There’s No Such Thing as Equality in Sexual Relationships

There’s No Such Thing as Equality in Sexual Relationships, by Joe Jarvis.

“A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.” …

The Woody Allen example:

I was reading a Hollywood Reporter article about Woody Allen’s sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl back [Christina Engelhardt] in the ’70s when he was 41.

The young woman was dining out at the same upscale restaurant as Allen. She was an aspiring model, dining out with a male acquaintance. When she came back from the bathroom, she dropped a note with her phone number on Woody Allen’s table.

Now, she still resists revising her own history to fit the norms of the times. She initiated contact. She was a voluntary and eager participant. And the relationship actually lasted 8 years, until she was 24 years old. Any past relationship will have some bitterness to it, but she still described it generally as formative and positive.

And then the Hollywood Reporter article throws in a line in parenthesis, “(Most experts would contend that such an uneven power dynamic is inherently exploitative.)”

I get it, here is a non-famous 16-year-old girl and a famous, rich, 41-year-old man. Clearly, the power dynamic is not equal. But inherently exploitative?

Wouldn’t that mean that any billionaire can only date other billionaires?

Or perhaps a supermodel is the one exploiting an ugly old suitor, with such an uneven attractiveness dynamic? …

Who is exploiting who? The young woman who just wants money, or the old man who just wants sex? …

At what age or level of success would it have been appropriate for Woody Allen to pursue a woman who dropped her number on his table?

What about education level? Is a PhD allowed to date a high school drop out?

Is a world traveler exploiting someone who has never left their hometown?

Can a body-builder ever have consensual sex with someone so physically weak in comparison?

If you live in a $5 million penthouse, is it inherently exploitative to invite anyone making less than $200,000 a year back for a drink? …

Male-female relationships are not symmetric:

“At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.”

That was Gavin Debecker in his book, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence.

Men are a much greater physical threat to women than vice versa. And that is the part the #MeToo movement got right. A woman blocking the doorway, seductively smiling, and not allowing a man to pass is not the same as the exact reverse. …

Both males and females have inbuilt desires and mechanisms to create offspring and pass their genes on. …

Are men exploiting women for sex? Or are women exploiting men for commitment? …

Ancient Greece (notably pre-Christian, not Jewish):

In ancient Greece, it was common custom for men in their twenties or thirties to court young teenagers going through puberty, from about 12-17 years old.

The teens would play hard to get to make sure the older men didn’t just want sex. They were relying on the older men to be a mentor and protector… To teach the teen about life, politics, work, and what it means to be a man.

This was seen as a highly beneficial — even crucial — relationship for the young man, not exploitative at all. In fact, many parents worried that no older male suitor would be interested in their son. And there would go his chances of raising to prominent heights in Greek society.

The relationship would generally last until the teen grew a certain amount of body hair. And after that, he was a man, and the coming of age relationship ended.

Clearly, this type of relationship would appall most normal people today. And there is no reason to think it should be acceptable today. …

“Exploitative” is just a power grab by some ideologue:

My point is that when it comes to sex and power dynamics in relationships, there is no such thing as equality. No one is equal in everything: wealth, brain power, age, education level, sex, fame, talents, athleticism.

And anything could be used as the basis to claim that a relationship was exploitative.