The purpose of this essay is to expose as a lie Ayn Rand’s basic contention that the root of the notion that sex is evil is the mind-body dichotomy. The mind-body dichotomy I’ll define as the idea that the mind is good and the body is bad. Underlying this idea is the implied assumption that sex is a physical phenomenon, something solely of the body, with no mental component; hence if the mind-body dichotomy is accepted as just, sex falls into the body department and is labeled as bad. I do not believe that the notion of sex as evil is a result of the mind-body dichotomy but something far more sinister.
Instead, I believe that anti-sex propaganda is a Trojan horse. Its true purpose is not to end sexual activity, reduce sexual activity, or even to end or reduce so-called illicit forms of sexual activity. In other words, anti-sex propaganda is really not about sex at all. It is about destroying the ability of women to live independently of men while masquerading as a philosophical position that is rooted in some kind of psychological experience of sexuality. As in most lies, there is an element of truth in the mind-body dichotomy, and hence in the notion that sex is evil. But it is in the experience of man, not woman, as I will explain in great detail below.
My belief is that the goal of anti-sex propaganda (on the decline here in the West for many decades but still very strong elsewhere) is to control women, primarily by shaming them, but also by threatening them with punishment for sexual activity outside of marriage, whether consensual or not. The fear of being shamed and punished translates into fear of independence since independence greatly increases the probability that a woman will be raped, and in an “anti-sex” society the prey is responsible for the acts of the predator.
In the process of proving my above contentions, I will answer the following questions: What makes anti-sex propaganda so effective as a Trojan horse? What is the source of anti-sex propaganda and why isn’t it the mind-body dichotomy? Who came up with the mind-body dichotomy as the reason for anti-sex propaganda and why is the idea so attractive as an explanation for anti-sex attitudes? What does the mind-body dichotomy entail and who more frequently experiences a distance between their desires of their “mind” and the desires of their “body”? Who gains from anti-sex propaganda—men or women? Does anti-sex propaganda lead to more sex or less sex?
I will also examine the several thousand-year-old myths of patriarchal religion, myths about the origins of human pain, suffering, disease, and death, about man’s “sinful” preference for the values of the flesh, and woman as the embodiment of flesh, woman as flesh. I will examine what makes patriarchal religion patriarchal, specifically, the spiritualization of man and the denigration of woman, the exoneration of man and the blaming of woman, embodied in such myths as the fall of man, original sin, and in Christianity, the redemption through the male symbol of spirituality—Jesus Christ.
The great antidote to religious mythology is the facts of reality, in this case, the facts concerning the nature—the biology and psychology—of human sexuality. Before introducing my proofs, I will sum up the differences in how the sexes experience their sexuality and how these differences impact the effectiveness of anti-sex propaganda in promoting misogyny and destroying the ability of women to live independently.
My basic contention is that the fundamental differences between the sexes create a psychological and behavioral dynamic that has led indirectly to the oppression of women by men. These fundamental differences are summed up in the following points:
Since a woman reproduces first-hand through her own body, her fundamental reproductive orientation is toward nurturing her offspring. The female reproductive role is to invest greatly in the next generation, not to scatter seed, but to protect and nurture it. Women are reproductive entrepreneurs and as such it is always in their interest to minimize the risk to themselves and maximize the investment of others in their offspring. It pays a woman to be choosey to her selection of mates since a good husband will offset many of the huge costs she sustains in bearing and rearing children.
Men, on the other hand, are the equivalent, biologically speaking, of seasonal workers, drifters passing through. As scatterers of seeds, they reproduce second-hand through the bodies of others, those others doing all the work. Since men make no biological investment, it is usually much easier for them to simply walk away from their offspring.
Since a woman is the great workhorse of life—carrying, bearing, suckling, and often even rearing a man’s seed without his help—she is avidly pursued by him as a meal where he eats for free. What greater incentive could one have to show up at the feast and partake greedily and with careless abandon?
In nature, with few exceptions, the less investment a mammalian male makes, the more successful he is in reproducing. His sexual strategy is usually the exact opposite of the female’s. The more females he mounts, the more he reproduces. His orientation is to the ejection of his semen and nothing more. Aggressiveness is selected for males because the more aggressive the pursuit, the more successful the reproduction. This is why, throughout nature, rape is a common male reproductive strategy.
This is also why aggressiveness leads to the occasional pursuit of a wrong object, the attempt to mate with an animal of a different species, or an immature member of his own species, or to a member of the same sex in his own or another species. It is only wasted semen, after all, and semen is very, very cheap.
In short, males are more promiscuous and diverse in their sexual pursuits because sex is nearly costless to them; females are choosier precisely because they bear the costs and a wrong choice will be especially expensive. Although what applies to mammals in general may not apply to humans in particular, it would be foolhardy to discount the effect of millions of years of sexual evolution.
Whereas the physiology of sexual arousal and orgasm is similar for both sexes, the psychology of sexual intercourse, how it is experienced and evaluated by men and women, is radically different.
A good example of this is provided by science. Viagra and drugs like it work so effectively in men because increasing the blood flow to the pelvis, a process that bypasses the mind entirely, is generally compatible with a man’s experience of his own sexuality as a physical phenomenon. Emotions of various types can be added to sex as accessories, if you will, but don’t appear to be an integral part of a man’s sexuality. Sex can easily be associated with love and affection, as well as with respect and admiration, but sometimes just as easily with hatred and contempt.
It is my impression that many men can almost simultaneously associate sex with both positive and negative emotions, a common, if not “natural,” duality. Soldiers during World War II, for instance, held the millions of women and children they raped in contempt, but no doubt many returned home to “make love” to their wives with tenderness and consideration.
