Sex seems to be tied up in people’s imagination of Islamic extremism. Whether “breeding” to overtake non muslims in time or as Boris Johnson said young male Muslim onanism porn fanatics that overcome their lack of sexual success with women by becoming terrorists.
That later idea is known as Blue Balls Theory. The problem is that all the ideas mentioned above are balls. Yes most muslim majority countries do have higher birth rates than the UK, but what is noticeable is immigrant birth rates start to track the national birth rate overtime rather than staying fixed. Women in short take advantage of birth control and planned pregnancy here. It is not a “population jihad.”
The Blue Balls theory needs a firm death grip, because it distracts from more serious points of what actually leaves young men prone to violence. Social, political, economic conditions and contact with religious extremism are much more likely to be significant than sexual frustration.
Chances are young men are watching porn on the internet. A cosmopolitan survey of 4,000 men found 32.5% watched porn daily, 56.5% watched once every few days, and only 11% said not that often. We can say in the UK it is unusual for a man not to watch porn.
Enjoying watching sexual acts and masturbation is turned into that of a loner and unsuccessful man who will take out his revenge by violence on others.
Perhaps a blue balls theorist would think this is what a jihadi wants to say:
“It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls have never been attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman.”
These however are the words of Elliot Rodger, a disturbed young man from the U.S. who refused medication, and had therapy sessions. He went on a killing spree last year having released a manifesto and video. Watching porn was blamed by some.
In other words, porn watched at an early age shaped Elliot Rodger’s misogyny. What Rodger actually documents in his manifesto is inadvertently seeing porn at age 13 (before, he says, he knew what sex was), and feeling “traumatized” but also aroused by the sight of a man and woman having intercourse. Later, after coming to fantasize and learning to masturbate on his own, he chronicles his “high sex drive” and how it would never diminish.
Here’s the thing, though: if he was consuming porn, if he was fantasizing about being with “hot girls” and masturbating to the tune of his high sex drive in an effort to satisfy his urges, then he was experiencing sex, fun, and pleasure. He was in on it the whole time! But because of the way we frame male consumption of porn and masturbation, self-professed “incels” (involuntary celibates) like Elliot Roger who engage in such behaviors are branded pervy, pathetic mouth-breathers.
Consuming porn at an early age didn’t color Elliot Rodger’s impression of women. A society that likes to pretend that children are asexual, that refuses to teach them about sex/pleasure/fun and how to safely achieve it, that shames adolescents for taking agency over their own gratification, and then that later teaches boys that their masculinity is dependent on sexual conquests — did. And that wasn’t fair to him. [Styleite]
In short, whether a gun spree in the US or UK Jihadis running around the Middle East and South Asia, conservative and repressive attitudes to sex are trying to pin the blame on porn or use the image of someone using porn as a social outsider and loner liable to commit violence. The blue balls theory is bollocks, trying to blame women for unmanning men while enforcing a caricature of masculinity being fulfilled by how many women you sleep with.
Rodger’s wrote a 140 page manifesto detailing his reasons. Dexter Thomas nails it:
like most misogynist literature, “My Twisted World” isn’t really about women at all.
It’s about men.
That’s actually the most difficult thing for many of us to understand. Misogyny, or sexism in general, rarely has anything to do with women as people. They are symbols, only relevant when discussing intimate and complicated relationships between men: Alpha vs Beta, say.
An example of that is that marriage grounds a man to be more socially productive than being single. One way this is meant to show itself is that single men are more likely to kill themselves than married men, because marriage “provided a measure of social integration in a society that single people lacked.” Yet age, income, education and region are much more significant factors. While divorced men were significantly more likely to commit suicide, “those left in the married group were no less likely to commit suicide than the people who had always been single.” [Psychology Today]. Similar remarks are made about murder rates, but you get the gist. Living up to the alpha male in terms of sex and relationships is not a problem solver.
Boris Johnson later clarified his remarks:
“The crucial thing is that these are young men, principally young men who are growing up without much sense of success in their lives, without a feeling that the world holds much for them and … their problems need addressing in all sorts of ways.” [The Guardian]
Indeed in all sorts of ways, but sorry Boris you are not helping by going along with such outmoded views of male mascalinity.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog