Throughout most of history, the notion of women and sex was simply unheard of. Women were forbidden to demonstrate a sexual prowess and sexual oppression took many forms from female circumcision to society-issued gender roles. In the last twenty-five years or so, women have started their own sexual liberation. However, women are still living a double standard when it comes to issues relating to sex. I feel that sexual liberation and equality is extremely important for both men and women and unfortunately, there is still an inequality. .
Until recently in our history, the words women and sexual beings did not belong in the same sentence. In early American culture, especially that of Christianity, women were to engage in intercourse with their husbands for the sole purposes of procreation and pleasing their mate. Women were viewed as the weaker sex and they were supposed to uphold the ideals of Christian morals (O"Neill, 1972). They were also expected to save themselves for marriage (Fisher, 1999). In the mid 1800's, William Hammond, the surgeon-general of the United States, wrote: "The belief that women had a sexual appetite was a vile aspersion. Nine-tenths of the time decent women felt not the slightest pleasure in sexual experience (Colton, 1971). Charles Kligerman, and American psychoanalyst, stated: "Procreation in marriage was the only excuse for sexual activity and engaging in it for any other purpose-even as an act of love-was sinful (Swerdloff, 1975)." In both instances, it is obvious that women were definitely not to enjoy sexual experiences. In the Victorian era, it was noted that women were to tolerate men's sexual needs as a part of marital duty (Safilios-Rothschild, 1977). Also, the women were all but required by law to be virgins at the time of marriage. However, the same standard was not upheld for men. Sigmund Freud, arguably the most well known name in psychology, gave his own interpretation of sex.