On whether you have a right to sex

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There are some things that you deserve in virtue of the fact that you fulfil a set of criteria: get all the answers right in this test, you deserve an A. Spend fifty quid at a nice restaurant, you deserve a decent meal in exchange for your money.

There are certain things that you deserve simply for being alive, and human: the right to liberty, equality before the law, a certain level of privacy, etc.

Into which of these categories does sex fit? Is it something you have a human right to, like justice, or is it something that you deserve if you have done certain things to earn it?

The right to sex

If you answered ‘neither’ then you are correct. The problem is that while on the surface most decent people can see why sex is not a human right – it’s blindingly obvious that you don’t ‘deserve’ sex just because you are a living human who wants it – there are many people who feel like it falls into the first category - that if you do X, Y and Z you somehow deserve to get laid. Someone withholding your justly earned sex is like a teacher withholding an A, even though you got all of the answers right.

Something awful happened recently that caused a few things to fall into place in my head. I’ve long had a sense of creeping dread about pick-up artists, Nice Guys, and a whole host of other things that I want to put under the blanket label ‘misogynist’. They make me uncomfortable, not just because they are misogynist, but because they have a skewed and unusual view on sex that I’ve struggled to put into words.

You’ll probably have seen the recent news that a young guy went on a shooting rampage after having pledged to punish women for not sleeping with him. Please read the story if you haven’t already, but here’s a quote from the shooter:

“College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure, but in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness, it’s not fair … I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.”

Yes, it’s misogynist. But there’s a very particular type of misogyny that this represents, and I feel like it is becoming  more common. There’s an old-school prudish misogyny that is often the preserve of darkly religious types: a fear of women with their soft bodies and their Eve-like temptation, who will compel men to sin because we’re wicked and evil and beautiful and charming. There are a million and one reasons why that type of misogyny is terrifying and awful. I think this type of misogyny is different, though. No less terrifying, but different. And I want to explain why.

First category misogyny

What makes the shooter – and many other pick-up artists/men’s rights type people – stand out from the old-school, ‘fear of women’ misogynists, is the fact that he doesn’t hate women because they might tempt him into sex, he hates women because he thinks he deserves to have sex with them.

Many people have expressed a worry that he is looking on sex as something in category two – an absolute right. Equally you could read some of his chilling pronouncements on women and think he sees sex as a category one thing – something that, if he follows a certain set of rules, should be handed to him on a plate. Like an A grade. Like a decent meal. Like something he has earned.

The problem is, of course, that sex is not a right at all – earned or absolute. It isn’t like an A grade. No matter how hard you work, what rules you follow, or how desperately you want it, you are never entitled to sex.

The right to refuse

The obvious reason is clear: you never have a right  to sex (absolute or earned) because there’s a much more important human right that trumps it: the right to bodily autonomy. You would only be able to exercise any ‘right’ to sex if you removed someone else’s right to refuse it. That’s not going to happen, and naturally no decent person would ever want it to. Your rights can never come at the expense of someone else’s.

Hence why it’s obvious that sex never falls into category two – it’s not a human right.

Necessary versus sufficient

The slightly less obvious point, that seems to be made less frequently, is that sex cannot possibly fall into category one (earned rights), because there are no conditions you could ever fulfil that would be sufficient to ‘earn’ you some sex. We know that there are certain things that are necessary in order to have sex, but we often confuse the difference between ‘necessary’ and ‘sufficient’. Necessary conditions: things you absolutely have to do in order to put yourself in the running for something. Sufficient: something that – on its own – is enough to guarantee you that thing. The difference between ‘necessary’ and ‘sufficient’ conditions is vital, often confused, and frequently ignored.

Let’s go back to the A grade again. In order to get it you need to write all the correct answers. That’s a necessary condition. But it’s not sufficient – if you write down all of the correct answers but don’t hand your paper in on time, you no more deserve the A than you deserve to fly to the moon.

The problem with a lot of the discourse around sex is that many many people confuse necessary and sufficient conditions – they know that they should treat someone nicely if they want to have sex with them, then they make the erroneous leap of assuming that because they’ve been nice they have somehow earned the sex.

That’s the key difference between sex and an A grade: although there absolutely is a set of necessary conditions, you can fulfil every single one of them and it can still not be sufficient.

It’s not just the bad guys

The reason I’m writing this, rather than any other blog, today is because I wanted to pin down the problem beyond just my general rage and discomfort. I could talk about misogynist extremism, and how it’s wrong for men to think they are ‘entitled’ to sex. I could rage out about the prevalence of men who hate women and the easy excuses we try to give them when what they’re saying is awful and unforgivable. But the vast majority of men would respond with “so what? I don’t feel like I’m entitled to anything. I’m not like those other guys.”

And sure, most men aren’t going to shoot women because of an openly-held belief that they have a right to women’s bodies. But many people do make the mistake of assuming that – if you have fulfilled a certain set of necessary conditions, then that in itself is sufficient to have earned some sex. It’s incredibly apparent in so much of our discourse, and being able to formulate exactly why it’s wrong (beyond the statement ‘it’s hateful’) means we can apply it to broader scenarios, and explain to people exactly what it is about their attitude towards sex that needs to change. Most people don’t relate to the bad guys, but most people are influenced by these common mistaken beliefs.

Whether it’s problem pages that tell you how to ‘get’ your partner to fulfil your fantasies, pick-up artists (or agony aunts/uncles) that tell you a certain set of rules will guarantee you get laid, or telling someone that their partner is being unfair when they don’t do a particular thing: we talk like this a lot. And we need to stop.

If you think you have never been guilty of these assumptions, think again. While considering examples for this blog post, I came up with a fair few times when people I know and like have been guilty of this error one point or another. In fact, I am sure that I have – when sympathising with friends who have been recently rejected by someone they’ve tried really hard to impress, for instance. I’ve probably done it here occasionally too – while I will never tell you that you deserve sex from someone, I do sometimes offer advice on how to encourage someone to fulfil your fantasies without adding that extra caveat: ‘you can try this, but you might still fail, because no one is ever obliged to do what you want.’

So no, men aren’t all buying guns and getting ready to shoot women: but it’s not really helpful to state that as a response to this particular incident. A more complicated and urgent truth is that we often discuss sex as if it’s an earned right, that you achieve by fulfilling a set of conditions. And while you do need to fulfil certain conditions in order to have sex with someone, assuming these conditions are sufficient as well as necessary is incredibly dangerous.

We’re not all picking up guns, but many of us are discussing sex as if it’s a just reward for hard work. An earned right. An A grade.

53 Comments

  • Chaz says:

    There are guys who think that buying you a drink entitles them to sex. That mindset has been around for longer than I’ve been on this earth and I’m no spring chicken!

    Someone tweeted that romcoms perpetuate the myth that persistence pays off, which sends out the wrong message to men and encourages stalker behaviour.

    Both of these things are facts that, while not applying to all men, will certainly justify the behaviour of date rapists and stalkers in their own minds.

    A person doesn’t have to be mentally ill to be warped in their thinking. Trying to write off Elliot Rodger’s behaviour as being the result of him having Aspergers, bipolar disorder or bats in the belfry just won’t wash when colleges are full of guys who think it’s OK to get a girl falling down drunk then take turns raping her while filming it on their cell phones for their own amusement.

    What’s needed is a shift in societal thinking and, sadly, that’s still a very long way off. You just need to look at the stats for reporting and successful prosecution of rape to see that.

    I read an article “Schrödinger’s Rapist: or a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced – http://kateharding.net/2009/10/08/guest-blogger-starling-schrodinger%E2%80%99s-rapist-or-a-guy%E2%80%99s-guide-to-approaching-strange-women-without-being-maced/“, which I totally related to. If you haven’t read it, I think you’ll like it.

    It’s sad that women have to be on their guard at all times, but it’s equally sad that men still feel they have the right to women’s bodies. I’d like to see that change before I die, but I doubt that I will.

  • jdgalt says:

    While this guy was obviously way ’round the bend and then some, the frustration expressed resonates, I think, with all guys. Legalising the purchase of sex, I think, would solve the problem.

    • Girl on the net says:

      The frustration is a byproduct of this fallacy, though. So I think if it ‘resonates’ with someone, it’s because they are making the same mistake and need to seriously reexamine their thinking.

