She’s just a friend (with benefits): Examining the significance of black American boys’ partner choice for initial sexual intercourse

Tommy J Curry, Ebony Utley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

Since the end of American slavery, the sexuality of Black males has been thought of as aggressive, immoral, and dangerous. Once freed from the shackles of slavery, Black men were described within most ethnological texts as animals unable to control their sexual instincts. The renowned 19th century physician George Frank Lydston once wrote that he failed to “see any difference from a physical standpoint between the sexual furor of the negro and that which prevails among the lower animals…the furor sexualis in the negro resembles similar sexual attacks in the bull and elephant, and the running amuck of the Malay race” (McGuire & Lydston, 1893, p. 17). Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, Black male sexuality was thought to be predetermined. Whereas white men and women pursued sexual intercourse as a matter of intimacy, Black males were described as newly freed beasts who pursued sexual intercourse as a matter of their brutish instinct. Black males’ sexuality and sexual choices would come to not only be matters of scientific inquiry, but the justification for legal sanction and racial segregation (Curry 2018; Stein 2015). The Negro male was simply thought to be too dangerous to white society, since his proclivities toward rape could not be ameliorated by education or socialization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReimagining Black Masculinities
Subtitle of host publicationRace, Gender, and Public Space
EditorsMark C. Hopson, Mika’il Petin
PublisherLexington Books
Chapter2
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781793607041
ISBN (Print)9781793607034
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020

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