From 'Fschmidt' on my forum:
I just read an incredible book called "Sex and Culture" by J. D. Unwin published in 1934. The book analyzes 80 primitive cultures (anthropology) and a number of past empires (history) and finds that, without exception, the level of advancement or decline of all cultures is directly tied to the level of regulation of female sexuality. His historical examples include the Sumerians, Babylonians, Athenians, Romans, Teutons, and Anglo-Saxons (600s - 900s), and English (1500s - 1900s). In every example, these cultures began to rise when women were required to be virgins at marriage and to be monogamous for life. All of these cultures began to decline when women were given rights, were not required to be virgins at marriage, when divorce was common, and marriage was in decline.
This book makes me feel ridiculous for thinking that we are facing some new problem with feminism. We are just repeating history, that has been repeated over and over again. I knew that late Rome had some of these issues, but I didn't know how universal it was. For example, in late Babylonia, they had alimony, child support, no-fault divorce, marital rape laws, and economic equal rights for women. Soon after, this empire, that had lasted hundreds of years, collapsed. All of these successful cultures had begun at the opposite extreme, almost beyond modern imagination, with no rights for women. For example, the punishment for adultery among the early Anglo-Saxons was that adulterous wife was killed and the guilty man had to buy a new wife for the harmed husband. The European middle ages were a result of sexual decadence and the gradual rise of Europe starting in the 1600s was the result of gradually increasing regulation of women, largely caused by Christianity.
Since this book was published in England in 1934, Unwin describes the degree of sexual decay in his time as being substantially less advanced than it was by the end of other empires. Of course, what we see today in 2008 is quite different from 1934, and exactly matches the behavior of all empires just before their collapse.
The great strength of this book is in its method, to rationally analyze all anthropological and historical data to look for the relationship between sex and culture. The weakness of this book is when he tries to analyze and explain this relationship. Unwin is actually an academic liberal thinker, and largely a Freudian, which was common at this time. His explanation is that restricting female sexuality also restricts male sexuality, and that repressed sexuality expresses itself in other ways such as cultural advancement. All of us realize that this is nonsense. We realize this because we live in a culture that is fully decayed, and we know that restricting female sexuality actually benefits male sexuality by distributing women more equitably. So I cannot really hold Unwin's mistaken conclusion against him since he did not have enough understanding to realize the cause of the relationship between sex and culture that he found.
I don't think anyone interested in men's rights could not be profoundly influenced by reading this book. It is extremely hard to find. I got it through inter-library loan. This week, I will try to contact the publisher to see if anything can be done to make this book more widely available.