In 2018 we saw the rise of #MeToo and #EnoughisEnough. In recent years we have argued over what constitutes a rape culture, and have accused others, both male and female of perpetuating it. (I expect to be accused of it after this article). We have slut-shamed and defended our right to be sluts. We have witnessed and listened to men behaving very badly, and then elected them to office or seen them appointed to the Supreme Court.
We have demanded an age of Consent, and Apps have been developed to attain such consent in writing before engaging in sexual activity. Mutual passion must now be documented. We have seen rapists get off with mild sentences, and in a case in Texas, only a $400 fine. We have seemingly forgotten about the large percentage of Black men convicted for rape falsely, or who are handed harsher sentences than the aforementioned rich white guy. We have no way of truly determining whether an accusation is false without physical evidence or credible witnesses, and preferably both. We have forgotten that no topic surrounding sex is simple.
I talk to young men who are afraid of being falsely accused. Maybe both parties were falling down drunk at the time in college. Maybe the guy took advantage, or maybe neither party was fully aware of what was happening until it happend. Maybe a former girlfriend gets mad over a break up and accuses the guy of rape. I remind them that Dr. Christine Ford was not drinking at the party she attended, and that she was forced into the room from behind. I ask if they ever forced a girl. They say absolutely not. I believe these guys I personally know.
They tell stories of a friend who was accused by rape of a girl who took her own xanax bars before a party and drank copiously. Nobody drugged her. She then asked the friend to have sex with her. The next day she accused him of rape. Some of the Third Wave Feminists on campus followed his fellow athletes across campus calling them rapists. One of them has a girlfriend to whom he is faithful. The other was raised a feminist. They are not rapists.
And yet people do get raped. If you are not a serial rapist, which is about power by the way, not sex, then don’t rape. Notice that the most prominent accused and convicted men in this Me Too movement have been both serial offenders and powerful men who thought they could get away with it, and did for years. Because their sexual offenses also included an abuse of that power, to which the women in their lives were accustomed and afraid to confront. There are other reasons women have been afraid to come forward, but that is a main one. And then there the men who have been raped. Who could they tell? Even the ones who came forward during Enough Is Enough have been swept under the rug after the first media exposure. They didn’t fit the narrative, except for the teen male reportedly assaulted by Kevin Spacey, another serial offender.
And so we have rapists who get away with it, and men who have committed sexual assault and have suffered no consequences, but instead have risen higher. We have men, mostly ethnic minorities, who are falsely accused and imprisoned. We have young men who have never raped, nor ever would, being followed and screamed at across campus. We have young men who like sex and don’t use it for power or coerce it through use of power. We have young men who are now afraid to date at all, and who may or may not resort to phone Apps for consent (I advise them to).
We also have women and girls raised in a patriarchal society with a Madonna/Whore complex. As a woman, you are either the Virgin Mother or a prostitute. There is very little middle ground. It’s tough enough that many men, raised in the same society, exhibit the Madonna/Whore complex, but women have incorporated this thinking and world view into their own psyches. Do we have sex on the first date? Are we Ho’s if we do? What if we want to have sex on the first date? Will we be hurt if he then considers us sluts? Why isn’t he a slut if he has sex on the first date?
Obviously women and men raised in this society are given many conflicting messages. Men are portrayed as sexual predators, and women as people who have to be seduced to want sex. Men are taught that there are women you marry and women you fuck. What if that paradigm is false?
Maybe, instead of being virgins or whores, we are fully functioning sexual human beings. Maybe we all, including men, have autonomy over our own bodies.
Perhaps if we threw out all the out-dated ideas of who chases who, everyone would be free to pursue. And with that freedom to pursue comes the responsibility to ascertain consent.
Biologically, we are going to pursue sex. We are wired to pursue it in order to perpetuate the species. The fact that is it pleasurable guarantees that perpetuation. Sure, there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the underlying anthropological reason both genders and non-binary people pursue sex. It feels good. It’s supposed to.
The reality of sexuality is that everyone who is not Asexual has a sex drive. Both men and women. We must stop demonizing it in men and judging women as sluts because of it. Sex drives are simply that. The drive itself has no moral compass. It is how we choose to meet those drives that can bring joy and satisfaction, or anger and regret.