Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
Home » Humans » Women » Feminism | About me Impressum Contact Sitemap

Sex and power

Much of feminists’ (and to some part women’s, in general) attitudes towards, sex, pornography, prostitution, and rape, can be explained by sex being a woman’s main bargaining chip in interactions with men (at least, as far as relationships are concerned).

A particular issue is the wish for a “sex monopoly”, in that a husband’s access to sex is restricted to what his wife provides, but also that men, as a group, should have no other venue to sexual satisfaction than women looking for a marriage. (Here I use “marriage” as an over-simplification for marriage, romantic relationships, reproductive efforts, and similar). Consider now:

  1. Prostitution circumvents the monopoly entirely: Men can pay for (and receive) sex on a case-by-case, no-strings-attached basis, and they have the opportunity to have sex with women that are younger, slimmer, or otherwise more attractive than their wives of twenty years. Unsurprisingly, many women and very many feminists are opposed to prostitution—to the point of insisting that it is banned entirely even in the light of statistics and reasoning showing that this will make matters worse for the prostitutes.

    An interesting point is that prostitutes put a comparatively low price on sex, which is in stark contrast to the extremely high indirect prices that many wives require. After a bit of googling, I have a source that indicates roughly 20 Euro per time in Berline. With one visit a week, this amount to roughly one thousand Euro/year—a wife who is given less in gifts and attentions of various kinds is likely to be a very unhappy camper. (In addition, after clearing non-monetary costs and advantages of a wife against each other, many men find themselves with a far greater non-monetary net-cost.) During my readings, I saw one article (but failed to keep a link) that argued that several visits/week to more expensive call-girls was cheaper, in the long run, than going through with a stereotypical US marriage.


    Prostitution is entirely legal in Germany, and it is theoretically considered a perfectly acceptable trade—notwithstanding that some groups of e.g. feminists and religious conservatives are opposed to it.

  2. Pornography, similarly, gives men the ability to, both literally and figuratively, take matters into their own hands. Speaking for myself, I find very many women sufficiently lacking in sexual attraction (even when discounting those who are over-the-hill agewise) that I would prefer masturbation while watching a video of two gorgeous 18 y.o. lesbians. Further, one (of several) reasons for why I am usually single is that my sexual needs are sufficiently, if imperfectly, satisfied even without a partner. I would be much more likely to have a girlfriend at any given time, if porn was not available; and if a non-trivial proportion of all men have similar thoughts, this has severely negative effects on women’s chances of getting married (even laid) or receiving favours in return for sex. (Notably, this is not restricted to the less attractive, although they bear the brunt, because the competition will decrease on all but, possibly, the highest levels.)

    Even the sometimes very upset reactions of women when they find out that there husbands masturbate, even without porn, is understandable in light of this model.

    As a peculiarity, that some women consider it “cheating” when a man uses porn is partially a “You are circumventing my monopoly!” in disguise.

    An interesting special case is the ever widening definition of pedophilia: Women of 16, 17 are among the most physically attractive (on average), and are shortly before their “reproductive peak”. That men find them sexually interesting is perfectly normal and healthy. Yet, in the wrong country (including most US states) they are not only legally off the market, but any man showing interest is immediately decried as a pedophile—and met with the same moral condemnation as if he were raping five y.o. children. The effect is that a very sizable part of the most physically attractive women (possibly around a quarter) are artificially excluded from the market, thereby easing the competition enormously for post-eighteen women.


    This is the more absurd as many advanced western countries have ages of consent considerably lower than 18, including Sweden (15) and Germany (14 or 16, depending on the circumstances).

    Further, having subsequently thought back to my own school years, I would say that there were many girls younger than 16 who were more physically attractive than the average 25 y.o.—notwithstanding that their lack of maturity and education more than neutralizes that advantage in a more holistic perspective.

    Another interesting special case is sex-bots, VR-sex and similar—against which the suggestion of a sex-bot bane has already been raised, long before the fact: If they come into being at a reasonable quality and consumer cost, then any attempts to create or uphold a sexual monopoly is immediately made futile. In effect, this is the worst nightmare of some women’s groups (notwithstanding that women would have the same direct benefits as men from such technology).

  3. Rape within a relationship immediately nullifies the sexual power of a woman in that relationship, and, historically, laws making it a non-crime have been common, using a reasoning that sex is a marital obligation and that refusing to have sex with ones spouse is breach of contract.


    While the use of physical force may not be acceptable in today’s society, the principle is still sound; and if one party one-sidedly limits sex to an unconscionable level (less than twice a week?) or is not sufficiently flexible and cooperative (e.g. by not sufficiently respecting the other party’s wishes with regard to timing), then the other should, in turn, be freed from his/her obligations—at a minimum by the removal of any ethical and legal restrictions on extra-marital sex for the duration of the limitation.

    Within a marriage or, to some part, an exclusive relationship, consistently denying sex, or using sex for barter, is simply not acceptable: Providing sex is an obligation per the previous barter that resulted in the relationship. (And claims like “It is my body!” are of highly limited relevance.) See also a woman’s view that “We have a right to have sex with our spouse.”e. Notably, from my readings of relationship forums, I can vouch that there are many women who complain about a sex-less marriage.

    Rape directed at a non-SO is a very different issue from a legal and ethical standpoint (and its inclusion here should not be misconstrued as approval), but brings similar complications as prostitution from a wife’s POV. Further, it severely limits the victims (unlike within a relationship) legitimate right to use sex as a means of barter; in particular, as a means of securing a relationship.

    The common feminist claim that “Rape is about power, not sex.”, is also understandable, if not justifiable, based on the above: As a side-effect of the rapist’s actions, the one source of power that women have traditionally had is diminished. However, the claim remains at the same justification level as “Robbery is about power, not money”—any change of power is a side-effect, and something that pertains almost exclusively to the victim (and even here it will often be entirely subjective, and, I suspect, most victims will not even reflect on the possibility).

A commonality is that these all allow for a greater variation than a monogamous relationship with a woman; which is a non-trivial advantage, because men tend to grow bored with having the same sex with the same woman all the time. (The same may apply, m.m., to women.) Generally, they give a greater freedom of choice, for example with regard to timing.