Adventures in the Orgasmatron, How the Sexual Revolution Came to America by Christopher Turner

Richard A. Blasband

Abstract


Christopher Turner writes for Cabinet magazine, a British quarterly that publishes articles about many facets of society, culture, science, and what have you, some of them allegedly rendered in a scholarly way.

The present book, Turner's first, is, I believe, intended to be scholarly in that Turner sets out in some detail the historical background for what he perceived to be the sexual revolution. In it, he provides interesting, reasonably well-written information about political and cultural conditions in Europe and the United States in the early and middle part of the 20th century, when the modern sexual revolution germinated and came into full force.

However, it is difficult to decide whether the central theme of the book is the sexual revolution per se or the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. Of course, the two are inextricably bound together, as it was Reich who laid the scientific foundation for understanding sexuality in depth and for actively educating professionals and the masses about these facts and their significance for physical and emotional health and societal functioning. It is Reich's book The Sexual Revolution (1945 in English) that originally documented this shift in societal mores. Other pioneers in modern times who worked toward changing our sexual mores-Freud, other psychoanalysts, Kinsey, Marcuse, and Perls-also are mentioned and their work reasonably described, but they are given short shrift compared to Reich. It is here, however, that scholarly objectivity disappears.


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