Rush Limbaugh, the rightwing blowhard who created the braying, ill-informed, xenophobic mob that nominated Donald Trump and is now looking like it could—please, Jesus, please—destroy the Republican Party on November 8, is now slamming the left for obsessing about consent:
LIMBAUGH: You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, so long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it's perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there's no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.
Limbaugh's comments weirdly echoed something I wrote in Savage Love a decade ago:
While it can't be denied that consensual erotic bondage is a kind of ritualized sexual violence, consent transforms even seemingly violent sex acts into hearts-and-bunnies-and-flowers sex. On the flip side, a lack of consent can transform the dullest vanilla sex into an act of sexual violence. Consent is always and everywhere the magic ingredient, and your girlfriend's inability to see the implied consent in this image betrays her discomfort with kinky sex.
Magic word, magic ingredient, magic key—we mean the same thing, right? Uh, no. Rush thinks emphasizing and obtaining consent is evidence of steep moral decline whereas I think emphasizing (and obtaining) consent is evidence that YOU ARE NOT RAPING SOMEONE.
Basically this old drug-and-rage addict, a man whose life's work has culminated in a very real threat to our Republic, wants to return to a time when consensual sex between gay perverts was a crime and straight men could legally rape their wives, aka "the good old days." And it wasn't that long ago: marital rape—just one of the forms of rape that Donald Trump knows something about—didn't become a crime in all 50 states until 1993; the last state sodomy bans weren't overturned until 2003. (In Mississippi men found "guilty" of anal sex are still being punished.)
It's not just marital rape that this fissured old asshole supports. When Rush complains about the "rape police" showing up if "there's no consent in part of the equation," we know exactly which "part" of the equation he means: the lady part. If the woman hasn't consented—to being kissed, to being groped, to being penetrated—that's somehow a huge problem nowadays (thanks, Obama!) even if the other half the equation—the kisser, the groper, the nominee—happens to be straight and male (and maybe orange). Rush believes man-on-woman sex should be perceived as virtuous even in the absence consent because, hey, whatever else you might say about that kind of sex—it's dehumanizing, it's traumatizing, it's RAPE—at least there's nothing gay about it.
Genitals are the magic ingredient for Rush. Genitals, not consent, are what matters most to Rush. If you're working with one of each—one cock, one pussy—it's perfectly fine, says Rush, even if the person with the vagina hasn't consented.
But I wonder what matters to his advertisers?