The Psychology of Sex
The Mediterranean Legacy. In a somewhat pejorative way, it is currently fashionable to call this Eastern Mediterranean legacy Judeo-Christian, but its origins are undoubtedly older than the Bible, putatively in or east of the region of the fertile crescent. Its regional representation still extends far beyond the Biblical realm of Judah, through India to China and Japan. It is the tradition of the virgin bride and the double standard of inequality between the sexes. One may conjecture that this tradition was historically related in origin to the development of urbanization. Urbanization itself was related to the institution of hierarchical power and wealth. Historically, the first cities may possibly have evolved as hypertrophied villages, that is as an egalitarian collection of huts, all uniform in design, and each one constructed by its own occupants. The record of archeology shows, however, that a very long time ago cities featured elitism: a hierarchy of residential grandeur, including palaces, temples, and monuments, dependent on wealth. Elitism requires that the poor or enslaved labor for the wealthy and powerful. From occupational enslavement, it is an easy step to sexual enslavement. In a patriarchal tradition, sexual enslavement means that men own women by paying a bride price to the woman’s parents, irrespective of her own consent. The greater the wealth and power, the greater the number of polygamous wives or of concubines in the harem.
According to the binary logic of sex, the greater the proportion of sequestered women in a society, the greater the proportion of unpaired males for whom the society must provide an alternative – wars and feuds in which they die, enforced celibacy, homosexual pairing, or shared pairing with harlots. The whorehouse, the public harem, is the counterpart of the seraglio, the private harem. The polyandry of the one matches the polygyny of the other, and the institution of the double standard is complete. Women are either whores or madonnas. Only the whores of society are entitled to more than one male partner. Their children are their own responsibility. Madonnas are bound by the rule of chastity and fidelity. They bear children for their master or husband, and he owns them until, if daughters, he gives them away in marriage or, if sons, they reach legal adulthood.
Whereas legal polygamy has long since disappeared in our society, the institution of the whorehouse has preserved itself since ancient times, and the concubine or mistress, the kept woman, still exists. The doctrine of the virgin bride and the double standard is still the official one, and still honored in many articles of the law, though otherwise increasingly honored in the breach rather than the observance.
John Money, Love and Love Sickness: The Science of Sex, Gender Difference and Pair-bonding, pp. 56-57. John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, London) 1980.