The 19th Century saw intense urbanization, the development of a consumer culture, the formalization of gender roles, the solidification of class structures, and various encounters with the exotic customs of the colonies – all of which contributed to enhance sexual anxiety among the middle classes. In response, new social conventions, sanitary prescriptions, practices of self-control, and policies of sex regulation and education were developed as a means to control disorderly sexual behavior. At the same time, though an ideology based on sexual respectability was largely promoted throughout society, significant individuals and subcultures often challenged both the principle and the practice of such morality.
A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Age of Empire
presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.
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