This sort of dichotomy of experience is virtually unknown to women, who commonly experience sex as encompassing their most deeply held values as a matter of course. This is why drugs like Viagra do not work with women. It is not enough to increase blood supply to the pelvis to increase a woman’s ability to enjoy sex; one must engage her mind.
To make an analogy with food, many people who have happy memories of childhood permanently associate such foods of childhood with the joys of life. I am certainly one who does. Things like tomato soup, tuna casserole, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pork chops, roast beef, and apple pie are “comfort” foods that remind me of my early childhood.
Now if someone were to talk to me about “comfort” sex as the kind of sex one associates with warmth and affection, I would find that redundant. Sex is affection and warmth. If it isn’t those things it is something dangerously close to rape, if not actual rape, that is violence and defilement. There is no “comfort” sex because comfort is a part of sex, along with a number of other important emotions.
The reason why women generally find hard-core pornography execrable and hold men who view it, especially those who view it frequently, with bewilderment and sometimes contempt, is that many women, probably most, see pornography as “stripped down” (no pun intended) sex. Real sex is emotional—or should be. This is why so many women love romance because in romance the emotional aspect of sex is heightened. The romantic is the real.
Many men don’t get this. They’ll say things like, “How come you can’t just enjoy this as something physical?” The answer is that it isn’t just physical for most women, most of the time. Men project their own delimited form of sexuality on women. And, of course, it is a feminine interpretation, in this instance, mine, to see the crudeness of male sexuality as delimited and narrow; presumably men don’t see their own sexuality this way.
My conclusion is that, from an examination of the widely divergent reproductive roles and sexual psychology of men and women, men are more inclined to see sex as a primarily physical phenomenon, and to experience a gap between the values of their mind and the values of their body.
Religion is all about duality: true vs. false, good vs. evil, spirit vs. matter, life vs. death. It serves many functions, but they all coalesce into one: religion is all about wish-fulfillment, all about rebelling against the brute and blunt facts of reality. It is the ultimate hedonism: the desire to rewrite reality to conform to the pleasure principle of animal existence, to make what is uncertain certain, what is not simple simple, and the hardest of all, to make what is not living alive again.
Religious belief is the most common form of psychosis that exists. On every level of reality the die-hard religionist dies hard, denies reality while it is staring him or her in the face.
The purpose of patriarchal religion is to do the above and more. As a manifestation of patriarchy, its job is to manufacture a truth that is not true, a spirituality that is not spiritual, and a physicality that is not physical. The essence of that creativity is to distort the experience of the sexes so that masculinity is primarily spiritual, an orientation toward God or the higher functioning of the mind, rather than primarily an inclination toward the aggressive possession of women, and that femininity is primarily physical, even animalistic, rather than the deeply emotional yearning to bond with one’s mate and one’s children that many women experience as spiritual.
Patriarchy casts the male as the innocent, God-seeking, made-in-the-image-of-God paradise dweller who needed a mate so he would not be alone, a mate who would not only function as a companion but also as a helpmeet. Unfortunately, the innocent Adam was “ruined” by his mate, the temping Eve, who made him eat the fruit of the garden and by analogy engage in sexual sin.
In this scenario, the weaker, more evil prone, more close to the Earth Eve tempts Adam from his primary spiritual orientation to his Lord by offering him the forbidden fruit of the garden. Adam listens to Eve, and by disobeying his Lord, engineers both his and Eve’s fall from grace. Both are banished from the garden and condemned to death. In addition, Eve is punished for her sin by bearing children in pain and by having her husband rule over her. God causes Eve’s seed to wage war with Adam’s seed, and out of this battle of male and female, original sin is born and destined to exist within the souls of all people, if and until, according to Christianity, such people come to believe in the second Adam, the perfectly spiritual and chaste man, Jesus Christ, who will redeem them from their original sin.
To distinguish reality from mythology, one must ask oneself a series of questions: What is the relationship of the sexes to each other? Which sex is more inclined to tempt or lead or otherwise initiate the other into committing what are considered sinful acts? What is the true meaning of disobedience and what is the relevance of disobedience to anti-sex propaganda? And lastly, who came up with the idea of original sin—and why? What would lead someone to believe that someone is sinful by nature, and that this sinfulness has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s actual behavior, but is present at one’s conception? How can an entity not only incapable of making a choice, but not even aware that a choice can be made, be sinful?
In the section above on the nature of human sexuality, I explained the fundamental differences between the reproductive roles of both sexes and how that leads to a difference in the way each sex experiences their sexuality. But it goes much deeper than that. Sex is part of how one defines one’s identity and perceives one’s value.
For women, sexual intercourse is not as important as it is to men, not as metaphysically important. It is not the be all and end all because it is not the defining experience of most women’s sexuality, which by nature, is far wider and more diffuse.
It is entirely normal, ordinary, and usual for a woman to experience her body as a source of life, sustenance, pleasure, and comfort to others. In the course of her existence, many others commonly desire and depend on her body, not only men, but also most intimately her own offspring that in their development and infancy use her body not only as the source of their existence, but also as the highest, meaning most valued, source of pleasure and comfort. To be at the center of the existence of others, to be quite frankly indispensable, physically and emotionally, is the defining experience of most women’s sexuality.
It is not the defining experience of a man’s sexuality. A man desires to enter the center of life; he himself is not the center, but at the periphery. He desires the female almost always more than the female desires him, and the infant never desires to partake of any element of his sexuality. He can never bodily provide the double bliss that is the female’s simple, unequivocal, and if she so desires, almost certain accomplishment.
