It used to be that in the absence of saying no she’s saying yes; that by saying no she’s saying convince me; and that by convincing me she’s saying yes. And so, much to the delight of us ardent men, she was pretty much guaranteed to be always saying yes. Then it was that no means no. Shortly after that it was that in the absence of saying yes she means no. And now it is that by saying yes she means no, unless that yes is a) explicit, b) enthusiastic, c) ongoing, and d) unmotivated by any asymmetry of power.
This has made yes a nigh-impossible thing to say. And if it is successfully said, the very saying of it is almost invariably such a turn-off that her partner’s response is likely to be, “Thanks, but I think I’ll just go off by myself and masturbate.”
Some would argue that what this new politically correct definition of consent amounts to is the criminalization of having sex. So in having sex one’s only hope is that his partner won’t press charges – or more accurately that she won’t file an information – or that if she does, then a) the accused will be willing to perjure himself, and b) there are no witnesses to falsify his false testimony.
Notwithstanding that sex is a pretty powerful driver, I suspect the not-entirely-atypical man, up against this level of disincentive, will simply opt to keep his pecker in his pants. And this, I trust we’d all agree, is going to be a not-insignificant loss for many of us, as many women as men.
At the end of the day – and sometimes in the middle of it – people just need to get on with having sex. The #MeToo movement is hardly the first time in human history that supervision of sex has been implemented, though for most of that history that supervision was to protect the rights of the woman’s ‘owner’.
Now that women own themselves – or as Camille Paglia complains, each other – the locus of that supervision has shifted, but with the same inhibiting consequences. A highly visible police presence is the sine qua non of highway safety. But the same presence in the bedroom puts a sure-fire kibosh on the getting-it-up that’s the requisite precursor to this getting on with it.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that humans will always find a way to be humans. Throw a heterosexual man in prison and he’ll have sex with other men. Scare the shit out of having sex with a woman and he’ll buy a sex doll.
Some of the women behind the #MeToo movement are fine with that. But many are not. They’ve complained that their sexuality was their currency, and now they’re complaining that that currency is losing its value. The growing availability of sex dolls is threatening to undercut their market share.
I predict that the dizzying speed with which sex doll technology is racing to meet the demand created by the #MeToo movement is going to radically alter the nature of male-female relations. And not just in the bedroom, but in everything informed by the bedroom. I’m told that I treat women a certain way because in the back of my mind I’m cultivating their availability. In this Brave New World that will no longer be necessary. In this Brave New World I’ll probably treat them as I do just one of the guys.
As I say, that’s precisely what some women think women have been hoping for all along. And maybe they’re right. But I have this niggling doubt. And my parting gift to you, as I slink off into my sexual dotage, is that doubt.