Skip to comments.Children of the Porn
Posted on 04/24/2022 7:59:49 PM PDT by DeweyCA
If pandemic exhaustion, galloping inflation, and talk of World War III haven’t yet gotten you down, Rethinking Sex: A Provocation might do the trick. This is not the fault of author Christine Emba, whose prose in this short book is stylish, engaging, and, above all, earnest. No, what depresses is the fact that this manifesto should have to exist in the first place. But exist it must, for reasons that its pages make excruciatingly clear.
Based upon a 2017 #MeToo piece published in the Washington Post, where Emba is a columnist, Rethinking Sex performs the public service of wondering aloud whether everything done by "consenting adults" is by definition ducky. To the contrary, myopic focus on "consent," as the author observes, overlooks the sulfurous realities of today’s mating market. Once, noncriminal but still noxious sexual misdeeds would have resulted in social ostracism, or frontier justice meted out by male relatives—or both. Now, thanks to the slithering of pornography into young pockets everywhere, such acts have not only been normalized. Judging by an eye-opening number of the book’s anonymous stories, they have in some cases become the sine qua non of male company itself.
"She really didn’t like the choking, Kirsten explained, but she really liked him." This sentence, which ought to have been the book’s subtitle, captures the awfulness afoot in one swoop. Several recent studies cited by the author prove the nauseating point: More and more women consent to sex only to endure unexpected violence after saying yes. The example of choking is just for starters. Other grotesqueries won’t be shared in this publication. Suffice it to say that among some subset of today’s men, verbal and physical abuse have apparently become the new candy and flowers.
Emba performs another civic mitzvah in saying aloud that there is something wrong with this picture, thus giving permission to other women (and men) who think the same. The crux, as she writes, is that "consent" can be misused to justify anything, including nonconsensual sadism—because in the new order of things, "abuse can be hidden or left uninterrogated as someone’s private ‘kink.’" Assuming the book’s accounts are representative—and there is no reason to think otherwise—today’s mating scene makes Hugh Hefner & Co. look vanilla.
"We’re Liberated, and We’re Miserable," as the title of one chapter summarizes. Author Emba also transgresses by suggesting that right and wrong might apply even in the time of Tinder; in the words of another chapter title, "Some Desires are Worse than Others." Not surprisingly, the message has received pushback in the New York Times, and elsewhere, for menacing the holy bovine of "sex positivity"—as if "sex positivity" amounts to anything more than putting up with your guy watching porn and trying gross things out on you while you pretend not to care.
As it happens, the problem Emba identifies has an older name, delivered in a different context by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1993: "defining deviancy down." Though Rethinking Sex cites other authorities, it neglects most of the contrarian thinkers whose insights might have enriched its argument. Similarly, care is taken not to offend LGBTQ minorities, BDSM minorities, or anyone else with the power to hurl a scarlet "C" for "cancel." Even the people-eating community comes in for gingerly treatment: "If someone can only get off via fantasizing about hurting their sexual partner, mutilating them and drinking their blood, isn’t that at least worth a few hard questions?"
The gambit seems to be that by standing well to the left of social conservatism, the book might manage a hearing among non- and anti-traditionalists, rather than just the choir. Rote though this kind of fastidiousness can be, let’s hope that it pays off.
For as Rethinking Sex affirms, young women today face threats of a new order—chiefly in the form of that force multiplier like no other, omnipresent pornography. In a world where a minority of bad men run riot in the sexual marketplace, and get away with it in the name of "positivity," it’s small wonder that some women flee heterosexuality for something else—or, say, that the lion’s share of transgender surgeries are performed on young women, obliterating the organs and features that attract the male gaze.
Once, the price of living with men included doing their dishes and raising their children. As part of that deal, what might be called "spouses with benefits" became a thing. Many thereby managed to ease into death and old age together, surrounded by loving faces. Today, by contrast, with sex "always on the table," as the author observes, the joys of motherhood and fatherhood and lifelong companionship have become luxury goods that few young adults seem to know how to buy; amazingly, in this book that is all about sex, hardly anyone mentions marriage or children. Outside certain vibrant religious subcultures, mass confusion reigns, and stone-cold abuse becomes rationalized as mere collateral damage. As the author puts it, paraphrasing the thoughts of the choked interviewee, "it was the bargain one made in order to leap off the dating app carousel into the arms of an otherwise great guy."
Who’s to blame for this mess?
Singer Billie Eilish, who has spoken movingly of how pornography poisoned her world from the age of 11 onward, has described its appeal as making her feel "like one of the guys." In an irony to which no one has yet done justice, feminism long ago made the same devilish deal. By declaring women and children to be natural enemies, and writing that declaration in blood, the movement not only let a minority of predatory men run the sexual show ever after. It also cozied up to cads and deviants, as the feminist paeans on the occasion of Hefner’s death proved in full.
