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Exhausting Night Time Activities

Examination of Joseph D. Unwins Sex and Culture

Written by Pter Varga

Joseph D. Unwin argues in his book Sex and Culture that the energy level of a
society depends on its regulations towards sexuality. The conclusion of his research is
that a society shows the greatest energy level when pre-nuptial chastity is preserved,
and later on lost in a heterosexual and monogamous relationship.
The question of sexual liberation and its allegedly harmful effects on society is
indeed a thrilling one, but also a very sensitive subject witch raises several questions
in connection with the relationship of the individual and society, not to mention the
moral connotations of the whole discourse.
The examples that are mentioned by Unwin, namely the Persians,
Macedonians, Huns, and Mongols are debateable in my opinion, as he argues that he
managed to reach his conclusion by deduction, but failed to recognize the fact that in
each and every case the collapse of the great empires was in direct connection with
the death of an almost legendary monarch, namely Cyrus in case of the Persians,
Alexander the Great in case of Macedonia, Attila, the Scourge of God in case of the
Huns, and Ghengis Khan in case of the Mongol Empire. The examples shown by
Unwin would be more fitting to support Carlyles Great Man Approach than his own
However, one cannot ignore the fact that cultural flourishing requires stability,
and therefore a constant supply of new individuals in a given society, on whom the
cultural legacy is to be passed on. In case of the Viking society for example,
homosexuality was not condemned as long as the individual was willing to produce
children despite his sexual orientation1.
The ratio of sexes in a given society is also something that one must consider when
examining Unwins theory. Genetic researches have shown that the sex of the
offspring is entirely up to the genetics of the father. In a polygamous society, where
only the male members are allowed to have more than one partner, the balance
between the number of the members of the different sexes are inevitable to be tipped
off in a few generations time. As long as sexual diversity is not balanced, society is
compelled to take drastic measures to tip the balance back in order to survive.


Henry the VIIIth is a prime example of the typical polygamous male, although
calling him polygamous would be at least chronologically incorrect. A
polygamous society would require one sex to be subordinated to the other; therefore
the preferred sex of the offspring would be the dominant one which would result in
an unhealthy ratio between the sexes on a long run.
Polygamy therefore is harmful to society on the long run, although examining
it as a liberal sexual act is the wrong approach as it usually comes with the
subordination of one of the sexes.
Preserving of pre-nuptial chastity on the other hand is a misunderstood and
misused concept in my opinion. The origin of this custom could be found in an age
where STDs and STIs could easily result in sterility, and as patriarchal societies often
required the groom to actually pay for the bride, it is evident that chastity was
something that contributed to the price of the bride.
An interesting example is the Japanese geisha culture, where the virginity of a
new geisha is sold in a private auction to the highest bidder.
In other cultures it is the bride who is expected to bring her dowry which
could be any sort of material wealth to the marriage. When the bride had
questionable, or no chastity, the dowry must had been bigger in order to marry her off.
Interestingly enough, chastity was only expected from women before marriage, as
male dominant societies were more permitting towards fellow males than females,
who were completely or to a certain extent treated like property of the male.
At last but not least one might raises the question whether society has the
right, or not, to place its own needs and preferences over the individuals needs and
desires. My opinion is that the whole concept of society was created in order to make
the individuals life easier, to help the individuals survival, and I must agree with
Freud that () a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants
unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a
lasting existence. When a culture or civilizations interferes with the free will of the
individual for the greater good of civilization, it will collapse even more inevitably
than it would as a result of three generations of decadent sexual liberalization. An
ideal, lasting, and powerful civilization is only possible when it is not about
oppression or restriction of any kind, but a coalition of individuals working together
to their mutual benefit.