Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
Bring consent out of the bedroom. I think part of the reason we have trouble drawing the line “it’s not okay to force someone into sexual activity” is that in many ways, forcing people to do things is part of our culture in general. Cut that shit out of your life. If someone doesn’t want to go to a party, try a new food, get up and dance, make small talk at the lunchtable—that’s their right. Stop the “aww c’mon” and “just this once” and the games where you playfully force someone to play along. Accept that no means no—all the time.
To clarify the dilemma women have about sexual enthusiasm for men, it is helpful to contrast it with men’s situation. It is unlikely in the extreme that men will have experienced actual sexual violence from women or its threat. Men do not live in cultures where the degradation and brutalisation of men at the hands of women is the stuff of pornography, entertainment and advertising. Men do not live with the consciousness that they are being hunted by women who would take sexual delight in dismembering them simply on account of their gender. They do not live in a society in which their degradation through sex is the dominant theme of the culture. They do not have to approach women sexually in fear or with distressing images or associations with their own oppression. The images they are likely to carry with them are those of women degraded and brutalised by men. In fact they are likely to have practised sexual arousal with such images, extensively, through pornography and fantasy. It is not surprising, then, that sexologists have identified women’s ‘inhibition’ as the main sexual problem of this century. They have identified as healthy sexual feelings those which the male ruling class experiences and have chosen to avoid recognising the political reasons why women might feel differently.
With language we can ask, as can no other living beings, those questions about who we are and why we are here. And this highly developed intellect means, surely, that we have a responsibility toward the other life-forms of our planet whose continued existence is threatened by the thoughtless behavior of our own human species — quite regardless of whether or not we believe in God. Indeed, those who acknowledge no God, but are convinced that we are in this world as an evolutionary accident, may be more active in environmental responsibility — for if there is no God, then, obviously, it is entirely up to us to put things right.