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August 08, 2007


On the question of why rape is abhorred more, the comments on that post are as interesting as the post itself. To that general discussion, I'd just add that for the species, it might not be considered as valuable to preserve an individual's gene pool as to preserve the individual himself.

Regarding your point about us not being as concerned about sexual inequality, I've never seen data on different access to sex. However, its likely that sexual inequality is less widespread and less systematic than food inequality, so we're less concerned.

Also, the costs of providing sex aid is much higher: for a woman to give a man sex-charity requires taking the risk (however small and reduced by birth-control) of becoming pregnant with his child.

Lastly, it is probably easier to monitor depravity of food than depravity of sex. A sex aid program would probably attract people (men?) with higher than average access to sex too, raising the costs of providing such a program

I think this has less to do with male inequality than distinctions (that at least anglosphere) societies make between crimes against persons and crimes against property. For example, you can damage someone's property to save your life, your own property, or the public. You just have to compensate them for the first two or they have legal remedy to get a judgment against you. But you can't damage someone's person to protect your own person, property, or the public. So rape vs. bread-stealing are unexceptional variants under that rule.

I followed the last link. Why is prostitution not on the list of most unpleasant jobs?

A rapist is more similar to a person who steals caviar because it's better that rice and beans. Masturbation is the baseline for sexual deprivation. It's enough to relieve the physical pangs just as rice and beans would for hunger. After that, it may just be that, as you said, the marginal cost of providing a little more food charity is far less than providing a little more sex charity.

While I agree that concern over inequality is not very general, this could be explained even if it were not.

I don't get it what's supposed to be puzzling here.

If you're after an evolutionary explanation of our reactions, then we should be thinking in terms of our genetic interests, not the rapist/thief's. From our perspective, someone who steals food is competing far less directly with our own attempts to propagate our genes than someone who rapes people is, so different reactions shouldn't be all that puzzling. The fact that the issues are supposedly identical from his genetic perspective doesn't really seem relevant.

On the other hand, if you're after a normative explanation of our reaction, then the rapist/thief's genetic interests only matter if you think that the survival genes, rather than people is what ultimately matters. Most of us (IMHO rightly) just don't think that.

The only way this seems to become a puzzle is if you confuse the two perspectives.

(And even then, the cases presented aren't really analogous. A better intuition-pump would be to contrast our view of someone who steals food to avoid starvation with someone who doesn't have kids, and steals money to pay for fertility treatment. Then you avoid the complications of massively different levels of harm involved in rape than petty theft, and the fact that rape generally doesn't have a lot to do with a desire to have babies.)

Ali, I agree the comments at the first post are interesting.

Hopefully, your answer would just raise the question: why is hurting a person worse than hurting their property, holding constant the size of the harm?

Conchis, it is at least a puzzle in evol psych that our evolved moral intuitions give less weight to things that harm our long term fitness, versus our current feelings.

This brought to mind both Caplan's musing on the justice of redistribution in a pure-service economy (possibly with tradeable vouchers for labor) and Kling's alternate history with "prostitution insurance".

Uh, Robin, are you serious?

First, for much of our species' social history, rapists weren't treated with the amount of justified scorn with which they're treated today in Western cultures.

Second, a rape inflicts much more serious harm on someone than a food theft. It's accompanied often with a physical assault or threat of physical assault, and it violates the bodily integrity of another human a way that grabbing a block of cheese off the shelves of a grocery store does not. And nobody has ever suffered serious psychological trauma from having had a couple of apples stolen. To make our moral intuitions a little closer, perhaps you should consider the rape versus the following case: Man A sees person C, who is eating a sandwich on the street with his/her children. Person C is obviously pretty poor. Man A beats the crap out of person C and steals the food out of C and C's kids' mouths. That's a *little* closer to the type of injury inflicted by rape, and, lo and behold, our moral intuitions are a little different, aren't they?

