Sex in the trenches. Although these acts may overlap with eroticism, such experiences should not simply be conflated with it — or, for that matter, with the repression or sublimation of sexual drives.



sex in the trenches


sex in the trenches

Above all, these moments of physical bonding and tactile tenderness during trench warfare require us to reconceptualize masculinity, conventional gender roles, and notions of same-sex intimacy in postwar England in more nuanced ways than have been acknowledged in the criticism of war culture, studies of gender and sexuality, or the more general histories of the body, intimacy, and gesture.

sex in the trenches

A very different order of male experience, one that accommodated fear, vulnerability, support and physical tenderness, sprang up in its place.

sex in the trenches

These moments were often grounded in experiential reality, the nature of these encounters — men on the verge of death, under fire, or being ill — giving them an emotional nakedness and intensity that not only outlive their contingent nature but that continue to grow in emotional value and resonance.

sex in the trenches

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sex in the trenches

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sex in the trenches

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sex in the trenches

Consequently, in order to discuss intense same-sex relations during war, we must introduce a different and less distinctly sexualized array of emotional intensities and bodily sensations, a fresh category of nongenital tactile tenderness that goes beyond strict gender divisions and sexual binaries.

sex in the trenches

The conditions of trench life dictated that there could be moments of perilous intimacy between relative strangers:

sex in the trenches

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sex in the trenches

In the trenches, the male body became an instrument of pain rather than of desire.

sex in the trenches

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sex in the trenches

On the other hand, W.

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