The Anti-Climax of Feminism
Cosmopolitan has a long history of giving young women bad advice about how to deal with the young men in their lives, but they really outdid themselves with this spectacularly bad advice: "Why Guys Get Turned on When You Orgasm—and Why That's a Bad Thing."
Hannah Smothers writes:
It's not enough that men are already having more orgasms than women. To make matters worse, a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research found—aside from deriving pleasure from their own orgasms, obviously—men also derive a specific sort of masculine pleasure from making female partners orgasm. The researchers in the study, Sara Chadwick and Sari van Anders, refer to this incredibly predictable phenomenon as a "masculinity achievement." I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I imagine a "masculinity achievement" looks something like Super Mario punching a coin out of one of those floating boxes in the video game....
"Despite increasing focus on women's orgasms, research indicated that the increased attention to women's orgasms may also serve men's sexuality, complicating conceptualizations of women's orgasms as women-centric," researchers wrote.
In other news, there's a widespread caricature of feminists as joyless scolds who hate men and want to outlaw fun. I have no idea where this could possibly have come from.
It's easy to make fun of this article, so I can't resist just one more. Alternate Cosmo headline: "Five Techniques for Mindblowing Sex—Unless the Guy Enjoys it, Too, Then Maybe Not." But it's worth investigating where this particular bit of insanity comes from, because there's a deeper cause behind it that's not funny at all.
First, let's start by acknowledging that it's absolutely correct that men enjoy bringing their partners to orgasm and regard this as an achievement that gives us a special thrill. (Pssst, don't tell the feminist hall monitors, but women enjoy doing that, too.) The only thing this report adds to that rather obvious observation is its pinch-nosed, disapproving interpretation. For men, this is "like Super Mario punching a coin out of one of those floating boxes in the video game." As one commenter added, "Actually closer to when Mario gets the high point on the flagpole with a 6 in the time spot. Fireworks and fanfare included." Achievement unlocked.
Men tend to be goal-directed and task-oriented. For decades, we have been specifically warned that it's unfair for men to have orgasms while their partners remain unfulfilled, and some of us have taken that to heart and decided that if this is the metric we're supposed to meet, by God we're gonna meet it. Heck, we're gonna exceed it. And we're going to take pride in that achievement.
But notice the way Smothers describes that in a belittling, dismissive way, meant to make all of us eager men look like clueless bros playing a video game. Rephrase it without those dismissive terms, and yes, of course sex is about enjoying one's ability to achieve a goal. That's the whole point. That is specifically what the orgasm is about. It is joyous effort reaching toward a climax. Ayn Rand, who was famous for the sex scenes in her novels, wrote a great description of an orgasm (and from a woman's perspective): "then she knew nothing but the motion of his body and the driving greed that went reaching on and on, as if she were not a person any longer, only a sensation of endless reaching for the impossible—then she knew that it was possible, and she gasped and lay still, knowing that nothing more could be desired, ever." If you feel like you need a cigarette after reading that, Ayn Rand would have approved.
So no, it's not like Super Mario. It's like climbing Everest. It's like crossing the finish line of a marathon. It's the ultimate reward for effort. Ideally, in a good relationship, this is a cooperative effort, two bodies working together for a common goal—which includes the man caring about the woman's pleasure. After all, he loves her and wants her to be happy. Really, really happy. Twice.
So if everyone is enjoying themselves, what is there to complain about? The question answers itself. Everyone is enjoying themselves, and even worse, they're enjoying themselves together. It's the ultimate win-win, and we can't let that happen.
The neo-Puritanism of today's feminism is a product of its adoption of the ideological framework of Marxism. What contemporary feminism imported from Marx was the notion that everything in the world is a class struggle. Always and everywhere, there is a class of oppressors and a class of victims, and the relationship between them is inherently adversarial. What one gains the other loses. That outlook is now thoroughly suffused through the feminist movement. The giveaway in this report is when Smothers worries that "When women's orgasms begin to serve as a masculinity achievement for male partners, the orgasms cease to be about women's liberation."
Be careful, ladies, because you don't want to end up having an orgasm that's not about women's liberation. This sounds like a real-life version of an old Woody Allen gag about having the wrong kind of orgasm.
But it's actually what I have described as Social Realist sex. In old-line Marxist dogma, art has to justify itself by its service to a higher political goal. Similarly, sex now has to justify itself by whether it conforms to the right politics. And since that politics is adversarial, the man's enjoyment of the woman's pleasure just ruins everything. That's why feminism has to take every aspect of male sexuality, starting with the dreaded "male gaze"—i.e., the fact that we enjoy looking at the female form—and make it seem dangerous and oppressive. They need to maintain the fiction of a perpetual class war between men and women.
Feminism has taken the first, oldest, and most intimate form of cooperation, the basic one that makes everything else in human life possible, and poisoned it with adversarial politics. This is such a dreadful idea that there's a kind of death wish behind it. It's not just that they're trying to weigh down with guilt and suspicion an act that is essential to the propagation of the species. It's that they're attempting to kill the very joy of life itself.
That's the end of the road for contemporary feminism, its ultimate consummation—or perhaps more accurately, its anti-climax.