Havelock Ellis, Lolita, & the Growing UK Student-Sex Worker Industry

Ellis-Vagina

The Fabian Society (originally the Fellowship of New Life) began with the sexologist Henry Havelock Ellis. Ellis is attributed with coining the word “homosexual” and was one of the first people in history to show an academic interest in pedophilia. Ellis was reputedly a sexual experimenter as well as a drug user, and allegedly even combined the two (hallucinogens and private group sex sessions). The writings of Ellis were among the key texts that formed the basis for sex education in British colleges and, later, schools. Ellis is sometimes known today as “the father of social psychology.” One of Ellis’ best known followers appears to have been the famous economist, John Maynard Keynes, known pederast and probably pedophile. Ellis’ influence extended to Freud, and later, to Vladimir Nabokov. Ellis’ research was a direct inspiration for Lolita, which is the tale of a twelve-year-old girl who seduces (rather than is exploited by) Humbert Humbert, the male protagonist.

A 1990s syllabus at Cornell University called “The Sexual Child,” described as follows: “With respect to children, the American imagination today is defined by what we might call pedophile gothic. The sexual child, as a volatile emblem of trauma, has become the focus of moral panics from every point on the political spectrum. . . But what do we think a child is or ought to be? What does it mean to love or desire a child? Who promotes the idea of child sexuality and why?” Ellis was included in the course, with lectures such as “The Child as Sexual Object and Sexual Subject,” “Big Bad Wolves,” “Loving Children,” and “Having Children” (for which one of the readings was Nabokov’s Lolita). English Professor Ellis Hanson, the course instructor, described the course as being designed to “undermine preconceived notions about what a child is, what sexuality is, and what it means to love or desire a child.”

The bisexual “trans man” Pat Califa, who contributed to the course, wrote: “Children are celibate because their parents prevent them from playing with other little kids or adults. . . . They are not innocent; they are ignorant, and that ignorance is deliberately created and maintained by parents. . . . Closing down this [sex] industry without providing alternative employment is equivalent to sentencing young people to frustration, abuse, or suicide in cozy little suburban ranch-style prisons.” Carifa was somewhat ahead of his/her time with such arguments; or perhaps, since they formed a central part of the Cornell University course in the 1990s, s/he was instrumental in normalizing prostitution, child or otherwise? In March 2015, the Daily Telegraph ran a piece about how one in five British university students are now making extra money in the sex industry. It reads like an advertisement:“[G]iven the relative ease of sex work—and the fact that it’s so lucrative—I’m surprised more undergrads aren’t giving it a go. . . There are, of course, less than pleasurable elements of sex work. But aren’t there in every job?”

Student sex work is now openly supported in the UK.

Full piece here.

Jasun Horsley

Jasun Horsley

Existential detective. Liminalist author. Movie autist in chronic confessional mode. You only think you don't know who I am.
Jasun Horsley

1 Comment on "Havelock Ellis, Lolita, & the Growing UK Student-Sex Worker Industry"

Comments are closed.