Medicine is a double-edged sword. It can heal an infection or illness, but it can also have unwelcome or even fatal side effects. Likewise, an unthoughtful application of an ideal may lead to unintended, disastrous consequences. That is what happened after the feminist movement altered history by winning the right for women to have sex like men.
The foundational idea of feminism has always been to achieve equality between the sexes. Inspired by this, the catalyst propelling the sexual revolution was the assertion that women have a right to express their sexuality in the same way as their male counterparts. There is no doubt that at least some feminists fought for this right. The famous television show Sex and the City posed the question of whether women should seek sexual pleasure as men do. Vogue magazine asked this again in 2022 but avoided answering it.
The issue remains relevant. It gets straight to the fundamental connection that links men and women: their sexual union and the societal norms surrounding it.
The sexual revolution, past and present
With “equality” as their guiding light, feminists began their long march toward sexual freedom. The following is a timeline of the movement’s major milestones, following the progression of how the demand for sexual equality with men grew.
In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in America, was held. Its manifesto, the Declaration of Sentiments, declared that “all men and women are created equal” and objected to “a different code of morals for men and women.” By “morals,” of course, they meant sex.
In 1928, Margaret Mead, the high priestess of the sexual revolution, published her famous book Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization. She wanted to “concentrate upon the adolescent girl in Samoa” who “thrusts virtuosity away from her … All of her interest is expended on clandestine sex adventures.”
From the 1970s onward, the sexual revolution’s theorists and scientists started asserting that sexual repression or “civilized” sexual morality undermined human happiness. The feminist Germaine Greer “championed promiscuity to break women’s ‘doglike’ devotion to men … tentatively at first, but with rising confidence, women were claiming unrestricted erotic freedom.”
Today, feminists continue to assert that women and men are equally sexually hungry. Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray, author of Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, and Relationships, holds this view. In her words, “Not only is the idea that men have higher sex drives an oversimplified notion, but it’s really just not true.”
A study from the University of Michigan assures us that “Women like casual sex as much as men if the stigma is removed from accepting the offer and the experience involves a ‘great lover.’” Feminist Kristen Sollee stated, “So many high profile women are embracing gender equality and unabashed sexual expression.”
Influenced by this norm, sex therapists compel their female clients to act like men sexually. One therapist had clients who were “strong, progressive women” but weren’t “comfortable expressing themselves” at an “intimate, sexual level.” They felt that men should seek them instead. The therapist advised her clients to exercise assertiveness. She suggested they buy marbles in two different colors, one for each partner, and put them near an empty glass bowl. Whenever a client or her partner initiated sex, she was to place a marble into the bowl. The goal was to have roughly an equal mix of colors in the bowl at the end of the year. She was effectively telling her female clients they must mimic men to be sexually equal.
Feminists won a resounding victory: The right of a woman to “have sex like a man,” if she so wants, is now cultural orthodoxy. Even the suggestion that she should not do so because she is a woman would be considered a violation of her equality with men.
A rather sticky issue remains, however. The feminists assumed that women could have sex like men because the male and female sex drives are the same. But is that true? In the spirit of the Seneca Convention’s assertion to “let facts be submitted to a candid world,” here are some that speak directly to the strength of the male sex drive.
The male sex drive’s great, and sometimes destructive strength
Prostitution has occurred in all cultures across the world. Female prostitutes are mentioned throughout the ages, from the Code of Hammurabi in the 18th century BC to Hollywood’s hit film Pretty Woman in the modern era. Powerful kings and monarchs assembled colossal harems such as the Grand Seraglio of the Ottoman Sultans. Hugh Hefner had a harem of Playboy Bunnies. Women were, are and will be objects of affection for the male gaze.
History and current events have repeatedly shown us the deviant side of male sexuality. The use of rape as a weapon is a war crime recognized by international criminal law. Religions reflect how powerful the male sex drive is. The Quran dangles women as one of the rewards for pious Muslim men in heaven, saying it is populated by “maidens of modest gaze, who no human or jinn has ever touched before.” Mohammad Atta, one of the airplane hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, thought he would go on and find “women of paradise” waiting for him, dressed “in their most beautiful clothing.” Voyeurs are all male and can go to great lengths to observe nude women, even on US Navy ships. There is a reason why they are called “Peeping Toms.”