A woman’s sexuality is generally experienced as a reflection of her highest values and commonly culminates in one of the most searing emotional events that exists—the birth of a child. It is benign by nature (her organs cannot inflict pain and are comparatively inefficient in the transmission of disease; is clean (her vagina is self-cleaning and rarely, unless infected by a man, transmits disease to her infants whose mucus membranes are covered with her fluids during birth); and extremely potent both in giving and receiving pleasure (access to the vagina almost guarantees the male intense pleasure and the clitoris is tiny yet easily capable of producing powerful and multiple orgasms). In short, her sexuality is wonderfully competent in giving and receiving pleasure and wonderfully incompetent in causing pain.
Although a man’s sexuality is sometimes the expression of his highest values, it is just as frequently experienced as primarily physical, and sometimes even a reflection of his lowest values—a widely used vehicle to express hatred and contempt. His sexuality can sometimes be a cause of pain or boredom for others as well as a highly effective transmitter of disease. Lastly, his penis is not nearly as potent as the clitoris in receiving pleasure, and far less potent than the vagina in giving it.
It is important to understand that in the Adam and Eve fable, Eve leads Adam astray. Adam is portrayed as a content spiritual being whose primary orientation is to God. Eve is portrayed as more easily tempted by Satan, or metaphorically speaking, by evil urges. Eve cannot resist such urges and leads Adam to disobey God.
The first question one needs to ask is “What is so evil about disobedience?” The answer is that disobedience is a form of defiance. Disobedience is saying no, asserting one’s right to make up one’s own mind. It is self-assertion, which is the great sin of the oppressed and abused. The slave never has a right to disobey his master. But even better for a master than simple obedience, is obedience with silence. Obedience with no complaint. It is very important that the oppressed be silent, lest they expose the truth about their oppression.
What is the truth that Eve—and all women—must be silent about?
It is interesting that patriarchal religion has always focused on sexual sin as evidence of humankind’s base nature or inherent corruption. Interesting because those sexual acts that are most vile, disgusting, and evil are almost exclusively male, performed by men on the bodies of unwilling women, children, and animals.
It has occurred to me that the root cause of the doctrine of “original sin” and the idea that Adam was tempted by a weak and disobedient Eve may be the attempt of powerful men to rid themselves of responsibility for their sexual impulses and blame them on the sex that experiences impulses of a very different kind.
Throughout human history, man’s role as warrior was as common and pervasive as his role as hunter and most boys became men through the crucible of war, just as girls became women in the crucible of childbirth. In times of war, millions of men engage in rape. Using their genitalia to express the lowest of human values, hatred and contempt toward those who create life and whose sexuality is regularly experienced as the embodiment of their highest values, such rape is more than a physical form of torture; it is spiritual torture as well. No doubt these raping males returned home to wives and children with the unspoken knowledge of what they had done, a knowledge they were made aware of by the blood, pain, humiliation, and despair of their victims. Then perhaps overcome with feelings of guilt and shame, they sought to project such feelings on everyone else, particularly on women. Perhaps the doctrine of original sin is little more than an attempt to hide responsibility for sexual evil in the “guilt” of the species.
While the double standard is the social transfer of guilt from the guilty to the innocent, original sin is the philosophical equivalent. It is the attempt of the guilty to dilute their own guilt by transferring it to the species as a whole. The Eastern idea that people are material beings that need to escape the cycle of birth and death is simply a more intellectual variation on the same theme.
But perhaps there is an alternate explanation. Perhaps many men, even good men, who were not inclined to commit acts of rape or sexual sadism, realized their sexual acts often caused pain, disease, and death (frequently as a result of pregnancy and childbirth) to those who became subject to them. Perhaps the doctrine of original sin came about because poor ignorant men could not understand why God would make sex so intensely pleasurable and harmless for them and the consequences of sex so intensely painful and dangerous for women. Women must have done something to deserve this raw deal.
On the surface the idea that human childbirth is a punishment for sin makes a lot of sense. Few female animals suffer the agony and danger that is human childbirth. If there were no rational explanation for such suffering, then it wouldn’t be hard to imagine why some might be inclined to buy into the myth of Eve’s temptation by the satanic serpent, followed by God’s harsh punishment.
Unfortunately for the misogynist, there is a rational explanation for the suffering caused by childbirth, and knowledge of that explanation should lead women not to shame but to pride.
Pride is the feeling that one has achieved something of value. It is possible to feel pride in one’s capabilities, whether one has earned those capabilities or not. Female sexuality is a magnificent “achievement” of nature. It is the ability of women to withstand the great pain of birthing large-brained infants that makes the intelligence of this species possible. Contrary to Biblical claims, it is not women’s punishment for Eve’s sin, a curse, but women’s glory.
The religionist could argue that if Eve had not sinned, then God would have provided her with very wide hips. She might have a difficult time running but her babe would just slip out of her. But if Eve had a difficult time running, then she would have been easy prey for any carnivorous beast in the vicinity.
Instead, female bodies are an exquisitely magnificent compromise between the demands of individual survival and those of reproductive success. The hips of women are just wide enough so that most women will survive childbirth, albeit after great pain and suffering, but not wide enough so that escape from predators is impossible.
The religionist could continue to offer a counterargument. Perhaps in paradise there would have been no predators, no carnivorous animals, and no life feeding on life. If that were the case, then nature would not have been natural and reality would not have been real. And we are back again in the fairy tale model of the universe to which there can be no argument.
