Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative
Intimate Matters provides a comprehensive analysis of the history of sexuality in America through an engaging and thoughtful narrative. It is useful for the professional historian--it is well documented with references to existing historical literature on the topic (although it is not original research). However, it also will prove very interesting to the casual...
Published on May 3, 2000 by Amazon Customer

versus
15 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry Academic Work That Doubts The Benefits Of Sexual Liberation
"Intimate Matters" is a survey of the changing sexual attitudes in American history from the Puritans through the 19th century to our contemporary society. I prefer books that contain a depth of knowledge but that are also well written enough to be a pleasure to read. Bernard Lewis and Karen Armstrong are two respected scholars who manage to both write well and maintain...
Published on October 4, 2006 by Chris Luallen


Most Helpful First | Newest First

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative, May 3, 2000
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
Intimate Matters provides a comprehensive analysis of the history of sexuality in America through an engaging and thoughtful narrative. It is useful for the professional historian--it is well documented with references to existing historical literature on the topic (although it is not original research). However, it also will prove very interesting to the casual reader.
The book itself provides a broad descriptive introduction to the history of sexuality and reproduction from the colonial era to the present, but also presents a clear argument that is easy to follow. The authors claim that sexuality in America has gone through three distinct phases, from family governed sexuality in the colonial era, to privatized but conservative sexuality in the nineteenth century, to our era of comparative sexual freedom, often governed by consumerist values, in the twentieth century. Beyond that, it is simply fun to read.
The book does use language that might be considered objectionable by some, but these words are quoted directly from contemporary historical sources. They help to give an honest impression of the way sexuality was discussed in the past. It is a very good book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you a well informed person, October 6, 2013
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
Many of the other reviewers are marking this book down for being "textbook-like," all the while forgetting it is a history book. It does precisely what it purports to do: regale us with the fascinating sexual history of the United States in great detail. It does not claim to be the next pop-hit or a coffee table book. This is a book for people who want to learn something, and that makes it wonderful.

Beginning just before the foundation of the colonies, this book walks us step-by-step through the history of sexuality in America. D'Emilio and Freedman provide direct primary quotes from the individuals who were experiencing the sexual norms in each time period. They also provide interesting and enlightening anecdotes, court cases, laws, and images which help us to better understand the history of sexuality in America.

This book will help you to better understand the origin of puritan thoughts on sex in America and beyond. It does exactly what it purports to do in the clear, concise prose of historians who know their stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The go-to text for history of sexuality in the US, December 19, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
As the title implies, this lays out a history of sexuality in the US, and I know of no better text if that's your topic of interest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important social history of evolving attitudes towards sex, December 14, 2004
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
D'Emilio and Freedman have provided their readers with a thoughtful, entertaining, and concise history of American sexuality. As their title suggests, their perspective is historical rather than psychological. Like most social histories, "Intimate Matters" adopts a bottom-up approach, choosing to emphasize how groups of people experience (and have experienced) sexuality within their own economic, racial, gendered, and cultural contexts, rather than on the decisions of elite policymakers.

There is plenty of interesting information here, ranging from the sexual practices of the early colonists to grassroots campaigns to censor sexually explicit literature. The authors capitalize on a wide variety of evidence, citing both quantitative and qualitative research to buttress their arguments. "Intimate Matters" is an important contribution to a neglected area of historical inquiry, and offers readers important insight into how economic and cultural forces shape, and are shaped by, human sexuality.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, September 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
Fantastic quality!! Speedy delivery!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a remarkable piece of work!, October 22, 2004
By 
R. Maynard (Epsom, New Hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
The authors did an excellent job of writing and presenting an accurate description of sexual practices in our country, including its history - obviously, an extremely difficult undertaking.

In early America, the main deterrent to premarital sex was the fear of pregnancy and the severe consequence of social ostracization.

However, sexual desire was always there for both men and women, regardless of social class or standing. Control over casual sex lay in the hands of family and/or the mores of society. Premarital sex was not permissible for anybody. In practice however, this sexual taboo applied mostly to women.

Men - on the other hand - had choices! They were the creators (always with god's help - of course) and enforcers of the rules and laws governing our social behavior! Talk about one-way streets!

Margaret Sanger (born 1883) was a nurse who fumed over this grossly unfair treatment between the sexes and began the search for a dependable means of birth control. She needed a means or device that women could use to counter their fear of unintended pregnancy. She locked horns, clanged heads with the law (mainly the Comstock laws), and ended up with a number of warrants issued for her arrest. She fled to Europe while a number of her friends and associates kept the ball rolling in search of a positive, reliable means of birth control for women.

In 1915, she announced she was returning to America to surrender and stand trial on the charges against her. As soon as the courts heard of this, all charges against her were dropped; the bureaucrats feared her like no other woman.

For the first time, women got reliable birth control devices, and could begin to enjoy sex outside of marriage, without fear, just as surely as men did.

By the turn of the century, in order to finish leveling the sexual playing field, women needed a place to go and a means of getting there. Two World Wars, one in 1914 and the other in 1941, would provide the answers.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dry Academic Work That Doubts The Benefits Of Sexual Liberation, October 4, 2006
By 
Chris Luallen (Nashville, Tennessee) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
"Intimate Matters" is a survey of the changing sexual attitudes in American history from the Puritans through the 19th century to our contemporary society. I prefer books that contain a depth of knowledge but that are also well written enough to be a pleasure to read. Bernard Lewis and Karen Armstrong are two respected scholars who manage to both write well and maintain their academic integrity. In contrast, "Intimate Matters" contains the dry prose that is often associated with academic works that fail to appeal to a broader audience. Of course, the subject itself is inherently interesting and I did learn some compelling new historical facts. For example, some of the Puritans actually used the death penalty to punish pre-martial sex, non-reproductive sexual acts and homosexualty.

I know that academics need to maintain objectivity and so I didn't necessarily expect this book to be in praise of sexual liberation. However, the authors seem to take a sex negative point of view which I found troubling. For example, they describe the harsh punishments of the Puritans without condemnation. But, when discussing the relative sexual freedom that came with urbanization, they lament how women were now becoming less "protected" from the sexual attention of men. They make the same point while criticizing the sexual revolution of the 1960's. I believe that women are strong and intelligent enough to make their own decisions and that they don't need to be "protected" by a sexually repressive society. So I find the authors' perspective that sexual liberation places women in danger to be insulting and patronizing.

The book does contain some worthwhile information on the history of American sexuality. But I would recommend finding a book that is better written and with a more positive attitude towards the benefits of sexual freedom.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a sterile, clinical presentation, indeed, October 22, 2008
By 
HomeBuilding (Wichita, KS USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
Published in 1988, this is fundamentally a textbook-like tome with little direct application to the daily joys and trials of marriage and family life. It is well footnoted and indexed, though marriage and divorce are fundamentally seen as "choices" and there are no index entries for "vows," "commitment," or "fun."
There is no heart to this book and no information useful for the establishment of a healthy marriage and no information for correction in times of difficulty. (It may never have occurred to the authors that married folks have far more sex than the unmarried.) All in all, quite sterile--somewhere between an anatomy/physiology text and veterinarian studies.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as interesting as one would think, November 18, 2000
This review is from: Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (Paperback)
The book reads very textbook-y, and already that's one strike against it. There were a few interesting things, like bundling beds and the fact that Pilgrims thought that women had to climax to conceive but other than that, nothing too insightful about sex.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America by Estelle B. Freedman (Paperback - February 28, 1998)
Used & New from: $0.24
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.