      There are plenty of reasons to ensure sex work isn’t illegal, but I don’t think ‘to prevent men being violent towards women’ is one of them.

      • Hillary says:

        And, as you have mentioned before, a Pro still has the right to refuse – just as hotels and restaurants have a “Right of Admission Reserved” (Would make a good campus T-shirt)

    • Jennie Kermode says:

      Making sex work more accessible may help in some cases, where people feel frustrated but it hasn’t reached the point of anger and resentment. In a case like this, however, it would just be putting a different set of women in danger. There are already far too many men who like to take up their frustration by beating and raping sex workers.

      • I.L. says:

        This, however, is a good reason to legalize sex work. If sex work is legalized then that allows sex workers to get protection and to go to the cops freely if problems do happen. Take it out of the black market and you take sex workers away from apathetic pimps and give them the same protections as other members of society. I also expect that legal brothels would screen potential customers for anger and violent tendencies. Those people pick on prostitutes now particularly because they are so poorly protected by society.

        • Girl on the net says:

          I agree that sex work should be legalised, but I’m a bit uncomfortable with where this discussion is going. The solution to a man being violent because he couldn’t get sex is not ‘get the man some sex’, it is ‘stop violence.’ Totally agree with Jennie – it’s just putting a different set of women in danger, and it’s also transferring the responsibility for male violence of this type onto women.

          • I.L. says:

            I believe that you misunderstand me. I agree with you that the solution is to “stop violence” but we must ask how we can practically accomplish this. The best way to do that is to bring sex workers out of the extremely dangerous criminal society and into the protection of wider civil society.

    • A says:

      Statistics show that crimes against women are no less common in countries where prostitution is legalised. And I think that it’s fairly obvious why legalised prostitution wouldn’t help the mind frame of “frustrated good guys”: “I’m a nice guy so why won’t women sleep with me? ” The thinking is not “How can I get laid – I wish I could pay someone for it.”

  • Hazelthecrow says:

    GOTN, thankyou – this is an incredibly nuanced conversation and it desperately need to be had, but like trying to nail down the reality of consent so much gets lost in torrents of outrage. You just nailed it with the difference between fear misogyny and entitlement misogyny – I’ve been bugged by how to describe that for a while too. Thankyou, O wordmistress, for helping articulate what it is that makes these kinds of things so skin-crawly! for with better words, may we better call out bad behaviour and improve our own.

    For the sake of all those people (of both genders)hurting because of the entitlement fallacy, keep articulating

    Hx

  • Gan Ainm says:

    I think the American Declaration of Independence put it best: a right to `the pursuit of happiness’. You have a right to look for your own happiness, but no right to expect that anyone else will give it to you, or give it to you in the form you want it.

    On a wider point: does anyone else think the next version of Fascism will be founded on misogyny, rather than racism?

    • Girl on the net says:

      That’s a nice elucidation of it, and I think it speaks very clearly to the human rights issue – you never have the right to infringe someone else’s rights in pursuit of your own goals.

      I shudder to think, to be honest, but the word ‘fascism’ gives me the nervous shakes after the EU elections last night. I’m actually a total optimist when it comes to the nature of humanity – I think we gradually tend more towards empathy and kindness over time. That’s not to say there aren’t awful things that we do, but I think in 200 years we’ll have a much more equal and just society, with less misogyny, bigotry etc. However, I may well be wrong. I just hope I’m right.

      • Serocco says:

        The right to bodily autonomy. That’s it, right there. Whatever we think of other people, we are not entitled to change or dictate how they use their bodies. If it’s for sex, fine. If it’s for sports, fine. If it’s for labor, fine. You are not allowed to force a woman to give you sex because you feel entitled to it. Just as how you are not allowed to force a man to have sex if he doesn’t want it with you.

        Unfortunately, just as you brought up with fascism, it’ll take a disaster before mankind decides to do anything meaningful. Remember how Churchill said “You can always trust Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else”? Replace Americans with humans.

  • Absolutely agree with everything said in this post.
    Sort of ties in with the ‘entitlement’ certain guys feel when it comes to women who enjoy no strings sex; the assumption that they somehow have a right to bang you just because you enjoy Commitment free sex is kind of laughable but also pretty sinister.
    Saying that, I’d love it if I had the right to get it on at will with the amazing couple I had a lovely ffm threesome with last night.
    But I don’t and somehow I’ll have to live with that, dammit. :(

  • LHB says:

    Good points – re where we are in our culture right now. But I hope we can also have a conversation about how this is all based on how sex itself is currently commodified and controlled by patriarchal beliefs and structures. Patriarchy is an institution perpetuated by techniques of control & ‘power over’ i.e dominator culture. But (despite many who believe so) Patriarchy has not always been a given and writers like Riane Eisler and others point to evidence of pre-historic societies where domination was not the norm. This is worth reading: http://www.partnershipway.org/learn-more/partnership-books/sacred-pleasure-sex-myth-and-the-politics-of-the-body-new-paths-to-power-and-love

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thanks for that! The book looks interesting – it’s a bit pricey for me atm but I’ll add it to my list of things to read! I’m with you on that conversation: to be honest I generally take things from a more direct perspective (this post is more meta and theoretical than I’d normally write) and look at how sex myths etc affect us in relatively everyday ways. But I’d love to find a guest blogger to cover something deeper that they have a particular expertise in – if you’re up for it please do have a look at my guest blog page and get in touch. Otherwise I’ll do some more reading and see if I can write something useful!

  • Richard P says:

    There are some days when I’m embarresed to be a member of the human race and some that make me embarresed to be a man. This is both. The fact that we can allow things like this to happen sadden me beyond words and the fact that we have to have discussions about this make me wonder whether we’re actually worthy of survival as a species.
    To many people see women as objects or prizes to be own, or even follow a mentality that considers them as little more than vending machines, insert time+money+complements, receive sex. This mode of thinking is abhorrent and bellow a spicies as rational as we like to thing that we are.
    We need to be better. We need to stand together and say that this is not acceptable. Just a pity then that I doubt we are capable of such a thing. Maybe one day if we can teach ourselves and our children to be better we may have a hope. But until then all we can do is promise to be better, promise to stand against these attitudes rather than ignore them. After all ‘all that is required for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.’ It may be a misquote but the sentiment behind it stands.
    Be better. And consider two other important words. ‘Never again.’

    • I.L. says:

      Don’t be embarrassed, my friend. You have no responsibility for this atrocious action just because you are a member of the same species and sex as this disturbed individual. This is not a matter of mere insufficient education but of a mentally disturbed individual. You are right that we need to stand together and say that this is not acceptable, and as far as I can see everyone is doing just that. However, I’m sorry to report that these mass murders will probably continue until time comes to an end. We can work to reduce their incidence and we have been very effective at that goal in recent times, despite what the media would have you believe. However, the only thing that could stop such incidents entirely would be an omnipresent totalitarian state with the power to peer into the very thoughts of its citizens. Violence will eventually become a rarity as human societies naturally improve but there will always be one crazy person out there and this is something that we cannot stop.

      • Girl on the net says:

        Richard P – I couldn’t agree more, and I think it’s really important that we do all work together to try and combat this stuff – that includes challenging the little things on the day to day level as well as trying to find better ways to prevent atrocities happening.

        IL – I don’t think it’s very helpful to say that we ‘cannot stop’ things or that ‘these mass murders will probably continue’, especially in response to a blog post and a very thoughtful comment which have both explained how we think we can work towards preventing these things in future.

        • I.L. says:

          Well, I’m sorry but it’s a matter of fact that we cannot perfectly prevent violence. To try is a fool’s errand. We can do a very good job of preventing violence and the universal decline in violence in the modern age shows this. However, crazy people are a part of human nature and, sadly, we cannot stop that. Don’t be frightened, though, the vast majority of violence is from the sane who are violent out of social necessity. Once our society evolves beyond resource scarcity violence will be almost a thing of the past. Just like we cannot determine the exact momentum and position of a particle we cannot cure violence completely without destroying our humanity in the process.

  • daedslave says:

    Recently wrote an article about some of these issues – http://blogofanownedslave.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/feminism-and-female-slavery/ – especially in terms of persistence and how it is touted as the way ‘to get the girl’ in Rom-Coms.

