Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR

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Cambridge University Press, 2011 - History - 239 pages
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In the aftermath of the reunification of Germany one former dissident recalled nostalgically that under the East German regime 'we had more sex and we had more to laugh about'. Love in the Time of Communism is a fascinating history of the GDR's forgotten sexual revolution and its limits. Josie McLellan shows that under communism divorce rates soared, abortion become commonplace and the rate of births outside marriage was amongst the highest in Europe. Nudism went from ban to state-sponsored boom, and erotica became common currency in both the official economy and the black market. Public discussion of sexuality was, however, tightly controlled and there were few opportunities to challenge traditional gender roles or sexual norms. Josie McLellan's pioneering account questions some of our basic assumptions about the relationship between sexuality, politics and society and is a major contribution to our understanding of the everyday emotional lives of postwar Europeans.
 

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Contents

the East German sexual revolution
1
sex and young people
22
3 Marriage and monogamy
53
sex love and state hypocrisy
83
5 Gay men lesbians and the struggle for the public sphere
114
nudism
144
East German erotica
174
space for love?
205
Interview questions
216
Bibliography
219
Index
236
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About the author (2011)

Josie McLellan is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Bristol. Her previous publications include Antifascism and Memory in East Germany: Remembering the International Brigades, 1945-1989 (2004).

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