The desire of the man is for the woman, but the desire of the woman is for the desire of the man. – Madame de Stael
One of the drawbacks of the daily column format is that it’s sometimes difficult to summarize all of the aspects of a complex issue in under 2000 words. Try as one might there are always loose ends, and any short discussion of general rules allows little space even to mention the exceptions, much less analyze them; this unfortunately allows desperate people with agendas to dismiss one’s entire point with a mental “Aha! She didn’t mention such-and-such so she’s full of shit!” I don’t know if anyone has done that with any of my columns so far, but I may have come close yesterday because a careless reading of that essay might suggest to some people that I was either denying the female sex drive or portraying women as paragons of control, neither of which is true. Undoubtedly, the promiscuous woman is not uncommon, and since time immemorial her existence has been used by men to shore up the doctrine of the wanton. But as we shall see, the reasons women seek sex are not usually the same as those of men, and the nature of those reasons generally precludes paying for sex even in women who are not in a position to give it away (such as those who fear the public exposure which might result from an affair or bar-trolling). In other words, even women who seek promiscuous sex generally do so for reasons other than overwhelming physical lust such as men experience.
The first and foremost reason women seek sex is to attract men. This is the last psychological vestige of the estrus or “heat” cycle which affects every mammal other than humans; when a woman wishes to attract a mate or bond a newly-attracted mate, she experiences a much greater sex drive than at other times. I seem to recall reading that the period of increased drive lasts for about 18 months from the onset of sexual activity with a new partner, but I couldn’t find the exact figure while writing this. In any case, this increase is wholly involuntary; it is Nature’s way of bonding the male to the female for long enough to protect her through pregnancy and the early infancy of her child. Once this initial period is over a woman’s sex drive will generally decrease to a marked degree or (if she’s tired due to work and baby) even vanish altogether. When this happens, a man may feel betrayed or lied to; he may even feel as though his wife has consciously engaged in a campaign of deceit intended to ensnare him into marriage. But she cannot help the variation in her sex drive any more than a man can help being attracted to other women; both derive from evolutionary necessity, and the fact that we humans use sex for lots of things other than reproduction is neither here nor there. The male who brands the lonely woman a “bad girl” or his unresponsive spouse a “bad wife” would profit by remembering the words of Jessica Rabbit: “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Women and men are each “drawn” in a certain way by Nature, and though unlike cartoon characters we can alter our own designs to a degree, this requires both conscious effort and a clear understanding of what it is we’re trying to alter in the first place. Expressed another way, it’s impossible to reach any specific place without having both a map and knowledge of one’s current position on it.
Unfortunately, many people of both genders refuse to accept their current positions or even to acknowledge the need for movement; they simply whine “but I shouldn’t have to!” or insist that it is their partners’ obligation to do so. This attitude is both immature and counterproductive, yet it seems to have become the norm nowadays. Men moan that wives lose interest in sex, and women bitch that husbands should simply accept the lesser supply; neither of these is realistic, but IMHO the typical male response is far more sensible than the typical female one: He satisfies his need elsewhere, usually with a whore. At one time, the wise wife understood this; she may not have liked it, but she realized that it was the way of things and tolerated it as long as it was discreet and had no obvious effect on her standard of living. But the typical modern Western woman is the product of over a century of brainwashing that the male sex drive can be artificially repressed and several decades of propaganda that men and women are the same, female psychological norms are the standard, and male norms are a pathological deviation from it. These fallacies, combined with her profoundly overdeveloped sense of entitlement, create the usual histrionic display which ensues when the spoiled modern woman discovers her husband has employed a whore.
Don’t get too smug, guys; I’m not giving your infidelities a free pass. Note that I only mentioned whores; it is my considered opinion that for a married man to have unsanctioned affairs or one-night-stands with non-professionals is irresponsible and wrong (albeit predictable). An amateur who has sex with a married man is driven by the same needs as any other woman, and if her primary motivation is mate attraction a fling could potentially turn into a disaster. Thus the value of understanding why women act as we do: If a man is laboring under the delusion of female lasciviousness he will no doubt interpret a “slut’s” attraction to him as engendered by pure animal lust (just like his for her), when in actuality she might be desperately lonely and unconsciously seeking a husband. She might be completely unaware of this motivation and even think of her affair with the man as a mere dalliance, until she suddenly finds herself in love with him and starts calling his home, demanding he leave his wife for her or even provoking major public scandal.