    The ideas of romance that are proliferated in mainstream entertainment are really quite damaging, when looked at critically. This is another interesting piece on the subject – http://www.cracked.com/video_18533_why-romantic-comedies-are-secretly-bad-you.html

  • Andy Bodle says:

    No one has a right to sex. Agreed 100%.

    But let’s look at this coldly. From a biological perspective, reproduction is your one, your only purpose for being on this earth. From a social perspective, sex is something everyone “should” be having as much as possible of. From a physiological and emotional perspective, sex (and a fulfilling relationship with another human being) is one of, if not the greatest pleasure a human being can experience.

    Let’s say you’re an Elliot Rodger, and you come to the conclusion, somehow, that you will never have sex; you will never reproduce. Looked at from at least three viewpoints, your entire existence has just been negated. There is no point whatsoever in you being on this earth, and whatever time you do spend on it will be joyless (or at the very least, with everyone else publicly and vocally enjoying regular sex, immensely frustrating).

    What value do reputation, liberty, life have when you’re less than a footnote to a footnote? You have literally nothing to lose. The reaction of most men (and some women) to this realisation is suicide: throw in mental illness, readily available weapons, a culture of entitlement, myriad mass-shooting precedents and misogyny, and voila, a senseless and horrific act of “revenge”.

    NB I can’t stress enough that this is an attempt to explain Rodger’s behaviour, not apologise for it. He’s a sick man who did a sickening thing. I don’t feel we can hope to prevent a repeat of such incidents of we don’t at least begin to understand them,

    • Jennie Kermode says:

      With respect, I think this is a rather simplistic way to look at evolved impulses. There’s ample evidence that humans have evolved instincts that go beyond protecting themselves and their offspring and extend to protecting their communities. Our genes are, after all, not just in our own bodies but, in significant proportions, in our extended families. For this and other reasons, it is often biologically in our interests to cooperate with others; we have a great deal to lose by randomly killing. If it weren’t for that, it’s unlikely that we would have reached this level of civilisation.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Again, I agree with Jennie (Jennie, you are very wise – please let me know if you would like to write a guest blog for me on sexual ethics!). That’s quite a simplistic view of evolutionary biology.

      Moreover, you ask us to ‘look at this coldly’. No – I don’t want to. I want to look at it with empathy and consideration, as I would with anything else. The problem with looking at things from a stark evolutionary biological perspective is
      a) we’re expecting individual humans to act in a way that an entire species would/should act according to our ‘best guess’ at something akin to directed evolution – this is patently not how humans work
      b) we’re actively ignoring a lot of the tools that we have evolved/developed in order to make sense of the world. These include, but aren’t limited to: logic, compassion, etc.

      Final point – I appreciate that you are trying to explain the shooter’s behaviour rather than apologise for it, but then what is it that you are arguing? You’re arguing that… there’s an evolutionary reason for his attitude towards women? And then what? Because what I’m trying to do in this post is explain *why* that belief is mistaken, and why it is founded on an error. Sure, if someone else with the same beliefs as he had stumbles across this I don’t think I’m going to persuade them to see the error of their ways, but my main aim is to encourage other people to think about how their attitudes towards sex (and mine too!) could be refined to avoid feeding into the narrative that supports this error. If everything you’re saying is true, it seems like you are arguing that this stuff is just inevitable? I might be wrong on this so apologies if I have interpreted it wrong, I’m just trying to work out what explanations like this (even assuming they are true) would mean for this debate.

      • Andy Bodle says:

        I was trying to find a bottom line, so we know where we stand and what we’ve got to work with, at minimum. You can’t come at these matters from a perspective of empathy or compassion when there are people out there who don’t have any. (A widely agreed estimate on the proportion of psychopaths in society is around 1%, the majority of whom don’t actually kill people.) And Jennie, people with antisocial personality disorders don’t act in the interest of their immediate families any more than they act in the interest of strangers.

        Studies have shown that relative wealth is more important than absolute wealth when it comes to happiness. Many experts are agreed that the growing disparity in relative wealth (conspicuously rich footballers and celebrities, advertising) was one of the drivers of the London riots. We’re not that bothered about other people having more than us – unless it’s rubbed in our faces.

        Might the same be true of sex?

        I can’t say for certain, but I’d be willing to bet most of what I own that Elliot Rodger watched porn. (It seems the simplest explanation for his view of women as sluts.) And let’s remember that he wasn’t just a misogynist; he also hated men who were more sexually successful than him. Unless he’d been breaking into people’s bedrooms, his most likely source for this information was YouPorn.

        Now, I use porn. I like (some) porn. But I’m beginning to wonder whether it might not have some pernicious side-effects (beyond the erosion of libido and the shortening of the duration for which we are attracted to people). Does the flamboyant parading of sexual pleasure increase the unhappiness of those who can’t have it? Did the Victorians keep sex under wraps not because they were prudes, but because they suspected its potential for social disruption?

        Responsible porn users would be entirely within their rights to respond angrily: “Why should we change our perfectly legal and healthy habits for the sake of a few twisted individuals?” But there we enter into a whole other debate about personal freedoms. I just it’s something we could and should look into.

        • Girl on the net says:

          Thanks for getting back to me! Here goes:

          [You can’t come at these matters from a perspective of empathy or compassion when there are people out there who don’t have any.]
          (sorry for the square brackets, there’s not a good way to quote people in these comments. I should sort that)

          I agree that there are people out there who don’t have any, but essentially what I’m doing is trying to explain why problems like this, and attitudes towards sex like this, are actually more common than we think because they’re based on common fallacies. The aim there is – really – to show people that this stuff is quite common in our discourse and that while you have to be a truly awful person to shoot someone because of them, falling into that thinking trap is much more common than we might usually believe.

          As to your other points: I think I probably agree that the relative argument is true of sex. We’re envious of those who have more of it (or more of the kinds we want) than we are of other people. I don’t *know* for sure, but I suspect that’s probably the case. That’s not something you can ever legislate or solve by tackling the amount of sex people are having, though – that would be weird and draconian. What you do is tackle the assumptions and attitudes that lead people to a) place a huge value on their worth as a human based on how much sex/what type etc they’re having (we’re starting to do this I think but have a long way to go) and b) ensuring that people understand that, while a certain situation might make them sad, it is not *fundamentally unfair* and something they need to seek justice and retribution for. Hope that makes sense, I feel I might have waffled it a bit.

          Your points on porn: I absolutely would never ever say we need to ban porn. But I need to write on this topic soon because it does come up frequently in the comments. My top-line view on porn is a) it’s a vital expression of human sexuality b) it is currently being done is a huge variety of different ways c) some of these ways are deeply exploitative (financially, sexually, etc) and there needs to be a big shake-up in the way that porn is made, distributed, paid for, etc. Some people are already doing this well, but there needs to be (and will be very soon, I think) a huge explosion in the porn debate that hopefully settles us on more comfortable criteria for ethical porn. And – to the point above about jealousy – people need to understand that while they can buy and consume sexual material, they still have no right or entitlement to a specific sex act with a specific person.

  • I.L. says:

    First of all, I must say that my heart goes out to the 2 women and 4 men killed by Elliot Rodger (source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/24/us/santa-barbara-shooting-victims/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 )

    However, I must take exception with this odd statement: “What makes the shooter – and many other pick-up artists/men’s rights type people…” Wait, what, why are you trying to slip a connection to men’s rights in there? I know that this is a mistake that a lot of people make but PUAs (Pick-Up Artists) and MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists/Advocates) have pretty much nothing to do with each other. This is like calling someone a Muslim Fundamentalist/Janitor-type person. The difference between the two groups is that MRAs are concerned with men’s rights issues such as the routine forced circumcision of infants, sexist conscription policies, fathers’ rights, and supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence whereas PUAs are mainly concerned with having sex with as many women as possible through means that are just barely shy of illegal. While one can be an MRA and a PUA there isn’t much overlap between the two groups as MRAs do not like how PUAs center their whole lives around women and PUAs do not like how MRAs are trying to change the society that PUAs like to exploit.

