Antisexualism is opposition or hostility towards sexual behavior and sexuality.[1]


Other terms whose meanings overlap or are synonymous or interchangeable with antisexualism include sex-negativism,[2] sex-negative movement,[3] sex-negativity,[4] antisexuality,[5] demonization of sex[6] or as an adjective, anti-sex or sex-negative.[7][8] In a broader scope, it may refer to a general opposition to sexuality,[9] especially tending to reduce or eliminate the sex drive or sexual activity[10] or a prudish and coitophobic force in society that suppresses sexual freedom and disseminates antisexual opinions.[11][12] When such an aversion involves hatred, it is sometimes called miserotia or miserotism.[13]


Some forms of early ascetic Gnosticism held all matter to be evil, and that unnecessary gratifications of the physical senses were to be avoided. Married couples were encouraged to be chaste.[14][15] In the first century, Marcion of Sinope held an antisexual and ascetic outlook.[16] The Skoptsys were a radical sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that practiced castration and amputation of sexual organs. The Skoptsy believed that Christ had been castrated during his crucifixion, and it was this castration that brought about salvation.[17] Boston Corbett, who was involved in killing John Wilkes Booth, castrated himself after being mocked and tempted by prostitutes.[18] Ann Lee was the founder of the Shakers, a radical Protestant sect that opposed procreation and all sexual activity. The Shakers were more opposed to pregnancy than anything else.[19][better source needed] Father Divine, founder of the International Peace Mission Movement, advocated religious abstinence from sex and marriage and taught that sexual objectification is a root cause of undesirable social and political conditions.[20]

James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time refers to the United States as an antisexual country dominated by a white culture that regards sensual or soulful behavior by Black Americans as suspect. This contributes to a crisis of Baldwin's Christian faith because it shows that the world does not accept him, and that Christianity has not made white people accepting.[21]


Philosopher Immanuel Kant viewed humans as being subject to the animalistic desires of self-preservation, species-preservation, and the preservation of enjoyment. He argued that humans have a duty to avoid maxims that harm or degrade themselves, including suicide, sexual degradation, and drunkenness.[22] This led Kant to regard sexual intercourse as degrading because it "makes of the loved person an Object of appetite",[23] rather than focusing on their inherent worth as rational beings, which violates Kant's second formulation of the categorical imperative, a philosophical concept he created to judge the morality of actions. He admitted sex only within marriage, which he regarded as "a merely animal union".[24]


Various feminist views on sexuality have been described as anti-sex or sex-negative. In particular, second-wave and radical feminist viewpoints and thinkers have been subject to this, including from other feminists.[25][26][27]

Prior to the second wave of feminism, which introduced such slogans as "The personal is political" in the 1960s, the subject of women's sexuality had rarely been addressed as a politicized subject, although the subjugation of women by aspects of male sexuality had been discussed. Major feminist organizations, such as the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the United States, primarily focused on male supremacy in the public sphere. It was not until the earliest radical feminist groups began to form in the late 1960s that feminist analysis of women's sexuality started to become widespread.[28]

According to radical feminist theory, sexuality is the primary sphere of patriarchy, with sexual activity, especially heterosexual sex, as the basis of women's oppression by men. Radical feminists oppose the sexual objectification of women, for their sexual and reproductive labor, and hold the view that in a male-dominated society, heterosexual practices involve an imbalance of power and serves to sexualize the oppression of women.[29] Ti-Grace Atkinson wrote of heterosexual sex as a social institution serving the needs of men, but not necessarily of women. This analysis lead some radical feminists to call for women to stop having sex with men altogether, with some advocating for celibacy and others advocating political lesbianism.[28] This led to the second wave polarizing around two camps in what would become known as the feminist sex wars.[30]

One radical feminist remains critical of women having sex with men. Radical feminist writer Julie Bindel describing female bisexuality as a "fashionable trend" pushing for sexual hedonism. She writes, "if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men."[31]

Multiple authors have objected to radical feminists on this front. Margaret Hunt criticized Sheila Jeffreys for praising women involved in the 19th-century social purity movement, whose "concern with women's victimization" Jeffreys admired.[32]

Naomi Wolf identified a form of feminism she called victim feminism, which she described as "sexually judgmental, even antisexual".[33]


