosexuals increased. Homosexuality troubled postwar discussions of American politics and culture. Its meaning seemed to be shifting as the homosexual emerged, as many phrased it, from his or her place “in the shadows” to become a visible presence in the wake of wartime social changes.

Keywords:   homosexual sex, orgasm, moral transgression, wartime social changes, surveillance

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