quote by William J. Brennan, Jr.

Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest.

— William J. Brennan, Jr.

Genuine Prurient quotations

An impersonal and scientific knowledge of the structure of our bodies is the surest safeguard against prurient curiosity and lascivious gloating.

The leech's kiss, the squid's embrace, The prurient ape's defiling touch: And do you like the human race? No, not much.

Television is not vulgar because people are vulgar;

it is vulgar because people are similar in their prurient interests and sharply differentiated in their civilized concerns.

Nothing is more repulsive than a furtively prurient spirituality; it is just as unsavory as gross sensuality.


Yes, there is a terrible moral in 'Dorian Gray' - a moral which the prurient will not be able to find in it, but it will be revealed to all whose minds are healthy. Is this an artistic error? I fear it is. It is the only error in the book.

Elderly people, I have found, when they're being honest, are also scumbags, and enjoy a little prurient humour as well.

I hate these actresses-pretending-to-be-lesbians movies.

To me, that's just as prurient as a bad violent movie.

Just as the historian can teach no real history until he has cured his readers of the romantic delusion that the greatness of a queen consists in her being a pretty woman and having her head cut off, so the playwright of the first order can do nothing with his audience until he has cured them of looking at the stage through the keyhole, and sniffing round the theatre as prurient people sniff round the divorce court.

It's magical thinking to imagine that the reason unspeakable things are being perpetrated by younger and younger people is that they've fallen under the influence of seductive, lascivious, prurient, and violent material in books, films, television. A great deal of this type of censorship has to do with absolving parents of responsibility - parents who just plop their kids in front of the television and leave them there hour upon hour.


In contrast to the asexual chasteness of official communist art , Nazi art is both prurient and idealizing. A utopian aesthetics (physical perfection; identity as a biological given) implies an ideal eroticism: sexuality converted into the magnetism of leaders and the joy of followers. The fascist ideal is to transform sexual energy into a "spiritual" force, for the benefit of the community.

Whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest.

The spectacle of a judge pouring over the picture of some nude, trying to ascertain the extent to which she arouses prurient interests, and then attempting to write an opinion which explains the difference between that nude and some other nude has elements of low comedy.

An impersonal and scientific knowledge of the structure of our bodies is the surest safeguard against prurient curiosity and lascivious gloating.

O sweet spontaneous earth how often have the doting fingers of prurient philosophers pinched and poked thee ,has the naughty thumb of science prodded thy beauty .how often have religions taken thee upon their scraggy knees squeezing and buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive gods (but true to the incomparable couch of death thy rhythmic lover thou answerest them only with spring)


You, methinks you think you love me well;

For me, I love you somewhat; rest: and Love Should have some rest and pleasure in himself, Not ever be too curious for a boon, Too prurient for a proof against the grain Of him ye say ye love: but Fame with men, Being but ampler means to serve mankind, Should have small rest or pleasure in herself, But work as vassal to the larger love, That dwarfs the petty love of one to one.

Nothing evokes the prurient like puritanism.

Since I speak and write about this a good deal, I am often asked at public meetings, in what sometimes seems to me a rather prurient way, whether I myself or my family have 'ever been threatened' by jihadists. My answer is that yes, I have, and so has everyone else in the audience, if they have paid enough attention to the relevant bin-Ladenist broadcasts to notice the fact.