With such a storied history of prompting sexual misconduct, the male libido is notorious to women everywhere. Journalist Hadley Freeman wrote, “Men … are dogs, trying desperately to escape being trapped so they can hump anyone and everyone they meet.”
The female sex drive is weaker
Nobody makes the case that women do not like sex or do not cheat on their spouses. Different women have different preferences and goals. However, it is not complicated to determine the strength of the female sex drive vis-à-vis the male one if we look for evidence around us.
The #MeToo movement and the No Means No movement, the latter of which went on to become Only Yes Means Yes, demonstrate that women are far less ready for casual sex. The multi-billion-dollar worldwide market for diamond engagement rings shows women’s preference for monogamy.
The Fifty Shades of Grey book series, which has sold over 150 million copies worldwide in 52 languages, has a majority female readership. It is about women’s secret longing to be sexually dominated by a powerful, controlling man. Time magazine reported on analyses of 20 studies that estimated that between 31% and 57% of women entertain fantasies where they are forced to have sex. Empirical studies have shown first and second-year female students “hook up” to shed their virginity. By the third year, however, they become increasingly interested in committed relationships and have less casual sex.
Even Margaret Mead’s 1928 book contradicts the portrayal of women as promiscuous. In the chapter on formal sexual relations, she wrote, “In native theory, barrenness is the punishment of promiscuity; and, vice versa, only persistent monogamy is rewarded by conception … virginity is a legal requirement for her … and virginity definitely adds to a girl’s attractiveness.”
In her pioneering book, Mead informs us about the premium on female virginity even in a society considered relatively free of moral constraints. It suggests a disparity in the strengths of the male and female sex drives.
The consequences are becoming apparent
It has been over 50 years since the start of the sexual revolution, and its effects have shown themselves. In 2022, Jessica Burrell, a feminist who prided herself on her sexual conquests, wrote:
The tide is turning away from casual sex, especially for women…a new wave of conscious abstinence seems to be emerging. But why is this? … It was easy to feel a sense of duty to use this hard-earned freedom; when single, I had a sense that it was my feminist obligation to get out there and have sex like a man, overriding any hormonal urges and remaining intently unattached. To be empowered meant being unfailingly up for it, and those who weren’t risked looking uncool or not progressive. For me, this meant…a pressure to have sex on male terms.
This is a paragraph rich in unwitting revelations. Ironically, the right to have sex like men became its exact opposite: a “feminist obligation” and “sense of duty.” Having “sex like a man” implies that women do not like to have sex like men. And the “hormonal urges” are a tacit admission of what evolutionary biologists have long told us, which feminists derided: The possibility that sex can result in a life-altering pregnancy gives women a heavier burden, making women sexually choosier than men.
We now have more than 50 years of data to prove that the sexual revolution had the worst effect on the one thing it was supposed to improve: sex. The orthodoxy that a woman had to remain a virgin before marriage was replaced by the orthodoxy that she had better not remain one. The mission statement that “we want to have sex like men” went on to become the sexual revolution’s first commandment: that women are always ready and sexually available.
Unsurprisingly, to many powerful men, this seemed like an offer they could hardly refuse. Many of them forced themselves upon women who did not want their attention and claimed that their actions were consensual. (Though that possibility cannot always be ruled out — women, too, can fib.) It is after the sexual revolution that women’s complaints of good men being extinct have hit an all-time high. Young people are having less sex than before.
The passionate union between man and woman is seriously threatened. The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior reported that men and women under 30 were “significantly more likely” to admit that they did not kiss during sex because kissing would have been “too intimate” with their partner. Yes, even the kiss appears endangered. Birth rates have plummeted across the West and are now far below replacement rates.
Technological alternatives dominate sex
We are at the cusp of an age where men and women are attempting to eliminate each other sexually. What else can one make of the fact that women’s demand for donated sperm has soared? Many sperm banks are deliberately established near elite colleges to satisfy women’s demand for “college-educated sperm.” The global sperm bank market is expected to grow from $5 billion in 2021 to $7.5 billion by 2030. This is a result of the growing acceptance of single-parent or same-sex families.