In Christian mythology, Jesus Christ is the God-Man born of Woman but not corrupted by Her, perfectly chaste and perfectly celibate, oriented solely, as was the first Adam before the Fall, toward his God. Since Jesus the Christ took on male human nature, only men can aspire to act as intermediaries between God and humankind. They do so by exemplifying Christ on earth and in the Catholic Church embrace celibacy as man’s noble spiritual endowment, symbolic of his primary orientation to God. In this manner Christianity not only glorifies men as all patriarchal religions do, but makes it appear as if there is something more spiritual about being male.
Male celibacy is supposed to be the embodiment of the spiritual man, yet no male in nature aspires to celibacy. The spectacle of Catholic priests, examples of the noble male celibates, inserting their penises into children is truly pathetic, but to be expected when one considers how contrary to nature male celibacy is.
Ironically, it is female, not male, celibacy that is common in nature. Most female mammals have little to do with males when they are not in heat; instead they concentrate on nurturing their young and on their own survival. The only reason female celibacy in this species has been comparatively rare historically is because sex with men has frequently been a woman’s only means of survival. Now that most Western women can survive without relying on a man, celibacy is becoming an increasingly common choice of women.
In addition to implying that only the male is worthy of being a vessel for God, the myth of the Second Adam, of Jesus Christ, who died to redeem all from original sin, makes light of the natural sacrifice of women by implying that the throes of childbirth women undergo to give birth to physical life are much less important than the suffering of a man in giving birth to spiritual life. In effect the sojourn of Jesus on the cross mimics the suffering of a woman in childbirth and is supposed to supplant it.
Jesus suffered unbearable agony for many hours, but countless women—and even young girls half the age of Jesus at the time of his death—have endured long, agonizing, and brutal labors that often killed and maimed them, labors that in some cases lasted as long or longer than Christ’s sojourn of suffering on the Cross.
This suffering was not only normal and ordinary for millions of women, but when these women survived such labors they were “rewarded” by being forced to repeat the experience over and over. We were purchased at a price by our mothers, especially our foremothers that didn’t have the benefit of modern medical care and modern anesthetics and suffered excruciating agony so that our big brains could pass through the heavily compromised pelvic opening, an opening that could not be larger if the female human were to have survived in the wild.
To sum up: Patriarchal religion seeks to elevate the male as spiritual intermediary, an elevation obviously designed to glorify the male sex. Women are reminded of their inferior station, philosophically through religious mythology that casts them as temptresses leading men away from God through the pleasures of the flesh, and practically by preventing them from acting as priests or clerics and from entering sanctuaries in churches, temples, and mosques. In effect, all the rules and rituals of patriarchal religion act as an elaborate hand-job to the male ego and aim at reinforcing the male’s position as a member of the spiritual A team. The message is that maleness is very important in the eyes of the Lord, who created man first as His glory and woman only as the reflection of man’s glory.
If the purpose of anti-sex propaganda is to stop sex, or at the very least stop or diminish the prevalence of illicit sex, then all sex outside the bonds of marriage, such as prostitution, adultery, premarital sex, and incest would be heartily condemned and punished—and men would be as condemned and punished as women. Just as obviously, if women were raped, only men would be punished since only men would be acting as free agents.
Therefore, if patriarchal religion, universally the source of anti-sex propaganda, were really anti-sex, its leaders would encourage four things: swift and severe reprisal against men who use coercion on women and children; a single standard of sexual morality that punishes men as well as women for any and all consensual sexual infractions; independence in women, both financial and psychological; and artificial reproduction because, as I will show, these measures would either greatly reduce the amount of sex in the here and now or lead to less sex in the future.
Patriarchal religion for the most part not only does not support any of the measures listed above that would control and reduce sexual activity, but instead, promotes the opposite: the shaming of rape victims that encourages more rape; a vast amount of sexual freedom for men, sexual freedom that is encouraged, not discouraged, by the double standard; dependency in women that forces women to put out or suffer dire consequences; and only “natural” reproduction, meaning reproduction mediated by male lust.
Not only is the purpose of anti-sex propaganda not to stop sex, but something close to the opposite is true. Anti-sex propaganda promotes sex and effectively hides one of the greatest and least known truths of human history: that male lust is a sacred, not-to-be-questioned value, and that placing substantial impediments in the way of easily attaining satisfaction of that value is one of the latest and greatest achievements of secular civilization.
But even the satisfaction of lust is ultimately beside the point. Anti-sex propaganda is ultimately about male power and the quest to keep it.
Let’s start with the traditional attitude of patriarchal religion to the matter of rape—force used in order to accomplish sexual intercourse.
That rape is the greatest, most common, and most uncondemned crime in the history of the world is incontestable. Anyone who has ever read the thousands of pages of the Bible is witness to how uncommon even a mention of rape is. It is not mentioned at all in the New Testament and is a mere footnote in the Old.
Rape is ignored because patriarchy is founded upon it. Without rape, which in the largest sense is male control over the use and functioning of the female body, women own themselves and will readily and easily establish their central importance to the existence of this species. Without rape, there can’t be a semblance of male superiority and the true nature of the sexes to each other will be revealed, with women holding enormous bargaining power in matters of sex and reproduction, and men scrambling to meet ever-increasing and exacting female demands.
Of course, without rape there would also be a good deal less sex in the world. If anti-sex propaganda were legit, then why not simply make all types of sexual and reproductive coercion illegal? Imagine how much less sex there would be if women were not forced to submit to regular acts of rape by husbands; forced to marry men they did not want to marry; forced to remain married to men they would prefer to divorce; forced to prostitute themselves at the point of a gun or in order to feed the children they were forced to bear or the siblings their mother was forced to bear.
