The tremendous nation-wide publicity given freely to the Kinsey Report on women's sexual behavior is in itself a remarkable indication of the change which has taken place in the American mind concerning all matters related to sex. It is significant too, that Dr. Kinsey and his assistants could gather this type of intimate information from some 6000 women.
Sixty years ago this would have been, at best, extremely difficult; and the book itself, if published, would have been read only by relatively few people. They would have been people who had become acquainted with Freudian psychology, or the works of Kraft-Ebbing and Havelock Ellis dealing with ancient and modern sexual customs, sexual abnormalities and the sociological or psychological aspect of sexual behavior.
If I mentioned such periods of time as sixty and thirty years, it is because they coincide approximately, with the most important phases of the change so evident in the approach of the American man, and especially the American woman, toward sex.
Thirty years ago, the so-called Jazz Age was in full swing and "flaming youths" were shocking their parents and grandparents. Sixty years ago, in 1894, Dr. Breuer and Dr. Freud were finishing their "Studies in Hysteria" which became the prelude to Freud's psychoanalytical revolution.
The 30-year and 60-year periods are well-known to all astrological students, also a 45-year period which is most relevant to what I am discussing here. All these periods are related to a complete revolution of Saturn in the sky, which takes little less than 30 years.
Because Saturn represents in astrology the power that keeps social traditions, customs, organized religions, the laws and social institutions, strong and steady, a 30-year period establishes the span of one particular wave in the great tide of social evolution. As, moreover, one swing in one direction is almost always followed by an opposite trend, two such 30-year "waves" form the basic unit.
The cycles formed by the successive conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn — the two basic symbols of social processes — measure 20 years each, and after three such cycles the planets' conjunctions recur very close to the starting point. There were such Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in 1881, 1901, 1921, 1941.
We are particularly concerned here with the 1881 and 1941 conjunctions which occurred in the sign Taurus. In 1881 Dr. Breuer was working on the case of a girl whom he cured of hysteria through a "catharsis" under hypnosis — catharsis meaning, here a sudden release of psychological tensions and emotions which frees the inner life of the patient from what blocked or perverted its normal, healthy rhythm of activity.
Dr. Breuer described the case to Dr. Freud in 1884 and this led to their collaboration in the already mentioned work on hysteria, and to the development of psychoanalysis by Freud alone. Freud's book on "Dreams" was printed in 1900. Thus in the 20-year cycle 1881 to 1901 a basic revolution in human thinking had been "worked out." It spread to the public during the period 1901 to 1921. And it must have been around, or just after, 1941, when Dr. Kinsey started to collect data for his now famous Reports. [The first oral contraceptive was introduced in 1960, and in 1981 AIDS first appeared in the United States. Editor].
Breaker of Idols
In 1897 another important astrological event occurred. Uranus and Saturn were conjunct three times in the last degrees of Scorpio. They were conjunct again in the spring of 1942, in the last degrees of Taurus — the interval between these conjunctions being about 45 1/2 years.
Uranus is the great adversary of Saturn. Uranus is the rebel, the reformer, the breaker of idols, forever scorning conventions and seeking to transform what is ruled by Saturn, the conformist. At the time of conjunctions of Saturn and Uranus deep-seated changes may well occur.
When one of these conjunctions fall in the sign Scorpio, the attitude toward sex is likely to be transformed quite radically. The works of Freud, and of Havelock Ellis, helped greatly to give a basis for such a transformation, just after 1897.
Scorpio is usually considered to be related to sexual activity and to all passions connected with sex (for instance, jealousy). But actually we must differentiate clearly between two aspects of sex. Sex as a strictly biological and procreative function of the human animal is expressed in the zodiacal sign, Taurus — the sign of fertility. The sign, Scorpio (its opposite in the zodiac) refers, on the other hand, to what I might call "personalized" sex. And it is with this latter that Freudian theories and the Kinsey Report deal primarily.
