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University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

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Law, Self-Pollution, And The Management Of Social Anxiety, Geoffrey P. Miller Jan 2001

Law, Self-Pollution, And The Management Of Social Anxiety, Geoffrey P. Miller

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This article considers the anxieties about masturbation and spermatorrhoea from the standpoint of cultural-legal analysis. Seen from this perspective, the worries about masturbation provided an object onto which social anxieties could be displaced and thereby managed. Norm entrepreneurs who played on public fears manipulated basic cultural polarities in order to present masturbation and spermatorrhoea as objects of horror and disgust-things that needed to be expelled, if possible, from the body social.