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Is casual sex immoral? There's a reason so many feminists are unhappy with the sexual status quo

Horny men - or "fuckboys" in contemporary slang - manipulate naive women

Horny men - or "fuckboys" in contemporary slang - manipulate naive women


November 18, 2020   5 mins

The American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt likes to invent scenarios that test our moral intuitions. He will ask research participants to listen to a story, give their opinion on it, and then explain their reasoning.

Here is one such scenario: imagine a man goes to a supermarket and buys himself a whole dead chicken. He takes it home, has sex with it, and then eats it. No one else ever finds out. Did he do anything wrong?

Haidt has several other scenarios concerned with sexual morality. Is it ok for a brother and sister to have sex, if they use multiple forms of contraception, and no one else knows about it? Or, to use a real scenario, is it ok for a man to consent to being eaten by another man, for the purposes of sexual gratification?

The psychologist reports that his participants’ responses tend to be affected by their political allegiances. Social conservatives generally give swift, confident answers, because they are able to appeal to values like sanctity and authority. For them, having sex with a dead chicken or a sibling obviously violates religious or traditionalist moral principles and is therefore unacceptable. End of story.

Liberals have more difficulty: they want to say that the acts are wrong, because they are instinctively disgusted by them, but the scenarios are designed to prevent any appeal to J.S. Mill’s harm principle: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”

In the chicken example, for instance, it is difficult to identify anyone who has been harmed by the man’s behaviour, since the chicken, being dead, can’t be harmed, and other people, being ignorant of the act, can’t be harmed either. The man is simply exercising his sexual autonomy, which means that, as Haidt puts it, “if your moral matrix is limited to the ethic of autonomy, then you’re at high risk of being dumbfounded by this case.”

Not everyone is dumbfounded. The American anthropologist Gayle Rubin, for instance — a key figure in the sex-positive feminist movement that emerged in the 1980s — would, I imagine, be unbothered by the chicken scenario, just as she is unbothered by unusual sexual behaviour in general. “Ultimately, of what possible social significance is it if a person likes to masturbate over a shoe?” Rubin writes, “in Western culture, sex is taken all too seriously”.

Rubin is radical in her liberalism. She famously rejects the idea of “good” or “bad” sexual behaviour, interpreting such moralising as inherently oppressive. To her mind, sex does not need to involve either love or commitment, and it certainly needn’t have any connection to marriage or reproduction. The only thing that matters to sex-positive feminists like Rubin is whether or not all parties are able and willing to consent to a particular sex act. All other sexual morality must be discarded — indeed, one group that was influential early on in arguing for the destigmatisation of commercial sex made the point crystal clear with their choice of name: COYOTE, “Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics.”

Within the last 40 years, sex-positivism has been remarkably successful within academia and the media, to the point that it is now the dominant ideology among liberal feminists, who are themselves the dominant feminist sect. The moral minimalism that comes from holding only to the principle of consent results in certain policy positions.

For instance, the neutral or even positive attitude that liberal feminists take towards transactional sex leads them to support the decriminalisation or legalisation of porn and prostitution, including pimping, as long as all participants consent. BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism) is also permissible, according to the principle of consent — in fact, some argue that BDSM relationships are preferable to “vanilla” ones because explicit discussions of consent are (supposed to be) front-and-centre within the community. A rejection of traditional sexual morality or “Old Tired Ethics” also encourages a positive attitude towards casual sex, polyamory, fetishes and more.

On university campuses sex-positive liberal feminism is currently the order of the day, along with its various trappings. At the beginning of term, freshers are given a lecture on the importance of consent and sent on their way with “I heart consent” badges and tote bags. The rule they’re taught is simple enough: with consent, anything goes.

But while threesomes, nipple clamps and butt plugs may now be acceptable topics of conversation on campus, there still remains a frightening taboo: the fact of innate, average differences between men and women when it comes to sexuality. The research evidence is clear — we know that men, on average, prefer to have more sex and with a larger number of partners, that fetishes are far more common with men, that sex buyers are almost exclusively male, that men watch a lot more porn than women do, and that the vast majority of heterosexual women do not orgasm during casual sex and mostly say that they would prefer a committed relationship, if given the option. All in all, the evidence demonstrates that the acts that sex-positive feminism encourages are acts that men are much more likely to enjoy.

These differences make perfect, intuitive sense when you reflect on male and female reproductive roles. Of course the group of people left literally holding the baby are going to have evolved to be pickier about mating partners, and of course the other half, who are able to pass on their genetic material painlessly and in a matter of minutes, are more likely to have a preference for sowing their wild oats.

The uncomfortable truth is that, up until the arrival of reliable contraception — about five minutes ago, in evolutionary terms — sex was much riskier and costlier for women than it was for men. And as Mary Harrington writes in these pages, “ignoring our animal nature in favour of an abstract vision of egalitarianism has ended up disproportionately harming women”.

But you can’t say this in sex-positive circles, where a belief in the blank slate mandates that any differences in male and female behaviour be explained as solely a consequence of socialisation. So when inexperienced young women are encouraged by liberal feminism to behave exactly as men would like them to, and find themselves feeling used, violated and miserable — as they often do — they have no way of understanding what is happening to them, or recognising that the system is rigged.

This cognitive dissonance can lead to some strange places. Last week, there was the predictable social media outrage after liberal feminist writer Heather O’Neill wrote: “If you have sex with someone knowing full well it is going to be a one time thing, but the other person believes they are embarking on a relationship, I don’t think you can really consider the sex consensual. (Although this opinion gets me into trouble at dinner parties.)”

O’Neill was widely mocked as an extremist and a fool. I think she’s wrong to stretch the definition of “consent” to breaking point, but I have some sympathy for her viewpoint. Many liberal feminist women are sincerely unhappy with the sexual status quo, but they struggle to reconcile their unhappiness with their ideology. And since the only moral principle left standing under the reign of sex-positivism is the need for consent, this principle must be put to work in order to explain away their feelings.

O’Neill is correctly identifying a problem — the fact that horny and unscrupulous men (“fuckboys” in contemporary slang) will regularly manipulate naive women into casual sex that leaves the women feeling wretched. Such sex isn’t illegal, since the women do say “yes”, but it’s unpleasant and unkind. It’s immoral, in other words, but this is not a term that liberal feminists feel comfortable using, given its icky associations with religious conservatism, and so the only vocabulary left available to O’Neill is that relating to consent.

Liberal feminists have got their premises wrong. A moral system based solely on consent is inadequate because the presence of consent is such a very, very low bar — an absolute bare minimum requirement, not an ideal. Given the profound importance and complexity of sexual relationships, a much larger and more sophisticated moral system is required to determine what good, not just legal, sexual behaviour looks like, and the Gayle Rubins of the world are not best placed to describe it.

Liberal women are being asked to rationalise away their moral intuitions — to believe that a punch to the face can be a sign of love, that “catching feelings” for a sexual partner is something to be resisted, and that consent is all that matters. When it comes to sex, the ideological toolbox put together by liberal feminism contains just one blunt, useless implement. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t up to the job.


Louise Perry is a freelance writer and campaigner against sexual violence.

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Greg Maland
Greg Maland
3 years ago

I believe the narrative about sex reveals a deeper problem in our ability to connect with other people in ways that are meaningful and fulfilling. People used to know that the problem with casual sex is not fundamentally that it violates external rules and norms, or used to. It’s that it’s inimical what really matters to us at deeper emotional levels. We want to know and be known, and to feel a resonance with another whose spirit inspires us, and whose presence brings us joy. What meaningless sex gives people is a few minutes of acute pleasure, followed by a sense of despair and emptiness, because deep down, we still feel alienated and alone. This emphasis on wild, continuous sex as representing liberation and enlightenment only shows how little awareness we have of the deeper, subtler levels of the human experience. It is ultimately a denial of what matters most.

devonny00
devonny00
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Maland

How sexual behaviors are perceived and acted upon changes with the times. The late 60’s into the 70’s was an experimental time in terms of challenging what had been norms before then. Women were free to explore how they wished to conduct their sex lives. It was a time of open marriages and group sex, although that had begun in the late 50’s in the suburbs with wife swapping parties. Those wife swapping parties were the beginning, but they also were not as freeing to women as the entire social construct was still being controlled by the men. When we categorize casual sex as “meaningless,” what does that really say? Casual sex for men has always been a part of the landscape, and for some, it continued even within the so-called confines of a seeming monogamous marriage. Casual sex can be a way to explore and experiment without having the weight of descriptors like “despair and emptiness.” It can lead to growth, friendships, or any other kind of human interaction. The key is really respect for oneself and the other, which hinges on consent, obviously. The whole thing requires knowing oneself and a continuous willingness to examine the personal consequences of one’s own actions.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  devonny00

The novelty of the 60s and 70s was the contraceptive pill, which changed everything in terms of attraction. Before that women used sex to obtain a house and the men complied. After the pill, which destroys men’s olfactory attraction to the woman, the men use the women for meaningless gratification and the women find it all meaningless too, because they correctly observe that the man’s attraction doesn’t last.

The narrative became that men are fickle and all sorts of ideologies and fancy constructed explanations arose to explain the phenomenon I described above. Nobody, nobody told them all to get a bit of common sense and observe the pragmatic reality. We were advised by experts, and, as we all now know, experts are great for spinning fancy narratives but are sorely lacking in common sense.

Stephen Lawrence
Stephen Lawrence
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Maland

One feels this is true – yet, the article suggests that there is a sex-dependent difference. So does that (our sex) manifest itself in how or whether we perceive ourselves to be genuinely close? Or are those ‘genuine’ parts of closeness more readily visible to those of the female sex? And what of gender? Is our true ‘gender’ tied up with how much we perceive ‘genuine’ closeness? In that sense, gender might be truly independent of sex… But would that be part of a ‘gender spectrum’, ie an identity that is connected to more general social attitudes, dress, etc?

