Thursday, September 23, 2021

Your Right to Sex

Yet again, I report on a book that I have not read. This time the book is entitled, The Right to Sex. It was written by an Oxford professor named Amia Srinivasan. Rather than read the book-- life is too short-- I will be referring to a review by one Jennifer Wilson in The New Republic. 

Dare we say, the book is a feminist tract, which immediately alerts us to the fact that it will range between inept and inane. Yet another reason not to read it.

You see, not to put too fine a point on it, but feminism broke sex, and now it is trying to put it back together again. As Lewis Carroll once wrote, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men-- are not going to do the job. Surely, an ideologically addled Oxford feminist is not going to do it either.

Sex was not invented yesterday. Throughout human history people have committed sex. It is not a novelty and it has been subjected to much serious reflection. The difference between past treatises on sex and the feminist treatises is that the former contain some serious intelligence. The latter, not so much.

One might argue, with some cogency, that the current mania about constructing new rules of sexual behavior dates at least to Freud. You see, the good neurologist decided to bring sex out of the darkness into the light. He might not have been promoting the traffic in self-portraits of one’s genitalia, but his theorization, his call for more open and honest public discussion of matters sexual seems clearly to be the spark that lit the kindling and produced a forest fire.

One recalls, wistfully, that Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, had already plowed the field, on the basis of some personal experience, and had concluded that sex was better in the dark. By his theory, and by the terms of Christian theology, sex always contained a quantity of sin, and therefore, was best kept under wraps.

Of course, we are far too sophisticated to continue such practices. We do not like to associate sex with anything dark and mysterious. The result of our rage for self-exposure is quite simply, as Kate Julian correctly reported, that young people have less sex than they used to. We have, with our clever theorizing and pontificating, wrung the desire out of sex. We have rendered it completely mechanical and not very desirable.

One does not want to expatiate at much length about a book’s failings before having read it. This even applies to a book that one has not read. And yet, if the New Republic review is any indication, the Oxford author, surely a woman of supreme intelligence, never really considers issues like procreation and marriage or, dare we say, adultery and prostitution.

For millennia now societies have striven to regulate sex and its expression. The simple reason is that when it comes to certain sex acts, society has a direct interest. Given the need for people to sustain their communities by producing progeny, one specific sex act seems to have been elevated to a higher moral level. This elevation is certainly not an arbitrary imposition designed to produce guilt feelings in all of the onanists out there.

Other sex acts, whether condemned or glorified, are of less interest-- unless it threatens the survival of the community, at which time it becomes of interest to the community.

Of course, the conjugal bond has often been defined in terms of conjugal duty. One understands that feminists have been up in arms about conjugal duty, because it smacks of non-consent. So, we have, thankfully, abolished the notion of conjugal duty, unless it applies to the male of the couple who is obliged, nay, duty-bound, to provide a sexual service to his wife at a specific time of the month, regardless of his desire.

Now that we have overcome the notion of conjugal duty, we have replaced it, with the full consent of movement feminists, with the notion that a woman should express their thoroughly liberated sexuality by hooking up. Thus, no more conjugal duty, but women feel duty-bound to provide blow jobs to men they met a half-hour previously. We can console ourselves with the thought that fellatio is foolproof contraception. 

You’ve come a long way, baby!

So, sex and marriage, the connection seems never to cross the feminist mindset of our author. And, dare we say, the same applies to institutionalized instances of adultery, from courtesans to courtly love, from adulterous husbands to adulterous wives. These institutions arose because marriages have most often in the course of human history been arrangements, for the purpose of combining property, power, prestige or privilege. This being the case, society evolved institutions that would allow people to express their sexual urges outside of the conjugal bed.

The notion that marriage should involve love, and the free choice of the participants, is a recent human invention. It was probably a byproduct of the Protestant Reformation and was largely promoted by the group we now derisively call the Puritans.

And, of course, among the other institutions designed to help people to socialize their sexual urges was prostitution. Human societies have always had a free market in sex. In many cultures it is an open market, too.

When one considers the agonies of the people who are called incels, which means involuntarily celibate, generally meaning that they have been rejected by the liberated females who are mostly giving their own sex away for free, one cannot help but recommend that they should not feel quite so rejected when they can easily, given the internet, find a woman who will happily cure their celibacy, though for a price. As you know, some of them will even provide something called the girlfriend experience, which might not be quite as gratifying as having an actual girlfriend, and which may be more or less expensive in the long run.

Anyway, the human species has found numerous ways to socialize sexuality, that is, to provide sexual gratification to social beings. Not only that, it has found ways to multiply the species, for better or for worse. 

I mention these obvious facts because it seems that our good Oxford professor, being too brilliant for such mundanities, has ignored them, completely. Thus, she is not theorizing about human beings, about social beings, who have defined roles in society and who follow certain rules. She is theorizing about machines that are seeking sexual gratification. These machines, defined, not by their sociability, but by their desires, dispense with all traditional rules and roles. They seem unconcerned with the old notion that some manner of commitment should precede coital consummation. And they have overcome the idea that it is good to have sex with someone you know.

Obviously, the issue of consent, one that clearly preoccupies all feminist theorizing about these matters, would be considerably less fraught if people were having sex within defined relationships, toward a specific end, with someone to whom they had pledged their troth, as the old saying went. 

If you are engaging in sex with someone you barely know the chances for miscommunication multiply. If a woman feels obliged to demonstrate her membership in the feminist cult by having sex with someone she barely knows, the better to prove that she has liberated herself from convention and custom, then it seems clear, to everyone but those who are directly involved in this traffic, that she is being pimped out by the sisterhood. 

If such is her habit, and if she feel proud of her accomplishments--since when did it become a great achievement to find a man who is willing to allow a comely coed to offer him a blow job without his having to offer anything in return--she will, as Wilson points out, be living a feminist life.

Apparently, living a feminist life does not involve marriage or family. Liberation seems to involve shedding social roles and not playing by social rules. It is merely about desire. Then again, the more a woman lives a feminist life, the less likely it will be that she finds a husband or has a family. So, one sees that there is some method to the madness.

As I said, you’ve come a long way, baby.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

I'm ollllld. What's "sex"?

"One recalls, wistfully, that Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, had already plowed the field, on the basis of some personal experience, and had concluded that sex was better in the dark." The Braille method...

"And they have overcome the idea that it is good to have sex with someone you know."
(It being hard to have sex with someone you don't know...)