vrijdag 4 oktober 2013

The Surprising History of Sex And Love

The Surprising History of Sex And Love: This award-winning documentary is a look throughout history at the different and surprising attitudes to sex and love, presented by Terry Jones. The programme traces the story of changing social and religious attitudes to sex through a broad swathe of history. Starting with the place of ’sacred sex’ in the ancient world and ending with a discussion of the contemporary relationship between sex, marketing and prurience, the programme offers some kind of map of how we got from there to here, and indicates that changes in sexual attitudes are connected with issues of power and control. Filmed in India, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France the USA and the UK, the programme includes much surprising material, some of which (such as the celebration of the wedding of Shiva and Parvati at Khajuraho, India) has never before been seen on television

 Rev. Dr. Joseph Fletcher of the Episcopal Theological School wrote,
"The Christian churches must shoulder much of the blame for the
confusion, ignorance, and guilt which surrounds sex in Western
culture .... [T]he Christian church, from its earliest primitive beginnings,
had been swayed by many Puritanical people, both Catholic
and Protestant, who have viewed sex as inherently evil." 1
Others have been less forgiving, and stated bluntly that Christian
churches must shoulder not just "much of' the blame, but all of it.
R.E.L. Masters declared, "Almost the entire blame for the hideous
nightmare that was the witch mania, and the greatest part of the
blame for poisoning the sexual life of the West, rests squarely on the
Roman Catholic Church." 2 The rest of the blame presumably
devolves upon Protestantism, for there was no institution in western
culture other than Christianity that made any effort to teach human
beings to hate or fear sex.
Christian abhorrence of sex began with the fathers of the church,
who insisted that the kingdom of God couldn't be established until
the human race was allowed to die out through universal celibacy.3
Marcion announced that all propagation must be abandoned at once.
St. Jerome ordered: "Regard everything as poison which bears within it
the seed of sensual pleasure." 4 St. Athanasius declared the great
revelation and blessing brought by Jesus was knowledge of the saving
grace of chastity.5 Tertullian said chastity was "a means whereby a
man will traffic in a mighty substance of sanctity," whereas the sex act
rendered even marriage "obscene." 6
Numenius of Apamea proclaimed that only total cessation of all
sexual activity could bring about the union of the soul with God. 7 St.
Augustine pronounced the doctrine that "concupiscence" is the root of
original sin and the means of transmitting Adam's guilt to all
generations. Thus he sealed the church's commitment to asceticism, at
least in theory, for the next 1600 years.8 Augustine said sexual
intercourse is never sinless, even within marriage.9 Augustine didn't
invent this doctrine. He got it from Gnostic Manicheans, to whose
sect he belonged before his conversion to orthodoxy. Gnostics taught
that souls are entrapped in flesh by "the mystery of love and lust,
through which all the worlds are inflamed." This teaching probably
came ultimately from ascetic Jain Buddhist yogis, who enjoined the
same precept as the First Book of John: "Love not the world, neither
things that are in the world . . . for all that is in the world, the lust of
the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father." 10
These views became more entrenched as time went on. Medieval
theologians said sex "caused the damnation of humanity, which was
on its account put out of Paradise, and for its sake Christ was killed." 11
Officials of the Inquisition taught in their handbooks that women's
"carnal lust" was the cause of witchcraft and Satanism, since God
"allows the devil more power over the venereal act, by which the
original sin is handed down, than over all other human actions ...
because of its natural nastiness." 12
The church promulgated legends about saints so devoted to
chastity that they preferred extreme physical torment to sexual
pleasure. St. Paul the Hermit was tied down by the wicked emperor
Decius and subjected to the lascivious caresses of a harlot. As soon as
he felt his penis ~ise, "having no weapon with which to defend himself,
[he] bit off his tongue and spat it into the face of the lewd woman."
