Sex, Democracy, and Freedom in Postdictatorial Argentina

This groundbreaking history of sexuality and gender politics demonstrates that a new openness about sex was a fundamental aspect of Argentina’s transition from dictatorship, directly informing many citizens’ understanding of the meaning of democracy. The scope and depth of Milanesio’s research is breathtaking, as is her careful attention to nuance and contradiction.
Matt Karush, George Mason University
Winner of the 2020 LASA Best Book Award in the Humanities (Southern Cone Section)
Winner of the 2020 Judy Ewell Award for Best Publication on Women's History
Winner of the 2020 Alfred B. Thomas Book Award

Under dictatorship in Argentina, sex and sexuality were regulated to the point where sex education, explicit images, and even suggestive material were prohibited. With the return to democracy in 1983, Argentines experienced new freedoms, including sexual freedoms. The explosion of the availability and ubiquity of sexual material became known as the destape, and it uncovered sexuality in provocative ways. This was a mass-media phenomenon, but it went beyond this. It was, in effect, a deeper process of change in sexual ideologies and practices. By exploring the boom of sex therapy and sexology; the fight for the implementation of sex education in schools; the expansion of family planning services and of organizations dedicated to sexual health care; and the centrality of discussions on sexuality in feminist and gay organizations, Milanesio shows that the destape was a profound transformation of the way Argentines talked, understood, and experienced sexuality, a change in manners, morals, and personal freedoms.

336 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

October, 2019

isbn : 9780822945840

about the author

Natalia Milanesio

Natalia Milanesio is professor of history at the University of Houston, Texas.

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Natalia Milanesio