Kinsey comments, "In rural communities where animal contacts are not infrequent, and where there is some general knowledge that they do commonly occur, there seem to be few personal conflicts growing out of such activity, and very few social difficulties. It is only when the farm-bred male migrates to a city community and comes in contact city-bred reactions to these activities, that he becomes upset over the contemplation of what he has done....
"Anglo-American legal codes rate sexual relations between the human and animals of other species as sodomy, punishable under the same laws which penalize homosexual and mouth-genital contacts. The city-bred judge who hears such a case is likely to be unusually severe in his condemnation, and is likely to give the maximum sentence that is possible. Males that are sent to penal institutions on such charges are likely to receive unusually severe treatment both from the administrations and from the inmates of the institutions. All in all, there is probably no type of human sexual behavior which has been so severely condemned by that segment of the population which happens not to have had such experience, and which accepts the age-old judgment that animal intercourse must evidence a mental abnormality, as well as an immorality."
Sexual contacts with animals are even less common among females and Kinsey found only 3.6 percent of the adult female population with any evidence of such activity in their histories after the beginning of adolescence. The sample was considered too small to permit any valid urban-rural or educational breakdown, although a majority of the females who reported having had such experiences were from the better-educated segments of the population.
The extensive sexual involvement of human females with a wide variety of animals in ancient folklore, Classic Greek and Roman mythology, and major literary and artistic efforts of more recent centuries (including some of world's great art; e.g. Leda and the Swan has been a recurring, ever-popular theme with artists down through the ages, from Classic sculpture, to the paintings by Michelangelo and Rubens, to contemporary Picasso) is understood in its relation to actual sexual behavior when viewed not as a reflection of common female activity, but as a projection of erotic male fantasies about the female. The human male's greater capacity to be aroused by psychosexual stimuli not only leads him into a far greater number of sexual experiences, and experiences of greater variety, but also produces an extensive masculine interest in unusual, rare, and sometimes fantastically impossible types of sexual activity. In consequence, as Kinsey points out, there is a great deal more discussion and a more extensive body of literature and art on such sexual themes as incest, transvestitism, necrophilia, and the more extreme forms of fetishism, sadomasochism and animal contacts, than the actual occurrence of any of these phenomena justifies.
It is clear, nevertheless, that there is a considerable diversity in human sexual behavior; it is also clear that most of this variety on our favorite theme is forbidden by the sterner traditions of our Judaeo-Christian heritage and by the statutory laws that it has begotten.
Kinsey points out that for most individuals the various types of sexual activity may seem to fall into categories that are as far apart as right and wrong, licit and illicit, normal and abnormal, acceptable and unacceptable in our society. To each of us, the significance of any particular activity depends largely upon our own previous experience. Ultimately, certain activities may seem to be the only ones that have value, that are right, that are proper, that are socially acceptable; and all departures from our own particular pattern may appear the extremes in what is abnormal and immoral. But scientific data now available support the conclusion that, under the proper set of environmental circumstances, most individuals could have been sexually conditioned in any of a number of different directions, even into activities which they now consider unacceptable.
In the search for a more reasonable objective and psychologically sound approach to sex, upon to which to base better social and legal codes, it would if we more clearly recognized and differentiated between the sexual behavior that is common to a large part of society and that which is relatively uncommon. Kinsey observes, "Considerable confusion has been introduced into our thinking by this failure to distinguish between sexual activities that are frequent and a fundamental part of the pattern of behavior, and sexual activities which are rare and of significance only to a limited number of persons. Psychologic and psychiatric texts are as likely to give as much space to overt sadomasochistic or necrophiliac activity as they give to homosexual and mouth-genital activities, but the last two are widespread and significant parts of the lives of many females and males, while many of the other types of behavior are in actuality rare."
Current U.S. laws give governmental sanction to a specific set of religious ideals regarding sex. Our present quarrel is not with the ideals themselves—though we do believe that a rational society should be able to produce a better, more humane, more workable sexual morality than the present one, and we intend a fuller discussion of that aspect of the problem in a later installment; but we here object to—and it is a concern that should be shared by every individual who believes in the fundamental principles of our democracy, regardless of his personal religious and moral persuasion—is the unconstitutional church-state alliance that makes any one religious dogma the law of the land in this supposedly free society.
All sexual intercourse outside the church-state-sanctioned bonds of matrimony is prohibited under the statutes on fornication and adultery; all nonprocreative sexual activity, between the same and opposite sexes, both inside and outside the marriage, including any undue familiarity with household pets, is prohibited under the statutes on sodomy.
Our state laws on sodomy are derived directly from the religious doctrine that the only natural purpose of sex is procreation; it follows, therefore, that nonprocreative sex is a "crime against nature."
These sodomy statutes are so all-decisive in their joyless suppression of any variety in our sexual behavior that we might be prompted to conclude that the only form of love play left legal is petting. Such a conclusion would be overly optimistic. In two states (Indiana and Wyoming) the sodomy statutes actually include a prohibition against heavy petting (the masturbation of another person of either sex who is under the age of 21). The laws in both states read: "Whoever entices, allures, instigates or aids any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years to commit masturbation or self-pollution shall be deemed guilty of sodomy." This means, quite literally, that if a Wyoming or Indian male masturbates his 20-year-old girlfriend, he is guilty of sodomy.
The medieval Church taboos on even solitary masturbation continue to influence contemporary society's attitude to a sexual activity that is near universal in the male and common to a majority of females as well. Ultimately 92 percent of the total male population is involved in masturbation which leads to orgasm; and among college-educated males, the incidence is higher, reaching 96 percent. In the total female population, 62 percent ultimately engage in masturbation, and 58 percent achieve orgasm in this manner; educational level predictably exists as a factor, with only 34 percent of the grade-school-level females ever achieving orgasm through masturbation, 57 to 59 percent of the high-school and college level, and 63 percent of the graduate-level females masturbating to the point of orgasm.
Heavy petting, frequently including masturbation of either, or both, sexes is extremely common in the years prior to marriage; indeed, for upper-educated males and females, such premarital sex play often serves as a substitute for coitus. Almost all males engage in fairly extensive heavy petting prior to marriage and 88 percent have some petting experience that leads to orgasm; 96 percent of all females have some premarital petting experience and 39 percent have achieved orgasm through such petting. The extent of direct manual stimulation of the genitalia of, or by, a partner, as a petting technique, is related to the amount of previous coital experience. Among females who have not had sexual intercourse, 36 percent have the same petting in which they receive such manual stimulation, and 24 percent give such manual stimulation to the male; among females who have only had a limited amount of coitus, 87 percent have relationships in which they receive, and 72 percent where they give, manual stimulation; among females with more extensive coital experience, 95 percent receive, and 86 percent give, manual-genital stimulation.
It is reasonable to assume that the male and female populations of Wyoming and Indiana are little different in such behavior than the total population of the U.S.; that being so, this unique wrinkle in the sodomy statutes of these two states attempts to suppress some of the most common sex activity in existence—activity in which almost all of the citizens have, at one time or another, been involved.
The severity of the penalties against sodomy, or "crimes against nature," is dramatized by the Wyoming and Indiana statutes. These two states could punish the completed act of sexual intercourse between a man and a girl who happened to be between the ages of 18 and 21 as fornication, with maximum possible sentences of three and six months respectively. (If a girl were under the age of 18, the act would be considered statutory rape and permit a considerably heavier penalty.) But if the same male and female refrained from sexual intercourse, confining their lovemaking to petting—including masturbation of the female—they would be guilty of an act of sodomy and liable to imprisonment of up to ten years in Wyoming and 14 years in Indiana.
Penalties for Sodomy
The irrational nature of U.S. sodomy statutes emphasizes the lack of logic that pervades almost all of our sex laws; the severity of the penalties for what our lawmakers have deemed to be "crimes against nature" emphasizes the extreme, religiously inspired superstition and emotionalism that still persist in our attitudes toward sex in this supposed modern, rational, scientifically enlightened, just, humane and free society.
Forty-nine of the 50 states have sodomy statutes. Almost all of them make illegal the variety of noncoital sex activity discussed in this issue—at least some of which is engaged in, at one time or another, by the majority of our adult population. Almost none of these statutes make any distinction between a prohibited act when it is performed by members of the same or opposite sex (the single exception permits certain activity between two females, as noted, that is prohibited between a female and a male). None of these statutes makes any distinction between a prohibited act when it is performed by a married couple and one that is unmarried. The penalties for behavior covered under our sodomy statutes are among the most severe of any in U.S. law.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia specify imprisonment of up to ten years at hard labor for "crimes against nature"; the maximum sentence in another six is 14 or 15 years and 11 states specify 20. In Idaho and Montana the minimum penalty for sodomy is five years, with no maximum indicated; in North Carolina the minimum is five years and the maximum 60; in Nevada the possible maximum penalty is imprisonment for life.
The American Law Institute expressed its concern over U.S. sex statutes in 1955 when it drafted its Model Penal Code to replace our present irrational laws. This model code was predicted on the premise that in a free society all sex relations entered into freely by adults in private should be excluded from our criminal law. In the nine years since the Law Institute handed down this opinion, the legislature of only one state—Illinois—has made any serious attempt to correct its statutes on sex. Some two years ago Illinois' legislators replaced their sodomy statute with a new law patterned after the one suggested by the Institute. Illinois is, therefore, the only state in the Union with no statute for "the abominable and detestable crimes against nature."
This example of modern legislative acumen is not without its irony, however. The Illinois lawmakers did remove the state's sodomy statute, but they left standing the statutes against fornication and adultery. Illinois is thus in the unique position of permitting all so-called "perversion," both heterosexual and homosexual, while prohibiting normal sexual intercourse.
It is obvious that we are still a very long way from establishing sane sex laws anywhere in these United States.
In the next installment of The Playboy Philosophy, Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner will offer his own suggestions for a more reasoned and reasonable set of statutes on sex; he will also discuss the problems of juvenile sex crime, prostitution, abortion and birth control.