The sainted Pope Leo was so pure that when "a woman kissed his
hand, and aroused in him a violent temptation of the flesh," he cut
his hand off. By singular good fortune it was restored by the Holy Virgin
so he could continue to perform religious ceremonies. 13
The early church attacked most bitterly the many pagan faiths
that made sex a central holy sacrament, enacting union of the Great
Goddess and her phallic consorts. Tertullian denounced "the whoredams
of Eleusis," and Eusebius condemned "the unnameable rites of
the mysteries, adulteries and yet baser lusts." Yet Plato and his
contemporaries had worshipped Eros, god of sexual love, as "the most
venerable of the deities, the most worthy of honor, the most powerful
to grant virtue and blessedness unto mankind both in life and after
death." 14
From the most primitive period, European pagans incorporated
sex into their religion. The word Lust in old Germanic languages
meant "religious joy."15 At their holy feasts, Norsemen sang songs the
Christians called "lewd and shameful," and danced hip-swinging
dances the Christians called "female gyrations."16 The people refused
to give these up, believing them essential to general fertility. When
seasons went awry and crops failed under the first Christianized kings,
the peasants were sure the cause was neglect of the old deities' rites. 17
Sexuality was reverenced in cultures where the female principle
was accorded freedom and honor, as in Egypt, where women chose
and wooed their lovers at will. 18 Egyptians described carnal knowledge
as "knowing a woman perfectly," and regarded it as a joy. Sages
counseled men never to be rude to a mistress or wife, nor to try to order
her about; it would be unseemly in one with whom she shared
"joy."19 This was like the Tantric identification of sexual bliss with the
bliss of the Goddess and God as they continually engendered life in
the universe.20 Hindus said intercourse with any woman is like union
with the Goddess herself. Far from being sinful, "to have carnal
intercourse with the Goddess Parvati is a virtue which destroys all sin."21
But in the Christian view, woman brought death into the world
and sex perpetuated it.22 It was claimed that Adam was made to be
immortal, but he lost both his innocence and his immortality when Eve
taught him about sex. All women were copies of Eve, said Tertullian;
"the unsealer of that Tree," her very existence bringing destruction to
"God's image, man."23 Women were dangerous even when dead.
An early church edict ordered that a male corpse must not be buried
next to a female corpse until the latter was safely decomposed. 24
St. John Chrysostom said a man "cannot endure" looking at a
woman. 25 A biographer of St. Augustine assumed automatically that
"because of his great holiness, he was unwilling to look upon a woman's
face." 26 St. Augustine's doctrine of original sin was destined to
crucify not only Christ but the whole of the western world with its antipleasure,
pro-pain philosophyP Even today it is hardly possible for
anyone brought up in one of the western nations to comprehend the
ancient world's opinion of sex as an experience of divine pleasure or a
preview of heaven, without deliberate, laborious intellectual progress
toward such an opinion.
Not only was Europe crucified by Christian antisexuality but also
much of Oceania, Africa, and the Far East. Wherever Christian
missionaries went-which was everywhere-people were told their
own generally healthy sexual attitudes were wrong and sinful. One
missionary described Bantu harvest festivals as Bacchic feasts: "It is
impossible to witness them without being ashamed. Men and women,
who in ordinary circumstances are modest in behavior and speech,
then abandon themselves to licentiousness." Another missionary
wrote: "I have seen the most indelicate performances in the shape of
dances or theatrical pieces in front of the Badago temples, and on
bearing witness to their wickedness have been told that the god
delighted in them."28
A missionary in Malaya observed that the natives engaged in all of
what he called the carnal sins except one: rape.29 He didn't follow up
the thought to the prevalence of rape in his own society; but today's
psychologists are beginning to understand the leading role played by
sexual repression in developing the kind of woman-hatred that leads to
rape. Western thinkers have only recently caught on to the fact that
cultural suppression of the need for bodily pleasure will inevitably result
in perverted expression through cruelty.30
Cruelty to both women and children was the early Christian
substitute for the affection usually shown them in less ascetic societies.
The Apostolic Constitutions called for severe physical punishment
of children. Fathers (not mothers) were told: "Do not hesitate to
reprove them, chastening them with severity . . .. Teach your children
the word of the Lord, straiten them even with stripes and render
them submissive, teaching them from infancy the Holy Scriptures."31
Recent experiments have shown that inhibition of sexual responses
(in animals) is associated with aggressive cruelty, whereas sexual
permissiveness goes with peaceful co-existence. While some investigators
theorized that aggression and lust rise together from a common
source, experiments don't support this belief. Instead, it seems one
alternative inhibits the other.32 Christianity made all Europe a vast
experiment in sexual inhibition, with predictable results. In one of
history's most cruel ages, Thomas Browne spoke of a nearly total
rejection of sex: "I would be content that we might procreate like trees,
without conjunction, or that there were any other way to perpetuate
the World without this trivial and vulgar way of union."33
In 1721 Beaumont ordered the pious to reject any and all
sensual pleasures, even the most subtle or involuntary ones:
If ye perceive a sudden sweet taste in your mouths or feel any warmth in
your breasts, like fire, or any form of pleasure in any part of your body,
or . .. if ye become aware by occasion of pleasure or satis!action derived
from such perception, that your hearts are drawn away from the
contemplation of Jesus Christ and from spiritual exercises ... then this
sensation is very much to be suspected of coming from the Enemy; and
therefore were it ever so wonderful and striking, still renounce it and do
not consent to accept it. 3~
Inhibition of sensual impulses was the keynote of western
morality up to and including the 19th century, when Dr. Alcott
authoritatively stated that even marital sex should never be indulged
more than once a month. Any greater frequency was "prostitution of
the matrimonial life." 35 For many centuries the church insisted that
marital sex should be as barren of sensual pleasure as possible, and that
orgasms in women were unseemly or even devilish. The "missionary
position" was the only permitted sexual position, because it afforded the
least pleasure, especially to the wife.
