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Writing American sexual histories
Author: Barry Reay

The archive has assumed a new significance in the history of sex, and this book visits a series of such archives, including the Kinsey Institute’s erotic art; gay masturbatory journals in the New York Public Library; the private archive of an amateur pornographer; and one man’s lifetime photographic dossier on Baltimore hustlers. The subject topics covered are wide-ranging: the art history of homoeroticism; casual sex before hooking-up; transgender; New York queer sex; masturbation; pornography; sex in the city. The duality indicated by the book’s title reflects its themes. It is an experiment in writing an American sexual history that refuses the confines of identity sexuality studies, spanning the spectrum of queer, trans, and the allegedly ‘normal’. What unites this project is a fascination with sex at the margins, refusing the classificatory frameworks of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and demonstrating gender and sexual indecision and flexibility. And the book is also an exploration of the role of the archive in such histories. The sex discussed is located both in the margins of the archives, what has been termed the counterarchive, but also, importantly, in the pockets of recorded desire located in the most traditional and respectable repositories. The sexual histories in this book are those where pornography and sexual research are indistinguishable; where personal obsession becomes tomorrow’s archive. The market is potentially extensive: those interested in American studies, sexuality studies, contemporary history, the history of sex, psychology, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, queer studies, trans studies, pornography studies, visual studies, museum studies, and media studies.

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Alfred Kinsey’s informants
Barry Reay

3 Autoarchivism: Alfred Kinsey’s informants The work of Alfred Kinsey is indelibly associated with quantification – ­counting orgasms was how he charted America’s sexual past in the famous 1940s and 1950s reports on male and female sexuality and his recognised affirmation of same-sex desire and activity.1 The essayist Lionel Trilling noted that it was symptomatic of American culture that ‘the community of sexuality requires now to be established in explicit quantitative terms’.2 Kinsey was a professor of zoology at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, an

in Sex in the archives
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Edward Melcarth and homoeroticism in modern American art
Barry Reay and Erin Griffey

that of his celebrated contemporary, Paul Cadmus (1904–99). Melcarth’s art includes impressive large-scale works, such as the painting The Last Supper (1962), bought by the billionaire Malcolm Forbes for his Manhattan townhouse, a ceiling mural for Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne theatre (1957), and the illusionistic wall paintings and sculpted busts for the rotunda of the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan (1968). Melcarth’s friend Painter, a fellow chronicler and photographer of New York hustlers, provided a link to the famous sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. This valued informant of

in Sex in the archives
Same-sex desire and the rise of Soviet sexopathology in the 1960s
Rustam Alexander

Developments of another nature were taking place across the Atlantic, where as early as the late 1940s a new perspective on homosexuality emerged that framed it as a normal variant of human sexuality. This view was presented in a 1948 study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by American sexologist Alfred Kinsey. 57 Kinsey’s work refuted the hitherto conventional binary view between ‘normal and abnormal’ sexuality and demonstrated that homosexual activity was far from a rare phenomenon. Most notably, his research revealed shocking statistics: 37 per cent of the male

in Regulating homosexuality in Soviet Russia, 1956–91
Tommy Dickinson

. The message was clear: homosexual men were seen to be a contagious risk who undermined post-war social reconstruction, by turning their backs on family life.76 The Kinsey Report The perception that homosexuality was a threat to the establishment was exacerbated with the publication of Alfred Kinsey’s study – Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male – in 1948.77 His data upturned all conventional notions of how the sexual universe was constructed by reporting that 37 per cent of American men had engaged in at least one homosexual experience to the point of orgasm since

in ‘Curing queers’
A quick history of masturbation
Barry Reay

.indd 209 08/08/2018 15:44 sex in the archives ­ractice of male circumcision originated in part with the nineteenthp century obsession with the role of the foreskin in encouraging masturbatory practices.55 Consciously or not, many American males are faced with this bodily reminder . . . well . . . every time they masturbate. To return to modernity, there is much evidence for what Jane Juffer originally termed the ‘mainstreaming of masturbation’.56 Alfred Kinsey and his team are mainly remembered for the sex surveys that publicised the pervasiveness of American same

in Sex in the archives
Open Access (free)
Birgit Lang, Joy Damousi, and Alison Lewis

to promote studies by Alfred Kinsey, and William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Sexology The rise of the human case study was shaped by two crucial and inter­ related circumstances: its medical origins and its geography. The genre’s prestige was underpinned by the high social status accorded to the spheres of medicine and psychiatry in Germany and Austria in the late nineteenth century. Always concerned with respectability, in their moralising discourses the middle classes focused on decency and avoided excessively detailed descriptions of sexual matters (with the

in A history of the case study
Derek Paget

television, you will find they have this slightly chippy attitude towards those who work exclusively in the ­movies. I say chippy because it’s seated in jealousy. Most directors who work in drama in television would love to be working in movies.8 By 2003 docudramas made up around ten per cent of the top 100 films screened in the UK – an awful lot for what I described in 1998 as an ‘occasional’ genre.9 Biopics alone in the period 2005–6 included films about Ray Charles, Alfred Kinsey and Howard Hughes (Ray, Kinsey, The Aviator), Truman Capote (Capote and Infamous) and

in No other way to tell it
Representations, address and assumptions about influence
Elisabet Björklund

? Exploring the Temporal Structure of Sexual Geographies’, Historisk Tidskrift , 129:3 (2009), 487–510. 6 P. Robinson, The Modernization of Sex: Havelock Ellis, Alfred Kinsey, William Masters and Virginia Johnson (New York: Harper & Row, 1976). For the Swedish context, see C. Ekenstam, Kroppens idéhistoria

in Communicating the history of medicine
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Miles Leeson and Emma V. Miller

work of a group of researchers led by Indiana University zoologist, Alfred Kinsey, and their findings suggested that ‘the majority of the nation’s citizens had violated acceptable moral standards as well as state and federal laws in pursuit of sexual pleasure.’ 20 Yet, Judith Herman writes that, ‘[w]hile Kinsey and his associates dared to describe a vast range of sexual behaviours in exhaustive detail … On the subject of incest, apparently, they

in Incest in contemporary literature