Psychopathia Sexualis

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StraightStraight: The Surprisingly Short
History of Heterosexuality

by Hanne Blank
Beacon Press.  264 pages, $26.95

 

THIS NEW LOOK at sexual orientation by the erudite and versatile Hanne Blank is not the first of its kind. Blank acknowledges her debt to Jonathan Katz’ The Invention of Heterosexuality as a forerunner of this study. However, the evidence that “heterosexuality” was invented, not discovered—and quite recently at that—bears repeating. As Blank points out, if “the attribute we now call ‘heterosexuality’ were a prerequisite for people to engage in sex acts or to procreate, chances are excellent that we would not have waited until the late nineteenth century to figure out that it was there.”

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