The Boundaries Of Desire Book Summary By Eric Berkowitz

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The Boundaries of Desire (2015) is a book that provides an in-depth look into the history and implications of sexual relations and laws in the United States.

It examines how women have suffered from sexual harassment and abuse in a system created by men, for men, which has only served to perpetuate systemic injustice.

Not only that, but readers will gain insight into why US law has failed tragically when it comes to protecting minorities such as black people, homosexuals and children.

This work is an eye-opening read for those who are curious about the modern dynamics of power and gender relations in America.

The Boundaries Of Desire Book Summary By Eric Berkowitz

Book Name: The Boundaries of Desire (A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex and Changing Identities)

Author(s): Eric Berkowitz

Rating: 4/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Sex & Relationships

Author Bio

Eric Berkowitz is an experienced and respected author as well as a renowned human-rights lawyer.

He is widely read, with his work featured in top publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

With decades of experience and awards to his name, Eric Berkowitz provides readers with unfiltered knowledge and insight into complex legal cases through his books, including "The Boundaries of Desire".

Readers can rest assured that they are receiving authentic and useful information from a qualified source when reading a book by Eric Berkowitz.

How The Law Has Failed To Protect Women From Abuse And Discrimination


The American legal system is heavily biased when it comes to issues of sex.

This is made evident in the many cases where judges allow abusive husbands to walk free and how registered sex offenders are sometimes shockingly minors.

It becomes starkly clear that the law doesn’t do justice in matters of sex.

In “The Boundaries of Desire”, you’ll learn about the legal frameworks that dictate relationships between men and women and why they often work against women, as well as the shocking realities of sexual offenses committed by minors.

You’ll also be able to understand why our legal system fails to recognize certain forms of sexual exploitation, particularly in cases such as sex for money while being filmed, which don’t meet the threshold of prostitution.

By reading this book you’ll have a better understanding of how our laws have failed us in terms of providing justice and protections for victims of sexual abuse or discrimination – it’s high time we challenge these outdated philosophies!

The Fight For Women’s Liberation: How Attitudes Towards Marriage, Employment And Sex Have Changed

The struggle for women’s liberation has been long, and replete with hardship.

Women in America have only recently earned freedom from the complete control of a husband – something that was still very common just a century ago.

Before this, marriages were often viewed as more of legal contract that favored the man; he had the right to abuse and even beat his wife with impunity and courts rarely took any action against him.

That is why it so shocking that Richard Oliver in 1874 North Carolina was only fined $10 when he whipped his wife because he wasn’t pleased with the bacon she cooked for breakfast!

In both the United States and the United Kingdom, husbands also had what was called a marital rape exemption – effectively allowing them permission to rape their wives as part of their husbandly “duty”.

It wasn’t until 1991 in the UK and 1993 in US, however, that these laws were abolished.

It wasn’t until women earned their right to work and therefore achieve financial independence from a husband or partner that things really started to improve – which then paved the way for relationships being based on mutual attraction rather than economic security.

Plus, birth control allowed women to delay pregnancy and seize further freedom of exploration into relationships, sexuality, and their careers.

For centuries, the courts have been a comfortable haven for men with its male-dominated judges and juries.

Sadly, this has meant that countless women were denied justice when it came to rape cases due to a bias towards believing that women secretly wanted to be such victims.

Even in 1984, a North Carolina man was not found guilty of raping his girlfriend because he was in an existing relationship with her.

The situation was even worse when it came to workplace harassment or abuse.

Few male bosses had any qualms about sexually harassing or abusing female employees and many times these issues went undealt with as the courts dismissed such claims as merely ‘satisfying a personal urge’.

With such attitudes emanating from male-dominated courts, it’s come as no surprise that women have been left without any protection from sexual harassment or abuse for centuries.

How The Law Has Failed Victims Of Sexual Assault, Especially Children

Sexual Assault

The legal system has failed to effectively protect children from sexual abuse and, in some cases, has even unjustly accused them of it.

In the United States alone, over 17,000 victims of underage sexual abuse by Catholic priests were not found guilty due to judges misjudging the relationship between the plaintiff and defendants.

Moreover, US law up until 1998 stated that a teenage girl would only be considered a victim of rape if they had had no prior sexual experience – resulting in perpetrators walking free after willfully admitting their crimes.

This as well as other laws have painted victims into corners in which they feel powerless and unheard when speaking out against such injustices.

Parents also play into this cycle of injustice among children where feelings of paranoia make them consider anyone who interacts with their child as a potential sex offender — regardless of age or innocence.

This was seen in the late 80’s where non-threatening behavior from children was miscategorized with labels meant for serious criminals resulting in horrible repurcussions for persons far too young to have any real say in court proceedings.

All this evidence suggests that there must be an immediate reformation among our ways of protecting children so that we can ameliorate injustices related to this cause.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, homosexuality was viewed as a mental illness that needed to be cured.