In consequence of such socialization, "good" women were frequently
sex-haters. Bertrand Russell said of his first wife that "she had
been brought up, as American women always were in those days, to
think that sex was beastly, that all women hated it, and that men's
brutal lusts were the chief obstacle to happiness in marriage." 36
A Christian scripture falsely attributed to St. Dionysius, Of the
Names of God, said the name of Love was not suitable for God,
"because one could only honor God, not love Him." 37 Love was left to
the sinful, bearing out Nietzsche's observation that "Christianity gave
Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it but degenerated into a vice." 38
Only recently has it even been suggested that love, or Eros, is
essential to the moral development of a man, in a sense that was never
hinted at by the moralists of the west. A man may rise to "a new
moral plane" by falling in love, a process that cannot be pursued
through any rationally established program. Western society doesn't
understand how to instill a comfortably "instinctive" morality into any
individual, even with the opportunity to work on the problem from
earliest childhood-let alone to improve the moral outlook of an adult.
But a man's emotional commitment to a beloved, if sincere, may
radically alter and improve his whole view of the world, of himself, of
right and wrong, and of the individual's relations with and responsibilities
toward others. 39
Patriarchal religion was devoted to destruction of the sensual
female nature that elicited and responded to such emotional commitments.
Women's sexual desire or pleasure was generally considered
detrimental to the marital relationship.40 A standard Christian work
on sex dedicated to Cardinal d'Este, Sinibaldi's 17th-century Geneanthropeia,
said no woman could conceive if she enjoyed sex.41 Before
the turn of the last century, it was expected that "good" women would
know nothing of sexual pleasure. If they showed an inclination to
learn, they might be cruelly teased. Thomas Branagan's advice to young
men was to test the virtue of a fiancee by trying to seduce her, to
make sure she would react with "becoming abhorrence." If she seemed
too compliant, she must be jilted.42
The name of John Bowdler became a byword for his pious labors
in removing all risque words from the Bible, Shakespeare, etc. He
even objected to any mention of women's traditional care of the sick or
of infants, on moral grounds: "Few women have any idea [Bowdler's
italics] how much men are disgusted by the slightest approach to these
in any female .... By attending the nursery or sick bed, women are
too apt to acquire a habit of conversing on such subjects in language
which men of delicacy are shocked at." 43 Male "delicacy" even
dictated that the books of male and female authors must be kept on
separate bookshelves unless the authors "happen to be married." 44
The Victorian authority on sex was Dr. William Acton, who
couldn't heap too much praise on "all those mysterious sensations
which make up what we call VIRILITY," a quality that "seems
necessary to give a man that consciousness of his dignity, or his
character as head and ruler and of his importance, which is absolutely
essential to the well-being of his family, and through it, of society itself.
It is a power, a privilege, of which the man is, and should be, proud."
But women were permitted no such pride in their sexual nature. "As a
general rule," said Acton, "a modest woman seldom desires any
sexual gratification for herself. She submits to her husband, but only to
please him; and, but for the desire of maternity, would far rather be
relieved of his attentions." Acton admitted however that there were a
few sad exceptions to his rule, who might be found either in the
divorce courts or in lunatic asylums, suffering from "the form of insanity
called nymphomania." 45
Those women labeled nymphomaniacs and imprisoned in Victorian
asylums were frequently women who had somehow stumbled
upon discovery of their own orgasmic capacity and found to their
dismay that men neither knew nor cared anything about it. Even
Freud's view of female sexuality was all wrong. For over fifty years,
doctors slavishly followed Freud's interpretation and wondered why
there were so many "frigid" women, whose sexual readiness was
constantly aroused to no purpose until they rejected sex out of sheer
frustration. "It is remarkable that only recently has Freud's classic theory
on the sexuality of women-the notion of the double orgasm-been
actually tested and found just plain wrong." 46
The 20th century was not much more enlightened than the 19th.
