Review of Faramerz Dabhoiwala, The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution

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In The Origins of Sex Faramerz Dabhoiwala charts and explains the ways in which modern sexual attitudes developed out of fundamental shifts in ideas that occurred in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Over six chapters The Origins of Sex traces the changes to religious, political, legal and intellectual thought that affected how men and women conceptualised sex and acted upon their sexual desires. The book explores the transformation from perceiving sexual behaviour as a public action that affected all members of the community, to something that was essentially private and only of public concern in certain circumstances. As Dabhoiwala argues, this change was spurred by the rise of religious toleration, which allowed for increasing discussion of sexuality and the many ways in which it could be expressed. Across the period morality was increasingly scrutinised and debated as it became apparent that different religious groups could adopt a range of moral frameworks. Concurrently, interactions with other races and nations demonstrated the plurality of sexual systems that existed in the world, systems that functioned without causing social and moral disorder. These new ways …
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-535
JournalJournal of Social History
Issue number2
Early online date7 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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