And the distinction between crimes against persons and crimes against property is readily understandable. Property is fungible. In a fairly wealthy society like ours, most property crimes -- especially very small property crimes like stealing of food, as opposed to big property crimes like stealing peoples' retirement funds -- aren't going to ruin someone's quality of life in the way that crimes against persons are. The latter risks disabling physical injury, disease (an especial concern in the case of rape, where STDS are an issue, also pregnancy and abortion complications), post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. And this isn't even getting into the political meaning of rape as a crime that men inflict on women.

The notion that evolutionary psychologists and that lot are running around seriously, genuinely, unable to fathom the difference between stealing food and rape just scares me to death.

(Moreover, this explains why sex stamps would be problematic in a way that food stamps aren't. Providing sex stamps would require finding someone willing to provide the sex. Food is fungible in a way that sex isn't -- you don't have to physically interact with someone to get food. Is the notion of bodily integrity really that hard to understand?)

Robin, I'm afraid I still don't see the puzzle here. I don't see any indication in the example that our evolved moral intuitions place less value on things that are more important to the survival of our own genes (as opposed to placing less value on things that are more important to the survival of other people's genes - which you wouldn't expect them to). To the extent that our intuitions about theft vs rape are indeed evolved,* they seem perfectly consistent with treating more severely things that are more damaging to the survival of our own genes: rape reduces my opportunities for procreation more than does theft.

This is to be distinguished from the sorts of moral reasoning we might engage in over the relative badness of rape and food theft. This seems to be based on a projection of our perceived interests onto others, and seems far more likely to be a product of abstract reasoning and social conditioning than evolved intuition. The data for this projection may be provided by evolved intuitions about our own interests (my immediate survival is more important than reproduction, because I won't have much hope of successfully reproducing if I'm dead) but that's not the same thing.

In both cases, our evolved intuitions (moral or otherwise) seem to be doing pretty much what we would expect.

*I'm actually a little sceptical of this. Does anyone have any evidence on the stability of these intuitions over time that would suggest they're universal?

First, you might have a different perspective on the theft of food if you lived in constant fear of starvation, rather than living a world oversaturated with candy bars. Stealing food was not uncommonly punishable by death, back in the good old days.

Second, back in the good old days when societies really were patriarchal, women were property and rape was treated quite similarly to theft. IIRC the Old Testament prescribes that a man who rapes a virgin can be forced to marry her and pay a dowry (you break it, you bought it) or alternatively pay a heavy fine.

Third, individual organisms are best thought of as adaptation-executers, not fitness-maximizers (saith Cosmides and Tooby). Nobody in a young civilization, and nobody in sensible company, gives a damn about whether food-theft and rape have equivalent effects on fitness from a Darwinian perspective - the former because they don't know that genes exist, and the latter because they don't care. Food and sex are different from a Darwinian perspective, with different battles and selection pressures; different adaptations have grown up around them, and different moralities have grown up around those adaptations. In a modern civilization, food is cheap and women are people. Sex is considered a luxury and food is considered a necessity, because people will die immediately without food, or because teenage males with very high sex drives don't make the laws. Thus, rape is considered much more serious a crime than food-theft.

But if everyone lived on the brink of starvation, I would argue that food-theft would indeed be a more serious matter than rape, for death is the worst of all ills.

I'm in complete agreement with Paul. Sorry for the overlong comment, but I see a lot of things wrong here.

One of the best points made in the comments on Shtetl-Optimized is that the judgment that Man B is much worse than Person A is far from universal. Or, even if B is worse than A, it's because of the offense to the male kin of the victim rather than to the victim herself (i.e., rape is regarded as a property crime, like Eliezer said). This suggests that social as well as genetic factors have to be taken into account in considering the reasons for moral judgments. Regardless of the Darwinian reason(s) underlying this particular judgment, there's also an obvious social reason (at least in cultures, like most of the West, where women are considered worthy of empathy): rape causes much more suffering than theft. (Do you consider it similarly puzzling that people - at least in most of the West - intuitively object to cruelty to animals, people past reproductive age, or people on the other side of the planet?)

It's interesting and disturbing how so much commentary has tried to find elaborate evolutionary-psychology reasons for this judgment, while few have pointed out the very simple utilitarian/empathetic reason. I realize this is a discussion of why rape is regarded as so bad rather than whether it is actually so bad, and the EP behind that is interesting, but surely not all moral judgments result so directly from evolution.

Robin asks why hurting a person is worse than hurting their property, holding constant the size of the harm, but that's a red herring - what kind of property crime is as harmful as rape? Only stealing enough of someone's money to leave them destitute, as Paul describes, could be - and that can be corrected much more easily (monetary compensation, versus - what? memory erasure?)

Similarly, although lack of concern about some forms of inequality is probably part of why nobody ever considers sexual charity, there are a couple even more obvious reasons: lack of sex never killed anyone, and asking someone to donate sex is asking vastly more than asking them to donate food or money. Nor is it clear that you can generalize from one data point about jobs that inequality for men is less of a concern than inequality for women. (And Stuart is right about prostitution.) (I also liked the unspoken assumption that sexual deprivation is primarily a men's problem. That's plausible, but I'd like to see something backing it up.)

(Sex stamps could be made to work noncoercively - vouchers that prostitutes could redeem to the government for money - but as long as prostitution is illegal, that's not likely.)

Another unspoken assumption is that rape is caused by not getting consensual sex. I thought it was common knowledge that rape was about power and violence, not sex. A minute's thought should suggest that a man unsatisfied with masturbation and unable to convince a woman to have sex with him would, if remotely rational, hire a prostitute and incur much less risk than he would by raping. (Not to mention have a much cleaner conscience!) This Wikipedia article, while generally low-quality, goes over some actual motivations for rape such as past abuse, sadism, need for power, and hatred of women (with the victim standing in for women as a whole). No doubt there is some genetic propensity to rape, but most men keep it under control (at least in cultures where rape is regarded as very wrong) - and no doubt very few rapes result from simple sexual deprivation!

This is one time it would be good to have more women frequenting this blog.

The trackback from Philosophy, et cetera makes good reading. Especially this part:

From a person's perspective, then, the "analogy" is a non-starter. The starving man needs to eat in order to survive -- a likely precondition for realizing any of his other values. The vital importance of this is beyond question. The second man's "need" for sex is hardly comparable. (It's perfectly possible for the celibate to still lead worthwhile lives.) So, only one of them has a genuine need that could reasonably justify imposing such burdens on others.

Say it with me: adaptation-executers, not fitness-maximizers.

First, for much of our species' social history, rapists weren't treated with the amount of justified scorn with which they're treated today in Western cultures.

I have heard this before, but have never seen any evidence to that effect. I am pretty sure that it was once punished by death, which sound rather harsher than our current punishment.

Is this claim really true, or is it just another meme that spreads because it allows us to proclaim our moral superiority to our ancestors?

Nick Tarleton and Paul Gowder: I have always had difficulty with the "power" explanation for rape, and the Wikipedia entry doesn't seem to help. In my experience, whenever I ask people to clarify what they mean by this, I get confusing and contradictory responses. I don't see how it explains rape. If the rapist wants to "assert power over a woman", why must he involve sex? It is this quesiton that you have to answer. After all, why doesn't say, beating the woman with a tire iron suffice for rapists? Only by involving some aspect unique to sex can you account for this.

I also wonder how much this depends on technology. In the future, could it be possible to selectively delete memories? ("Pain is no more than information before the senses.") Would such a task be more trivial than recovering the food (energy) loss? Although I guess the possibility of living in a solipsistic simulated reality would make that a moot point...

If I remember correctly, Denmark is paying prostitutes to have sex with mentally retarded people.

Disabled people generally, actually.