    This all still leaves open the possibility that he was involved with MRA and/or PUA groups so let’s examine the evidence. Forbes recently wrote a rather extensive article on Elliot Rodgers’ online history here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/05/24/the-disturbing-internet-footprint-of-santa-barbara-shooter-elliot-rodger/ In this there is no evidence that he frequented any MRA related websites. He did, however, frequent the anti-PUA website PuaHate.com which has since shut itself down, although you can see his thread in the google cache here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:oxYLu71-Ep4J:puahate.com/showthread.php%3Fp%3D3146709+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a He also frequented some bodybuilding websites.

    The only article that I’ve seen linking him to MRAs is this one by the Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/24/1301671/-Elliot-Roger-Gunman-in-California-Mass-Shooting-was-influenced-by-the-Men-s-Rights-Movement# This article is however, misinformative as it only shows his early connection with PUA websites which are not the same thing as MRAs as the Daily Kos claims. Insofar as I know Elliot Rodger has never self-identified as an MRA. If you have evidence to the contrary then please provide it.

    I will admit that I am not personally familiar with PuaHate.com but from all I’ve heard and all I’ve been able to read it does not appear to be strongly associated with any outside political movement. If you have more evidence regarding this then please contact me about it.

    There is evidence that he was connected to incel (involuntary celibacy) groups as can be seen in several of my above-posted links. Incel groups are not connected to MRAs nor PUAs. I am an egalitarian who has spent considerable time reading MRA writings and I have spent a bit of time reading PUA writings. I have never seen a self-identified MRA complain about getting laid being impossible but I am open to evidence to the contrary.

    It is certainly true that Elliot Rodger was a vile misogynist as well as a hater of sexually successful men (source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/24/us/california-shooting-suspect/index.html ) and a racist (source: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/24/santa-barbara-shooter-had-history-of-posting-racist-misogynist-comments-on-hate-site/ ) He hated women for rejecting him in spite of his wealth and generic good looks and he hated men who could have sex with women particularly if he viewed those as inferior such as if they belonged to a minority ethnic group.

    GOTN, you are correct in that many people, both men and women among them, hold attitudes of sexual entitlement and that this is relevant to this issue. I think it would also behoove us to explore how virgin-shaming intersects with this in a, in this case, very destructive manner.

    That’s all the evidence that I have found in this case. Forgive me for writing such a long rant but there is a lot of misinformation about this case that I wanted to correct. GOTN, you are my favorite sex blogger and I wanted to thank you for keeping a relatively even head in this time of tragedy. If I have made any mistake above then please correct me with good evidence.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Firstly, I’m a bit gutted that you mentioned a body count. I had very specifically avoided doing that for a couple of reasons: 1. when I wrote this the news was reporting a few different numbers (your numbers are very wrong, by the way, as you include only deaths, but I’m sure you can search for it as I don’t want to provide a link) and 2. there are some general guidelines on how to report on shootings ethically, with an aim to not glorify the shooter and encourage copycats. Here’s a psychologist explaining it to Charlie Brooker: http://boingboing.net/2012/12/15/charlie-brooker-on-media-cover.html If I find a more specific paper I’ll post that, but I’m a bit pushed for time this morning. (I did originally cock this up as I posted his name, but someone on Twitter let me know so I removed his name from the original post)

      Next up, I’ll deal with your specific points:

      [“What makes the shooter – and many other pick-up artists/men’s rights type people…” Wait, what, why are you trying to slip a connection to men’s rights in there?]
      I literally explain in the post – that is the main thrust of what the post is about. It is because they share very similar attitudes about women, specifically of the first category misogyny that I explain and discuss in the post. The reason I collate the shooter with the people who share these attitudes is because of the words he uses – what he has actually said (see quote in post)

      [Insofar as I know Elliot Rodger has never self-identified as an MRA. If you have evidence to the contrary then please provide it.]
      I did not assert it – I don’t care which groups he was actively affiliated with. As I explain in my post, the point is that PUAs/MRAs and this guy all seem to have a commonality: the first category misogyny that I describe. I don’t want to get into a huge debate with you about the differences (there are some) and similarities (there are some of these too) between PUAs and MRAs – for the purpose of this post all I am asserting is that they seem to have as one of their foundations a type of misogyny that is based on the myth that sex is an earned right. Feel free to disagree with that if you like, but please don’t present my argument as one which lives and dies on whether I can prove PUAs/MRAs are the same thing: it isn’t, and they aren’t, and that’s pretty irrelevant.

      [I think it would also behoove us to explore how virgin-shaming intersects with this in a, in this case, very destructive manner.]
      Only in so far as virgin-shaming makes people upset and angry. I’m obviously with you that no one should ever be shamed for being a virgin (or for *any* of their sexual choices) but I don’t get what you’re trying to say here.

      [GOTN, you are my favorite sex blogger and I wanted to thank you for keeping a relatively even head in this time of tragedy. If I have made any mistake above then please correct me with good evidence.]
      Thanks! If you read my blog a lot you’ll know that I always try to be rational and fair. In this instance, though, it seems like you’ve misunderstood what I’m saying in my post, so the best evidence I can give you is to ask you to read it again.

  • MigsterMMA says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read on the subject since the terrible events of the weekend. Some excellent comments too.

  • Stephanie says:

    Something that’s bothered me about this case is the focus on misogyny. If we blame this solely on the guy’s moaning that he didn’t get laid at uni (btw, neither did I) and didn’t know about the plethora of sex toys out there to ease the feelings (I got my first vibrator at a sex toy party in third year; I had my nose stuck in a book most of the time, wasn’t much for parties, and I was uber-shy. I don’t, BTW have Asperger’s and I believe it’s overdiagnosed), aren’t we making women out to be victims?

    How would we feel if the perpetrator had been a female, and the victims males?

  • JJhon (Hotboy_ki) says:

    Good Morning, I thought I’d take you up on what you said on twitter last night.

    I agree with you that anyone who thinks that they have a Right to sex, is deluded and dangerous. A part of my agreement is that it goes both ways. You earnestly and rightly talk about Mysogny and the fact that it’s the root cause of Sexual Violence from Males toward Females. An earnest question I have is do you have an opinion on Misandry and Sexual Violance from Females toward Males. As I understand it about 40% (debabtable) of Domestic Violence occures with a female aggressor.

    To move onto another point you raise regarding sex not being a Human Right as defined and enshrined in law. I agree, sex isn’t something everyone has a Right to. It’s something that occurs between consenting adults who enjoy it, be they male or female, of any orientation or identity for fun or love or procreation.

    We come then to the crux of my disagreement with what you say:
    “But the vast majority of men would respond with “so what? I don’t feel like I’m entitled to anything. I’m not like those other guys.”

    And sure, most men aren’t going to shoot women because of an openly-held belief that they have a right to women’s bodies. But many people do make the mistake of assuming that…(they are entitled)”

    You’ve acknowledged that the vast majority of men would say they arent like that, you admit that most guys aren’t likely to go out and shoot women (and I’m inferring that you include they arent likely to abuse women domestically), and then you define that many are going to expect sex. I agree, many do. However not most, and its those who DO who need re-educating. It is for society to teach that group, that such actions are not correct. It is for us who think sex is not a Right to educate and correct the behaivour of those who do.

    The problem comes when people say “Men need educating that sex is not a Right”, it labels all of us, the vast majority (or most) you refer to included, as being Mysognyistic. It is a group (albeit not small) that give the rest a bad reputation. It’s part of why, when I walk through town of a night I deliberatly cross the street to avoid closing on a lone female. I’m 6ft5, I’ve been told im intimidating partially due to my appearance (I have tattoo’s and due to being in the Army, I carry myself differantly). I change my actions because people assume things about me, and that assumption is offensive.

    It feels, every time, that when people (typically women) talk about men being mysognists its not just the bad guys they are labelling, its all of us.

    It’s why I feel offended when the other person compared “I’m not like that” to “my brakes are fine”. In my experiance if a componant on a military vehicle is ID’d as breaking everything contonaing that componant is stopped moving, and then in totallity that compnant is replaced with something that does work irregardless of wether it shows signs of failure. The inferance I take is that all Men (cis-gendered as I’ve yet to see a Trans-Male called out for Mysogyny) are Ford Fiesta’s, and need a part (or approach/opinion/a percieved Right) changing in totallity. If that’s not the case, I’ll chill my bean on that one.

