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Love in the Time of Communism

Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR

Author(s): Josie McLellan

ISBN: 9780521727617
Publication Date: 01-09-2011
Regular price £24.99 GBP
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In the aftermath of the reunification of Germany one former dissident recalled nostalgically that under the East German regime 'we had more sex and we had more to laugh about'. Love in the Time of Communism is a fascinating history of the GDR's forgotten sexual revolution and its limits. Josie McLellan shows that under communism divorce rates soared, abortion become commonplace and the rate of births outside marriage was amongst the highest in Europe. Nudism went from ban to state-sponsored boom, and erotica became common currency in both the official economy and the black market. Public discussion of sexuality was, however, tightly controlled and there were few opportunities to challenge traditional gender roles or sexual norms. Josie McLellan's pioneering account questions some of our basic assumptions about the relationship between sexuality, politics and society and is a major contribution to our understanding of the everyday emotional lives of postwar Europeans.

  • Unique account of the experiences of ordinary people and of how sexuality was represented under communism
  • Draws on a wide range of compelling sources from Stasi files and interviews to censorship records and private collections of erotica
  • Discusses the history of hetero- and homosexuality side by side, exploring sexuality as a whole