If this seems a bit terse, it’s because I need to get my fiction-writing mojo back and I’m trying to join Margaret Atwood in the Writing Burrow. Anyhoo. Libby Anne tells us about this…very special person named Doug Wilson who thinks the popularity of BDSM is a problem and he needs to name the culprit.
A final aspect of rape that should be briefly mentioned is perhaps closer to home. Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence.
When we quarrel with the way the world is, we find that the world has ways of getting back at us. In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts. This is of course offensive to all egalitarians, and so our culture has rebelled against the concept of authority and submission in marriage. This means that we have sought to suppress the concepts of authority and submission as they relate to the marriage bed.
But we cannot make gravity disappear just because we dislike it, and in the same way we find that our banished authority and submission comes back to us in pathological forms. This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.
True authority and true submission are therefore an erotic necessity. When authority is honored according to the word of God it serves and protects — and gives enormous pleasure. When it is denied, the result is not “no authority,” but an authority which devours.
I’m not interested in framing BDSM as a social problem that needs to be addressed, so I’m not invested in agreeing or disagreeing with Wilson’s tracing its origins back to egalitarian sex.
This, here, is the thesis of Wilson’s finger-pointing: “In other words, however we try, the sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party. A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.”
Just look at that for a moment. “The sexual act cannot be made into an egalitarian pleasuring party.” Perhaps it doesn’t count because I’ve never been married, but I think the guys I’ve slept with would disagree with this statement.
Make no mistake, Doug Wilson’s view of marital sex is one that enables marital rape. If a man’s role is to “conquer” and a woman is expected to “surrender,” there should be no surprise when men who listen to people like Doug Wilson force themselves on their wives. According to this idea of sex, a woman’s consent is irrelevant, and pleasure is immaterial. She’s not supposed to have sex because she enjoys sharing pleasure with her husband, she’s supposed to accept that her husband will conquer and colonize her body because that is what husbands do.
While we’re at it, one gets the impression that male pleasure in sex isn’t important, either. When sex is framed as a battle in which one side must surrender, even the “victor” isn’t necessarily going to enjoy himself.
What a dreary, joyless, unimaginative world these God-fearing patriarchs inhabit.