Embrace the Power of the Sexual Gatekeeper
One unfortunate side effect of cultural change since the Sexual Revolution is the belief that sex is a level playing field where the sexes are equipped with the same objectives, strategies, and playbooks. Despite rampant feminist denial of biological differences between men and women, our radically different reproductive biologies ensure that we will never – and could never – have sex the same way, or for precisely the same reasons.
While both men and women enjoy sex, and share goals of expressing love and intimacy by having sex, we have fundamentally different sets of sexual incentives and consequences. As women, we have lost sight of our power as sexual gatekeepers.
The Sexual Revolutionaries
Just as Pluralistic Ignorance plays a key role in propping up hookup culture today, the Sexual Revolution spawned new cultural values from the radical behavior of a small minority.
Social scientist Lewis Yablonsky has estimated the number of hippies at 200K in 1968, one year after the Summer of Love. If you include those aged 13 and over who adopted the look and casually identified with hippie values, the number doubles. Yet 400K was just 1.17% of the Boomer generation that year.
The hippies’ primary reason for being was to protest the Vietnam war. Their rallying cry was “Make love, not war!”
The Pill was new, and hippies embraced “free love.” They took off their clothes, did drugs and had orgiastic sex without regard for consequences. Yet the lifestyle did not last – it turned out that “free love” was complicated and communal living didn’t provide much income. Eventually, most of those who identified as hippies returned to the much loathed “establishment.” Lots of them went to law school. You’d be hard pressed to find many hippie Boomers today. (Try Berkeley, CA or Burlington, VT.)
Yet the romanticism of that era remains with us, including the wrongheaded notions that sex can be “free” and that women can “have sex like men.”
While there are a minority of women who prefer short-term mating scenarios, most reject the “free sex” approach in favor of traditional long-term relationships. The difficulty arises in distorted cultural expectations and misperceptions about normative behavior. This ignorance harms both women and men.
Most of the women I hear from struggle to withstand sexual pressure or coercion before they’ve had the opportunity to secure a relationship. They’re made to feel like freaks for balking at the 3 Date Rule, and like psychos for wanting commitment before a sexual relationship is established.
Male sexual entitlement, even from alleged guy friends, makes them feel as if they’re being unreasonable (and prudish) if they don’t put out. Men criticize their sexual reticence as unfair and decidedly uncool. I’m consistently amazed and alarmed to hear how many guys play the “blue balls” card to induce guilt.
In defense of the guys, most are not cads by nature – but they’ve been conditioned to believe that they’re losers if they can’t score hookups. I once heard a young guy say that all of his friends described making women scream with passion and beg for the dick, so that when he had good sex with the normal amount of heavy breathing and moaning, he thought he was a failure in the sack.
Women Have Primacy in Mating
This state of affairs is wacked. As a woman, it is your birthright and your biological destiny to call the shots when it comes to sex. You get to decide whether to have sex, who to have it with, and when to have it. No one can take that from you, except by rape.
Longtime readers have heard me share my illustration that proves female primacy in mating. It’s time it was made part of a post, for the record. Share it, tweet it, email it to your friends. This is the watertight evidence that can restore the power and responsibility of sexual decision making to women:
The Desert Island Survival Conundrum
Imagine a variation on Lost, Castaway or Gilligan’s Island. After a devastating nuclear war, you have washed up on a desert island with a handful of other survivors.
You are completely isolated, but you have reason to believe few others have survived. You are faced with the challenge of doing what you can to prevent the extinction of homo sapiens.
Which reproductive scenario is more strategically sound?
It’s you and these guys. Go crazy.
You’re one of these women.
This lucky guy has also washed up with you:
Now, this is not a perfect scenario. You must balance your personal preference with your duty to save mankind.
Option 1 pairs you with ten attractive dudes, all of whom want you desperately. But you can only have one child every year and a half or so. And there’d be no way for any one of them to feel confident he was the father. You might have to fend for your child alone.
Option 2 makes you one of twenty-five in a harem, and even if Gorgeous is painstakingly fair in sharing himself, you’ll only have access to him 4% of the time, or about 15 days a year. On the other hand, in about six years you could have a full kindergarten class on the island!
Female reproductive value is much higher than males’ during the years that women are fertile. (That’s you, right now.)
It’s no coincidence that in the genre of dystopian literature (which I lovingly call apoca-lit), the loss of female fertility is often the crisis that looms most threateningly:
- The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
- Children of Men, P.D. James
- The Hunted, Alex Shearer
- Bumped, Megan McCafferty
- Engine Summer, John Crowley
As a woman, you have the unique power to birth new life. It’s a possibility (or a risk) every time you have sex. It is also a precious and valuable resource. That miracle of reproduction deserves serious consideration and demands responsibility. The responsibility to choose wisely.
Birth control lessens the costs of sex for the modern woman, but it does not eliminate them. We have evolved to prioritize selection of the best possible genes for reproduction. From a biological (and economic) standpoint, when you select a mating partner, you award the prize. It is not something to give away lightly or under pressure.
Take your time to get it right.