chapter  Chapter 13
28 Pages

Late Marriages and Sex Lives

Discussions and Hypotheses for Research
WithJean-Louis Flandrin

Societies do exist in which family honour demands that, even in the absence of any illicit conception, a father must kill a daughter guilty of having lost her virginity before marriage. Just as the extent of auto-eroticism is principally due to marrying late and to the repressing of extramarital heterosexual activities, such a penitential system, which tries to repress fantasies, should logically encourage the development of veritable narcissism among masturbators, hence their disgust with marriage. Theologians found the vision of love and marriage ready-made in Graeco-Roman culture. Not only among the Stoics, as Noonan, would have us believe, but deeply rooted in normal practice, just as Marcel Detienne has recently reminded us in an already famous small volume. Marriages may not be arranged for love, but they certainly are arranged for the very deep social reasons analysed by Marcel Detienne and Luc Thore in a very general way and without specific reference to Christianity.