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago

There is a huge sex-dependant difference these days – men are fertile and women are generally “on the pill”, which makes them infertile. 75% of sexual attraction is olfactory – a woman on the pill smells infertile. That is why women these days have to make themselves sexy (mainly visually) to excite a man, but this wears off in a month or so and nature takes over. Despite all of the social conditioning, we are still fundamentally driven by our biological nature.

Marcy S.
Marcy S.
1 year ago
Reply to  malx.friends

I’ve heard it the other way round, that the pill messes with a woman’s olfactory sense and she will find men attractive that she shouldn’t
men who are too genetically similar to her.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Maland

…a few minutes of acute pleasure, followed by a sense of despair and emptiness…

That was my experience too until I was around your age. This occurs typically with a woman who is using you in the hope of “getting her house”. Of course, the narrative she will put on you is that you are using her.

Perservere, Greg, and avoid needy women. Go only for the secure ones – these are usually the ones who “make the most of themselves” (makeup, etc.) and are contemptuous of feminism.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

I was a young man in the late 60s. Even at the time I recognised “free love” as the worst trick men ever played on women.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Is self harming immoral? Yes, but why? Is self destructive and demeaning behavior immoral? Yes? But why?

Morality differs from ethics as ethics are universal right and wrong, covering every time the behavior is done in every society and situation. You know the thing, it is unethical to kill children but what if you could have pushed Hitler off a cliff when he was 9 years old? Ethics would tend to say pushing was unethical.

Morality is social right and wrong. Killing a stranger if one is a Head-Hunter is moral.

Situational ethics and relative morality are Liberalism. Thus in a Liberal world nothing is immoral till the situation is considered. But then Liberalism is a disease, and to people with (say) an Jewish/Christian/Muslim social beliefs, then some morality becomes fixed, they believe in some ultimate wile a Liberal believes in nothing outside of the setting and situation..

pirh zapusti
pirh zapusti
3 years ago

To me, there’s something left out of this entirely on both sides of the argument: sexual compatibility. It’s extremely rare to find someone you have real chemistry with. There’s something to be said for rejecting the wait until marriage argument as you don’t know until after the commitment if you’re compatible, and there’s something to be said for rejecting the free love at all costs lifestyle, which is ultimately unsatisfying and risky. As usual, the answer is in the middle, and requires personal responsibility, restraint, indulgence, and a whole host of nuance – something that our culture ignores.

Adam M
Adam M
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

I think no sex before marriage and much of the rest of Christian morality, is and always has been an ideal. It’s expected that most will not live up to the standard and if they don’t, it causes guilt. But ultimately as you’ve stated, this often works out for the best. The problem with abandoning the ideal to make people feel better about themselves, is that this inevitably leads to a feed back loop of dropping moral standards, that usually ends in disaster. Better to aim high and achieve modestly, then aim modestly and achieve little.

rramorton
rramorton
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam M

One problem with the consent only approach is that many husbands are tempted to assume that it is okay to endanger their marriage with adultery.

That hurts their wife and also their children for the long term, in exchange for a few nights of pleasure

Linda Ethell
Linda Ethell
3 years ago
Reply to  rramorton

It’s curious how the hurt to the non-married sexual partner is elided from this calculation of pain. Does not being a wife preclude such a woman from consideration?

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

I have read comments that suggest the reason young girls are so keen on kissing is that they are actually smelling out suitable sexual partners. They are finding people who have a compatible chemistry with particular attention to immunities that will give their children the most advantageous start.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

We can’t avoid the fact that there is a social dimension to every
relationship. And it’s not only women who are confused and unhappy with
the current system. The truth is that it’s not committed relationship
alone that most women want. Because why is the “manosphere” full of men
who offer/have offered women “committed relationship” only to have their
kind offers so often refused? What most women seem to want, in fact, is
exclusive possession of an alpha male. This seems to be an evolved
instinct to do with bringing up and protecting children. But it’s
impossible for most women to have exclusive possession of an alpha. And
since the social dimension of relationship has broken down in our
society (a consequence of feminism) men and women are bound to be left
confused and unhappy.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

That’s an evolutionary strategy only if you think only of sexual selection. The survival of children also depends on the husband being diligent, good with children, hardworking etc. Or alternatively rich.

So natural selection would favour the hard working or rich husband, while sexual selection prefers looks. All three would be great but as the band sings, “don’t be sad…”

Humans are therefore conflicted.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Therefore the alpha, the most desirable male of a group, and this has been studied in chimps for example, is not the strongest and most brutal but the one who shows strength, gathers allies and demonstrates support and care for offspring.

Miss Fit
Miss Fit
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

And most men want exclusive possession of a flawless young bimbo. And similary, there are many women who have offered committment and had their offer refused or taken advantage of.. I think overall, projections of social ideals where the Other is perfect and fulfills all our needs and fantasies is bound to leave us unhappy. Hard to commit when you haven’t found that Other, whom you now aim for, since that’s what you’ve been fed,…and may be just at a click, who knows? In the mean time, life goes on.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Miss Fit

“Bimbo” is a derogatory, contemptuous word for a young woman, why would you use such a word ? Do you despise young women generally or just attractive ones ?

Debra Carvill
Debra Carvill
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Calm down: it is obviously shorthand to make a bigger point.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Debra Carvill

Don’t worry, I’m quite calm, but I object to rude nicknames being applied to groups of women, especially young women, many of whom are already anxious enough about themselves and their place in the world without older women sneering.
I think Miss Fit’s bigger point is fundamentally flawed anyway. All the men – friends and family – I’ve known in my quite long life often take delight in pretty women, but give “most men” a real woman they are attracted to – not always objectively the prettiest in the room by any means – one who they feel relaxed with, who is loyal and loving, then the dream girls will remain just that, dreams, and we’re all entitled to dreams in the privacy of our own minds.

So Miss Fit’s usage of the word “bimbo” is insulting twice over, it insults the women directly, and the men indirectly by implying they foolishly hanker after the impossible.

(Any man who holds out for a fantasy woman is not worth having anyway, so what’s the problem ?)

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

” Speaking” for all women is such a precarious position to take..

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

A fair proportion of men leave their marriages for younger women; so many do prefer the ‘bimbo’ type of woman ie those who trade mainly on youth and looks. This is how the species operates. Bimbo is a highly subjective term too, usually used by women who trade more on their intellect or personality than looks. There’s room for both types of women and men will go for what pleases them most, regardless of how ‘worthy’ any woman is (and vice versa).

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

My observation over many decades (I’m really old now) is that the epithet bimbo is applied to any secure, attractive, blatantly hetero woman with no particular age criterion. It’s the opposite of “feminist”.

In my observations; most women and most men are more concerned with the opinions of their own sex that of the other sex, and this is reflected in their choices of partners. This was probably always so and did not change in the 60s. However now that most adult women are infertile (by taking the contraceptive pill), they must try hard to attract their partners, so they appear superficially heterosexual. Men soon tire of this superficiality, which is why they are more and more attracted to quite young women, actually following their basic nature and seeking fertility.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

As a religious person myself, it always amuses me to watch the most liberal, “evolved” and socially permissible people twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify sexual restraint without actually going back to the source — religion.

Mickey John
Mickey John
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

I’m twisting myself into pretzels trying to work out what on earth you’re on about.

pirh zapusti
pirh zapusti
3 years ago
Reply to  Mickey John

It’s not complicated. He’s saying religion is the source of sexual restraint. The left hates religion. But when it invariably finds its flawed ways of living not working, they will do everything they can to avoid considering that maybe those crazy religious people were on to something with their preaching of chastity.

And honestly, he’s right and it is ridiculous that too often people on both sides can’t admit when the other side has a good answer. The best idea should win out, no matter who has it. That’s not how things are going.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

I am left of centre and also have a faith (religion)

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

The Left is a religion, that is, an ideology about things which can’t be proved or disproved, for example, the goodness of equality.

Ahmno Kidinya
Ahmno Kidinya
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Nonsense. The goodness of equality is a provable fact. Statistics show that countries with less inequality are more productive, happier and more cohesive. Look it up (but not in the writings of the idiotic Ayn Rand).

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Ahmno Kidinya

Christianity teaches that all are equal, but have all different special abilities. Each is not assumed to be equally capable, but each is to contribute according to his/her talent.

pirh zapusti
pirh zapusti
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

I like how I get downvotes for saying the best idea should win. Modernity in a nutshell.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

your jerky kneed response to downvotes argue you are certain all your ideas are the “best” and you deserve to win even when there is no competition and no prize.

Modernity in a nutshell.

John Armstrong
John Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Is “Nun” a name or an occupation? Just wondered….

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

“And honestly, he’s right…”

honestly he is far, far right as are 80 percent of those on these threads.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Lol. Far, far right. You need to get out more dude.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

and your point is?

