(“Men Need Sex” will be in my upcoming collection, Fighting Words)
We got so tired of hearing that. Men need sex. There were so many iterations, so many variations …
In 1943, Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs, included sex among the physiological needs that must be satisfied before anything else. Unfortunately, his theory, along with an unforgettable pyramid illustration, became accepted as fact, men loving both hierarchy and sex, and dominating, along with everything else, the science of psychology. Worse, psychology was the single social science elective most often taken by business students, and the influence of the business worldview is near insurmountable.
Prostitution defenders, porn apologists—they too shouted that men need sex. Never mind that they might have created the need.
The mantra was used, consciously or not, to justify not only men’s relentless sexual overtures in general, but also specific instances of pressure, coercion, rape. First by husbands on their wives, then by boyfriends on their girlfriends, then by any man on any woman.
It was even used to justify the expectation that we sexualize ourselves. Not just at night, but during the day, all day, every day. It became our responsibility to keep men in a state of constant arousal. If men needed sex, they needed first to be aroused. Bizarre, really. If you don’t have an itch, you wouldn’t feel the need to scratch. Yes, there is pleasure—well, relief—not the same, note—when you scratch an itch, but wouldn’t you rather just avoid getting itchy? Who would intentionally roll around on a patch of poison ivy?
And of course when I say ‘sex’, I mean ‘sexual intercourse’. Penis-in-vagina. Apparently masturbation won’t do. An equally indefensible stance.
Which is, of course, why they were so hell-bent on calling it a need rather than simply a want. Calling a want a need increases the chance you’ll have it met. Saying you need something makes it so much harder for others to refuse to give it to you. Because needs are, well, things one needs—they’re required. Needs take priority to wants.
And, so, people with needs are important. And all too many men simply must feel important.
Of course the argument could be made, indeed should be made, that one’s moral obligation to meet another’s needs holds only when to do so is not at one’s own expense. But we’re talking about women meeting men’s needs. In a male supremacy—and let’s face it, that describes every country in the world—women are expected meet men’s needs. We are, after all, according to the two religions that, combined, claim membership of half the world’s population, made for men.
More than that, we are expected to sacrifice ourselves for others. Yes, in times of war, young men are also expected to sacrifice themselves for others, but at least to do so in that case comes with payment and honour. Women are expected to do so daily, throughout their entire lives, with not so much as a thank you. Let alone a medal and veteran’s benefits.
Case in point: pronatalism. Despite the risks of pregnancy and labour, not to mention motherhood—loss of actual life in the fomer, and loss of independence, dreams, aspirations in the latter—women are expected, pressured, coerced (through the withholding of contraception and abortion) to become pregnant, to go through labour, and, unless one takes drastic action (such as putting your child up for adoption or leaving your newborn in a dumpster), to be a mother. If women’s rights—specifically the right to be free of harm and the right to autonomy—were as important as men’s rights, impregnating someone without her explicit and expressed, nay, enthusiastic, consent would be illegal. Not just ‘an accident’.
So it did no good to speak up—and we did, loudly, clearly, and frequently—about women’s wants, women’s desires, women’s preferences. It did no good to say ‘What about women’s needs?’
And since the argument (about obligation being limited by expense) was not made, at least not by most men, need implied entitlement. Which simply increased the prevalence of coercion.
Of course many of us responded—screamed, actually—no, you do not need sex. You need food, water, and shelter, but you do not need sex. You won’t die without it. As Signme Uplease said on Feminist Current, “No man has ever died due to a lack of sexual access to women.”
Well, guess what.
In 2014, Elliot Rodger killed himself. Due to a lack of sexual access to women.(1) He said as much in the explanation he left: “… I decided to go out in Isla Vista in an attempt to lose my virginity before I turned 22. That was the only thing that could have saved me. I was giving the female gender one last chance to provide me with the pleasures I deserved from them. … I will punish all females for … depriving me of sex.”
In 2018, Alex Minassian followed in Rodger’s footsteps after posting on Facebook that the “Incel Rebellion” had begun.(2)
And indeed, “copycat crimes” occurred. At an alarmingly exponential rate. It was soon apparent that the (male) police had seriously mis-named the increase. It was an epidemic.
