Now the Burden of Modesty—Is Men’s

Who would have thought, fifty years ago?
by Davd, November 2011

Sexual abstinence is a major strength for men’s-interest activists and men writing on gender issues:  Women cannot readily exploit an abstinent man.  Our statements, oral or written, are not readily dismissed as “personal issues of the moment”,  if we have no sexual involvements and our dealings with women are disciplined and yes, witnessed.  We may well be speaking and writing from emotional as well as intellectual or philosophical concern; but the concern is for past experience and the present sufferings of other men, not a current emotional response to a current personal problem or attraction:  Abstinent men can’t readily be dismissed as manipulative or “in conflict of interest.”

Sexual indulgence is a major weakness in a man living under Feminist laws.  He can be accused of paternity (and sires are often taxed as fathers by the courts).  He can be accused of rape for coitus with a sleeping woman, even if she consented in advance and even if they had mutually consenting coitus previously the same day or night; or for coitus with an intoxicated woman.  He cannot expect the Laws to enforce marriage promises of fidelity, nor to give him gender equality in marriage or in divorce.  Men tend to let our heads rule our feelings, and a growing number of men see sex [and marriage] as unacceptably risky.

Virginity,  i read recently, is now commoner among college and university men than among college and university women.  Who would have thought, fifty years ago, that the old Double Standard, which allowed sexual license to men but not to women, would not only come to an end, but be reversed?

Apparently, power-difference is more important than sex-difference, as a cause of modesty-vs-liberty in sexual conduct.

“In the Old Days,” women protected their virginity because men valued it and they wanted good husbands, and because unmarried motherhood was both shameful [excepting widows], and often impoverished.  Today, most women in post-secondary schools:

  • believe they can avoid pregnancy until they want it;

  • believe they can abort any “accidental” pregnancy that may occur;  and

  • no longer believe unmarried motherhood is either shameful, or likely to be impoverished.

The main reasons for sexual restraint among women today, are religion and STD risk.  Neither seems to be very strong, though STD risk awareness may be growing just lately.

“In the Old Days,” men were half-careful [on-average—some men were quite prudent and some quite heedless] about contraception and about avoiding “V.D.”  Men who kept their virginity usually did so for reasons of faith, or in sparsely populated rural areas, for lack of opportunity.  Modesty was not something men thought much about, except perhaps when women dressed so as to distract us with their reproductive anatomy—those parts of their bodies which modesty prescribed they should cover.  Most men naturally dressed for practical reasons, or in office and sales work, for ritual conformity;  and that meant our clothing was normally “modest” without any particular attention to modesty itself.   (We also expected to be allowed to use rougher language than women—except, perhaps when women were present.)

Today, most men know some other man who has suffered divorce abuse.  Many of us know someone, and most of us know of someone, who has  suffered from false “sexual harassment” accusations.  We are starting to learn that it is dangerous to take women’s behaviour-of-the-moment as trustworthy indication of what they are like, or of how safe it is to be close to them—with or without erotic pleasuring.

That’s not to say most women are viciously hostile or even cold-heartedly exploitative.  Nearly all of us who have cars, lock them when we park in a public lot.  My guess is that 95% or more of the people who pass my car in a public lot, are not thieves—but if ten people pass the car while i’m away from it, there’s could be as much as a 50-50 chance that one of them is a thief—and it only takes one.  In many cases, a hundred or more people might walk past your car parked in a busy lot or at a street meter.  Most people who have cars, lock them when they are parked in public.

I have no way of knowing whether 1%, 5%, 20%, 50%, or more than 50% of all women, would exploit my trust.  I have no way of knowing with certainty, which women can be trusted.  I cannot be confident that “my word against hers” will be respected in a court of law or a bureaucratic decision.  (If you, reader, do have ways, kindly share them with the rest of us!  Meanwhile i shall err on the side of prudence—even if that prudence has to look like prudery.)

Now that big-city women are earning more on average than men, and most women work outside their homes, and women have privileged standing in cases involving “sexual harassment”, domestic violence, and child custody; the burden of modesty has become more men’s burden than women’s.  Men have not taken notice of this as fully as women have taken advantage of it, says the anecdotal evidence passing before my notice;  and so, my example of monk-like abstinence and propriety is substantially a teaching example.

Modesty should be a virtue, not a burden.  It is a burden when ordinary, merely crass immodesty can bring about undue suffering.  That, sadly, is part of the “condition of men” today.

If a thousand women become aware that you want to end gender bias in child custody, or grant sires the right to veto abortions, or have school and job Affirmative-Action for boys instead of girls now that the girls are ahead—what’s the probability that one or more of them might take immoral action against you?  If you aren’t “publishing” or politically active, and you do get involved sexually with a woman, how sure can you be that you’ll never disappoint her?  How sure that she will not abuse her privileges in response to disappointment?

If you decide to meet women you don’t know well, only in public or chaperoned places, if you decide to be prim and proper when women are present, in self-defense, you may well be wise… just as “Black” men may well have been wise to avoid the close unchaperoned company of “White” women 60 years ago and before.

The racial bias in “American society” is much less now, as any photograph of their current President indicates—and the USA still has a majority of self-identified “whites” among its citizens.  The reduction of that bias to minimum, was brought about by co-operation among the races.  Perhaps when men have made it plain to Feminists (and to women generally) that we will not be their serfs nor their suckers, and women who value men have joined with us in changing the worst of the rules, modesty can again be a[n optional] virtue.

I actually think very highly of modesty—as a virtue rather than a burden.  I prefer the company of modestly to immodestly dressed—and spoken—women, and even men.  I would encourage readers of both genders to be modest as a virtue… and i would value knowing who does not value that virtue enough to practice it, so i can prefer those who do.


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About Davd

Davd Martin (Ph.D., 1966, Sociology) has been a professor, a single parent on a low income from a small commercial herb garden, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. His men's-interest essays and blogs have appeared on "The Spearhead" "A Voice for Men", and "False Rape Society", as well as this site.
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