Why is sexual pleasure taboo? Probably because of the associated exploitation (of women by men) and deceit (perpetrated by women on men). [i] Few people appear to be capable of appreciating objective sex information.
The taboo involved in talking about sex means that most people prefer to say nothing. Political correctness prevents sexologists from questioning and challenging in the way that scientists are obliged to. There is always someone somewhere who is offended! The woman-on-the-street is never invited to comment on (let alone provide convincing evidence in support of) modern theories in sexology. Women are more or less told (often by men) how they should enjoy sexual pleasure. So sexology promotes the same fantasies about female sexuality that every man-on-the-street dreams of!
In every chapter of human history we have shown ourselves to be slow to accept scientific conclusions that conflict with our personal intuition, with our self-interest and with our desire to set ourselves apart from animals.
For example we know that we are spinning through space on a massive sphere but it is easy to see why our forebears assumed that the earth was flat. In the first instance we trust our intuition and instincts rather than accept the abstract and intellectual logic involved in scientific reasoning.
Wilberforce only succeeded with his ‘Slave Trade Act’ (of 1807) because of a legal technicality. The moral outrage of slavery was indisputable but slavery had become an essential part of commercial life. Most of us can ignore our moral conscience when it conflicts with our own self-interest.
When Darwin published ‘The Origin of Species’ (in 1859) he encountered bitter opposition from the Church. Society considered it degrading to compare (and find similarities between) animals and humans. Although we kill and reproduce we prefer to see ourselves as spiritual beings rather than acknowledge our more primitive carnal instincts. We like to believe that we are influenced foremost by intellectual and rational thought.
We rarely acknowledge the emotional and political forces that influence the acceptance of scientific work. The truth is that some research findings are much more actively promoted than others with little regard for their merits. We have all heard of Viagra, not because of its efficacy but, because it is backed by the economic might of the pharmaceutical industry. We have also heard of the G-spot because it helps therapists promote intercourse as a core lovemaking act. It is not that more realistic sex information is necessarily ignored so much as that it is simply drowned out.
[i] As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity. (Alan Gregg’s preface to Kinsey’s first report 1948)
Excerpt from Jane’s book Sexuality & Sexual Techniques (2015)