The Sun: What’s more feminist than getting what you really want in the bedroom?

IF one person knows What Women Want it’s the queen of the bonkbuster – Jilly Cooper.



We have known for decades that women like dominance in bed.

More recently, in a book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts, two neuro- scientists studied the private Google searches of half a billion people to get an insight into men’s and women’s secret fantasies.

One thing they discovered was women’s interest in erotic stories featuring heroes who were dominant figures — cowboys, princes, ranchers, knights.

They noted the “hero professions” in women’s fantasy novels were all “associated with status, confidence and competence”.

And they observed that women have soft spots for male heroes with paranormal powers of control, like wizards and vampires.

Well, who can deny the sex appeal of Twilight’s Edward Cullen?

I don’t see a conflict between feminism and an attraction to dominant men.

After all, what’s more feminist than getting what you want in bed?

The real achievement of EL James, author of the Fifty Shades series, was not in depicting a woman being controlled, but in allowing real women permission to enjoy their sexual fantasies.

Besides — and this really should not need saying — a sexual fantasy is just that.

As any BDSM aficionado will tell you, the key word here is “consent”.

And this is where Cooper made a mistake. She was wrong to conflate women’s interest in dominant men with the #MeToo movement.

#MeToo, at its best, is about simple respect, for the law and for each other’s bodies.

It means being confident to report sexual assault.

It means ending sexual harassment at work.

It is about respecting boundaries in public life.

A Billion Wicked Thoughts notes that even in romance novels, readers have strict boundaries for how dominant men behave.

The authors note: “Readers of romance novels certainly don’t want their heroes to be rapists or murderers. They’re willing to tolerate a little misogyny and jerkdom in their heroes at the beginning of a story, as long as they don’t stay that way after they meet the heroine.”

A true alpha male has other qualities women value — mostly “kindness and understanding” — and actually, whatever Cooper suggests, I think modern men know this.

After all, it’s boys on Tinder I’ve seen make this distinction best, writing on their profiles that they are “a feminist on the streets, a misogynist between the sheets”.



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