    One closing piece, if you find yourself tired of hearing men say “I’m not like that”, maybe there are more than you think who aren’t like that. If them only adding “I’m not like that” to the discussion is annoying, invite them to help you, invite them to vocalise how they can change the people who are mysogynists, please dont shout them down for only adding a small part. Men are notorious for not showing feelings, many are still exploring the fact that we are allowed to show that we arent cavemen and that being a man is more than what is shown on Channel 4 reality show.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hello! Thanks for joining in, and expanding on the stuff from Twitter last night – 140 characters is nearly always inadequate to have a proper discussion! I’m going to try to deal with all of your points properly, but apologies if this sounds a bit abrupt – I’m going to copy/paste and quote your answer as it makes it a bit easier to make sure I’m addressing things directly.

      [You earnestly and rightly talk about Mysogny and the fact that it’s the root cause of Sexual Violence from Males toward Females. An earnest question I have is do you have an opinion on Misandry and Sexual Violance from Females toward Males. As I understand it about 40% (debabtable) of Domestic Violence occures with a female aggressor.]
      It certainly is debatable, and I would question where you’re getting that statistic from. But to answer your question: my opinion on sexual violence of ANY kind is that it is abhorrent. I’m not sure why it’s relevant in this particular case, as what we’re talking about is misogyny, but there you go – I am on record as stating that it is abhorrent, and I’d further offer that it is a specific problem that we need to tackle: many great organisations are tackling this, as many great organisations are working to reduce gender-based violence towards women.

      Your next point is really interesting, because you quote my exact words and then misinterpret what I have said, and most of your argument rests on what is essentially a fundamental misunderstanding. I’m not being harsh, but I need to make this really clear because it’s important. I said:

      “most men aren’t going to shoot women because of an openly-held belief that they have a right to women’s bodies. But many people do make the mistake of assuming that..”

      You go on to assume I am talking exclusively about men. I’m not. In fact, I chose my words for this really carefully (I don’t always, but on this occasion I clearly had a fair wind behind me and was in a thoughtful kind of mood). I didn’t say “many men”, I said “many PEOPLE.” That’s because I don’t think that this fallacy is exclusive to men. I used examples later in the blog that are gender-neutral. I did this because this myth harms all of us, and to a certain extent shapes a lot of our discourse.

      What I would ask you though is why you felt the need to come into this thread and ‘defend men’ – I haven’t made any accusations about ‘men’ in particular. I *have* made accusations about the kind of people who ascribe to PUA/MRA ideology, and I’m more than happy to back those up. I’ve also made assertions about the impact that this language has on our culture, and particularly our dating-advice culture. I’m happy to back those up too.

      Regarding the analogy, again I think you have misunderstood it. The reason it’s a useful one is because jumping into a debate to say “not me though!”:

      1. is irrelevant. In the vast vast majority of cases, no one was saying ‘all X are Y’. To use the car analogy – if CarCo recalls a car, they are not usually saying ‘all these cars are deathtraps’, they are usually saying ‘a small proportion of these are going to cause accidents, but we’re recalling all of them because we have to’. That is not to say anyone is claiming we should ‘recall’ men, just that *in that particular scenario*, saying ‘but my car is OK’ is completely useless when we’re talking about how to prevent the *other people* who are affected from being safe.
      2. derails the conversation. I used to think this wasn’t important, but I’ve recently had a fair few discussions which have been incredibly frustration – I’ve been trying to talk about some genuine problems, and have had them derailed with “not all X, though” or people saying “yeah, but what about (other thing that we’re not talking about)”? These are useful questions and discussions to have (like your question about female/male domestic violence), but they are usually not being asked in the spirit of genuine discussion, they are being asked because people don’t have anything to say or feel uncomfortable about the actual conversation that’s going in. To illustrate: do you head to articles about domestic violence in which the victims are men and leave comments that say “what are your thoughts on domestic violence in which the victims are women?” Do you? If you do, then fine – your argument style is at least consistent (although a bit off-topic). But I bet you don’t. Hence: this is a derailing tactic.

      Final point – a lot of what you say seems to reference misandry. Unfortunately this is in the mistaken belief that I am a misandrist and/or that I would not necessarily deal with issues that affect men in any significant way. Naturally, this blog focuses more on women (because, hey! I am one!) however I do also discuss issues that I think affect men negatively too. The bottom line is that I have a genuine, heartfelt belief that the patriarchy (the system under which we live, NOT necessarily the collective actions of ‘all men’) hurts men as well as women. It really does. Here’s a blog I wrote about just a teeny tiny proportion of it: http://www.girlonthenet.com/2014/01/29/do-i-hate-men/

      A couple more things to sum up, and to show why I really genuinely encourage you to question what it is you believe and whether you might want to rethink your assumptions:

      [The problem comes when people say “Men need educating that sex is not a Right”, it labels all of us, the vast majority (or most) you refer to included, as being Mysognyistic. It is a group (albeit not small) that give the rest a bad reputation.]
      I haven’t said this. At all. And, in fact, what I said is that *we* (I used a very specific example including me – a woman) need to think more about how we discuss sex as something we might be ‘entitled’ to.

      [One closing piece, if you find yourself tired of hearing men say “I’m not like that”, maybe there are more than you think who aren’t like that. If them only adding “I’m not like that” to the discussion is annoying, invite them to help you, invite them to vocalise how they can change the people who are mysogynists, please dont shout them down for only adding a small part.]
      I haven’t shouted anyone down, nor do I assume ‘all men’ are like that. I actually think we have a huge problem as a society in the way we view and talk about sex. This isn’t just a male problem – it is a society-wide problem. I have invited lots of men into the discussion, and I am always willing to listen to carefully-considered views: it’s how debate happens, and it’s good. However, I am increasingly frustrated with people who leap into debates like this waving a flag that says ‘not al men!’ or ‘not me though!’ without actually reading what I’m saying, or considering whether maybe – just maybe – there is some useful nugget of information or a challenging idea that might be worth pondering.

      [Men are notorious for not showing feelings, many are still exploring the fact that we are allowed to show that we arent cavemen and that being a man is more than what is shown on Channel 4 reality show.]
      I am also a bit sad that you ended this on a massive generalisation of men. I hate that men are often encouraged (forced?) by society to be macho, and I don’t think that you asserting “men are notorious for not showing feelings” will help that at all. After your long comment about how I shouldn’t generalise about ‘all men’ (which I didn’t) ending on a generalisation about men strikes me as a bit ironic.

      I realise this comment is super-long so if you’ve made it to the end I apologise for being long and waffly, and also if I have sounded abrupt. I have genuinely thought v hard about this blog post, and a lot of these issues, and I always try to present debates like this in a balanced and interesting way – I am a bit frustrated by your comment if I’m honest, because you have made a hell of a lot of assumptions about me, many of which are actually contradicted by what I have written.

      • JJhon (Hotboy_ki) says:

        It’s quite alright that your reply was long. My own comment was just as waffly. When I rebuild how I interpret what you’ve said now that you’ve pointed out my misunderstanding it renders quite alot of my comment without foundation. I apologise for frustrating you about my assumptions, they came from my interpretation of your blog.

        I didn’t and don’t regard you in any way as a misandrist, if anything at the time of writing I thought of you more as agressivly singling out Male on Female violence as the only issue. An assumption that was incorrect, doesnt have anything constructive to work with from this point and came about because whilst I read many of your blog posts I don’t catch them all.

        Part of the reason why I talk things out, especially with complex issues like this, is I can get the wrong handle on what people mean. It’s something I know about myself, so it’s something I activly try to remedy.

        The reason I raised misandry is that Sexual Violence of any form is something society as a whole needs to eliminate. It requires working on all the issues from all sides, not focussing on one over another. So far as I read it I raise misandry in the first paragraph and then never mention it or refer to it again. Why I asked the question was a sincere interest point, some people play it down, others up.

        Part of tackling Male on Female violence is changing the male mindset which involves peer pressure (being the guy that says “dude dont do it”, not just “we’re not like that”). It also needs women to accept that guys want to help. It isnt you who is shouting down guys, and again I’m sorry for suggesting it is, but a number of responses to the YesAllWomen posts made by guys have been rebuked saying that we should just go away, be quite and listen. Which is fair, but it’s hard to show solidarity like that. Then when I recalled you saying I know nothing about Sexual Violence, it touched a nerve.