It was also soon apparent that the infection was affecting not just incels. Any man who didn’t get sex when he
wanted needed it was at risk. It became a pandemic.
At first, the prostitution business boomed. Not that it wasn’t already flourishing better than every other business in the world except porn. (Though of course, the distinction between the two was becoming more and more … obscure. Untenable. Given the cross-over in personnel, business practices—kidnapping, trafficking—and content.) Mega-brothels such as those in Germany offering an ‘all-you-can-fuck’ option on their menu, appeared on every continent, in every country, in every city …
But the boom didn’t last. As mentioned above, by mistaken logic, need implied entitlement, and men figured they shouldn’t have to pay for something they were entitled to. After all, they pointed out, we don’t pay for the air that we breathe. Nor, typically, the water we need. That we do have to pay for food, as necessary for survival as air and water, seemed to escape them. Perhaps because most men didn’t do the grocery shopping.
The porn industry also boomed. The illogical prerequisite need for arousal, remember? Of course the rational thing would’ve been to just stop watching porn. But men aren’t very rational. ‘Course, neither are women, but then we aren’t the ones proclaiming superiority in that regard.
Since the men so often killed women before killing themselves, some fathers armed their daughters. Alas, this was most often motivated not by love, but by outrage. At the theft and dishonour. As in the case of rape, the crime was considered to be against the men, not the women; in this case, against the insulted fathers, not the deceased daughters.
Happily, since women typically have better hand-eye coordination than men, the girls often shot the boys first. Surprisingly, in those cases there was no problem arguing self-defence. Why now? Why not when girls and women killed their abusing boyfriends and husbands, and their would-be rapists? Was it because now the men were about to kill them? Surely not. Many an abusing boyfriend/husband ended up killing their girlfriend/wife, and many a would-be rapist would have killed his victim. Perhaps it was because by this time, there were more women serving as the arresting officers, the prosecutors, the judges and juries.
In any case, the wives looked on as their husbands armed their daughters, considered the matter, and armed themselves. Almost overnight “domestic abuse” petered out. Unfortunately, that meant there would be no justified use of the forementioned arms. But if the forementioned wives didn’t kill their husbands, the forementioned husbands would, eventually, soon, kill themselves. The wives figured it was better that way.
Even so, women asked—begged—for stronger gun control and a curfew for men (men seemed more affected at night, but that was probably due to cultural tradition, not the infection), but since the gatekeepers to legislative change were for the most part men, their requests didn’t even get to the point of official debate. There was no way men would suggest, let alone agree, that their right to bear arms or their freedom of movement—their freedom!—be limited.
So women curfewed themselves. That is to say, they curfewed themselves more.
In fact, they essentially quarantined themselves by establishing girls-only schools (what an unexpected wonder they were!) and a few women-only essential businesses. Such places had to have armed protection, but many young women were more than happy to become qualified and provide such protection.
And then something strange happened. The rampages got shorter. The men seemed to have less and less time, during which they killed others, before they were overwhelmed by the urge to kill themselves. The source of the infection had mutated. Soon, the men were able to kill only themselves. Yay, mutation.
Of course not all men. Not all men were infected. Some seemed to be naturally immune. Others seemed able to resist. It became a kind of litmus test. Many women were unsurprised when their husbands, their boyfriends, became infected. They were secretly—at first—not so secretly as time went on—pleased, or at least relieved, when said husbands and boyfriends killed themselves. But many women were surprised. Dismayed, actually. Especially when it was their sons who proved to be infected. With the belief that men needed sex, were entitled to sex.
Our best minds continued their efforts to understand the infection. Was it an infection? If so, was it viral? Bacterial? Something else? Was it contagious? What caused it in the first place?
Of course real infections, whether viral or bacterial, are immune to belief. Which is why many thought it was something else, some other kind of virus maybe.
