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Bourgeois Sexuality: Class Regeneration

The initial stages in the transformation of sexuality was a need for the bourgeoisie to preserve a line of descent for its families and social class. This was difficult because of the differences between them and the old feudal ruling classes.

One of the core conceptions for the feudal order was blood right and lineage. they lived in a conservatively ordered hierarchical social structure. For the feudal elite the family was important for the maintenance and continuation of ownership over the land.

The bourgeoisie on the other hand cannot rule by blood right and inherited rights over others in the same way. The world they came to rule over was far more unstable and dynamic.

Instead the bourgeois family was primarily concerned with the healthy regeneration of their class. This became a great obsession, leading into all sorts of areas, from eugenics and race theory to concerns with the sexuality of children, women and “perverse” men.

This was not just a matter of restrictions. Alongside it and increasingly dominating it was an obsession with constructing a healthy sexuality for the ruling elite, and this in turn produced and reinforced an obsessive focus on sex being at the core of individual bourgeois identity.

This class was occupied from the mid-eighteenth century on, with creating its own sexuality and forming a specific body based upon it. A “class” body with its health, hygiene, descent, and race. the auto-sexualization of its body, the incarnation of sex in its body.

This converted the blue blood of the nobles into a sound organism and a healthy sexuality. It’s easy to see why the bourgeoisie were unconcerned with the sexuality of the masses they exploited for as long as they could.

The living conditions dealt to the proletariat, particularly in the first half of the nineteenth century, show there was little concern for its body and sex. It was of little importance whether those people lived or died”.

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