In what way do these guides not encourage exactly the same degree of focus on male desires, except that this is about sexual pleasure rather than domestic comfort?
Women are always expected to please men and look effortless.
We have moved smoothly from one form of female bondage to another, but we claim this is liberation.
Liberal ideology flatters women by telling us that our desires are good and that we can find meaning in satisfying them at all costs. I propose an alternative sexual culture that recognizes other human beings as real people, invested with real worth and dignity.
For starters, women should avoid courting danger.
Most feminists do not like this suggestion, believing that women should not be expected to be the ones who change their behavior.
From time to time, a police force will launch a campaign on preventing rape, with posters advising women to stay together when going out at night, to protect their friends, etc.
Invariably, these efforts elicit a feminist backlash.
They see this as victim blaming, when it is the rapists that the police should focus on. What is true.
But here’s the point: Rapists don’t care what feminists have to say.
Posters that say “do not rape” will prevent precisely zero rape, because rape is already illegal and would-be rapists know it.
It must be possible to say both that rape is wrong and that it is acceptable, even essential, to give advice that can help reduce its incidence.
I could hardly have more contempt for rapists.
I fantasize with friends about marketing a range of tiny guillotines to deal with rapists in a very direct way.
And yet, I am exhausted by a feminist discourse that cannot go beyond saying and repeating that rape is wrong.
Yes, rape is wrong. Now, let’s do something about it.
There are two ways to reduce rape. The first is to coerce potential rapists by imprisoning them.
Prosecution rates for sex crimes are appallingly low in all parts of the world – in the UK less than 1% result in a conviction.
Convicted rapists should spend much longer in prison – life, if need be – because I have very little faith in the effectiveness of sex offender rehabilitation programs.
Such a program in England and Wales has actually been shown to slightly increase recidivism rates.
The other course of action is to limit opportunities for rapists.
They are men who are turned on by violence and unable to control their impulses when faced with an appropriate victim and an appropriate set of circumstances – a victim who is drunk, stoned or otherwise vulnerable, the absence of witnesses and no fear of legal or social proceedings. repercussions.
Young women between the ages of 13 and 25 are prime targets, so if you wanted to design the perfect environment for the potential rapist, you couldn’t do better than a party or a nightclub full of young women. who wear high heels. (limited mobility) and alcohol or drug use (limited consciousness).
Is it appalling for a person to even consider assaulting these women? Yes.
Does this moral statement offer any protection to these women? No.
I made this mistake many times as a young woman and I understand the cultural pressure.
But, while young women should feel free to get hammered with their girlfriends or trusted men, doing it with weird men is always going to be risky.
I think we all know that, just as we all know that it’s risky for young women to hitchhike, travel alone, or go back to a stranger’s house.
The sad truth is that something in the region of 10 percent of men poses a risk and these men are not always identifiable at first sight, or even after a long acquaintance.
So my advice to young women should be this: avoid putting yourself in a situation where you’re alone with a man you don’t know or a man who gives you a bad feeling.
He’s almost certainly stronger and faster than you, which means the only thing standing between you and rape is this man’s self-control.
This advice does not protect against all forms of rape, including (but not limited to) incestuous, prison, child and marital rape.
I wish I could offer advice to protect myself from these atrocities, but I can’t.
Other feminists can cringe all they want, accusing me of blaming victims, and insisting that the onus should be on rapists, not their victims, to prevent rape.
But they have no other solutions to offer.
I have no doubt that in this climate of free and easy sex, vulnerable young women need to be careful for their own protection.
My advice to them is this: only have sex with a man if you think he would be a good father to your children.
Not because you necessarily intend to have children with him, but because it’s a good rule of thumb to decide if he’s worthy of your trust.
Or if, just like Marilyn Monroe, you are at risk of being exploited or worse.
Adapted from The Case Against The Sexual Revolution: A New Guide To Sex In The 21st Century by Louise Perry, which will be published by Polity on June 2 at £14.99. © Louise Perry 2022. To order a copy for £13.49 (offer valid until 6/11/22; free UK P&P on orders over £20), go to mailshop.co.uk/ books or call 020 3176 2937.