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Sexual consumption and liberation in feminism

This chapter draws upon a range of popular and theoretical texts produced by feminists during the period under investigation, supplemented by some of the many histories that have since been written on this era. Intellectual and cultural discourses of sexuality went through significant changes in the 1960s. First distributed at a 1968 Women's Liberation Conference in the US, Ann Koedt's essay, 'The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm' (1970), was the first and most widely read feminist text to take up the issue of female orgasm. The diagrams of female genitalia included in Our Bodies, Ourselves were based upon knowledge gained from women's observations of their own and other women's genitals. Betty Dodson's Liberating Masturbation (1972) placed autoerotic sexuality at the centre of women's liberation. Through examining a series of texts, actions, events, and debates within feminism, this chapter has presented a story of the emerging, shifting, and contested discourse linking sexual commodities to sexual liberation.