One highly speculative disadvantage to sex stamps is that officially condoning the idea that people are entitled to and shouldn't have to live without sex might lead to increased resentment, sexual harassment, and/or rape.

Silas, it would probably be best to consult the psychological literature (or even the popular literature). My understanding is that rapists are turned on by power and get much more of a kick out of rape than simple assault or consensual sex. (So saying it's not about sex is an oversimplification; better, perhaps, to say it's about a lot more than sex.) Keep in mind that rape is often accompanied by non-sexual assault.

On the other hand, the fact that increased access to pornography reduces rape suggests that I was wrong; lack of access to sexual gratification is a factor.

Nick Tarleton: The reason I cross-examine people on what they mean by "it's about power" in the first place is because the popular literature's explanation is unsatisfying. I don't like the term "power" generally; it's too vague.

Your explanation sounds circular. What if the motive were merely gratification? In that case too you could add the unnecessary step, "Well, only gratifies *because* power is the real turn-on." Do rapists explore other methods of getting power? Also, that wouldn't explain date rapists, who definitely would prefer it be consensual, and would not otherwise assault those they like.

rom a Darwinian perspective, the two cases seem exactly analogous.

That sentence makes no sense. From a semantic perspective, that is.

lack of access to sexual gratification is a factor.

Porn is shot through with sexual violence. It's more likely they're getting their power urges out vicariously.

"Hopefully, your answer would just raise the question: why is hurting a person worse than hurting their property, holding constant the size of the harm?"

Robin, I agree it does raise that question. I think it's a fundamentally irrational distinction, but I'm not sure how common it is beyond the common law of anglosphere societies.

I think the point that the orginal quote is making is that our ethics is not based on a "Darwinian perspective". Porn does not cut it on a Darwinian perspective because porn does not pass on our genes. The amount that rape hurts somone is only relevent if it is shown to lower the changes of passing ones genes on. How "expensive" sex is over food is only relevent if it can be shown to hinder passing on one's genes. Biological systems don't seem to work in regards to our ethical system.


male chimps exchange "political" power for sex.

I can't believe I forgot about the (possibly anachronistic) old Texas saying to explain why horse-thiefs were punished more severely than murders "There are more men needin' killin' than horses needin' stealin'".

I thought it was common knowledge that rape was about power and violence, not sex.
I've heard this claim from feminists a lot, but I'm not buying it. We don't explain muggings by saying it's about power, they wanted something so they took it. The Danimal has discussed this, but it's hard to find his stuff ever since Ilkka took down his site and the danimal archive with it. One reason I don't buy it is the effectiveness of chemical castration. It's still physically possible for them to rape, but when their gonads aren't urging them on they don't do it.

Seriously, can anyone point me out any studies that showed rape was about power rather than sex? Or the origin of the claim?

Where is there any evidence whatsoever that rape is about gene survival?

Why does desire to have sex equal desire to propogate?

If this has anything to do with evolution, then would that imply that we all have a desire to rape, a desire which we must consciously suppress.

What would it mean for the theory if we did not all have an urge to rape?

Surely there is a distinction between a horny college student and a person who desires to rape someone.

Clearly there must be a distinction between different forms of sexual gratification that Scott's original question seems oblivious to.... or maybe I am just not as enamored by your fancy evolutionaly psychology theory as other people here seem to be. Is there a bias here that everything can be explained by this theory and we must try to fit this theory to every situation?

" why is hurting a person worse than hurting their property, holding constant the size of the harm? "

If we consider it to be worse, then there must be something with the scale you are using to "hold constant the size of the harm."

Do not most people view killing someone as infinitely worse than destroying all of their property.

Robin, on your scale, where you were somehow able to hold constant the size of the harm, how much of someone's property would someone have to destory before the size of the harm equalled the size of the harm inflicted by killing him. What about placing him into a coma? Paralyzing him?

