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The Folly of Sexual Repression
An Essay by Shiva Rodriguez

Being a citizen of the United States of America, I am accustomed to hearing proud, flag-waving Americans loudly proclaim that we are the land of the free. However, this freedom apparently does not extend to sexual matters, and our society pays more dearly for that than most people are aware.

Sexual repression is nothing new. Many societies around the world place restrictions on the sex lives of their citizens, often with heavy consequences should an individual deviate from what is considered acceptable in that society. Adulterers, unwed lovers, homosexuals, and even people caught in the act of masturbating have been institutionalized, tortured, mutilated, or even executed for committing acts of sexual gratification.

While we no longer hang people for having sex out of wedlock or clamp spiked rings over the penises of masturbators, we can still hear the harpies of morality screeching their anti-sex agendas from pulpits and campaign platforms across the country. Concerned citizens boycott stores that carry literature about certain forms of sexual activity and lobby to squash anything remotely resembling sexual education in our schools. Television and radio producers are fined and chastised if their programming is deemed to be too racy for those moral-minded, sensitive American audiences. Adult-oriented establishments are greatly restricted in their activities, watched like hawks, and heavily fined or shut down completely for whatever whimsical reason the vice squads can dream up.

Even in the privacy of their own homes, citizens are strongly discouraged against practicing any type of sexual activity outside of mundane and marital pairings. And while some bold groups of open-minded individuals may stand up and claim their right to have sex with whomever and however they’d like, they quickly find themselves being held up as the poster children for everything that is wrong in America. Oh, how a much better place the USA would be if we didn’t have all those pesky homosexuals, masturbators, swingers, fetishists, and fornicators around, they say.

I say rubbish.

Some of the side effects of sexual repression as observed in human beings include lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem, depression, suicidal tendencies, and higher aggressive behavior. A child who has been taught to believe that sex is dirty and bad will often mature to become an adult who is self-conscious about his body and overwhelmed with guilt when the natural desire to breed arouses him. Adults who are restricted in their sexual inclinations will often experience frustration that can result in either suicidal actions or violence towards others.

It should come as a surprise to no one that societies that have more relaxed legislature over sexual matters enjoy a lower violent crime rate and are not often seen butting heads with other societies on the war field. This phenomenon was best documented in a study of one of our closest relatives, the Bonobo ape.

Bonobos, closely related to chimpanzees and also sharing more than 98 percent of the human genetic profile, are a species of primate which uses sexual activity not only for reproduction but also for social bonding. Bonobos have been observed to be indiscriminate in their sexual relations in regards to age or gender, and also are considered to be one of the more peaceful groupings of animals on the planet. Unlike chimpanzees and other animals that have a dominant-male or a strictly monogamous structure, the Bonobos are not often observed being aggressive towards one another over food, mates, or territory.

Even in human studies, sexual relief has been proven an effective remedy for anxiety, stress, and even some forms of depression. The personal vibrator itself was originally designed as a medical tool for doctors to use on their female patients to “relieve hysteria.” (Strangely enough, masturbating was considered to be an extremely unhealthy activity at the time, but it was OK if a physician did it for you.)

Numerous medical professionals, psychologists, philosophers, and other champions of sexual liberation and its benefits to society have been defamed and their work bastardized by political and religious leaders on the platform of morality and wholesome family values. Citizens of such societies are therefore instructed to deeply repress many of their strong natural urges and desires, resulting in an increase of frustration, stress, and emotional instability that is disguised with the mask of being “the right thing to do.”

Often this opens the door wide for religion, particularly the brands that demand their followers forsake earthly delights and suppress all natural inclinations as proof of being a good and worthy person. Never has the idea of how sexual repression can result in aggressive behavior been better demonstrated than with the history of the followers of such religions butchering and torturing other peoples whose attitudes on such subjects differed from their own. Nor is it a coincidence that the punishments dealt to such people often involved the mutilation of their sexual organs.

Even in modern times, we find an astounding number of violent sex crimes committed by perpetrators who speak of sexual repression and insecurity when interrogated. While the moral-minded platform speakers would have us believe that such criminal behavior is a model example of what people would be like if we were free to do as we pleased sexually, they fail to acknowledge that such crimes are often committed as the result of intense and long-term suppression of sexual desires.

One observation that counters the idea that sex crimes are the result of being exposed to an environment with relaxed moral codes is the fact that when some countries legalized pornography or other forms of sexual gratification, the rate of such crimes decreased dramatically, even by as much as 50 percent.

Just as an animal will either sink into an unhealthy, lethargic depression or go violently mad when confined to a small cage and denied freedom to abide by its nature, so will humans who are restricted by cages of sexual morality.
- Shiva Rodriguez

The Evil that Men Do
by Stephen G. Michaud & Roy Hazelwood
St. Martin’s Press, NY 1998

Sexual Imagery, Censorship, and the Law -
Bonobo Sex and Society, by Frans B.M. de Wall -

Article shared with full credit and no commercial purpose under the fair use educational provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law and International treaties.

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