All the forms of quasi-rape that go by other names—the capture of women and children during war to function as wives, concubines, or slaves; arranged or forced marriage, often involving children; outright sexual slavery; prostitution through the enforced impoverishment of women; and the prohibition of divorce—are all forms of actual rape where some type of coercion is used to gain and keep sexual access to female bodies. For a more complete description of these forms of quasi-rape, please refer to my companion piece, In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man Is King.
But just as the horrific crime of rape is ignored, despite being a fundamental violation of human rights, adultery, a minor offense that isn’t even a crime in modern secular societies, is enshrined in the Ten Commandments and mentioned on nearly every other page in both the New and Old Testaments. Adultery is heartily condemned and severely punished in patriarchy, not because it is a form of sex—men have always been free to engage in sex outside of marriage and traditionally such sex has never even been considered adultery unless it involved another man’s wife—but because it is a wake-up call to men, a slap in the face, a cold reminder of the true relations between the sexes: that the female is primary, the male secondary.
In patriarchy the father is the head of the family; female adultery mocks that fact. The proud male points to his children, while the uppity adulterous female laughs. “Head of the family? Hell, dear, we don’t even know if you’re a member!”
Adultery is an act of female insurrection against the authority and status of the male. The long list of “begets” in the Bible is a rather pathetic attempt to mimic the certainty of maternity. I remember as a young woman reading the Bible from cover to cover for the first time and finding the long list of begets thoroughly idiotic since one single act of female adultery knocks over the entire deck of cards. It is principally the uncertainty of paternity that drives men to control the sexual behavior of women.
According to the sexual double standard, women take on the guilt of the man in any so-called illicit sexual encounter. The man is blameless and shameless because he is a man; the woman is blamed and shamed because she is a woman. At its most extreme form, even the moral responsibility for rape lies with the female, who as an inherent temptress and seductress leads the innocent male to acts of depravity.
How effective has the double standard been in stopping sex by focusing on shaming women? Not effective at all. Men have always had a huge amount of sexual freedom. Such male freedom has resulted in widespread rape and quasi-rape and thus a population three billion strong despite poverty, disease, warfare, crime, famine, and natural disasters. Men have had the freedom to impose themselves on women sexually, and therefore reproductively, since in the past women had little choice but to let nature take its course regardless of the cost to them. Hundreds of millions of women have been rape victims, hundreds of millions of women have contracted sexually transmitted diseases from sexual activity they did not want and did not enjoy, and hundreds of millions of women have been forced to bear unwanted and unaffordable children.
The fact that there is a sexual double standard that more severely judges women for sexual behavior is ample proof alone that the purpose of anti-sex propaganda is not to reduce sex. When one judges and punishes any form of behavior the logical assumption is that one is attempting to control or reduce the behavior. Now if one wanted to actually reduce sexual behavior, or at least reduce the negative consequences of such behavior, which sex would one want to more harshly judge? Obviously, the sex that controls the process. Since a man can rape a woman but the reverse is not true, it makes sense to control men if you are interested in controlling the incidence of sexual intercourse.
One of the best ways of sidestepping this basic fact of reality is by focusing on adultery rather than rape when discussing sexual immorality. Traditionally, adultery was defined as any sex engaged in by a woman outside of marriage. “Thou shall not commit adultery,” implies, of course, that women have a choice about sex. Frequently women do not. And in some parts of the world women never have a choice about sex and, in fact, sex is imposed on them from nearly the beginning of their lives until the end.
By logic, one is left with a simple but compelling piece of evidence: providing disincentives to women doesn’t control rapists of any kind. On the contrary, men are encouraged to engage in forcible stranger rape, the only kind of rape that is not officially sanctioned by traditional patriarchal societies, because if one lives in a culture where women are shamed, one knows that if one rapes a woman she will be too ashamed to report it. In effect, the sexual double standard, which involves shaming women in the name of trying to control sexual behavior, increases the availability of sex for men.
And in more ways than one. Not only aren’t men punished for rape in traditional societies, but in such societies a rape victim is considered “damaged goods,” and if she is allowed to live, meaning if she is able to escape the common punishment of execution or imprisonment for her “crime,” she will often be either forced to marry a man a great deal older than her or be shunned as a pariah, even encouraged to commit suicide. Many women overcome by shame and on the urging of members of the family, leave the community. Once they leave their families they lose their means of support and must sell their sexual services in order to survive. Forcible stranger rape, when it doesn’t result in execution, imprisonment, or suicide, is whore-making activity, a pro-sex strategy, and any society that refuses to prosecute such rapes promotes the promiscuity of both men and women.
In short, forcible stranger rape is a process by which men increase the supply of sex for themselves and for other men as well.
In addition to looking at which sex controls whether or not sexual activity takes place, one should examine which sex has built-in incentives to exercise self-control and which sex doesn’t.
Avoiding an unwanted pregnancy is a huge natural disincentive for a woman, especially in the past when pregnancy and childbirth frequently resulted not only in pain and expense, but in disability and death.
Women are also more prone to get venereal diseases from men, than men from women, so the avoidance of disease is a more important, more compelling disincentive for a woman to engage in sex than for a man.
