I came across following quote attributed Friedrich Nietzsche:

It is the most sensual men who need to flee women and torment their bodies

What context does it appear in and what is its meaning?


closed as off-topic by Mitch, RegDwigнt Sep 30 '14 at 21:06

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    Your version is from "not-so-brainy-quote.com". Here's another version (obviously still translated): It is the most sensual men who have to flee from women and torment their body. I expect he meant real women are too much for very "sensual" men, so they do other things to relieve their sexual tension. Given the context, probably purifying self-flagellation, rather than "self-abuse" in the sense of "masturbation". – FumbleFingers Sep 30 '14 at 16:56
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a question of interpreting philosophy, not about language itself. This should probably be migrated to philosophy.SE and even there it probably needs some introductory explanation. – Mitch Sep 30 '14 at 18:17
  • I agree with @Mitch that this is probably a good fit for philosophy.stackexchange.com . – Chris Sunami Sep 30 '14 at 20:31

You have to go waaaaaaay down the scroll here:


But you find:

Saints. It is the most sensual of men who have to flee from women and torment their body.

Daybreak "Thoughts on the prejudices of morality" Book IV, 294


It has no "context", per se.

It is a single line in a book Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality that begins with "Saints. - It is...".

The intent must be arrived at by becoming more familiar with Nietzsche's philosophy in general. As Nietzsche praised asceticism and himself practiced celibacy (which leaves the manner of his death in question), I think you must determine for yourself it's meaning. Above and below Saints is Thankful and The Duel:

THANKFUL. One superfluous grain of gratitude and piety makes one suffer as from a vice—in spite of all one's independence and honesty one begins to have a bad conscience.

THE DUEL. It may be said in favour of duels and all affairs of honour that if a man has such susceptible feelings that he does not care to live when So and so says or thinks this or that about him; he has a right to make it a question of the death of the one or the other. With regard to the fact that he is so susceptible, it is not at all to be remonstrated with, in that matter we are the heirs of the past, of its greatness as well as of its exaggerations, without which no greatness ever existed. So when there exists a code of honour which lets blood stand in place of death, so that the mind is relieved after a regular duel it is a great blessing, because otherwise many human lives would be in danger. Such an institution, moreover, teaches men to be cautious in their utterances and makes intercourse with them possible.


Nietzsche's opinion of women was formed as a child growing up in a hen house of mother, sister's, half sisters, cousins and aunts (dad died a long time ago). As a student at University of Bonn he suddenly became frighteningly manly, even obtaining a dueling scar. He studied philosophy and philology and intellectually got into bed with Arthur Schopenhauer (see Schope's essay 'On Women'). Fred absorbed Schope's theory that, besides the domesticating effect on men, women have a highly developed nurturing instinct toward their men. The women cannot console morally strong men--they are not needed. Schope said women have to weaken men in order to carry out their nurturing instinct. In Nietzsche's philosophy of aphorisms, the sensual man is more prone to compromises with women because of their sexual power. Better a life of asceticism preached Nietzsche. Family men seldom do great things in Nietzsche's view. e.g., There is no record of Christoper Columbus having married. If he had, we Americans would still be living in Europe.

  • Wow @User3487 what a brilliant and concise commentary! I now know about 400% more about Nietzsche than before! What an interesting thought about the... emasculation of men, by women and the necessity for men to compromise with or to women, in order to be sexual. Celibacy looking like a wise alternative, indeed! And on the side of women... is the swingeing effect of marriage, being a possession, effectively being slaves to men, throughout time. Quite a pretty pickle we're in! ☃️☕️ – Jelila Jan 14 '18 at 5:37

It's a reference to medieval monks, who were supposed strictly avoid all contact with women, and who beat themselves as a spiritual discipline --a way of humbling the fleshly body. Nietzsche is claiming that it is --ironically --the most sensually oriented men who seek these disciplines.

Presumably a less sensually oriented man would view both women and his own body from more of a position of indifference than of passionate rejection.

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