Kupferberg: Sex and War (1962)

SEX & WAR by Tuli Kupferberg
BIRTH PRESS, New York, July 1962


The relationmship between sex and war has been recognized for some time now and is a simple corollary of the frustration-aggression theory.

It has never to my knowledge been seriously adt broadly discussed. Its implications of course are far reaching.

II. Why do men want or accept war?
1) Economic theories

Vulgar Marxists (and gratuitously it must be admitted that most Marxists are vulgar ones) opt for the economic interpretation of the causes of war: Rational men, (or a man), or groups of men, or nations decide consciously (or even unconsciously if you want to be sophisticated), (or refuse to accept a decision) that a particular economic course is desirable and are willing to kill and let others be killed and in some last analyses permit themselves to be killed for certain real or allegedly real economic advantages or for the preservation of these advantages.

Whatever real basis this motive may have had inithe past and whatever force (in certain areas say like Red China) it may have in the present, it is in my opinion not at the center of the problem today.

2) Moral theories

A certain group of moral theories of war involving original sin, Catholic doctrine, devil theories, innate evilness of human nature, basic stupidity and irrationality of man, retribution, ”death wish” (except as later discussed) I will dismiss here out of hand. Their arguments appear to me so weak that I do not wish to devote further time to refuting them.

3) Power theory

There is however a certain analog of the moral theory or better an unholy alliance of the economic and moral theories enjoying a certain currency which I shall term: the Power theory: Men fight because they want power over other men. The superficiality of this theory is apparent since one is immediately forced to ask: power for what reason?

In a society of material scarcity (which is almost until very recently the entire history of the human race) people have attacked one another to obtain goods and resources and control over the distribution of these resources. This is the history of class society and it is the history of the State.

At least in the West we have moved out of such material scarcity and the rest of the world can easily (if conditions are right) move out at a fantastically rapid rate.

Altho the persistence of what is inappropriate (economic) behavior may be one of the driving forces toward war at this time (if it ever was ”rational” at all may indeed be argued since men can undoubtedly advance themselves by cooperation as easily, indeed more easily, than by barbaric competition) both in the ”holding” capitalist West and in the ”grasping” Communist East, this illogical persistence must now be analyzed in terms of personality.

Frigid America and Puritan Russia!

Are these terms too harsh? Let us use them then as useful semi-artificial archetypes. Khrushchev is incensed by the can-can and a story of Kennedy’s first marriage is suppressed (or Rockefeller’s divorce costs him 100,000’s of votes).

The murder of Caryl Chessman for ”unspeakable” sexual practices (fellatio with an unwilling girl?) and the murder of the ”Lipstick King” for selling bootleg kiss-focus.

Is Khrushchev an Eisenhower with hyperactive adrenals? Their wives seem interchangeable. ”A Summer To Remember”, the Soviet film which succeeded so well here, seemed to me (altho I am sure most Americans loved it) a reactionary piece of sentimental ”familial” claptrap with about 50 obvious glaring errors of child psychology. Soviet autos exhibited at the Coliseum seemed horrible immitations of the worst U.S. models.

Obviously these cultures are drawing so close together as to soon appear almost inseparably alike.

Well if they are so alike why are they in conflict? That being the same is not incompatable with conflict may of course be seen through many examples: for instance: the British-German conflict in WW1.

Sexual Revolution

The vast inexhaustible well of setual misery has been well documented and lyrically described by men as far apart as Sigmund Freud, Havelock Ellis, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, and Wilhelm Reich.

The reception of the work of Wilhelm Reich is ”amusing and instructive”. He was arrested or exiled in half a dozen Western nations (and thrown out of the International Paychoanalytic Association) and expelled from the Communist Party of Germany only to die in a U.S. prison for what? For being in favor of fucking! (sex).

In a travesty almost unparalleled even in America his once banned works (now that he is dead) have now been permitted to be printed and sold without any rescinding whatsoever of the original FDA ban.

”Is the law an ass?”

Well what are the implications for the problem of war? Simply this:

Men (and women) sexually miserable will tolerate, nay, even want the murder of others and (even) themselves

The reason why so many men were glad to leave their jobs and families in WW2 was that they were tremendously unhappy there. And at the core of most (not all) of this unhappiness was a sexual dullness and/or misery. Change, any change, was a change for the better.

The scapegoat mechanism has been well documented. What remains is to see the importance of the sexual frustration in areas where it is not recognized or admitted: the ”Negro” problem, War.

The reason many middle aged or old politicians on all sides are ready to kill you and themselves is that (simply put) they don’t enjoy getting laid (intercourse) anymore.

Is this hypothesisa distasteful to you?

Disprove it.

Any hope?

It is obvious to anyone that re are close to destruactio: the plane with the madbomber for a passenger carries us all to destruction, even the (rare) sexually happy one.

Our hope lies mainly in the dissatisfied disaffiliated youth, even (and especially?) in spite of all their distortions in the so-called ”delinquents”. (Over 50% of these must be so-called sexual delinquents, i.e. young people who have sex without their parents’ approval. ”J.D.’s” here, stilyagi in the USSR, YCND’s and Comittees of 100 in England (not Teds altho relations and separations must be made), Note how the word Beatnik becomes a measingless ”young hate” word.

We are seeing a world wide breakdown in old impossible sexual morality and have yet to see clearly the better forms of sex and child rearing which will emerge. This will be a time of great mistakea and great joy.

We are close to death and liberation.

Let us choose joy!



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