is someone we should all know about, but I certainy didn’t. In the late 19th century, her Masters’ thesis
showed that women breathe from the diaphragm, as men do, rather than from the chest, as was believed at the time. She concluded that this so-called biological difference was really due to tight corsetry.
But she was just getting started. In addition to an array of research designed to show that women’s supposed frailty was due nurture rather than nature, she did sex surveys of Victorian middle-class women.
Because it was hidden so long, her sex survey had little influence on her contemporaries, but today it’s a valuable historic document that gainsays the stereotype that Victorian women knew little of sex and desired it even less…Their responses reflected the cultural shifts of the late 19th century, as marriage became viewed as a romantic union, not just an economic one, and as people began to dissociate sex from procreation, says Freedman. One woman, born in 1867, wrote that before marriage she believed sex to be only for reproduction, but later changed her mind: “In my experience the habitual bodily expression of love has a deep psychological effect in making possible complete mental sympathy & perfecting the spiritual union that must be the lasting ‘marriage’ after the passion of love has passed away with the years.” Wrote another, born in 1863, “It seems to me to be a natural and physical sign of a spiritual union, a renewal of the marriage vows.
For more, go here.
(Thanks, Mr Jender)