Sexuality in Colonial Massachusetts

In: Historical Events

Submitted By kmavlyanov91
Words 3470
Pages 14
THE DUALITY OF WOMEN’S SEXUALITY IN SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURY PURITAN MASSACHUSETTS

Liesl Schnuck

November 1, 2011

Due to the strength of their belief in and fear of God, colonial Massachusetts’s society regulated women’s sexuality through a paradoxical relationship: women as saints and women as sinners.

Introduction

In the religion-obsessed society of colonial Massachusetts, Puritan beliefs dominated contemporary views on sexuality, especially with regard to women. Although Puritan ministers understood human nature’s inability to avoid sexual relations, they adamantly professed that sex must not interfere with religion. In order to create stability within their society, ministers and lawmakers turned towards the women to implement and describe sexual regulation. Women’s social function was not only complex, but also difficult to define. As historian N.E.H. Hull notes, “theirs was a special place, not altogether enviable—for in this land of saints and sinners, they were viewed as both saintlier and more sinful than men.” Not only did society expect and desire women to act morally, but society also feared women for their supposed tendencies to act corruptly. Carol F. Karlsen accurately differentiates between these two identities by naming these women either “handmaidens of the devil” or “handmaidens of the Lord.” This distinction demonstrates the binary opposition of women’s place in society that existed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. By identifying these two opposing personalities, women became the means of controlling sexuality in colonial Massachusetts. This paper illuminates the notion of sexuality in colonial Massachusetts by pointing out the derivation of this paradoxical relationship as well as demonstrating how citizens differentiated between “saints and sinners.” Section I relates the origins of this duality by…...

Similar Documents

Sexuality

...Sexuality over the years has been a very debatable topic and has lead many to different understanding based on their own ideologies as it relates to gender and sexuality. These beliefs have shaped our society as to the appropriateness of sexual behavior as it relates to masculinity and femininity. First let us look at the how sexuality was viewed in ancient times. “The origins of sexual orientation have long since been a question that scientists and psychologists have longed to find an answer. While there has recently been more and more reliable and unbiased studies done in past and present years, there are still no conclusive answers as to what makes a person hetero- or homo- sexual. Many theories have been and still are being developed on what causes different sexual orientations. They range from the way the child is brought up within his family, from inheriting specific genes, hormonal imbalances, brain “mis-wirings” and other environmental factors. Familial and environmental influence tends to be one of the most supported and believed theories of the causation of sexual orientation. Many researchers and other psychological professionals believe that whether a person becomes heterosexual or homosexual is determined and greatly influenced by the type of environment they have experienced as a child. For example twin studies have shown that “52% of the MZ co-twins of male homosexual twins were also homosexual or bisexual. For DZ male twins, this fell to 22%” (“Genetics &......

Words: 1976 - Pages: 8

Sexuality

...woman advice about “reproduction or production” and how this has affected the economic marketplace. She argues that this advice has always been given for male advantage and not for women’s needs. Another argument that she has is concerning another book written by Barry, Daly, Griffin et al. how men and woman have “collaborated to keep history mad”. She mentions that this book ignores woman, who have resisted oppression and have had struggles not to participate in “sexual arrangement”. She also mentions that “woman in every culture have undertaken the task of independence”, and for authors to say that men have shown us “self-creative humanness”, goes completely against woman who died resisting male oppression. Their argument about sexuality? Also, how the neglect of lesbianism is shown in a lot writings, including from feminist. Something else that the Author argues is how writings can marginalize lesbian’s existence as something less “natural” or as “mirror image of heterosexual relations”. The author states that many believe lesbianism exist because men have oppressed women. She suggests that heterosexuality should be studied in a political institutionalized perspective....

Words: 301 - Pages: 2

Sexuality

...laws for women’s right to legal access to contraceptive info/devices World War II Post war back to traditional roles Baby boom began because all men were coming back from the war Televisions became a “must have” Development of penicillin to cure STI’s There was a different outlook on the war for men to have something to be excited about after war 1950’s -1970’s Alfred Kinsey published book about male and female sexuality 1960: FDA approved distribution of Enovid (1st oral contraceptive) Men are volunteering vasectomies 1973: Roe vs. Wade – abortion is legal Homosexuality no longer labeled a mental disorder 1980’s First AIDS diagnosis LGBTQ first male-male romantic kiss More Internet available for pornography and cybersex HPV vaccine 1988 Viagra approved and available In what ways are the views of sexually in the United States the same from the early 1900’s to today? How are they different? What/who are the key influences responsible for any changes in views about sexuality? What is your opinion regarding the state of sexuality in the United States today? Vulva: includes the mons pubis. Clitoris, labia majora and labia minora * Often incorrectly referred to as the “vagina” Mons pubis (pubic mound) * Pad of fatty tissue, 6 inches below naval Clitoris: center of sexual arousal -Glans clitoris= the tip - Clitoral hood = covers glans when it’s not engorged -Crura = 2 internal branches holding 2 corpora cavernosa Labia Majora: 2......

