Loose Sexual Morals are Dyscivic

I have a new blog on my blog roll – the site is run by an Orthodox priest and the latest entry (by an associate) is worth a read.

The article is based on the research done by a social anthropologist J.D. Unwin in 1936. He posited that cultural sexual mores correlate with cultural flourishing.

He looked at categories of culture: art, architecture, literature, engineering, etc. He then gave labels on cultural levels:

  1. zoistic: Entirely self-focussed on day-to day-life, wants, and needs, with no interest in understanding nature. Described as a “dead culture” or “inert”.

  2. monistic: Acquire superstitious beliefs and/or special treatment of the dead to cope with the natural world.

  3. deistic: Attribute the powers of nature to a god or gods

  4. rationalistic: Use rational thinking to understand nature and to make day-to-day decisions.

He also supplied categories for sexual mores:

  1. Complete sexual freedom—no prenuptial restraints at all

  2. Irregular or occasional restraint— cultural regulations require an occasional period of abstinence

  3. Strict Chastity —remain a virgin until married

Postnuptial categories were:[5]

  1. Modified monogamy: one spouse at a time, but association can be terminated by either party.

  2. Modified polygamy: men can have more than one wife, but a wife is free to leave her husband.

  3. Absolute monogamy: only one spouse permitted for life (or until death in some cultures)

  4. Absolute polygamy:  men can have more than one wife, but wives must “confine their sexual qualities (i.e., activity) to their husband for the whole of their lives.”

After studying 86 cultures, the result was that strong sexual mores strongly correlate with cultural flourishing.

  1. Effect of sexual constraints: Increased sexual constraints, either pre or post-nuptial, always led to increased flourishing of a culture. Conversely, increased sexual freedom always led to the collapse of a culture three generations later.

  2. Single most influential factor: Surprisingly, the data revealed that the single most important correlation with the flourishing of a culture was whether pre-nuptial chastity was required or not. It had a very significant effect either way.

  3. Highest flourishing of culture: The most powerful combination was pre-nuptial chastity coupled with “absolute monogamy”. Rationalist cultures that retained this combination for at least three generations exceeded all other cultures in every area, including literature, art, science, furniture, architecture, engineering, and agriculture. Only three out of the eighty-six cultures studied ever attained this level.

  4. Effect of abandoning prenuptial chastity: When strict prenuptial chastity was no longer the norm, absolute monogamy, deism, and rational thinking also disappeared within three generations.

  5. Total sexual freedom: If total sexual freedom was embraced by a culture, that culture collapsed within three generations to the lowest state of flourishing — which Unwin describes as “inert” and at a “dead level of conception” and is characterized by people who have little interest in much else other than their own wants and needs. At this level, the culture is usually conquered or taken over by another culture with greater social energy.

  6. Time lag: If there is a change in sexual constraints, either increased or decreased restraints, the full effect of that change is not realized until the third generation. (Note: I’ve added a clarifying footnote at the end of this article. See footnote #13)

Basically, in a society where nearly all men can’t get sex without marriage, they tend to invest themselves in achieving great things.

This also matches the testimony of the men who participate in the November No Coomer abstinence/fast. It also matches the testimony of food fasters, who, in their fasting journey, begin with inward obsession but end the fast with external focus.

The author goes on to demonstrate how Unwin’s findings are predictive of the current culture death we are now experiencing (Rationalist to currently monistic).

The whole thing is worth a read.

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56 thoughts on “Loose Sexual Morals are Dyscivic”

  1. This is rather fascinating. It makes a lot of sense too. Just on a superficial level look at the art world in the West since the 60s. It is complete trash. It is literally an expose of the laziness of man in creating things of beauty. Now consider that many modern artists are rather promiscuous and this post makes a lot of sense. Here, check this out:

    This is in a “highly respected” art museum. It’s really laughable that people get excited about seeing this crap.

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  2. Great post. I came across Unwin maybe 8-10 years ago. Never read his book but gleaned the thesis from various other websites and reviews of the book on Amazon. I included a few quotes from him in the back of my memoir. Interesting that you should publish this post, as I came across the original post (here) just yesterday, by way of Fr. Z (here).

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  3. This is the most insane post/thread I’ve yet to read. I don’t have a clue about this sexual phobia all of you seem to have but it doesn’t have a thing to do with anything but irresponsibly that results in illegitimacy. That is the subject that should be under discussion but somehow, once again, MEN think having babies out of wedlock doesn’t incur the social disasters that it has. They’re more worried about the how and not the consequences?

    BTW, the whole post by MEN about the pill was another stupid thing; there are plenty of women who use (to quote Hyp) mechanical BC and I really enjoyed the fact that all of you male experts assumed I used the pill. It’s a personal subject to be sure but because I was a smoker for a few years, that wasn’t even an option but for many women it is. I won’t criticize their choices.

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  4. I am skeptical; Islamic cultures which practice strict abstinence before marriage are not exactly flourishing, and they aren’t the only ones who practice strict abstinence before marriage and are not flourishing.

    More importantly, though: when has it ever been  nearly impossible for most men in Western cultures to get sex without marriage? Prostitution has always been a thing, St Augustine and the early Church fathers took a very lenient view of it.