Psychological problems related to sex, sexual behavior as an indication of psychological attitudes and of inner pressures, fear or desires — and all sexual abnormalities, sex rituals, and religion induced frustrations — should be referred to the sign, Scorpio. The intentional prevention of birth, either as a social measure, or for personal reasons, comes also under Scorpio. Scorpio opposes Taurus; the more "personalized" the approach to sex, the less it tends to result in fertility.
A Changed Attitude
The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurred in Taurus in 1881 and in 1941. Uranus and Saturn were conjunct in Scorpio in 1897, in Taurus in 1942. These conjunctions dealt, thus, basically with the two aspects of sex. They should, indeed, be related to the extraordinary transformation of the average American attitude toward sexual behavior. This transformation however cannot be evaluated properly, nor its future effects judged, unless we see it as a part of a much larger change in our civilization, indeed in the evolution of the entire human race.
The nearest astrological index to such a world-wide change is the Neptune-Pluto cycle. These two planets meet every 500 years (actually a few years less) and their last conjunction occurred in 1891-1892. It was just before the discovery of X-Rays, then, soon after, of radio-activity. The stage was set for the beginning of the "atomic age" years later! 50 years is one-tenth of the whole period, and it takes this 50-year transition period to start the new era going in earnest — and 50 years before the conjunction to end the previous 500-year cycle.
There were conjunctions of Neptune and Pluto in about 82 B.C. (when ancient Rome rose, to what was then world power); at about the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire (412 A.D.); when the great culture of Medieval Catholic Europe began (around 905 A.D.); when the Medieval Order started to disintegrate, partly through the Hundred-Years War, then the rise of the bourgeoisie, and finally the Renaissance (1398 A.D. conjunction).
The relationship between these conjunctions and the basic transformations of our society is obviously significant. We are therefore certain, astrologically as well as simply by looking at the world around us, that we are just past the beginning of a new era — at the very least a 500-year long era.
By comparison with the last 500-year Neptune-Pluto cycle, we are living through a period paralleling that of the year 1452. Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453; the Byzantine Empire ended; and many scholars from Constantinople fled to Italy giving the impulse that produced the Renaissance. The Hundred-Years War between England and France ended also that year. History books often speak of these events as the start of modern history.
What kind of history are we then beginning now? We do not yet know, anymore than the scholars of 1453 could have known about electronics and nuclear fission. But we heed at least such a 500-year long perspective to understand a little of the meaning of some of the revolutionary changes going on under our very eyes — including the behavior of our youngsters after school!
New Social Phase
Usually when there is a conjunction of Neptune and Pluto a new society, or at least a new phase within the development of society, begins. And if there is such a beginning, then there must be a profound change in human relationships. The relationship between man and woman is, of course, the most fundamental. And while sex is by no means the whole of the relationship, it occupies a very important part in it.
But how important? This is the question which the Kinsey Report does not seem to have answered directly, squarely. It is not a question which can be truly answered by a study of behavior, for behavior means "the way people act." What is more essential is why they act, and what is the quality of the emotion or urge causing, pervading and following these acts. Quality is far more significant than quantity.
The Kinsey statistics may tell us at what age boys and girls, in America, begin to perform certain acts, how often they perform them, and, to some extent, the degree of success which the performers achieve (in terms of what they think success means, let us not forget!). But these statistical data do not directly refer to the meaning and value which our present generations give to sex and, even less to the basic man-woman relationship.
We have indeed the right to ask if the young or middle-aged people of today feel really and spontaneously about sex the way their actions seem to indicate. Are these actions induced perhaps mainly by the pressure of outer circumstances, by the magazines, advertising, movies, radio programs, etc. to which they are forcibly subjected? Are they the results of a fashion in thinking?
This is a very basic question, because fashions change rather quickly, and ideologies such as the Freudian concept of sexuality — based not on facts as much as on an interpretation of facts — are sooner or later superseded by others, usually of a more or less opposite type. In other words, is the recent change in the American type of sexual behavior (particularly, among women) only a superficial change, or is it characteristic of the deep transformation of all human relationships marking the beginnings of our new 500-year long era?
