Why is it that men are, in general, much more politically involved on the right side of politics than women, especially in the burgeoning traditionalist right?
Some of the answers to that question are, I think, obvious. Men are more involved in politics for the same reason that men make up most of the inmates in prison: They are more aggressive, more insistent and more outspoken than women. Some, especially traditionalist conservatives, also believe that men have an instinctual concern for the well-being of the larger society and culture around them, while women’s instincts run to more domestic, local concerns, surrounding children, education and health.
That is part of it, to be sure. But I don’t think that’s all of it. After many years of thought on this particular issue, I’d like to advance my view of the matter. Please be warned that much of the discussion below is sexually explicit and may offend some. I apologize for that, but there is no way to discuss the matter fully without going into such detail.
First, for the men out there, I’d like to propose a thought experiment. It’s a hard one for most men, but do your best. Imagine that you are a young woman, of college age. Most young women are, when in the full flower of youth, beautiful and graceful. Imagine what the world—what the United States, circa 2009, looks like to you from this vantage point. When you walk into a room, at least half the eyes in the room, male and female, note your entrance, with pleasure. When you smile at someone, especially a man, the man’s face lights up. Almost all television shows and movies are pitched directly at you. Shops, boutiques, on-line websites, all directed personally at you. Doors are opened for you. Invites to parties are no problem.
And sex? Well, perhaps you aren’t getting into bed with The One that you want, but sex is readily available to you. The issue for you isn’t finding a partner, it’s finding one that is worthy of you. And, if worse comes to worse, there is an entire multi-million dollar market of devices designed, very effectively, to provide you with intense sexual pleasure.
Over the course of long personal experience—and I admit that my experience may not be typical, I may be an outlier in this regard—I’ve come to realize that most women are functionally bisexual. That doesn’t mean that they are actively hitting the lesbian bars and clubs, but I’ve been around the block to know that there are a lot of women out there, straight-seeming, who are enjoying lesbian sex flings on the side.
In college, I knew a young woman who was raised in an extremely religious household. She discovered masturbation when she arrived at college. She explained to me what a revelation it was, like seeing the light. I’ve heard this from countless women. Once she discovered it, she was bringing herself to orgasm ten, eleven times a day. While to the casual observer she seemed a normal college girl, she had a boyfriend, a wide variety of vibrators and, through a mutual acquaintance was introduced to all-girl sex club meetings in Oakland, sex romps that involved tens of women at a time. (Though I am a man, I was given a close-up glimpse into young women’s lives at my college because my childhood friend was my roommate and a woman. It gave me an opportunity to see a lot of things that men don’t see.)
As I was introduced into this world, I found that it was not a question of this or that adventurous or confused girl. It was a lot of girls, doing what men get accused of: They were thinking with their genitalia.
Let’s face it, from a purely objective standpoint women are sexually superior. Even with modern medicinal aides, men can’t come close to achieving orgasm at that rate or perform for that length of time. Everyone knows this. Morality aside, from a purely functional standpoint, you put one man in a room with ten young beauties and, try as he might, he’s not going to please all of them in an hour. But one woman with ten men? No problem.
World looks a little different in that context, does it not?
Sex is one of the most important drivers of human behavior. Hell, it’s probably THE most important driver. Politically emancipated, completely able to partcipate in higher education and to achieve professionally, sexually empowered, with a pop culture pitched to your pocketbook and your tastes. What’s to complain about? How many young women in this extremely advantageous position are going to agitate for change? How many are going to march on the front lines to ask that their sexual horizons be reduced? For what?
Racial change doesn’t matter. It’s just more different and interesting types of men who admire you and boost your ego. Heck, the non-white men are even more ego-boosting then the white guys, since they have no qualms about being sexually aggressive and assertive. Social change? Forget about it. I’m in the driver’s seat. I choose my mate, my sexual pleasure, my career and the culture abounds with choices….for me. Political change? See above.
Once you get into that mindset, you realize this: the biggest single factor in the drive to a left-wing nation has been female sexuality. The Sexual Revolution wasn’t about men wanting to sleep around—men have ALWAYS wanted to sleep around. It was about women wanting to sleep around.
