The 2003 publication of Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation stimulated academic and popular discussions about masturbation which have increased our understanding of this under-discussed human behaviour. This paper revisits the arguments of the book in the light of these discussions and considers the implications of solitary sex – its practice, its reputation, its friends and enemies – for the history of human solitariness in general.
Co-sponsored by ‘Pathologies of Solitude Project’, Centre for 18th Century Studies, Sexual Cultures Research Group (SED)
Professor Thomas Laqueur, based at Berkeley, University of California, is the author of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation (2003), and The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains (2015), among many others.
Professor Laqueur is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow with the ‘Pathologies of Solitude‘ project at Queen Mary, University of London.
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