On the unusually low libidos of Leftists

This is just an impression I’ve got–no evidence–but what are blogs for but to throw out new ideas?

There’s a stereotype out there, created by we conservatives, that Leftists are a bunch of lechers who have decided to tear down the moral patrimony of our civilization just so they can more easily gratify their own carnal cravings.  Listening to them, though, I more often get the impression that Leftists are people with unusually weak sex drives.  Don’t get me wrong:  I’m sure they get laid more often than conservatives, but that’s not for trying harder.  It’s because chicks dig Leftist radicals.

Here are some of the things that give me the impression that powerful lusts are more often absent in the Leftist constitution:

  • As I said in an earlier post, they seem to have a hard time imagining that immodestly dressed women and indecent pictures in public places might make it harder for young men to be chaste.  We always hear from them “Women have a right to dress however they want!  Men have a duty to not notice!”  A semi-dressed woman should be able to walk up to a man, basically throw her boobs in his face, and he must not only not look, he must treat her precisely the same way he would treat a woman in a nun’s habit.  They even think it silly to imagine that a man’s concentration on work might suffer in the presence of exposed female flesh.  I ask you, are these they expectations of ordinary men?
  • They’re always politicizing sex, as if that’s the only way they can make it interesting for themselves.  Feminist academics going on about their lesbianism are a particularly obvious case.  One gets the distinct impression that sticking it to the patriarchy, rather than any mere corporeal pleasure, is the main motive for lesbian activity.  Sexual radicals like Wilhelm Reich saw promiscuity as the easy rode to communism, and I expect that’s the main reason Leftists could be bothered engineering a sexual revolution.
  • Even among heterosexual progressives, and the culture that reflects their influence, they’re always pushing transgression as something needed to make sex exciting.  Anything sex-related is peppered with words like “naughty” or “forbidden” even when the act in question is morally licit (for married couples).  Again, it seems like, for our progressive brethren, the act of coitus itself is a dull affair.  It’s only interesting if it can be related to a revolutionary project:  flouting established moral norms and that sort of thing.  I myself have often enough wanted to indulge in sex acts that would have been immoral for one reason or another, but I’ve never wanted to do anything because it was forbidden.  I would have rather the act not been immoral, so that I could have licitly indulged myself.  For the transgressive crowd, that would take away all the fun.
  • Use of weirdly trivializing words to describe sex, like saying that it should be “fun”.
  • The urge to trivialize sex.  “It’s just sex.  It doesn’t mean anything”, or at least it doesn’t mean anything to those of us who are “grown up”.  Now, it shouldn’t take an active sex drive for one to appreciate the sublimity of the conjugal act.  However, it may be that having powerful urges that one has difficulty controlling helps one to appreciate that this is a sphere that one must take seriously.  This is especially the case if, as Burke imagined, the sublime is connected to danger and power.  The ordinary non-Leftist, learning to take sex seriously, is more likely to sense that the licit expression of this powerful force must be a holy thing.  When he sees how it channels the divine act of creation, he becomes sure of it.
  • The use of Satanic words to describe sex, like “empowering”.
  • The vices they project onto us vs. the vices we project onto them.  Conservatives imagine that liberals are promoting promiscuity and perversion because of their own lust, projecting our own horniness onto them.  Leftists accuse patriarchal conservatives of using sex as a weapon to establish domination, projecting their own obsessions with power, their own libido dominandi, onto us.  According to them, men have sex with their wives to maintain our power over them.  Why else would we do it, after all?
  • Their tendency to call consensual sex that they don’t like (e.g. marital intercourse) “rape”.
  • The way they make far-reaching policies on sexual harassment that basically prohibit any unwanted expression of romantic interest (and how can one know if it’s wanted until it’s been expressed?) without bothering to provide protocol whereby a gentleman may properly express interest in a lady.  They simply don’t care about his predicament.  “Why is he so interested in women anyway?  Doesn’t he know that there are more interesting things to spend his time on, like the Revolution?”
  • The tendency to turn sex (but not gender–heaven forbid!) into an identity-forming characteristic.  For example, gay men see it as their ticket out of the “white oppressor” category up the victimization hierarchy.  Here group membership is brought into the mix to make sex seem interesting.

36 Responses

  1. If true, it’s probably because sex has become boring to leftists. What is there that’s so important about an act without any objective meaning or value? And what is there to fantasize about when, by the age of 21, you’ve probably already indulged every perversion you can conjure up?

  2. “If true, it’s probably because sex has become boring to leftists. ”

    First thought I had, too.

  3. Actually, the second thought. The first was of my voluptuous, sultry wife breathlessly awaiting my return home.

  4. I’ve often thought this. The Left just ain’t natural. A couple of other data points that may be somehow relevant:

    1. Yuppies have less and later sex than blue collar types, and ditto for students at prestige colleges compared with State U. It seems that the more hooked in you are to the dominant intellectual/social regime, the more sexless you are.

    2. The Japanese are into weird perversions, and also seem to have comparatively weak sex drives. I read a story recently to the effect that married couples often stop having sexual relations there because it seems weird to have them with somebody in your immediate family.

  5. Now you’re thinking like a conservative.

  6. This reminds me of Camille Paglia’s “No Sex Please, We’re Middle Class,” which, some absurdity aside, makes a few valid points (full text at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/opinion/27Paglia.html):

    “In the discreet white-collar realm, men and women are interchangeable, doing the same, mind-based work. Physicality is suppressed; voices are lowered and gestures curtailed in sanitized office space. Men must neuter themselves, while ambitious women postpone procreation. Androgyny is bewitching in art, but in real life it can lead to stagnation and boredom, which no pill can cure.

    “Meanwhile, family life has put middle-class men in a bind; they are simply cogs in a domestic machine commanded by women. Contemporary moms have become virtuoso super-managers of a complex operation focused on the care and transport of children. But it’s not so easy to snap over from Apollonian control to Dionysian delirium.

    “Nor are husbands offering much stimulation in the male display department: visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife. The sexes, which used to occupy intriguingly separate worlds, are suffering from over-familiarity, a curse of the mundane. There’s no mystery left.”

  7. Here are my thoughts on some of these points.

    Point 1 on immodest dress. I don’t think anyone denies that men like to look at hot and/or scantily-dressed women, but I don’t think it’s that difficult to show a little self-control. We’re not animals, after all. To take your example, a man may not treat a half-dressed girl showing her breasts in exactly the same way he’d treat a nun in a habit, but those are extreme examples – and I’d certainly except him to treat the first girl with basic respect even if she’d triggered sexual thoughts in him.

    Point 3 is about the glamour of things which are (perceived to be) forbidden, and I don’t believe that this instinct correlates with the left/right divide.

    Points 4/5 on trivialisation of sex. I’m actually with you on this. Sex is something very special because it has intensely emotional and spiritual dimensions. But I’d question the phrase “powerful urges that one has difficulty controlling”. The sex drive is a powerful urge, but it’s not that difficult to control it most of the time. I doubt, for example, that most men reading this will have ever committed a sexual assault or engaged in sexual harrassment in the workplace. Most of us know (and agree with) the social/moral rules, and obey them. That’s how society functions. It’s not that difficult.

    Point 7 about sex as a means of domination. I wouldn’t make that critique, actually. But I do think that some conservatives major on sexual behaviour not because of a sociological interest in kinship or a respect for the law of God, but because they have a prurient and rather unhealthy interest in what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. I don’t include you in this category, Bonald, but it would be naive to deny that such people exist.

    Point 9 on sexual harrassment. I agree about the decline of courtship etiquette, but again, this isn’t rocket science. There are sometimes grey areas, but we basically all know what sexual harrassment is and what it isn’t. Joking with the new secretary by the coffee machine and asking her out for a drink after work = ok. Feeling her up because she’s wearing a short skirt = not ok. We all know this stuff. It’s not rocket science. It’s really not all that far removed from traditional notions of treating women with respect, though I appreciate that the boundaries have moved somewhat.

