Ayn Rand has a unique take on love. In “The Fountainhead”, Gail Wynand and his wife, Dominique Falcone, are chatting:
Gail: “… I don’t want anything- but to own you. Without any answer from you. It has to be without any answer…”i
Dominique: “I don’t love you, Gail.”
Gail: “I can’t even care about that.. …I love you, Dominique. I love you so much that nothing can matter to me, not even you… Only my love- not your answer. Not even your indifference… …it’s not the object that matters, it’s the desire. Not you, but I.”
The woman’s status is that of an owned object. She doesn’t matter, only he does. This kind of love, where the woman’s feelings are irrelevant to the man’s desire, is presented as admirable.ii
iPg 496, The Fountainhead, Signet, Penguin Books, 1952
iiPg 502 The Fountainhead, Signet, Penguin Books, 1952
Rand describes the type of sexual relation she approves of as the following: “…sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which (a man) cannot perform for any other motive but his own enjoyment… He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself… …whose surrender permits him to experience- or fake- a feeling of self esteem… The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer- because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut.”i
The woman’s function is not to be of worth in her own right, but to be a reflection of the man. Rand doesn’t say what “The Meaning of Sex” is for women. The above implies it is to be conquered and possessed; and no action other than surrender necessary to achieve an appropriate sexual relationship.
This is in accordance with what Rand writes in “Fountainhead”, where the heroine’s motivation is described, “…the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted.”ii Later, the heroine describes the beginning of the relationship, “He didn’t ask my consent. He raped me. That’s how it began.”iii
The red-flag words Ayn Rand uses to describe her ideal sexual relationships are: selfish, for his own enjoyment, conquer, possess, master, shameful, contemptuous, rapture, he didn’t ask, and rape. Is it any wonder most of Ayn Rand’s fans started as conservative teen-aged boys?
iNew Intellectual pg 99 Quoting her book, Atlas Shrugged.
iiiPg 671 The Fountainhead, Signet, Penguin Books, 1952
WARNING: Explicit content. Graphic description of Rape.
Ayn Rand’s The Fountainheadi has a unique take on male/female relationships. Here is Dominique Falcone’s first sexual experience. She is with the hero, Howard Roark. This is the beginning of their book-long romance:
“… she felt the blood beating in her throat, in her eyes, the hatred, the helpless terror in her blood. She felt the hatred… She fought in a last convulsion. Then the sudden pain shot up… …and she screamed. Then she lay still.
It was an act that could be performed in tenderness, as a seal of love, or in contempt, as a symbol of humiliation and conquest. It could be the act of a lover or the act of a soldier violating an enemy woman. He did it as an act of scorn. Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her lie still and submit. One gesture of tenderness from him- and she would have remained cold, untouched by the thing done to her body. But the act of a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted.”
This is not a scene of consensual “play” between two loving equals. The feelings are hatred and fear, scorn and contempt.
Later, Dominique describes the eventii, “He didn’t ask my consent. He raped me. That’s how it began.” After that, they only have sex when she is cheating on her husbands; until the end of the book, when the two unite.
It is important to note that the hero of this rape scene is, in Rand’s wordsiii, “an ideal man” and the story is a “presentation of a moral ideal”.