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y separately published work icon The Sex Lives of Australians : A History single work   non-fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 The Sex Lives of Australians : A History
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Cross-dressing convicts, effeminate bushrangers and women-shortage woes – here is the first ever history of sex in Australia, from Botany Bay to the present-day. In this readable social history, the author uses vivid examples to chart the changing sex lives of Australians. He shows how a predominantly male penal colony gave rise to a rough and ready culture: the scarcity of women made for strange bedfellows, and the female minority was both powerful and vulnerable. Then came the Victorian era, in which fears of sodomy helped bring an end to the transportation of convicts. Tracing the story all the way to the present, Bongiorno shows how the quest for respectability always has another side to it, and how the contraceptive pill changed so much. Along the way he deals with some intriguing questions - were the Kelly gang gay? Why did the law ignore lesbianism for so long? - and introduces some remarkable characters, both reformers and radicals. This is the thought-provoking story of sex in Australia.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Collingwood, Fitzroy - Collingwood area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Black Inc. , ca. 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 6563936471760550349.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 352pp.p.
      Description: [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
      ISBN: 1863955674, 9781863955676

Works about this Work

Rudd 'no' to Prize for Book on Sex Michael Koziol , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 11-12 June 2016; (p. 21)
[Review Essay] The Sex Lives of Australians Gail Hawkes , 2013 single work essay
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Colonial History , no. 15 2013; (p. 223-224)

'I am very glad that this book has been written, and even more so that Frank Bongiorno has written it. Histories of sexual behaviour in the West abound and especially so if we include studies of sexual behaviours past and present. But no histories of Australian sexuality existed before this book. I italicise 'histories' the word in order to address my second reason for celebration. This is an exemplary piece of social history, written with equal assiduity and clarity. So much is this the case that it could be (and I believe was intended to be) read by layperson and academic alike. Moreover, as the title suggests, this account draws heavily on subjective and deeply intimate accounts in the proud tradition of the first sexologists of the late nineteenth century. This is one of the strengths of the author's approach — clearly intent on moving beyond 'sexual behaviour' and focusing instead on 'sex lives'.' (Introduction)

Rudd 'no' to Prize for Book on Sex Michael Koziol , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 11-12 June 2016; (p. 21)
[Review Essay] The Sex Lives of Australians Gail Hawkes , 2013 single work essay
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Colonial History , no. 15 2013; (p. 223-224)

'I am very glad that this book has been written, and even more so that Frank Bongiorno has written it. Histories of sexual behaviour in the West abound and especially so if we include studies of sexual behaviours past and present. But no histories of Australian sexuality existed before this book. I italicise 'histories' the word in order to address my second reason for celebration. This is an exemplary piece of social history, written with equal assiduity and clarity. So much is this the case that it could be (and I believe was intended to be) read by layperson and academic alike. Moreover, as the title suggests, this account draws heavily on subjective and deeply intimate accounts in the proud tradition of the first sexologists of the late nineteenth century. This is one of the strengths of the author's approach — clearly intent on moving beyond 'sexual behaviour' and focusing instead on 'sex lives'.' (Introduction)

Last amended 10 Mar 2014 14:07:30
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