Who isn’t to blame for this mess is a different story, and one that history will someday acknowledge. It includes people who have been saying for a long time now that pornography is destroying romance—only to be dismissed as prudes and freaks. It includes religious believers who believe that sex is sacred, related to procreation, and made for marriage—only to be excoriated as haters and "phobes." The Catechism of the Catholic Church may yet win the biggest I-told-you-so award of all time.
Though Rethinking Sex scants such assets, the conversation it opens still hath need of them. Meanwhile, kudos to its author for a bold and potentially game-changing break with secular orthodoxy about sex.
Rethinking Sex: A Provocation By Christine Emba Sentinel, 224 pp., $27
Mary Eberstadt holds the Panula Chair in Christian Culture at the Catholic Information Center, and is a senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute.
‘”consent” can be misused to justify anything, including nonconsensual sadism—because in the new order of things, “abuse can be hidden or left uninterrogated as someone’s private ‘kink.’”’
Rank nonsense. Dump and cut off all contact with the freak after the first instance of sadism, and hiding and “interrogation” become moot points. Go to bed with him knowing what he plans to do to you there and you’ve consented - and need to examine your lack of self-respect.
As a single woman, I was asked why I was on a dating site if I didn’t want to put out on a first date. He was ANGRY — who the hell was I to deny a man access to my body?!
I’ve been told that sex by the third date, at most, is expected, and that I’ve cut my chances of developing a friendship potentially leading to a partnership are a fraction of what they could be.
Good God in Heaven! Are there so many women whose hearts and minds are so completely disconnected from their bodies? All I can and do say is, I’m a package deal.
What the left thinks sex should be is incredibly disturbing.
Might this arrogance on the part of the selected men be due to the well-known fact that women routinely "swipe left on" (= reject out of hand, because the women regard them as "below average" - even though that is mathematically impossible) 100 men on the dating sites for every man on whom they "swipe right" (= drool over)?
And the lucky one-in-a-hundred (so-called "Chads") know that they are amongst the lucky few, and exploit their envied position with total brutality.
The implication in your anecdote is that these are just "typical Joes" who are behaving in such an entitled fashion. But if I know that I am among the select few who haven't been ignominiously rejected, then you can expect me to feel entitled.
When my mom dated online, she got a lot of that, too. Trust me, these guys were nothing particularly special. It was supposed to be common knowledge that those websites were for booty calls.
Some of my generation (Millennials) and younger have, “consent lists” or contracts that can be shared with one another so each knows what the other is willing to do or what they’ll refuse. The series on Netflix, “Daybreak” has an example of this in one of the episodes.
I was lucky that I never had to worry about it. I went from one long-term relationship to another without searching due to fortuious circumstances. While I have a ridiculous libido, I was never willing to partake in one night stands despite my low self-esteem; I’m incapable of physical intimacy without emotional attachment, and trying to force it would be bad news for all involved.
However, communication between partners is a necessity, and if a woman insists on one-nighters, she has to be aware of the risks.
Evolution will take its course. Those who don’t have family values won’t have children as effectively as those who do. The family value crowd eventually becomes the ultimate winner in the long run.
The abandonment of the role of fathers leads young women to have unmet needs that should have been affirmed by her father. I see the feminist movement partly responsible.
It used to be young boys looked at biology books to see things. Now they are learning evil things from Satan himself. Love has become lust. But woman want to be valued not used for someone else’s gratification.
The role of pornography in precipitating the decline of the culture has been documented since pre-internet days, notably in the Meese report of 1986. It includes description of men carrying out violent scenarios adopted from pornographic films. There had been efforts to control exposure to pornography, which used to be called obscenity, previously, but these were mostly thrown out by the courts in the 1970s, thanks to the excesses of progressive judges.
With the pervasive influence of the internet, there appears to be no hope of stemming the tide of degradation, with its predictable effects on intimate relationships. The fact that 40% of porn users are now women pretty much seals our fate as far as sexual civility is concerned.
Sad that this is necessary. kinda turns the whole thing into a transaction.
OTOH, my wife and I once helped a guy who was a really old friend of hers to write up/revise a contract for a BDSM relationship. It was extraordinarily detailed. Kinda pegged my freak meter out a bit. Was interesting though.
These deluded women are still looking for Mr. Goodbar.
Consent lists...how romantic!
Blame your fellow women for creating the environment.
So many women want the same subset of desirable men (tall, handsome, good job, self-confident, witty) that the men of this desirable subset know that if you aren't agreeable to sex early in the relationship, the next girl probably will. So they move on quickly if the date does not meet their expectations, because there's always another girl wanting to go out with him.
Try shorter men with non-Adonis bodies, and they will likely be more agreeable to your terms.
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