Speaking about the question of sexuality in the modern American society, it is necessary to refer to the problem from the point of biological characteristics associated with the term of sexuality and from the concept of gender equality and social relationships between men and women.
The history of sexuality in relation to the history of American women has the deep roots, and it should be discussed with references to the progress of the public’s vision of sexuality in its association with women.
Furthermore, the discussion of the history of sexuality as the part of the history of American women is important for the analysis of the origins and causes of the modern situation in society in relation to the problem.
Thus, sexuality is an important factor for determining the social positions of men and women according to the historical development of the public’s attitude toward the issue of sexuality.
Following the ideas of the contemporary researchers, it is possible to state that sexuality is the socially constructed category (Kerber, Hart, & Dayton, 2011, p. 11). That is why, it is necessary to discuss this issue with references to the most important social tendencies associated with the historical events in the USA.
During the 18th-19th centuries, the problem of sexuality was discussed only from the male point of view. Sexuality was closely associated with definite gender roles acquired in the society. In spite of the fact women were traditionally perceived as the symbol of sexuality for men, these ideas could not be discussed openly.
Thus, women’s sexuality depended on the male vision of the problem, and it was connected with the notions of family and motherhood (Kerber, Hart, & Dayton, 2011, p. 67). Traditional ways to perceive the women’s sexuality were the discussion of women as wives and mothers.
The questions of sexuality during the Victorian Era were based on the usual male dominance and marriage as the single way to express women’s sexual desires and affection. However, women’s diaries and letters of that period support the idea that although the social norms limited women’s direct expression of their sexuality, it developed not because of social principles, but because of biological factors.
The long-time association of sexuality and gender roles resulted in the boost of the feminist movement in the first half of the 20th century (Kerber, Hart, & Dayton, 2011, p. 404). Feminists paid attention to the social status of women, to their equality with men, and to their right to marry or not.
Moreover, the question of sexual preferences became urgent. It is important to concentrate on the feminist movement as the significant part of the history of sexuality because the progress of this movement contributed to the transformation of relationships between men and women. The question of the male dominance became controversial not only from the point of social interactions but also from the perspective of the sexual relations.
It is also necessary to concentrate on the next stages of the process with references to those women who became social activists declaring the ideas of sex education and birth control and who began to work as therapists and psychologists to resolve the problems of sexuality (Kerber, Hart, & Dayton, 2011, p. 380).
Modern vision of sexuality is based on the ideas of sex appeal, sexual attraction, heterosexual and homosexual relationships. Nevertheless, the history of sexuality in the USA provides the audience with the viewpoint that the notion of sexuality includes a lot of social aspects which are significant to be discussed in the course.
Thus, the history of sexuality is necessary to determine the connections between the idea of virginity, religious viewpoint, and family relationships in the 19th century; between the rejection of the idea of marriage and gender equality during the 1920s; between the transformation of gender roles and sexual relations during World War II; between the problem of birth control, contraception, sexuality, and issue of abortion; between the sexual revolution of the 1960s and sex education; between the shift of gender roles and gender equality in relation to the questions of sexuality in the 1990s. T
he progress of the notion of sexuality in the American society emphasizes the process of developing a new type of the American woman (Kerber, Hart, & Dayton, 2011, p. 408)
The history of relations between men and women in the American society depends on changes in the public’s vision of the problem of sexuality. Today, the period of the male dominance in discussing the issues of sexuality is changed with the equality of male and female roles in relation to their sexuality.
The history of the 20th century accentuates the right of the modern women to speak about their sexuality openly. That is why, the course should be developed for both young men and women to present them the history of sexuality from many perspectives and help them understand the importance of this category for the development of the American society with references to such notions as gender equality and social roles.
Kerber, L. K., Hart, J. S., & Dayton, C. H. (2011). Women’s America: Refocusing the past. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.