Peaks of Activity
Let us take one instance: Dr. Kinsey's statistics seem to indicate that the peak of the sexual urge and sexual activity in men occur right after puberty, around age 16 or 17; also, that women do not reach such a peak of sexual desire until early middle-age and keep at this level through their fifties and often sixties.
These results are among the only startling data advanced by the Kinsey Report, many other statistics simply confirm what any unbiased observer could see everywhere. But are these above-mentioned results true, and, if they are, what do they mean?
First, the Report admits that, especially in reference to the sexual activity of young boys of 15 or 16, much depends on the social class and environment of the boys. Such an admission may have to be considerably enlarged; for this early sexual promiscuity in barely adolescent boys may depend indeed primarily not only on their physical-social environment, but on the kind of thinking and images they have been subjected to in childhood, and especially at the time of puberty.
Likewise, the prolongation in women of a strong sexual urge long after menopause (i. e. through the fifties and sixties) may be due in a large measure to what they think, read or see; to the removal of fear of pregnancy after menopause; to a "growing into" their sexual nature; and to leisure time.
Dr. Kinsey brings in adrenal and pituitary hormones to explain the apparent facts concerning the disparity according to age-levels between the "peaks of sexual activity" in men and women; but these glandular secretions mean, generally speaking, that the adolescent male in whom they are very active is able to use large amounts of vital energy. What will he use it for? This is the real question.
He will use this energy in sexual activity if sex activity has been presented to him as a most attractive and prestige-building occupation; if he can build up his ego and gain a sense of strength by such acts.
If on the contrary the youngster has been imbued with the idea that sex is only, or at least primarily and wholesomely, to be used in building a family, and that premarital sex acts are merely tolerated youthful pranks which have little or no real meaning; or if the young adolescent lives mostly within a steady, peaceful, happy, home with ego-satisfying relations with his mother and sisters — then, the sex-urge just after adolescence remains at a lower level of intensity.
Sun and Moon
Astrology cannot throw much light on the matter, because all planets are operative as well in the charts of men as of women. Truly the Sun in a woman's chart refers to the Man-ideal, and the Moon in a man's chart to the Woman-ideal (which is first of all the Mother-Image). But there is hardly anything which can be deduced from this concerning the general sexual behavior of either sex, at an early or late age.
What seems clear, however, is that basically, the much publicized sex-problem is an ego problem; and astrologically, a Saturn problem. Sex-force is vital energy, and we know that the sex-glands are only partly responsible for generating this sex-energy or appetite. The adrenal glands (under the direction of the pituitary, the "master gland") are concerned with the actual release of the sexual urge — just as it is with the sudden release of energy in anger, or even fear.
Desire, fear, anger, deal with our relationship with another person we are greatly attracted to, or afraid of, or resentful of. And why are we? Because that other person seems to us to be the future cause of (1) a sense of increase and power which will make us happier, richer, stronger (i. e. we desire that person and what he or she can give us); (2) an injury or diminution of power and prestige (i. e. we fear that person); or (3) the person has hurt, diminished, weakened our body or ego, and we experience anger.
The Value of Sex
All relationships are desired or avoided by us because of what we think they will do to our ego, and to the values which our ego has learnt to respect - the values with which - it has identified itself. Whether sexual activity is to be desired or feared depends thus largely on what value our society gives to sex. It depends on the way the prevalent ideology and the fashion of thinking of our society answers the question: What is sex for?
This is the one basic question. It is a Saturn question. It is a matter of tradition and of what our class or environment essentially believes. Besides, our ego, our sense of security, our "place" in society, our relation to authority and to our father — all these are Saturnian factors; and all determine our own individual answer to the question: What is sex for me?
