I wish I were a girl. The spread of venereal disease VD reflected the reality that sexual adventure proved to be a popular relief from the stress of the front for millions of men dislocated from home and distant from traditional social structures.
According to some moral reformers, prostitutes on the home front posed greater danger for soldiers than those on the combat front, as prostitutes at home were less regulated and thus more likely to be infected. Bayerische Kriegs-Ministerium3 JanuaryMin.
Australians at War in the Twentieth Century, Cambridgepp. Some Americans would often take half a dozen Australian 'girls', as they were known, out to the bush by jeep or truck where sex would take place.
Studies of working and middle class sailors in the United States during the Great War reveal complex homosexual subcultures. Wartime romance novels idealised these women as heroines sacrificing themselves for love of country and menfolk, while Frank Moore's popular history Women and the Civil War: Their Heroism and Their Sacrifice prominently featured an entire chapter on the female soldiers of the war.For women, the loss of loved ones at the front meant that feelings of happiness were replaced with the need to survive, bitterness, disappointment, and feelings of an unfulfilled life. Their names were printed in newspapers and they could face fines and jail. A newspaper estimated there were public women in the District and another in Alexandria and Georgetown, bringing the total to by the war's third year". Franklin Thompson The number of female soldiers in the War is estimated at between and , although an accurate count is impossible because the women had to disguise themselves as men. The prose is bracingly clear, the argument is free of sensationalist exaggeration, and, most important, it is persuasive. However, the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable crossing of boundaries were carefully defined by medical and military authorities. Though not particularly well known today, it is estimated that there are over women who enlisted in both the Union and Confederate armies under assumed male identities. Before the outbreak of the war, Nashville recorded prostitutes; however, in reports claimed to have at least prostitutes. Effeminate men are no good for battle and conflict. Some historians have speculated that this growth can be attributed to a depression, and the need for women to support themselves and their families while their husbands were away at war.
The Austro-Hungarian military, for example, saw soldiers who sought sexual relationships as perfectly normal, while women who became prostitutes were perceived as temptresses who caused this crisis. In making their case for integrating homosexuals into the national community via their experience as soldiers, gay veterans aggressively reinforced the hegemonic image of the disciplined, hyper-masculine warrior-ideal.