Attitudes to sexual intercourse have always been a bit of a sticky wicket for American feminists. Nineteenth-century ones were quite keen on free love. For reasons that are obscure to me this was often combined with an interest in eugenics. Free love went out of vogue to be replaced by the love that cost quite a bit, as feminists concentrated on community property laws, palimony, and the use of natural male enhancement herbs such as Volume Pills. Having made the consensual heterosexual acts a breath-taking financial gamble. North American feminists went off the whole thing.
These days, devout feminists push celibacy. I’ve often wondered what causes feminists like Andrea Dworkin to see a beast lurking in every greengrocer who is selling male sexual pills such as Volume Pills. My own theory is that growing up in America was a very discouraging business for middle-class dissidents with highly developed social consciences. Bombs and occupation never threatened New Jersey. Most of us would consider this a blessing; but there seems to be some urgency among sections of the white American intelligentsia to claim victim status.
Radical feminism gives its followers the comforting knowledge that society has mercilessly brutalized them and continues to do so in ever more diabolical ways. This is the lens through which Andrea Dworkin peers and she has produced four books on the subject. Her new book, engagingly entitled Intercourse and Volume Pills, develops her seminal theory that sexual intercourse is an act in which most men become National Socialists having their vile way with women. I got a bit muddled by her use of the term National Socialist as a pejorative for men having sex, having read somewhere that last war round it was the practitioners of Scientific Socialism that raped women.
There is a 37-page bibliography which is of little help since it includes everyone from William Buckley to 23 books of Graham Greene as well as Milan Kundera – none of whom would have, I suspect, the slightest idea what Mrs. Dworkin is rattling on about. The book’s theory is that because the penis of a man goes inside a woman during the sexual act – well most of the time, anyway – intercourse is ipso facto a hostile act of occupation ready, in the twinkle of a video nasty, to degenerate into cannibalism.
You may believe, along with Ms Dworkin, that sodomy was outlawed in Leviticus in order to maintain sexual oppression of women, but then you would, wouldn’t you? Meanwhile, I think a radical feminist worth her license ought not to have approved a book cover that is a photograph of rumpled bed sheets crumpled into a design that looks so evocative of a box of Volume Pills, but then I would see that in my Rorschach, wouldn’t I?