Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Power, Politics, Prudery or the Totalitarianism of Sex

Sex is a dangerous subject. Rape even more so.

However, the question is: does the current climate of sexual victim narratives exactly fit in an age that is allegedly post-sexual liberation?

To be clear; violence used to gain ones pleasure against the will of another should always and everywhere be rightfully condemned.

But despite this obvious disclaimer is there still somewhat of an antiquated double standard operating in the sex lives of men and women?

If not, why is it then that if young men are forced to have sex with women, or disrobed by them unwillingly, or made to perform or undergo sex acts by them that no one, in the end, really cares including the young men involved? Or if this is not the case, then is it because young men are ashamed to report such behavior? Or are they less traumatized by such behavior for social, cultural reasons? To put it more dramatically, do young men view the fact of having sex, even unwillingly, with more than one partner in a night as a somewhat different experience than do women? And if so, does this mean men and women are after all different and perhaps unequal in questions of sexual modesty or that women’s view of their own sexuality has to let go of the last vestiges of Victorian prudishness?

If modern day feminism is to be consistent I think they must choose the latter. This would mean that women should not be expected to be more traumatized or incensed by certain unwilled sexual acts than would men. This, too, means that the concept of rape has to be carefully rethought. After all both sexes often enjoy the thrill of a bit of violence in their sexual relations. Anyone who denies this is a liar and a hypocrite. (But yes Americans are sooooo good at hypocrisy) Sex is complicated but at the same time shouldn’t its ambiguities be shared equally?

Here’s an even more extreme example to contemplate. If someone puts a gun or a knife to your throat and literally forces you to commit a sexual act, let’s say for the sake of argument, that for most people that would be an undesirable situation to be in. Yet, if a woman were to play the role of the violator in this instance would society expect the man who was violated to be deeply and irrevocably traumatized? So the question here is: why does society still encourage women to view themselves as victims and sex, even violent sex, as the terrible monster from which they will never recover?

Should not women be encouraged to view sex, all kinds of sex, as something natural and, just as for men, if they should be in a position to commit unwilling sexual acts that this is unfortunate but not, barring physical damage, an irrevocable caesura in their Dasein?

For the record, I am emphatically not saying that rape, however it will be defined in the future, is OK and not a serious event. It is. Yet what I am saying is that I think our present day culture is a schizophrenic hybrid of outdated Victorian mores and supercharged Pornographic fantasies which send an overwrought and confused signal to young men and women. If men are raped by women we, and they themselves, expect different things/responses from themselves than the reverse situation. Is that right?

If someone put their vagina, unwillingly, on a young man’s face how do we expect them to react? Do we view it as an unmentionable crime? I think not. But if a young man exposes himself in the same way towards an unwilling woman the response is inevitably histrionic. Again why? Are today’s young women not psychically strong enough to take such an event in their stride? Are their psyches so weak and their bodies more sacrosanct then young men? Or are we indeed operating here with a double standard inherited from the Victorians which view women as always the potential innocent victim with the evil, demonic male principal ever lurking to satisfy his disgusting lusts on a pure virginal symbol.

C’mon people grow up already. Women are just as sexually manipulative, conniving, and opportunistic as men are. As often as not, society encourages them to capture and use the age old Victorian narrative to their advantage. And who benefits? Often powerful men, who want to bring down other powerful men. Demonization has always been one of the tricks of the trade of totalitarian societies. In the USA, true to Orwellian form, SEX CRIMES are the clever if not so subtle way to destroy ones opponent. After all, even in the Soviet union enemies of the state were always referred to, among their many negative epithets, as sexual deviants.

We should not stay silent over this insidious culture and institution of thought crime. A first step forward is to be responsible modern people and start viewing young women as equal to men in their sexual appetites, sexual powers, sexual machinations, and sexual conflicts. Both sexes are equal in their abilities to sustain the ups and downs of the sexual circus that is part of the travails and tribulations that is sexual experimentation. Massive institutional intervention is not necessary and probably unwise in the long run. Diffusing sexual events, even unpleasant ones, of any histrionic metaphysical meaning; of making sex more spiritually at home in the female; and making both sexes equal combatants in the arena of passion might, in the end, free us from both the power and the prejudice of the American Totalitarianism of Sex.

More articles by:
October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail