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The so-called Sexual Revolution and the New Virginity Debate: Feminist Perspective Needed

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 23 years ago, in 2001, on the World Wide Web.

Carson Brown wrote a fabulous article on virgins (or the celibate) as The New Sexual Deviant [Bitch Magazine], doing an excellent job of calling attention to the male-centric nature of the so-called sexual revolution which has merely flip-flopped the old formula that Only Sluts Say Yes to Only Neurotic Prudes Say No. Of course, ultimately, this is nothing new: it’s just the playing out of the male Left vs. male Right culture wars that have been going on over the past century that were initiated by the battle between Freud and the traditionalists. The article does a good job of elaborating the sexist suppositions of both the anti-virginity and pro-virginity crowds.

My only complaint: Brown argues

It certainly makes sense: How are capitalists supposed to market their stuff if people aren’t actively pursuing sex? How are they supposed to sell cars, clothes, beers, breakfast cereal, perfume, make-up, or travel on the premise that their products will get you laid if people are content to not get laid? So the market pulls out all the stops to ensure that we will remain sex-obsessed, so that we’ll buy things.

Well, yeah, ok, but who is constructing sex as rebellion in the first place? Who is controlling the big capitalist corporations and media outlets that use faux-rebellion to make money? The answer in both cases is: men. The one thing that Pat Robertson and Hugh Hefner can agree on is that sex = rebellion, orgasms = liberation. The question they bicker over is whether this rebellion is good or bad. Ultimately, corporate capitalism would find other rebellions to construct and market. I think we have to recognize that the enemy here isn’t capitalism. Or rather, that capitalism is subordinate to the real enemy: male supremacy.

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