Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Riotous FleshWomen, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

April R. Haynes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226284590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226284767.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 21 October 2019

Flesh and Bones

Flesh and Bones

Chapter:
(p.132) Chapter Five Flesh and Bones
Source:
Riotous Flesh
Author(s):

April R. Haynes

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226284767.003.0006

“Flesh and Bones” examines the work of Sarah Mapps Douglass, an African American teacher and lecturer, as an example of ongoing resistance to the racialization of female sexuality. A leader of interracial moral reform efforts, Douglass joined the campaign for universal physiological education to eliminate the solitary vice. By the 1850s, growing concern about masturbatory insanity drew popular support for the first wave of sex education in public schools. The chapter reconstructs the content of Douglass’ distinctive sexual counterdiscourse at the Institute for Colored Youth. After the coalition ended between black abolitionists and white moral reformers, Douglass retained some white contacts. Along with Sarah Grimké, she participated in a community of discourse that fused physiology with Orson Squire Fowler’s theory of the feminine love principle in contemplating heterosexual pleasure. Douglass observed continuing debates over purity and virtue but no longer tried to convince whites of African American women’s moral equality. Instead, she selectively reworked physiological theories of sex to challenge craniology, affirm her students’ needs for love and pleasure, and offer contraceptive and prophylactic resources. The rhetoric of solitary vice masked, authorized, and infused this explicit sex education. Similar arguments reached generations of African American students.

Keywords:   Sarah Mapps Douglass, physiology, masturbatory insanity, sex education, female medical college, Sarah Grimké, heterosexuality, Orson Squire Fowler, love principle, craniology

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.