Ahmno Kidinya
Ahmno Kidinya
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

The totality of the ‘left’ does not hate religion. Parts of the left are quite happy with non-‘religions of the book’. What the majority of the left hates is the dogmatic denial of rationality associated with fundamentalist and irrationalist religion. A rational approach to religion is compatible with leftist thinking.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  Ahmno Kidinya

Yeah, you need to read a bit more philosophy. The mid-20th century saw a concerted effort by lefty philosophers to deny the existence of rationality. The ‘dogmatic denial of rationality’ you ascribe to Christians, Jews and Muslims is much more characteristic of post-modernism. Rationality came to be an accepted part of reality during the heyday of Christianity in the west, I think you’ll find.

rramorton
rramorton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ahmno Kidinya

The rationality of Jesus’ thinking is to me incredible. He spoke to us directly through the Gospels. However, the rest of the Bible it turns out is not addressed directly to us today, so for a number of years I have chosen to give Jesus priority and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the experience. It leads to a lot more spirituality, rationality and objectivity than you see displayed by many of the religious followers today.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Ahmno Kidinya

But the current left revolves around a fundamentally irrational behaviour, that of accusation and denouncement.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

Religion is old wisdom, accumulated over thousands of years. It is multiple millennia’s worth of thought, observation and sorting wheat from chaff. Basing your life choices and patterns on it is completely rational. Lefties and socialists make stuff up and immediately DEMAND that everybody believe it. Think Transphobia and the changes they are demanding we all make to escape its terrors. You can submit and go with it if you like, but next week there will be some other arbitrary and brand new demand.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

I have now adopted Roman Catholicism. I read the original texts put out on the Vatican web sites. There are translations but I could read the Italian and Latin if needed, so perhaps I do have a certain advantage. It’s not old wisdom, but does in fact deal with reality now. One example is insistence that only withdrawal is an acceptable form of contraception. This is a conclusion I also came to quite independently as otherwise attraction in the couple is destroyed and family instability results.

Ron Kearney
Ron Kearney
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

The left or socialism is the outworking of religion. Certainly for Christians the scriptures demand caring and sharing with the disadvantaged, being non-judgmental to those with different views and putting others needs before our own. The same applies to relationships. Christians are required to put a partner’s needs before their own. Exploitation of another person just shouldn’t happen. Some sorts of religion seem to have completely forgotten that with the freedom from guilt inherent in the religion comes a number of commands. In many ways it comes down to “treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself”

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Kearney

There is confusion because what is referred to as religions normally are philosophies and principles of good. The left’s religion is that of accusation and denouncement. This is well illustrated in the Book of Job, the oldest part of the Christian Bible, in which the Devil is not called the Devil, but the Accuser.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  pirh zapusti

The left do not hate religion at all! They hate all religions apart from their own, Marxism. (Marxism as a religion, which is the way the left uses it, is also known as Satanism).

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Mickey John

The mistake you’re making is in assuming that whatever it is you think you know about sexual ethics is correct. It isn’t. The age old truths of these things did not actually stop being true when you were born.

Let me make an educated guess about what you’re thinking: it’s something along the line of, “well, we live in an enlightened age in which people have a perfect right to engage in meaningless and consequence-free sex, however I can’t help thinking that maybe, on occasion, we take it too far”. How am I doing? In the ball park?

If you are thinking something like this, you’re trying to resile from the “fill your boots” position every aspect of the culture has been instilling in you since you were the size of a gnats smaller one and drifting into the dangerous shoals of religion. You just haven’t been equipped with the moral vocabulary to deal with what you’re experiencing. Be brave.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

“The mistake you’re making…”

clearly Joe is a “Right Reverend” in one of the buttoned up Protestant denominations.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Do you know how you come across? Like a spy for the Cheka.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

again with ad hominem

John Armstrong
John Armstrong
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Perhaps not an occupation….

Mark Stahly
Mark Stahly
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

As a non-religious person myself (atheist) it always amuses me how the religious always seem to find a way to point all doubts and resolutions towards some religious basis. Stop trying to find a reason to believe and perhaps look for a reason to understand.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

Mark,
I am non religious myself, but I am aware that many religions were/are about how to live in a society. Particularly about the change from hunter gathers to living in a town, where there are many people you do not know and the peer pressure of a small group breaks down.
So whilst I do not think there is a God, some parts of religion are still relevant.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

Theology is belief seeking understanding.

A definition that centuries old.

Perhaps you need to understand what others mean by belief.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

xc

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

It’s interesting to me that Perry assumes that if women are feeling “wretched” about some sexual encounter they’ve had, it must be the encounter that is wrong and not the feelings. But she can’t articulate why the encounter would be intrinsically wrong without appealing to “Sky Dad No Like,” and she isn’t willing to say that quiet part out loud.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  M Spahn

Do you believe you are smarter than all previous generations of humans?

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

delete

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

“all previous generations of humans” have all sorts of ideas about it.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  M Spahn

Not really. The record shows that, at least as far as we can tell, all known human cultures have encouraged marriage and all definitions of marriage have the idea of sexual exclusivity at their cores. No known society has ever fully removed taboos against ”casual” sex. Or, if they have, they haven’t survived long enough to leave a trace in the ethnographic record.

Hector St_Clare
Hector St_Clare
3 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

You need to read more anthropology- start with Malinowski’s description of the Trobriand Islanders.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

‘point all doubts and resolutions towards some religious basis’. What?

andy young
andy young
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Wrong. It’s economics.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  andy young

and personal preference

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Perhaps you should check out the many religions in India.

N A
N A
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

There are a lot of things that various religions have gotten right but just adopting religion isn’t a good answer. Instead we need to look at various ethical positions individually and judge their value on their own merit. That’s hard to do when those positions are mixed with all the mumbo jumbo and dogma of religious beliefs. Part of the reason many folk automatically reject anything that comes from religion is the worry that the other stuff will sneak in along with it, and that’s not an entirely unfair concern.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Christianity is an intrinsically sex-phobic religion – or perhaps it is down to St Augustine – but anyway it caused huge amounts of social misery over hundreds of years. This included the extremely cruel treatment of unmarred mothers, the killing of ‘sodomites’ and many other evils. Weren’t things wonderful in the old days – no they were not!!

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Straw man alert…straw man alert…straw man alert…

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

It’s “sex-phobic” if you think sex is something of the same order as Netflix or going to the football.

rramorton
rramorton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

But keep in mind Jesus did condemn that cruel treatment.

Vicki Robinson
Vicki Robinson
3 years ago

The real issue is that female sexuality is not well understood, and many women are unsure of what their needs are. This leads to performance and consenting to things that are not truly wanted. If each individual woman explored her sexuality and voiced her needs clearly, things would improve a lot. I’d say most women need connection to experience pleasure. A one-night-stand can be very intense, and disconnection can occur in long-term relationships.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Vicki Robinson

but how do you know until you’ve tried it?

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago

Women wanted sexual freedom, and are now unhappy with the consequences.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

The problem is similar to the problem of the (working-class) employee in liberal capitalism: in theory every relationship is voluntary, but those involved don’t experience their relationships in that way. Just as the employee is driven by economic needs as basic as hunger or as abstract as social status, so many people (not just women) are driven by their biological programming into sexual relationships which are very often unsatisfactory if not repulsive or dangerous. I doubt if lectures by feminists or conservatives are going to solve these problems. In any case industrial and technological progress have made a return to the supposed comforts of feudalism and patriarchy impossible; the burdens of autonomy have been pressed down upon the people regardless of how they try to escape. The only good we can do is encourage people to face their condition and their problems squarely and as courageously as possible, and to own — take responsibility for — their choices and behavior. The problems of ‘casual sex’ (if it is ever really casual), are not going to be solved by some authoritarian model from the past, or fantasy about the future.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Expecting people to take responsibility for their actions in this day and age? Why Sir, I do believe we may have the right solution but in the wrong time period

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

Feminists, not all women, wanted sexual freedom, let’s differentiate please. Young women today are having to deal with the mess feminists have made for them at the same time as living in the delusion that being a feminist is great.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Mea culpa. This is true, the blurring of the lines is something that is f*****g with a lot of women it seems.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  Vivek Rajkhowa

In practical terms “sexual freedom” means the pill. The consequence of the pill is temporary infertility and consequent lack of attraction for males. It’s fundamental biology. The socially constructed explanatory narratives are just bla-bla.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Freedom means freedom. If people are unwise enough to hurt themselves, either from motives of quiescence or from a desire for adventure, then that is their business and nobody else’s. Moreover, how can you tell that a “casual” date is not the start of something more serious? The proof of the pudding is in the eating. And the game of love, whereby young men rove and sow wild oats and young women hope to detain them in the one, enclosed field is as old as the hills. It is an ineradicable part of our species life, like the snarling of a female cat when she is mounted by a tom. So it involves pain. What aspect of life does not? Fitness means hours of boring exercise. Shaving means you cut yourself. Thinking aloud means controversy and dislike. Attempting to prevent pain, beyond a certain point, as in anaesthetic and reducing the severity of punishments, is a hiding to nothing and brings more misery in the end. Are you really suggesting that we police sexuality all over again? Are you really hoping to reimpose the Chastity Belt? Do you really imagine that things would be better for young women if they could not experiment and attempt to tie young blades down? Would they be happier with unadventurous milksops furnished by their mothers or the state? Would they ever achieve climax at all in the flabby arms of such sanctioned goody-goodies? This horror of freedom, rising from a shocked realisation that life isn’t perfect and doesn’t go on for ever, is leading to soft totalitarianism – and this article does nothing to stand in its way.

Andrew McGee
Andrew McGee
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

A very perceptive comment. Adults have to make their own decisions and take the consequences. If you consent (or give the impression of consenting) to non-procreational, non-committed, casual sex – in whatever form – then that is what you are likely to end up doing. If you don’t like it, don’t consent in the first place, or at least don’t repeat the error. But if you do like it, and you can find a willing partner, then good luck to all parties.

edward.deadlock
edward.deadlock
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

There is a fundamental animal law invoved here that is never ever addressed. Religions proscribe sex because it is equal and opposite to death, its actual animal purpose is reproduction. It’s pleasurable as a result, but we don’t commit casual murder and if we do we end up in prison. Our culture becomes a completely disfunctional culture when it addresses the issue of sex, it becomes a power struggle. Philosophical morality is an absolute guide to another person’s freedom to be totally respected, all the rest is total confusion.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I agree with you to some extent but I think there is a good argument for encouraging people, the young particularly, to be self-regulating, that there is nothing wrong with the option of ‘No thanks’. No harm will come to most people by abstinence for a while.

