Sex and the Armed Services front cover

Sex and the Armed Services front cover

By L. T. Woodward, M.D.
Published in 1963 by Monarch Books

L. T. Woodward is a pseudonym for the prolific science fiction author Robert Silverberg who apparently has quite a devoted following in his chosen genre.

Another in the long line of fictional psychiatric studies presented as legitimate case histories,
Sex and the Armed Services is an entertaining example of a sex pulp published before the Vietnam War and sexual revolution.  While the descriptions of sex are fairly vivid, they avoid being lurid.

The book is divided into fairly predictable chapters that mirror the stereotypes of its time.   For instance, the chapter devoted to homosexuals claims that gay soldiers actively recruit naïve young men into homosexuality.  Female soldiers are described as either nymphomaniacs, frigid, or lesbians.  There is also much discussion of overseas romance, prostitution, and extramarital affairs.

Most of the stereotypes seem quaint today.  However, there are a few that are particularly shocking when read today.   Most striking was the case of the rape victim Rosalie.  Rosalie is described as a tease who wanted to remain a virgin until marriage.  Because of reputation as a tease, her rapist was given a suspended sentence while Rosalie was discharged as being unfit.  If that bit of blaming the victim wasn’t surprising enough, a “psychiatrist” reviewing the case made this observation sure to rile victim advocates everywhere:

“…I’d say the best that could have happened to this girl is what Daniels (the rapist) did to her. Maybe he smashed up the complex of neuroses centering about her virginity, and left her free to live a normal life.”

Overall, this is a fairly entertaining, if un-titillating read.