Item – Theses Canada

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O'Shea, Christopher D.(Christopher David),1970-
Visions of masculinity :home-health advice literature, medical discourse and male sexuality in English-Canada, 1870-1914.
Ph. D. -- University of Guelph, 2003
Ottawa :National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada,[2004]
4 microfiches.
Includes bibliographical references.
This thesis develops an analysis of the home-health advice literature and medical discourse concerning male sexuality during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It reveals that advice authors and physicians responded to increased social fears concerning male sexuality by emphasizing sexual sublimation in favour of muscular Christian values of physical fitness and intellectual development. At the same time, the medical discourse associated male sexual misconduct with a series of disease syndromes which were repeatedly transformed to keep pace with changing medical knowledge and opinion. The first chapter, which provides insight into public perceptions, develops an analysis of the perceptions of male sexuality that were promoted within the home-health advice literature. These works emphasized sexual restraint as the core ideal in reformers' restructured vision of masculinity. Chapters Two, Three, and Four provide an analysis of the medicalization of male sexuality. These chapters explore attitudes toward male sexuality by looking at medical discourse concerning masturbation, spermatorrhoea, sexual neurasthenia and, prostatic disorders. These chapters reveal how physicians' views were restructured to reflect transformations in disease syndromes while maintaining the causative focus on male sexual transgressions. The idea that these conditions were merited diseases is explained in the analysis of reform and medical perceptions of venereal disease in chapter five. The last chapter explores the developing discourse concerning homosexuality during this period. Again, although transferred to the developing field of psychiatry, the discourse continued to emphasize the danger produced by illicit sexuality. Through this analysis, the dissertation contributes to historians' understanding of the influence of home-health advice literature and the medical discourse on perceptions of male sexuality. By paralleling the existing literature concerning the regulation of female sexuality, the dissertation seeks to balance our understanding of social attitudes toward sexuality during this period.