Chapter Summaries

 

   Introduction
  1 Solitary Fig-leafing
  2 Social Fig-leafing
  3 Genital Purdah
  4 Genital Censorship
  5 Lust Phobia
  6 The Enemies of Playful Sex
  7 Attacking Youthful Lust
  8 Mandatory Monogamy
  9 The Sexual Hush
10 Porn War
11 Secluding Sex
12 Prostitution Prohibitions
13 Homo Hatred
14 Nasty Sex
15 Rigid People Fear Sex
16 The Politics of Lust

 

 

Introduction
Though modern society seems enthusiastic about sex, most of us secretly fear our own sexuality and that of other people. This condition (called erotophobia) has deep roots in our culture: the first reference in the Bible to human emotions involves the fear of genitals, in the story of Adam and Eve. Yet few people are aware of the condition or the complex political system that breeds it. This ignorance is unfortunate because erotophobia powerfully affects not only our sexuality but also many other aspects of our life. It even affects the way we vote!

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Chapter 1 Solitary Fig-leafing
Like Adam and Eve, many people in the modern era are averse to seeing their own genitals. They “fig-leaf” themselves even when they are alone. Example: women who fear inspecting their own genitals with a mirror. A specific type of erotophobia, “genital phobia” motivates this compulsive fig-leafing. A fascinating unconscious learning process imprints genital phobia and all other types of erotophobia. This chapter examines key elements of such learning, focusing on “fear conditioning” and “rationalizing.”

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Chapter 2 Social Fig-leafing
Genital phobia also inspires the fear of nudity in social situations. Examples: parents who avoid family nudity, and people who avoid nude beaches. This fear is learned by observing social negativity aimed at nudity in the home and elsewhere, and by exposure to the false idea that nudity is harmful, spread by Freud, Dr. Spock, Ann Landers, and even Playboy magazine. Such “experts” are themselves in the grip of genital phobia, and they in turn help other people acquire it. Thus genital phobia is contagious, and its virus is the negative behavior and misinformation it inspires. Such an “infection system” is the key force spreading a variety of phobic sexual attitudes into the minds of almost everyone.

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Chapter 3 Genital Purdah
Most parents force clothes on children who would like to play in the nude; laws forbid nudity in public parks or beaches. Such prohibitions are much like the Moslem institution of purdah, which insists that all women hide their faces in any public area. Such “genital purdah” is the product of genital phobia, and it in turn helps generate more genital phobia: another example of the infection system.

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Chapter 4 Genital Censorship
Nudity images (non-sexual) are heavily censored in the media. Institutions such as the New York Times often overtly deface images so as to conceal genitals. Such action violates basic journalistic ethics, yet is so routine that it is taken for granted. Genital phobia motivates this unethical censorship. When it is observed by millions of people, they too acquire phobic attitudes towards genitals. Esteemed social institutions believe they are acting in the public interest but are actually harming society by spreading phobic attitudes about normal body parts.

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Chapter 5 Lust Phobia
The previous four chapters examine phobic attitudes toward genitals. This chapter introduces a new concept, “lust phobia”, irrational fears about the experience of sex, consisting of aversions to erotic sensations, and delusions about lustful behavior (such as the myth that sexuality is overpowering and uncontrollable, or that sex is somehow “dirty”.) The reader learns in general terms how this type of erotophobia is acquired, and the toxic behaviors it prompts. Each of the next eight chapters illustrate specific types of antisexual action that help cause lust phobia and that are motivated by it.

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Chapter 6 The Enemies of Playful Sex
Sex is a wonderful type of play. But gleeful sex has many enemies. This chapter examines social intolerance towards: non-marital sex, contraception, masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex. Examples: religious injunctions against “living in sin”; laws that prohibit “fornication”; the anti-masturbation ideas in Boy Scouts’ manuals; prohibitions on the sale of vibrators. Such antisexualism, in turn, helps breed irrational attitudes toward non-marital sex, masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, and lust generally. The infection system is at work here again.