Surely Mr Yudkowsky's comments are correct. I live in Australia, which was established as a European colony by transporting those convicted of trivial property thefts, and usually sentenced to five to seven years. At various times food theft has been a capital offence.

Evolution informs our moral code to some extent, but does not definitively set it. Peter Singer's 'expanding circle' seems to be gradually expanding to include the animal kingdom in demanding our moral code. So these vary according to circumstances.

One important circumstance is that in a time of plentiful food (its cost is low), and respect for women (their 'costs' are high), so the taking of each without consent has different consequences. On a more practical level, starvation leads to immediate death, whereas lack of procreation may generally be remedied many times over many years into the future, so the average cost of the former is very much higher in Darwinian terms.

As Scott indicates in his added comments, both he and I regret mentioning rape at all - it is such a red flag that people find it hard to see anything once it is in view. And the "Darwinian" flag also seems to be more of a distraction than helpful.

The interesting question is why we, as people who think ourselves to be generally concerned about inequality, in fact treat food charity so differently from sex charity. Yes there are differences between food and sex, but those differences don't very clearly explain our differing treatment of inequality.

We don't explain muggings by saying it's about power

Some people do, but not in the hysterical absolute way others do about rape.

A slightly different reason often given for muggings is establishing a pecking order (especially among school children) not just by internal violence, but also by demonstrating capability of violence against outsiders.

You die without food after ~50 days, no one died from lack of sex -- they just didn't pass on genes. If you live a 50 year life, that's 365x more opportunity to pass on genes than you'd lose if you died 50 days from now. So giving the food *is* providing an opportunity for the poor guy to be productive, have happiness, possibly reproduce.

The thing I can't believe is that no one mentioned what any of this is like from the woman's perspective! Doesn't she have some interest in not being raped? Sometimes I wonder if you're autistic (not an insult, just an obvious lack of seeing things from another person's perspective).

As Scott indicates in his added comments, both he and I regret mentioning rape at all - it is such a red flag that people find it hard to see anything once it is in view.

Apology accepted, but just to be clear, the issue is not that you brought up a sensitive subject. The issue, as Paul pointed out, is that you did not appear to have even the most basic grasp of what's important about that subject. A little emotional sensitivity can go a long way. And it can even help us overcome bias. (Let's call this one the "tendency to minimize emotional harm bias." And hopefully one does not choose to steer away from that bias by compensating with the "avoid emotionally sensitive topics" bias.)

A little emotional sensitivity can go a long way. And it can even help us overcome bias. (Let's call this one the "tendency to minimize emotional harm bias."
I really don't understand what you are saying here at all.

I was not thinking about school-children when I mentioned mugging, but I can see how that is not so much about money since children will just rely on their parents for that.

Most muggings of adults I know about were by high school students, though I have a pretty skewed sample. Mugging is a lousy source of income; Nick Tarleton's comment about remote rationality applies just as well there.

I thought that the idea that rape is an evolved reproductive strategy is discredited, which would mean the question isn't so great.

Also, has the adaptive executioner analytic model decisively won the field from the fitness maximizer model? I thought there was some dispute, but I never really understood (among many things) what made them mutually exclusive.

"The interesting question is why we, as people who think ourselves to be generally concerned about inequality, in fact treat food charity so differently from sex charity."

Perhaps part of the answer is that we are not generally concerned about inequality as universally as you seem to think. There are many other situations in which we are not concerned with inequality and consciously discriminate... we seem to only be concerned with inequality in certain contexts. The real question is on what grounds do we seem to believe it is ok to discriminate. We have to weigh equality versus other values. To suggest that inequality is universally desirable would suggest that it belongs at the apex of a hierarchy of any possibly conflicting values.

I thought that the idea that rape is an evolved reproductive strategy is discredited, which would mean the question isn't so great.
I was unaware of that. I've heard rape is found in many other animal species (dolphins even gang-rape). If you could link to its discrediting, I would be very interested in reading it.

