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Writing American sexual histories

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.

Megan Daigle
Sarah Martin
, and
Henri Myrttinen

. , 2015 ). In ‘the field’, expat aid workers joke about regressing in their dress and bodily hygiene and giving in to casual sex and substance abuse. Working ‘in the (deep) field’ becomes a badge of honour and credibility for aid workers, setting up internal hierarchies based on who has been to the ‘toughest’ places and lived to tell the tale, as evidenced by aid worker chat groups. 4 For our purposes, the field/non-field dichotomy also importantly obscures

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Rethinking the history of American casual sex
Barry Reay

4 Promiscuous intimacies: rethinking the history of American casual sex Casual sex – uncommitted, fleeting, non-romantic sexual encounters, sex for sex’s sake – has become something of a cultural commonplace in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. ‘For me’, observes a female character in a Jennifer Egan novel, ‘the sexual act had nothing to do with love, or rarely. On the contrary, the less I cared for or even knew a man, the more easily I lost myself in his physical company.’1 This is the kind of sex central to the high-rating TV series Sex and

in Sex in the archives
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Barry Reay

her . . . whether she is pretty or not’) and a rare book was caressed because it was ‘enveloped in skin, like a woman’.9 But the sex in the archives here is of an entirely different order to that possessive, masculine, empirical quest for a history of politics, diplomacy, and . . . well, anything other than the history of sex. The subject topics covered in this book are wide ranging: rethinking the art history of homoeroticism; casual sex before casual sex; early trans history; New York queer sex; masturbation; pornography; Baltimore’s sexual cultures. The duality

in Sex in the archives
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David Louis Bowie’s New York diaries, 1978–93
Barry Reay

American Gay Experience’.7 They provide an extended glimpse of a sexual milieu that, as Andrew Holleran once observed, can now seem ‘as exotic as ancient Egypt’.8 As well as casual sex and organised fisting, more of which later, 154 REAY (Sex in the Archives) PRINT.indd 154 08/08/2018 15:44 david louis bowie ’ s new york diaries 39  Bowie Diaries, 1981 [the photograph was taken in 1975]. Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations. 155 REAY (Sex in the Archives) PRINT.indd 155 08/08/2018 15:44 sex in the

in Sex in the archives
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Ben Nichols

he decries and is therefore a Reductive 153 helpful staging ground for pushing back against the presumptions at work that allow him and many others to imagine that these concepts are necessarily problematic. For example, despite his attempts to disavow the fact, and as some of his readers recognise, Rechy’s fiction is frequently limited to the representation of gay sex worlds. City of Night is built around the sexual experiences of a nameless and transitory male hustler, travelling through the worlds of casual sex and sex work in America’s big cities. Numbers

in Same old
Daryl Leeworthy

rugby, it’s much safer than casual sex’, which was issued ahead of the Scotland-versus-Wales Five Nations match at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in March 1987. 34 Yet the Welsh AIDS Campaign’s legacy was longer-lasting; its focus on education and awareness among young people can be seen across a number of initiatives in the early 1990s. One example is the work of the Welsh language youth movement, Urdd Gobaith

in Histories of HIV/AIDS in Western Europe
Barry Jordan

oppression. And, given virtually no background, she recalls the anonymous, unseen truck driver in Spielberg’s television movie Duel and the sphinx-like, seemingly motiveless figure of John Ryder in The Hitcher . Presenting her as a sadistic serial killer, the short indicates a profound concern with the threat of assertive female sexuality. Moreover, in a period (the early- to mid-1990s) when casual sex could be lethal, the short

in Alejandro Amenábar
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Tanya Cheadle

’s work on the moral agenda behind the provision of treatment for venereal disease has shown, women in the interwar period were persistently viewed as constituting the principal source of venereal infection in Scottish society, with the period witnessing the identification of a new female stereotype of social deviance, the ‘problem girl’ or ‘amateur prostitute’. She consisted of a young, working-class woman who through her unpaid, casual sex and cavalier attitude towards taking precautions was understood to represent an even bigger threat to the nation’s racial health

in Sexual progressives
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Queer theory, literature and the politics of sameness

In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.