this spectrum. I would like to suggest that the nineteenth century was such a cultural environment. That is, the supposedly repressive and destructive Victorian sexual ethos, may have been more flexible and responsive to the needs of particular individuals than those of mid-twentieth century.


Notes
1.
The most notable exception to this rule is now eleven years old: William R. Taylor and Christopher Lasch, 'Two "Kindred Spirits": Sorority and Family in New England, 1839-1846', New England Quarterly, 36 ( 1963), 25-41. Taylor has made a valuable contribution to the history of women and the history of the family with his concept of 'sororial' relations. I do not, however, accept the Taylor-Lasch thesis that female friendships developed in the mid-nineteenth century because of geographic mobility and the breakup of the colonial family. I have found these friendships as frequently in the eighteenth century as in the nineteenth and would hypothesize that the geographic mobility of the mid-nineteenth century eroded them as it did so many other traditional social institutions. "Helen Vendler, 'Review of Notable American Women, 1607-1950'", New York Times, 5 Nov 1972, sec. 7) points out the significance of these friendships.
2.
I do not wish to deny the importance of women's relations with particular men. Obviously, women were close to brothers, husbands, fathers, and sons. However, there is evidence that despite such closeness relationships between men and women differed in both emotional texture and frequency from those between women. Women's relations with each other, although they played a central role in the American family and American society, have been so seldom examined either by general social historians or by historians of the family that I wish in this article simply to examine their nature and analyse their implications for our understanding of social relations and social structure. I have discussed some aspects of male-female relationships in two articles: "'Puberty to Menopause: The Cycle of Femininity in Nineteenth-Century America'", Feminist Studies, 1 ( 1973), 58-72, and, with Charles Rosenberg, "'The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Women in 19th Century America'", Journal of American History, 59 ( 1973), 331-56.
3.
See Freud's classic paper on homosexuality, 'Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality', in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey ( London: Hogarth Press, 1953), vii. 135-72. The essays originally appeared in 1905. Prof. Roy Shafer, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, has pointed out that Freud's view of sexual behaviour was strongly influenced by nineteenth-century evolutionary thought. Within Freud's scheme, genital heterosexuality marked the height of human development ( Schafer, "'Problems in Freud's Psychology of Women'", Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22 ( 1974), 459-85).
4.
For a novel and most important exposition of one theory of behavioural norms and options and its application to the study of human sexuality, see Charles Rosenberg, "'Sexuality, Class and Role'", American Quarterly, 25 ( 1973), 131-53.

-388-

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