The History of Female Sexuality in the United States

  • Myrna I. Lewis
Part of the Women in Context book series (WICO)


The course of sexuality for the American female has gone through remarkable changes, from the variety of sexual customs found in early colonial days to the repressions of the 19th century and the liberalization of attitudes and behavior in the 20th century. Some of what has happened has been done to women—through cultural training, medical influences (e.g., 19th-century physicians’ attributing a number of female medical problems to sexual “excess”), and the impact of male expectation and interpretation of female sexuality. But at least a share of female sexual behavior has been determined by females themselves, acting in what they felt were their best interests considering the choices available at the time. This is especially clear in the 19th century, as we shall see.


Female Sexuality Sexual Custom Sexual Response Advice Manual Female Orgasm 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myrna I. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychotherapist in Private PracticeUSA

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