This point about venereal disease needs to be amplified. There is a good deal of truth in the notion that sex is “dirty” but it is not dirty in the sense that most people take it to be. It is often dirty in the sense of being an excellent way to transmit disease. We now know that sex can cause cancer in women, but not men. We know that vaginal fluid is far cleaner than semen and far less likely to transmit disease. We know that sexual intercourse can also be quite injurious to the person on the receiving end and result in bleeding that allows disease organisms access to the bloodstream. We know that there are men who engage in sex with animals and such men may transmit horrific diseases into the human population, usually vis a vie the bodies of women. We know that there were Biblical injunctions against bestiality implying that bestiality was common enough in the past to warrant being warned against.
Therefore, since men have few natural disincentives to engage in sexual acts that they normally initiate and control, can much more effectively cause injury, suffering, disease, and death with their sexual organs than women can with theirs, men should, at the very least, be as harshly judged as women are for their sexual behavior, if there are rational reasons to control such behavior, which of course there are.
The truth is that anti-sex propaganda is an extremely successful ruse through which men increase the availability of sex for themselves. Men have always had enormous sexual freedom despite and because of anti-sex propaganda. The more anti-sex a society is the greater freedom of the male to prey on defenseless women who will be blamed for whatever predations exist. The proof for this is obvious: so-called anti-sex societies are known for their polygamy, concubinage, prostitution, sexual slavery, and plain old slavery, which has always involved masters enjoying the sexual use of their slaves. Even where non-sexual slavery is not economically viable, it is always sexually viable since a woman’s body can be used (and sold) over and over again.
In short, if you want to reduce sex, you control those who have little natural incentive to control themselves. Since the natural costs of sex are not chiefly borne by men but by women, you have to create costs for men. If you want to end all sex, then severely punish all sex. If you want to end prostitution, punish all those involved in prostitution, including johns, especially johns, since they are the most numerous participants. If you want to end rape, punish rapists, quickly and severely. Rather simple. Incredibly simple.
Historically, no human society has ever regularly and severely punished forms of male sexuality that were obviously hurtful to women and children, unless such sexual behavior impinged on the rights of other men. This only changed recently when the novel concept that women are people in their own right became accepted, and that as people, not property, they have a right to remain unmolested and unraped, whether rich or poor, married or unmarried, adult or child.
Now it is true that in most societies homosexuality is condemned. This seems to undercut my premise that anti-sex propaganda is aimed at controlling and condemning the sexuality of women.
But which sex engages in same-sex encounters more casually and promiscuously?
The chief problem of homosexuality for the anti-sex propagandist is that it clearly illustrates the differences between the sexes. Male homosexuals are, generally speaking, more promiscuous than female homosexuals. Now why is this a problem for the anti-sex propagandists?
If the purpose of anti-sex propaganda is to shame women, then in order to shame, you must first blame. How do you blame women for the casual and promiscuous sex of men with other men?
The answer is you can’t. You can’t blame Eve when she isn’t in the picture. And if you can’t blame Eve, then you must blame Steve. Then the whole charade ends and you are left with blaming men for their own sexual behavior. And what’s the fun of that? If Pandora isn’t the one who opened up the box that released all manner of horrors on the human race, then who did?
Why is it that those who claim to be anti-sex are against all forms of reproduction that don’t involve sexual intercourse? If sex is so bad, why not encourage women to have children without having sex? A truly anti-sex society would welcome anything that divorced sex from reproduction, making sexual intercourse not a necessary evil, but an unnecessary one. Artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, and eventually cloning and reproduction through a form of sexual parthenogenesis (all-female reproduction that involves merging of two eggs) are all forms and potential forms of reproduction that one would think anti-sex philosophers would be in favor of.
The reality is very different. The Catholic Church, in particular, is intensely opposed to artificial reproduction. Why? If the Catholic Church is so opposed to sex they should welcome any and all attempts to allow virgins to bear children and to make sex completely unnecessary for life on this planet. But not only isn’t the Catholic Church in the forefront of efforts to promote artificial reproduction, they diligently oppose such efforts.
Not only does patriarchal religion not oppose sex, but it makes male lust the most powerful and sacrosanct force in human life. Every child born must be the product of such lust; any other means of bringing children into the world is regarded as immoral. And the more patriarchal the religion, the more this is the case.
Male sexuality is the greatest sacred cow that has ever existed. Historically hundreds of millions of women and children have been raped and molested, hundreds of millions of children fathered and then abandoned, hundreds of millions of cases of lethal and disabling diseases spread through acts that were not only unpunished and uncondemned, but were officially sanctioned by such institutions as forced marriage, polygamy, concubinage, slavery, and prostitution.
Anti-sex? Oh hell no! Traditional societies are anti-woman, anti–female independence, anti–female well-being, anti–female autonomy, and anti–the fundamental right of women to live for themselves. If women had the right to be free, the scourge of AIDS would be largely confined to drug addicts and male homosexuals as it is in the Western world, because once women are free most of the world’s sex that involves women would disappear as women (and girls) are released from rape and all quasi forms of rape endemic in the Third World.
Another proof that anti-sex propaganda is not about reducing sex is that those who claim to be anti-sex are opposed to any and all attempts of women to live independently of men, and since most of the world’s heterosexual activity is sadly fueled by male appetite and female dependency, anything that increases female dependency leads to more sex.
Yes, of course, women have sex for reasons that don’t involve coercion or dependency, but many sexual relationships, and probably most in the Third World, wouldn’t exist if women were more independent physically, psychologically, and financially. The entire edifice of women’s oppression was built to fight a single enemy: independence.