        Part of tackling Female on Male violence is by doing similar things. It needs to be recognised as a problem and something that both men and women can work together with to tackle. Rather than the extreme ends of both arguements pointing fingers at themselves and saying their problem is in greater need of resolving. It’s why whenever I do get involved in discusions I try and broaden the spotlight to include Sexual Violence as a whole.

        Generally I dont post my opinion on the web regarding anything, and limit my conversations about genuinly interesting and important things to people I know well, and do so outside of work. My colleagues (especially within my peer group) in the vast majority, arent interested in conversations about this kind of thing. They dismiss it as various levels of crap, then change the topic to TOWIE. They do generally also conform to the stereo types which abound of soldiers.

        I recognise that you feel including misandry is a derailing tactic, I raise it as an equal concern, and that it should be seen in the same light and to promote that Sexual Violence as a whole, needs to be tackled by society as a whole.

        You took the time to read and respond to my post, it would be discourtious of me to fail to read yours to the end. I think we both want the same thing, we just want to see it resolved along differant paths.

      • I.L. says:

        Well, I don’t know where JJhon got that 40% statistic either as it is actually much closer to 50%. Here is a bibliography of “286 scholarly investigations: 221 empirical studies and 65 reviews and/or analyses, which demonstrate that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners. The aggregate sample size in the reviewed studies exceeds 371,600.” http://csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

        So there ya go, gender parity in domestic violence is a very well evidenced fact.

    • Azkyroth says:

      …until it falls apart, lazily trying to blame heterosexual male attraction to women and the male sex drive in the last piece.

      As if there’s actually something inherently incomprehensible about concatenating “person” and “that you want to fuck,” like it HAS to be one or the other.

  • Matt says:

    Nobody “deserves” anything sexual or romantic, good or bad.

    This one little thing took me years to figure out, and when I were a lad I bought in to a lot of the typical bollocks around this, though thank the gods it never developed to the MRA level.

    I think you’re right to call out the idea of “deserving”. I don’t “deserve” sex or romance, you don’t “deserve” sex or romance. One can make some effort toward improving one’s prospects, but one never deserves.

    I have become quite cautious about how I phrase supportive words to friends. I no longer tell them they “deserve better”. I might however tell them that they can choose not to put up with whatever.

  • Suki says:

    This is incredibly well articulated, GOTN, and I thank you for writing it.

  • versatur lectores says:

    Thank you for a well written and accurate article. I 100% agree. please keep up the good work.

  • riz says:

    A really good post and interesting comments.

    I think that a lot of the issues/putative trends that are discussed in the post can be better understood if we bear in mind the fact that in the internet age people know a hell of a lot more about how everyone else lives their lives.

    While this has many upsides, for example the amazing capabilities of apps which are just a recent phenomenon, there are also downsides or risks.

    Going to use your square bracket approach here:

    [Yes, it’s misogynist. But there’s a very particular type of misogyny that this represents, and I feel like it is becoming more common.]

    I’m not sure. As with anything, I’d like to see some data and I wonder if there are any social attitudes surveys which ask questions about attitudes towards gender equality. Anyhow, I’d like to tentatively suggest that perhaps it seems like this particular strand of misogyny (male entitlement to sex) is growing because, as I suggested earlier, we are more aware of how other people live their lives, how they think etc. I tend towards your view of human progress, that we get better over time, and so I’m not sure if this very real problem is getting worse, or if we are just more aware of these views because they are online and public.

    On the other hand I do also think there’s a lot in the argument which says that the internet has allowed people with similar views to share and reinforce their preconceptions and in some cases prejudices and bitterness. There are sites where people with eating disorders meet and chat and I’ve heard criticism of the impact of that in some cases. Similarly, with PUAs, does this merely intensify sexist attitudes? I think it’s really difficult to be conclusive on something as tenuous as people’s attitudes, but the original point should be borne in mind as it could bias our perception of certain “trends”.

    The other thing about knowing what other people are doing is that, IMHO, it can hugely increase social anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

    Think of amateur porn. I can log on and see loads of people shagging. If I’m feeling lonely, depressed, unattractive and an outsider that can exacerbate those feelings and insecurities. Similarly, I love your blog and I owe a select few sex bloggers a lot for giving me an insight into female sexuality, but does it provoke envy and anxiety? Deep down I’m sure it does so for many people who share your proclivities for unbridled filth….but find themselves unable for whatever reasons to “get” it.

    I love the internet, blogs, comment forums and

    • riz says:

      oops..pressed send by mistake. I just wanted to say one more thing.

      I love the internet, blogs, comment forums and in particular anonymity. Anonymity allows me to express views which I can’t otherwise. I find it hugely therapeutic. I’ve learnt a lot from exchanges with people who are all anonymous online, but show great empathy and wisdom. I’d like to think that this is the role that the internet plays in most people’s lives, but of course there will be exceptions and it is useful to remember that when such tragedies occur.

  • CJ says:

    Great post, GOTN. Sex is never a right, not even in marriage. Sex, at its best, is given. Enthusiastically, and generously. (And nobody who enjoys sex should be shamed for it, regardless of their gender.)

  • Shaun says:

    Another great piece and interesting discussion in the comments.

    Also think if it was a common societal belief that no one ‘deserves’ sex then it would be easier for people, but especially women, to be confident in the fact that a complimentary fact is also true. No one ‘owes’ sex to anyone else either. The cliché of having a headache, the idea of special sex for your birthday being obligatory and so on shouldn’t be in the lexicon.

    Obviously, if one partner isn’t feeling like having sex particularly and decides to go with it for the sake of their partner’s pleasure that’s up to them but having sex with someone because you feel you are expected to or have to not only isn’t particularly erotic, it’s pretty wrong too..

  • Rogue Alien says:

    When I was a teenager, I was very clear that blokes all too often went around putting the make on women & trying to hustle them into sex. This seemed to me unethical & unfair, caused discomfort to the women concerned & was obviously a very bad thing.

    Because I ‘respected my sisters’, & aware of how much I’d dislike being constantly hassled if I’d been born female, I resolved never to put the make on anybody. I always started from the assumption that women I met already had their own perfectly satisfactory arrangements made in the sex/relationship department UNLESS they specifically told me otherwise & displayed a clear interest in my young body.

    As a result, I tried to suppress signs of sexual interest in people unless I knew that this was welcome. This mode of behaviour, alongside ‘dressing non-butch’ & wearing lots of jewellery, probably left a string of confused women in my wake, who concluded from my way of being that I must be gay.

    It probably meant that I got laid less than I mighty otherwise have done. BUT the price was one that I was prepared to pay. Better 10 missed mutual lust sessions than one orgasm for me with a reluctant partner who felt coerced into it.

    It was the same reasoning that led me to concentrate on pleasuring my partner when I was playing, often without even getting fully undressed myself, let alone cumming. I lived in hope that my partners would gradually lift from their post-orgasmic bliss & feel an overwhelming urge to return the favour. In fact, of course, most of them instead felt an overwhelming urge to go pee & then to eat something sweet (not me). Heigh ho, so it goes.

    Still, I’m not sorry I made the choices that I did. They were the right choices in the ‘women’s lib’ ’70s – they’re the right choice now. The sooner society, whether through schools or otherwise, manages to convince boys of this simple truth, the better for all of us.

  • upgrayedd says:

    I know this is an older article, but I really feel the need to comment on this.

    Hate to play the devil’s advocate (in a certain sense, not a total one), but I’m going to start off by stating that every conclusion you’ve reached here is entirely wrong. There is a “new” misogynist culture developing but its reasons are really misunderstood. I feel I can speak fairly authoritatively on the subject as a I could, in part, be considered part of that culture. However, unlike most men like myself I have actually taken the time to understand why it is I feel that way, and also to examine and speak with others and I’ve really come to some startling conclusions about myself and society as a whole, and here are what they are (this doesn’t apply to all misogyny, only really to this neo-misogynistic culture):

    Society creates some really perverse and twisted images of who men are and how they should act. I know that some parts of this movement are changing but this trend still continues and it is something that my generation was especially exposed to. In the media men are demonized as being brutal, violent, idiotic creatures who have to be controlled and from whom we have to protect our poor innocent women and children. Who was that serial killer in the news? Before you even read the article I bet you assumed it was a man. What about that rapist? Again, I bet you assumed it was a man. Child molester? The thought of a female child molester probably wouldn’t even have popped into your mind unless someone said it explicitly.

