The Guardian writes on a history of sex by the French psychiatrist Philippe Brenot. It is astonishing how much garbage one can promote if it has modish implications. Consider this:
In the animal kingdom, Brenot argues, there is none of the domination of female partners that has been a hallmark of human societies through history, nor is there domestic violence. Instead, among animals “males fight against other males and females fight with other females,” he says.
“Violence between men and women is only in humans – because of marriage, which puts men above women.”
Utter nonsense. Male chimpanzees have been observed beating their mates with sticks. Male ducks can be gang rapists. Snakes even attempt to copulate with the dead. It is astonishing how progressives blame civilisation for animal savagery when in many cases it has helped us to transcend it.
The article continues…
During antiquity, meanwhile, a woman’s role was to provide a child – and female sexual pleasure was dismissed. But this role was also a dangerous one. “There were so many impediments to female pleasure. In the 18th and 19th centuries, one in six pregnant women died in childbirth. Then there were the infections and sexual violence.”
For men, of course, things were different. “Men have always done what they wanted,” says Brenot.
On the face of it this is a startling insult to the millions of men who died, through labour and through violence, in protecting and providing for their families. If he means this in the sense of sex it bafflingly assumes that only women endure sexually transmitted infections. Countless men have died from syphilis or Aids. That women have suffered torments and indignities is undeniable but it is both foolish and obnoxious to suggest they are alone.
“People think sexuality is just an instinct,” Brenot declares, gearing himself up for one of the arrogantly inane arguments against genetic determinism that remain too fashionable to refute, “No. There is no gene that drives sexuality. All sexuality is learned.” If, I would respond, one tried to raise a hundred boys to be asexual does Brenot think there is the faintest chance that more than five of them would not develop sexual desires? It would be as futile as trying to raise vegan cats.
There is perhaps one thing I agree with Brenot on. “Everyone,” he is paraphrased as saying, “Still wants to find somebody to love.” Indeed. But demonising the institution that has held us together, and dividing the sexes with lurid victimology, does nothing to achieve this. Progressives often talk of the need for exhaustive, unashamed sexual education yet often seem to talk a lot of nonsense.
I saw the article, but the combination of the Guardian and French theorising rendered it too unpalatable to read. Thanks for doing it for me – it’s drivel, isn’t it?
Presumably animals are even more naturally blessed than Rousseau’s Noble Savage. The trouble is, they often behave just like animals. Or maybe like the really corrupt bourgeoisie.
The title felt like a cheap joke when I wrote it but the French really have a lot to answer for when it comes to modern intellectualism. From Sartre to Henri-Levy. It’s a dismal record.
Then again, they have Houllebecq…