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Money-Kyrle, R. (1934). Sexual Regulations and Human Behaviour: By J. D. Unwin. (Williams & Norgate Ltd., London, 1933. Pp xv + 108. Price 7 s. 6 d. net.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 15:354-355.

(1934). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 15:354-355

Sexual Regulations and Human Behaviour: By J. D. Unwin. (Williams & Norgate Ltd., London, 1933. Pp xv + 108. Price 7 s. 6 d. net.)

Review by:
Roger Money-Kyrle

Those who are easily intimidated by the sheer weight of statistical enumeration will at once succumb to the thesis of this book—that in human society there is a positive correlation between the degree of sexual restraint and the height of culture. The critical reader may indeed observe that the conclusion is somewhat wider than the premise. Dr. Unwin measures the degree of sexual restraint in any society by the pre-nuptial chastity of its marriageable girls (p. 8), and he selects as the main characteristic of a high culture the presence of temples for the worship of the gods (p. 1). Thus the actual, as opposed to the inferential, result of his statistical research would seem to be that men are religious in those societies in which their unmarried daughters are either prostitutes or chaste.

Dr. Unwin bridges the gap between this premise and his conclusion by assuming some degree of chastity in women to be symptomatic of chastity in general and temple building, priestcraft, etc., to be an expression of cultural energy. Those of us who believe that there can be no sublimation without repression will, at least partially, concede his point. But excessive repression tends to overflow and inhibit the sublimations it has itself produced. Therefore we might expect culture to rise with sexual restraint to a certain optimum and then to fall again. Perhaps Dr. Unwin will compile some more statistics in his next book to prove whether or not this expectation is correct.

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