Excerpt from page 3:No Two Men Were Ever More Intimate
In 1837, Abraham Lincoln was not yet considering to run for President of the United States. This was a time when men and women did not socialize together as they do today. Men associated with other men and women associated with other women. During the time men spent together, their conversations were not always of the state of affairs of the nation or of the more intellectual discourse; they discussed sex and sometimes did it through the telling of jokes. Lincoln was noted for telling some “very nasty” sex stories to men that would be drawn to him on a regular basis (Katz 2001: 7). Part of the culture of the time and continued discourse that ensued around Lincoln at this time was with other young men and it was typically about women due to the lack their presence.
[I]n the early nineteenth century, physical intimacy between men may well have been normative, although the language men used to explore it was more physical than women's romantic discourse. Men seemed to be much more comfortable describing their physical relations, although they did so with a self-distancing jocularity, interspersed with longings for women's bodies. Nonetheless, no "deviant" identity characterized these early descriptions of male-male physical intimacy. (Freedman and D'Emilio 1990: 487)