Ronald Hyam
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The sexual life of the Raj
in Empire and sexuality
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The requirements of ruling the Raj seemed to demand ever more aloofness between ruler and ruled as the nineteenth century wore on. In Viceroy Curzon's 1890s cosmology the Indian princes formed a peculiar threat to 'social distance'. Racial, social and sexual jealousies were involved here. Between the mid-1850s and 1888 a system was in operation under which regulated prostitution was available in seventy-five cantonments where the Indian army was stationed. The aim was to keep the women free from disease. Two sexual confessions by Indian army officers from the early twentieth century survive. One, in manuscript form, is by Captain Kenneth Searight; the other, published as one of Havelock Ellis's case histories, is by an officer known only as 'G. R. Quaife'. G.R. believed the application of Indian love-making techniques was an especial liberation for British women.

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Empire and sexuality

The British Experience


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