As sexual mores and laws began to evolve into the

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As sexual mores and laws began to evolve into the modern period, there also emerged a flowering of sexual expression and sexual diversity (D'Emilio & Freedman, 1988). For example, the first two communities of homosexuals secretly began in the Netherlands and England during this period of time (Trumbach, 1998; Van der Meer, 1994). In Europe after 1811, homosexuality was changed from a crime carrying a punishment of execution to one punishable by imprisonment. At the time of the American Revolution, sexual pleasure and sexual expression were very much a part of people's lives. Benjamin Franklin, for example, was known to openly court other men's wives. Thomas Jefferson fathered several children with his slave Sally Hemings. Abigail Adams reminded her husband John Adams, who became the second president of the United States, not to forget the “ladies” voices, needs, and political position as he and others created the U.S. Constitution. These founding fathers lived within a web of terrible contradictions, however. Slavery, repression of women's rights, and the genocide of American Indians shaped their attitudes about sexuality, but did not inhibit their expressions of sexual pleasure in their own intimate lives. In the United States and Europe, the public health systems as we now know them came into existence during the 19th century. Doctors led the effort to set up clinics and establish mechanisms to control
disease, including sexual “diseases” such as masturbation by children (Foucault, 1980). Sanitation systems were established on scientific principles in the cities. The introduction of modern sewers and pure water systems improved public hygiene and health. Many of the old laws against sexual crimes, including prostitution, adultery, and homosexuality, remained on the books, however. During this period, scientists began to understand that microbes cause disease. The start of public health clinics made it possible to monitor the population and to better control people's sexual behavior (Foucault, 1980). Unfortunately, folklore and myth found its way into sexual science at this time, and sanitation and hygiene became new ways that the state began to control people's sexual lives. The Victorian Era and Sexual Identity We think of the Victorian era (1837–1901) as prudish, but it was really the beginning of the modern period of today. During the Victorian era, the accepted view was that sex should be private, hidden from and emotionally suppressed in children, and never mentioned in polite society. The genders were highly polarized, as expressed in male and female sexuality. To conform to the Victorian standard, one's body had to be fully covered, and for a woman, coverage from neck to toes. Victorian-era women were expected to be submissive, motherly, and asexual. They did this by wearing corsets, staying at home, remaining pure and using good hygiene, and being passive and submissive, all to express Christian norms of the times. In the sexual culture, it was said that women had “mothering drives.” And so, women were not allowed to express sexual pleasure, and were even

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