From the sexual deficit to nematode worms, why are we so keen to justify male sexual entitlement?

As a feminist, I’d like to take a stand and say something in defence of men: I do not believe that they are worms.

That may sound uncontroversial, but you’d be surprised. A study of male and hermaphrodite worms conducted by researchers at UCL and Albert Einstein College of Medicine has shown that if you teach a male worm to associate salt with sex, he’ll seek out salt in future. This is the case even if he’s also learned to associate it with starvation. The same is not true for hermaphrodite worms (who are “essentially modified females that carry their own sperm and do not need sex in order to reproduce” – you go, girls!). The hermaphrodites would much rather be eating chocolate or whatever it is modified ladyworms eat than risk going hungry in search of a mate.

Researchers had originally planned on testing relative worm preferences for football and shoe shopping but unfortunately this fell through on account of the worms not having feet. Only kidding. This is serious research, with findings that can help increase understanding of the nature and function of glial cells. It’s just that you wouldn’t get that impression from the way in which it’s been reported in the mainstream press. To look at the headlines, you’d think it was all about justifying A Man’s Sacred Right To Have Sex: Continue reading

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The Amnesty challenge

Here is a challenge. You are Amnesty International. You want to take a position on sex work. It must not, however, have an impact anyone else’s human rights, in particular the “human right” of men to purchase sex. Therefore whatever your research throws up, your conclusion has been set in advance. How can you get from A to B, at least without openly treading on the corpses of too many trafficked women and girls?

Fear not! For now you can read Amnesty’s own draft policy doc and work out how it’s done … Continue reading