The Invention of Heterosexuality

This book reexamines our society's basic heterosexual/homosexual distinction - focusing on the evolution of the term heterosexual, which, as this book demonstrates, only entered our language a little more than hundred years ago, ushering in a new way of dividing up and judging sexuality and people.

Exploring the surprising history of the heterosexual concept, Jonathan Ned Katz reveals that only through a slow process did heterosexuality become the dominant norm. Analysing the work of such pioneering student of sexuality as Siegmund Freud and Richard von Krafft-Ebing, he also examines the varied commentaries on sexuality by such contemporary writers as James Baldwin, Betty Friedan, Adrienne Rich, Kate Millett, and Michel Foucault. Katz considers the impact of their ideas about the primacy of heterosexuality on both scientific literature and popular culture. The result is a challenging and controversial demonstration of how our conceptions of human sexuality derive not from an immutable nature but from different historical methods of organising the sexes and their pleasures. (from the cover text)

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