HOW SEX GOT SCREWED UP
The Ghosts That Haunt Our Sexual Pleasure
Written & illustrated by Jon Knowles
The ghosts that haunt our sexual pleasure were born in the Stone Age. Tribes used sex and gender taboos to differentiate themselves from others. These taboos filtered into the lives of Bronze and Iron Age women and men who lived in city states and empires. The early Christians turned all sex play into sin, instilled guilt about it, and punished it severely. They also subordinated women to men.
Despite the birth of romance in the late middle ages, Renaissance churches held inquisitions to seek out and destroy sex sinners, all of whom it saw as heretics. The inquisitions began to peter out in the Age of Reason. But doctors took over the roles of priests and ministers. They turned sin into crime, degeneracy, and sickness. Not until the middle of the 20th century, did activists, such as Alfred Kinsey and Margaret Sanger, challenge these ancient medical and religious teachings. They carved out a place for sexual freedom. But a backlash to their ideals, and the growing exploitation of sex by the media, closed their century and shaped the sexual ambivalence of today.