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The Sexual Cartel And The Enforcement Of Patriarchy

October 28, 2013

Admittedly loaded terms, so let’s define them.

Patriarchy: the intellectual and philosophical dominance of values, ideals, principles, and aesthetics identified with the masculine coupled with the subjugation, denigration, denial and dismissal of those associated with the feminine.

The sexual cartel: a term coined (as far as I know) by Johnny Soporno, this is my statement of its basic premises.

  • Sex is a commodity that can be exchanged among people.
  • Specifically, it is a commodity that is demanded by men and supplied by women.
  • Like any fungible commodity, a transfer decreases the value of the supplier and increases the value of the recipient.
  • Therefore a woman, by “giving” sex to a man, decreases her own value and increases his.
  • Therefore, sexual transactions are motivated by men’s desire to gain sex, and demotivated by women’s desire to preserve their value.
  • Therefore a woman who wants to preserve her sexual value must abstain from sexual transactions.
  • Failing that, a woman may preserve her overall value in a sexual transaction by accepting a resource of equal or greater value in exchange.

Under this paradigm, a woman could not have sex with a man just because she wanted to, because of course such a thing is simply not possible, as only men want sex. Therefore, since women are by nature asexual according to this paradigm, the highest moral ideal for any woman is celibacy. However, the existence of male demand coupled with the existence of male privilege provides opportunities for social advancement to any woman willing to vend her sexuality to the highest male bidder in exchange for a resource of equal or greater value.

However, if it did happen that by some chance a woman defectively desired sex for its own sake, and gave it away without compensation, she would be not only decreasing her supply of a fungible commodity and thus decreasing her value, but more importantly she would be undercutting the market, thus depleting the value of all other women’s existing supplies of sex, and bringing the corresponding value of all other women down with her.

A woman who gives sex away for free is a slut. A woman who sells it is a whore, which, while not ideal, is at least more respectable than being a slut, the more so the higher the price she commands. The most respectable whores are those who enter into legally binding contracts to exclusively vend their sexuality to a single patron for life, with the full endorsement of society. The only way for a woman to avoid this slut/whore dichotomy is by being celibate (which is, of course, the natural state of women anyway).

The obvious tie-in with patriarchy is that this dichotomy neatly distills the value of a woman down to a single dimension, her sexuality. Subjugation requires dehumanization, and the paradigm of the sexual cartel provides a ready-made framework for the dehumanization of women. The great irony (or perhaps genius) of it is that it masquerades as a mode of social advancement, leading women to buy into and support it en-masse, making it largely self-enforcing. Yet it is a mode of social advancement in which women are dependent upon their sexual relationships with men to assign their value, and is thus nothing but a gilded prison.

Not only does this paradigm restrict the freedoms of both men and women, it robs humanity of the potential of healthy sexual experience.  And what subjugates women does not benefit men; in fact, the opposite is true. The bondage of women to enforced roles and standards also bonds men, and no more benefits them than binding your left hand in a sling benefits your right hand. We are one species, and we flourish or suffer together.

The alternative is to abandon the foundations of the sexual cartel, to stop conceptualizing sexuality as a value exchange and instead embrace it as a co-creative act. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but love can be made and multiplied. (Click to tweet.) There is room for many things in the new paradigm, but there is no room for collaborative self-extinction. This work will be done within each of us, and the benefits will accrue to all of us.

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One Comment
  1. rodney permalink

    The piece is fine except for one thing. It seems to indicate that “the patriarchy” (males) is what is ultimately responsible for maintaining the existing situation. That suggestion is highly debatable. For the most part, males learn that they better support the existing system, and buy into it, if they want to get laid. I say it’s females that really don’t want change.

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