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Sex and Culture
J.D. Unwin
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Sex and Culture

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  54 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In Sex and Culture (1934), the ethnologist and social anthropologist J. D. Unwin studied 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe. "Sex and Culture is a work of the highest importance," Aldous Huxley wrote; "Unwin's conclus ...more
ebook, 1st, 676 pages
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Daniel Clark
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This blew my mind. The "monotonous" pattern (meaning it's so predictable it's almost boring) is that "Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation". He also said that a society has three generations (~100 years) after a sexual revolution before its collapse. Western civilization had its sexual revolution recently; we are now decaying into what Unwin calls "zoistic"--self-focused ...more
Jul 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthropology
Did Prof. Unwin intend, upon the publication of his book in 1934, to predict the eventual collapse of Anglo-American civilization? Based on a complex and exhaustive system of gradings of Western societies in history and of 'savage' cultures throughout the world as reported by field anthropologists, Unwin deduced that collapse begins one generation after any society abandons its insistence that brides be virgins. Family breakdowns, disruptions of fertility and childrearing, the weakening of the m ...more
Jun 05, 2019 marked it as to-read
Available at: Marriott Library ARC Click Request: Dewey Collection 392.6 U62
Valentin Jozic
Sep 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important books on the effects of sexual freedom on cultures and civilizations.

The whole premise of the book is that increased sexual freedom leads to civilization's decline while limited sexual freedom leads to civilization's advance.

An absolute must-read if you want to fully understand why some civilizations and cultures thrive and prosper while others fail.

Some quotes from the book:

"Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom."
Steve McGee
Jan 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to overstate the importance of Unwin's work toward understanding the rise and fall of civilizations. I came to this book after hearing Camille Paglia, herself a masculine lesbian and self described decadent, state that artwork depicting sexual ambiguity became frequent just before the collapse of civilizations. This was an interesting idea, but didn't appear to show causality. Web searching for this idea led me to 'Sex and Culture'.

There can't be scientific controlled studies on c
Private Account
Dec 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t love the way this book was written, but the idea it argues is fascinating. Only super religious, anti-hedonistic people breed and conquer. We see this in our own time. He can’t tell you why that is, but he can show you that throughout history, this rule is a solid rule. (And he can speculate about energy, which he does.)

He points out that when we learn about history, historians always treat societies — like Ancient Greece or Rome — as stagnant. “This is the way it was,” when in fact the
Nusar Milbes
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
An important forgotten book of our previous century. If I come around to it, I’ll write a detailed review.

Also, if anyone sees this comments and has any ideas why this text was just left behind? I can understand his views are dated and are based on previous understandings of anthropology, but the idea that this book is not important and the thesis does not at least have some weight is not fair to assume by any means. Especially his conclusions on “primitive” cultures.
Mazhar Hussain
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
MUST-READ and SAVE YOUR CIVILIZATION. This is a valuable research work but the tragedy is people resist any good thing if it imposes any sort of restriction on their passion even if it is in their best interest.
I think it's very important ...more
Apr 09, 2022 rated it liked it
Though I didn't read every single section of the robust research that Unwin conducted on 80 different societies, I found Sex and Culture to be an important, meaningful, and prescient work. The turn-of-the-century psychologist presents three different groups of societies to readers that are found throughout history and even modern-day culture: zoistic, manistic, and deistic. These different "schools" of society all have different belief systems that a) acknowledge or do not acknowledge a higher ...more
Lasse Birk Olesen

Unwin bruger flest kræfter på 80 primitive samfund, mens en håndfuld civiliserede samfund som romerne, grækerne, sumererne, angel-sakserne fylder mindre.

Korrelationen mellem en streng seksualmoral og kulturel tilstand i de primitive samfund virker overbevisende. Årsagen forklarer Unwin med inspiration fra noget psykoanalyse, hvor den ophobede seksuelle energi ledes over i samfundsmæssig expansion og produktion. Den forklaring er noget spekulativ. Korrelationen hos de civiliserede samf
Peter Warren
Oct 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book was simply mind blowing. As someone who has very much come to believe that a lot of societies issues stem from the break down of monogamous marriage, reading what appears to be a very well researched book that says this so clearly from the 1930s is still something of a shock. A lot of liberal progressive types would really struggle with this but it is they who perhaps need to grasp the implications the most.
Amr Alfaisal
Jul 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A bit of a slog, but, has interesting conclusion.
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