Wilhelm Reich believed that certain forms of deviant behavior result mostly or in part from the repressive sexual morality of a society (Reich, 1930). Reich believes that the majority of antisocial impulses are caused by the repression and dissatisfaction of basic sexual needs from childhood onwards.
In Bronisław Malinowski's The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (1929), Reich finds evidence for a connection between a sex-positive morality and the reduction of deviant behavior:
Children in the Trobriand Islands know no sex repression and no sexual secrecy. Their sex life is allowed to develop naturally, freely, and unhampered through every stage of life, with full satisfaction. The children engage freely in the sexual activities which correspond to their age. Nonetheless, or rather just for this reason, the society of the Trobrianders knew, in the third decade of our century, no sexual perversions, no functional psychoses, no psychoneuroses, no sex murder; they have no word for theft; homosexuality and masturbation, to them, mean nothing but an unnatural and imperfect means of sexual gratification, a sing of a disturbed capacity to reach normal satisfaction. To the children of the Trobrianders, the strict, obsessional training for excremental control which undermines the civilization of the white race is unknown. The Trobrianders, therefore, are spontaneously clean, orderly, social without compulsion, intelligent, and industrious. The socially accepted form of sexual life is spontaneous monogamy without compulsion, a relationship which can be dissolved without difficulities; thus, there is no promiscuity. (Reich, 1942; italics in the original)
Reich's views have long since been shown to be naively optimistic, but what I am interested in is not a refutation of his theory, but recent research in the matter:
What do current empirical psychology and cognitive sciences say to a hypothesised connection between unrepressed sexuality and the absence of anti-social deviant behavior?
- Reich, W. (1930). Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf. Vienna: Münsterverlag. [Translated as Reich, W. (1945) The Sexual Revolution. Orgone Institute Press.]
- Reich, W. (1942). The Function of the Orgasm. Orgone Institute Press.