But the vectors of contagion were unclear. In fact, the very real possibility of social contagion severely muddied the waters. We knew that many opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and desires—and the behaviors, the actions, motivated by those opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and desires—were due to a sort of peer pressure rather than to any independent, conscious consideration. Especially among young people who were plugged into social media sites 24/7. Could the infection be caused by a sort of social virus? If so, the cure would be what—social isolation?
Perhaps it wasn’t an infection, per se, but an addiction. This was one of the leading theories. We knew that addition could literally rewire the brain, and we certainly knew—well, women certainly knew—men seemed to keep their heads firmly buried in the sand about this—that watching porn was addictive. We knew that watching porn changed men’s attitudes—toward women, toward the acceptability of violence toward women … We also knew that smartphone companies had entire departments researching dopamine triggers (a neurological update of the old-fashioned manipulation sought by advertising) in an attempt to get and keep our attention … It would be no surprise if porn companies had been doing the same. In which case the addiction to porn would be physiological as well as psychological (though of course, there was no clear distinction between the two). It did seem that watching porn messed with men’s chemicals, a consequence very likely exacerbated by eating meat, ingesting the steroids fed to livestock … If this theory were correct, the cure would be simple: stop watching porn. Not gonna happen.
Another leading theory, developed by Soong Malm, was that the Y chromosome, deformed from the get-go and long disintegrating, was making a desperate, and final (as it may turn out), bid for survival. When the Y chromosome disintegrates to a certain point, she hypothesized, a hitherto dormant virus was activated that makes sexual reproduction—and hence survival of the Y chromosome—an urgent need. The theory was supported by all the selfish gene arguments, popularized by Richard Dawkins, and by the work of the famous, but pseudonymous, TrustYourPerceptions.(3) Since the end result, in the case of the need being unmet, is the death of the male, it’s obviously a defective strategy, but then we would expect no less from a defective chromosome. Regardless, this theory similarly doesn’t point to a cure.
There would be a certain satisfaction in thinking that the cure could not be found because of ongoing, persistent sabotage—for surely every male scientist had a number of assistants, surely at least one of whom was female. Such sabotage would be even more possible as time went on, because as the male population decreased, so many jobs, including high-level research positions, had to be—could be, finally—filled by women. It made a difference. Especially when a certain level of critical mass—slightly different from case to case—was reached. Eventually whole teams, whole departments, whole companies (mainstream, not just the forementioned small essential ones), were run by women. Most women were surprised at the change they at first couldn’t put their wedding-ringed finger on when they walked into, for example, a bank staffed entirely—entirely, including every single one of the managers—by women. But some women, mostly radical feminists, were not surprised at all. Such places were … relaxed.
But we simply do not know. Whether sabotage is occurring.
What we do know is that few women are upset by the lack of a cure.
After all, by far most crime has been committed by men. Most violence has been committed by men. Men, by and large, have created and sustained the porn industry which overwhelmingly portrays women being hurt and humiliated. As entertainment.
The truth of it is that men are not only destructive, they are self-destructive. Case in point: what they have done to our planet. Its food, its water, its very air. So, the mass suicides are just a personal expression of what they’ve been doing all along.
So, we’re just … waiting.
(1) Many women argue that Marc Lepine, who in 1989 killed himself, was patient zero. None of the reports at the time link his death with lack of sex, but one must keep in mind that most, if not all, of the reporters were male (it’s almost always men who write the stories, edit the stories, ‘make’ the news, manipulate our world view … , so although Lepine first killed fourteen women, they didn’t even link his action to misogyny—they reported it as a crazed shooting, not premeditated femicide). Any woman who reads the letter Lepine left behind can see quite clearly between the lines—”I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker. For seven years, life has brought me no joy …”—that he was a so-called incel and fatally frustrated by his unmet need.
(2) One might wonder at the four-year gap. But only if one was a man. Who didn’t read what I just said about news-making. How many mass shootings, by men (wait, what am I saying, they’re all by men) had far more female victims than male victims? More to the point, how many were motivated by the frustration of involuntary celibacy? Frustration that, apparently, can turn into murderous rage? We’ll never really know.
(3) See https://trustyourperceptions.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/dudesaredoomed1.