"Love in the Ruins: Men, Women, and the Way We Live Now," review of Taking Sex Differences Seriously, by Steven E. Rhoads, Weekly Standard, 2 August 2004.
“I DON’T PAY THEM to come over. . . . I pay them to leave.” So says a handsome actor regarding the prostitutes he patronizes. It’s a statement that reveals a great deal about sex differences, one is tempted to say: Women want to stay and have to be paid to leave; men want to leave and have to be induced to stay. Which means, we suppose, that women are serious about sex and men are not. Things look different to men, of course, before having sex. But any man is likely to have a sneaking admiration for the handsome actor who has so much choice in his life that his main problem is disposing of what for the time being he no longer wants.
One of the many virtues of Steven Rhoads’s new book, Taking Sex Differences Seriously, is that it makes you think about what it means to take something seriously. Rhoads argues that sex differences are “large, deeply rooted, and consequential.” Taking them seriously requires dismissing the contention made by feminists and their allies that they are “socially constructed.” They must be traced back to nature, to what is unchangeable.