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  5. Judy Campbell:
    I am skeptical; Islamic cultures which practice strict abstinence before marriage are not exactly flourishing, and they aren’t the only ones who practice strict abstinence before marriage and are not flourishing.

    More importantly, though: when has it ever been  nearly impossible for most men in Western cultures to get sex without marriage? Prostitution has always been a thing, St Augustine and the early Church fathers took a very lenient view of it.

    And here’s another thing, Judy. Those pious Islamic hypocrites practice prostitution but call it Nikah mut’ah.

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  6. EThompson:
    This is the most insane post/thread I’ve yet to read. I don’t have a clue about this sexual phobia all of you seem to have but it doesn’t have a thing to do with anything but irresponsibly that results in illegitimacy. That is the subject that should be under discussion but somehow, once again, MEN think having babies out of wedlock doesn’t incur the social disasters that it has. They’re more worried about the how and not the consequences?

    BTW, the whole post by MEN about the pill was another stupid thing; there are plenty of women who use (to quote Hyp) mechanical BC and I really enjoyed the fact that all of you male experts assumed I used the pill. It’s a personal subject to be sure but because I was a smoker for a few years, that wasn’t even an option but for many women it is. I won’t criticize their choices.

    Ummm I’m not a man.

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  7. Judy Campbell:
    I am skeptical; Islamic cultures which practice strict abstinence before marriage are not exactly flourishing, and they aren’t the only ones who practice strict abstinence before marriage and are not flourishing.

    More importantly, though: when has it ever been  nearly impossible for most men in Western cultures to get sex without marriage? Prostitution has always been a thing, St Augustine and the early Church fathers took a very lenient view of it.

    What was noted concerning Islamic culture is that they are polygamous, which doesn’t have as high a culture value as strict monogamy.

    Prostitution may have always existed, but it has never been socially acceptable. More in a bit.

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  8. Stina:
    Prostitution may have always existed, but it has never been socially acceptable.

    Huh? With all due respect, do you read? Nikah mut’ah has always been considered socially acceptable in Islamic society.

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  9. Ok, I don’t want to nitpick here, but there is a huge difference between “nearly impossible for men to get sex outside of marriage” and “socially unacceptable for men to get sex outside of marriage”. I am really not trying to be difficult, just not clear on what your meaning is.

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  10. Stina:
    Prostitution may have always existed, but it has never been socially acceptable. More in a bit.

    What was not acceptable and has since become acceptable is sleeping around with “marriable” women – women who come from stable homes, well-mannered, capable of self-care and caring for others, and skilled in management. The kind of woman who you bring home to mama is now expected to not be a virgin and the assumption is no longer that couples are not sleeping together, but that they are. It’s telling in our entertainment when parents feel sophisticated when they put their child and significant other in the same room.

    It used to be scandalous for a such a woman to be in such intimate settings with a man. That is something that did change.

    And I’m not entirely certain that prostitution was used by all men. There has always been a kind of elite moral system that is different than that of the masses, but I sincerely doubt even all the upper elite participated in it. I think that might be a feminist exaggeration.

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  11. EThompson:

    Stina:
    Prostitution may have always existed, but it has never been socially acceptable.

    Huh? With all due respect, do you read? Nikah mut’ah has always been considered socially acceptable in Islamic society.

    Your hostility makes you not someone I’m interested in engaging.

    Since Islamic culture is low culture, it isn’t relevant that they have prostitution. What was relevant was strict sexual moral codes coinciding with low culture. And I addressed that.

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  12. EThompson:

    Stina:
    Your hostility makes you not someone I’m interested in engaging.

    Ditto.

    Where was mine except where I commented on yours?

    You disparage Christian sexual ethics whenever it is brought up. Would you care to write your own post on what kind of bupkis christian sexual ethics are?

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  13. An old friend of mine is a professional sculptor-has made his living at it for the past 20 years, and has been doing since childhood. He is for real, and his work requires real talent: most of his sculptures are either people or animals, not the kind of stuff you can cheat on or BS your way through. He is entirely self taught; he tried to take a class in sculpting eons ago: he was told by the instructor that there was no place in this world for his artwork, because it wasn’t “modern” enough.

    He owns a shop were he sells his work in Alaska: he has always stayed far far away from NYC.

    As someone who knew people in the art world of Alaska, for whatever that is worth, I think this is the problem: bullshit artists far outnumber the real ones; real artists are a threat to bullshit artists, and bullshit artists will do everything they can to destroy the real ones. I don’t sex has much or anything to do with it: it’s much darker than that.

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  14. Judy Campbell:
    I don’t sex has much or anything to do with it: it’s much darker than that.

    I have a friend who was studying to be a priest who had a different take on sexual ethics than I did and why the Bible is so antagonistic of it…

    Her opinion was that loose mores were so closely tied to pagan rituals that Jews and Christians were encouraged to steer away from them.

    I don’t think that’s wrong, but I think it is incomplete… I think the loosening of sexual mores is tied with openness to the darkness. The more you fiddle with the boundaries, the darker it gets…

    So I wouldn’t be minimizing how dark sexual deviancy can get… it gets very dark.

