Julian Assange, sex symbol

When a political ally, or foe, is accused of sexual misconduct, many women seem to have trouble with consistency or objectivity. Roman Polanski gets more sympathy than you’d expect because his attackers sound like socially conservative vigilantes—something Assange has in common with the director. Vigilante style commentary from William Kristol and Jonah Goldberg (“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” wrote Goldberg in the Chicago Tribune) may endanger his safety, but might also make him a lot more attractive to a lot more straight women. (Some gay men, too. Manhuntdaily.com asked readers last week, “Would You Hit That?”)

And then there are the charges themselves. We are told that a condom broke during sex, and Assange continued after one woman asked him to stop. With the second woman, he allegedly began having sex with her while she was asleep and didn’t wear a condom.

If William Kristol were accused of doing any of the above during a sexual encounter, he wouldn’t inspire nearly as much sympathy among liberal women. Yet Wolf, dwelling in a “boys will be boys” way on Assange’s allegedly boorish dating style, reminds us that female appetites are as unpredictable as those of men. And—pro-Assange cynics are quick to note—both accusers were happy to hang out with Assange after the apparently non-consensual activities occurred. One threw a party, the other shared a meal.

What can explain this ambiguity?