3_Sexual behaviour and its medicalisation - Hart and Wellings

3_Sexual behaviour and its medicalisation - Hart and Wellings

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health—women consistently have been seen as “reservoirs of infection.” In 1962, health promotion materials that targeted men could say that “a girl may be perfectly clean . . . and yet have in her body millions of the invisible germs of gonorrhoea or syphilis, or perhaps both.” 15 Even in the late 20th century, the United Kingdom’s proposed national screening pro- gramme for Chlamydia trachomatis suggested that only women be tested. 16 A new era for sexual attitudes The latter half of the 20th century saw major changes in sexual attitudes and mores. We no longer look on sex not for procreation as sinful. This change in attitude has been accompanied by greater acceptance of the diversity of human relations. The shift in perspective has been dramatic, and it means that varia- tions within and between heterosexual and homo- sexual desire have become—to a greater extent than ever before—a matter of choice. For some religious stalwarts, sex is still acceptable only as a procreative activity within marriage; for others, it’s OK to be homosexual but not to practise same sex activities. Generally, however, people increasingly accept diverse sexual expression. 17
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