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This article uses the audio recordings of sexual counselling sessions carried out by Dr Joan Malleson, a birth control activist and committed family planning doctor in the early 1950s, which are held at the Wellcome Library in London as a case study to explore the ways Malleson and the patients mobilised emotions for respectively managing sexual problems and expressing what they understood as constituting a 'good sexuality' in postwar Britain. The article contains two interrelated arguments. First, it argues that Malleson used a psychological framework to inform her clinical work. She resorted to an emotion-based therapy that linked sexual difficulties with unconscious, repressed feelings rooted in past events. In so doing, Malleson actively helped to produce a new form of sexual subjectivity where individuals were encouraged to express their feelings and emotions, breaking with the traditional culture of emotional control and restraint that characterized British society up until the fifties. Second, I argue that not only Malleson but also her patients relied on emotions. The performance of mainly negative emotions reveals what they perceived as the 'normal' and sexual 'ideal'. Sexual therapy sessions reflected the seemingly changing nature of the self towards a more emotionally aware and open one that adopted both the language of emotions and that of popular psychology to articulate his or her sexual difficulties.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: 20 century British history
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Disturbances in sexual desire and the psychophysiologic changes that characterize the sexual response cycle and cause marked distress and interpersonal difficulty. (APA, DSM-IV, 1994)
A sexual disorder occurring in a person 16 years or older and that is recurrent with intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 or younger). (from APA, DSM-IV, 1994).
The processes of anatomical and physiological changes related to sexual or reproductive functions during the life span of a human or an animal, from FERTILIZATION to DEATH. These processes include SEX DIFFERENTIATION; SEXUAL MATURATION; and changes during AGING.
This discipline concerns the study of SEXUALITY, and the application of sexual knowledge such as sexual attitudes, psychology, and SEXUAL BEHAVIOR. Scope of application generally includes educational (SEX EDUCATION), clinical (SEX COUNSELING), and other settings.
Sexual activities of animals.
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of sexual health; "the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction and infirmity. Sexual health requires a posit...