Sex After Fascism

“In no Western country were questions of sexuality more politically central during the second
half of the twentieth century than the Federal Republic of Germany. after the collapse of National Socialism it was, in the slang of the time, Thema 1 (“Topic No. 1″); by 1970 the Nouvel Observateur could claim that the Germans were sex-obsessed—”Sex über alles“—noting that the heavy breathing of orgasm had mercifully replaced the stomping of boots. Nowhere were sexual and political liberation linked more fiercely during the 1960s and ’70s, and nowhere—with the possible exception of the United States—was the backlash in the decades that followed more painful. Even in the German Democratic Republic, where socialism supposedly made matters of personal sexual morality less pressing, Siegfried Schnabl’s 1969 Mann und Frau intim (Man and Woman Intimately) was the biggest-selling title of any book in East German history (the nearest competitor was a book on gardening).”

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