Sex--a revolutionary view Part 2
Rubyg580 at aol.com
Rubyg580 at aol.com
Sun Apr 14 15:25:59 MDT 1996
I've been following with interest the "sex" thread here,and I want to
offer this contribution. It is from the final section of a book called
"Women's Liberation in China" by Claudie Broyelle, Humanities
Press, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 1977:
OBJECTS OF PLEASURE AND OBJECTS OF LEISURE--
PLEASURE IS FUN
"Work," says the spokesman bor bourgeois morality, "is too
often repetitive and tiring. This is, unfortunately, the hidden face
of our industrial society. But while we pay a price for progress,
it is a price we have to pay if progress is what we want. For
production is progress and it is progress that gives everyone a
television set and a car, that allows them to dress in the latest
fashion, to enjoy themselves, to have some free time for leisure,
that, in short, enables them to consume." This is his morality,
and he would like it to be ours. Isn't sexuality's social function
to serve as a compensation for joyless work, the justification for
a hopeless existence?
Bourgeois sexual culture is like danger money"in exchange
for ill-health, maiming or death, the workers are offered a few extra
pence in their pay packets. In turinng sexuality and sexual
pleasure (What pleasure? Pleasure for whom?) into a reward, a
leisure activity, capitalism has turned it into just another aspect of
wage earning. For more than one reason, the idea of sex as a
"warrior's" rest is a scandal in our sexual lives. It involves "service"
by women, who are treated as mere commodities and objects. It
puts sex on exactly the same level as eating, drinking and sleeping.
It turns sexual satisfaction into a restorative for the workforce, it
reduces sex to the same level of mundane requirement as proteins,
clothing, television, education and leisure activities.
REPRESSION OF SEXUALITY AND REPRESSIVE SEXUALITY
Bourgeois sexual politics, the specific lines drawn between
bourgeois sexual freedoms and taboos, help to create a repressive
sexual culture, partly by the prohibition of certain sexual practices,
but mainly by giving sexual relations market values--by turning the
relationship into a transaction between an alienated man and a
The man and woman can't help reproducing their social roles
within what seems to them to be their own and free domain. They
carry into it the social patterns of dominant male and dominated
I have been using the terms "male domination"and "female
passivity" because they refer to a facet of the reality I have been
considering. But we must recognize that these two opposite aspects
of our culture are simply complemantary aspects of the same
bourgeois sexual ideology. It isn't that bourgeois sadism on the one
hand is ranged against progresive masochism on the other, just as
sadism is never clearly a male attribute nor masochism a female one.
There is a wide range of culturally significant forms of more or less
covert sado-masichism, each one more or less confused with
The bourgeoisie, like all exploiting classes, finds its pleasure in
the master/ slave relationship. The orgies or our rulers or marriages
in the smartest churches in Paris; pornography; striptease, in Pigalle
for the masses or at the Crazy Horse Saloon for company directors;
prostitutes or high-class call girls; the vice squad or the priest's
confessional--all these are just variations on a single theme: the
manufacture of pleasure out of intolerable oppression, at a price to
suit every pocket and with an eye to all tastes.
The causes of our sexual repression do not lie in setting limitations
on our behavior, because ALL sexual behavior has been repressed
and perverted by the profound humiliation and commercialism natural
to our society. Sexual repression is integral to sexuality; it does not
conflict with sexuality, it determines it....
...Only men and women who are equally free will be able to form
non-repressive and free sexual relationships. So without the emancipation
of women there can be no end to sexual repression. Looking for sexual
freedom without this emancipation and, even worse, seeing it as a means
of achieving emancipation are more than just political praps. Such
mistaken attitudes help unwittingly to strengthen a bourgeoisie which
didn't even ask for help. There is no economic, political or ideological
reason why the bourgeoitie couldn't eventually tolerate all the specific
sexual activities that it now finds impermissible, but such license is
of no value in the struggle for liberation. The experience of the
Scandinavian countries, or even of the United States, should be enough
to convince anyone of that....
...Lenin, writing to Ines Armand, commented:
"Even a fleeting pasion and intimacy" are "more poetic and cleaner"
than "kisses without love"of a (vulgar and shallow) married couple.
That is what you write...is the contrast ligical? Kisses withour love
between a vulgar couple are dirty. I agree to them one whould
contrast...what? One would think: kisses WITH love? While you
contrast them with "fleeting"(why fleeting?) "passion" (why not
love?)--so, logically, it turns out that kisses without love (fleeting)
are contrasted with kisses without love by married people...Strange...
Would it not be better to contrast philistine-intellectual-peasant...
vulgar and dirty marriage without love to proletarian civil marriage
---Lenin, Collected Works, vol.35, p.183
And i want to conclude with this quote from Engels, Origin of the
Family, Private Property and the State (the next to last paragraph
in the section "The Family"):
"What we can now conjecture about the way in which sexual
relations will be ordered after the impending overthrow of capitalist
production is mainly of a negative character, limited for the most
part to what will disappear. But what will there be new? That will
be answered when a new generation has grown up: a generation
of men who never in their lives have known what it is to buy a woman's
surrender with money or any other social instrument of power; a
generation of women who have never known what it is to give
themselves to a man from any other considerations than real love, or
to refuse to give themselves to their lover from fear of the economic
consequences. When these people are in the world, they will care
precious little what anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will
make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about
the practice of each individual--and that will be the end of it."
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