Having said that though, that idea probably needs to be paralleled with a move towards earlier marriage, which would require a greater appreciation of the seriousness of sexual connection than is fashionable at present.

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago

“Ignoring our animal nature in favour of an abstract vision of egalitarianism has ended up disproportionately harming women”.

For me..Thats the key part. We are first and foremost primates who evolved in Africa and then spread across the planet. Along the way we became so successful that in a very short time, we totalled nearly 8 billion. We can organise ourselves around any type of method of surviving… be that a society/culture/religion…..call it what you will …but we cannot escape our evolutionary purpose. That purpose is to reproduce and ensure that our offspring survive long enough to be able to also reproduce. I know its very much out of favour these days, but we are all really just vehicles for our immortal genes. No amount of “feminist theorising” on some university campus in one small and insignificant corner of the planet , can possible alter millions of years of evolution. You can be as unhappy as you want, your genes don’t care. They will just drive you to reproduce regardless.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Precisely. The Left rails and fights against it, but ‘human nature’ is there and not going away anytime soon. In a way, it’s the fundamental foundation of ‘conservatism’. The Left says, to pay attention to ‘the science’. Perhaps they’ll absorb this at some point.

malx.friends
malx.friends
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

It’s not just women who are harmed, but men and children too, all from the relationship and family instability.

tomfras
tomfras
3 years ago

In my opinion consent is a very good bar, it is really the same as JS Mill’s non-harm assertion. I take the author’s point, but what would her bar be? I would love an answer to that! How is it possible to have any control over the ‘sexosphere’ anyway, unless we veer dramatically towards a 1984 scenario with cameras in every room! And in what kind of a world do you want to live? Keeping everyone from harm is to paralyse the world and human endeavour with it. That’s not the way we got here – despite what the ten commandments say, we have evolved because of our covetousness and our cuckoldry, not in spite of it. As alarming as that is to moralists, it is demonstrably a fact, and so I would be for getting real -ie discussion, research, understanding, and more discussion – about who we are, and what we are motivated by as the way to a more sane and healthy society. The repression and taboo-ification is deep within us too, but it is gradually being teased out, and we are at a pivotal moment. I think there’s plenty wrong with liberal feminism and the tendency to be morally superior, and to create its own long list of taboos. But we haven’t come all this way to put it all back in the box. A ‘free’ world requires that the individual takes responsibility for themselves, finds their own way through the moral maze and reality of this life, and the good society supports them and educates them to be able to do that. But can we hold our nerve, and keep the faith?

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

Bravo. Well said. A voice of strong, sane liberty at last.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

The conundrum is how the feminist movement is undecided as to whether women are strong creatures with agency or helpless waifs in perpetual need of outside protection.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

The conundrum is how the feminist movement is undecided as to whether women are strong creatures with agency or helpless waifs in perpetual need of outside protection.

David Johnson
David Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Indeed. The author refers sympathetically to “naive” women, as if they were some special species deserving of protection from “predatory” men, and unable to define their needs and desires – for reasons which escape me.
And why are only women allowed the luxury of “naivity” – especially in today’s over-sexualised society?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Perhaps the feminist movement is not monolithic?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I think the count in 2016 or 17 showed only about 7% of British women considered themselves feminists, that leapt up to about 30% after the TV series of The Handmaids Tale aired in 2018 and the ensuing moral panic of # MeToo, but has probably died back down again now.
But many of the 7% are in positions of power.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

tell that to conservative women.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

It’s not monolithic and many former ‘feminists’ of the second & third waves now ‘get it’. Now the sticky part, is how do we convey this to our daughters. It’s not easy.

William Costello
William Costello
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

Excellent point Tom. Are you on Twitter so I can avail of more of your common sense?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

“But we have’nt come all this way etc” What “way” is that exactly ?

“keep the faith” Faith in what ?

“A ‘free’ world” Is it free ?

The trouble with what you say, for me, is that it’s based on all sorts of assumptions. I’m guessing that you are experienced, well educated and middle-class, nothing wrong with those, but large numbers of your fellow citizens are not, they don’t read books, they often don’t think, just act or react, how are they supposed to find their way (if you’ll forgive the pun) through this “moral maze” of yours, where are they supposed to get their moral guidence from ? the TV ? the newspapers ?
The free world you refer to may be your world but is it everybody elses ?

Miss Fit
Miss Fit
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

I think consent is a good bar, but consent can be corced.. Maybe the bar should be elevated to ‘unpressured/informed/thoughtful consent’?

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

I don’t know that you can really equate non-harm to consent, in fact that seems to be the problem. people can consent to all kinds of things that are harmful, and will harm themselves, either deliberately or not. But someone living according to a philosophy of non-harm will need to step back from those kinds of situations.

As a society, many social norms and taboos exist to help people understand and practice duty of care to themselves and others. The idea that there is a neutral stance is what is really naive. A society that says that casual sex is just fine if there is consent is not neutral, it is either a statement that non-harm is irrelevant, or it is an inaccurate statement about reality.

John Gleeson
John Gleeson
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

Why the F do people have to veer from one extreme to the other on issues like this. From full-on prude to the most shameless sex fiend where nothing is off-limits or somewhere close to those extremes.

Whenever people fall for one ideology or identify themselves with one ideology over another, particularly Liberals, driven as they are by that sense of moral and intellectual superiority over others for how ‘laid-back, modern and open-minded’ they are (in their minds) in relation to those ‘repressed, old-fashioned’ conservatives, then people simply have to take one extreme or the other.

Particularly in this day and age. And especially in academia, where people should know better and have more cognitive flexibility. Yet they are the worst culprits.

It should be blindingly obvious that the truth lies in the middle somewhere in most cases like this.

Such a balanced approach though doesn’t sell books, papers, gets clicks or allow a person to make a name for themselves in academic circles so we’ll always have these unnecessary extremes.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  tomfras

Wow, magical thinking much?

tjell2010
tjell2010
3 years ago

Thank you, Louise Perry, for that rare experience of reading an essay that was thought provoking without being ideological. Well done

Paul Whiting
Paul Whiting
3 years ago

Fascinating article raising some interesting themes.

All in all, the evidence demonstrates that the acts that sex-positive feminism encourages are acts that men are much more likely to enjoy.

I think the article makes the apex fallacy in its analysis. For the top say 10% of men the new order is amazing. For the vast majority of men below this it’s incredibly hard to get sex. For a material minority at the bottom of the pile it’s all but impossible.

O’Neill is correctly identifying a problem ” the fact that horny and unscrupulous men (“fuckboys” in contemporary slang) will regularly manipulate naive women into casual sex that leaves the women feeling wretched.

It’s a gross simplification to always characterise every interaction between the sexes as ‘men perpetrators, women victims’. The above mentioned ‘manipulation’, and the fact that it is overwhelmingly men who resort to paying for sex, arises from the tremendous power imbalance between men and women when it comes to getting sex. Since women are dealt a natural straight flush in this game, men have to resort to less straightforward methods.

Graham Giles
Graham Giles
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Whiting

“Since women are dealt a natural straight flush in this game, men have to resort to less straightforward methods.”

Well up to a point, but because women rather than men get pregnant and also because heterosexual intercourse is more invasive for women than it is for men, they are much less inclined to use it. Women suffer sexual frustration as well as men do.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

Nice article. It seems to me that certain consequences are often ignored, like asymmetric emotional impacts and STD-fostering behaviours. Maybe certain words aren’t used enough – ‘harmful’, ‘risky’.

Jasmine Birtles
Jasmine Birtles
3 years ago

Really good points, Louise. This issue needs to be debated more and a lot of women need to have the vocabulary to speak about what it’s doing to their sense of ‘self’. Thanks for articulating it.

John Alyson
John Alyson
3 years ago

A very interesting article. The problem is that classical morality is grounded in teleology and a consequent natural law. It was and is capable of answering these dilemmas. However, now that we have abandoned this we are reduced to question begging moral systems that, as this article makes clear, are not particularly adequate. No need to scratch our heads and try to reinvent the wheel – we could return to classical moral system. The only problem is that it challenges us as individuals and as a society. Not so pleasant to face up to the idea that we are not particularly virtuous and ought to be changing our behaviour.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

There’s a reason so many feminists are unhappy with everythingthe sexual status quo.
There. Fixed it for you.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

Heather O’Neill wrote: “If you have sex with someone knowing full well it is going to be a one time thing, but the other person believes they are embarking on a relationship, I don’t think you can really consider the sex consensual.”

I’m glad I came of age in the 1990s when dating and casual sex were less heavily fraught with peril for young men. The dating world is so confusing now, that many young men are retreating into computer games and online titillation. Woke campus culture and Title IX regulations permit women everything and forgive men nothing.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

“…permit women everything and forgive men nothing.”

and yet somehow your fellow cohort mate and promiscuous “boofer” Brett “No Means Yes and Yes Means a**l” Kavanaugh got a free pass and is now a justice of SCOTUS.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

“…permit women everything and forgive men nothing.”

and yet somehow your cohort mate and promiscuous “boofer” Brett “No Means Yes and Yes Means A_ _l” Kavanaugh got a free pass and is now a justice of SCOTUS.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Unless he was falsely accused, in which case you made a grown man cry on national television for no good reason.