Why do you think issues of birth control or abortion set off the firestorm? Why do you think Sarah Palin set off a frenzy? She was a traitor, a threat to the current female disposition. The current anger among men becomes clearly understandable when one understands the above. What is a man to do in such an environment? Either he rejects it and fights a losing battle against the majority of the population that is always going to fight for their interest, sexual above all. Or he accepts it and learns to extract from it what he can while laughing at the doom it slowly brings on (i.e. Roissy).
Thank you for bringing up the subject and for a very powerful essay. I agree with some of his main points and differ with others. Let’s take a further look at the recent history of female sexuality.
As most of us know, in the ’70s there was an explosion of interest in the female orgasm. The subject was the pet issue of the new outspoken feminists. Activists such as Shere Hite, who wrote her famous report on female sexuality, contended that many women were not satisfied and were unsuited to the ordinary mechanics of sexual intercourse. These activists openly discussed ways in which women might achieve maximum pleasure. The amount of public discussion of bedroom affairs was unprecedented. A new fascination with masturbatory sex broke out, seemingly overnight. Women were strongly encouraged to find pleasure outside sexual intercourse, even with their male partners. This encouragement has continued to this day and, as Matamoros notes, many women encounter it for the first time in college.
No matter how pleasurable it may be, masturbatory sex, whether for men or women, desensitizes. It has a cumulative effect. It makes both men and women – in their own way and for different reasons – impatient during intercourse and with the effort to achieve simultaneous pleasure. It also encourages sexual addiction. The new activists did not care about this possibility of sexual addiction in women. They did not care because they were acting out of revenge for the relative sexual freedom of men and out of envy of male sexual pleasure. It wasn’t nature that had made their sexuality complicated. It was patriarchal power. They also saw no possible downside to unleashed sexual pleasure for women. They were the first humans in history to discover the female orgasm and the appetite of women. Only good could come from that.
Women are known for wanting emotional attachment with sex. But, when their environment brings them to a certain level of arousal, and when masturbatory sex is normalized and given the cloak of innocence, these emotional concerns may indeed become secondary and women can become as promiscuous as libidinous men. Promiscuity is an expression of sexual addiction, but also an encouragement of it. Matamoros is right: Many more women are experimenting with both heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity.
But, the world is not as dazzlingly wonderful for young women as Matamoros portrays it. Many are under unseemly pressure – from family, school, friends and the culture at large – to be aggressive, to suppress their domestic yearnings, and to excel in what was formerly a man’s world. From childhood onward, they are fed constant reports of future poverty, desperation, boredom and inadequacy if they cannot someday pull in a lucrative salary and secure an impressive lifetime paid position. Many enter high school and college with secret dreams of finding one special man and only nominal interest in a career. By the time they leave, they have been transformed into sex-hungry careerists and they act as such during much of their twenties. Are they happy? If so, why do they see therapists so often and talk so much of depression? Is sex a consolation prize for having lost their dreams and their femininity?
Here’s what I think: Sexual intimacy – and plenty of it – is the only thing that keeps this uncivilized state of being in place. It is the only thing that makes a woman still feel like a woman in a man’s world. It’s important to add that the woman who seeks ten or eleven climaxes a day as described by Matamoros is rare and the woman who enjoys sex with ten men virtually non-existent.
Sarah Palin is not upsetting to liberal women because she represents a threat to their sexual pleasures. She is upsetting because she is a painful reminder of all they have lost. Women are acutely aware of the trade-offs. Far from reveling in their power, many are verging on mild schizophrenia or other forms of mental instability, so intense is the pressure for them to be both women and men. At the same time, many have succumbed to hedonism.
Many women find that a life of casual sex has its drawbacks even if they never get pregnant. Those who reach their thirties unmarried after many years of promiscuity or sex in non-marital partnerships find themselves unprepared for marriage. They are sexually and emotionally unprepared. Their maternal instincts have begun to give way. If they do have children, these instincts are suddenly unleashed and often manifest themselves in odd ways, possibly in an obsessiveness toward their offspring that is unhealthy. In many women, all this resolves itself in time. But there is always the awareness of time wasted. They enter marriage and motherhood in a state of arrested development. It takes years to catch up.
