This short book of essays by Edward Carpenter is a look at gender roles at the start of the 20th century, and his prescient vision of how those roles might evolve. In the past century many of his then-utopian predictions have come to pass, such as rational sexual education, greater equality for women, recognition of a spectrum of sexual identities, widespread acceptance of trial and open relationships, and the amelioration of the stifling nature of traditional marriage. Some of these predictions, inevitably, such as the use of 'Karezza' (extended coitus without ejaculation) for contraception, and a communist society leading to the liberation of women from the drudgery of housework, have fallen flat.
One becomes aware of some peculiar facts that don't usually emerge from studies of social history, e.g., women of a century ago spent a lot of time baking bread and mending clothes. Carpenter occasionally draws on some dubious science, tainted by 19th century prudery and attitudes about women. However, for the most part, he scores some very good points which are still relevant.
Carpenter is primarily known as a pioneering writer on gay liberation. While the focus of this work is not primarily on gay issues, Carpenter wrote several other books which dealt with this subject, including Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk and Ioläus, An Anthology of Friendship, both also available at this website. This particular book appears for the first time on the Internet here at sacred-texts.