Herald of

“There is no sex in the USSR”: about the concept of ‘sex’ in Soviet culture

Dushenko K.V.


Abstract. The article deals with the history of the word ‘sex’, as well as related words in the Soviet press. The term ‘sexual’ in the 1920 s was used primarily in medicine, forensic science, psychoanalytic psychology, and also in social pedagogy. The word ‘sex’ appeared in Russian no later than 1921, occasionally met in the 1930 s, and then for two decades (1937–1956) was practically absent in the Soviet press. The number of references to ‘sex’ has increased dramatically since the late 1950 s, and in most cases it refers to elements of eroticism in Western cinema. ‘Sex’ in the Soviet press is endowed with a number of negative characteristics: it is closely associated with crime and perversion; it is opposite to love, replacing it with physiology; it serves as a distraction from the real problems of bourgeois society; it is individualistic in nature (i.e. not subject to social control). In the latter case, there is a characteristic duality: in the West, ‘sex’ serves as a means of manipulating the consciousness and feelings of the masses; and in the USSR, on the contrary, it is dangerous as a socially uncontrolled phenomenon that opposes the social, collectivist principle.


Sexual revolution; sexual education; Soviet language; Evg. Zamyatin; G.A. Batkis.

DOI: 10.31249/hoc/2022.03.09

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