Modern anthropological research has shown that at every level of civilization there exists a moral code which is expressed in the ideal behaviour of individuals in the community, that is a behaviour which is ‘correct’ according to the people's ideas and praised by them in speech and story. Part of this moral code consists of regulations determining the mutual behaviour of the sexes, that is, of rules attempting to direct and control the physiological and emotional sexual impulses in individuals in the interest of the social well-being of the community or state. These physiological and emotional forces of sex are part of the biological equipment of human beings and hence common to all peoples. The anthropologist among so-called primitive people can approach the study of the moral code and its application from two angles: that of the individual, and that of the community. In all forms of society there is a supposition that individuals find control in sexual matters irksome, and only submit to restraint as a result of effective training allied to effective external pressure. A further universal supposition is that the community finds it necessary to demand a certain type of behaviour from individuals for the sake of its cohesion and stability. Both these suppositions are borne out by anthropological studies in primitive sociology. As soon, however, as we descend from general principles to a particular tribe, we begin to ask whether there is any connexion between the nature of the community and its demands on individuals as represented by the moral code and especially by the sexual regulations. Is there, for example, less need for stringent sexual regulations in a small isolated community than in a warlike tribe dependent for its existence on the strength of its arms? And if there is any such connexion what are the reasons for it?
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