Don't be a slave to sex.
Although sex is a natural and enjoyable part of life, it can also radically change your mind.
This is a Part One extract from the chapter ‘Don’t be a slave to sex’, from the instant Sunday Times bestseller, Free Your Mind: The new world of manipulation and how to resist it. Part Two follows next week.
The French call an orgasm la petite mort, meaning ‘a little death’, referring to the brief weakening of consciousness after sex. It breaks down the mind’s conscious thoughts, creating an imprintable space in the brain – the subspace identified by bondage lovers, the temporary autonomous zone of symbolism, the cognitive vacuum of brainwashing.
Sex can break down conscious and moral defences and allow for a cognitive restructuring – it is a potent brainwashing tool. Outside of drugs, the orgasm provides perhaps the strongest rush of pleasure one can experience. Pavlov’s dog food pales in comparison to the ability of sex to make people salivate. Flooding the brain with serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, sex is the ultimate reward. Pairing this reward with the right stimulus can radically change people’s minds. Any idea can become palatable if it is made sexually desirable first. As radical feminist Professor Catherine Alice MacKinnon wrote: ‘Try arguing with an orgasm sometime.’
Indeed, there is experimental research showing that tastes can be moulded sexually. Psychologists have known since at least the 1960s that paraphilias can be conditioned. One such study hooked men’s penises up to a device to measure engorgement. When the men viewed pornographic pictures of women, they became sexually aroused. Shown erotic pictures of women in boots, the men became aroused as expected due to the naked women. After a certain number of exposures to the women in boots, however, the men became conditioned to associate the boots alone with arousal. Eventually, just an image of boots was enough to turn them on. They had become conditioned to find boots sexy. In another study, virgin male rates were conditioned to prefer having sex with jacket-wearing females, rather than unclad ones.
An obvious illustration is the use of bikini-clad models to make brands appealing – but could pornography also be warping what people find desirable, and thus their habits and beliefs, on a more fundamental level?