Female Masturbators In The Year 1888 Are Described As Immoral, Uncommon, Hopeless, Shameless, AND Incurable. Essay Samples
The types of women diagnosed with nymphomania in the nineteenth century are the following: prostitutes, lesbians, sexually active wives, adulterers, divorced. These women diagnosed with nymphomania are associated with behavioural patterns like constant and unsuppressed masturbation, vile and erotic tearing of clothes, indulgent sexual desire, exposing their genitals in public, vigorously attracting men, and conversing with each other of marriage.
Nymphomania directly contradicts with the norms of the traditional and cultural role that society has designated to a woman, which is women were thought to be modest and should be passive in terms of sexual desire compared to men. The role of a woman as a wife is simply confined to being a plain housewife, and the duties of a mother in the household are what direct her daily life. Marriage is considered to be the only time that a woman should be engaging in sexual activities. Any behaviour, out of the ordinary that a woman portrays is deemed abnormal and insane.
Treatment of nymphomania underwent different methods in the 19th century. From bloodletting, prescription drugs, diets, cold baths, gynaecological surgery, to moral treatments. Nymphomania as a disease was associated with the behaviour of women and so it was linked to the brain, thus psychologists were involved in developing treatments at that time.
The term “nymphomania” has been used to label female sexual degenerates like prostitutes and lesbians, wherein prostitutes are thought to be lesbians themselves. This confusion of gender role of women is directly connected to their excessive sexual desires and involves them in “lesbian love”. In this scenario, experts presumed that in the lesbian couple, one would assume the role of “masculine” to portray the heterosexual sense of engagement. By the late 19th century, as the world progressed to the industrial era, new opportunities opened up for women, thus their roles in the society has dramatically changed, they have been welcomed to the work force and schools. Dubbed as the “new woman”, these changes in the society have given women freedom to express themselves and likely opportunities for broader sexual experience.
These three individuals wrote articles that were related to masturbation in women and girls.
Rev. Sylvester Graham is a religious leader in the nineteenth century. He proposed a dietary reform in compliance to clean and healthy living. He preached that a vegetarian diet is a remedy for sexual craving.
Carol Groneman wrote a book about nymphomania, and in this book she brought to light on how women and girls, diagnosed with the disease nymphomania, were treated by experts during the late 19th century, she also discussed about female sexuality and their relative behaviour on masturbation.
Barbara Welter is a historian who wrote an article about womanhood, she mentioned in her article about how a woman should assert her role properly in terms of sexuality in the society. She emphasized on the importance of the development of a girl into womanhood, and how they would conform to society in a religious way with modesty and dignity.
This article reveals about a woman’s point of view on the importance of herself as a whole regarding sex and marriage. To a woman, the role of being a wife and a mother puts a lot of burden and tension to her well-being. Her delicate position in the society has been the reason for neglect and abuse, for which this has made the woman powerless over her own body. Despite her struggles, she still has considered the guilt of every action that affects her decisions. The predicament of a woman, torn apart by different responsibilities that is expected of her to oblige, towards the church, society, her husband, and her children, has placed a heavy burden on her conscience. In general, women had come to a realization that, having sexual intercourse is not just for pleasure but it comes with great responsibility, and inevitably, they would have to face its’ consequences.
This article about abortion during that time, reveals about women with unwanted pregnancy, chose to undergo abortion despite the unsafe and crude methods available at that time. They set aside their survival instincts and placed their lives at risk. This shows that women at that time were the victims of irresponsible sex and pregnancy.
It reveals that married women at that time regards sexual intercourse as torture rather than being sacred and pleasurable. For the part of the husbands, they adhere to their rights on sexual matters, and they don’t sympathize to the emotional and physical well-being of their wives.
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