Friedrich Nietzsche has many criticisms of Jesus and Christianity. In Human, All Too Human, and Twilight of the Idols for example, Nietzsche accuses the Church's and Jesus' teachings as being anti-natural in their treatment of passions, in particularly sexuality: "There [In the Sermon on the Mount] it is said, for example, with particular reference to sexuality: 'If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out.' Fortunately, no Christian acts in accordance with this precept...[34] the Christian who follows that advice and believes he has killed his sensuality is deceiving himself: it lives on in an uncanny vampire form and torments in repulsive disguises."[35]

Antisexualism drew sharp criticism from Bertrand Russell in his Marriage and Morals:

Westermarck gives many instances of what he calls 'the curious notion that there is something impure and sinful in ... sexual relations.' ... It should be said to begin with that it is useless to look to beliefs as the source of this kind of attitude. Beliefs of this sort must be in the first place inspired by a mood; it is true that when once they exist they may perpetuate the mood, or at any rate actions in accordance with the mood, but it is hardly likely that they will be the prime causes of an anti-sexual attitude. The two main causes of such an attitude are, I should say, jealousy and sexual fatigue.

— Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals, chapter "PHALLIC WORSHIP, ASCETICISM AND SIN"[36]

According to Bertrand Russell, an anti-sexual attitude must be regarded as purely superstitious and those who first inculcated antisexualism must have suffered from a diseased condition of body or mind, or both (Marriage and Morals, chapter "CHRISTIAN ETHICS").[36]


John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of the "corn flakes" variety of breakfast cereal, was opposed to all forms of sexual activity, especially masturbation.[37] The Road to Wellville satirized his life and practices.[38] According to some sources, the early Christian theologian Origen castrated himself to avoid temptation and remain pure.[39] Female circumcision may have been developed to discourage women from having sex or, alternatively, of removing or diminishing temptations which might lead to infidelity.[citation needed]


