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The War on Sex

Edited by
David M. Halperin
David M. Halperin

David M. Halperin is W. H. Auden Distinguished University Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality in the English Department at the University of Michigan and the author, most recently, of How to Be Gay.

Trevor Hoppe is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and author of Punishing Disease.

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Trevor Hoppe
Trevor Hoppe

David M. Halperin is W. H. Auden Distinguished University Professor of the History and Theory of Sexuality in the English Department at the University of Michigan and the author, most recently, of How to Be Gay.

Trevor Hoppe is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and author of Punishing Disease.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7314-8
Publication date:
2017
Book Chapter

Introduction: The War on Sex

By
David M. Halperin
David M. Halperin
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Published:
March 2017

In the United States today, it is common to believe we live in an era of sexual emancipation. Within the span of a lifetime, sexual attitudes have undergone major transformations. Judicial and legislative decisions permit certain sexual freedoms that, just a short time before, would have seemed unthinkable. But the progressive liberalization of sex is not the whole story. Outside the privileged domain of certain approved, legally permitted, and constitutionally protected sexual practices, sexual freedom is under sustained attack. New restrictions are being placed on commercial sex and sexual services, public sexual expression and publicly visible sexual representation, nonmarital sex and sex outside the couple, sex online, sex in the workplace, HIV-positive sex, pornography, gay sex, sex in schools and prisons, sex between adults and minors, and sex among minors. In short, there is a war on stigmatized kinds of sex that fall outside those currently sanctified by legal guarantees.

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