Still here? Well, perhaps I can convince you to read it by quoting the parts that stuck out to me, with some of my own commentary. Devlin begins quickly and makes an important point about the basics of male-female relationships: that women, ultimately, do the choosing, while men do the competing. Women have a natural advantaged state in this regard. They do not need to "prove" their worth or suitability - the dictates of nature demand that men compete for the mating privilege of women. In the words of Devlin:
Nature has played a trick on men: production of spermatozoa occurs at a rate several orders of magnitude greater than female ovulation (about 12 million per hour vs. 400 per lifetime). This is a natural, not a moral, fact. Among the lower animals also, the male is grossly oversupplied with something for which the female has only a limited demand. This means that the female has far greater control over mating. The universal law of nature is that males display and females choose. Male peacocks spread their tales, females choose. Male rams butt horns, females choose. Among humans, boys try to impress girls—and the girls choose. Nature dictates that in the mating dance, the male must wait to be chosen.
Why does he bring up this point? Because his main aim is to then discuss "sexual utopias," or the ideal sexual situations that could exist for men and women alike. He discusses the ideal sexual utopia for males and compares it with the ideal sexual utopia for females. He tackles males first, who "are in every respect simpler" when it comes to the matter. A male sexual utopia, Devlin argues, is much what you might imagine it to be: a harem for every man with women constantly coming to him in droves for sexual attention. Marriage, it seems at first, would get in the way of that:
Marriage, after all, seems to restrict sex rather drastically. Certain men figure that if sex were permitted both inside and outside of marriage there would be twice as much of it as formerly. They imagined there existed a large, untapped reservoir of female desire hitherto repressed by monogamy. To release it, they sought, during the early postwar period, to replace the seventh commandment with an endorsement of all sexual activity between “consenting adults.” Every man could have a harem. Sexual behavior in general, and not merely family life, was henceforward to be regarded as a private matter. Traditionalists who disagreed were said to want to “put a policeman in every bedroom.” This was the age of the Kinsey Report and the first appearance of Playboy magazine. Idle male daydreams had become a social movement.
But reform could not have been brought about without the consent of women, Devlin posits, and thus begins his analysis of the ideal sexual utopia for women. As you might imagine, it contrasts quite sharply with sexual utopia for men. He dispels the myth that women are naturally monogamous - something I don't think needs dispelling if you've been paying much attention to the relationships that men and women have even in your own daily life, not to mention what you can read about in news articles and magazines and see on "reality" TV or read about on the internet.
Devlin describes female sexuality as naturally hypergamous (a term I was not previously familiar with), which can be understood with a simple analysis: "They are always satisfied with the best. By definition, only one man can be the best. These different male and female “sexual orientations” are clearly seen among the lower primates, e.g., in a baboon pack. Females compete to mate at the top, males to get to the top." Thus, in an ideal female sexual utopia, she is able to mate with the hypothetical "perfect" man and is able to get him to commit at the same time (to commit meaning to cease mating with all other females). Just as James Bond appeals to men for being a work of fiction that relates to male sexual utopia, so does the pulp fiction romance novel appeal to women, says Devlin. But just as everyone knows it is impossible fantasy for every man to have his harem, so to is it fantasy to suppose a hypergamous utopia can exist: "The fantasy is strictly utopian, partly because no perfect man exists, but partly also because even if he did, it is logically impossible for him to be the exclusive mate of all the women who desire him." At best, then, only one female would be able to live in the utopia. In a world of approximately 6 billion people (and approximately 3 billion women), a hypergamous ideal does not seem to be the best way to organize society for the maximum happiness of all.
Devlin draws a further distinction between monogamy and hypergamy:
Hypergamy is not monogamy in the human sense. Although there may be only one “alpha male” at the top of the pack at any given time, which one it is changes over time. In human terms, this means the female is fickle, infatuated with no more than one man at any given time, but not naturally loyal to a husband over the course of a lifetime. In bygone days, it was permitted to point out natural female inconstancy. Consult, for example, Ring Lardner’s humorous story “I Can’t Breathe”—the private journal of an eighteen year old girl who wants to marry a different young man every week. If surveyed on her preferred number of “sex partners,” she would presumably respond one; this does not mean she has any idea who it is.
It is at this point that I suspect a reader with a feminist bent might criticize myself or Devlin for being misogynists by daring to suggest that women are anything but perfect. "Women are not fickle," they might shout, stamping their feet, "you must either just hate them or you have a small dick!" Maybe they would complain that we're only saying what we are because we never get laid. Maybe they'd be incensed at the suggestion that there are differences between men and women that are biological as opposed to social. Perhaps only a few years ago, I would've had to submit to such shaming tactics and been shouted down; thankfully, I've found the resources that enable me to have civil debates with those who would disagree but want to carry on in a rational manner with that disagreement. We can, thankfully, ignore those that would just shout down discourse.
Moving on, then!