Those who identified as such were often arrested, hospitalized and even placed in mental institutions if they chose to come out.

Further, in many areas like the United States and Europe, sodomy – which included anal sex – was an offense punishable by law.

Lesbians faced discrimination due to their assumed masculininty while wearing mens clothing in public could even get one arrested in certain cities such as Chicago.

It wasn’t until the 1980s when gay rights began being discussed after the AIDS epidemic became associated with homosexuals.

The gay community fought hard against this misconception and also rallied for equal rights across all of America’s states.

Ultimately, this proved successful as sodomy laws were struck down in 2003 and same-sex marriage was deemed legal nationwide in 2015 ending centuries of torture for those who identify as LGBTQ+.

The Double Standards Of Nudity And Sexuality: When Is It Permissible And When Is It Considered A Crime?

Nudity is extremely contextual.

Whether we as a society deem nudity to be immoral or art depends solely on the context in which it is seen by those who view it.

We see an example of this with Isadora Duncan, a famous dancer from post-WWI era whose performances featured models inspired by Greek statues and were met with enthusiasm from audiences who appreciated such connections to the ancient world, where sex was not seen as something scandalous.

The acceptance of such eroticism was an embodiment of high culture and made entertainment that involved some form of nudity welcome.

In contrast, strip clubs have faced widespread prohibition due to their displays of unacceptable forms of public indecency.

Law enforcement often shut down these businesses and arrested their owners and dancers on charges like “criminal conspiracy.”

Many countries also demonstrate existing double standards when it comes to sexual activities– for example, although many approve pornography, prostitution is banned in most places because it involves monetary compensation for engaging in sexual activities.

Nevertheless, the line between prostitution and porn suddenly becomes very blurry when professionals are hired to simulate pleasure on camera; this distorts people’s perceptions since they can no longer define them as sex work since there’s a filming involved and call them merely “paid acting”.

In fact, this defense was even used successfully in court as we saw with Harold Freedman’s case when he hired several models for his film Caught From Behind Part II!

The History Of Prostitution Reveals A Long Pattern Of Systemic Discrimination And Abuse

Systemic Discrimination

Sex workers have often faced discrimination, yet sex work has historically been a means of survival.

Over the years, governments around the world have taken different stances on prostitution.

While some countries have legalized and regulated it, other countries still choose to criminalize it.

In the early twentieth century, prostitution was seen as not just immoral but also unhealthy and many women involved in the trade were considered unfit to bear children.

In extreme cases, sterilization was even used to deter people from engaging in this type of “immoral” behavior.

Even today, sex work is still heavily stigmatized and viewed by some with disapproval or disgust.

And this attitude carries over into some legal systems which can seek to prosecute therapists who provide paid sexual services as part of their therapeutic treatment for clients suffering from psychological or physical handicaps.

In times of hardship and uncertainty such as during World War II where food and safety were scarce, turning to sex work for economic reasons was a means for women to survive in many parts of Europe.

The Nazi’s even encouraged prostitution among male prisoners at concentration camps like Buchenwald; Magdalena Walter, a female survivor from that camp recounts how they were allowed visits every night for a duration of two hours per man—each man was allowed fifteen minutes only.

Though much progress has been made since then in terms of treating sex workers with more respect and understanding their situation, unfortunately there are still stigmas that remain surrounding sex work today—stigmas which continue to lead to discrimination against those who engage in such occupations out of necessity or choice.

The Legacy Of Racism And Sexism In America: Laws Reflecting Historic Oppressions

Throughout American history, many non-white people have faced discrimination in society and in the courts.

This has been especially true for African Americans, who were not legally free until 1863.

Even after that, white Americans worked hard to hinder their progress by believing that they had turned into “brutes” with a dangerous desire to target white women.

Interracial marriages were also forbidden for decades because of this irrational fear of “inferior blood” and the thereby threatening the white race and Western civilization.

White people’s fear of black children was evident when a school in Arkansas was ordered to admit nine black students in 1957.

White parents demonstrated in front of the building while armed troops and students jumped out of windows out of fear.

Similarly, Chinese Americans were ruthlessly targeted before World War II on account of a belief that Chinese men wanted to rape and Chinese women carried contagious sexual diseases which could be deadly to white men.

It is clear that racism went hand-in-hand with sexism throughout American history – both being embedded into laws as well as present in everyday life – resulting in non-white people facing discrimination over many years.

Wrap Up

The Boundaries of Desire provides us with a final summary of the checkered history of American law and justice in regards to gender and sexuality.

We see that the legal system has historically been designed to benefit men at the expense of women, leaving them vulnerable to abuse or even harassment.

Also, minorities such as children, black people, homosexuals and sex workers have not had adequate protection under the law.

The book is a call to action for all readers to understand the underlying issues involved in our society’s views on gender and sexuality – in order to make sure everyone can live full lives without fear.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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