Words: 659 - Pages: 3

Sexuality

...Catholic teachings on sexual morality draw from what the Church considers to be natural law, sacred scripture and sacred tradition and are promulgated authoritatively by the Magisterium. Sexual morality evaluates sexual behavior according to Catholic standards of morality, and often provides general principles by which Catholics are able to evaluate whether specific actions meet these standards. Much of the Church's detailed doctrines derive from the principle that "sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive [between spouses] purposes".[1] The Catholic Church teaches that human life and human sexuality are inseparable.[2] Because Catholics believe God created human beings in his own image and likeness and that he found everything he created to be "very good,"[3] the Catholic Church teaches that human body and sex must likewise be good. The Church considers the expression of love between husband and wife to be an elevated form of human activity, joining as it does, husband and wife in complete mutual self-giving, and opening their relationship to new life. “The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, ‘noble and worthy.’”[4] In cases in which sexual expression is sought outside sacramental marriage, or in which the procreative function of sexual expression within marriage is......

Words: 365 - Pages: 2

Sexuality

...Sexuality Christine Y. Liberty University Intimacy The Webster-Merriam dictionary defines intimacy as “an intimate quality or state: such as emotional warmth and closeness; sexual relations; or something that is very personal and private” (Webster, 1993). Lori Gordon (2004) in her article Intimacy: The Art of Relationship writes that intimacy should involve emotional and physical closeness. When most people think about intimacy they probably think about sex but intimacy is a much deeper connection than sex. Intimacy is more of an emotional and spiritual connection as well as a physical connection. From the moment we are born we seek for a connection, a feeling of warmth from another individual “positive bonding is important from the cradle to the grave” (Balswick & Balswick, 2008). Intimacy whether sexual or non-sexual is established through a sense of “knowing” another individual, this happens through means of honest and deep communication. Christians seek a deeper connection with God through communication, they seek to feel intimate with God, to be known by their Heavenly Father; Psalms 139:23 says “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts” there is deep desire in us to be known and sought even from the One who created us. Friendships are an intimate relationship; friendships were individuals feel comfortable to talk about their inner feelings and thoughts without the fear of being judged or without guilt and shame.......

Words: 1929 - Pages: 8

Effect of Early Colonial Legislation

...The Effect of Early Colonial Legislation The early settlers in the New World were subject to many different laws and acts of legislation passed by the British government. Most of which were meant to help the King and England rather than support the colonies ability to be a free and self-governing people. Some of the legislation like the Stamp Act was passed to help England recoup its losses from the French Indian War. Although some like the Coercive Act contained a series of legislative tactics meant to punish colonists for going against or acting against the King or the mother land. Both of these acts were purposeful and against the colonists and only for the benefit of England. The French and Indian War caused the British government to go into a tremendous amount of debt. This debt had to be recovered somehow. So parliament decided that they would create a tax on the colonies to help recover some of the money lost. The Stamp Act was the British Parliaments attempt to take governmental authority over the colonies. The Stamp Act created a tax or duty on different types of documents printed on paper including “… legal documents, business papers, licenses, pamphlets, newspapers, almanacs, printed sermons, playing cards, and dice” (Reich, 2011 Ch. 25 Para 17). For instance the act stated that any piece of parchment that was “…engrossed, written, or printed, any declaration, plea, replication, rejoinder, demurrer or other pleading, or any copy thereof; in any court of law......

Words: 1183 - Pages: 5

Colonial Comparison

...beginning years of America, the colonies could be divided into three regional areas: New England colonies, middle colonies and the southern colonies. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island comprised the northern colonies; New York, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania made up the middle colonies; and Virginia, Maryland, Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia composed the southern colonies. These three colonial areas had both similarities and differences that will be analyzed in respects to their economic base, political structures, and attitudes toward slavery established in these three regional areas throughout this essay. Although many different types of Europeans founded the colonies throughout the eastern seaboard they were some similarities as to how they were established and how they made their economic bases. Throughout the Norton text I’ve noticed that all of the colonies were established through some sort of business enterprise, whether it was through the Massachusetts Bay Company, or the Virginia Company, or even a lone entrepreneur, looking to make a fortune for them. These businesses were all expected to turn a profit, some of them did and some of them didn’t. However all of the hard work that was done and all of the profit made usually went back to owners of these companies like the Massachusetts Bay Company and the Virginia Company or the profits went to the King of England or to the individual entrepreneur. Another benefactor in......

