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Puritans had very rigorously defined conceptions of gender and sexuality that shaped the way that American culture dealt with these topics.  The Puritans were shaped by the expanding acceptance of differing sexual practices in Britain and firmly rejected sexually permissive behavior.  “When the Puritans established a religious society in the colonies, they were determined to ensure that its members did not fall prey to the temptations and errors they had left behind in England.  Therefore they enacted strict legal sanctions against deviance from sexual and gender norms” (Bronski 8).  This included homosexuality, but encompassed any and all sexual behavior that did not occur within wedlock and was not done with the goal of procreation.  Hence outlawing sodomy (which covered all these bases) was a crucial aspect in controlling sexuality in burgeoning American culture.    [Alex]

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