"Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount 
of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in 
prostitution." - Bertrand Russell
 

 The human race has emerged from prehistory and has developed its culture for 
millennia but we're still confused about sex. I mean what could be simpler? Boy 
meets girl. Then . . . well you know what. 
 Why is something as elementary and essential as the attraction between the 
sexes still a battlefield and the source of constant disputes (the "War of the 
Sexes")? I've sometimes wondered if the problem is "equality" - the idea that 
men and women must be regarded as equal in all respects. If we allow ourselves 
to generalise, men do *seem* to be more promiscuous than women; women do *seem* 
to be looking for a permanent partner. (Proof? Gay males have far more partners 
and far more sex than straight men. Lesbians have far less sex than any other 
group. Heterosexuals lie between those two figures.) This difference was 
recognised in the Victorian period when a marriage between a man and woman was 
assumed to be permanent (and divorces were regarded as scandalous) but at the 
same time there was an army of prostitutes to satisfy the novelty-seeking 
desires of the male population. I don't have an answer to the discrepancy - I 
just think we should look at the issue with wide-open eyes. Maybe it is just a 
result of women having being controlled by men for centuries; men who had their 
supremacy recognised by law. Now that that patriarchy is breaking down the 
differences between the sexual habits of men and women *may* vanish completely. 
But I certainly don't rule out the idea that such differences are rooted in 
biology.
 There are some wonderful ironies here. Is putting women on a pedestal (as 
happened in the 19th century with the "cult of the lady" an acknowledgment of 
women's superiority (or at least equality) or is it a cunning (probably 
subconscious) put down?
 I've quoted Malcolm Muggeridge twice before on FFL. Here it is again: "It's 
impossible to string together three consecutive sentences about sex without 
making a complete hypocrite of yourself." This post must make me guilty as 
charged. One thing is for sure: the sexual utopia envisaged by the sixties 
revolutionaries has failed to materialise. On the other hand the days when a 
woman could die from "sexual hysteria" (it really did happen - see Ruskin's 
infatuation with Rose La Touche) are long gone!


 
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