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Even those men who are famous for their wisdom, compassion, mercy toward all beings…well, their wisdom and compassion never quite extended to women, it seems. The Buddha was no exception, and again we see the theme of men vilifying women’s bodies and women as a whole for the sexual arousal they cause in men. Unresolved issues with their own morality and sexuality are projected onto us. These men need to dehumanize us in hopes of retaining and regaining control, and demonize us in hopes of washing their own souls clean.

But it is not only their own sexuality that men fear and that leads them to demonize us. It is also female sexuality that is deemed so very threatening as to be equated with the essence of evil itself.

The Sex and Power Discussion Blog

This is part II of my contribution to the Jaipur Literary Festival this year which focuses on Buddhism. You can read part I here.  It’s another excerpt from the Buddhist period  in my book  Sex and Power (Sect II, pp.67-110).  The central argument of my book is that the concepts of sexuality and sexual morality in any society keep changing over time.  And it is the dominant forces–social, political, economic or religious–in any period of time that determine how that society views women, sex and sexual morality.

In the Buddhist period which stretches from about 500B.C. to 100A.D. Buddhism was one of the most powerful institutions, and the teachings of the Buddha impacted on social thinking at many levels.  In the first excerpt from my book I talk about how it revolutionized the concept of class and caste based equality and social justice.  But by the same…

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