It should not take a university professor to explain the difference of male and female, but we have sitting Supreme Court Justices who infamously cannot define what a man or woman is, so there is clearly a great need to clarify the distinctions.
University of Texas, Austin sociologist Mark Regnerus has boldly provided the clarification in Public Discourse, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this week. In celebration, their contributing editors have selected their favorite essays from years past and are reposting them.
Regnerus, whose essay was first published in 2017, explains what he terms “three blunt – but essential – truths” about the fundamental differences between men and women, pertaining primarily to their differing sexualities.
“First, men’s sex drives are, on average, stronger and less discriminating than women’s” writes Regnerus.
Most men and women easily note this.
He asks his reader to look at any sex offender registry. Is its population sexually equitable? It is not. They are populated singularly by men. Regnerus explains of adult males, “Many seem ready to jeopardize career, marriage, family, and reputation — all because of genital urges.” Women’s sexual instincts are less impulsive and more select.
The fact that men are more sexually aggressive than women is true universally across all human cultures. It is why marriage tends to settle down the male libido and it is wives who do this because of their very different sexual drive and interests.
Second, Regnerus asserts that “men have the upper hand in the contemporary mating market, even as — and partly because — women are flourishing economically and educationally.”
What does he mean by this?
Men feel freer to take the sexual satisfaction they desire, and women feel more pressured to give it because so many of their peers have given up on expecting men to wait until marriage to gain full access to female sexuality. This is a basic truth of contemporary sexual economics.
Female sexuality, as a negotiated and traded good, has a higher market value than male sexuality. It is of an higher order. As a rule, across most civilized cultures, men must come to women to negotiate access to their sexuality, usually through commitments of time, attention, care and gifts that are first initiated through intentional dating and courtship. The “hook-up” culture has weakened this exchange.
As women become more empowered legally, economically and educationally, they are ironically becoming less powerful in their ability to negotiate sex in exchange for meaningful relationships. Feminism has taught and expected women to become more like men, and it has cost them mightily in terms of overall happiness. This fact is largely what the famous show Sex in the City was all about, after all.
Third, Regnerus notes the obvious truth that “women are usually physically smaller and weaker than men” and thus, more vulnerable to male aggression. As a result, “women are more prone to find themselves in situations of sexual risk with regard to men.”
Regnerus correctly adds that because of this inequity, “Women are due not just consent or respect. They are also owed actions and words that consistently uphold their bodily integrity, security, and dignity.”
Unfortunately, women are getting less and less of this as they seek to meet their male sexual partners on their own terms. Increasingly, young and older men both see women as opportunities to be captured than female persons to be cherished and honored because of their feminine power. #MeToo has been a reaction to this.
Regnerus maintains that unless we recognize the fundamental differences between male and female, and the inherent strengths and weaknesses of both, we will never achieve a just society where neither men nor women are exploited by the other in emotional and sexual ways. Ignoring the importance of marriage as the only effective protective harbor for healthy sexuality will not help in this either.
And the more we try to ignore the differences between men and women in the fundamentally important domain of human sexuality, the worse this inequity and women’s declining happiness will get.
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