The Invention of Heterosexuality

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University of Chicago Press, Jun 15, 2007 - History - 291 pages
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“Heterosexuality,” assumed to denote a universal sexual and cultural norm, has been largely exempt from critical scrutiny. In this boldly original work, Jonathan Ned Katz challenges the common notion that the distinction between heterosexuality and homosexuality has been a timeless one. Building on the history of medical terminology, he reveals that as late as 1923, the term “heterosexuality” referred to a "morbid sexual passion," and that its current usage emerged to legitimate men and women having sex for pleasure. Drawing on the works of Sigmund Freud, James Baldwin, Betty Friedan, and Michel Foucault, The Invention of Heterosexuality considers the effects of heterosexuality’s recently forged primacy on both scientific literature and popular culture.

“Lively and provocative.”—Carol Tavris, New York Times Book Review

“A valuable primer . . . misses no significant twists in sexual politics.”—Gary Indiana, Village Voice Literary Supplement

“One of the most important—if not outright subversive—works to emerge from gay and lesbian studies in years.”—Mark Thompson, The Advocate

 

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THE INVENTION OF HETEROSEXUALITY

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Arguing that heterosexuality was invented, Katz (Gay America, not reviewed) traces the concept to its tenuous roots. Previous works have also sought to break down the dichotomy of homosexual (deviant ... Read full review

The invention of heterosexuality

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Although we take for granted that heterosexuality is and has always been the sexual norm, historian Katz reexamines the constructions of sexual identity and postulates that heterosexuality has a ... Read full review

Contents

Richard von KrafftEbing and the Mind Doctors
19
BEFORE HETEROSEXUALITY
33
MAKING THE HETEROSEXUAL MYSTIQUE
57
THE HETEROSEXUAL COMES
83
QUESTIONING THE HETEROSEXUAL MYSTIQUE
113
THE LESBIAN MENACE STRIKES BACK
139
TOWARD A NEW PLEASURE SYSTEM
167
AFTERWORD BY LISA DUGGAN
193
NOTES
201
BIBLIOGRAPHY
247
INDEX
283
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About the author (2007)

Jonathan Ned Katz is the author of many books, including Gay American History and Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.

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