Stall's marriage manual, the ultimate authority at the turn of the
century, blamed women themselves for the sexual ignorance society
imposed on them. If a wife failed to understand her husband's sexual
needs, she was to blame "for her lack of knowledge and consideration."
47 But men's lack of knowledge and consideration was part of
the culture.

The oft-heard complaint directed by women at the clumsiness, crassness,
and incompetence of men in their sexual approaches and in sexual
intercourse itself, men's lack of skill in foreplay and their failure to
understand its meaning, almost certainly substantially reflects the lack
of tactile experience that many males have suffered in childhood. The
roughness with which many men will handle women and children
constitutes yet another evidence of their having been failed in early tactile
experience, for it is diHicult to conceive of anyone who had been
tenderly loved and caressed in infancy not learning to approach a woman
or a child with especial tenderness. The very word "tenderness"
implies softness, delicacy of touch, caring for. The gorilla, that gentle
creature, is the most frequently slandered when women wish to
describe the sexual approaches of the average male. Sex seems to be
regarded as a tension releaser rather than as a profoundly meaningful
act of communication in a deeply involved human relationship. ~8
One modern woman-a rape victim-thus expressed her own view
of sex:
Sex, for men, is totally oriented toward the man's orgasm and isn't
successful unless it involves intercourse and orgasm, which is ridiculous,
because sex to me is a much more sensual, much more emotional
experience. It doesn't involve just one particular spot on the body getting
excited and aroused, and then it's over, and it's either a success or
failure. 19
Men culturally trained not to pay attention to women seldom
understood what women meant by "love," even when they tried to
explain. The celebrated Kinsey reports on American sexual behavior
didn't mention "love" in their index. 5° Certainly there was no such idea
in America as the Tantric karuna, which combined all forms of love
in communion with the female, though modern women sometimes try
to grope toward this concept, unaware that it was elucidated long ago:
Gestation ... is a complex inner process in which sexuality is fed by
everything else a woman has at her disposal, much in the same way that
she might feed a fetus. When there is no fetus, an inclusive kind of sexual
intimacy fills up a comparable inner space. But when sex is separated
from that context, the disparity between a penetration that is no more than
an "action" and a penetration that reaches into complex inner space
can become quite overwhelming . .. .
To most men the problem ... does not seem very real. To them the
clearest aim of sex is orgasm, that moment ofintense physical intimacy
and satisfaction which so often serves as a substitute for other kinds of
intimacy. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why men seem to be so
concerned with satisfying women sexually and interpret that satisfaction in
terms of what they think would satisfy them if they were women. It
may also be one of the reasons why men seem to think that many women
can never be completely satisfied sexually. The terrain where a woman
remains forever unsatisfied or even, as they say, "insatiable," is probably
the area where her sexuality borders most closely on that more complex
psycho-sexual area of her being. 51
In Oriental countries where an image of the Goddess was
retained, broader ideas of sexuality were retained also:
Western attitudes . .. look on sexual intercourse as a matter of tension,
appetite and relief . .. according to the simplistic biological conception
which is still current. · . .. It is well known that the man who, in the Kinsey
Report on the Human Male, recorded a frequency above thirty times a
day for many years became a kind of folk-hero in America. Sexual/ave, in
such a context, becomes at best a matter of frequently happily shared
To the traditional Indian mind this attitude is grotesque and pathetic.
Even the ordinary man recognized that such banality was absurd. ...
Eighteenth-century Indian harlots mocked European men for their
miserable sexual performance, calling them ~'dunghill cocks" for whom
the act was over in a few seconds. Despite recent advances in sexological
knowledge, the West's chosen external explanations of sex, attached as
they are to a provisional and impoverished rationalization of the infinite
complex of human experience, still tend to regard sex as the pursuit of
orgasm. ... Traditional India did not.

A mystical or poetic view of sex, like the Indian one, seemed to
jar the puritan consciousness even more than a "dirty" or degraded
view. Dr. Marie Stopes's Married Love was imported from England
in 1918 but banned for obscenity in the U.S., chiefly on account of
such delirious passages as the following:
The half-swooning sense of flux which overtakes the spirit in their eternal
moment at the apex of rapture sweeps into its flaming tides the whole
essence of the man and woman, and as it were, the heat of the contact
vaporizes their consciousness so that it fills the whole of cosmic space.