See also


  1. ^ John Ince (2005), The politics of lust, Prometheus Books, p. 11, ISBN 978-1-59102-278-7, consists of any negative response directed at sex organs or harmless sex expression
  2. ^ Schmit, Timaree (16 May 2017). "Philly collective talks sex-positive resistance in American politics". Archived from the original on 2017-06-06.
  3. ^ "The HIV drug dispute highlights the danger of the conservative case for gay rights". 2 August 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-12-22.
  4. ^ Rubin, Gayle. "Thinking sex: Notes for a radical theory of the politics of sexuality." Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies; A Reader (1984): 100-133.
  5. ^ Berer, Marge. "Sexuality, rights and social justice." Reproductive Health Matters 12.23 (2004): 6-11.
  6. ^ Dillon, M. C. "Sex objects and sexual objectification: Erotic versus pornographic depiction." Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 29.1 (1998): 92-115.
  7. ^ "Another GOP Lawmaker Got Caught In A Sex Scandal. Here's Why You Should Defend Him". 29 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017.
  8. ^ Shrage, Laurie. "Exposing the fallacies of anti-porn feminism." Feminist Theory 6.1 (2005): 45-65.
  9. ^ "Definition of "antisexuality"". Collins English Dictionary. Archived from the original on 2012-10-29.
  10. ^ "Definition of ANTISEX". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31.
  11. ^ Gescinska, Alicja A. (2022). "Sex in transition: anti-sexuality and the church in post-communist Poland" (PDF). In Clarke, Gemma; McQueen, Fiona; Pnacekova, Michaela; Sahli, Sabrina (eds.). Examining aspects of sexualities and the self (Conference). Critical Issues. Vol. 121. Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press. pp. 87–94. hdl:1854/LU-924760. ISBN 978-1-84888-020-7. 924760. Retrieved March 12, 2013.[permanent dead link] 6th Global Conference : Sexualities : Bodies, Desires, Practices.
  12. ^ Kon, Igor S. "Sexual culture and politics in contemporary Russia". Sexual counter-revolution in Russia. Russia: Fatekh Vergasov's electronic library. Archived from the original on 2012-01-13. Retrieved 2013-03-12. The current anti-sexual crusade is only the top of the iceberg. Under the guise of a moral renaissance, Russian Orthodoxy and its allies are trying to restore censorship and administrative control over private life.
  13. ^ Houdini, I. V., and X. Merlin. "Of Sex and Fear." Word Ways 7.2 (1974): 19.
  14. ^ Sunshine, Glenn S. (2009). Why You Think the Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home. Zondervan. p. 47. ISBN 9780310292302. Archived from the original on 2014-01-05.
  15. ^ See Book of Thomas the Contender, Acts of Thomas; also Spiritual marriage
  16. ^ Bullough, V.L.; Bullough, B. (2019). Sin, Sickness and Sanity: A History of Sexual Attitudes. Routledge Library Editions: History of Sexuality. Taylor & Francis. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-429-61522-1. Retrieved 2023-06-18.
  17. ^ Friedman, David M. (2008). A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis. Simon & Schuster. pp. 36–37. ISBN 9781439136089. Archived from the original on 2014-01-05.
  18. ^ Tanner, Beccy (2013-02-11). "Boston Corbett moved to Kansas after John Wilkes Booth shooting". The Wichita Eagle. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29.
  19. ^ Gopnik, Adam (2006-02-13). "Shining Tree of Life". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2013-12-05.
  20. ^ Watts, Jill (1992). God, Harlem U.S.A.: The Father Divine Story. University of California Press. p. 66. ISBN 9780520916692. All disciples subscribed to Father Divine's teaching that sex was a sin that drained the body of "spiritual energy", making the individual vulnerable to disease and death. Even followers who lived outside 72 Macon Street practiced celibacy.
  21. ^ Baldwin, James (November 9, 1962). "Letter from a Region in My Mind". The New Yorker.
  22. ^ Denis 1999, p. 225.
  23. ^ Kant, Immanuel. Lectures on Ethics, p. 163
  24. ^ Wood 1999, p. 2.
  25. ^ Pyne, Elizabeth (2018-10-02). "Jessica Joy Cameron, Reconsidering Radical Feminism: Affect and the Politics of Heterosexuality". Studies in Gender and Sexuality. 19 (4): 309–311. doi:10.1080/15240657.2018.1531541. ISSN 1524-0657. S2CID 149988775.
  26. ^ "Finding common feminist ground: the role of the next generation in shaping feminist legal theory. - Free Online Library". Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  27. ^ Tyler, Meagan (2018-04-10). "Can we eroticise equality? On the politics of sexual desire". ABC Religion & Ethics. Retrieved 2022-01-16.
  28. ^ a b Shulman, Alix Kates (1980). "Sex and Power: Sexual Bases of Radical Feminism". Signs. 5 (4): 590–604. doi:10.1086/493754. ISSN 0097-9740. JSTOR 3173832. S2CID 143235534.
  29. ^ Collins, Barbara G. (1990). "Pornography and Social Policy: Three Feminist Approaches". Affilia. 5 (4): 8–26. doi:10.1177/088610999000500402. ISSN 0886-1099. S2CID 144561715.
  30. ^ Snyder-Hall, R. Claire (March 2010). "Third-Wave Feminism and the Defense of "Choice"". Perspectives on Politics. 8 (1): 255–261. doi:10.1017/S1537592709992842. ISSN 1537-5927. S2CID 145133253.
  31. ^ "Where's The Politics In Sex?". HuffPost. June 12, 2012.
  32. ^ Hunt, Margaret (1990). "The De-Eroticization of Women's Liberation: Social Purity Movements and the Revolutionary Feminism of Sheila Jeffreys". Feminist Review. 34 (1): 23–46. doi:10.1057/fr.1990.7. ISSN 0141-7789. S2CID 143771593.
  33. ^ Wolf, Naomi (1994). Fire with fire : the new female power and how to use it (1st Vintage ed. Sept. 1994 ed.). Toronto: Vintage. ISBN 0-394-22386-1. OCLC 30666347.
  34. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche, 1895, Twilight of the Idols, Morality as Anti-nature, 1.
  35. ^ Friedrich Nietzsche, 1878, Human all too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, The Wanderer and His Shado, aphorism 83.
  36. ^ a b Marriage And Morals by Bertrand Russell. 1930.
  37. ^ Taormino, Tristan (2004-05-11). "Come for a Cause". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2010-09-09.
  38. ^ Hicks, Chris (1994-11-01). "Film review: Road to Wellville, The". Deseret News. Archived from the original on 2015-06-06.
  39. ^ Rothwell, Nicholas (2008-08-23). "The Way of All Flesh". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2014-12-16.
  40. ^ O'Neill, Brendan (2009-05-17). "Inalienable Right to 'Excessively Noisy Sex'". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.