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    Sexual violence, marital guidance, and Victorian bodies: an aesthesiology

    Bourke, Joanna (2008) Sexual violence, marital guidance, and Victorian bodies: an aesthesiology. Victorian Studies 50 (3), pp. 419-436. ISSN 0042-5222.

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    This essay examines some of the emotional rules, encoded in grammars of representation and framed within law and prescriptive marital advice literature, regarding the expression of male sexual aggressivity within the bedroom. Despite the general Victorian idealization of marriage, many wives suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands, marital rape drawing particular attention from early feminists, psychologists, physicians, and evolutionary physiologists. In the 1870s, a belief that unrestrained sexual license was a symptom of degeneration led these commentators to consider marital rape particularly harmful to husbands. By the turn of the century, however, the focus of this harm had nominally shifted to women, who might become frigid if forced to submit to sex—a problem for wives but for husbands as well. As sexology and psychology gained greater influence, couples came to rely on the emotion-talk of commentators to negotiate mutually agreeable bedroom activity.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Research Centres and Institutes: Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2010 11:47
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:53


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