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Men without MapsSome Gay Males of the Generation before Stonewall$
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John Ibson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226656083

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226656250.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 October 2021

Together and Alone—Self-Definition without Many Models

Together and Alone—Self-Definition without Many Models

(p.1) Introduction Together and Alone—Self-Definition without Many Models
Men without Maps

John Ibson

University of Chicago Press

The introduction begins by explaining the book’s use of its map metaphor, part of the book’s very title, and component of an important assumption on which the book rests. Men whom the book examines, the author argues, were relatively mapless when it came to negotiating the meaning of their sexuality, figuring out how to be in a world with few role models. These were men sometimes with virtually no affirmative (or explicit, even if negative) cultural guidance, with few clues (and certainly no encouragement) regarding how to deal with their sexual desires. Relatively speaking, compared to their heterosexual contemporaries, and compared to those with sexual yearnings for other males who would come of age later on, the “men without maps” were largely on their own, especially if they resided away from the country’s few, though growing, queer spaces. There follows a brief discussion of the history of sexual identity, the very notion of oriented sexuality, in American culture. This historical perspective reinforces the author’s crucial point that not only was the sexual identity of the men without maps fiercely scorned during the period covered by this book, that identity was itself fairly new, without a long tradition to draw upon.

Keywords:   cultural guidance, map metaphor, queer spaces, historical perspective, oriented sexuality, role models, sexual identity

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