[From "Sexual Utopia in Power"]
It is well known to readers of this journal that white birthrates worldwide have suffered a catastrophic decline in recent decades. During this same period, ours has become assuredly the most sex-obsessed society in the history of the world. Two such massive, concurrent trends are hardly likely to be unrelated. Many well-meaning conservatives agree in deploring the present situation, but do not agree in describing that situation or how it arose. Correct diagnosis is the first precondition for effective strategy.
The well-worn phrase “sexual revolution” ought, I believe, to be taken with more than customary seriousness. Like the French Revolution, the paradigmatic political revolution of modern times, it was an attempt to realize a utopia, but a sexual rather than political utopia. And like the French Revolution, it has gone through three phases: first, a libertarian or anarchic phase in which the utopia was supposed to occur spontaneously once old ways had been swept aside; second, a reign of terror, in which one faction seized power and attempted to realize its schemes dictatorially; and third, a “reaction” in which human nature gradually reasserted itself. We shall follow this order in the present essay.
Let us consider what a sexual utopia is, and let us begin with men, who are in every respect simpler.
Nature has played a trick on men: production of spermatozoa occurs at a rate several orders of magnitude greater than female ovulation (about 12 million per hour vs. 400 per lifetime). This is a natural, not a moral, fact. Among the lower animals also, the male is grossly oversupplied with something for which the female has only a limited demand. This means that the female has far greater control over mating. The universal law of nature is that males display and females choose. Male peacocks spread their tales, females choose. Male rams butt horns, females choose. Among humans, boys try to impress girlsand the girls choose. Nature dictates that in the mating dance, the male must wait to be chosen.
A man’s sexual utopia is, accordingly, a world in which no such limit to female demand for him exists. It is not necessary to resort to pornography for example. Consider only popular movies aimed at a male audience, such as the James Bond series. Women simply cannot resist James Bond. He does not have to propose marriage, or even request dates. He simply walks into the room and they swoon. The entertainment industry turns out endless images such as this. Why, the male viewer eventually may ask, cannot life actually be so? To some, it is tempting to put the blame on the institution of marriage.
Marriage, after all, seems to restrict sex rather drastically. Certain men figure that if sex were permitted both inside and outside of marriage there would have to be twice as much sex as formerly. They imagined there existed a large, untapped reservoir of female desire hitherto repressed by monogamy. To release it, they sought, during the early postwar period, to replace the seventh commandment with an endorsement of all sexual activity between “consenting adults.” Every man could have a harem. Sexual behavior in general, and not merely family life, was henceforward to be regarded as a private matter. Traditionalists who disagreed were said to want to “put a policeman in every bedroom.” This was the age of the Kinsey Reports and the first appearance of Playboy magazine. Idle male daydreams had become a social movement.
This characteristically male sexual utopianism of the early postwar years was a forerunner of the sexual revolution but not the revolution itself. Men are incapable of bringing about revolutionary changes in heterosexual relations without the cooperationthe famed “consent”of women. But the original male would-be revolutionaries did not understand the nature of the female sex instinct. That is why things have not gone according to their plan.
What is the special character of feminine sexual desire that distinguishes it from that of men?
It is sometimes said that men are polygamous and women monogamous. Such a belief is often implicit in the writings of “conservative” male commentators: Women only want good husbands, but heartless men use and abandon them. Some evidence does appear, prima facie, to support such a view. One 1994 survey found that “while men projected they would ideally like 6 sex partners over the next year, and 8 over the next two years, women responded that their ideal would be to have only one partner over the next year. And over two years? The answer, for women, was still one.” Is this not evidence that women are naturally monogamous?
No, it is not. Women know their own sexual urges are unruly, but traditionally have had enough sense to keep quiet about it. A husband’s belief that his wife is naturally monogamous makes for his own peace of mind. It is not to a wife’s advantage, either, that her husband understand her too well: Knowledge is power. In short, we have here a kind of Platonic “noble lie”a belief which is salutary, although false.
It would be more accurate to say that the female sexual instinct is hypergamous. Men may have a tendency to seek sexual variety, but women have simple tastes in the manner of Oscar Wilde: They are always satisfied with the best. By definition, only one man can be the best. These different male and female “sexual orientations” are clearly seen among the lower primates, e.g., in a baboon pack. Females compete to mate at the top, males to get to the top.
Women, in fact, have a distinctive sexual utopia corresponding to their hypergamous instincts. In its purely utopian form, it has two parts: First, she mates with her incubus, the imaginary perfect man; and, second, he “commits,” or ceases mating with all other women. This is the formula of much pulp romance fiction. The fantasy is strictly utopian, partly because no perfect man exists, but partly also because even if he did, it is logically impossible for him to be the exclusive mate of all the women who desire him.
It is possible, however, to enable women to mate hypergamously, i.e., with the most sexually attractive (handsome or socially dominant) men. In the Ecclesiazusae of Aristophanes the women of Athens stage a coup d’état. They occupy the legislative assembly and barricade their husbands out. Then they proceed to enact a law by which the most attractive males of the city will be compelled to mate with each female in turn, beginning with the least attractive. That is the female sexual utopia in power. Aristophanes had a better understanding of the female mind than the average husband.
Fallout of the Revolution: “Date Rape”
A few years into the sexual revolution, shocking reports began to appear of vast numbers of young womenfrom one quarter to halfbeing victims of rape. Shock turned to bewilderment when the victims were brought forward to tell their stories. The “rapists,” it turns out, were never lying in wait for them in remote corners, were not armed, did not attack them. Instead, these “date rapes” occur in private places, usually college dormitory rooms, and involve no threats or violence. In fact, they little resemble what most of us think of as rape.
What was going on here?
Take a girl too young to understand what erotic desire is and subject her to several years of propaganda to the effect that she has a right to have things any way she wants them in this domainwith no corresponding duties to God, her parents, or anyone else. Do not give her any guidance as to what it might be good for her to want, how she might try to regulate her own conduct, or what qualities she ought to look for in a young man. Teach her furthermore that the notion of natural differences between the sexes is a laughable superstition that our enlightened age is gradually overcomingwith the implication that men’s sexual desires are no different from or more intense than her own. Meanwhile, as she matures physically, keep her protected in her parents’ house, sheltered from responsibility.
Then, at age seventeen or eighteen, take her suddenly away from her family and all the people she has ever known. She can stay up as late as she wants! She can decide for herself when and how much to study! She’s making new friends all the time, young women and men both. It’s no big deal having them over or going to their rooms; everybody is perfectly casual about it. What difference does it make if it’s a boy she met at a party? He seems like a nice fellow, like others she meets in class.
Now let us consider the young man she is alone with. He is neither a saint nor a criminal, but, like all normal young men of college years, he is intensely interested in sex. There are times he cannot study without getting distracted by the thought of some young woman’s body. He has had little real experience with girls, and most of that unhappy. He has been rejected a few times with little ceremony, and it was more humiliating than he cares to admit. He has the impression that for other young men things are not as difficult: “Everybody knows,” after all, that since the 1960s men get all the sex they like, right? He is bombarded with talk about sex on television, in the words to popular songs, in rumors about friends who supposedly “scored” with this or that girl. He begins to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with him.
Furthermore, he has received the same education about sex as the girl he is now with. He has learned that people have the right to do anything they want. The only exception is rape. But that is hardly even relevant to him; he is obviously incapable of doing something like that.