    Incidentally, I’ve heard it argued that men with high sex drives tend to be right-wing because the higher levels of testosterone incrase one’s predisposition towards things like militarism and hierarchy. This sounds suspiciously like crude pseudoscience to me, but there may be something in it.

  8. When I first read this amusing post the testosterone question came immediately to mind. High testosterone correlates with a few other right-wing proclivities, such as competitiveness and sports. On the other hand, Blacks have high testosterone and tend to vote Left, so we seem to have the usual problem with reductionism. Still, if we controlled for other factors, I’m fairly confident we’d find higher average testosterone on the Right.

    I think you are wrong to say that the Right has an unusual interest in what goes on in people’s bedrooms. The Right too an interest in resisting innovations in the bedroom because the Left had taken an interest in promoting innovations in the bedroom.

    The real kicker for me, though, is the difference between their approach to sexual perversion. No doubt there are plenty of perverts on the Right, but I don’t think it would them to “theorize” their perversion, or treat it as an academic subject. Personally, I think this is the nub of the answer to Bonald’s question. Theorized sex isn’t sexy.

  9. Maybe there *is* something in the testosterone point. I’d want to see some hard evidence of it, though.

    This discussion has reminded me of the apologetic tactic that conservative Christians sometimes use against their opponents: “If you don’t believe in God, then what reason have you not to lead a life of unbridled immorality?”

    Er, you mean that that’s what you’d do….?

  10. I don’t think that Mr Smith could have written that last bit if he’d ever slept with a gender studies major.

  11. There are sometimes grey areas, but we basically all know what sexual harrassment is and what it isn’t.

    And for those who don’t, Saturday Night Live provides a helpful primer.

  12. Also sprach Reggie Perrin:

    Some of your comments seem to be based on the view that if something doesn’t automatically cause an extreme issue like sexual assault it can’t really be an issue. There’s no need for social standards dealing with less pressing issues. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Here’s another example of your tendency to leave out the range of everyday possibilities:

    “some conservatives major on sexual behaviour not because of a sociological interest in kinship or a respect for the law of God”

    Are those the only possibilities apart from weird obsessive voyeurism? Someone could also have a sense of natural law, or decency and human dignity, or what’s normal, or what’s fitting with regard to basic human drives and relationships, that excludes sexual perversions. In fact I think most people do at some point (e.g. with regard to bestiality, necrophilia, and virtual snuff films and kiddie porn). The question is what sense of those things makes for a better way of life for people in general.

    “This discussion has reminded me of the apologetic tactic that conservative Christians sometimes use against their opponents: “If you don’t believe in God, then what reason have you not to lead a life of unbridled immorality?”

    “Er, you mean that that’s what you’d do.?”

    Note the word “reason.” It’s assumed all round that a life of unbridled immorality is a bad thing and not to be chosen. The issue is what understanding of the world makes sense of that situation. The conservative Christian point is that atheists can’t make sense of it, so there must be something wrong with their position.

  13. Hi Reggie,

    If, as I’ve speculated, conservatives have stronger sex drives, there probably *are* more of us with a prurient interest in what goes on in other peoples’ bedrooms. And there probably are more of us who see the appeal of a life of unbridled immorality.

    Remember, I tend to think that many negative stereotypes about conservatives like me are true, not because there’s something wrong with our beliefs, but because nonconformists are always the inferior sort on average. Our greater interest in sex might also be a consequence of our stupidity, for that matter. If we had stayed in school longer, the indoctrination might finally have worked.

  14. I should say that I’m not promoting atheism, and I realise what the intended point is of that apologetic.

    As for the need for social standards, I agree. I’m concerned about the cheap sexualisation of our culture and the prevalence of quasi-pornographic imagery. But I’m against those things because I think they’re wrong in principle and they demean both women and men, not because I think that men are hormonal barbarians who can’t think or act straight when confronted with a couple of centimetres of cleavage. Bonald appears to be saying that I think this because I have a low libido. I think that he’s exaggerating the case.