By a creepy and mysterious coincidence, sperm counts of Western men — only Western men — have halved in the last 40 years. That is just ten years after the sexual revolution started. In the last decade, the number of women choosing to freeze their eggs has increased tenfold.
Men also took action to get flesh-and-blood women out of their lives with pornography. They also have the option to seek pleasure from virtual girlfriends. The AI chatbot company Replika offers erotic roleplay to its customers. Some buyers consider themselves “married” to their chatbot companions. The company Silicon Wives sells luxury sex dolls for $2,000 and ships them free worldwide. Its blog congratulates new customers, assuring them:
You’ve made a great investment. A sex doll can provide companionship, sexual satisfaction, and even add some unique spice to your relationships. A sex doll doesn’t care about your job, car, looks, or the contents of your wallet. They’re always up for a good time and will never judge you for your fantasies or your hang-ups.
In short, a Silicon Wives doll is a woman without the ‘disadvantages’ that come with a real one.
The sexual revolution has hurt women
If there was any intention among the revolutionists that increased sexual rights would benefit women’s lives, it fell through. Instead, the opposite happened: Women’s happiness is declining, particularly in America. Antidepressant use is rising, mostly in women. Nearly 18% of adult women use antidepressants. Increasing numbers of women are drinking themselves to death. Single mothers head 80% of the 10.89 million single-parent families in the country — a third of them live in poverty.
America is not the only nation in jeopardy. In Western countries such as the UK, Greece and Venezuela, significantly more young women have been convicted for violent crimes than in the past. The UK has reported a loneliness epidemic among teenage girls and young women.
How did this happen to the West? The root cause is the literal application of equality in the sexual realm. Equality is an ideal that glitters because of its seeming ethical symmetry. It is manifestly contrary to hierarchy. That is simultaneously its strength and weakness, as equality can be mistaken for sameness or identicality.
Once it was accepted that women are equal to men — which they undoubtedly are in worth and dignity — the logic of this principle extended unstoppably into women’s sexual lives. Since men had demonstrably more sexual freedom, logic demanded that women ask for equal rights. To argue or concede that women were different might have implied that they wanted less sex than men. That would have been a nail in the coffin in their fight for equality. Logic locked feminists into demanding that women get the right to have sex like men. Those who made the demand unknowingly set women up to be clones of men while kneeling before the shrine of equality.
The complementary nature of the sexes must be understood
The feminist victory that women should have the right to have sex like men is probably one of social history’s worst turning points. The data inarguably shows this. Essentially, feminists overprescribed their medicine. Sex is essential to women, and it was tightly moderated before the revolution. Since then, feminists have effectively prescribed morphine for a headache.
Sex for women does not have to be of all-consuming importance like feminists decided. The women who made this diagnosis were puzzlingly most out of touch with the specificities of female sexuality. It was betrayal by women intellectuals — many of them elite and white — that has damaged millions of ordinary women. This right must be challenged, or else its devastating social consequences will spread further across the world.
Now that some women are realizing the revolution’s failure, the logical next step is to correct course. People who genuinely care about women, men and society at large should launch a new discourse: Women can reflect upon the advantages of renouncing equal sex. They can embrace a sexually conservative lifestyle that treats female sexuality with understanding and nuance.
Doing so should not be considered as succumbing to the “patriarchy,” but simply drawing on past experience. If such a movement grows strong, it is also likely to induce positive changes in men’s sexuality and behavior. Today’s men, who are wrongly excoriated for their shortcomings, may work harder to win love. Women have far more power over men than feminists care to admit. They are what men dream about and desire all their lives. It is time for women to regain what nature has given to them, which was whittled away in the name of equality.
Sex between women and men ought to be exempt from the misapplication of the ideal of equality. Instead, we should accept it for what it really is: gloriously unequal, different and complementary between two equally authentic sides of humanity.
[Lee Thompson-Kolar edited this piece.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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