Forwarded from Anthony (homosexuality)
furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Sun Dec 3 17:33:47 MST 2000
George & Anthony:
>this is an interesting point. if it is true, it would also explain earlier
>forms of sexual repression. I mean the point about controlling disease. the
>demographic questions are more historically specific. and now? disease is
>still a problem. how does this material fact influence social life? I'm not
>sure. if we had safe sex, would the problem be solved?
To make STDs responsible for "sexual repression," prohibition of
same-sex eroticism & activities, etc. is to spin a tall tale, though.
I suppose STDs of one kind or another existed in all human societies
throughout recorded history, and until recently, there was no
effective cure or way of managing STDs medically. Nonetheless, human
societies have exhibited a great deal of variations in attitudes
toward sex. Therefore, it is not a viable explanation to say that
"sexual repression," including prohibition of same-sex eroticism &
activities, arose in response to STDs.
Also, "sexual repression" is a vague term. Exactly whose sexuality
is repressed? What kind of sexuality is repressed? How?
For instance, while the Victorian period is often mistakenly thought
of as the age of sexual repression, Victorian men did not have their
sexuality repressed at all. Sexual commerce was thriving, & the
double standard protected middle-class men while penalizing
middle-class women. The working-class had a sexual ethic & standard
different from the middle class, whose "reformers" tried very hard to
make the working class conform to the middle-class ethic & standard.
To neglect to ask class & gender questions in relation to sex &
sexuality is to forget Engels's lesson.
Lastly, to use the terms "homosexuality" & "heterosexuality" in
reference to same-sex activities before the nineteenth century is
anachronistic. These terms refer to sexual _identities_, not sexual
In societies before the rise of urban industrial capitalism of the
nineteenth century, those who engaged in same-sex activities tended
not to do so _exclusively_. While agriculture was the main
occupation for the majority in the world & each household a unit of
production, there was no material condition that would sustain a
large number of men & women whose object choices were exclusively
members of their own sex.
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