Why? Because independent women run the risk of exposing the lie of male supremacy. Primacy of the female sex means many things, but ultimately it means that men need women more than women need men. In nature, the male clamors for the female, lives to mate with her. The female rarely returns the favor. She does not live for him because he offers her far less than what she offers him. He gives her his very cheap sperm, she in turn invests weeks, months, years, and sometimes in our species, decades to develop his young. An equal trade? Hardly.
In my essay, In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man Is King, I noted the many ways that some men seek to make and keep women dependent, which is the goal of any misogynist worth his salt. For such men, women ideally function not as Jews have historically functioned—as eternal scapegoats—but rather as eternal beggars, eternal whores, always with their hands out and their legs open.
In summation, the practitioners of anti-sex propaganda promote practices that indirectly lead not to less sex but more sex. They oppose social and reproductive policies that would greatly reduce the amount of sex available to men. And most importantly, they oppose freedom for women because freedom means, first and foremost, the freedom to be left alone.
If controlling women is the ultimate goal of anti-sex propaganda, its most popular tactic is shame. Shaming is a far more effective method of controlling women than the use of brute force and is more prevalent and pervasive than such obvious tactics as flogging, imprisoning, stoning, etc., although patriarchal societies have always resorted to such tactics, as they still do in much of the Islamic world today. By robbing women of their self-esteem, by inculcating fear so they will cower in abject subjugation rather than assert and promote their own interests, the shaming of women increases male power and male pleasure by promoting rape, prostitution, promiscuity, and marriage to undesirable males. When women are made to feel small and worthless they do not have the ego-strength necessary to assert their own interests and agendas, and acquiesce to men.
Traditionally, women have been raised to believe that rape is something rare, something that only happens to “bad” women, who provoke, tease, or act reckless, not to ordinary, decent women. As a result, women are inclined to think that they are to blame when a rape occurs and that the only protection they have against further shame is to remain quiet about it, to discuss it with no one. Since they believe that “respectable” men, meaning the vast majority of the male population, do not engage in rape, and since they frequently don’t know anyone who has been raped, they ask, “What is wrong with me, what did I do to deserve this ill treatment?”
This shtick has been used against rape victims from time immemorial. Don’t talk about it. Remain isolated. Buy into the schoolgirl idiocy of women like Ayn Rand who thought rape, indeed all crime, is something rare, done only by a tiny percentage of salivating, deranged Neanderthals.
When women finally talk to other women, when the silence is broken, when sex is freely discussed, then women find out that rape is everywhere, that millions of women have been raped, millions more sexually molested and otherwise imposed upon and intimidated by men. And that such crimes are not committed by Rand’s tiny percentage of criminal types, but by the “nice” man next door, the doctor, the teacher, the businessman, the cleric. And it always has been.
Rape is one of the most pervasive forms of torture there is. In times of war millions of men practice it. In many societies there are no laws against it that anyone has any intention of enforcing. As long as you can isolate a woman, you are free to rape her. And nothing whatsoever will be done to you. If she talks, however, she can be imprisoned, even executed, because to accuse a man of rape is to expose the most potent weapon of patriarchal religion and that cannot be allowed.
It continues to boggle my mind the incredible power men have had over women. All a man had to do throughout much of human history was get his genitalia to touch that of a woman he was not married to, and the mere fact of such touching could destroy her life, consign her to the fate of a common whore, or as the Japanese put it, a “public toilet,” even result in her outright death, probably in many societies a merciful fate. Consider the plight of women in Islamic countries such as Pakistan where a woman might be sentenced to gang rape as punishment for a transgression of a male member of her family. After such rape a woman is expected to commit suicide. Is it any wonder then that in order avoid the hell of prostitution or a sentence of suicide, a woman would mutilate and entomb herself, perform any and all acts of self-immolation, all in an effort to safeguard her chastity?
Fear of rape keeps women chained, keeps them in seclusion, keeps them covered, keeps them married, and if unmarried, willing to marry at any cost, keeps them mutilated and crippled, keeps them docile and minding men. Because there is no status lower than that of a common whore subject to a lifetime of sexual abuse by hundreds of men that has so often been the fate of the rape victim. This is the double standard with a vengeance. This is the ultimate purpose of the double standard and of all anti-sex propaganda, not to stop sex, but to keep women in a state of ongoing, paralyzing fear that they will be the next object of male “sport.”
Talking about it is the first step to losing that fear and gaining courage. Talking about one’s oppression of any kind is the first step to freedom. Shaming is the most potent of the misogynist’s tactics because one doesn’t need to censor a victim when she censors herself. That is the purpose of shaming. That is the purpose of anti-sex propaganda: to silence. In the Siswati language of Swaziland the word for wife or woman means literally: “One who dies without speaking of what she endures.”
Since the sexual double standard will no longer fly in the Western world, the misogynist needs another device to shame women. Anti-sex propaganda alone will no longer cut it. The trick is this: how does one shame women without shaming men when the double standard no longer operates effectively? The answer: find a way to shame women for doing something that men cannot do. Calling the willful destruction of the unborn—induced rather than spontaneous abortion—murder represents an effective way to condemn and therefore shame millions of women. It is another turn of the screw, a new twist on any old stratagem, and a highly potent one. Pure bile directed against women is nowhere near as effective as the pretense of caring about life, even if such care is utterly without cost to the one making the claim.
The greatest and most unequivocal sign of misogyny is opposition to a woman’s ability to control her own reproduction. The misogynist knows that if a woman can control her reproduction, she can control her life. And if she is not free to control her reproduction, no other freedom matters. Not all who oppose abortion are anti-female, but all rabid and consistent misogynists are opposed to legal abortion and the widespread use of birth control devices.
