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Sexuality and Sex in Women's History

Articles on the role of sexuality and sex in women's history.
  1. Abortion History
  2. Birth Control History
  3. Boston Marriage
  4. Dickinson a Lesbian
  5. Miss America Protests

Compulsory Heterosexuality
The phrase "compulsory heterosexuality" calls attention to society's assumptions about relationships. Read about Adrienne Rich's explanation of compulsory heterosexuality.

Books on Body Image and Women's History
How women view and value their bodies has changed over time. These books examine the history of body image and how culture shapes ideas of women's beauty -- useful perspective in dealing with body image and self-esteem issues among girls and women today. There are other good books on body image and beauty culture today from a personal perspective; these books include the best historical analysis.

Women and World War II - Comfort Women
During World War II, comfort women served the Japanese military sexually. While the Japanese government disclaims responsibility, many or most of the women were forced into this service.

Rita Mae Brown Quotes
Quotes by Rita Mae Brown - part of an extensive collection of quotations by notable women.

Comstock Law
The Comstock Law, an "Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles for Immoral Use," was used not only to stop the trade in pornography after it was passed in 1873, but also to stop the distribution of birth control devices and written information on birth control.

Free Love
The term Free Love was used for a variety of ideas in the 19th and 20th century about the morality and ethics of sexuality and marriage. Free Love was often a name given by a movement's enemies, and sometimes embraced by the movement itself. The ideas of sexuality and freedom have roots far earlier than the 19th century.

Jill Johnston Quotes
Quotes by Jill Johnston - part of an extensive collection of quotations by notable women.

Lucretia biography - profile of legendary Roman matron Lucretia whose rape is said to have triggered the Roman revolution.

Del Martin Biography
A profile of Del Martin, author and long-time lesbian and feminist activist whose 2004 San Francisco marriage to Phyllis Lyon after 51 years of partnership was the first legally-sanctioned marriage (not civil union) of two partners of the same sex in the United States.

What is objectification?

Sex Object
What does it mean to view someone as a sex object?

Sanitary Napkins - History
Sanitary Napkins - a description of the history of sanitary napkins, part of the About Women's History collection.

Devices and Desires - A History of Contraceptives in America
A review by About.com's Women's Health Guide of Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in Americaby Andrea Tone.

Eleanor Roosevelt Rumored to Be Lesbian?
A note about the relationship between ER and Lorena Hickok.

History of Ancient Roman Prostitutes, Harlots, and Brothels
About.com's Guide to Ancient History reviews the role of prostitution in ancient Rome.

History of Prostitution
From About.com's Civil Liberties Guide, a history of the institution of prostitution -- selling sex for money -- from the ancient Near East to changes in how prostitution is treated today.

Very Young Girls (2008) - Movie Review
From Jennifer Merin, About.com's Guide to Documentaries, a review of a film that follows some New York City tween and teenage girls who%u2019ve become prostitutes, and who are trying to cope with the consequences and redirect their lives.

Rita Mae Brown Quotes
Quotes by Rita Mae Brown - part of an extensive collection of quotations by notable women.

For Pleasure: A History of the Vibrator
Salon feature by Teresa Riordan on the history of the vibrator, including an online slide show.

Heterosexism and the Study of Women's Relationships
Suzanna Rose writes in the Journal of Social Issues, 2000, of research on lesbians and how heterosexist assumptions can shape research conclusions and direction.

Love Customs in Eighteenth-Century Spain
Explore an online ebook, published 1991, that covers a variety of issues of sexuality and sexual customs in Spain in the 1700s.

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