The mechanisms through which sexual scarcity is created are many and complex, and it should be emphasized strongly that we are not discussing anything as simple as frequency of sexual intercourse. A man may have intercourse as often as he wishes and still feel deprived, because his desire has attached itself to someone or something unattainable. The root of sexual dissatisfaction is the capacity of man to generate symbols which can attract and trap portions of his libido. Restrictions as to time, place, mode, and partner do not simply postpone release but create an absolute deprivation, because man has the capacity to construct a memory, a concept, a fantasy. Thus while increases in the number, variety, and severity of sexual restrictions may intensify the subjective experience of sexual scarcity, a subsequent trend toward sexual "permissiveness" need not produce a corresponding decrease in scarcity. Once you have trained your dog to prefer cooked meat you can let him run around the stockyard without any qualms. The fundamental mechanism for generating sexual scarcity is to attach sexual interest to inaccessible, nonexistent, or irrelevant objects; and for this purpose man's capacity to symbolize is perfectly designed.
Today this basic technique has become the dominant one. By the time an American boy or girl reaches maturity he or she has so much symbolic baggage attached to the sexual impulse that the mere mutual stimulation of two human bodies seems almost meaningless. Through the mass media everything sexless has been sexualized: automobiles, cigarettes, detergents, clothing. The setting and interpretation of a sexual