Unlike Matamoros, I believe women can be a force in reversing things. Those who gain from this state of affairs, if any can be said to truly gain, are women in their twenties. Married women, women in their thirties or older, and women with children – as well as beta men in their twenties – are the big losers. Married women and mothers have lost the domestic tranquility of the past. They have fewer children. Many have found out the truth about casual sex: Serial relationships damage a woman’s capacity for tenderness, steal her femininity and waste her youth. Being a man stinks. It stinks if you’re a woman. Look at the photo of the female drill sergeant in the recent post. Read her words about her divorce and her soul-searching. For all her power, she sounds lost and uncertain.
And, it’s not true women have more sexual pleasure over the long term. Many more end up divorced and alone. Lesbians resort to toys and cheap thrills. Addictions produce less pleasure over time. Masturbatory sex diminishes the incidence of mutual pleasure in marriage. The highest form of sexual gratification is reciprocal pleasure in intercourse, especially when accompanied by an openness to pregnancy.
Masturbatory sex – with men, with women, or alone – is shameful and self-centered. Our society has lost the shame attached to it, but it can be recovered. Despite all the sexual gratification available to them, women are not sex machines. This is not what they want most or what gives them fulfillment. Fans of Roissy, the website devoted to teaching men how to outmaneuver young women and make the best of their promiscuity, will say this is sentimental nonsense. I appreciate their despair, not their cynicism. Women can be persuaded to change. When much of this disturbing trend began, women acted out of envy of men. There is no real cure to be found in men acting out of envy of women.
Higher education has been the main purveyor of this sexual disaster, openly sanctioning promiscuity and unconventional sex. As it exists today, higher education is a cultural calamity for women, an enemy of family, happiness, and civilization itself. It is during those crucial years that the fate of many women is sealed.
Laura writes to Matamoros:
This is depressing. Tell me what you think the answer is.
[Note: Matamoros wrote the following before reading Laura’s response to his initial essay. See below for his reply to Laura’s remarks.]
I am sorry to be depressing, but I must call it as I see it. What I’m interested in here are free, intelligent women’s views of the situation I set forth. On solutions, I regret to say I have none. The sexual liberation of female sexuality (which, not coincidentally, is seen and celebrated as a revolutionary force in the American university, and rightly so) leads to the “husband-ification” of the state, which we see more and more around us. And the young men I see around me are either completely bought into the current system or have completely checked out.
Insofar as I can imagine any solution, it would necessarily have to involve repressive measures and male authority. A complete impossibility under the current system. I would think that the system will have to degenerate to goverment bankruptcy and a situation where 70% plus of the men out there have no chance at a mate before a revolutionary situation arises.
The problem here is one of sexual power. Men are completely enthralled by female sexuality. Women know this now (though, not completely…I’m still not convinced that the average girl knows how easily she could have scores of middle-aged distinguished professionals dancing to her tune in a heartbeat) [Laura writes: She does not know this at all] and have discovered both the power and the sex a pleasureable mix.
Traditionally, cultures have resolved this problem by repression. The West resolved it through the ideal of Christian marriage and romantic love. But women have soundly turned their backs on both, as neither is in their advantage.
I wish I had an answer.
The only solution is a return to Biblical Christianity, a gospel of salvation from sin and its “hereafter” consequences. Modern scoffers should once again be brought face-to-face with God’s uncompromising hatred of sin, including fornication. In other words, a return to Truth.
Will it work? Consider the spread of Christianity from the earliest period into the Greco-Roman world. The pagan gentiles who came out of idolatry and into the faith of Jesus Christ had been steeped in a culture of promiscuity, open marriage, and temple prostitution. And it wasn’t just an aristocratic thing: just think of the masses, devotedly attached to fertility cults and religious rites that elevated fornication to an act of spiritual communion. The whole ethos of that civilization was: “If it feels good, do it.” That’s where we are today.
