19th century medical views on female sexuality

Book

Description

English

Gynaecological doctor William Acton's Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs, in Childhood, Youth, Adult Age, and Advanced Life, Considered in the Physiological, Social, and Moral Relations (1865) is mainly concerned with male sexuality. It is largely known, however, for the extract shown here where Acton claims that 'the majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled by sexual feeling of any kind'. 

Although Acton's views are not representative of the whole 19th century population, they nevertheless reflect that sex was seen by many - including medical professionals - as something exclusively enjoyed by men while women, in contrast, passively endured it for the purpose of reproduction only.

Full title
The Functions and Disorders of the Re-productive Organs in Youth, in Adult Age, and in Advanced Life, considered in their Physiological, Social, and Moral Relations; fourth edition
Published
1865 , London
Format
Book
Creator
William Acton
Held by
British Library
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions
Shelfmark
7640.g.8.

Related articles

Daughters of decadence: the New Woman in the Victorian fin de siècle

Article by
Greg Buzwell
Themes: 
Fin de siècle, Gender and sexuality

Free-spirited and independent, educated and uninterested in marriage and children, the figure of the New Woman threatened conventional ideas about ideal Victorian womanhood. Greg Buzwell explores the place of the New Woman - by turns comical, dangerous and inspirational - in journalism and in fiction by writers such as Thomas Hardy, George Gissing and Sarah Grand.

Gender roles in the 19th century

Article by
Kathryn Hughes
Theme: 
Gender and sexuality

From marriage and sexuality to education and rights, Professor Kathryn Hughes looks at attitudes towards gender in 19th-century Britain.

Related collection items