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The Long Sexual RevolutionEnglish Women, Sex, and Contraception 1800-1975$
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Hera Cook

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252183

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252183.001.0001

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‘Conferring a Premium on the Destruction of Female Morals’: Fertility Control and Sexuality in the Early to Mid-Nineteenth Century

‘Conferring a Premium on the Destruction of Female Morals’: Fertility Control and Sexuality in the Early to Mid-Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.62) 3 ‘Conferring a Premium on the Destruction of Female Morals’: Fertility Control and Sexuality in the Early to Mid-Nineteenth Century
Source:
The Long Sexual Revolution
Author(s):

Hera Cook (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252183.003.0004

This chapter explores the interaction between the need for fertility control, male and female sexual desire, and the vulnerability created by the dependent economic status of mothers. In the 19th century, women's economic position relative to men of their own class declined, and their need to support their children made them vulnerable to male insistence on female chastity. Few women encountered information about birth control, and those who did seemed to have little to gain from the practice. It is probable that the majority of middle-class men who wanted to control their fertility relied upon prostitution.

Keywords:   sexual behaviour, birth control, illegitimacy, male sexuality, syphilis, prostitution, religion, sexual attitudes, femininity

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