Progressive Girl: So, my question is, as a redeemed progressive, what is the key to empowering men in the “Me-too” age, while maintaining healthy boundaries and strong behavioural expectations?
Jordan Peterson: We've had relatively reliable birth control since1960. That’s not very long and we underestimate the unbelievable, technological, triumph of birth control. It's the hydrogen bomb. It's the transistor, like it's a Major League transformation in human interaction. Women are now free from involuntary reproduction. That's never been the case in the entire history of planet. OKAY, we don't know exactly what to do about that.
Okay, So the First idea in the 60s was, “hell, Let’s party!” And know, you could see why. It's like, what? The rules for not engaging in Promiscuous sexual intercourse Seemed to have vanished. So we had a couple of decades of experimentation.
Well How did that go?
Little hard on the Family. I would say
that’s not so good for kids. AIDS. That wasn’t a Plus, could have killed us all. And it mutated particularly to take advantage of promiscuous sex because viruses are very tricky things. So, it turns out that sex is a little bit more complicated than we thought. Well, it actually turns out that it's a lot more complicated than we think.
OK, and now it's 50-60 years later and we're trying to sort this out. It's like, well…. When is it OK to have sex exactly? And when is it not OK to have sex? And what does it Mean that it's OK?
and what is consent mean?
And the answer to that is… Well, we never used to have to think these things through, because the rule was don't have sex until you get married.
That was the rule. Now that isn't the rule. OK, so what's the rule? Well, we're not having a conversation about the rule.
We’re waiting till Someone does something that seems like it might be untoward and then mobbing them and trying to extract the rule out that way. And it's not a very effective way of doing it.
You Know, you want to decrease campus rape? That's easy. Get rid of alcohol. No one has that Conversation.
I did my PhD work on alcohol. 50 % of the people who are murdered are drunk, and 50% of the people who killed them are drunk. And almost all of the date rape situations are Consequences of excess intoxication. But yet there's a party culture on campuses and anything goes. And you also have this strange thing, especially on the radical left, which is Unbelievably paradoxical, where absolutely every form of sexual expression imaginable is 100% permissible. Because sex is fine… but it's so dangerous that while you're dancing with someone at a Princeton mixer, you have to ask them two or three times if it's OK for you to continue.
That's actually the case, by the way. I'm not making that up.
It's like, well, both of those things can't be true. Now and what's happening, I think on the me-too end of things and the affirmative consent end of things is the old sexual taboos are reasserting themselves. The idea that we can extract sex out from emotional intimacy and especially emotional intimacy, I would say. Psychological intimacy, maybe even from long term relationship is I don't believe it's a tenable idea. I don't think we can do it. And a lot of what we're seeing is the backlash against that. It's like well, I feel used, you know, because one of the things that's happening on the really radical end of the anti-sexual abuse movement is the idea that well, you have intercourse with someone and then you Regret it the next day, that’s evidence that it wasn't consensual. well It is, in the sense evidence that it wasn't consensual Because it's evidence that you didn't bloody well think it through, right? It was good for last night, but it's not good for today. It's not very wise.
The question is, well, what constitutes consent? And we need to have a very serious conversation about that. Like under what circumstances is it acceptable to give consent? But we’re not Mature enough to have that conversation. We want both ways. We want to be able to do whatever we want, whatever, with what, with whoever we want, whenever we want, with no consequences, and we want there never to be any trouble about consent. it’s like, well. No, that’s not going to happen.
I don't think that sex works very well outside of committed relationships. I don't think there's any evidence that it does. There's a strong proclivity across cultures for the enforcement, social enforcement of long term monogamy. And there’s reasons for that, and I think you deviate from that at your peril. So now if you want to deviate from that, there's all sorts of reasons to do it. And I can understand why people are interested in adventure and all of that, But you know, my sense also as a clinician is, you know, You really get to try out about five people in your life. You have to make a decision pretty damn quick; you know? Like between 20 and 30 there's a lot of things to get straight and long term Mate is usually one of them and most of the time, People should be More careful with their sexual behaviour when they're young, especially when they're drunk, than they are.
And I think it, I just think it's so interesting that all of the taboo reconstruction is coming from the radical left. It's not what you'd expect at all. You'd think it'd be the damn right wing Christian Complaining about, you know, sexual immorality. it's like, NO, it's the radical lefties, you know, you have to have signed consent before making any physical move.
And then that's So What Really? Who thought that up? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You know how awkward that would be? You know, you're supposed to be able to do a little bit of nonverbal reading, right? I mean, that’s part of romance. You don't see it. You ever see a movie where the two people who are dating exchange consent notes? that doesn't happen. So it's an unrealistic solution.
But I think the real solution is that despite the fact that we have reliable birth control, We're going to have to relearn what the acceptable rules of propriety are with regards to sexual relationships.
One of the things I often Tell my young client is Don't do anything physically with anyone that you wouldn't talk to them about. Because if you’re too damn embarrassed to talk about it, Well, maybe it's a little premature in the relationship to actually do it, and then there's harm in it. You know, there's emotional harm in it….. for both parties, there's the cheapening of both parties.
So it's going to take us a long time to sort this out, but hopefully we can do it in a serious manner, and it won't be merely a matter of mobbing those who seem to have made an error.