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Riotous Flesh – Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America

April R. Haynes


Riotous Flesh establishes women’s agency in developing a new sexual consensus across the antebellum north between 1830 and 1860. That ideology held that “the solitary vice” (masturbation) was both universal and pathological. It revises prior histories have treated American masturbation phobia in the nineteenth century as a form of social control that served patriarchy or the result of a crisis in masculinity. While few Americans had paid attention to earlier warnings against “onanism” (seminal loss), they came to believe that the solitary vice injured female and male bodies alike. How did the ... More

Keywords: masturbation, Onanism, solitary vice, riots, physiology, moral reformers, abolitionists, scientific racism, women’s rights, incitement

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780226284590
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226284767.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

April R. Haynes, author
University of Wisconsin-Madison