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.

[H/T Twisty.]

12 Responses to “Fucking for Australia”

  1. I guess Ms Arndt must be what they call a post-feminist feminist.

  2. Its just kind of hard to end a relationship when you are stuck in a life sentence of economic dependency. I’m not disagreeing with your point, but most women can’t just get up and walk out. Especially if the kiddos are young.

  3. @ Nolabeltits – I wasn’t suggesting that the women should leave…

  4. Interesting and revealing that Arndt makes no mention of the need for communication. She writes as though these married people are terrified of talking to one another and explaining how they feel.

    This also infantilizes men and presupposes that sex is the most important part of a marriage. Is she married? Does she know WTF she is on about?

    Maybe it’s just Australia.

    SHEEP-SHEARER [his first words on meeting SHEILA]: D’ya fuck?

    SHEILA: Nah.

    SHEEP-SHEARER: Well, lie down so I can have one.

  5. Years ago, I gave my word to someone that I would commit myself to them for the rest of my life. I have kept it.

    But I could easily now fit in the ranks of the ‘miserable, angry, and really disappointed.’

    If someone provided advice that convinced my partner that perhaps, in putting some sort of value on me, preventing me being so meant that once in a while they might ‘want’ to do something about it for my sake, what’s wrong with that?

    Interestingly, all Ms Arndt is doing is re-iterating part of the advice St Paul gave regarding marital sex

    ‘The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.’

    And that’s hardly one sided, is it? (nor for that matter, is he as misogynistic as is normally put forward by the less well informed)

    But, like all suggestions of this kind, it will work for some and not for others. If this might help some, why are you seemingly so determined to draw a line for them at the point where your personal sensibilities are offended, by labelling it ‘disgusting and senseless’?

    Doesn’t feel much like the stance I should expect from someone who professes themselves to be a libertarian

    No offense intended, just challenging the principle. I’m sure that I merely draw my lines elsewhere :-)

  6. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply…I wondered if you would, given that no matter how hard I tried to phrase my thoughts, they couldn’t but sound possibly somewhat meanspirited

    I was merely trying to say that it’s interesting that no matter how, and I use your wording as it’s better than anything I can come up with, authentically libertarian many of us would wish to be, there is almost always something that each of us finds hard to take, in what others think, say or do and have to grit our teeth over while maintaining principle

    Perhaps its a background thing. I tend to equate libertarianism with social tolerance, and many of the people I know, while generally a most generous and forgiving bunch, are at their most illiberal and authoritarian over things in which, for them, ‘a personal attitude toward something is the same as ‘drawing a line’ for other people’. They seem all too willing to suspend principle when it suits their own prejudices

    It’s difficult to get tone from the written word and I’m sure that had I been able to hear what you were saying, doubtless I would have understood you properly the first time. I trust that you can forgive my curiosity

    • @ Cynicism Rules – I don’t see what this has to do with my libertarianism, or why labelling something ‘disgusting and senseless’ would contradict that. We all have to undergo things we’d rather not, and of course people can do what they like. I’m not trying to police anyone’s behaviour in the bedroom, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t express an opinion on what I consider to be rather bad advice. Do I have to put a disclaimer at the top of every post that these are my views, not proposals for bloody legislation? And my opinion is that sex, of all things, shouldn’t be a chore, and that anyone who’s satisfied by a partner who views sex as a trial to be endured is bizarre.

      And while I agree with you that your chosen words of Pauline wisdom are ‘hardly one-sided,’ how is St Paul an authority on modern sexual relationships (or anything else, for that matter)? Not to mention the article in question doesn’t refer specifically to married couples anyway.

      Sorry if my tone is a bit hostile, but it really gets my goat when people assume that a personal attitude toward something is the same as ‘drawing a line’ for other people and use that to question whether or not I am really a libertarian. I don’t agree with or approve of lots of things; why should saying so mean I forfeit libertarian authenticity?

  7. I always thought St Paul was a bit of a hoon.

  8. ‘But I’m not sure that approving of people raping their wives is really consistent with any kind of libertarianism.’

    My first thought on seeing this was, ‘Fuck me if I can see how she thought that I said that’, and then I got worried for a moment that you might think that would be a good idea…until I read you properly

    You have a fair point on the reverse scenario. But while I have no experience or inclination to that particular practice, i certainly would neither disapprove or condemn anyone who did that on a mutually consenting basis. Who am I to load guilt on to two people who, in innocence, mutually enjoy something with each other? I’d certainly have to give it some really serious thought, too, if my other half said that they fancied the idea. It’s quite intriguing, actually.

    However, non consenting sex in any context is a no-no. I have no idea why you seem to think that I approve of marital rape. What I wrote did not explicitly say that I did, nor do I think it can be validly taken to either imply or infer that. (I was tempted to add ‘reasonably’ too, but I reckon we start from such different places, that your stating that might not be unreasonable from your point of view :-) )

    I don’t mind a decent argument but, unless it was an honest mistake, I’d really rather that you didn’t impute to me something that I didn’t say,or at least not without some qualification.

    Oh, and should I ever find myself bite the pillow for my other half’s sake, I won’t be thinking of England. Or St George for that matter. I’m not English ;-)

  9. Well, I didn’t want to say nuthin’ but…Australians are reportedly really freakin’ weird…

  10. Well, mean-spirited doesn’t really bother me. But I’m not sure that approving of people raping their wives is really consistent with any kind of libertarianism.

    Let’s consider the reverse scenario, shall we? Suppose your wife derived enormous sexual pleasure from giving it to you up the backside with a prosthetic. Would you roll over and bite that pillow for England? No. Nor should you feel obliged to. I wouldn’t approve of that, either, even if St Paul says it is partly her ass, too.

  11. I don’t mind a decent argument but, unless it was an honest mistake, I’d really rather that you didn’t impute to me something that I didn’t say,or at least not without some qualification.

    Sorry for this misunderstanding; I wasn’t imputing to you any views at all. When I said ‘I’m not sure approving of wife-rape is consistent with libertarianism,’ I was simply pointing up the fact that disapproving of wife rape is not inconsistent with libertarianism.

    Nothing to do with your views at all.

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