When we widen the lens to consider the behavior of (conscious) men and women in the sexual arena, we come up against a reality: Male sexuality is more variety-seeking, while female sexuality, generally speaking, is more commitment-seeking. One is not better than the other. They’re just different.
Because women can get pregnant from sex, they evolved to prefer men who are willing and able to “invest” in any children. But under this new “men are sex predators” standard, classic male pursuit — which is not the same as rape — has been demonized.
Men are horny mofos in a way most women are not. They evolved to “spread their seed,” not, oh, “save it for that special someone.” Truth be told, I suspect Bora Zivkovic would’ve catapulted himself into bed with any of his three accusers, had they given him the thumbs-up.
Ultimately, I think Zivkovic was a lonely guy hungry for human connection, willing to take whatever these women were willing to give. It’s like my dog. If you’re offering bacon, she’ll eat bacon. If you’re offering a dental chew bone, she’ll eat that. Whatever you’re serving, she’s eating.
A cloud of suspicion now hangs over male-female romantic interactions. Men are would-be perps and women are would-be accusers. This has led to “affirmative consent” policies on college campuses (and there’s talk of states making it law).
The edicts require that people ask for and receive verbal consent each time they move on to some new form of sexual activity. “May I kiss you? May I rapidly lick your clitoris?” Such protocols fly in the face of how sexual activity works in the real world — with adults sensing what move to make next. Personally, my boyfriend is my boyfriend because, three hours after we met, he walked me to my car, grabbed me, and kissed me.
In eliminating this spontaneity, we lose a good bit of the sexiness of sex, and for women, the feeling of being wildly desired. That’s gone when a guy brings in a notary with consent documents for you to sign. That sounds absurd, but it’s on the mind of many men, worried that they’re one unwise choice of sex partner away from life in prison on a rape charge.
For men right now, the best defense is a good offense.
Take precautions. Don’t be alone in an office with a woman with the door closed. Think twice about drinks with female coworkers. And finally, seek women as friends, colleagues, and romantic partners who don’t seem to go for the women-as-eggshells feminism.
Real change has to come from women.
There are women — like me — who refuse to buy into the victimthink. We speak out, despite the potential social and career costs. In time, I hope we can persuade other women that academic feminism’s denial of innate differences between the sexes is doing harm to women. As anthropologist Jerome Barkow puts it, “Biology is only destiny if we ignore it.”
Imagine if women were told that they might have an evolutionary propensity to be “pleasers” and that this is nothing to be ashamed of — it’s simply a function of what worked for the females of our species in ancestral times.
If a woman knows she might have a tendency to say yes when she means “Hell, no!” she’s prepared to stand up for herself in a way she isn’t when guided by empty girl-power talk like “The future is female!” and other such slogans (interspersed with complaints about how the patriarchy is keeping women down).
Unfortunately, feminist activists keep focusing on the wrong people, telling men, “You can’t say this,” or “You can’t do that.” We can’t control others’ behavior — we can only control our own. Until feminism — on campuses and everywhere else — stops being blame-oriented and starts being truly empowerment-focused, the future will not be female. It will be feminism’s future — at the expense of all the women it claims to be advocating for and all the men it criminalizes in its wake.
Amy Alkon is an award-winning columnist and author who specializes in turning the insights of science, especially behavioral science and anthropology, into practical advice. Her latest book is Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence. Check out her podcast, HumanLab, where she interviews experts on human behavior. You can also follow her on Twitter at @amyalkon, and find her columns at advicegoddess.com.