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Chapter 7 Attacking Youthful Lust
Lust phobia motivates enormous hostility toward youthful sexuality. Examples: parents who disallow teens the right to have a “sleep-over” with their lover; U.S. federal funding for “abstinence education”; prohibitions on condoms at high-schools; the absence of any “discourse of desire” in teen mass media. Such negativity warps popular attitudes towards the sexuality of young people. Even teens internalize these negative messages. A rational society would not stigmatize youthful sexuality, but rather encourage its development through a process of “sexual gradualism,” the same way we encourage our youth to learn to drive, ski, and do other risky activities by actually performing them.

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Chapter 8 Mandatory Monogamy
Most couples object to their partner having any sexual interest, no matter how slight, in another person. That attitude is often (not always) irrational, the product of a variety of sex-negative attitudes. This chapter challenges the legitimacy of the ethic of rigid monogamy, and shows how intolerance toward non-exclusive sexual conduct helps breed various types of erotophobia.

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Chapter 9 The Sexual Hush
Most people are sexually tongue-tied. Open, honest sex discourse is non-existent even in the intimate lives of most couples. Few parents can communicate intelligently to their children about sex. Even the media is largely mute when sex is in issue, with some important exceptions (exceptions which generate the myth that ours is a sexually verbose culture). The pervasive sexual silence is driven by erotophobia and helps breed more of that condition.

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Chapter 10 Porn War
Explicit media designed for no purpose other than to elicit lust is highly controversial in an erotophobic culture. Though much of the phobic censorship of the past is subsiding, porn is still segregated outside the social mainstream. Erotophobia is a key motive behind such exclusion. Blanket intolerance toward all porn leads to violent, anti-social porn and such nasty material in turn generates negative attitudes toward all explicit imagery.

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Chapter 11 Secluding Sex
Though most people seek sexual privacy, some are comfortable expressing sexual energy where bystanders can see it. This chapter examines negativity aimed at harmless visible live sex, such as a child masturbating in a living room or a couple making love in a car. Family and legal prohibitions directed at the visibility of live sex are motivated largely by sex intolerance, and help cause more of the same.

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Chapter 12 Prostitution Prohibitions
A professional masseur offends no law or social sensibility by stroking a client’s arms, back, or legs. But the moment the genitals are included the service attracts enormous social wrath. Such negativity is irrational, driven by erotophobia. Blanket social discrimination against all sex workers is worthy of no truly democratic society. It not only violates basic human rights, but also helps generate phobic attitudes toward both sex work and sex itself.

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Chapter 13 Homo Hatred
Homophobia is the best recognized type of erotophobia. Because the condition is already so well documented this chapter only briefly examines it. Irrational negativity by families, churches, and government toward gays and lesbians help breed more homophobia.

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Chapter 14 Nasty Sex
Exposures to nasty sexual experience such as sexual assault, sexual disease, or even violent porn all help cause erotophobia. For example, victims of sexual assault are prone to a host of phobic sexual aversions. Anxiety about getting pregnant or becoming infected with a sexual disease, which often occurs during sexual acts, also helps generate primitive aversions to the very feel of sex. Because nasty sex is common in our society, so is erotophobia.

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Chapter 15 Rigid People Fear Sex
This is the most challenging chapter in the book. While the preceding chapters show how erotophobia is learned through negative experiences involving sex and genitals, this chapter shows that erotophobia is also a by-product of common personality traits, characterized by dogmatism, physical tension, and emotional inhibition. Such traits can be acquired entirely outside the sexual domain of life. They are prevalent in members of police and military organizations, fundamentalist religions, and social elites. This chapter offers an exciting new perspective on the relationship of personal rigidity and sexual fear.

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Chapter 16 The Politics of Lust
The ultimate cause of erotophobia is social inequality. Hierarchic social relationships in families and social institutions are especially conducive to the key causes of erotophobia: antisexual behavior, nasty sex, and rigid personalities. Further, erotophobia helps cause hierarchic relationships: social inequality and irrational sexual fears are mutually causal! Here again, erotophobia helps produce the very forces that cause it. Only when our society overcomes irrational sexual fear will it truly embrace social equality and freedom.