I guess we’ll never know for sure which one it is for the fog of politics, activism, and confirmation-biased assumptions surrounding the whole affair. Thanks for that.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

it is so sad to see a man modeling victimhood in defense of his manhood.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Until he’s found guilty, I will presume innocence.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Uhh… Title IX is terrible for women, because we are forced to decide between reporting a sexual crime and staying silent ” with no middle option for simply confiding in a trusted mentor.

If anything, Title IX is causing MORE women to stay silent because they don’t want to deal with a bureaucratic shitshow in the wake of their own trauma.

Plus, it is so difficult to prove a sexual crime with our legal system’s notion of “evidence.” Who wants to go to a hospital and get probed within 24 hours of being violated? No one…and so by the time most women feel emotionally ready to report, there is no material to back their claims. And then people can pretend that sexual assault isn’t as big of a problem because they fall back on old platitudes such as “innocent until proven guilty,” when our judicial measures of evaluation are incompatible with the crime we are attempting to process.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  R Button

…old platitudes such as “innocent until proven guilty”

Platitude?? That you would write that phrase undermines your entire message.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“Did he do anything wrong?”

by hygienic standards, yes.

by culinary standards, hell yes.

morally? who cares.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“…it is difficult to identify anyone who has been harmed by the man’s behaviour…”

the author’s painting of the picture has harmed many who will never be able to eat roast chicken again.

Ahmno Kidinya
Ahmno Kidinya
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Well, that’s a good result, especially for the chickens.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Ahmno Kidinya

free the chickens now!

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Which came first, the chicken or the…

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

What a wonderful world feminists have created.

Signme Uplease
Signme Uplease
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

But did feminists create this sexual dystopia all by themselves? Really??? Given that most media is owned by men, i.e. Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, it’s far more likely that women were indoctrinated to believe that their newfound rights and freedom were contingent upon giving in to the one thing men convinced them would make them ‘liberated’. Casual sex. However, this was NOT what original feminists were about. More sex, yes. Less guilt about their sexual experience. But feminists were interested in and asking for more QUALITY sex, not more QUANTITY sex. Clearly, men wanted, and got, the opposite. THey had no interest in quality sex. So that’s what we got. This culture is immersed in male focused, male directed sex. One only needs to look at pornography to see how this narrative unfolded.

So, nice try blaming feminists. Same old misogyny, different day.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

a full employment strategy?

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago

This whole article appears to be a strawman. I’m far from convinced by the end of it that anyone is using consent as the basis for moral expectations. Consent is the basis for legal actions, but it doesn’t follow that anything and everything done within the bounds of consent is moral. It’s like the classic conflating of morality and legality in other spheres – just because something falls within the law doesn’t make it OK. Tricking people into sex by leading them to believe you are something you aren’t is pretty awful behaviour. But it doesn’t make casual sex immoral, just trust more important. If, as a result, you decide casual sex is not for you – more power to you. It’s your choice.

Did the man with the chicken do anything ‘wrong’, well you’ll have to define ‘wrong’. What he did was disgusting, and I wouldn’t want to associate with such a person. But as nobody was hurt and the chicken was dead it’s not something that should be punishable by law.

Ahmno Kidinya
Ahmno Kidinya
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

“Disgusting” is an interesting concept. Some things are disgusting for good reasons, such as bacterial contamination, But why is having sex with a dead chicken disgusting? As long as it is fresh there is not much chance of infection, and it does the chicken no harm, unlike if it was alive. I suppose killing the chicken deliberately is harmful, but that is what we do to chickens anyway, and the use after death does not make it any more palatable for the chicken (or indeed us). To clarify that last point I object to chickens being killed by humans for any reason. But given that it is dead anyway, what’s the difference?

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

There are laws against bestiality and necrophilia which the man with the chicken probably fell fowl of.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave H

No, I think you are quite wrong, many people consider consent to be the moral bar. There are a lot of questions we could ask about why they don’t see the difference, but it’s the case nonetheless.

E H
E H
3 years ago

I’ve twice tried to contribute a comment but neither version was permitted. No idea why.

Third time lucky? If I get through this time (might strategic misspellings help?), maybe others can help me understand what might have caused censorship? (Using the o-word?)

I was posing questions on how ubiquitous contraceptive use has altered our sexual behaviours (not asking out of any religious convictions on conception, purely sociological/moral/societal interest). How it has introduced pressures and expectations, and removed thrills and potencies. I was wishing for examination of what may have become lost or diminished (the gains being clear) through having disconnected ourselves from the power and potency that penetrative s*x has held throughout history. Of what it means both for women and for men that “such s*x has become removed from the dangers and thrills of potential mating, whether consciously or subconsciously driven, and now seems for many to have little meaning or purpose beyond utilitarian org*sm-chasing.”

I also dared to “agree with the author that liberal feminism’s naive schtick of undiscerning ‘s*x positivity’, especially in our profoundly p*rn-distorted culture, doesn’t serve women at all well.”

Any ideas what in the above might be prohibited? Anyway, the issues I was trying to raise are the point. Let’s see if they’re allowed this time. (A day late.)

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago
Reply to  E H

The three letter word that is in the title of the article and what it is about was enough to get me moderated. Moving to s*x seems to have fixed your problem.

E H
E H
3 years ago

Thank you.

And yet I’d seen that word used in the comments of others, which is why I wondered if it was the o-word or p*rn. Why would some be moderated for the s-word, others not? Very odd, and silly in the context of this piece! You’d think words that articles use should be auto-allowed in comments on them.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  E H

I think that you are right, the removal of pregnancy from the equation – or at least the feeling that we can control procreation very reliably – has utterly changed people’s attitude and behaviour.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  E H

My post has not yet seen the light of day. Someone Up There does not like a woman (a) reminding the guys here that women are not all the same and (b)discussing the reality of what it has meant to take responsibility for providing a “consequence-free environment” for sex while getting very little in return except for seldom-discussed health problems.

Or perhaps it was because I mentioned the words m n s t l c c le in the context of pregnancy prevention.

Or perhaps it was because I had a pretty good chuckle at all of the m*l*s posting here to share their expertise . . .

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

There’s a reason so many feminists are unhappy with everythingthe sexual status quo.
There. Fixed it for you. Beyond that, feminists appear to want it all ways. First, they want to be as sexually liberated as the worst guy. Then, they want to accuse men – and this is particularly acute on US college campuses – of endorsing a culture where assault is okay, as if there are fathers who would willingly send their daughters to such places. Hint: a college campus is among the safest places on the planet for a woman.

Maybe, just maybe, it eventually dawns on whoever is pushing this nonsense that A) men and women are different and B) that the battles of early feminism are largely won. Past generations didn’t sustain beatings during the suffrage movement or work to create more workplace opportunities for females so that the enterprise could bog down in nonsense like treating two drunks having sex as assault.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“A college campus is among the safest places on the planet for women.”

Source, please? Because that is the biggest pile of crap I’ve EVER read. Do you know that there is a massive discrepancy between reported s*x crimes and actual s*x crimes? Also, you can speak to the experience of a young adult woman on campus because….what, exactly? You are one? You’ve been a young adult woman on a campus in the 2010s?

Your comment is exceptionally arrogant and misogynistic, and it seems like you cherry-pick data in an attempt to assuage the guilt you must feel for harboring blame against women who express discontent with the current imbalance of power between men and women. The fact that you feel confident enough to express this viewpoint is evidence in itself of a misogynistic society.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

There are a lot of people, both men and women, who are having very unsatisfactory sex. The women who think that the problem is that they are having casual sex without intimacy need to talk to the women who are in loving committed relationships where the sex is still lousy. Perhaps then, the notion that you generally need to learn how to be a good lover, can take root in society.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago

Great point, Laura. But it is far easier and “woke” to lay the blame for your sexual unhappiness somewhere else: the “patriarchy” is the usual standard. It is not the “patriarchy” that is preventing discussion between the two groups if women that you mentioned. Or preventing ladies from experimenting enough to identify their turn-ons. Or disclosing their turn-ons to so many men who would love to truly please them, as nothing turns a man on more intensely than an excited woman.
Yet with so much at stake, and so much to gain, no statistically noticeable progress gets achieved – instead, we keep hearing the sad, unsubstantiated “blame the patriarchy” battle cry at every lost opportunity. So much for the responsibility with which freedom is being handled…

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

lazy argument Andre.

it is far easier to lay the blame on a bÃÂȘte noire du jour created by defenders of and apologists for the patriarchy who just want women to discover their ‘turn-ons’ and get on it already.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Thanks Nun, you just reinforced the point I was trying to convey to Laura ðƾ˜‰. For something that never existed, the “patriarchy” certainly gets a lot of credit – and mileage!

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

how woke of you, at least for a defender of patriarchy.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
3 years ago

“The women who think that the problem is that they are having casual sex without intimacy need to talk to the women who are in loving committed relationships where the sex is still lousy. “

And to these deprived women, I say, “Speak up, Lass” – you’ve got a tongue and a mouth, tell him what you want”

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

Intimacy and commitment cannot be the complete answer, witness the large number of
people in secure, committed relationships who are still very unsatisfied. And if you use the 3 letter word that this article is about, you will get your post moderated, so be warned.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

using the very same words used by the headline writers, editors and authors are suspect when used by the unwashed.

Otto Christensen
Otto Christensen
3 years ago

I am curious why so few women participate in comments? Comments is mostly a huge majority of men trying to explain, speak for or argue something that women would/should know more about?

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago

You could apply the same criteria to the writer regarding men.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Maybe because men and women are different, who’d have thought ?

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago

Good article except for one canard that Ms Harrington has made before. Men may “watch a lot more porn than women do”, about 70/ 30 split, but women read a lot more porn than men do. In fact, the female market for “romance” novels is larger than typically male genre such as adventure or mystery novels put together. It is the highest-selling genre of all publications.