    While I don’t condone violence, this information portrays aggressiveness in a negative way, while cartoons and other children’s media show the ideal man as being “gentle”, “compassionate”, “understanding”, “kind-hearted”, etc. When exposed to the dual messages it is natural that young men will believe that it is proper for them to act more passive, more compassionate, etc.

    Where this becomes a problem is that society considers these types of men “pussies”. Despite all they’ve been raised to believe, men are not rewarded, but actually PUNISHED in society for acting as a “pussy” would.

    The majority of women don’t like them. They would prefer the more sexually exciting, aggressive dominant-male. Just read through writing and sexual fantasies of the this site’s blogger as evidence. I highly doubt she would sleep with a guy who was also asking for permission to do everything and checking up to make sure she was having a good time. “Oh, is it alright if I grab your boob now?” Pussy behavior. “He shoved me up against the wall and told me he was going to fuck me.” Sexually exciting. However, modern men are raised to believe that the second situation would be completely unacceptable behavior, borderline to rape and the first is how sex should proceed: in a kind, gentle fashion.

    I could go on and on about this in more detail about how this attitude affects men in the workplace, etc., but the point I’m ultimately making here is that this new misogyny is the failure of “raising-and-rewards” system and expectations of men in our modern culture. Young men do the best they can throughout their lives to mold themselves in the image of the “ideal” male, an image that society is constantly pushing on them and they are punished for it in adulthood, while the male they were raised to believe is “unacceptable” is rewarded lavishly in every way imaginable.

    At some point, the frustration of this situation has to give, and, unfortunately, in many cases it ends up being directed towards women. Unlike me, many men in my generation don’t ever realize and come to terms with this situation. To use myself as an example, I would say that I haven’t even COMPLETELY come to terms with it. I bear no malice towards women as a group: I really see them as no different than my male counterparts. However, in a sexual sense I’ve become almost completely disinterested. I don’t like who I have to become to be successful in society (not just in my sex life which is the primary focus of this comment/post, but also in my job, or just generally with friends, all of which I’ve never been very successful in until the last few years in which I’ve changed my behaviors drastically and have become UNBELIEVABLY successful in an amazingly short period of time), but on the other side of the coin society rejects me when I act as the person I am. The sad part about this is the person I am is only who I thought I was supposed to be.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Blimey. OK, let’s talk about what’s wrong.

      1. Your use of ‘devil’s advocate’ – generally ‘playing devil’s advocate’ means adopting a position that you don’t believe in order to test out the opposite position. It sounds, worryingly, like you genuinely believe this stuff. You’ll see why I say ‘worryingly’ in a second.

      2. “Society creates some really perverse and twisted images of who men are and how they should act.” I agree with you to an extent, in that I think society gives everyone a slightly twisted idea of what they ‘should’ be. Men are put under a lot of pressure to behave a certain way. However, I’d suggest that men are actually conditioned to e.g. hide their feelings, act macho, don’t cry, don’t show emotion, etc, rather than the other way around. There’s a bit more on this here: http://www.girlonthenet.com/2014/01/29/do-i-hate-men/

      3. “Who was that serial killer in the news? Before you even read the article I bet you assumed it was a man. What about that rapist? Again, I bet you assumed it was a man.” Umm, yes that’s true. But that’s because men do perpetrate a lot of sexual violence. This would only be in any way a useful point if the statistics for e.g. rape and serial killing were exactly balanced, which they aren’t.

      4. “While I don’t condone violence, this information portrays aggressiveness in a negative way” I should fucking hope it does, unless you think that the kind of ‘aggressiveness’ manifest in rape and serial killing is actually a positive thing.

      5. “When exposed to the dual messages it is natural that young men will believe that it is proper for them to act more passive, more compassionate, etc.” Compassion is a good thing. Are you trying to argue that men should not be compassionate? Because that is what it sounds like you are doing. I disagree that compassion is a ‘passive’ thing either – it’s an active thing: putting yourself in the shoes of someone else and working to make sure that person is comfortable/happy/etc? Pretty active, and a pretty decent thing to do.

      6. Here’s the biggest problem with your comment, and the point at which I think I should recommend that you seek some help.

      “The majority of women don’t like them. They would prefer the more sexually exciting, aggressive dominant-male. Just read through writing and sexual fantasies of the this site’s blogger as evidence. I highly doubt she would sleep with a guy who was also asking for permission to do everything and checking up to make sure she was having a good time. “Oh, is it alright if I grab your boob now?” Pussy behavior. “He shoved me up against the wall and told me he was going to fuck me.” Sexually exciting. However, modern men are raised to believe that the second situation would be completely unacceptable behavior, borderline to rape and the first is how sex should proceed: in a kind, gentle fashion.”

      No, a thousand times no. Firstly: not all women want what I want. This should be obvious to anyone who has met more than one woman. Secondly: the only reason – THE ONLY REASON – why I am able to have the kind of sex I have, and enjoy the kind of angry, powerful shagging that I enjoy is because the men I am doing it with are kind, compassionate, gentle, understanding, etc. It is one of the basic essentials of any fuck: that the person I am with is trustworthy. If he weren’t trustworthy, compassionate, etc, then ‘shoving me up against a wall and telling me he’s going to fuck me’ would be, yes, rape.

      That you don’t understand this is deeply troubling. You seem to think that men have two options: to ask a girl every time they want to do something sexual, or to be a rapist. This is not the case, and in fact between these two extremes lies a vast expanse of healthy sexual conduct: communication, discussion, the build-up of trust, discussing people’s likes and dislikes, etc. If you cannot understand this then I don’t think it’s safe for you to be reading my blog, lest you think that what I actually do is get randomly sexually assaulted by men. I’ll say it again: the only reason I can have this sex is because the men I am with are compassionate, kind, caring, etc. This stuff doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and if you think it does then I pity you deeply, and hope that you don’t actually act on any of these beliefs.

      Finally: “At some point, the frustration of this situation has to give, and, unfortunately, in many cases it ends up being directed towards women.” Chilling, mate. Honestly, really chilling. And deeply and appallingly misandrist. It sounds to me like you see men as innately aggressive, barely-evolved, rape-prone animals, whose desire for sex and inability to act like a decent human being (or ‘pussy’, as you call them) will lead to confusion, misery, and an inevitable descent into physical aggression and rape. You say that you bear no malice towards women as a group – that’s as may be (although it sounds like you have some odd views on women), what worries me the most is the way you view men. I am genuinely shocked that anyone could be so utterly convinced that one half of the population has no capacity for goodness, or decency.

      • upgrayedd says:

        I apologize that you have such a strong response to this as much of what you are commenting on is really due to lack of understanding of what I am trying to state, which I will take the blame for entirely as not explaining myself well. I was trying not to right an entire dissertation within the comments. I will attempt to better explain some of the points I am making here. Let’s start with 2.

        2. I agree with this to an extent. However, there really is a duality of images being portrayed: one being the old-school macho-man as you mentioned, and the other being the new-school uber-sensitive male. The link you provided actually plays right into my comment if you go back and re-read that part. The problem here is that your experience is only coming from one side of the coin, because the other side lives in the shadows. I can’t provide statistics, links, etc because those things don’t exist, but the shadows are where I lived my entire childhood and the beginning of my adult life, along with my many friends. The man who “cries when he needs to” is far more common than you think. He is the man (at least for a time) society told male children should be the “ideal”. However, in the real-world this man is considered a “pussy” and marginalized. He plays it safe, acts humble, and wears his heart on his sleeve and it usually doesn’t work well for him.

        Now, I’m going to go off on a tangent here and use another example of this from a female point of view. Let’s look at the “Lisa Simpson” of the world. The girl who was raised believing that ditzy air-headed women are the bane of existence and that she should develop her mind and here character. She was raised believing that society held the intellectual women as the ideal, but when she goes out into the real world she finds this really isn’t true (before I go on, as a note I’d like to say that I think that the previous statement and what I’m about to state is changing within society, but there was a time when all of this was very true). Her intellectual nature is marginalized and the subject of disdain of her male counter-parts, seen as something “cute” and novel (aww, the little can do a math problem!). In the workplace she find herself alone, as well as in her social life. What she finds is a duality: what society told her she should be and what society wants her to be are two completely different things.

