The Boundaries of Desire

The Boundaries of Desire: A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex, and Changing Identities by Eric Berkowitz

HQ 21 .B547 2015

“The act of reproduction, and all its variants, haven’t changed much over time, but our ideas about the meaning and consequences of sex are in constant flux. At any given point in time, some forms of sex have been encouraged, while others have been punished mercilessly. Jump forward or backward a decade, cross a border, or traverse class lines and the harmless pleasures of one group become the gravest crimes of another.

Combining meticulous research and lively story telling, The Boundaries of Desire traces the fast-moving bloodsport of sex law over the past century, and challenges many of our most cherished notions about family, power, gender, and identity.

Beginning when courts censored birth control information as pornography and guarded marriage by letting men rape their wives, and continuing through the “sexual revolution” and into the present day (when rape, gay rights, sex trafficking, and sex on the internet saturate the news), Berkowitz shows how the law has remained out of synch with the convulsive changes in sexual morality.

By focusing on the real people who played key roles in the formation of our sexual rights, Berkowitz adds compelling human elements to what might otherwise by faceless legal battles. The law is made by people, after all, and nothing sparks intolerance – everywhere on the political spectrum – more than sex. Ultimately, Berkowitz shows the emptiness of sanctimonious condemnation, and argues that sexual questions are too subtle and volatile for simple, catch-all solutions.”
– publisher description

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