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The Demisexual Citizen

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The Consummate Virgin


This chapter gives the historical background for the emergence of the discourse of compulsory demisexuality in the West. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, it traces a history of the ways in which female sexual desire was culturally imagined and pathologised, and how these intersected with narratives of romantic love. It contends that as the relationship between sex, love and marriage began to change in the twentieth century, and love rather than marriage became the “right” reason for women to have sex, compulsory demisexuality became a dominant cultural paradigm.

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Correspondence to Jodi McAlister .

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McAlister, J. (2020). The Demisexual Citizen. In: The Consummate Virgin. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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