Indeed, I have heard men remark on the oddity that sex seems to be the only card women have to play in the dating game any more. They do not know how to manage a household, raise children or treat a husband. Instead, like prostitutes, they think entirely in terms of maximizing the return they get on sex. Even Shalit acknowledges an inability to cook at the time of her marriage (that apple pie recipe of hers begins “You will need two frozen premade pie crusts…”). A renewed focus on feminine modesty, while welcome, will not by itself prepare young women for their domestic duties. The attitude that “I’m too good to sleep around” in the absence of anything to offer men besides sex may result not in any epidemic of marriage proposals but in widespread spinsterhood enlivened only by occasional readings of The Vagina Monologues, the lesbian-feminist play in which women gush over how wonderful their own private parts are.
But let us consider Shalit’s own account, culled from anecdotes and women’s magazines, of the sexual situation women face today. The humble corporate drone who has to fear harassment charges and loss of livelihood if he winks at the girl in the next cubicle will feel like he stepped through Alice’s looking glass when he reads this material. Here is a realm in which men have reduced women to struggling to see who can offer them the most and the best sex, frantically searching the Kama Sutra for some new position or technique that will manage to gratify their cloyed appetites. The men who inhabit this world are concerned not that women remain faithful, but that they do not become “clingy.” Cosmo supports them, advising women to scurry out the door immediately after sex for fear of intruding on the Big Important things their man has to do that day which do not involve them—and which may well include a tryst with another girlfriend. “It’s sad to see that this is what it’s come to” says one woman: “that guys will raise the bar and girls will scramble to meet it. Women just want to know what they have to do to get these guys to fall in love with them”. One young woman explains: “If I don’t do whatever [my boyfriend] wants and he broke up with me for some reason, two days from now he’d have somebody else. That’s just how it works”. “The men who share these women’s beds,” says Shalit, “are treated like kings or princes whose authority comes from God himself, whereas the women’s own feelings and even their health concerns are restricted in the extreme”. Shalit advises one such woman to “run, not walk, to the nearest exit, trying not to trip over all the naked women on her way out”.
All these stories certainly make it appear that, in the brave new world of the sexual revolution, the man’s position is stronger than under monogamy while the woman’s is weaker. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Let me pose a simple question which Shalit never considers. It used to be that there was roughly one girl for every boy; if men now have harems, where are the extra women coming from? The answer is equally simple and obvious. Most men do not have harems, of course, and there are no more women than formerly. Some men have harems because women “liberated” from monogamy mate only with unusually attractive men. This situation demonstrates not the weakness of the woman’s position but its strength. If the male sex instinct were the primary determinant of mating, the overall pattern would be the most attractive women getting gang-banged.
In order to understand what is really going on, it will be necessary to shine a harsh light on a matter women instinctively prefer to keep under wraps: the female sex drive.
(The Last Ditch, March 2008).