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Discuss the change from the "one sex" model to the "two sex" model and the affect this had on sexuality throughout the 18th and 19th century?

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Introduction

Discuss the change from the "one sex" model to the "two sex" model and the affect this had on sexuality throughout the 18th and 19th century? The word sex refers to both the physical activity of sex and the designation of anatomical differences between female and male bodies. Throughout the 18th century sex and sexuality became indivisible from the biological differences between female and male bodies; it seems impossible to discuss sexuality in the 18th century without simultaneously including a reference to the biological distinction between the two sexes. In order to fully understand the effect that the diversity between the sexes, sexuality and social order had on the 18th and 19th century one must look at modern European history and science. Doing so will illustrate that sexuality and sexual difference was a modern trend and that both nature and sexed bodies have a history, or as Michelle Foucault would say a "genealogy". 1 Sex and sexuality during the 17th and 18th century were seen in a radically different manner to that which they are viewed in today. Beliefs concerning sexual difference, gender and sexuality were dominated by a combination of Ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Aristotle), Roman physicians (Galen) ...read more.

Middle

their sexual practice became problematic. It was not biology or sex that mediated activities of the flesh, but the location within the chain of being. The one-sex model seems so far fetched that it requires a leap in imagination to comprehend how anyone could have held such views. This is particularly so when one considers the length of time it prevailed (1400 years) and that anatomists reaffirmed it time and time again, despite their skills in human dissection. The more they examined the body of women the more they became convinced it was a version of man's. It's not as if the body was not well examined, so why the distinction of male and female bodies in the eighteenth century? Organs that previously shared the same name, occupying the same bodies were assigned their own names - such as 'vagina'. Body structures such as the skeleton and nervous system which were previously common to both women and men were now differentiated according to sex. This is proven in anatomical drawings of the human skeleton, which prior to the eighteenth century had been persistently represented as the male skeleton. "It was not until the 1750s in England, France and Germany that genuine sex differences were discovered in every bone, muscle, nerve and cell of the human body and ...read more.

Conclusion

Among the bourgeoisie, the passionless reproducing wife confined to domesticity and her simple husband, became the central reference point for discussions concerning sexuality. The prostitute, homosexual and solitary masturbator emerge as individuals posing the greatest threat to heterosexual reproduction, bourgeois morality and social order. The masturbator and prostitute emerge as creatures spreading disease and weakening the modern social body, both disrupting the boundaries surrounding the emergent bourgeois family. The discovery of the two sex model proved that "sexual attitudes and practices were (and are) fundamental aspects of society. Reproductive activities shaped demographic patterns, while attitudes towards sexual practices helped shape the construction of gender roles."14 Nature played a pivotal role in the rise of liberal political thought. In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the study of the intrinsic natures and origins of sex and race became an overwhelming focus of attention for modern science and political theorists. Political struggles over power and position within the post-revolutionary public sphere were fought out in the scientific arena in terms of sex, race and class. Nature, and claims on behalf of the natural emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, playing a crucial role in informing our common understanding of sexual difference. In short, we have become our sex. Foucault writing and reflecting on modern sexuality states that sex has "become the truth of our being". ...read more.

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