Author : Otto Weininger (1880-1903)

Title : Sex and Character (1903)

Keywords: Sex, female sexuality, women, reproduction, instinct, the Jews, puberty, physiology, biology, repulsion, artist, psychology, eroticism, immorality, love Madonna

Pages : Introduction | page 1 | page 2


In this extract of Sex and Character, taken from L. Bland and L. Doan (eds), Sexology Uncensored: the documents of sexual science (London, 1998) , Weininger is foregrounding some of the negative aspects of his polarisation of qualities between male and female substances. In particular, the female – insofar as individuals approach the abstract female condition – is connected with sexual life and completely subsumed by it. “Woman is only sexual, man is also sexual”. This entanglement in sexuality was, for Weininger, evidenced in two ideal prototypes of femininity – the prostitute, and the idealised mother as Madonna. Either way, ‘the sexual impulse destroys the body and mind of the woman’. In Weininger’s polar vision of identity, it is the duty of the male to forego sexuality for more abstract and rational commitments.

Back to Sexuality Documents | Introduction | page 1 | page 2