Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

Affirming Sexual Freedom as a Fundamental Human Right

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Kiss and Tell: Surveying Sex in theTwentieth Century

Kiss and Tell chronicles the history of sex surveys in America over a century of changing social and sexual mores. Julia Ericksen and Sally Steffen reveal that the survey questions asked, more than the answers elicited, expose and shape the popular image of appropriate sexuality. We can learn as much about the history and practice of sexuality by looking at surveyors’ changing concerns as we can by reading the results of their surveys. “Going far beyond a simple laundry list [of sex surveys], Kiss and Tell elaborates at length on the assumptions, agendas, and viewpoints implicit in each survey and presents trends in surveys by topic and decade. The book shows how fears that private behavior would affect the public good influenced how ‘crises’ were defined and what questions were asked.” –Library Journal “Kiss and Tell provides a detailed narrative of the principal foci of sex surveys throughout the twentieth century: through the first stilted promotions of erotically efficient marital sex to the wider ranging and more reflexive surveys of young people in the 1970s…The book would serve well as a resource for students and scholars of North American sexual culture.” –Sexualities