Further, the most recent research shows that females enjoy visual pornography as much as men do. They’re just less likely to admit it, even to themselves. And so their sexual needs are more often met through reading.

This is probably because reading about sex is more acceptable than watching it, particularly because the entire subject is usually covered by euphemism to disguise its true nature. Women aren’t horny, they’re “lonely”; they don’t masturbate, they “self pleasure”; they don’t need “sex”, just “romance” etc. Without that slight of hand, women’s bargaining power in the sexual marketplace would be diminished.

Women want sex as much as men do, because from an evolutionary perspective, women who desired sex less would have fewer children, and thus sexual desire is a self-reinforcing evolutionary feedback loop. Horny women have more offspring.

But because of the evolutionary constraints that Ms Harrington discusses, women are less able to act on those needs without running the risk of pregnancy. Therefore we have erected a pantheon of beliefs and euphemisms to hide that fact, leading to the (typical) feminist hypocrisy and double think on the issue, a consequence of the conflict inherent in the female psyche.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

Intimacy and commitment cannot be the answer, witness the large number of people in secure, committed relationships who still complain that the sex is lousy.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago

Yes, because it risks spreading covid 19. Just like dancing, skateboarding and rock and roll music.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

wear the damned mask already!

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Stop assuming anyone critical of the lockdowns and restrictions, or expresses concerns for what this is doing to our rights and liberties (especially when the most ardent supporters of these restriction write for or read publications that openly criticized those very rights and freedoms before covid began) also don’t wear masks or take any other reasonable precautions.

I won’t be your strawman, sorry. You’re just going to have to stuff one yourself.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

I repeat…wear the damned mask already.

waaaa…sniffle…sniffle…my rights and liberties…waaaa…

your rights and liberties don’t trump the sanctity of human life.

Charles Rense
Charles Rense
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Oh, I see: I’m communicating with a child.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles Rense

wear the damned mask

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

To…what, exactly? To trap bacteria in front of my face? Or to prevent bacteria from passing from the outer environment into my face? Wearing a mask in an attempt to stop the spread of a virus ” about 60 nanometers in diameter ” is scientifically stupid. It’s the adult version of a pacifier, imposed on our society by the fearful and self-righteous.

We SHOULD be reflecting on what the unanimous adoption of this behavior says about our species, and we SHOULD be questioning the relationship between regulations and consequences…to mindlessly adopt a behavior such as mask-wearing, simply because you want to be perceived as someone with respect for human life, is dangerous. Sure, it might be more insidious than asking Jews to wear the Star of David patch, but that’s what makes it more dangerous. Our capacity to comply, especially if there is a question of “morality” involved, is frightening and should be examined.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  R Button

No, it is the adult version of a diaper. Just like a diaper is not there to prevent a baby getting shit on themselves, but rather to stop them spreading it around, so a face mask is there to help prevent transmission of a virus in people who are infected but who might not know it. It is not a hard concept.

Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago

The arithmetic of reproductive potential will have programmed optimal behaviour for success completely differently for male and female over the eons – Apart from violent events and to optimise survival of the offspring, which inevitably carry and pass on the successful behaviour, a compromise between the two has to be resolved and religion has been a recent arbiter – The shorthand version of where we are now has to be that men seek fertility in women which is a largely visual exercise and women seek power in men which is more complicated – The main cause of deep disquiet is where our instinctive behaviour is contradicted by current cultural demands – Contraception is the recent wild card giving young women full of hormones the same freedom as men without the essential for the species consequences which is fantastic fun but scrambles the intended result of delicious natural instincts and this will probably be a problem until we discover how to remain youthful forever?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Is casual intellectualism immoral?

Or as Harvard University’s Steven Pinker might say, this article “exposes the surprisingly shallow intellectual roots of the movements that appear to be engulfing our culture.”

David Harrison
David Harrison
3 years ago

Mixing advertising and indoctrination disguised as education with evolutionary biology has created this mess.True Critical Thinking is the way out.Only a very small percentage of the population is currently able to do this and this small group of Critical Thinkers are the most hated people on earth.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“…but it’s unpleasant and unkind. It’s immoral, in other words…”

that is an immoral trivialization of the concept of morality.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago

The writer implies that “Did he do anything wrong?” is the same as ‘is it disgusting” and “should there be a law against it” which are quite different things

Also Heather O’Neill’s opinion is clearly right in so far as consent was not given for what 1 party thought was being offered. However both parties need to check what they are consenting to. This was made clear in the past by marriage, or at least commitment to marry, Without a clear offer and acceptance by both parties there is room for confusion over what has been consented to and so the logical step is to assume that only the minimum has been consented to.

ssgtnelson76
ssgtnelson76
3 years ago

I’m so glad that, everyday, more and more men are giving up on dating and marriage.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  ssgtnelson76

I wouldn’t feel “glad” about it, Bob. This phenomenon is a consequence of communication breakdown between the genders, with politics overriding curiosity and honesty. Not something either gender should feel glad about, as both sides lose. The risk of terminal disconnect is quite real, with developments such as AI s*x, etc.

Feminism LOL
Feminism LOL
3 years ago

Women will never be happy.

1960s: Monogamy is oppressive. Muh Feminism!
2020: Casual relations are like…bad…mmmkay?

Jeremy Stone
Jeremy Stone
3 years ago

The Heather O’Neill quandary is interesting, but not (it seems to me) because of undue weight placed on the notion, or the fact, of consent. It is clear that the asymmetry of beliefs and intentions between the two parties does not prevent it being consent. However, there appear to be lots of counterfactual states where at least one of them would not have consented (for instance, if they knew about the intentions of the other). So there is a concept of fully-informed consent that is not satisfied by this example. It is an unnecessary piece of linguistic laziness, or linguistic legislation. to want to make “consent” into shorthand for fully-informed consent, and inconvenient, as we would then be unable to say that a person who consented in ignorance of their partner’s views had done so.

mwsp
mwsp
3 years ago

There may be consent, but it is often not informed consent. Something that doctors are trained to seek from patients. The relationships described are, I believe, abusive, if one partner has very different expectations as to what is offered. There’s nothing wrong with the sex (usually), it is the abuse that is the problem.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  mwsp

Easy to say, but the scope of information to which you may be entitled prior to a sexual encounter is far less obvious than as pertains to a medical procedure.

williamcoley
williamcoley
3 years ago

In medicine, in order to be effective, consent must be “informed consent”. In the sexual domain consent based on a misrepresentation, or where there is knowledge of a fundamental misunderstanding by the other party, is not “informed consent”. The “consent” is tainted. It may not be rape, but it is morally wrong.
Perhaps students should be encouraged to ask the question: “is this casual sex or is this relationship sex?”

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
3 years ago

I think the issue here is of the distinction between legal and moral -or who owns the morality in a particular scenario. A man who masturbates over a shoe, or who penetrates a dead chicken is causing no one else any harm -so legally there is no need for the state to intervene, even if, and perhaps especially if, it offends the sensitivities of those who create laws for society. A man who invites another to eat him is inciting homicide which is obviously a societal taboo so the law must get involved. BDSM gets a bit more complicated -I guess the law only has the remit to enquire whether a criminal activity was engaged in -which would necessarily concern itself with issues of consent; what was consented to and in what circumstances.

But at an individual level a man may be at risk of moral harm -a psychoanalyst for example would certainly want to know more about what was going on with a man who screwed dead chickens. This would be a much more idiographic enquiry. It might arrive at a point where the perpetrator knew he was doing himself moral harm but that this was the only way to avoid doing greater harm to self or others, or feeling something more harmful. He then makes a moral choice based on his understanding and capacity, but at least he knows what and why he is doing something which is morally speaking more responsible and claiming more personal sovereignty -which in my view is possibly the greatest moral ‘good’ there is.

This way of understanding is also a different sort of morality to that of the church -where a religious moral system would most certainly disapprove and prescribe dictats and rules of observance.

At a personal level I think one is under a moral duty to oneself -at a number of levels, including areas of right and wrong, to develop along lines which promote a fully creative existence and honour one’s individual sovereignty -I suspect having sex with dead chickens is pretty anti-developmental in those contexts. If the chicken copulator worked out why he was having sex with dead chickens -the meaning of it to him -and re united with a sense of something more creatively developmental, he may be released from the grip of his fetish.

Feminists (some) concern themselves so much with ideological, and highly idealised, power dynamics that they often lose sight of the individual woman who is actually making choices -even if they are bad ones. It is ultimately extremely disempowering -contrary to all that a feminist would have to say on the issue -because it absolves the individual of their own moral responsibility, which in turn deprives them of the possibility of ever attaining it. You cannot possibly be in control of your life without this. So it’s a bit of a ‘get out’ card really.

William Costello
William Costello
3 years ago

I like her writing, particularly that she doesn’t shy away from ev psych in contemporary discussions. But this is a miss for me & sounds like,
“Sexual liberation is bad because men like it more than women & some women are using it to do things I don’t like for them.”

Mocks the progressive notion of treating consent as paramount, but convinced me that it is. Doesn’t suggest any other basis for sexual morality than a narrow puritanical ideal that wouldn’t cater for most people. One step away from “without God we’re animals”.

The implication is the following…”some women are too naive to cope with sexual liberation & machiavellian men will trick them into thinking they enjoy it (mutual gratification never possible) and preferable to this is a type of moral vanguard who know what’s really in women’s best interests.”

The vote no confidence in modern women, who are seen as too naive to deal with ‘fuckboys’, affirms my longstanding belief that I like and respect women far more than most feminists.

