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Donald Trump and the Marquis de Sade - Elf M. Sternberg
Donald Trump and the Marquis de Sade
So Donald Trump said some horrible things about women today. A couple of my friends suggested that Trump's sexist talk is loud to cover up something deeper; perhaps Trump is secretly gay, one suggested.

I don't think so.

As I've mentioned before, I have this idea that there are a lot of men who don't like sex, and a recent re-reading of the Marquis de Sade led me to finally understand why. It's pretty simple: Needing is confusing to men trying to "act like a man." In de Sade's universe, the only thing the men need is to feel that life is orderly and organized, and that when you have sex what you get in the end isn't pleasure, it's just that short measure when the need is temporarily gorged into silence. Since sex isn't so much pleasure as a cure for the pain of this unmanly needing, it's only real value is its utility as an expression of power.

"Act like a man" is a borderline; it's a checklist of things men do in order to keep their man card. The most important thing within that border, though, is that a man never needs anything. He wants, sure, but a real man never needs. Yet it's clear that when some men talk about sex, they feel a need, a sharp, painful desire for something... and they hate it.

They've been taught to hate it. "Needing" isn't manly. "Needing" something you can only get from women isn't manly. The only way to make it manly is make it about power, to make it an expression of power over weakness, and emphasize the conquest as an expression of superiority, a rung in the ladder of the heirarchy of men.

Even when men like Donald Trump get sex, it's not pleasurable. They resent it, they get angry at the woman for it not being what they'd hoped it would be. Over time, it becomes an expression not of pleasure or joy, not of adventure and exploration. At best, it's relief, a momentary quieting soothing of the need. It'll come back, and that frustrates men even more. They can't get away from this thing that's really not all that great.

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