Wilhelm Reich (March 24, 1897–November 3, 1957) was an influential Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, whose writings on youth and their sexual rights are still published today. Central to his analysis was the importance of genitality to youth in averting sexual pathology later in life. He went on to be a victim of American state book-burning for works unrelated to youth rights.
- "New economic interests, gradually emerging, make the sexual suppression of children desirable to economic profiteers." - The invasion of compulsory sex-morality, (1931).
Vereniging MARTIJN cites:
- "The constantly increasing sexual taboos and restrictions of genitality went hand in hand with the widening of the economic interests of certain groups in primeval society. Conditions among the Trobianders show that these are the interests of the chief's family as opposed of those of the clan. In primeval times, in essentially the same way as today, conditions of social existence gave rise to certain legal and moral institutions, such as the incest taboo within the clan, the marriage order, etc., which perpetuated themselves by ideologically pervading every individual of this society. [...] Perhaps the most important result of my political work for future sex-sociological investigations was the discovery that sexual suppression is one of the cardinal ideological means by which the ruling class subjugates the working population. [...] Under dictatorial regimes the authoritarian suppression of the child serves to produce an expediently submissive structure in conformity with the organization of society in general, which constantly reproduces itself in the child. Just as here the parents are the executive instruments of the ruling order, and the family its ideological factory, similarly, matriarchal society, insofar as it is still distinct, reproduces itself ideologically by allowing the psychic structure of the child to develop freely. [...] Since moralistic sex education first enters the history of mankind with the interest in economic gain and develops along with it, neuroses are a feature of a society that has a patriarchal organization. [...] The natural morality of the primitive matriarchal peoples, living in sexual freedom based on gratification, was infinitely superior to the morality of our age. This is particularly apparent in the absence of antisocial sexual behavior (rape, sexual murders, etc.). [...] We then see that it is society based on government by armored man that is interested in sexual suppression, because it needs it for the maintenance of two of its most essential institutions, compulsory monogamous marriage and the patriarchal family. The severe sexual misery, neuroses, perversions, sexual murders, etc., that result - along with the considerable restriction of the individual's working capacity - are a by-product, not intentionally sought by the authoritarian order, but inseparable from it. [...] Natural society did not know sexual suppression, any more than other natural organization of living beings does. Not until patriarchy and the armoring of children came into being were all the economic interests created which have since provided the social basis for sex-negating morality and the consequent disturbed sex-economy. Then one can understand that the very persons who are deemed psychopaths and morally insane by narrow-minded heredity research prove themselves, in character analysis, to be the richest in energy, the most intelligent and agile. But they do not fit into this life-negative society and therefor have a difficult life. When, in Hitler Germany, fifteen-year-old girls who have boyfriends are condemned to sterilization as psychopaths, we look at it from a different point of view than Roheim." - The invasion of compulsory sex-morality, (1931).
- "During the past century, our parents and grandparents have repeatedly tried to penetrate the wall of social evil with all kinds of social theories, political programs, reforms, resolutions, and revolution. They have failed miserably every time; not one attempt at an improvement of the human lot has succeeded. [ . . . ] Is there, then, no hope at all? [ . . . ] We can help if we realize fully the tremendous hope entailed in an entirely new, hitherto unheard-of kind of social development which has entered the scene: The international interest in the child. [ . . . ] We cannot possibly hope to build independent human characters if education is in the hands of politicians. We cannot, and dare not, give away our children in such a shabby manner." (from pp. 5-7) - Children of the Future, Collins Publishers, Toronto, (1984).
- "We will present facts to demonstrate that the dilemma facing young people is quite different from what it is generally believed to be. The choice is not between a moralistic and abstinent life on the one hand and sexual smut on the other, but between a healthy and a pathological sex life. The fact is that all young people and children, without exception, indulge in sexual activity, even those who most loudly promote "sexual morality." [ . . . ] The central question is that of sexual intercourse in adolescence and the attitude of society toward it. Young people have more than merely a right to be "enlightened [i.e., taught about sex]; they are fully entitled to their emotional health and their sexual joy in life. This right has been taken away from them." (from p. 162 of the above).
- Children of the Future: On the Prevention of Sexual Pathology
- The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality (translation of the revised and enlarged version of Der Eindruch der Sexualmoral from 1932)