As I have pointed out in my many essays on the subject, those who would make all abortions illegal do not care about the unborn. As long as the unborn have the capacity to wreak havoc on a woman’s life, burden her with costs that others must help her bear, then and only then, is the unborn of value, meaning the unborn is of value precisely because of its ability to turn an independent being into a beggar dependent on the support of those who may choose to exact a terrible price for such support. When the day comes that an embryo can be removed alive from a woman’s body cheaply and painlessly, the “precious baby” will lose all its value. For my proofs, please refer to my many essays on the subject of abortion.
The purpose of anti-abortion laws and anti-abortion talk is not even to stop all or most abortions, which have always existed in huge numbers with little or no attempt to punish and therefore deter, but to inculcate shame. If a woman is driven to assert her right to live for herself by having an abortion, make sure it is illegal and therefore something underhanded, make sure it is very expensive, and therefore hinders her ability to be independent as much as possible, and make sure it is excruciatingly painful, so she will suffer unbearably and be reminded of the sinfulness of her sexuality and the curse of Eve. This way even if you are not assured that you can force a woman to bear an unwanted child, you are at least likely to make her feel small and dirty.
Even when legal, the talk that surrounds abortion is sufficient to cause shaming. Millions of women have had abortions, yet few will discuss their abortions publicly for fear of public condemnation by the right-to-life crowd (despite the fact that millions of right-to-lifers have had and will have abortions). In this way women who have had abortions remain isolated just like rape victims have in the past.
It’s important to repeat that the production of a child is very costly to the human female, costly in numerous ways that all conspire to reduce her to a state of dependency on the care, support, and succor of others. To be a mother is an awesome responsibility.
Any mother worthy of the name will make an effort to do her best so that her child will survive and thrive. If she has insufficient economic and emotional support, she may be reduced to begging and whoring in order to get her child safely born and properly cared for. I believe most women are more than capable of such heroism. And yes it is heroic to sacrifice oneself for one’s child. And it is the kind of heroism that misogynists have always counted on. Ayn Rand well understood the concept of moral bribery—using the good of one’s victims to keep them enslaved. Women can be counted on to sacrifice for their children so if they can be forced to bear unwanted and unaffordable children they can be kept in chains indefinitely.
One might ask what is the value of forcing a person to beg for their existence? The value is the sense of power and righteous superiority it engenders in the person one begs to. A woman who must plead with her boyfriend to marry her, or plead with her husband not to leave her or to give her a better household allowance so her children might eat, or plead with religious authorities to provide care for her and her “illegitimate” child depends on the good graces to those she begs to in order to get her needs met.
This gives the person begged to enormous power and there are people who love that power, who will kill in order to maintain it. The goal of the misogynist is not that women should die but that they should live, but live solely on male terms. Women need to submit in order to live and have no right to live save for that submission. Anything less than submission to male authority makes women shameless killers or man-hating dykes or shrewish harridans.
Anti-sex propaganda is one of the oldest cons in existence following close at the heels of one of the oldest lies: male supremacy, the father of many despicable lies that do their father’s bidding.
Ultimately the con of anti-sex propaganda has nothing whatsoever to do with the fabricated dichotomy between the mind and the body, a dichotomy either experienced by a few males and imposed on everyone or experienced by men in general and imposed on women.
Anti-sex propaganda has nothing to do with being anti-sex. During the periods of history and in societies where such propaganda dominates, men have had enormous sexual freedom, including not only the freedom to engage in adultery, polygamy, fornication with prostitutes, concubines, and slaves, but also the freedom to indulge in extremely harmful sexual practices such as rape and incest with little fear of reprisal. In such societies, anti-sex propaganda exists primarily to shame women, and the purpose of such shaming is to break the spirit of women, either directly by making them fear physical punishment, moral condemnation, and social disapproval (including actual shunning), or indirectly by making them feel so small and worthless that they will not have the emotional strength to fight their oppressors. In either case, it exists to make them docile co-conspirators in their own enslavement.
The two most important ideas ever to be invented by the misogynist are that sex is dirty and that reproduction is unimportant. The purpose of the first idea is to shame women so they will accept being caged, covered, bound, and mutilated. The purpose of the second is to force women to beg and whore because the work of producing the next generation is not regarded as being worthy of compensation. (To this latter mindset there is no such thing as a social value. See my essays, In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One-Eyed Man Is King and Stopping the Engine of the World, for more on this subject.)
But whether the attempt is to despiritualize or marginalize women, misogyny is ultimately all about the ability to control women, directly through physical punishment, including beatings and mutilations, banishment and seclusion, and by laws prohibiting a woman’s ability to control wealth and even her own body, and indirectly by undermining female self-esteem and thereby encouraging female dependency. The shaming of women is part of a larger strategy of undermining female independence.
But why undermine it? What’s the gain? The gain is power, most importantly, sexual power. For the misogynist, it is female vulnerability that is the great aphrodisiac. Knowing the woman needs you, can’t exist without you, that she can be forced to grovel, to beg, to kiss up, to suck up, to whore in order to survive.
To paraphrase C.S. Lewis who said that a heaven for mosquitoes could be combined with a hell for men, anti-sex propaganda makes it possible to combine a sexual heaven for misogynists with a sexual hell for women—and it is the threat of that hell which has traditionally kept women in line.
The Trojan horse of anti-sex propaganda is the greatest covert operation in the history of the world. Its bottom line is this: We will protect you from the oldest profession on earth by recourse to the oldest protection racket on earth. Allow us to subjugate you and we will protect you from shame.This is an offer that misogynists always knew women could not refuse. Until now.
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