From Chapter 9
It must be said that this story was begun in what might be called a socio-sexual climate much different than the one in which it is being finished. I’m referring to #metoo, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby (verdict mere days ago), and so many more. There are many dimensions to the movement that’s afoot, to the shifts in our views of what’s acceptable, and I think the most important change that all men could make is not to adopt a newfound professional caution and not necessarily to make public atonements but to assume accountability for their sexual drives and to better understand the functions of sexual pleasure and its role in their lives.
The #metoo movement began from a place of intolerance for sexual violence and exploitation, but underneath it all, speaking very broadly, is, I think, the question of ownership. It’s not a question every man can put to himself and answer honestly and accurately. But in the information age, when everything—all knowledge and all taboos—is explicit, we cannot forgive men for knowing not what they do. It’s the duty of men to get informed, to step outside our own limited viewpoints, in the exact same way that we are being asked to do, and many are doing, with views on immigration, gun-control, race relations, and many other of our nation’s ills.
Surely going back hundreds of years there have been tracts and treatises written in which Calvinistic phrases such as “the right function of sexual pleasure” were used. In these secular times, there’s little tolerance for moralistic rhetoric. Religiosity is the butt and scorn of the internet. Which is fine, because it’s actually a perfectly rational (in the mathematical sense) appeal that I want to make, which is that if a man stops the practice of objectify women, he’ll relate to them better. It’s just that simple.