In the period between 1650 and 1820 new worlds of sex opened up. This was a pivotal time when old religious beliefs and medical theories about sexuality and the body clashed with innovatory ideas emerging from natural science and philosophy. In addition, a burgeoning print industry fed a rapidly expanding reading public with erotica. With the breakdown of old community networks and increased urbanization, authorities reacted to increased sexual license with a raft of new regulations designed to curtail variations in sexual behaviour.
A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Enlightenment presents an overview of the period with essays on heterosexuality, homosexuality, sexual variations, religious and legal issues, health concerns, popular beliefs about sexuality, prostitution and erotica.