midterm review - final copy

Medieval agriculture as a model for sexual morality

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10. medieval agriculture as a model for sexual morality the plow represented the man and the field the woman the plow was the penis and the furrow was the vagina the seed was the semen and the earth was the womb man was supposed to be active and the penetrator while the woman was supposed to be passive and receptive crops were the children o man must be on top during intercourse o sexuality is only justified for procreation o by the logic of the agricultural analogy, horizontal intercourse with the woman on top cannot lead to procreation; it turns the “natural world” upside down 11. how Christianity came to dominate in the U.S. Christianity became the state religion of Rome in 323 AD o Roman emperor Constantine converts to Christianity and makes it law o sodomy is punishable by death o Sappho’s poems are burned at the Constantinople library Christian morality becomes the basis of modern law emperor Justinian has the Roman law code revised (538 AD) o Justinian code > Canon law (law of the Catholic church) > English and European civil law > American colonial laws > our state and federal laws Readings
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Week 3 Is There a History of Sexuality? by David M. Halperin - modern categories of sexual orientations would not be understood by other, older cultures - sex has no history - we have an assumption that sexual behavior reflects or expresses an individual’s “sexuality”; we understand “sexuality” to refer to a positive, distinct, and constitutive feature of the human personality - sex is portrayed in Athenian documents not as a mutual enterprise in which two or more persons jointly engage but as an action performed by a social superior upon a social inferior - the “sexuality” of classical Athenians, then, far from being independent of politics, was constituted by the very principles on which Athenian public life was organized - the currently fashionable distinction between homosexuality and heterosexuality had no meaning for the classical Athenians; there were not, so far as they knew, two different kinds of “sexuality” - male indifference to the sex of sexual objects - “even respectable women are so easy to seduce nowadays that men will soon tire of them and will turn their attention to boys instead- just as addicts progress inexorably from wine to hard drugs” the easier it is to have sex with women, the less desirable sex with women becomes, and the more likely men are to seek pleasure with boys - molles : “soft” or unmasculine men; men who depart from the cultural norm insofar as they actively desire to be subjected by other men to a “feminine” role in sexual intercourse afflicted by a mental disease; defined as a perversion of sexual desire - there is nothing medically problematical, then, about a desire on the part of males to obtain sexual pleasure from contact with males; so long as the proper phallocentric protocols are observed - it is not immediately evident that patterns of sexual object-choice are by their very nature more
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