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
3 years ago

There’s some weird writers here on Unherd, that’s for sure.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

sex sells, and brings in the eyeballs

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
3 years ago

I keep getting moderated when I mention that there are a large number people in committed relationships who still complain that the sex is lousy.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

Using the s word on this site puts you into automoderation, unfortunately. Rather crude way of doing things.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“Given the profound importance and complexity of sexual relationships…”

the complexity of sexual relationship are indeed profound as demonstrated by 90 percent of all stories told by humans having been based on sexual relationships.

as to the profundity of the “importance” of sexual relationships, that depends on so much that is subjective to both participants and observers of the phenomena it is impossible to infer importance.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

O’Neill is correctly identifying a problem ” the fact that . . .unscrupulous men . . . will regularly manipulate naïve women into casual [encounters] that leaves the women feeling wretched.

No, she isn’t. Casual encounters imply no lack of scruples, and women who don’t enjoy them either shouldn’t do it, or else take responsibility for their own feelings.

(I use “encounters” not to be coy, but because the plain term prompts automoderation)

beastflow
beastflow
3 years ago

Well argued and compelling. Thank you.

Vern Hughes
Vern Hughes
3 years ago

Terrific overview. Issue after issue, the core problem remains the same – in the aftermath of the liberal deconstruction of social and moral norms, we lack a moral framework for living well.

N P
N P
3 years ago

Illiberal feminism is not different from any other form of illiberalism. Essentially, it is prescriptive, ‘I know better what is good for you’ – infantilising very people it claims it cares about. And in the process uncomfortable facts are ignored, such as that a ‘punch to the face’ happens far more often in non-casual relationships than in causal relationships. Or that many women enjoy causal sex more than marital sex (otherwise we would not have had so many affairs) – unless, of course, they are all pressurised to do so by liberal feminists.

Dolan dolan_cummings
Dolan dolan_cummings
3 years ago

More thoughts on Haidt’s chicken (and Dante’s sodomites) here: https://dolancummings.com/2

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

What?

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

What?

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

the vast majority of heterosexual women do not orgasm during casual sex
and mostly say that they would prefer a committed relationship, if given
the option.

We can’t avoid the fact that there is a social dimension to every
relationship. And it’s not only women who are confused and unhappy with
the current system. The truth is that it’s not committed relationship
alone that most women want. Because why is the “manosphere” full of men
who offer/have offered women “committed relationship” only to have their
kind offers so often refused? What most women seem to want, in fact, is
exclusive possession of an alpha male. This seems to be an evolved
instinct to do with bringing up and protecting children. But it’s
impossible for most women to have exclusive possession of an alpha. And
since the social dimension of relationship has broken down in our
society (a consequence of feminism) men and women are bound to be left
confused and unhappy.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

What? Why is this on hold?

david stocker
david stocker
3 years ago

A slight twist on the consent issue. What if you consent to engage sex with someone who is not the person you think them to be? Is the consent still valid? The Spy Cop story in the news at the moment provides an interesting example.

sabrina.shahab
sabrina.shahab
3 years ago

There is no need to make women into mysterious creatures who dont know what they want . If this is true , then women automatically loss their freedom. Feminism is based on wrong premises; eg women have to exactly like men in order to be equal . That is how cigarette smoking was sold to women, though cigarette smoking is harmful to both men and women – but more harmful to women. Why we cant have sex with animals is not based on so called “No Harm” principle , after all we kill animals to eat them . It is based on ” different species ” principle . Nature has created sex for a reason – I assume it is for creating bonding and as well as procreation . So sex without commitment or emotion is like putting hand in fire without getting burnt . It is not possible . And no society has ever approved of play boys or play girls – it is just societies censor play girls more than play boys ( Please note cigarette smoking again ) . In human society everything is regulated , so why not sex ?

christopherowens1986
christopherowens1986
3 years ago

A common misconception about pro-sex feminism is that it is TELLING you to indulge in such behaviour. What it is doing is celebrating that you have the CHOICE to do so. Casual sex isn’t for everyone, but everyone should have the freedom to indulge if circumstances permit.

Until we become mind readers, human relationships and actions are always going to be messy. What seems like a good idea at the time may not be so in retrospect. That’s part of adulthood: learning from mistakes.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

There’s a reason so many feminists are unhappy with everythingthe sexual status quo.
There. Fixed it for you. Beyond that, feminists appear to want it all ways. First, they want to be as sexually liberated as the worst guy. Then, they want to accuse men – and this is particularly acute on US college campuses – of endorsing a ‘rape culture,’ as if there are fathers who would willingly send their daughters to places where assault is likely. Hint: assault is not likely on a college campus; it’s among the safest places on the planet for a woman to be.

Maybe, just maybe, it eventually dawns on whoever is pushing this nonsense that A) men and women are different and B) that the battles of early feminism are largely won. Past generations didn’t sustain beats during the suffrage movement or work to create more workplace opportunities for females so that the enterprise could bog down in nonsense like treating two drunks having sex as assault.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

you could have saved every one a lot of time if you had lead with the crux of your mind set…”…nonsense like treating two drunks having sex as assault.”

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

you could have saved every one a lot of time if you had lead with the crux of your mind set…”…nonsense like treating two drunks having [intercourse] as assault.”

William Costello
William Costello
3 years ago

I like her writing, particularly that she doesn’t shy away from ev psych in contemporary discussions. But this is a miss for me & sounds like,
“Sexual liberation is bad because men like it more than women & some women are using it to do things I don’t like for them.”

The article appears mocks the progressive notion of treating consent as paramount, but convinced me that it is. Doesn’t suggest any other basis for sexual morality than a narrow puritanical ideal that wouldn’t cater for most people. One step away from “without God we’re animals”.

The implication is that she thinks some women are too naive to cope with sexual liberation & machiavellian men will trick them into thinking they enjoy it (mutual gratification never possible) and preferable to this is a type of moral vanguard who know what’s really in women’s best interests.

The vote no confidence in modern women, who are seen as too naive to deal with ‘fuckboys’, affirms my longstanding belief that I like and respect women far more than most feminists.

William Costello
William Costello
3 years ago

I like her writing, particularly that she doesn’t shy away from ev psych in contemporary discussions. But this is a miss for me & sounds like,
“Sexual liberation is bad because men like it more than women & some women are using it to do things I don’t like for them.”
The article appears mocks the progressive notion of treating consent as paramount, but convinced me that it is. Doesn’t suggest any other basis for sexual morality than a narrow puritanical ideal that wouldn’t cater for most people. One step away from “without God we’re animals”.
The implication is that she thinks some women are too naive to cope with sexual liberation & machiavellian men will trick them into thinking they enjoy it (mutual gratification never possible) and preferable to this is a type of moral vanguard who know what’s really in women’s best interests.
The vote no confidence in modern women, who are seen as too naive to deal with ‘fuckboys’, affirms my longstanding belief that I like and respect women far more than most feminists.

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago

All these discussions about the intimacy of others are fine with me as
long as they do not result into collective coercion, moral or not, I
don’t care. I consider the free expression of our intimacy as one the
cornerstones of modern western culture and one of its biggest
achievements, maybe the biggest achievement of any culture that ever
existed on this planet. If Louise is not ok with casual intimacy than she can
freely pursue the search for a person that is also looking for a deeper
spiritual connection. Blaming culture for the fact that the ideal
situation is hard to get is a bit to easy. Most relationships I know
start casual and making it more than casual is hard work, individual work,
culture has nothing to do with that, spirituality on the other hand….

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago

maybe the biggest achievement of any culture that ever
existed on this planet

I see you’re a white supremacist now. Should we all be white supremacists?

Frederik van Beek
Frederik van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Weeden

Maybe you will become a white supremacist one day because of the hole in your brain :). And maybe, just maybe, it has occured to you that not only white people shaped western culture…but that insight is probably beyond your wildest imagination…ppppffhhhh. Furthermore I was pointing out only one aspect of western culture, really trying hard to fill your hole here, but don’t get that wrong …..

giancarlo sallier de la tour
giancarlo sallier de la tour
3 years ago

I agree with Louise Perry, consent alone is too low a threshold. Only I am not sure what it should be bettered with. Tact, sensitivity, kindness? I don’t think it would work. Probably we should go back to the moral values of a cultural sub-set and as long as there is consent make sure to respect that set of values as well.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“…dominant ideology among liberal feminists, who are themselves the dominant feminist sect.”

nice job of taking the fun out of sex and destroying the fantasy associated with the word “dominant.”

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“…a key figure in the sex-positive feminist movement that emerged in the 1980s”

as opposed to sex-negative feminist Andrea Dworking and SCUM Manifesto author and noted misandrist Valerie Solanas.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
3 years ago

Having lived through this whole time (born 1946) and been a trailblazer for sexual freedom I have come to the conclusion that the divorce between heterosexual sex and procreation has not been an unadulterated gain for women. because contraception is mostly so reliable (albeit possibly not very good for women to be full of artificial hormones) and abortion is safe and legal (although often with unforeseen emotional consequences) my feeling is that very few men take responsibility for their DNA ending up as part of an embryo. obviously there were nasty men back in the 50s and 60s but in general, if you had full sex (alas, what happened to the joys of “petting!!) most men would offer to marry you, although of course that wasn’t necessarily ideal either. The model of appropriate sexual behaviour now seems to be based a lot more on typical male sexuality (whether that is nature or nurture merits discussion) than female wants and needs.

emmamaysmith3
emmamaysmith3
3 years ago

I feel that the writer has misunderstood the position of consent in modern sexuality. Consent defines whether a sexual act is moral or immoral, but not whether it is desirable or undesirable. I’ve certainly never believed that anything which can be consented to should be consented to. There are many sexual acts or situations which I consider undesirable.

For me, sex-positive feminism is about understanding that my sexual desires have value and should be my guide when deciding whether to consent or not. My desire drives consent, not the other way round.

