The first frame work is about the vernacular culture of sex. Sexuality is described in the first frameworks:” Vernacular Sexual Culture”, in relation to each gender (Horowitz 5). In this framework Aristotle expresses that the female gender sexual culture was mainly about reproduction and fertility. Aristotle says, “… a Subject so necessary to be known by all the Female Sex, (the Conception of Bearing of Children, being what nature has ordained their Province) …” (36). He then states that the “Treatise” of the conception of bearing of children is divided into two parts. The first part speaks of knowing what a virginity is, how it is lost, and how a person will know that It is lost; conception (Horowitz 36). In part two he speaks about the “Obstructions of Conception”, the causes of, and the cure for them; fertility (Horowitz 36).
While, the male gender sexual culture was mainly about the act of sexual intercourse. To support this: Horowitz states that “and for now the Second Thing propos’d: When the Act of Coition sexual intercourse is over, and the Bridegroom has done what Nature has prompted him too…” (Horowitz 41). This quote states supports the idea in this framework the male gender role was to have sexual intercourse and potentially fertilize.
The second framework, Evangelical Christianity, is about the religious perspective of sex. “…evangelical Christian beliefs constituted the second framework for the public deliberation od sex” (Horowitz 8). In this framework Lyman Beecher speaks specifically about the “fallen angel” or “a mighty fallen spirit” using sex to seduce “mankind from their allegiance with God” (Horowitz 45). “Sins of flesh” were considered to be anything besides “sexual acts that were natural (leading to procreation)”; such as: “Unnatural sex acts (masturbation and sodomy)”. “Ordinary men and women were taught to examine not only what they did but how the felt, and sin was extended to unnatural desire and the play of the imagination” (Horowitz 8). In this framework sex, regardless of marriage, was seen as something sinful, but as time progressed sexuality was seen as sinful if it was not done in a traditional sense.
“Reform Physiology” —The third framework— is centered around scientific views of sex; “freethinkers, who were encouraging more scientific approaches to sexuality” (Horowitz 9). “The new understandings of the brain and nervous system” caused conflicting ideas and views of sex (Horowitz 9). The freethinkers brought about the enlightenment that “the brain controlled the passions, sending impressions to bodily organs, including the sexual ones…” (Horowitz 10). “These new theories about the brain and nerves had a powerful impact on the understanding of human sexuality” (Horowitz 10). “Frances Wright, Robert Dale Owen, and Knowlton created a new literature of sexuality that, beginning in the 1830’s, laid part of the foundation for this third frame work, the popular science of the body” (Horowitz 14).
During this time, early 1830’s, sex outside of marriage was frowned upon. Frances Wright, a Scottish heiress and writer in America in the late 1820’s ad early 1830’s, “wrote a defense that contrasted natural sexual relations to marriage and opposed the disgrace cast on unwed mothers” (Horowitz 48). Wright says, “Be not anxious in seeking your rule of life. Consult experience; your own sensations, the sensations of others. These are surer guide than laws and doctrines, and when the law and the doctrines coincide not with the evidence of your senses, and the testimony of your reason, be satisfied that they, that is, the law and the doctrine, are false” (Horowitz 54). With this, Wright encourages people to explore natural sex themselves, and not to let the Christian belief deter them from it.
Then in 1831, Robert Dale Owen offered arguments of contraception. “As he anticipated the argument that any effort to interfere with contraception was unnatural, he answered that, as with other impulses, nature gave to human both sexual desire and the capacity to control desire’s effects” (Horowitz 54). Owen in this framework that men should “completely withdraw from the woman previous to emission” (Horowitz 57). Owen continues to say that the decision to give birth, to be mother, should be in the hands of the mother because it is she who will be left to deal with it. To support this: Owen states, “She, who is the sufferer, is not secured against the culpable carelessness, or perhaps the deliberate selfishness, of him who goes free and unblamed, whatever may happen” (Horowitz 58).
Charles Knowlton, in 1832, “fully initiated the third framework for the public deliberation of sex.” He wrote the “first book on contraception in America based on medical knowledge of human reproduction” (Horowitz 60). Knowlton came up with the idea to kill sperm with “chemical agents” (Horowitz 61). In this document “From Fruits of Philosophy”, Knowlton, overall, speaks about how pregnancy is “evil” and that men cannot refrain from having sex; they have to “gratify their appetites” eventually. So, if man and women can “gratify their appetites” and “prevent the evils”, then they might as well do so. “Mankind will not so abstain, and if means to prevent the evils that may arise from farther gratification can be devised, they ought not.” (Horowitz 63). He then lists the many “good consequences” of “a temperate and natural gratification”: “… promotes the secretions, and the appetite for food; calms the restless passions; induces pleasant sleep; awakens social feelings; and adds zest to life which makes one conscious that life is worth preserving” (Horowitz 63). Knowlton concludes with the many ways to prevent conception by what is referred to as “checks”. This third framework contains many documents that simply express the multiple views of sex due to the fear of contraception being changed because of the option of contraception.
Lastly, the fourth framework—Sex at the Center of Life— portrays sex as an essential of life. “Thomas Low Nichols … was instrumental in creating the fourth framework, which placed sex at the center of life” (Horowitz 111). Nichols goes as far to say, “Through all her works, nature has taken peculiar care of this function, often raised it above all others, and sacrificed all individual interests to the general welfare…”, referring to the “sexual function”; explaining the value of sex to nature (Horowitz 113). Throughout this document, Nichols explains that sex is natural. His belief was that of the suppression of sex as being rather unnatural. He encouraged people to follow their heart and to love. “Happy the man who can aspire and respond to such a love! Happy the child born of such a union! Happy the human race, when there shall be no others!…”(Horowitz 117).