What Men Dare Do! "O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!"

4Jan/1112

Male Sexual Agency

Much has been written about female sexual agency, and how according to traditional notions of sexuality, it's sublimated to the masculine.

Also, however, male sexual agency is reduced by traditional notions of sexuality.  Unlike women, whose sexual agency is always supposed to be "off" until a man wants it, men's sexual agency is always supposed to be "on."  We always want to have sex -- when it's appropriate, when it's not appropriate.  We're already supposed to be horny; we always want it.  Moreover, if a women wants sex, and we don't want it, something's very wrong with us.

I find that all very dehumanizing.  I have agency.  I can choose to do things, or I can not choose to do things.  I can want things, and I can not wants things.  Although I'm not a straight, cis woman, I would suspect that this might be the kind of feelings women have about their own agency.

But there's another argument to be made about all of this, and I'm intrigued in it, because it's the kind of the argument that appeals to the some of the emotions that I suspect are behind some of the Men's Rights Activists (MRA).  If you don't know about MRAs, well, they're, shall we say, interesting folk.  They're generally explicitly anti-feminist, anti-woman and pretty friggin misogynist.  Another male feminist, over at the blog Man Boobz, chronicles them very well.

So now, if you read a bit of the MRAs write, they're a pretty frustrated folk.  A lot of them want to get laid.  A lot them really hate women.  A lot of them have, or at least they write about, a lot of negative experiences they have with women.  Some try to use pick up lines to meet women, while others follow other stereotypes we feminists ascribe to men, just viewing women as objects.

But I think a lot of the source of these feelings is that these men (and most cisgendered straight men who aren't feminist) have bought into this notion that we're always horny, we always want to have sex, and we have to pursue it.  I think it's one of the reasons why you'll frequently hear men claim that men and women can't ever have a platonic relationship.  How can you, if the only thing on your mind is how you're going to screw this woman?  If we're always horny, how can we have genuine relationships with other men, who after all, are our competitors?

I don't know if arguments like that are really going to be effective with some of the MRAs.  My mantra is always: don't preach to the choir, don't preach to the damned, preach to those who can be saved.  But if some of those underlying emotions behind some of their anger towards women is from an inability to recognize that they don't have to be horny all the time, then maybe this is a kind of tactic that would be effective in reaching some men.

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