The adage that “history is written by the winners,” which although as to history might not be entirely true, is relevant, mutatis mutandis, to the way in which the “winners” in our society control the narrative about sexuality. (There. Try diagramming that sentence.)
I’m thinking of a piece in The Atlantic written a little over a decade ago, “The Plight of the High Status Woman.” There aren’t as many articles about the plight of “low-status” men, or at least, what there is isn’t written by them. As a general rule, professionally undistinguished men don’t get published in The Atlantic. And there isn’t an analogue to Feministing written by lower-rung men in cubicle jobs.
But beyond the issue of economic status – and much more important – is the fact is that even among apparent social equals, it’s the more aggressive personality who tends to grab the megaphone, so to speak. And so it’s not just a question of successful women in relation to less successful men. It’s also that men who often presume to speak for “us men” tend to be either successful professionals, or assertive extroverts, or both.
The result is that our culture’s narrative about sexuality (to use a horribly vague expression) tends to be heavily tilted toward the personal experience of the successful and the extroverted. (Although occasionally the successful extrovert will take a highly entertaining stab at envisioning the life of the less successful.)
So that’s the main thing I’m talking about here: personality, and how those in the position to speak the loudest tend to see sexuality through the prism of the extroverted and assertive.