The invisible prison of sexual shame behind the Hollywood scandals and #METOO, revealed through 31 films

In October 2017 over a dozen women accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault, or rape. Further allegations followed. Weinstein’s wife left him, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled him and—the ultimate ignominy—he was fired from his own production company. On 25 May 2018 Weinstein was arrested and charged with rape.

The accusations against Weinstein were a tipping point in breaking the silence about the sexual abuse that has plagued not just the film industry but society at large since time immemorial. Other courageous women stepped forward with accusations of sexual impropriety. More famous figures, including Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, L.A. Confidential) fell from grace. All around the world, victims of sexual abuse broke their silence and vented their outrage on Twitter using the #METOO hashtag.

Weinstein and Spacey are just the tip of an iceberg. Our entire society struggles with sex, and has done so for thousands of years. Evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker writes that, “In all societies, sex is at least somewhat ‘dirty’”. Archaeologist Timothy Taylor observes that, “the problem of sexual morality remains in many respects unresolved”. Christopher Ryan and Cathilda Jethá observe that, “contemporary human sexuality throbs with obvious, painful truths that must not be spoken aloud”.

Unconscious shame

The reason those truths cannot be spoken aloud is because of shame—an unconscious shame that not only causes all our sexual problems but prevents us from talking about them, let alone understanding them.

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate.”

Carl Jung

Sexcatraz

The premise of Sexcatraz is that the root of all sexual dysfunction lies a prison of age-old unconscious, sex-negative attitudes. These keep us trapped in patterns of behaviour that are at best dissatisfying and at worst downright damaging—patterns from which there is seemingly no escape. I have called this invisible emotional prison Sexcatraz, after America’s notorious—and supposedly escape-proof—maximum-security jail.

Sexcatraz is a journey into the darkness of the highest-security secret in the world—our unconscious sexual shame.

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