First of all, Paul Gowder, I want to date you. Second - are there any women commenting here? Rape is not a fulfillment of primary need (like eating) it is an act of (over)power(ing). I never really bought into idea that sex is one of the basic needs (I'm aware this makes me sound like a huge nun, Paul, trust me, this is not going to be an issue). Maybe it was for Freud, but I'm sure had he been a woman, we wouldn't have such a discussion.

Rape is not a fulfillment of primary need (like eating) it is an act of (over)power(ing).
Once again, if you've got a link to some studies showing it's about power rather than sex, I'd be very interested in reading them because I hear the claim a lot without support but it does not seem convincing to me.

From an evolutionary perspective, a person who never eats has the same fitness as a person who never mates: zero (ignoring kin-altruism type stuff). However, as a GNXPer puts it in his response to this post, if you starve right now you can't mate later whereas celibacy now doesn't preclude eating later.

"Once again, if you've got a link to some studies showing it's about power rather than sex, I'd be very interested in reading them because I hear the claim a lot without support but it does not seem convincing to me."

Intuition tells me that indeed, rape is more about power and/or sexual gratification satisfied through the use of power. I do not think most men would it gratifying to have sex with a woman who is terrified and resisting them, even if there were no legal or social consequences to pay.

Intuition tells me
That's mighty weak.

most men
Though I am one myself, I really don't think I'm qualified to speak on the attitudes of most men here. I do know that most men aren't rapists (though given the right situation, Ordinary Men and all, they could be), so it might be wrong-headed to analyze the motives of rapists based on men as a whole.

Did someone call? Female here, with some comments.

First, is anyone thinking of "rape" as both homosexual and heterosexual? It interests me to wonder how passionately dispassionate the discussion would be if both images were equally potent for the discussants.

The acknowledged line between consensual sex and rape, experientially for women, is fairly recent, since arranged or socially/economically-necessary marriage pretty much disappears in our society. The question would have been about sex within or outside the confines of the approved social arrangements. It was good-to-horrible on no particular continuum, viz. the "lie back and think of England" joke, only articulable as a joke when on its way out.

In another vein, the whole question of a "right" for sex-based-transaction/relationship-as-needed, is extremely pertinent in conservative considerations of same-sex marriage, ecclesiastical ordination of active homosexuals, etc. Logically, the "right" to rape is actually on the continuum of a "right" to sex regardless of social norms, unless pure empathy for the rape-object prevails legally and ethically.

Is anyone here over 50 and raised outside metropolitan centers? Civilizations with which most of us are familiar until recently didn't care about the sex drive per se. Live with it, or get over it. Regardless of all kinds of private aberration, officially and generally sex, gentle and exciting or brutal, was for bonding and procreation to build the family unit.

There's the meme of Hemingway's whore with a heart of gold, supposedly charitable women taking sexual pity on lonely or handicapped men. That would have been beyond the Western pale, acts of charity being quite extensive and explicitly including feeding the hungry. In such a context, feeding the sex-starved via parallel analysis is in another, unthinkable, universe. Even posing the question of equating them ethically is close to a legitimate "taboo question," because of the failure, the very recent reversal, of underlying assumptions.

Could it also be as simple as if you don't eat you die, where if you don't get laid you will live (teenage boys assertions aside).

How generous would we be with food if it could only be donated in parcels of (at least) a year's supply at one time? In the pre-birth-control environment of our ancestors, this is exactly what a single act of sexual charity is equivalent to, from the female point of view. The emotional response you will get when floating the idea evolved to reflect this reality.

Scott Aaronson's question falls apart very early on, where he says: "the two cases seem exactly analogous. In both we have a man on the brink of genetic oblivion, who commandeers something that isn’t his in order to give his genes a chance of survival."

If we offer starving man A the choice of (a) eating but being thereafter sterile, or (b) dying but having his sperm preserved for artificial insemination, we know he'll choose (a).

