“The majority of women have submission fantasies. From classic romance The Flame and The Flower to classic erotica The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty to Twilight BDSM fan fiction, submission themes are immensely popular in cross-cultural female erotica. The fact of the matter is that most heterosexual women are wired to find sexual submission arousing—and so are most female mammals.”
Wired! WIRED! Leave it to Psychology Today to make an outlandish claim, eh?
There is more in the article (though I must warn you, a lot of it reads like a rational apologia of rape culture). Stuff like this:
“I think this is one of the problems we’re having in romance in general right now: our heroes have gotten a little too PC. We’re portraying men the way feminist ideals say they should be-respectful and consensus-building,” muses erotic romance (EroRom) author Angela Knight. “Yet women like bad boys. I suspect that’s because our inner cavewoman knows Doormat Man would become Sabertooth Tiger Lunch in short order. In fact, this may be one reason why EroRom is gaining popularity so fast—writers feel free to write dominant heroes with more of an edge.”
On the other hand, most men are aroused by being dominant, as evidenced by the massive cross-cultural popularity of dominance-themed adult Web sites for men. These include some of the most inventive and varied genres of male erotica, such as hypnotism porn (where Svengalis hypnotize woman into having sex), drunk porn (where men trick inebriated women into having sex), sleep porn (where men take advantage of sleeping women), and a wide diversity of exploitation porn (where women exchange sexual favors for school books, a ride, or a rent-free apartment).
Naturally, a reader sent them a letter calling the piece out for what it is, a glorification of violence. Do men want to rape? Do women want to be raped? and how do they get themselves out of the hole? By digging deeper, of course!:
There are more ingenious variations of both dominance and submission porn for men than any other genre. A man’s dominance cue might be satisfied by Mike’s Apartment, a website where women (actually paid actresses) trade sex for free rent; by Hypno King, a website where women are hypnotized into performing sex acts; or by Spanked Cutie (just like it sounds). A man’s submission cue might be satisfied by CFNM porn (clothed female naked male); by Strap On Power, a forced feminization site; or even the castration porn on DeviantClip (eek!). All of these are highly imaginative erotic concoctions designed to activate men’s domination and submission cues. (I’ll also note that since somewhere between 20 and 40% of men are aroused by submission cues, if it was the case that “women unconsciously want to be raped” then logically this fairly sizable set of submissive men would also want to be raped. But we don’t believe that.)
In women’s erotica, there is similar ingenuity in the portrayal of dominance and submission—arguably even more than in men’s, though it’s a bit like comparing apples and oranges since men like images and women like stories.
If I was ever asked to compile a list of phrases that have caused the most damage to humanity, in my hypothetical top 10, I would reserve a special place for “Men like X; Women like Y”.
Above from Redlightpolitics.
Serendipitously, earlier tonight I was reading this post by Maymay. Then In Part 1 of the Psychology Today article above I read:
If you suspect this is some kind of stealth agenda for justifying belligerent or misogynistic male behavior, read on, for there is a fascinating neural caveat. One of the most startling findings from our desire research is this: men and women’s brains each come wired with the neural circuitry forboth sexual dominance and sexual submission.
and thought, “You were startled to learn that people of different genders are into both dominance and submission. That is adorable.” Next they’ll learn that individuals can be into both dominating and submitting, or that a wide range of orientations (from 100% SUPER HOMOSEXUAL to overcompensatingly [sic, I know] straight [or something]) are observed across genders. I mean, you can get paid to realize these things? Sign me up.
And then I read the first sentence of Part 2:
We did not point to porn that depicts rape, we pointed to porn that depicts dominance. Nevertheless, you direct attention to one of the thorniest issues in the science of sex, one that provokes much handwringing and hyperventilating by academics and laypeople alike. You also frame the issue in the most direct—and inflammatory, of course—way possible: do men unconsciously want to rape and do women unconsciously want to be raped?
Which makes me want to, as my dad would say, spit nails. The porn that they described, for the record, includes “ such as hypnotism porn (where Svengalis hypnotize woman into having sex), drunk porn (where men trick inebriated women into having sex), sleep porn (where men take advantage of sleeping women),” all of which are rape porn. If someone puts his cock inside your body while you are unconscious (unless you have negotiated that shit beforehand [And even then, right, cause how do you withdraw consent? It’s an interesting case.]) then it is rape. This is 101 level stuff.
Speaking of 101 level stuff, a quick note about lurking variables and the “ cross-cultural popularity of dominance-themed adult Web sites for men.” In how many of these cultures were women the dominant gender? I think these guys may have some trouble with the 101 issues in general. I (obviously?) haven’t read their book, but its subtitle includes the word “experiment,” while the Amazon description suggests that what they actually have is survey data. Nothing wrong with survey data (and maybe there really was some experimental/quasi-experimental business goin’ on), but it is a different thing.
I have more to say about this, and have since I first posted about consent many months ago. So I say more, hopefully soon. But for now, one last gem from Part 1:
So what’s a loving couple committed to equality, consensus, and mutual compromise to do? Negotiating sexual politics has always been difficult, but paradoxically the laudable and necessary victories of gender equality activism might make it even more challenging.
The authoritarianism of this statement reeks. Yes, it is certainly more challenging to negotiate with another party when you have to negotiate as if the other party is also a human being with strikingly similar legal/ethical rights as yourself. It is a bummer, dude. Much like how throwing people in jail is such a laborious process when you have to legally collect evidence, or what a drag it is to negotiate labor contracts when you can’t just hire someone to beat the union organizers. A free society is a pain in the ass for the rulers – that is the whole point.
There is no nice way of describing your sexual politics if you have concluded that the sovereignty of individuals over their own body and equality amongst humans of all genders is a noxious barrier to getting your orgasms.