This thought of the day courtesy of an old interview with Rochelle Gurstein, author of The Repeal of Reticence. The whole interview speaks to me, as I consider how it is that we got to be where we are. (Where are we, you ask? Base reality TV shows as entertainment, lewd advertising and crass lyrics, ramped up sexuality everywhere and what’s worse, some folks advocating for it as freeing.)
Before the turn of the century, people could only speak about sexual intimacy as either lust or love-it had a moral component built into it. What the sex reformers tried to do in the name of freeing people from Freudian neuroses was to split off sex from the valuation of shame or lust or love. This didn’t make sense to the party of reticence. They rejected the notion that we start with a fact of biology and then clothe it with some kind of value. Rather, the value and the fact are one.