By Susan Salter Reynolds
May 20, 2005
The Politics of Lust is one of those books that makes you question where your habits and beliefs really come from.
Ince writes that a hierarchical society (patriarchal, ethnic, religious) causes erotophobia, antisexualism and something he calls (terrifyingly) "rigidity," a kind of rigor mortis of normal human sexual behavior caused by fear and often resulting in a simple lack of cleanliness. (His premise: If you can't look at your own genitals, a syndrome Ince calls "fig-leafing," you sure can't keep 'em clean.) Add to that a not-so-simple perversion of lust (tied, inexorably, to fear, guilt, shame and anxiety).
For this book, Ince examines the laws prohibiting oral and anal sex, nudity, adultery and group sex. He looks at sexual intolerance in sex education, in religious education and in the media. He all but says that the way we approach teen sex leads to disease, unwanted sex and emotional trauma. Let's face it, we're a mess. Ince doesn't mince words.