The revolution in sexual behavior is the result of a disruption of the traditions which have structured our European Christian society for centuries. Uranus has challenged Saturn, and the two zodiacal signs related to sex" Taurus and Scorpio, have been the focus of the challenge.
The challenge has been largely expressed through the revolution which the concepts of Darwin and Freud have brought to the collective, official mentality of our modern society. These two challenges occurred about the time of the last two conjunctions of Saturn and Uranus, in Taurus when Darwin was developing his concept of the origin of species and of man, in Scorpio when Freud was constructing his theories concerning sexuality.
What these two revolutions — Darwinian and Freudian — have accomplished is to replace the traditional Christian picture of man as a divine soul using a material body with the essentially materialistic belief that man is a social animal. Biological-social adaptation in order that the race may survive in the struggle for life (Darwin); psychological adjustment so that a person may live successfully under the inevitable conflict between compulsive animal instincts and the moral restraints of society (Freud): these are the essential achievements to strive for, according to the new picture of man's life.
In that picture sex, while obviously still related to the propagation of the species takes on a new meaning. Sex becomes the basic means to personality-integration, regardless of whether or not children will be produced; indeed most often repudiating deliberately the possibility of progeny. Thus, we find ourselves confronted with psychological sex, personalized sex; which means sexual activity for the sake of building a wholesome, strong ego-Saturn-controlled sexuality.
It is, I believe, this new picture of what sex means and should accomplish for "you," the individual person, male or female, which is responsible for the data produced by Dr. Kinsey's research. It is responsible for the precocious sexual activity of males, as well as the perpetuation of female sexual desires long after the end of the female's biological ability to produce children.
The old traditional picture of sex made sexual activity almost entirely dependent upon the bringing forth and the educating of children; the activity was to be enjoyed, because God wants us to enjoy life and all that is part of the rhythm of life, but for no other reasons. Sexual activity was purely physiological and was part of good health, like a healthy metabolism.
The fact that males were allowed to sow their wild oats before marriage, and a good deal was tolerated even after marriage, bears outs partially another other fact, brought out clearly in Dr. Kinsey's report, that man, in many cases, is sexually stimulated mentally, by what he sees and what he thinks or imagines. On the other hand, woman is normally mainly aroused by what she feels, what she physically or emotionally experiences. Man is more abstract, woman more concrete; and this reflects the character of the male seed (mobile, dynamic) and of the female seed (fixed, rooted, ready for impregnation for a brief period, then ejected until another takes its place).
This traditional biological and religious picture has been rapidly breaking down during the last 30 years, a whole generation. Dr. Kinsey's statistics help us to measure the degree of its disintegration. This is all they are supposed to do. Nevertheless, by doing that they may also accelerate the breaking down — or possibly they might, but are not very likely to, cause a revulsion of opinion, and a wave of moral reaction. They leave, however, the main question unanswered. Is the change to be considered as permanent? Is this psychological, personalized attitude toward sex to prevail throughout the next 500 years, or even much longer?
The Future is Young
It is difficult to answer these questions only on astrological grounds. But the very fact that there was very unusual emphasis on Taurus and Scorpio (through the most significant conjunctions of Saturn with Jupiter and Uranus) just before and after the 1892 conjunction of Neptune and Pluto seems to indicate that the barely begun transformation of our attitude toward sex will remain a basic element in the civilization of the next 500 years.
This should not be taken to mean that the prevalent sexual behavior of the younger generation or of the next will constitute the norm for the future. The attitude toward sex will change if and when the fundamental beliefs of our society with regard to the meaning and purpose of human life, of body and mind, of matter and spirit, also change.
We are seeing only the first phase of the world-wide transformation, and the first phase of any cycle is always confused and confusing to those who live through, it! On astrological grounds, we can expect that only 100 to 150 years after the 1892 conjunction of Neptune and Pluto will humanity begin to know what the newly begun 500-year era will look like. The last 500-year cycle began around 1398, and America was discovered in 1492. The future is still very young — and the modern attitude toward sex may still be immature.