However, I must object to this sentence: “For instance, the neutral or even positive attitude that liberal feminists take towards transactional sex leads them to support the decriminalisation or legalisation of porn and prostitution, including pimping, as long as all participants consent.”

I feel that this is a false representation. Support for decriminalising sex work is often based on harm reduction rather than a belief that it is good or morally neutral. As for porn, the problems with the production of the material is often elided with the morality of the material.

michael.ellyett
michael.ellyett
3 years ago

The flaw, or at least bias, in this item is seen in the unsubstantiated assertion “Given the profound importance and complexity of sexual relationships”. Some people, many people, don’t find them overly profound. That the author views them this way is fine, but not recognising others don’t leads to egocentric judgements on others.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
3 years ago

I may come over as a hair-splitting pedant here, but “profound” in the quoted passage is a modifier of “importance”. Ms Perry didn’t call sexual relationships “profound.”

David Lewis
David Lewis
3 years ago

And why do women pretend to enjoy sex until you marry them?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

sex sells and brings in the eyeballs

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

xc

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

xc

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago

xc

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago

Hilarious. Pimping is the exploitation of labour by someone who pays no wages- slavery. But liberal feminists are fine with that. Ok, so long as we’re clear. Slavery- ok.

E H
E H
3 years ago

I’d like to see debate about the effects contraception has had in altering human sexual relations. The expectations and pressures introduced, the thrills and potencies removed (yes…), since contraception became reliable and ubiquitous.

To look honestly at these, alongside the obvious and widely acknowledged gains, not out of some kind of religious disapproval of preventing sex from resulting in conception, just a clear-headed assessment of what may in fact also have become lost or diminished through having disconnected ourselves from the power and potency that penetrative sex has held throughout history. To examine what it means that such sex has become removed from the dangers and thrills of potential mating, whether consciously or subconsciously driven, and now seems for many to have little meaning or purpose beyond utilitarian orgasm-chasing.

Surely this impacts both women and men, and significantly? (I agree with the author that liberal feminism’s naive schtick of undiscerning ‘sex positivity’, especially in our profoundly porn-distorted culture, doesn’t serve women well.)

G. Ian Goodson
G. Ian Goodson
3 years ago

Let us consider money rather than sex. The one person believes that “it” has entered into a mutually beneficial agreement only to find that the other has scarpered with all the goods. This is called a scam or a fraud etc. Similarly with power; the one party is oppressed or bereft whilst the other party enjoys the fruits. This is called exploitation, slavery, dictatorship etc.But when it comes to sex, it is suddenly consent.

May I recommend
Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Therapists, Doctors, Clergy,
Teachers and Other Men in Power Betray Women’s Trust – Peter Rutter

The seminal work on the power dynamic and sexual relationships. A
bit dated, but still very relevant. Of course, these days, women are also in
positions of power and can abuse men’s trust.

E H
E H
3 years ago

I tried to contribute a comment but it wasn’t permitted. No idea why.

It was posing questions on how ubiquitous contraceptive use has altered our sexual behaviours (not asking out of any religious convictions on conception, purely sociological/moral interest), how it has introduced pressures and expectations, removed thrills and potencies. It was wishing for examination of what may have become lost or diminished (the gains being clear) through having disconnected ourselves from the power and potency that penetrative sex has held throughout history. Of what it means both for women and for men that ‘such sex has become removed from the dangers and thrills of potential mating, whether consciously or subconsciously driven, and now seems for many to have little meaning or purpose beyond utilitarian orgasm-chasing.’

I also dared to ‘agree with the author that liberal feminism’s naive schtick of undiscerning ‘sex positivity’, especially in our profoundly porn-distorted culture, doesn’t serve women well.’

Not allowed. Let’s see this time.

Peter Ian Staker
Peter Ian Staker
3 years ago

Depends how you define moral. I think it’s the individual vs society, some people say it is immoral because they don’t like the sound of it. They might think the act corrupts the mind or is likely to lead to illegal acts that harm other people but you cant really police other people’s private behavour, although people try to by making things socially unacceptable- shame could be enough to stop people. Are you suggesting that Women should abstain from sex until they are in a relationship and if so, why don’t you think women do that already?

Richard Colman
Richard Colman
3 years ago

Whilst the writer acknowledges that over thousands of years of evolution the natural emotionally mature women inherently may not feel comfortable or content with liberal sex, I suggest similarly men have learnt not to feel totally comfortable or particularly close to or trusting of women for whom sex is purely physical. This may be related to inherent qualities such as mothering or freedom from disease. This is not a question of morality but of human wisdom.

Richard Colman
Richard Colman
3 years ago

Whilst the writer acknowledges that over thousands of years of evolution the natural emotionally mature women inherently may not feel comfortable or content with liberal sex, I suggest similarly men have learnt not to feel totally comfortable or particularly close or trusting of women for whom sex is purely physical. This may be related to inherent qualities such as mothering or freedom from disease. This is not a question of morality but of human wisdom.

Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
3 years ago

If casual sex is so damaging to young women and I think Louise Perry is right in insisting on that, then why on earth is it feminists that a pushing it? Do they hate men so much that they want the next generation of hopeful girls to be used and abused so they will hate them too? A more gracious response might point to the inadequacy of the concept of consent which rests on the fake notion that choice means freedom. No, only good choices based on an understanding of what affirms the person means real freedom. Wrong choices just lead to harm of the self or the other. Young women are being ripped off not just by wretched men but by the very people they thought they could trust – older but nastier women.

R Button
R Button
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Cooper

The problem is people who live in a world of theory, rather than a world of experience and reflection. People escape into theory and black and white notions of acceptable behavior because they feel uncomfortable analyzing the relationship between behavior and emotional response ” human experience is full of nuance, and nuance doesn’t sit well with “academic” thinking.
I think that “liberal” feminists conflate equality with their caricaturized perception of masculinity…when true equality is having the freedom to live in accordance with one’s natural state. If you make equality about something pre-established and external, then you’re still adapting to someone else. It’s short-sighted and bound to fail.

Feminism LOL
Feminism LOL
3 years ago

These women will never be happy will they?

1960s: Monogamy is oppressive. Muh Feminism!
2020: Casual sex is like…bad…mmmkay?

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

In the West our ideas about sex have neen handed down to us
from our christian religion. One thus needs to look at religion and how it functions to understand how we have been indoctrinated to think abiut sexuality.

From observation of the various christian religious brands, they all have one aspect in common. They seek to control people into conformity. There is much to commend common behaviour as the foundation to a working society but that is a separate discussion. A complaint population will pay tax and obey laws. Religion has long understood how to force people into compliance. They create structures that control our sexual behaviour because at the end, life is all about reproduction. Control someone’s sexuality and you really have them by the short and curlies.

pathcoin27550
pathcoin27550
3 years ago

The question begs the issue. What is morality? To what extent Is morality an independent aspect of life that stands aside form the individual (aka, “natural law”) or is morality a totally subjective standard, the result of tradition and education. Everything else is commentary.

david.wm.rodgers
david.wm.rodgers
3 years ago

I like the scenario posed in the example, but I think I have a better one: “There is a severely mentally retarded and palsied little girl. She will require millions of dollars of care over the course of her life, which could be used, perhaps, to feed healthy but starving children. You are above the law, and I give you a loaded pistol. Would you shoot her dead?

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
3 years ago

This is just another trolly problem.

Clay Bertram
Clay Bertram
3 years ago

interesting article.

F Wallace
F Wallace
3 years ago

Well, part of being free to make choices is the ability to make a choice that doesn’t necessarily work out well for you. There is some measure of truth to the idea that having tons of sexual partners will damage your ability to pair bond with someone long term, but you need to be allowed to make that decision. Attatching morality to sexual matters is always a strange issue, since it was generally more likely to be repressed than expressed historically. The “dead chicken” example is a good case in point. It’s weird, and would upset most people if they heard about it. But who was the actual victim of this incident? If there are no victims, then, specific examples aside, there is no crime.

And if there is no crime, what is the issue? Morals are entirely personal and change from person to person. Sex is a biological function, no different in that regard to others. Talking about “immoral” sexual behaviour often tends to lead people down a “no gays, I want a virgin wife” etc, type thoughts which aren’t really sensible or based on facts. How are YOU personally impacted if your wife/husband had no sex before you, or if he/she had 30 partners before you? Morally, I mean? Functionally, what difference does it make to YOU?

Often more interesting is that people that go down this “sleeping around is bad” tend to reverse this logic in other fields. We have all been “brainwashed” to a degree. But why is it “bad” to have more sex but “good” to have more money? You live in a commodified culture, after all.

Adrian Clark
Adrian Clark
3 years ago

Wonderful article. You are up against a multi billion dollar porn industry funded by mouse clicks from behind suburban net curtains, predominantly by men with their trousers around their ankles.

Jane Jones
Jane Jones
3 years ago

Extra! Extra! Not all women are alike . . .

Quite apart from that fact, ever since the advent of “convenient” contraception women have been under a lot of pressure to “put out.” All the time, though, the basic “responsibility” for the contraception was on the woman/girl. How “convenient”! Teh woman provides a risk-free environment for sex and picks up the emotional tab, too. “Convenient,” too, when said “convenient” contraception often has negative impacts on women’s health. Most woman d’un certain age, have chalked up too many mouthfulls of unwanted. . . well, I’ll stop there. Don’t want offend by just telling the truth . . .

Men who want to walk both the feminism and equality talk should be eager to accommodate a women’s menstrual cycle when planning sex so that she doesn’t have the aggravation of dealing with contraception. That sure would separate the sheep from the, ah, goats pretty fast.

So far I see only male commenters on this thread. Choking with laughter!!