Big Issues

Why I Have A Problem With The Myth Of Women As “Sexual Gatekeepers”

There’s a sentiment floating around the internet that women are “the gatekeepers” of sex. While statistically speaking, this notion has some factual basis, it’s been taken to disturbing places.

There’s a sentiment floating around the internet that women are “the gatekeepers” of sex. While statistically speaking, this notion has some factual basis, it’s been taken to disturbing places. To wit, that women having comparatively low sex-drives is somehow denying men their due rights, a practice which constitutes “torture”.

This philosophy finds its purest manifestation in the “Red Pill” movement. Adherents – or “red pillers” as they call themselves – believe that feminism has so thoroughly pervaded Western society that men are now at the sexual mercy of women.

Supposedly about providing its followers with “a positive male identity,” the suggested reading on the Red Pill subreddit is generously laced with violent and deeply misogynistic rhetoric.

“At its core, the very notion of the ‘sexual gatekeeper’ is flawed.”

While there’s no doubt that TRP is a cesspool of frustrated entitlement, its claims about women’s sex drives aren’t entirely inaccurate. Studies have consistently shown that men pursue sex more avidly than women, while female sexuality tends to be more complicated, both physiologically and emotionally.

But even if men and women were equal in matters of desire, women would still have far more to lose from casual sex than men do.

For example, if a man sleeps with a bunch of his female friends, he’s likely to be regarded by his peers as “living the dream” or “winning at life”. On the other hand, if a woman is seen to have multiple sex partners, she’s often regarded as “loose” or “a slut”. As long as this double-standard exists, it will encourage women to be much more prudent than men about who they choose to sleep with.

Not only does the numbers game work against them, but women also have to worry about screening their potential partners for various forms of douchebaggery. This ranges from social concerns – gossips and braggarts who would recount the experience in detail to their friends – to graver matters of physical safety. Technology has made things even more complicated.

Since the rise of the smartphone, women and girls have also become targets of photographical harassment. Just last week it was revealed that a ring of boys and men were targeting high school girls, acquiring explicit pictures of them and sharing them online. Then there’s the wider issue of “revenge porn” – nude pictures or videos taken in confidence, then uploaded for the world to see. Increasingly, the threat of compromising pictures making their way around social circles or the Internet is being added to the already long list of things women have to worry about.

“Neither women nor men should be judged for failing to conform to the expected sexual behaviour of their gender.”

That’s a minefield of potential repercussions that men scarcely even have to contemplate. Is it really a mystery why a woman – even one with a high sex-drive – might think twice before simply jumping into bed with someone?

Going back to the question of libido, it’s important to remember that statistics speak only in generalisations; they cannot tell you about an individual. Neither women nor men should be judged for failing to conform to the expected sexual behaviour of their gender. Calling a promiscuous woman a “slut” or a sexually conservative man a “pussy” is simply reinforcing the stereotypes that make these ‘oh-so-mean’ women even less likely to sleep with you.

At its core, the very notion of the “sexual gatekeeper” is flawed. Sex is something that two people agree to do together, not an inherently male activity that women permit to “happen” to them. The whole psychology of the gatekeeper theory is predicated on the subject-object dynamic, where the man is the active subject and the woman a passive receptacle. This dehumanising and archaic view of sex is not supported by any statistic, and harkens back to a time when women were sold into marriage and the notion of the female orgasm had as much legitimacy as Bigfoot.

For this reason, men crying about not getting enough sex from the women who guard it smacks of a deep misunderstanding about what sex actually is. If you find yourself frustrated at the dragon-women who won’t let you near their hoard of golden sex-coins, chances are you’re an emotionally stunted maladjust.

Business major, journalism minor and freelance writer, Joel pretends to be clever at La Trobe University in Melbourne.