  15. “I think they’re wrong in principle and they demean both women and men, not because I think that men are hormonal barbarians who can’t think or act straight when confronted with a couple of centimetres of cleavage.”

    But the reason they’re wrong in principle etc. is the way we experience sex. If it were like having a nice cup of tea it would be a whole different story.

    Bonald’s point, I think, is that maybe people who discuss sex in a way that doesn’t reflect its power and specificity experience it as a weaker and more indefinite force. Consider, for example, this quote from A. N. Wilson:

    “Sexual conduct is surely on the same level of seriousness as eating a bacon sandwich, and we might have hoped that nowadays, given the diversity of human life, the Church would have chosen to shut up about sex.”

  16. Hi Reggie,

    For the most part, I take the same position: sexualized culture is wrong in itself, demeaning to all, degrading to society’s moral ecology. I emphasize that instead of the argument that it makes chastity more difficult because I think the purely moral argument, that would be true even if controlling lust were not a problem, because I think it’s more important. Also, because the biggest danger is not that we will lose control of sex, but that we will forget its meaning. However, I don’t think that making chastity easy is as trivial and foolish a concern as you make it out to be. Certainly a man can always push impure thoughts from his mind, but it does take a bit of effort, and I see no reason why we should make it harder for men to do something virtuous (suppress impure thoughts) in order to make it easier for women and corporations to do something evil (attack society’s standards of decency).

  17. Also, let us admit that some men find chastity of the eyes and the mind more difficult than others. This is often not their fault. The charitable thing to do is not to just call them barbarians and tell them to try harder. It’s perfectly reasonable to try to make their burden easier. Of course, other goods will often trump these efforts, but letting women come to work dressed like whores, or putting pornographic signs on billboards, is not a good of any sort. We should be forbidding these things in any case. Helping men preserve chastity is a secondary, but legitimate, reason.

    Society should not just be arranged for the convenience of those blessed with the moderate dispositions and high IQs of liberals.

  18. Maybe that’s true. I’m going to have to think some more about this.

  19. Thanks for the compliment…. I think….

    I’m going to have to think some more about this.

  20. I wish I could get my hands on one of those bacon sandwiches!

    But, seriously, if sex were no more serious than eating a bacon sandwich, regulating sex would be no more objectionable than regulating bacon production. If having sex is “no big thing,” then surely not having sex must also be “no big thing.” The authorities might not be justified in forbidding a form of sexual expression for no reason at all, but they would be justified in preventing it for fairly minor reasons. Sodomy, which appears to be about as insalubrious as smoking, would clearly be open to controls, as would promiscuous heterosexual intercourse.

    Not all lefties and liberals make the sex is no big thing argument, but most people who make the argument are lefties and liberals. Of course if you press the “no big thing” argument, as I have here, they suddenly argue that sex is very possibly the biggest thing imaginable. It’s an existential necessity! Anyone denied their bacon sandwich will go crazy and quite possibly commit suicide.

    What it comes down to is a different understanding of sex. Conservatives believe that the ultimate purpose of sexual desire is to produce children, stable pair bonding, and families, and they believe that, without moral and social controls, it is easily perverted from this end. Erotomaniacs believe that the ultimate purpose of sex is a psychological state of fulfillment and well-being. The routes to this end are many, varied, and multiplying.

  21. Has anyone–especially the Catholics–read E. Michael Jones’s “Libido Dominandi: Sexual Revolution and Social Control”? It’s about unleashing sexual desires for the purpose of social control–to bad ends, of course.

  22. Yes. It’s a good book. He should issue a new edition with a new postscript on Game. Once you loose self control, you’re the tool of anyone who knows how to push your buttons.

  23. “… I myself have often enough wanted to indulge in sex acts that would have been immoral for one reason or another, but I’ve never wanted to do anything because it was forbidden. I would have rather the act not been immoral, so that I could have licitly indulged myself. For the transgressive crowd, that would take away all the fun..”

