Revolt against the modern world
Art by Jeremy Mann

Sex-Positivism and the Illusion of Consent

Could "sexual liberation" be coercive?

If one were to accuse the U.S. entertainment and music industry of being primarily a vehicle for female sexual exploitation, the predictable response on the part of any sex-positive feminist would be: “But that’s different! You can’t accuse hypersexualized women of denigrating women. The difference is this: they are consenting and free to do as they wish!”

The “consensual vs. non-consensual” distinction is a favorite amongst liberals, but it’s high time we addressed the elephant in the room: sex-positive feminism is inherently flawed because it is fundamentally coercive. There is nothing liberating or rebellious about sex-positive feminism, as so many of its misguided advocates claim. Sex-positive feminism is normalized. It is part of the ideological status quo and has become a dominant feature of mainstream consumer-capitalist culture. It is, therefore, both homogeneous and homogenizing, which makes it not only unoriginal but forceful.

Sex-positive feminism is oppressive because it takes for granted that all women are or at the very least should be sexually liberal (i.e. promiscuous and sexually expressive) creatures. I myself have time and time again been accused of having “internalized” my culture’s “patriarchal norms” purely on account of my traditionalist inclinations. Many of the sex-positive liberals shaming female advocates of modesty (the word alone is enough to send shivers down their spines) for our lack of overt sexuality will imply that we are at the mercy of some mental-physical complex that only sexual experience or expression will “liberate” us from.

Here is one response that is sure to make them chase their own proverbial tails: if to view heterosexuality as the standard sexual orientation is classified as “heteronormativity,” then why — by the very same token — should sex-positive feminists and liberals seek to impose a universal standard of female sexuality on all women, regardless of cultural, psychological, and physical preferences or inclinations?

To return to the topic at hand: it is precisely sex-positive feminism’s consumer-capitalist (and therefore coercive) nature that makes it a fundamentally degrading movement. In such a society, a woman’s refusal to display overt sexuality is automatically deemed as a negative, a lack — something to be remedied. This in itself is degrading, as countless young girls and women are eventually pressured into living lives they would not be interested in living had the dominant current been less inclined to shame them for genuinely desiring the traditionalist, conservative, and modest alternative.

For the sex-positive saviors out there, women are free to be themselves … as long as they first submit to mainstream debauchery.

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