Thursday, 20 October 2011

Hogamus Higamus Part 2 - Sex & The Free Gift

As a follow-up to the last piece, here is a guest post from Bellita:

"Men are biologically driven to be with as many sexual partners as they can be: Quantity Matters. Women are instructed by their own bodies to find the best male they can find and be with them at least long enough to raise a child out of infancy. Quality Matters. This isn’t rocket science. We all know this . . . The change I see that needs to come is for the different male experience of sex to be accepted [it is], without judgement [it isn't]. "

I will never forget the Muslim man who tried to pick me up (so to speak) for Islam. (If I ever share the whole of that story on this blog, I’ll play up the Game elements.) Perhaps the most memorable part of his practiced sales pitch were his parting words . . .

 “You know, I’m really glad I got to talk with you about this, because my reward will be great in heaven. Many beautiful women!

Yes, he actually said that. But it was not all . . .

You will have a great reward, too, if you become a Muslim. Many handsome men!”

*****Silent Scream of Terror*****

Every woman I have told this story to has cringed in sheer horror at the idea of being a sexual partner to countless men for all eternity. (That’s not Heaven; it’s hell.) Byron acknowledges this in his post, but says that if you reverse the sexes, you have a man’s idea of an “all-areas pass to the Hall of the Gods.”

Then he asks: If men and women are completely different when it comes to sexual hard wiring, then why is it women’s sexuality that has become the standard by which both sexes are judged? When that point sunk in, I started wondering how we got to this modern state of affairs.

The old Catholic view was pretty much the reverse–very down on female sexuality, warning that all women could be agents of the devil, including one’s own wife. It is the early Church that gives us the very first Marriage Strike in history, with men retreating to the deserts in record numbers or barricading themselves against the opposite sex in monasteries. The great theologian Origen of Alexandria even thought it reasonable to castrate himself. Say what you like about the “misogyny” of it all: these religious actions took for granted that male sexuality is after quantity rather than quality.

On the other hand, the post-Reformation (but not necessarily propter-Reformation) idea that everyone can achieve sexual virtue through marriage seems to be in desperate denial of the same fact. And its implication that a man can be “fixed” by being faithful to a single woman (a benign sort of social castration?) is a complete break with the ancient Christian tradition that there is just no fixing human nature until death.

Yet anyone who thinks the Christian view begins and ends with the bleakness of sin and death has never seen the way the light of ages looks, refracted through the stained glass of medieval thought. At no other time in history did both natural law and divine law get to sit side by side at the table of philosophy.

St. Thomas Aquinas himself, Patron of Philosophers, was very clear that there is actually no natural law against a man taking several wives . . . whereas there is a natural law against a woman having several husbands. The latter is wrong in a way the former is not because it creates a situation in which a child may never know who his real father is. But the child of a man with many wives can be certain of both his father and his mother. Natural law and biology hum along together very harmoniously.

But why do people assume that divine law is the discordant note? I don’t know what happened to philosophy after the Reformation for many to take that for granted today, but the sanity of the Middle Ages was better than that. It’s the reason we have an answer to the question of why in the world a man would keep to only one woman when he doesn’t actually have to–and I submit that this answer that only a Catholic could have come up with is absolutely universal in application.

Simply stated, the only reason for a man to have only one wife and to stay true to her all their lives would be his desire to give her his fidelity as a gift.

And it would be a gift because she could never repay it, even with the same. A woman’s faithfulness is an obligation for the reason stated above, but a man’s faithfulness isn’t. Marriage is just not a relationship between equals. But when it comes with that free gift from a husband, properly valued by a wife, it is also–to quote St. Thomas Aquinas–”the greatest of all friendships.”

Nature can explain a lot of things about sex, but only Christianity understands the free gift.



  1. Very interesting. I find that (too many) women do their darnest to avoid that anything positive men do women is seen as favours or gifts. Instead they will make efforts into rules and obligations, so that the effort does not have to be acknowledged.

  2. Thanks for featuring me on your blog, Byron. I've been loving the discussions. :)

  3. This post resonated with me so much that I kept going back to read it at Belita's, and now here.

  4. Very interesting. I will say that I want to add a couple of things.

    First religion is nothing but practical (you should read the History of God by Karen Armstrong) men's natural desire for polygamy is destructive in the sense that we as species breed more or less the same amount of members of each gender so a man that wants to take as many wives as possible will end up competing for his friends wives and they having the same impulse will do the same. Civilization as we know would had been impossible, just take a look at the real live example of the lost boys phenomena among the polygamists in fiction you can read a brave new world that attempts to make women polygamous too but for that has to pretty much destroy the family unit in order to achieve it.

    The feminine model was more practical because there are roughly equal numbers of members of each sex ,but far from perfect and far from the accepted (except now) in marriage 1.0 the woman was allowed to get the best man possible during her peak years but she was not allowed to trade up if another better man appealed to her or even if her own husband lost the "better", so monogamy controlled both genders just in different time frames and not perfectly.
    Men of extraordinary means could have a harem and women of extraordinary beauty could also have affairs or trade up lovers/husbands (Evita Peron for example).