Words: 1076 - Pages: 5

Sexuality

...Sexuality Amber Sparks Everest University Sexuality 1.) Describe the major theories of sexuality as described in the text. Passion This is an emotional state of mind distinguished by intense physical stimulation, for example increased blood pressure and heart rate. Commitment “The third ingredient is decision and commitment. Sternberg observed that when many people speak of love, they refer more to a conscious decision than to a feeling state. Emotions come and go, but commitments based on decisions remain constant unless they are deliberately revoked” (Baumeister & Bushman, 2014). Intimacy “The second ingredient in Sternberg’s scheme is intimacy. Intimacy, in his view, is the common core of all love relationships. It refers to feeling close to the other person” (Baumeister & Bushman, 2014). This is a shared understanding, emotional closeness, and joint concern for each other’s happiness and wellbeing. 2.) Which do you believe is most valid? Explain why. Passion I do find that the definition of Passion is valid because I have felt this emotion many times. It’s like when kissing someone or having sex with someone you have lusted after or loved for a long time you get an increased heart rate and butterflies in the stomach. In my opinion, passion is something that can be found is new relationships (but does fade over time) or between those who simply need to satisfy a primal urge. I wouldn’t say this emotion is typically found in......

Words: 693 - Pages: 3

The Religion of Colonial Life

...Religion of Colonial Life The aspect of religion in colonial life started out a little rocky in the beginning. The Protestants from England were unhappy with their corrupt religion, and wanted to start fresh in the New World called America. The reason it was corrupt is because they had no separation of church and state, and they wanted to be free to choose their own religion. However, when they got to the New World, things actually didn’t change that much. The citizens still didn’t really have the freedom to choose their religion. Inhabitants of Virginia were forced to attend the Church of Anglican, and pay taxes to keep it going. In 1698 a freedom to worship bill was put into place stating that people could worship whatever religion they wanted, but major limitations were put in place. The limitations were that the civil authority got to choose what groups got to practice this freedom. Later advocates for religious freedom argued that religious freedom should be defined as a natural right rather than as a right afforded by a civil government. Later on though, the Bill of Rights was created and the first amendment was basically freedom in religion in the United States of America. All the religions that had gained popularity and followings during this period were Catholic, Methodists, Quakers, Lutherans, Mennonites, Judaism, and Baptists. The first religion talked about is one that it still very popular and followed in today’s world, Catholic. The first Catholic......

Words: 1026 - Pages: 5

Taxation in Massachusetts

...Melissa Luciano Professor Burt Gov 104 Dec. 17, 2015 One of the most sensitive areas in relation to government revenues is taxation. In most cases, increased taxes are met with serious oppositions from corporations and members of the public who feel the unfairness of the government through such actions. A good example is the recent decision made by the Massachusetts Senate on May 19 of this year where they voted to solidify the present income rate. The same to lower it opposes this to a plan. This action would help in saving more than 100 million dollars a year and the savings obtained would hence be used to benefit the middle and the low-income earners (Schoenberg). The proposal behind this plan is a progressive one, geared to benefit low-income earners. In order to carry this plan out, those earning high income would see an increase in their taxes. It is said that those earning more than 7778,000 would have to pay $961 more than those who are earning less (Schoenberg). Although many proposals just as this one are done through popular public opinion, it needs to be noted that the lack of education on the matter from our government creates a distorted reality as to who should and what should be taxed in order to increase revenue for spending. More importantly in our state of “tax-a-chusetts”, it is easy to believe that perhaps our government has lost balance over the concept of taxation and should scale back in order to decrease spending and the deficit we are......

Words: 1154 - Pages: 5

Human Sexuality

... Germany, and Netherlands’ philosophy on sexual health. Creating an open, safe, and informative environment has made it easier for people of all ages to feel comfortable dealing with and discussing their sexuality, as well as having sensible and realistic government policies results in overall better results when comparing teens across the Atlantic Ocean. The older generations have a responsibility to give the tools youths need to prepare them the responsibility that comes with sexuality. The younger generations have a right to know. Statistically, the United States falls behind in it’s sex education for teens, such as preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and giving more available and socially acceptable contraceptives. The rate is close to five times over the Netherlands and four to France and Germany. When it comes to teen birth rate, the United States is over seven times that of the Netherlands, and still towers over France and Germany by four to five times that. The United States’ abortion rate is two to three times that of the Netherlands and Germany. There is no secret to why the three European countries have better sexual health results than the United States (National). It’s because of their efforts to promote the idea that sexuality is a very natural part of what being a human is, and there are ways to explore it while staying safe and healthy. The most glaring difference as to why there’s a disparity in numbers between America and......