    Yes, this is one of the strangest characteristics of the Left, and not just with sexuality. I want what I want, independent of what anyone else (including the law, divine and human) thinks or says about it. (Though of course I do not indulge all my wants, fearing both Hell and jail). But for Lefties, the mere immorality and/or illegality is what makes it fun for them. Puzzling.

    Perhaps, though, the act of breaking a rule makes them feel powerful — whereas I, a conservative, am much more driven by lust. Which leads to:

    “….•The vices they project onto us vs. the vices we project onto them. Conservatives imagine that liberals are promoting promiscuity and perversion because of their own lust, projecting our own horniness onto them. Leftists accuse patriarchal conservatives of using sex as a weapon to establish domination, projecting their own obsessions with power….”

    Wow. That really explains a LOT!

  24. I read it. Interesting arguments, but one of the most poorly edited books I’ve ever seen.

  25. Don’t forget that leftists are always denigrating “boring, vanilla, missionary-position sex.”

    Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with a (married) couple trying a variety of positions. But there’s a difference between doing so out of enthusiasm, and doing so to stave off the “boredom” of the missionary position!

  26. This really is kind of a chicken-and-the-egg question. Assuming it’s true leftists have lower libidos — do they devalue sex because they have lower libidos? Or do they have lower libidos because they devalue sex?

  27. Thank heavens, no, I haven’t. But I have slept through some gender studies lectures.

  28. Was this post at all inspired by Jackie Kennedy’s comment about Adlai Stevenson supporters?

    ‘Jack so obviously demanded from a woman – a relationship between a man and a woman where a man would be the leader and a woman be his wife and look up to him as a man.

    ‘With Adlai you could have another relationship where – you know, he’d sort of be sweet and you could talk, but you wouldn’t ever… I always thought women who were scared of sex loved Adlai.’

    —-

    Not sure whether these are just more pseudointellectual speculations from a First Lady, but it’s interesting that she directs the “scared of sex” charge *against* the anti-traditionalist liberals who would later dominate her husband’s political party.

  29. I suspect a biological element. Perhaps humans of a particular ethnicity have dominated the political left.

    Further suppose that tribe of humans has a particularly distorted sex drive due to genetic peculiarities.

    Then genetic abnormalities dictate that the left must behave in the observed manner.

  30. Amen — E. Michael Jones’ editing is awful. A lot of his writing descends into a sort of cant decipherable only if one has been reading “Culture Wars” for years.

  31. Yes, he makes interesting points, but it’s hard work. He’s also repetitive. The best one he wrote I think is “Monsters from the Id.”

  32. Partly I think it’s because these are the people who tend to have sex outside of stable relationships, in non-committed relationships or marriages where there is always the option of divorce. The understanding of sex as a gift, and of spouses as gifts to each other, is lacking, and so the sex becomes recreational and not unitive and, therefore, rather dull at times.

  33. […] and destroys them, will fail and fall, probably from within. For the desire to procreate — even that earthy imp lust — will fade due to […]

  34. dude, you all don’t know the leftists I know. as a progressive christian, who is married, I can say the only leftists I know with low libidos had depression/antidepressant issues. what I can tell you is this, in going to a very liberal seminary, I was very suprised, as a former humanist coming to christianity, how chaste and traditional liberal christians were about sexuality. “of course the virgin birth never happened!…..” “of course the bible has errors “yes, we waited until marriage” was pretty much the norm for the married couples I met.

  35. […] perhaps not the most important.  They seem to have various dispositional advantages as well.  I’ve remarked before on the apparently low sex drive of Leftists.  That probably keeps them out of a lot of trouble.  They may be less physically aggressive as […]

  36. […] know if it’s our higher testosterone or what, but I suspect conservatives really do have stronger sex drives than liberals.  “You conservatives are obsessed with sex!” is probably often true.  It is for me! […]

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