C. GAY ISSUES -  1980 TIME magazine re: "The Last Taboo" (422 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: KATHY_OAK9/13/13 8:23 AM 
To: All  (2 of 4) 
 519.2 in reply to 519.1 

ATTACKING THE LAST TABOO (Time Magazine, April 14, 1980.  Copyright 1980, Time Inc.  Reprinted by permission)

     Sex researchers love to shock the public.  Trouble is, the public is becoming more and more difficult to shock, and researchers are running out of myths to attack.  Perhaps that accounts for the latest--and what may be the most reprehensible yet--trend in the field: well-known researchers and a few allies in academe are conducting a campaign to undermine the strongest and most universal of sexual proscriptions, the taboo against incest.

     Most of the chipping away at the taboo is still cautious and limited.  Says John Money of Johns Hopkins, one of the best-known sex researchers in the nation:  "A childhood sexual experience, such as being the partner of a relative or of an older person, need not necessarily affect the child adversely."  Money and Co-Author Gertrude Williams complain in their forthcoming book Traumatic Abuse and Neglect of Children about the public attitude that "no matter how benign, any adult-child interaction that may be construed as even remotely sexual, qualifies, a priori, as traumatic and abusive."  One who commits incest, say the authors, is like "a religious deviant in a one-religious society"--thus neatly planting the notion that opposition to incest is quite like religious intolerance. 

     Wardell Pomeroy, co-author of the original Kinsey reports on males and females, is far more blunt.  "It is time to admit that incest need not be a perversion or a symptom of mental illness," he says.  "Incest between...children and adults...can sometimes be beneficial."  Indeed the new pro-incest literature is filled with the stupefying idea that opposition to incest reflects an uptight resistance to easy affection and warmth among family members.  Writes Anthropologist Seymour Parker of the University of Utah cautiously:  "It is questionable if the costs (of the incest taboo) in guilt and uneasy distancing between intimates are necessary or desirable.  What are the benefits of linking a mist of discomfort to the spontaneous warmth of the affectionate kiss and touch between family members?" 

     The SIECUS Report, the publication of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States and an unfailing indicator of fads and fashions in the sex research world, published a major article attacking the incest taboo.  Though the journal's editor, Mary Calderone, and her colleagues ran an ingenuous editorial denying that the article was advocating anything, the piece in fact depicted the taboo as mindless prejudice.   Wrote the author, James W. Ramey:  "We are roughly in the same position today regarding incest as we were a hundred years ago with respect to our fears of masturbation."  Ramey, a researcher who has worked with many of the leading sex investigators, says the incest taboo owes something to "a peculiarly American problem--the withdrawal of all touching contact."  With a little more touching in the home, he thinks, the nation might not be facing "the present rash of feverish adolescent sexual activity outside the home."

[to be continued in next post]

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From: KATHY_OAK9/13/13 8:41 AM 
To: All  (3 of 4) 
 519.3 in reply to 519.2 

Attacking the Last Taboo - continued

     As in any propaganda campaign, the words and terms used to describe incest are beginning to change.  The phrase "child abuse" is distinguished from "consensual incest" involving a parent, and "abusive incest" is different from "positive incest."  Some try to give the argument a bit of serious academic coloration, ransacking anthropological literature for a tribe or two that allows incest, or arguing that the incest taboo is dying of its own irrelevance.  Rutgers Anthropologist Yehudi Cohen offers a simplified pseudo-historical argument: the taboo is a holdover of a primitive need to form personal alliances and trade agreements beyond the family.  Since that is no longer necessary, he says, "human history suggests that the incest taboo may indeed be obsolete."  Joan Nelson, a Californian who holds an M.A. in psychology from Antioch, has a special interest in the subject.  She has launched the Institute for the Study of Sexual Behavior, and has passed out questionnaires looking for "good or bad" incestuous experiences.

     For whatever reason, public interest in incest as a subject seems to have increased.  Hollywood provides a good index; one survey shows there were six movies about incest in the 1920s, 79 in the '60s.  The numbers are still growing.  Recent films on the subject include Chinatown, Luna and the made-for-TV Flesh and Blood.  But probing a sensitive subject for better understanding is one thing, justifying incest is quite another.

     How did the lobby against the taboo come about?  One strain of its philosophy springs from the fringes of the children's rights movement, which insists that small children be granted all the rights of adults.  Some have taken that to mean the right to be sexually active with any partner at all.  Says Larry Constantine, an assistant clinical professor in psychiatry at Tufts, one such self-styled sexual radical:  "Children have the right to express themselves sexually, even with members of their own family."

     But most of the pro-incest thought rises logically enough from the premises of the sex-research establishment: all forms of consensual sexuality are good, or at least neutral; problems arise not from sex, but from guilt, fear and repression.  That kind of faith is bound to lead its believers in crusades against all sexual prohibitions, including incest.

     Traditional academics have tended to look down on sex researchers as pushy, ham-handed amateurs, and the arguments for incest will do little to change that view.  The literature shows absolutely no attention to psychological realities: that often an adolescent and surely a small child can hardly produce anything like informed consent to an adult it depends on for life and guidance; or that the lifting of the incest barrier would invite the routine exploitation of children by disturbed parents.  The sex researchers may get the shocked public reaction they expect, but their arguments are truly too simply-minded to earn it.  Critic Benjamin DeMott, professor of English at Amherst, feels that outrage is no the proper response to what might be called the pro-incest lobby.  Says he:  "These voices cry out loudest for pity."



From: KATHY_OAK9/13/13 9:12 AM 
To: All  (4 of 4) 
 519.4 in reply to 519.3 

Needless to say, anyone who supports this manner of thinking about what should be accepted as natural and normal human sexuality is also going to have no problem supporting homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality--you name it.  And no one should ever forget that it has been the so-called "sex experts" who have foisted these ideas on our society over the years.

And look at what the article says about SIECUS. 

Interesting, too, that when this article was written in 1980, SIECUS was an acronym for "Sex Information and Education Council of the United States" whereas it has since changed its name to the "Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States" which is a much broader, all-encompassing term including sexual feelings and relationships.

And to think that at the time the book "Kinsey, Sex and Fraud" was published in 1990, SIECUS was the primary source of sex education programs and publications adopted by the U. S. Department of Education. 

And what happens when the so-called "sex experts" are sexual perverts themselves?  We're in the process of finding out right now.  Look around--and be honest about what you see and the damage that's already been done.


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