Words: 1667 - Pages: 7

Anthro of Sexuality

...ANTHROPOLOGY 327: The Anthropology of Gender Sexualities Human sexuality is a very complex topic with several distinct components, including desires, practices, beliefs and attitudes, and identity. Human sexuality is clearly a product of both genetic and environmental factors. Twin studies focusing on homosexuality suggest a 40-60% contribution from either set of factors (the results vary depending on the study). The actual mechanisms for determination, both environmental and genetic, remain unclear at present. Human sexuality is bewildering in its variety and elaboration. Desire and practice vary along multiple dimensions which interact in complex ways. In consequence, we cannot adequately describe the full range of human sexuality with a single simple term. Sources for Human Sexuality Sexuality is one of the most closely regulated activities in every human society. It is therefore difficult to ascertain what is “natural” (biological) and what is cultural (learned). Anthropology has historically shared the general Western reticence regarding sex and has seldom made sexuality a central topic of research. Margaret Mead and a few others did some research on the topic and it is sometimes included in general ethnographic studies. Proper scholarly study of human sexuality really begins with Alfred Kinsey and continues through Masters and Johnson and the Social Science Survey Project. While there has been a dramatic increase in research on the topic in the past 30 years, it is......

Words: 3267 - Pages: 14

Sexuality in India

...………………………………………………………………… Background on Sexuality in India General Concepts on Sexuality and Love …………………………………… Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors o Adults ▪ Premarital Courtship, Dating, and Relationships……..…………. ▪ Marriage……………………………………………………. ▪ Family Size…………………………………………………. o Children ……………………………………………………….…. o Adolescents ………………………………………………………. Homosexuality ……………………………………………………………….. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors o Coercive Sex ▪ Sexual Abuse……………………………………………….. ▪ Sexual Harassment………………………………..…………. ▪ Rape………………………………………………………... ▪ Dowry Deaths…………………………………….…………. o Prostitution………………………………………………...………. o Porn……………………………………………………………….. STDs, HIV/AIDS …………………………………………………………….. Contraception, Abortion, and Population Planning ………………………. References ……………………………………………………………………. Appendix ……………………………………………………………………... The Effects of Globalization on Sexuality in India Abstract: Globalization has an impact on all aspects of life, including the construction, regulation and imagination of sexuality and gender. This paper aims to suggest some of the ways in which this impact is occurring, primarily in India, with some emphasis on questions of HIV, sexual identity, and human and sexual rights. In issues of sexuality, as in other spheres,......

Words: 7088 - Pages: 29

Education in Colonial America

...Education in Colonial America Marjorie Waloski Introduction to Elementary Education Professor Susan Bridges Abstract The education system in Colonial America is very different from the education system of modern times. Education usually began in the home and in the fields. Lower class students only received an elementary education while upper class students went on to higher education. Native American and African American children received little to no education at all. Students were not required to be educated until 1642. Teachers were known as schoolmasters and were not regarded as highly as teachers are today and the profession required very little education. The education system in Colonial America In Colonial America education got its roots from English culture. The main reason for basic elementary education was to teach the male children how to read and write so they could study verses from the bible. Female children also received elementary education that was geared towards the work they would eventually have to do in the home. Secondary schooling was offered to upper class families where the male children would learn subjects like Latin and Greek (Parkay & Stanford, 2009, p. 143 & 144). According to Peterson (1983) “Education in early America began in the home at the mother’s knee, and often ended in the cornfield or barn by the father’s side” (Education began in the homes and the fields section, para. 1). Standards and styles of......

Words: 935 - Pages: 4

Sexuality

...As teens face social pressures that include sexuality, and a changing , perspective on relationships, their strong social network and the guidance of familial alliances are powerful relationships that mitigate stress during this time. During adolescence, young people go through many changes as they move from childhood into physical maturity. Early, prepubescent changes occur when the secondary sexual characteristics appear. The child starts to develop physically starting as early as 10 years of age and as old as 15 years in age. Most adolescent romantic relationships do not last long (most teens are still forming their identities), first romances are practice for more mature bonds in adulthood. In fact, warm and caring romantic relationships in the teen years tend to lead to satisfying, committed relationships in early adulthood (Berk, 2005). During the teenage years sexual impulses are at their strongest (Berger, 2008). Changes in behavior occur, contrasting the childhood dislike of the opposite sex. Relationships begin to accommodate commonality and companionship, rather than sexual desire (Berger, 2008). During this period a teenager begins to explore sexuality and may begin relationships with the opposite sex. When the adolescent starts dating, balanced emotional support at home and with friends is essential (Berger, 2008). Peer support assists in the balance of emotions while they experience the positive and negative effects of teenage romance. Even though most......

Words: 419 - Pages: 2

Still Sick | Ric Reitz | Coming Soon (2008)