chapter  6
Sexual ambivalence
Why men shame women about sex
Pages 33

In exploring male sexual ambivalence as a root cause of the shaming of women, this chapter examines the relationship between shame and its near ally disgust, foregrounding the central role of mortality anxiety in sexual ambivalence. It focuses on the way masculinist systems position the female body as abject and consequently subject to regulation and violence. In considering the way shame and disgust generate existential terror and produce male violence against women, the chapter explores terror management theory (TMT) for empirical evidence which lends support to its theoretical claims. TMT is a branch of social psychology, a discipline that tests theories about the behaviour of people in social groups through empirical research. The chapter also explores the way masculinist systems idealise or split notions of femininity as a result of an ambivalent relationship to sex. Christian thought and practice have historically demonstrated an ambiguous and ambivalent relationship with sex and sexuality, and notably with women and the feminine.