    But I do agree that both genders most be willing to "gift" their lifetime companion with forsaking all others: men not following their polygamous instinct and women not following their hipergamous instinct.
    One of the many reasons I'm advocate for MRA is the fact that many men are actually holding the end of their deal while women are not. That is not fair at all, IMO.

  5. Re: gifts or favors

    Do you remember the pilot who had to make an emergency landing in a lake several years ago? Everyone on the plane survived and people were lauding him as a hero . . . except for one woman I knew, who said she didn't see what the big deal was. Pilots are supposed to make safe emergency landings, she said, and this pilot, like all other pilots, had been trained for such a contingency. He wasn't being a hero; he was just doing his job as well as any other pilot who hadn't been put in such a position yet.

    Her cold, efficient perspective does make some sense--if you're in the professional world. I wouldn't say it's a very good perspective to have when it comes to personal relations. But judging by the reactions my post has received, apparently many women do think that when a man is faithful, he's really just doing his job. And they're not the type who will hand out "participation trophies" or "perfect attendance awards."

    On the other hand, I don't think they're being deliberately callous or mean. I'll bet no one has ever explained this to them and they really have no idea.

  6. Bellita, it IS a rule and an obligation for both sexes to ignore their urges to go for another mate.

  7. Anonymous: But for men, it's not a natural rule or obligation. What would you say in a society where polygamy has been a part of the culture for centuries?

    (Just so you know, I'm coming from the premise that men and women are not equal and that no amount of wishing will make it so.)

  8. I'd say that men in such a society lucked out if they no longer went by a system that only benefitted a FEW men. Men may be biologically prone to promiscuity, but I believe God designed us emotionally for monogamy, to flourish best with that. So if you go by the belief that polygamy is more natural, Bellita, I don't think you're paying enough heed to your Bible. Being different does not mean being inequal.

  9. My point was that there is no basis for monogamy in natural law. So in a society where nobody had heard of Christ, you'd have a hard time thumping your Bible and getting anyone to dance to your rhythm. But St. Thomas gives us an elegant solution that is both in harmony with divine law as some Christians still know it and a compromise that even a non-Christian like Byron can get behind. That it also rejects the the non-Christian, non-traditional, non-scriptural, patently communist dogma that men and women are equal is actually another argument in its favor.

  10. This isn't about thumping your Bible, Bellita, though I am getting confused about why so many Catholics seem to "thump" natural law as though it has more ground. It is unnatural for a man to have many wives; the Bible constantly showed the emotionally chaotic consequences. You're only focusing on what's BIOLOGICALLY normal for men; what about women? Is it natural law for women to share a man, the emotional norm? Is it emotionally healthy for a man to be without the discipline of monogamy or the steadiness of one loyal mate? Or for the dozens of non-alpha males in polygamous society to go without any mate at all? No; this may be "biologically" normal, but it's not in fact emotionally normal. Polygamy is non-Christian and non-Scriptural, and I have a hard time understanding why you seem to see equality as worse; I still don't know if you're confusing it with "identical". Thomas didn't come up with the solution, Christ did.

  11. I think I see where you got confused. Did you think I was advocating polygamy? (Or the female equivalent, "hypergamy"?) I was merely pointing out that, regardless of how either you or I FEEL, there is no natural law against either of them. Granted, even in a society where no one has heard of Jesus, people will FEEL hurt when those they love turn to other partners. But you won't be able to make a case against a man taking several wives or a woman leaving her husband for a higher status male (even if she just becomes part of a harem) just by saying that someone's FEELINGS are going to be hurt. (And if you did, there would be a logical fallacy with your name on it.)

    Another possible source of confusion is your seeing "natural" as meaning merely "biological"--which is totally understandable, given how you likely found this post. I'm not saying that what is natural is automatically the best. For how the Catholic Church--and not the Manosphere--defines natural law, here is a handy reference: Catholic Encyclopedia: Natural Law.

    Finally, please note that Trigger Alert isn't my blog. The only reason I checked back was that someone told me there was a new comment for me in this thread. This same post is up on my blog, so if you still want to argue, you can do so there. Otherwise, I'm sure Byron will be happy to answer any questions you address to him.

  12. Bellita, I understand what you mean about monogamy being a special gift. I don't get why any special appreciation should be given to men; we're all expected to restrain our impulses. It's not "natural" for any of us to believe in a God who asks us to die to self, practice self-control, be sacrificial and believe that our God died for us to save us from punishment, yet no one speaks of us sinners getting special appreciation for our sweet "gift" to God. But then again, maybe accepting Him is more natural, more in harmony with our beings, than we imagine.

  13. Thanks for the explanations, Bellita. They make things clearer, though I do not agree with Thomas's views of natural law at all, not when it comes to polygamy. God's wisdom has nothing to do with it.