Who is Alice Bunker Stockham?

I’m listing Tokology A Book for Every Woman reprinted many times and naturally got to wondering what on earth Tokology is.

tocology (also tokology): The science of childbirth; midwifery or obstetrics.

Dr Alice Bunker Stockman
one of the first female doctors in the US

Stockham would be one of my choices for the impossibly interesting dinner party. She was one of the very first female doctors in the US, and strongly advocated gender equality. wiki says this:

Alice Bunker Stockham (born November 8, 1833 in Cardington, Ohio – d. December 3, 1912 in Alhambra, California)[1] was an obstetrician and gynecologist from Chicago, and the fifth woman to be made a doctor in the United States. She promoted gender equality, dress reform, birth control, and male and female sexual fulfillment for successful marriages.

A well-traveled and well-read person who counted among her friends Leo Tolstoy and Havelock Ellis, she also visited Sweden and from her trips to schools there she brought back the idea of teaching children domestic crafts, thus single-handedly establishing shop and home economics classes in the United States.

Stockham lectured against the use of corsets by women, made public endorsements of the healthiness of masturbation for both men and women (still controversial when echoed by US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders more than 100 years later), advocated complete abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and believed in women’s rights.[2]

Stockham was very concerned with the economic plight of divorced women with children and prostitutes who wanted to get off the street. She felt that these women had no marketable skills and would be unable to support themselves, so she had copies of her book Tokology, a layperson’s guide to gynecology and midwifery, privately printed and gave them to “unfortunate women” to sell door-to-door in Chicago. Each copy came with a bound-in certificate signed by Stockham and entitling the bearer to a free gynecological exam.

For more detail on the contents of the book go to Medical History

She also invented and wrote about the concept of Karezza, again I quote from wiki:

It refers to non-religious spiritual sexual practices that draw upon tantric techniques of body control but do not involve any of tantra’s cultural or iconographic symbolism.

She promoted Karezza as a means to achieve:

1. birth control (she was against abortion but she wanted women to be able to control pregnancies);
2. social and political equality for women (she felt that “Karezza men” would never rape their wives and would actually treat them “decently”);
3.marital pleasure and hence marital fidelity (she advocated Karezza as a cure for “failing marriages”).

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