The Corner

Ayn Rand on Sex

I have followed the debate on Chambers vs. Rand with great interest, and I can’t quite get over this statement: “In Atlas Shrugged, sex is no longer the interplay of love and gift but the release of biological desires with those similarly situated on the sexual-marketability scale. There are no children.”

Many things might be said about Rand’s blockheaded theories about sex and (particularly) children, but her depiction of sex is anything but a “release of biological desire” between sexually marketable equals.

Sex, for Rand, is the way women romantically give themselves to superior men. It is an act of possession of the woman by the man, willed by her as a gift given in admiration for the man and his capacity to create and achieve. Good men in turn desire women who are capable themselves and who, more importantly, honestly admire and seek to serve their ability. Bad men desire women who can make them feel as if they ought to be admired whether they are genuinely admirable or not.

It has never been quite clear to me why in Rand’s world the most desirable men don’t sleep with other achieving men (even though Rand would be appalled by the idea). I mean, Hank Rearden invented a new metal that will revolutionize the world; Dagny was just, you know, a pretty competent railroad executive — for a woman.

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