For all the reasons you and Matamoros mentioned, the majority of modern women (and men, who as a rule are insatiably libidinal and promiscuous at heart) will simply not be persuaded to give up sexual libertinism for the sake of being virtuous and playing a self-sacrificing role in restoring the greatness of Western civilization, or honor, or any such thing. They are currently acting out of self-interest; they need to look beyond, and see that their ultimate self-interest lies in repentance and salvation. To quote Scripture: “the pleasures of sin [are only] for a season” (Heb. 11:25). But, “after this, the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
“After this” is the key.
“But why does God care about what we do with our bodies?” the modern pagan asks. This innocent skeptic believes in a radical dualism between body and soul. The body is mere instrument for the self, the individual’s spiritual nature. To the Christian, spirit and body are one, mysteriously and exhiliratingly united. Nothing compares to the passion of Christians or of Jews or of the Roman Stoics, who saw adherence to the universal law of restraint and submission as a form of freedom. To the Christian, the body is not mere matter, but infused with soul. Everything physical matters. God cares about our pleasures. Our physicality is transcendent in His eyes. To the Jews of the Bible, the same is true:
I rose up to answer to my beloved;
And my hands dropped with myrrh,
And my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh,
Upon the handles of the lock. (Song of Solomon 5:5)
Matamoros responds to Laura’s initial remarks:
I was hoping that Laura would be able to respond to my short essay in her characteristically intelligent and insightful manner and am beyond pleased to see that I was not wrong in that regard. I thank her for her time and her thoughts.
It appears to me that Laura and I are in agreement on the political nature of the university-led woman’s orgasm movement and how the effect of this movement, and the wider cultural movement towards the normalization of masturbation, has led to emotional difficulties dealing with the reality of human sexual relations. In short, we all know that the pornography-delivery device known as the Internet has led to decreasing satisfaction among men with actual, real women, and the wider sexual choices among women have led to decreasing satisfaction among women with actual, real men.
But the gravamen of Laura’s observation is that however firmly rooted the current sexual system is, and however much it may, as an objective matter, empower women, the reality is that is has not led to widespread female happiness and contentment. On the contrary, as one widely talked about recent national survey revealed, women today are much more likely to be unhappy and depressed then their oppressed grandmothers. As Laura points out, the constant cultural message of woman-as-career-professional and woman-as-sexual-libertine is clashing against what we traditionalist conservatives would identify as the very soul and innate nature of womanhood.
And in any contest between liberal social engineering and nature, nature will win out in the end, no matter how good the orgasms are in the meantime. Therein lies a gleam of hope, I think. And something I did not consider fully enough before reading Laura’s reply.
Let us set aside for a moment the prospect of a major Christian revival. Such a thing is to be desired, of course, but to say that it’s not presently in the cards is an understatement. Not that I am against working for such transformative change, but I believe the situation is so dire presently that urgent action is needed now. And the American people are right now functionally secular, even though as compared with the rest of the West they remain remarkably religious.
A current movement that argued that the current political culture was pulling women into to many directions and resulting in the destruction of the family, with accompanying policy proposals that would involve a nationalist revitalization of the domestic economy so that one wage earner could support a wife and children in the broad American middle class, that might do it.
What would such a movement say to women?
It would say you were sold a bill of goods. It would say that while you were promised liberty and the pursuit of happiness you instead are shackled to the office chair gulping down anti-depressants. It would say that while you were promised sexual liberty, your sexuality has been colonized by the marketplace, reducing the most intimate of human affairs to a commodity, and now resulting in the actual marketing of sex to pre-teens, by the Walt Disney Company no less! You were promised fulfillment, the reality is a race to the bottom and may the sluttiest one win. It would say that while you were promised Sex and the City glamor and excitement, instead you now have a culture that regards you as a non-entity the moment the first wrinkle appears and the light in your eyes dims ever so slightly. It would say that the Western ideal of romantic love need not be abandoned.
THAT could work. THAT is an appeal to interest.
But make no mistake about it. Any such political program would, rightly, be seen as empowering men at the expense of women. We would argue this is to correct an over-correction, to set the pendulum back where it belongs, but not all would see it that way. Those fully bought into the system—big law partners, big NGO queens, big government officials—would fight tooth, claw and nail. And the young and the beautiful would probably not have enough imagination, especially given the dreadful level of current education, to imagine that their circumstances would ever change enough to warrant considering such a program.