        Now, I’m not arguing against the intellectual women any more than I’m arguing against the sensitive man. What I am saying is that later in life both parties end up in a situation that can be very frustrating for them.

        3. Ok, I’ll concede that serial killer may have been a bad example, but are you going to complete ignore the slew of female-male rape cases that have come to light in recent years? The female-male domestic abuse cases? Or the number of female-male child molestation cases? Statistics are almost irrelevant in talking about these things because most men/boys are laughed at for even bringing such things up. Just about every expert within the field would tell you that such things happen FAR more often than we believe. Hell, I personally was the victim of female-male domestic abuse for a while and I didn’t even realize it until YEARS later because my societal male-mental-conditioning prevented me from believing that such things were even possible. It took a lot of breaking-down of mental barriers and challenging long-held beliefs before I saw the past for what it really was.

        Sorry, but you’re proving one of the points that I’m trying to make here: though I will admit that men are MORE prone to violent acts but society has a tendency to label men as violent animals that need to be controlled, when women are just as capable and very often due commit violent and abusive acts towards men. However, these acts are largely ignored, made light of, rationalized, or marginalized, while men are automatically assumed to be the aggressors and women the victims.

        Do you believe in racial profiling? Is it right for the police to profile someone in the airport just because they are Muslim, or someone driving a nice car just because they are black? Why is sexual profiling any different?

        4. This is really poor wording and lack of explanation on my part. I understand based on the context of my comment exactly why and how it came across this way. While I know it doesn’t seem like it based on my comment I meant aggressiveness more in the sense of “he aggressively pursued the job” and less in the sense of “The neighbor’s dog is really aggressive and I’m afraid for the children”. In my aggressive statement I meant more of what would be the consider “typical macho-male behavior”: pursuing things with tenacity and taking (sometimes crazy) risks to get there. I’m not going to argue the morality of this behavior (I’m not arguing the morality of anything here, only the reality of a situation) but there is no denying that this “aggressive” behavior is rewarded. However, this is one of the many behaviors that I am stating many young males are told is “unacceptable”.

        5. I’m not arguing anything. I’m not saying that either of those qualities go hand-in-hand. I’m saying that many men are told they should behave in a compassionate AND passive behavior. You can be compassionate and still be a rule-follower: never shaking the boat, doing what you are told, etc.

        Actually, if we WERE to talk morality (which I am trying to avoid here) I would say that society needs more “passive” males and that this trait is a GOOD thing for all of us. I work in construction and you wouldn’t believe the damage I’ve seen both monetarily and in human life because of idiotic, arrogant men swinging their dicks around and beating their chests. If half these men zipped up their fucking flys, shut their mouths, and followed very well-established, well-researched procedures far fewer people who be injured or killed on the job sites and most of the disasters I’ve seen on projects would never have occurred in the first place. However, this “passive” behavior is not rewarded in society. You get ahead and get noticed by rocking the boat, breaking the rules, and standing out. The “Captain Kirk”s of the world are more likely to be rewarded than “crewman #5″s despite the fact that the “Captain Kirk”s act out of narcissism with no real regard for the people around them or the consequences of their actions. Sure, maybe they like to talk about how much they care and their beliefs, but their actions rarely align themselves with their words. The “crewman #5″s just do their job and do it well. Day in and day out, going completely unnoticed.

        6. I never said all women did. Perhaps I worded my previous comment poorly, but I tried to word my comment in a way that would reflect that “many women” (I would even say a large majority based on personal experience, the experience of my male peers, the reports of my female peers, dating site statistics, and the Internet but will admit that this view is not completely inclusive and may be skewed) prefer more “aggressive” and “dominant” males. Again, just like point #5, I’m not saying that you can’t be a kind, compassionate person but also be into rough sex and be aggressive in bed. What I am trying to do is make three points here:

        The first ties into #5: the narcissistic, headstrong male is more likely to get the girl in the first place. He takes risks and puts himself out there. If need be, he is willing to manipulate the girl and take advantage of her in order to acquire her as a mate. Often, this is just considered “typical male behavior” and the male in question doesn’t face any personal consequences for his actions. If it is just a one-night stand, the girl probably won’t even know or understand that this is going on (or even care). If the relationship lasts longer, she may eventually realize it and leave the male but there is a good chance she will stay anyway (Stockholm syndrome anyone?). On the other hand, the more passive male probably won’t even be noticed by the girl. He might approach her, talk to her, etc, but initiating sex or displaying romantic interest of any kind befuddles him. He doesn’t want to be “the pushy asshole” who he’s about his whole life. The problem here is that while the passive male is so busying dancing around in his complicated mating ritual, Captain Kirk usually just swoops in, takes what he wants, and leaves the passive male in the dust.

        The second point I’m trying to make is that for many males childhood mental conditioning prevents them from even understanding what women want from them. As with the above stated personal experience with domestic abuse, I can look back on my past and see many instances where women I was very interested in dating displayed an interest in me. However, at the time I didn’t understand what it was they wanted from me. They didn’t want me to hang out and watch movies with them or help them with their homework: these were excuses for alone time so I could initiate sex. At the time, I thought these women were interested in me, but eventually they would move on to another male so I just assumed that I was wrong. I, like many men similar to me, couldn’t fathom the idea of “just going for it” and kissing the girl or whatever. That was what assholes did. I wasn’t an asshole. I asked permission to do things, I waited until “the right moment”, or “until she was ready”. I was NOT going to push her into anything, that wasn’t right. (Being micro-analyzed, I feel the need to say that I’m not justifying pushing women into sex here: I am stating my perception at the time, and the perception of many young men that I am trying to convey, is that normal, social-sexual behavior is wrong).

        The third point I am trying to make (and this is the category I would put myself in) is that even when these males gain some social skills and overcome basic social hurdles, they have a difficult time with the mental duality of their social-sexual situation. I understand that the girl wants me to initiate sex. I understand that she wants me to be aggressive in bed. But I feel like an prick when I act that way. But I like her. I like having sex with her. But I feel like a prick when I treat her that way. But I don’t like gentle sex. I enjoy the rough sex. But everything I was taught goes against this. It’s wrong, etc. It’s a mental feed-back loop and it is difficult to break free from. Some do, some don’t. I’m not trying to elicit any sort of sympathy for myself or anyone else, just to explain the perception and mental process that goes on here.

        I really fail to see the need for the last portion of your comment here, it really seems completely childish and unnecessary. I apologize if I made myself unclear, but I’m just trying to have a civil discussion and I would appreciate it if we could cut out the armchair pyscho-analysis of my person based on a few hundred words in the comments section of a blog post. In retrospect, however I will concede on my part that the first comment I made was a little over-the-top in a few ways including stating “that every conclusion you’ve reached here is entirely wrong”. I probably could have read that over a little better before I posted. If you’re interested in continuing a DISCUSSION I will gladly indulge you, otherwise I’ll just move on with my life.

        • Girl on the net says:

          Please move on with your life. Your attitude is disturbing and misandrist, and I stick by my original comments.

  • davebones says:

    I think you are right, there is nothing anyone can do to earn sex, but you also seem like you are commodifying sex yourself and seeing sex as something you give to a man. I don’t think this is healthy. sex should always be something you share equally or its really not worth doing

    • Girl on the net says:

      Where did I say that? I don’t think I did, because it goes against everything I believe- sex is something that 2 (or more!) people share, it’s not a gift or a commodity, unless in the very specific and directly negotiated terrain of professional sex work.

  • Brian Estlin says:

    I don’t think this is in conflict with your view at all, but you didn’t say it explicitly, and I think it needs to be said:

    Everyone has a right to have sex with themselves (in private).

    It’s important, because while no one has a right to another person’s body, people have real needs for sexual pleasure, touch, and love. There is a mistaken cultural belief that we can not meet these needs for ourselves. It’s a short hop from there to the mistaken belief that we are entitled to have them met by others.

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