Feminists and MRAs often disagree on what the mainstream culture really celebrates, and what it looks down on. I have looked at MRA sites and feminist sites and books. Feminists say that sluts are shamed, and the sexual double standards is still there. Jessica Valenti says in “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut”:
“Why is a woman less of a person, or (my favorite) “dirty”, because she has sex? (Heterosexual sex, that is; somehow lesbian sex isn’t “real”) Does a penis have some bizarre dirty-making power that I’m unaware of? Every time I have sex, do I lose a little bit of my moral compass? “Sorry to mug you, Granma, but I had sex twice this week!””
MRAs say that female sexuality is actually celebrated. Here, a Genderratic writer Typhonblue says:
“2) Promiscuous women are expressing their sexuality; promiscuous men are ‘using’ their sex partners for selfish kicks
3) Women should be lauded for their sexual desires; men should be ashamed of theirs because male desire ‘objectifies’ women.”
So which one is it? Is female promiscuity celebrated or shamed? I will say celebrated, yet shamed.
I believe there are two layers of “mainstream” culture. Both layers are a part of overall public opinion. The upper layer celebrates. It is culture that people of certain ideology tried to impose on everyone, with the conviction that if you change the culture, you will change everyone’s mind. This is what MRAs see – female promiscuity is no longer a big deal, men don’t refuse to marry non-virgins, and you can discuss your sexual partners on the internet, and it’s no longer outrageous. No one cares, apart from some conservatives, people who don’t have that much power anyway. It’s shown in shows like “Sex and the City”, which is pretty mainstream.
However, the layer under that still shames female promiscuity. This layer, I believe, is the consequence of our evolutionary history. Female and male promiscuity always meant different things. A man can’t get pregnant. A promiscuous woman could be a worse deal for a man looking to invest long term, as she could be pregnant, or could continue being promiscuous in the future. Also, it is harder to get laid for a man, than it is for a woman. People sense that a woman who sleeps around is not accomplishing anything. This is the “dirty-making power” the penis has, that Jessica is unaware of. However, I would not use the word “dirty”, and don’t think promiscuity has anything to do with being a good or bad person. It simply isn’t a way to gain respect.
Male sexuality, on the other hand, is shamed, yet celebrated. The upper layer of mainstream is ideologically-driven. Feminist thinking permeates politics. Male sexuality is indeed being demonized in the law, the unwarranted escalating sex laws being proof of that. Also, PUAs are not very liked by feminists, some say they are predatory. However, underneath all that, people know that a high number man has something cool about him. Getting laid so much requires some skills with women. It doesn’t work with genders switched.
Current conclusion: Both feminists and MRAs are right in their own ways. Female promiscuity is celebrated yet shamed, and male promiscuity is shamed yet celebrated.
However, at a certain point, this easy logic stops working. Male promiscuity is “shamed, yet celebrated”, but male sexuality is, to an extent, feared – in BOTH the upper and lower layers of the mainstream. The feminist mainstream is fuelling that fear, with their escalating sex laws and always keeping rape/harassment/sexual abuse in the foreground. However, it’s also in people’s instincts. Women fear that a man will attack them and have sex with them forcibly. I don’t believe men fear the same from women. People also don’t react too negatively when an attractive female teacher (or any attractive adult woman) has sex with a teenage boy. Yet when a grown man does it with a teenage girl, he’s a pervert and a pedophile. I do not think this is simply a result of feminism and their “1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted” statistics. I think this is due to the fact that men have, and do, most of the unsavory things to get sex. Women can do it too, but they don’t have to, and they don’t do it quite so much. Men, as the sex who can’t get pregnant, evolved to be more sexually desperate (relative term), which means they can resort to lowly predatory methods to get sex. Not all of them of course. Not even most. But don’t tell me all men are perfect gentlemen, and that their genes never had an incentive to propagate themselves through whining for sex, blackmail, coercion or deception.
Current conclusion: male sexuality is feared both on an “innate” level and the current political mainstream level.
Can female sexuality be innately feared? I think it can be either feared or hated, but not the same way as male sexuality. In evolutionary history, cuckoldry would impose the same costs on a man as rape does on a woman. So I’d predict that male sexuality can be feared because it’s potentially rapey. And female sexuality could be feared or hated because it’s potentially cuckolding. I think both could develop into a hysteria, in the right circumstances. I think feminism contributed to creating the male sexuality hysteria. I don’t know exactly what a female sexuality hysteria would look like, but I imagine it would include severe slut-shaming and bashing.
Concluding remark: this post discusses whether male promiscuity/sexuality is shamed or celebrated, and whether female promiscuity/sexuality is shamed or celebrated. Just because I think something is a certain way, doesn’t mean I think it ought to be so. That is a topic for another post.