My thanks to Law professor Ann Althouse for linking to a blog post on a site sponsored by the American Sociological Association. Added gratitude for her comments debunking its sloppy thinking.
ASA link here.
Althouse link here.
The sociologist-blogger in question, one Lisa (no last name) begins her post by reproducing an ad from a men's magazine. The ad recommends that men improve their love making by slowing down their kissing, feeling, touching... the better to discover "where she's receptive."
As Althouse suggests, there is nothing objectionable in this advice.
Lisa, however, finds it offensive. She opines: "I wonder when, in the course of American history, we decided we were entitled to awesome sex?"
Even if this reflection suggests that Lisa did not understand the ad, it still has some pertinence.
Unfortunately, Lisa does not address her own question. Instead, she leaps into a standard academic critical theoretical denunciation of capitalism for commodifying sex.
The ad is telling men to slow down. Lisa thinks it is telling them to buy sex products.
Besides, did we really have to await the arrival of capitalism for sex to be bought and sold in the marketplace.
Lisa seems to suggest that if we overthrow capitalism, then sex will be freer and more natural.
Historically, this is nonsense. Did the Chinese Cultural Revolution mean more sexual freedom, more freedom of expression, more artistic freedom, more political, social, and economic freedom?
A Communist Worker's Paradise was the last place anyone would go to find good sex.
And Lisa does not seem to have a very firm grasp on the concept of entitlement either. How, Althouse says, could capitalism promote sexual entitlement, when the concept of entitlement is the antithesis of free market capitalism? Entitlement, she continues, is part and parcel of the welfare state, not the free market.
People who hate the free market do so because they feel entitled to more than the market is giving them.
But then, Althouse continues, why do people have to work so hard to have good sex these days?
Perhaps their habit of criticizing everything around them has dulled their senses, in roughly the same way that self-criticism produces a depressive state of mind, leading to a lack of desire and a difficulty feeling pleasure.
Or perhaps, part of the problem lies with the 60s counterculture and the sexual revolution. In those days people who hated capitalism thought that it was fundamentally puritanical. They wanted to clear the way for socialism by liberating human sexuality.
If capitalism had been build on sexual repression, as Freud and Herbert Marcuse and Norman O. Brown believed, then the best way to help people to get in touch with their true animal nature was to foment an anti-capitalist revolution.
So, people went out and joined the counterculture. They renounced the standard American middle class existence and lived as rebellious free spirits.
But when the revolution did not arrive on schedule, countercultural warriors had to find an alternative reward.
The one they found was: mind-blowing orgasms.
Considering what they had sacrificed to their cause, the world owed them great sex. They were entitled.