Monday, November 28, 2011

Ayn Rand on love and sex

There is one part of Atlas Chugged I find worth revisiting.
15.Rand's descriptions of love making are truly screwed up; vicious acts of near-sadism. Reardon essentially masturbates using Dagny's body as a tissue and she likes it. Even when Dagny experiences the perfect physical bliss of sex with John Galt (and yes, that's in there too), it's pretty creepy.

Every time you throw up a little during a sex scene, drink. Or at least rinse your mouth out.
TV Tropes has noticed this. Under Author Appeal, there is this little gem.
Ayn Rand had a thing for The Red Sonja and "bodice-ripper" style ravishment sex, which her sex scenes usually involved. The rather violent sex scenes she wrote (especially the rather infamous Howard Roark/Dominique Francon sex scene in The Fountainhead) can plausibly be read as Rape Is Love, although this is debated by many (including anarchist-feminist Wendy McElroy).
  • Additionally, Rand practiced consensual polyamory during the time she was writing Atlas Shrugged. The heroine of Atlas, Dagny Taggart, has multiple relationships over the course of the novel's plot.
  • Rand's belief in Brains and Bondage female sexual submission shows in a passage of Atlas Shrugged that describes the diamond bracelet worn by Dagny as giving her "the most feminine of all aspects: the look of being chained." This belief was also expressed in an infamous essay condemning the idea that a woman might want to be President, on the grounds that life without a man to look up to would make a woman "unfeminine, sexless, metaphysically inappropriate, and rationally revolting."
There's more under the Red Sonja entry.
Ayn Rand is well known for this trope, as it falls in line with her personal fetishes. Rand liked strong, take-charge men and bodice-ripping, ravishment-type sex. Her works are sometimes accused of containing Rape Is Love, though it is a debatable matter.
  • Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged is a modernized version of this.
  • Dominique from The Fountainhead.
  • Parodied in The Illuminatus! Trilogy's Rand parody Telemachus Sneezed.
  • Rand also wrote an essay arguing that no rational woman would ever want to be president because "the essence of femininity is hero worship — the desire to look up to man." A woman president, being the supreme authority of the land, would have no superior man to admire.
There's more under Rape Is Love, but in the spirit of a picture being worth 1000 words, I'll post the following instead.

Ayn Rand Flow Chart


  1. Babystrangeloop on sex:

  2. "Sex is a mistake?" You are a strange loop, baby!

  3. Seven billion people alive and you question that sex is always a mistake?

    1. That's an argument for reproduction being a mistake, not for sex without reproduction being a mistake.

      Also, you just happen to be responding to someone who is an expert on the evolution of sex. If sex was a mistake, it would have been selected against in eukaryotes when it evolved more than a billion years ago. It's still here, so natural selection has validated it as a success.

      Next time, be aware that your perspective on sex is too narrow.

  4. I think it was Pinku-Sensei who first pointed me at this quote:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old's life: 'The Lord
    of the Rings' and 'Atlas Shrugged.' One is a childish fantasy that often
    engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an
    emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the
    real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
    -- Michael Alan Nelson in Kung Fu Monkey Blog

    1. That may be the original, but I prefer Raj Patel's version:

      "There are two novels that can transform a bookish 14-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs."

      It's the "inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel" this is both different from the one above and the reason why I think Objectivists are dangerous.