Devlin goes on to say that an important part of hypergamy is the rejection of most men. Obviously, not every man can be the best man - hell, not even most men can be the best men - so in a hypergamous utopia, there'd be a whole lot of rejected men. He has some choice words to describe women which, again, would incense most feminists - saying that rather than being naturally modest, they are actually naturally vain, being inclined to believe that they are deserving of only the best suitors - even if this is a logical impossibility. Devlin asserts that the feminist movement was an attempt to realize this female utopia:
The sexual revolution in America was an attempt by women to realize their own utopia, not that of men. Female utopians came forward publicly with plans a few years after Kinsey and Playboy. Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl appeared in 1962, and she took over Cosmopolitan magazine three years later. Notoriously hostile to motherhood, she explicitly encouraged women to use men (including married men) for pleasure.
It is at this point that feminists might critique myself or Devlin for not knowing what feminism is all about, bellowing that it's all about "equal rights for equal work!" I would suspect such a commentator is not at all familiar with feminism, and suggest he or she get acquainted with what feminist leaders have to say on the matter of male-female relations. And to those who would say that the extreme opinions of the few are irrelevant in the end (even in light of the last essay), I would say: not so!
Moving on, then!
I'll skip the play-by-play and cut to the chase. There's a lot I'd love to comment on from Devlin's work, but hopefully at this point, I've convinced you to go read it yourself. I am going to offer up only the parts of the article that resonate most strongly with my own experiences and opinions before posting this.
After an in-depth analysis on the myth of date rape - exposing it for the lack of personal accountability that it is, rather than a rape in any meaningful sense of the word - Devlin goes on to say this:
I sympathize with the young woman, in view of a miseducation which might have been consciously designed to leave her unprepared for the situation she got herself into. But as to the question of whether she was raped, the answer must be a clear no.
I've already linked once to the essay I wrote years ago in school that attempted to debunk feminism on several fronts, one of which was the way in which "rape" has been virtually weaponized as a political tool to achieve political ends. Others have begun to notice and take action, trying to raise public awareness about the insidious effect that such deplorable tactics have had on relationships, men and women. Aside from critiquing feminists for exploding the definition of rape to be practically useless (in the words of Catherine MacKinnon: "All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman," and therefore, one would presume, rape) which has been done elsewhere, Devlin offers up a cogent reason why we should oppose legal reform that seeks to explode the definition of rape:
To anyone who believes that a society of free and responsible persons is preferable to one based on centralized control, the reasoning of the date-rape movement is ominous. The demand that law rather than moral principle and common prudence should protect women in situations such as I have described could only be met by literally “putting a policeman in every bedroom.” However much we may sympathize with the misled young people involved (and I mean the men as well as the women), we must insist that it is no part of our responsibility to create an absolutely safe environment for them, nor to shield them from the consequences of their own behavior, nor to insure that sex will be their path to happiness. Because there are some things of greater importance than the pain they have suffered, and among these are the principle of responsibility upon which the freedom of all of us depends.
The only way to protect against rape, as feminists define it and as they attempt to legislate it, is to enter into a Orwellian world of Big Brother and totalitarianism. How else can we protect against the fluid and changing situations under which women discern whether or not they consented to a sexual act, and to absolutely guarantee that no man continue to "go" after he has been told to "stop" even if the woman worked him up into a frenzy up until the point she decided she wanted to stop? There is no way. This is why we must reject such expanded interpretations and return to a moral code that promotes personal responsibility and accountability. Devlin goes on:
It is a cliché of political philosophy that the less self-restraint citizens are able to exercise, the more they must be constrained from without...Human beings cannot do without some social norms to guide them in their personal relations. Young women cannot be expected to work out a personal system of sexual ethics in the manner of Descartes reconstructing the universe in his own mind. If you cease to prepare them for marriage, they will seek guidance wherever they can fi nd it. In the past thirty years they have found it in feminism, simply because the feminists have outshouted everyone else.
I disagree that it is simply because feminists have outshouted everyone else, and would argue it is because feminists have outmaneuvered everyone else; other than that, however, Devlin makes a fine point. And before someone goes whining about generalizations (as so often seems to be the case in discussions like these), it is implicit that Devlin means 'most human beings cannot be expected...' Certainly, there are some who will work out such systems of ethics on their own (I might argue I am one of them, though, only to a certain degree of 'being on my own') but they are far and away in the minority. And we are speaking of proper ways of organizing a society, for the maximum benefit/happiness of all.
And maybe that's the most important point of all, and a good one to end on. Devlin does go on to talk about the benefits of marriage and what can be done to save us from our desperate situation, but the real take-home point I'd like people to consider is this. When we are afforded a system that allows us to do whatever it is that we wish (and feminism certainly seeks to allow women to do whatever it is they may wish), we end up, among other things, misbehaving like a spoiled child that is allowed to follow its impulses whenever it pleases. In the words of Devlin: "In a word, [we] learn to think and behave like spoiled children, expecting everything and willing to give nothing." Expecting everything and being willing to give nothing is a recipe for disaster when it becomes the social norm.
On an entirely unrelated note, I would still consider myself "single and looking," by the way. Just not looking to get (ab)used, is all.