The whore, on the other hand, has absolutely no interest in attracting a mate; for her, sex with customers is a business, a means of support. This is not to say we are immune to love or have no desire for marriage; far from it, and many a working girl is either married or attached, or else eventually leaves The Life for a husband (as I did). What I am saying is that for a whore the extension of a general offer of sex has nothing to do with either lust or husband-hunting; it is merely the advertisement of a service for hire. I’m not sure why so many people are confused about this; nobody thinks that an accountant loves to prepare tax forms, or that a roofer has ulterior motives for advertising his services. On the other hand, nobody insists that it is impossible for a chef to enjoy cooking, nor that an actress must be “damaged” for playing different roles on screen rather than just being herself. Men and women both are so psychologically invested in their stereotypes about sex in general and prostitution in particular that the vast majority of people simply cannot recognize that a whore is no different from any other professional: Though she may or may not enjoy her work, her primary motivation for doing it is to earn a living. Therefore, she is the only safe and moral outlet for the married man’s desire for extramarital sex; the cost is specific, she has no interest in him outside the business relationship, and her discretion can be relied upon. She therefore poses no financial, emotional or social threat to the wife.
Like any other businessperson, the whore must advertise in order to attract the attention of potential customers and to motivate them to choose her above her competitors. One common method of doing this is to appeal to male fantasy, and since the “wanton woman” is such a universal theme it is one many whores (and strippers, singers, actresses, etc) choose to appeal to. Many males may be tempted to view this as a “lie”, but seen dispassionately it is no different from one company’s claim that its products are of higher quality or more “fun” than those of the competition. Once a man learns to think critically, he can shed the preconceptions on which advertisers attempt to capitalize and judge any product, whether it be beer or automobiles or sexual services, on its actual merits rather than on hype.
The third most common female motivation for sex is one shared by both professionals and amateurs alike, and is the one to which my epigram refers. Since Nature has programmed women to attract men, it stands to reason that women should enjoy being attractive to men, and indeed that is the case; the desire to be desired is a very powerful stimulus indeed. Every normal, well-adjusted woman wishes to be seen as attractive, and no amount of neofeminist propaganda will ever change that because it springs from the very core of the female experience. Having said that, I must point out that a powerful enough trauma can distort natural drives into unrecognizability, so many women who have been raped or sexually abused (including most neofeminists) may come to view male attention as threatening because such interest resulted in their being badly hurt. But for undamaged women, male attention is both exciting and validating. When I first embarked on my career of harlotry the dear, late friend I shall refer to as Dr. Helena (who was a prominent sexologist and sex therapist in New Orleans) warned me that it could be addictive, and she was absolutely right: The sheer thrill of being offered large sums of money for my sexual favors was the most intoxicating experience of my entire life. The neofeminists love to pretend that sex work is “demeaning,” but the truth is that a large percentage of women in the trade (including strippers and porn stars) find it more empowering than anything else we have ever done, sometimes even more gratifying than romance.
Because romance, of course, is the closest amateurs ever get to that feeling. For a man to offer not merely his attention but his heart, his goods, his name, his time and even his life to a woman is just as exciting and intoxicating to the average woman as the offer of financial tribute is to her harlot sister, which is why romance novels are a multi-billion dollar industry and the fantasy of romance has just as powerful a commercial appeal to women as does the fantasy of unbridled sex to men. What the gigolo or the young boyfriend of a “cougar” brings to the table is male sexual interest (or at least the appearance thereof), for which the rich matron is willing to pay money and the “cougar” is willing to trade sex. And knowing this, it should be obvious why it is a rare woman indeed who will pay for sex with a man: It is an undeniable statement that he is not attracted to her, and that invalidates the primary reason for which she might seek unprofitable, non-relationship sex.
In the sphere of sexual relationships, as in so many other things, knowledge is the key to understanding why things happen as they do; one who denies the validity of verifiable facts merely because they conflict with his preconceptions condemns himself to unending confusion, but one who accepts the facts will find that they provide a useful map with which he can chart a course through the convoluted landscape of relationships with the opposite sex.