Nevertheless, I believe Laura is on to something here. If the sexual revolution was so great, why the bloody hell are so many men and women miserable?
Matamoros has said it well. I am very impressed with his remarks and agree with all of the above. I have one general complaint. Matamoros is not a woman. When he originally wrote to me, I rushed to the conclusion that he was, probably because of the intimate details in his comments. I was elated. At last, a woman was saying this. I was beside myself with happiness. The door was finally opening.
I forgive Matamoros for being a man. But it makes me afraid. It makes me afraid for the same reason that followers of Roissy scare me. They simply do not know what lies behind the glowing facade of young women. Women are weak and impressionable. The fun times are momentary. Simple happiness of the sort that was common for women just 50 years ago eludes them.
Twice this summer, I went to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with my sons and husband to climb mountains and walk through the woods for a few days. Both times, I noticed a number of lesbian couples on the trails, quite a few in fact. I suppose hiking is popular for these women as it takes them into the woods and away from the real world. There were different sorts of lesbians: butch-mean ones, middle-aged jaded ones, absolutely normal-looking ones. One had a pot-belly and smoked a cigarette at the top of a mountain with her hands on her hip, tough and angry-looking.
One day were were walking through a parking lot on our way to a trail when we neared a young woman of about 28 who was tying her boots on the curb. Her girlfriend was nearby. This young woman had beautiful light brown braids and a very pretty and innocent-looking face. As I approached her on our way to the trail, I did not hear her say hello. She then spoke up insistently. “Hello!” she said with a smile, begging in a way. It was very important that we say hello. When I looked into her eyes, I felt a pang. I can’t explain it but I felt such conviction that she was trying to hide her unhappiness, to appear normal. “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” she said.
It was a beautiful day, marred for me by what I saw in her. She faces remarkable disappointment in the years ahead. I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt. She is not angry and bitter, at least that’s my guess. Not at all. She is probably in fact a little too romantic. Her original dreams are all there. They’ve just been refashioned into something strange and unrecognizable. I suspect she was no more meant to be a lesbian than my mother, who had seven children.
This is my hunch. She is looking for love in a confusing world. And the world has said to her, “Go ahead. Take whatever you can.”
Despite the insight of both you and your commentators, I believe that you all again overlook the technological contribution to the current sad state of the world. In the case of out of control female sexuality this would be reliable contraceptives, antibiotics that make once fatal STDs mere annoyances (AIDS is no real threat to heterosexuals), and the safety of abortion (even in Roman times when it was acceptable to dispense with infants both pre- and postnatally, many waited to do the latter because of the danger of the procedure.) A debauched maiden turned away by her family and unmarriageable was in real danger of dying in poverty in less prosperous and plentiful times, something that would not be true in the modern world even if shaming were to make a comeback. Again, I believe technology that has made a moral decision out of what was once a merely practical one by causing the consequences of bad behavior to be distant and subtle rather than immediate and catastrophic.
I consider the influence of modern technology to be so obvious as to be not worth mentioning. We are all aware of its impact. That has changed things somewhat. But, birth control was available in the ’60s too and things were not as far along as they are now. Birth control techniques were far more common in the past than we tend to acknowledge. Also, while abortion was not as available in, say, the 1700s as it is now, the practice of farming illegitimate children out to surrogate mothers was much more common. Bastards were a part of life. They weren’t disposed of. In ancient Athens, there were slaves to care for the accidental offspring of aristocrats.
Well, I’m glad it’s obvious to you, but it my experience it isn’t to many social conservatives. Jonah Golberg writes about the issue. I know that he’s a pretty shallow thinker and he’s downright ignorant and offensive in some parts of his review of Wendy Shalit’s book (though spot on in his point about tech) but he’s honestly the only one I’ve read who has addressed this phenomenon. And that is truly a shame because I really, really don’t want to recommend Jonah Goldberg columns but I feel that I have no choice.