Men’s sexual freedom has depended, and still does to a large extent, upon their ownership of women’s bodies. Men have bought, sold and traded women as things to be used. Women are still regularly raped in marriage, even though most Western countries have now changed their laws to recognize that wives have a right not to be raped. Women are still bought and sold in marriage in many countries, and in the vast majority of countries of the world their bodies are still legally owned by their husbands. In prostitution and pornography, the mail-order bride business and reproductive surrogacy, the international trade in women is a burgeoning industry. Men’s ownership of women’s bodies has been the substrate on which their idea of sexual freedom was born and given its meaning. This is why it includes the right to buy access to women, men, and children as an important way of demonstrating that freedom. At the base of men’s sexual freedom agenda is the concept of the rights of the male individual. Pateman points out that women cannot gain recognition as individuals, since the very concept of the ‘individual’ is male.
Sheila Jeffreys, Unpacking Queer Politics