Robert Michels Sexual Ethics: a Study of Borderland Questions

Topics: Sexual intercourse, Human sexual behavior, Human sexuality Pages: 7 (2718 words) Published: January 13, 2013
The book that I decided to examine was originally written in 1914 by was a German sociologist Robert Michles. He wrote on the political behavior of intellectual elites and contributed to elite theory. He was a student of Max Weber and a friend of Sombart and Loria. I have chosen the part of the book where Michels writes about the features of the amatory life and it’s manifestation in Italy, Germany and France because this problem of sexual ethics attracts me as I travel a lot and face this in my life. Later in the second chapter the author goes deeper in the history of French, German and Italian extra-conjugal lives and expounds how the prostitution in this countries origins and subsequently developed.

Part II
Borderland problems of the extra-conjugal erotic life.

Chapter I.
Comparative sexual psychology in various contries.

Though love is an impulse based upon sexual differentiation of the man from the woman, it is absolutely regardless of nationality. In this chapter the author shows the manifold of the erotic impulse in different countries. Michels starts the study of the phenomena of the erotic life with Germans. He claims that however cold and restrained may be Germans in other aspects, they are utterly shameless in love. The ordinary observer would be forced to be patient to shameless lovemaking of young couples before the public eye. On the other hand Italians who seem to be classic “children of nature” from “ardent land of love” prove to be rather shy in such manifestations. Hardly any lovers are to be seen in the streets and if you even see few, they will probably be tourists. If we were to judge of Italian morality by the life on the streets it would be necessary to suppose that all northern poets writing for us love songs of Italy have been liars. It is clear that all we can find out about Italian passion is superlative phraseology. If some foreign traveler expects to see Romeo and Juliet he will be totally disillusioned to find a cabman quarrelling with a market woman for a few halfpence instead. The amatory life and its manifestations are concealed in Italy. The poet Wilhelm Muller wonders how even a betrothed couple may not without loss of reputation walk together. Even in the present year things are still much the same. Everywhere we note the same complete absence of affectionate couples engaged in courtship. However the author claims that it would be absurd to maintain that there is less love in Italy then elsewhere. This phenomenon can be explained quite simple: all the erotic manifestations are reserved for the intimate life. The ideal love for Italians is alcove love and they are accustomed from earliest youth to take this view of love manifestations. Thus it is clear why the native of Italy are so astonished and revolted when visiting Germany and France. Michels describes his journey from Rome to Eisenach where he and his wife were accidental spectators of pleasant romantic love scenes on the slopes of Metilstein. He pays his attention on the fact of such frank display of manifesting despite the dreary grayness of German social conditions. But the most startling to a stranger is the amatory life in Holland. The eroticism is displayed everywhere in the manner to touch the nerves even of the strongest. The author holds that if an ingenious youth from some English of Italian country spends a month in Paris he would be less enlightened in the love matter then if he would spend a quarter of an hour in Duch Utrech. In Holland we see thousands of young lovers of every possible variety, ranging from the pair uniting for a single night to engaged couples on their honeymoon. They are shamelessly cuddling, tickling resembling a herd of rutting kine. Such love scenes are too crude and too audaciously public that it might produce a painful impression on the unaccustomed spectator. The important factor of sexual life is the domain of prostitution in the country. Michels gives the examples of the...
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