If we offer sexually frustrated man B the choice of (a) having sex with any attractive partner of his choice, provided he uses a condom, and (b) donating sperm by masturbation for inseminating purposes, we know he'll choose (a).

Neither man A nor man B is acting to give his genes a chance of survival; therefore the two cases are not analagous as claimed, and the deductions made from the supposed analogy are meaningless.

If we're going to seriously compare inequality of access to food and sex, we need much firmer ground to start from.

Well I was just passing through on my way to something else; and was intrigued by this blog. I may not be as eloquent as everyone else here but I have a very simple answer....
People scream louder than food. It seams like you are all looking at this from an (for lack of better phrasing) indirect(object) standpoint, than from a direct(object).
Well that was it and thanks for making me think.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sex is not something women store in their silos out behind the farmhouse. Women do not raise sex crops in their sex fields and grudgingly hand out a few loaves of sex to the hungry man by the door because he's dying of sex deprivation. Rape is not the equivalent of sneaking into someone's pantry and stealing a few bags of sex.

In the vast majority of cases, rapists have hands, and/or access to prostitutes. If a man wants to participate in sex with a partner who isn't being paid, rape will not fulfill that desire; rape victims are not "participating" in any meaningful sense. If a man wants to get off on overpowering, violating, and injuring a person who cannot escape him, rape will fulfill *that* desire. Food is nourishing no matter how it's obtained. But if you see raping a woman and having consensual sex with a woman as interchangeable experiences, one of which can replace the other, I don't even know what to say to you.

This is why people point out that rape is about power.

The worldview encoded in the conceptualization of this example creeps me out.

Paul Gowder, Erin, thank you.

I can't see the analogy between the two cases. The man who is starving is trying to keep *himself* alive - for all we know, he could be willfully celibate, or sterile. I cannot see how the desire to keep the *genes* alive is necessarily apparent in this case.

The man who rapes - let's imagine we're talking about our day and age here - has other means of ensuring his genes live on. Sperm banks, anyone? Or even finding a desperate woman and paying her? I am curious to know what is so repulsive about our specimen that every woman imaginable would reject him -- and, if we're talking Darwin, wouldn't that be a hint as to the worth of preserving his genes?

Because, dumbass, rape is a crime of aggression, not sex. Men don't rape because they can't pick up some woman at the local dive bar; they rape even if they've got a wife at home and a girlfriend on the side. It's a power thing, not a sexual act. You want to give homeless guys vouchers to a whorehouse? Fine, do it, but don't expect the rape rate to go down. I can't believe this question is even being asked.

rape is a crime of aggression, not sex

And yet... and yet...

The counterargument is so compelling. Viz:

1. Some men use force to get what they want. See e.g. bank robberies.
2. Some men want sex.
3. It's plausible that there's some overlap between groups 1 and 2.

Conclusion: some rape might be about sex.

Tell me, Anon, How many cases of women raping men have you heard of? So women don't want sex, huh.

See, that's what a bad analogy looks like. Bank robberies? Not like rape, they use force because they want the money, and that's the best way to get it for these people in that specific situation.

Rape. You see, if you want to release sexual tension, you masturbate. You could even pay a prostitute if you are a man, nobody will judge you so much.

And what is that that makes sex with another so compelling? Well, interaction, emotion, looking for the other's reactions, and of course, feeling. What does a rapist want? You tell me. It's so easy knowing that victims don't react favorably.

Why a woman doesn't rape a man? Because woman don't have that power. For then, sex was never a tool they could use to subdue someone else. Men can do that with women (and with other men, see prison's hierarchies; those who are lowest in the pyramid are always 'the bitch') because sex is a power they have due to social institutions. In women, sex is something they are supposed to have just for men's pleasure (see this thread); and they are stigmatized if they show sexual interest ('she is a slut', etc.). For them, sex doesn't work as a way to control and humiliate someone, to show them 'who is the boss.'

Sometimes it's not about doing maths. It's knowing people and how they interact.

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