For the moment they are identified with the divine thoughts, the waves of
eternal force, which to the Mystic often appear in terms of golden
light. 5J
Some progress has been made since the sexual obtuseness of
western men made them a laughingstock in India. But recent investigators
found "a view of sex that is as distorted as the Victorian, for it is
still shrouded with the unrealistic expectations and outmoded standards
of gender behavior of the past. Fantasy rather than reality is its
keynote; hostility, anxiety, and guilt are aggravated rather than alleviated."
54 Significantly, a male author characterizes male sexuality as
loveless and death-centered, capable of destroying the foundations of
Contemporary eroticism attempts to free woman sexually but according to
a masculine conception of sexuality . ... The present rehabilita~ion of
the erotic in its purely sexual, loveless aspect is completely at variance with
the truly feminine conception ... an ultimate striving toward dislocation,
destruction, and death- Thanatos-as against Eros, the love-filled
erotic, unifying and conservationist . ... Ultimately, this overemphasis
of the masculine component in Western society threatens to destroy its
foundations. »
To counterbalance the destructiveness of male-dominated society,
nothing could be effective except recognition of the feminine
principle, according to George Sand: "It will be in the female heart
par excellence, as it always has been, that love and devotion, patience
and pity, will find their true home. On woman falls the duty, in a
world of brute passions, of preserving the virtue of charity .... When
woman ceases to play that role, life will be the loser."56 Modern
thinkers also regret the loss of cultural emphasis on the feminine
morality that can integrate sex with affection, tenderness, and sensitivity
toward others' emotional needs. It has been often said that
male-dominated societies tend to burden the sexual impulses of both
women and men with basically unrelated guilts, fears, angers, and their
resulting aggressions. Some forms of"entertainment" for example
take advantage of the new frankness to introduce disturbingly sadistic
elements into mass socialization for sexual adulthood. "Rather than
lament the fact that sexual appetite is now being encouraged, we might
more profitably spend our time trying to ensure that the emotions
that are integrated with it are the ones we approve of." 57
As recently as 1966, an anthropological study of the Irish
islanders of Inis Beag revealed a mini-culture of 19th-century Christian patriarchal
patterns in sexual life. Female orgasm was unknown.
Women were trained to endure rather than enjoy sex. Men habitually
ejaculated within seconds. Modesty was the overwhelming preoccupation
of both sexes; husbands and wives didn't see each other naked.
Sexual foreplay consisted of rough fondling outside the sleeping
garments. No coital position other than Venus observa was used.
Premarital sex was virtually unknown, since young couples were
never alone together. Not even "walking out," the old-fashioned
version of dating, was allowed. Young people received no instruction in
sexual matters. The islanders said after marriage "nature would take
its course" without the embarrassment of discussion.
Though the men were often at sea in small boats, they never
learned to swim, being unwilling to undress in public for this purpose.
"Bathing" in the sea meant wading, fully clothed. The sexes were
rigidly separated for this activity. Men were known to die of disease or
injury rather than to go to a hospital on the mainland, where they
thought their bodies would be bared to the eyes of female nurses.
Even the dogs of Inis Beag were whipped for licking their genitals
or other "obscene" behavior. Imported copies of American magazines
such as Life or Time were denounced from the pulpit as
pornography. Fear of female "mysteries" was overt: women were not
approached sexually for many months after childbirth, or during menstruation,
when men thought them especially dangerous. Predictably,
severe repression exacted a severe toll in quarrelsomeness, alcoholism,
violence, and frequent mental disturbances. 58
Paradoxically, the more sexuality is banned and ignored, the more
fear it seems to engender in men. A patriarchal-ascetic ethic seems to
arrange sexual attitudes according to the way men would like them
arranged, but it doesn't work well even for men. A psychiatrist says,
"In the privacy of our consulting room we do from time to time see
strong men fret, and hear them talk of women with dread and horror
and awe, as if women, far from being timid creatures to be patronized,
were as powerful as the sea and inescapable as fate .... Man, confronted
by woman, does seem to feel, variously, frightened, revolted,
dominated, bewildered, and even, at times, superfluous." 59 One male
author in a revealing passage on men's sexual feelings refers to a woman
as "it," but also admits "general helplessness in the face of her," and a
sense of her "awesomeness and power" -seemingly overblown terms
for an ordinary human female:
We cannot relate to the total object as it [sic] is, and thus we need
standardized definitions of sexual attractiveness. These we get in the
form of"cues" that serve to cut the object down to manageable size: we
look at the breast or the black underwear, which allow us not really to
have to take account of the total person we are relating to . . . . [W]e strip
the partner of awesomeness and power and so overcome our general
helplessness in the face of her. 60
The symbols of "sexiness" are created and instilled by the
society, however odd it may seem to realize that human physiological
responses can actually be keyed to abstract images. "It is now quite
clear that how a person behaves sexually is largely determined not by
inborn factors but by learning."61 The prevailing conventional wisdom
and its influence on the growing child determine whether most
people will enjoy sex or hate it, perceiving their own bodies as heaven
or hell. Western anti-sexuality has created many individuals tending
toward the "hate" or "hell" end of the spectrum, epitomized by a
psychiatric patient who said, "Somehow I always think that sexual
intercourse is a great disgrace for humans." A female patient called
her body an "abhorrent envelope," and said, "I wish I could tear this
skin off. lfl didn't have this stupid body, I would be as pure outside as
I feel inside."

