Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

Is there a future for human sexuality?*

CYRIL GREENLAND


Some things are better than sex and some things are worse but there is nothing exactly like it. (W.C. Fields)

Because sex is a great amateur sport professionals in this field are suspect and distrusted. They miss the whole point of sex and spoil the show by revealing mankind's relationship to the animal kingdom rather than to angels and saints.

That is why the pioneers like Sigmund Freud, Havelock Ellis, Marie Stopes, Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey and, most recently William Masters and Virginia Johnson, have in turn been misinterpreted and condemned -- frequently and most viciously -- by their own colleagues. In the context of history this form of professional vilification has come to be a badge of merit.

In tracing the vicissitudes of human sexuality my aim will be to focus attention on religious, legal and medical practices which have tended to degrade humanity. This may also explain why sex, which takes so little time, causes so much bother. Lord Chesterfield, who did as much as anyone to make sex comfortable, said of sex: 'the enjoyment is quite temporary. The cost exorbitant and the position is simply ridiculous.'

Commenting on the vast gulf between public attitudes towards sex and private practices revealed by his pioneer studies, Alfred Kinsey said 'I believe that our culture is gradually convalescing from a sexually debilitating disease: Victorianism.' [ 8 ] The main symptom was the belief that sex was wicked, loathsome

____________________
*
Presented to the CPHA Conference, June 9, 1972, Saskatoon, and published in abridged form in Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality Vol. 2 ( November 1972), Canadian edition.

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