From witch trials to pickaxe murderers, from brothels to convents, and from slavery to Toni Morrison's Paradise, these essays provide fascinating and provocative insights into our sexual and religious conventions and beliefs.

chapter |20 pages


The Puritan Origins of American Sex

chapter 1|20 pages

Wigglesworth, Mather, Starr

Witch-Hunts and General Wickedness in Public

chapter 2|15 pages

A Sodom Within

Historicizing Puritan Homoerotics in the Diary of Michael Wigglesworth

chapter 3|16 pages

“Remember Me”

The Wonders of an Invisible World—Sex, Patriarchy, and Paranoia in Early America

chapter 4|21 pages

Uncleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Sexuality, Salvation, and the Early American Woman's Execution Narrative

chapter 6|18 pages

Ejaculating Tongues

Poe, Mather, and the Jewish Penis

chapter 7|18 pages

Now You Shall See How a Slave Was Made a Man

Gendering Frederick Douglass's Struggles with Christianity

chapter 8|24 pages

Enslaving Passions

White Male Sexuality and the Evasion of Race

chapter 9|22 pages

The Other Woman's Sphere

Nuns, Prostitutes, and the Medicalization of Middle-Class Domesticity

chapter 10|22 pages

Chiristian Maidens and Heathen Monks

Oratorical Seduction at the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions

chapter 11|22 pages

Americanization of a “Queer Fellow”

Performing Jewishness and Sexuality in Abraham Cahan's The Rise of David Levinsky, with a Footnote on the (Monica) Lewinsky'ed Nation

chapter 12|18 pages

Desert of the Heart

Jane Rule's Puritan Outing

chapter 14|20 pages

“Down Here in Paradise”

Toni Morrison's Americas