Tuesday, March 21, 2006


"I believe integral theory logically demands the creation of a sex positive society
and the rejection and elimination of all sex negative ideologies and attitudes."

Ray Harris

We're all interested in sex. After all, it's the third appetite � drink, food and sex, and despite this powerful taboos exist around sex. It's not a simple matter. Some people experience discomfort when talking about it or doing it. It is also clearly connected to spirituality - yet some religions have an anti-sex morality�

So what might integral theory suggest about sex?

At the end of the 19th century a number of writers had begun to question the prevailing Western attitudes toward sex. One pioneering writer was Havelock Ellis. He wrote a book suggesting that homosexuality was simple a natural variation. He also pioneered the idea that women can and ought to enjoy sex. Space does not allow me to go into detail but it is well known that there were some very peculiar ideas about sex: orgasm in women was regarded as a sign of hysteria, masturbation was regarded as morally and physically weakening and homosexuality was seen as aberrant. All of this was challenged by a group of thinkers who argued that the study of sexuality should be pursued scientifically, independent of moral prejudice. This field became known as sexology.

At the same time anthropology began to be developed as a discipline. The colonialist expansion introduced Europeans to a wide variety of cultural practices, including radically different views toward sex. Havelock Ellis[1] wrote the forword to a ground breaking book by Stanislav Malinowski[2] called 'The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia'. This book explored the sexual practices of the Trobriand Islanders and it revealed the dynamics of a very liberal and open approach. Malinowski challenged Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex and sexual libertarians found evidence in his work that much of the European attitude was based on a false and irrational moral fear.

These new approaches led to the creation of The World League for Sexual Reform,[3] which included Ellis, Freud, Wilhelm Reich and the writers Aldous Huxley and DH Lawrence. This group was founded by Magnus Hirschfeld[4] who also started the first institute devoted to the discipline of sexology, the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin.

The rise of the Nazis and the Second World War interrupted research into sexology (The Nazis destroyed the ISR in 1933 � many of the images of Nazis burning books are of them destroying the ISR library). The work of sexology lay dormant until Alfred Kinsey[5] and afterwards, Masters and Johnson[6]. The field of sexology is now fairly well established.

How can integral theory add to this discipline? Is there an integral sexology?

Please read on . . .

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