Women have an especially difficult time with the body-image in a
society that attaches little value to their complex body-oriented roles
of wife, mother, nurturer, or comforter; and may even cease to play
these roles when they have fully accepted the value system of the
dominant sex. Women don't reject traditional "feminine" roles out of
perversity, nor because of that Freudian absurdity, penis envy. Like
men, most women prefer to do what their society values and rewards. If
the wife-and-mother role is undervalued- or even deprecated, as it
has been throughout the past two millenia in the western worldwomen
can hardly be blamed for seeking valid achievement in other
fields.63 In our society the universal standard of valuation is money, and
the so-called "career" of wife-and-mother earns none at all.
Underevaluation of the mother affects sons as well as daughters,
since the mother's reaction to social expectations of her inevitably
creates a deep impression on her children. "Psychiatric observation
suggests that human sexual behavior is subtly shaped by the nature of
the social attachments formed during a person's development"; and the
mother is the primary social attachment.64 Chodorow says the modern
civilized male "is in the unhappy position of being able to attain
masculine identity almost solely through efforts to distinguish himself
from the person closest to him [the mother], with whom he might most
naturally identify. His efforts commonly take the form of a rather
primitive rejection of all that is 'feminine' in women and in himself." 65
Sexual development is further hampered by conventional religions
which still attach fear and guilt to almost every stage of the process.
Ignoring recent proofs that masturbation is necessary for development
of normal orgasmic capacity in both sexes, Pope Paul VI's 1976
declaration on sexual ethics pronounced masturbation "a grave moral
disorder." Moreover, within the framework of marriage, only the
"finality" of procreation could "ensure the moral goodness" of sex-in
other words, sex must make babies, not pleasure.66 As for premarital
sex, Norman Vincent Peale declared it a dreadful sin even for persons
deeply in love; they cannot be forgiven without prolonged spiritual
"treatment." 67
It is now said that sexual appetites have "little or no relation to
biological or physiological needs .. . . [E]rotic urges stem more from
socio-cultural factors than from those of the strictly physiological nature."
68 Therefore the broad extent of ugly or cruel sexual behavior
patterns in modern society should stimulate serious thought about what
the society is teaching. In 1972, the Chief of the Sex Section of the
Washington D.C. Police Department reported: "The newspapers print
only what they want to. I tell them about little girls of seven or eight
who come up with venereal diseases inflicted on them by male members
of their own families. An appalling number of 11- and
12-year-olds are giving birth after being raped by their own fathers. But
they won't print things like this. They're only heart-breaking and
horrible-not sensationaJ."69
A report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography
concluded: "Failure to talk openly and directly about sex ... overemphasizes
sex, gives it a magical nonnatural quality .... Such failure
makes teaching children and adolescents to become fully and adequately
functioning sexual adults a more difficult task. ... The very • foundation of our society rests upon healthy sexual attitudes grounded
in appropriate and accurate sexual information." 70 In other words, the
foundations of society rest on dissemination of precisely the kind of
information that Christian morality insisted on withholding from one
and all-men, women, and children.
Churches today have largely renounced all their responsibility to
establish guidelines for sexual development or sexual behavior, leaving
their congregations in an area of confusion. Theologians stress "the
personal responsibility of the Christian to find God's will for himself."71
In which case, he hardly needs a church.

From Barbara Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

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