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  15. Stina:

    EThompson:

    Stina:
    Your hostility makes you not someone I’m interested in engaging.

    Ditto.

    Where was mine except where I commented on yours?

    You disparage Christian sexual ethics whenever it is brought up. Would you care to write your own post on what kind of bupkis christian sexual ethics are?

    I do no such thing. I am extraordinarily conservative on the topic of illegitimacy. I don’t judge people about their personal life but I do take issue if it involves unwanted, fatherless children. I think the discussion of birth control is a personal topic but it better be practiced and we should perhaps stop wasting time on the topic of adult abstinence or the dangers of the pill.

    A true conservative would understand the severe social ramifications of unprotected sex. That’s all.

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  16. EThompson:
    I do no such thing.

    Yeah, you do:

    EThompson:
    This is the most insane post/thread I’ve yet to read. I don’t have a clue about this sexual phobia all of you seem to have

    This post has nothing to do with illegitimacy.

    It is about how the sexual ethics espoused in the Bible are strongly correlated with flourishing culture.

    You call that sexual-phobia… and you were quite derogatory towards women in your own life who thought cohabitation was wrong (in The Pill post). So yes, it does appear you have issues with people espousing approval and support and superiority in Christian sexual ethics.

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  17. My last comment on this thread is that Protestant sexual ethics exist primarily to avoid what I abhor most- illegitimacy. It never was about the sexual activity itself– it was always about the repercussions.

    Now, if you are a devout Catholic and believe sex should be a solely procreative act, that’s another conversation altogether and one I wouldn’t care to engage in.

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  18. Stina:
    So I wouldn’t be minimizing how dark sexual deviancy can get… it gets very dark.

    Ok, but Michaelangelo was gay; Leonardo da Vinci was gay. According to the movie about his life, Mozart was not exactly chaste in his dealings with women; Beethoven wasn’t either, and if I knew more about great artists, I could probably go on and on. Too many of the greatest artists have been sexual libertines. Most bullshit artists are also sexual libertines. I have personally known both real artists and bullshit artists: in my experience, they are all libertines, but some of them have real talent and most of them don’t.

    I think that you and the sociologist you refer to are overstating the case. There are lots of excellent reasons to wait until marriage for sex, but to claim that a person or a civilization will be more creative and more talented if they are more chaste is stretching it.

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  19. Judy Campbell:
    Ok, but Michaelangelo was gay; Leonardo da Vinci was gay. According to the movie about his life, Mozart was not exactly chaste in his dealings with women; Beethoven wasn’t either, and if I knew more about great artists, I could probably go on and on.

    I find this argument repeated constantly when trying to promote social standards – that certain people did just fine when rejecting social standards so the social standards are fine to be dismissed.

    When high social standards exist, most people follow them to the best of their ability. Where people fail in that attempt, grace is extended. Cultures that uphold high standards have cultural flourishing. That doesn’t mean everyone is signed on to it, but those who don’t are largely hiding their proclivities.

    In societies with high standards, there is a salvific effect because the average (law abiding) person strives to follow convention. If church attendance is expected, they will largely go. They are largely like sheep. There is then a smaller set that emulates celebrity… so celebrities that uphold moral values will affect the values of their followers. Then there are those who rebel against the mores. The higher the standard, the less  bad their behavior need be to buck the system.

    When standards are lowered (because all people do it), then the baseline is lower and the deviancy even lower.

    Artists flourish when they have wealthy patrons… their art doesn’t succeed if it only reflects their personal values, but the socially dominant values. So the existence of sexually deviant artists contributing to high culture means nothing because they would not have been painting the Sistine Chapel if their art didn’t reflect the dominant culture.

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  20. Stina:
    I find this argument repeated constantly when trying to promote social standards – that certain people did just fine when rejecting social standards so the social standards are fine to be dismissed.

    That isn’t what I am arguing, at all. Please read the comment in its entirety.

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  21. Judy Campbell:

    Stina:
    I find this argument repeated constantly when trying to promote social standards – that certain people did just fine when rejecting social standards so the social standards are fine to be dismissed.

    That isn’t what I am arguing, at all. Please read the comment in its entirety.

    And read my response in its entirety. I did read yours. You seem to be arguing that standards aren’t all that important because these men didn’t uphold them in their personal lives.

    But they were living in a culture that did uphold them and their art largely reflects that.

    Your sculptor friend did not succeed in his art class because his art does not reflect the dominant culture which demands rejection of convention, nevermind that convention has been rejected for so long now that rejection IS conventional.

    GRRM succeeded because his work does reflect that dominant culture, which values breaking “tropes” to the point of murdering off all hope for good men in his story. It is nihilistic which reflects the despairing nihilism of men in our current society where they see no point in rising to great achievement or being good or pursuing something that contributes to the future because they see no future worth working for.

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  22. Stina:
    You seem to be arguing that standards aren’t all that important because these men didn’t uphold them in their personal lives.

    I said no such thing; I argued no such thing. I am not going to debate you on what you say I said, which isn’t what I actually said. Goodbye.

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