Inspired by a conversation last night debating the merits and shortcomings of the feminist movement in general and the feminist lobby specifically, I’ve been toodling around these interwebs following further trains of thought and have come across an obscenity appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Forty years after liberated women felt able to say “no” to their partners’ demands for sex, they have been urged to say “yes” more often to keep their men happy.
Sex therapist and psychologist Bettina Arndt said different libidos were creating a generation of men who were “miserable, angry and really disappointed” that their need for sex was “being totally disregarded in their relationship”.
Up to this point, I have a certain amount of sympathy for Arndt, her research, and the poor men who expected to continue having sex with the women they got involved with. If my partner never seemed interested in sleeping with me, not only would I feel rather inferior as a lover, I’d quickly become hyper-receptive to other people who did seem interested. Fulfillment of sexual needs is one of the more attractive aspects of having, as they say, ‘a relationship.’ My partner would never expect me to remain with him if he weren’t fulfilling my emotional needs; a person’s attitude toward sexual needs should be no different. It’s no giant surprise, then, that men whose ‘need for sex’ is being ‘totally disregarded in their relationship’ are ‘miserable, angry, and really disappointed.’
However, there’s a simple solution: end the relationship.
But no! The task Arndt has taken upon herself, as a sex therapist, is to find a way to prevent this. Somehow it seems wrong to end a relationship because one partner is sexually dissatisfied; the emotional connection, the years and years of investment in one another, the fact that non-sexual attraction has not abated – surely these are worth preserving! In order to falsify sexual excitement in a relationship that has become platonic (at least on one side), somebody is going to have to perform some impressive mental and emotional contortion.
And I think we all know who that’s going to be.
First, however, we should have a look at some gory, anecdotal details.
Arndt has written a book based on the diaries of 98 couples, who kept records of their sex lives for periods from six to 12 months. The Sex Diaries, an excerpt of which appears in Good Weekend today, revealed women dreading bedtime and men hurting from rejection.
A woman, 54, from Hobart spent the first 10 years of her marriage fighting about sex, always nervous about an unwanted advance. “He’d be snoring loudly and I’d still lie there worrying that the hand was going to come creeping over.”
On the other hand, a 43-year-old Townsville man wrote: “I just feel so lonely. We get on really well, we don’t fight or argue, but when it comes to intimacy, or sex, she doesn’t want to know.”
Woman from Hobart: it’s not that she doesn’t like sex; it’s that she doesn’t want it when she doesn’t want it. What’s wrong with that? It’s not that I don’t like pizza; but I’m not going to force myself to eat it when I’m in the mood for curry.
Townsville man: your lady is, de facto, what I like to call a ‘friend.’ You know, the people you get on with really well but don’t have sex with. You’re not entitled to sex with the rest of your friends, are you?
Arndt said while giving women the right to say “no” to sex was an undisputed success of the women’s movement, “the female libido tends to be a fragile, easily distracted thing that gets buffeted by normal life and a couple can’t afford to have their intimacy reliant on that fragility”.
Yes, we all know that women had to be ‘given’ the right to say no, because although your right to control your body when it comes to slaving in the fields was recognised in the early nineteenth century, it wasn’t extended to slaving in the bedroom until much, much later.
Since this entire piece of cock-waffle appears to be based on anecdote, I shall now proffer my own. I was in a relationship once with a man who didn’t give me nearly enough sex. His libido was, like women’s, ‘a fragile, easily distracted thing that gets buffeted by normal life.’ Were I still in that relationship, I would have read this article with interest; after all, both my partner and I would have been grateful to know how to overcome his lack of desire for sex.
Arndt said low-libido partners, which are mostly women, needed to put sex on the “to-do list”, even if they didn’t feel like doing it.
“The notion that women have to want sex to enjoy it has been a really misguided idea that has caused havoc in relationships over the last 40 years.”
With the right approach from a loving partner, if women were willing to be receptive “and allow themselves to relax … they would enjoy it”, she said.
Ah, well. That low-libido partner and I would have been fucked, and not in the sense we wanted, by this article. Arndt’s solution won’t work with men, you see. Unlike women, men ‘have to want sex to enjoy it.’ Even more to the point, men have to be enjoying it to be doing it at all.
Women, on the other hand, have no such impediment. To violate their personal space is perfectly easy, and painless if you have a bit of lubricant. Never mind that they don’t want it and don’t enjoy it; they must lie back and think of the good their sacrifice will do their relationship.
The whole idea that mismatched libidos can, or ought to, be evened up in this way is disgusting and senseless. Women should not feel they have to hand over control of their bodies in order to stay in their relationships; men should not feel they have to stay an a relationship that doesn’t satisfy their needs.
And Arndt’s plan won’t work. I guarantee it. Because what these people really want is for their partners to want to have sex with them. And that can’t be falsified.