Quickhit: Bettina Arndt, rape cheerleader

Sydney Morning Herald: “Women should say yes, yes, yes more”

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”. […]

“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.

SRSLY.

Feminist commenters only.


Categories: gender & feminism, violence

Tags: , , , , , ,

152 replies

  1. That sound you just heard was my brain exploding.

  2. That sound you just heard was my brain exploding.

    There will be grey matter tonight.
    I should add, for our overseas friends, that Arndt isn’t even slightly obscure. She’s had the mainstream media megaphone for decades now – newspapers, Women’s Weekly, etc. She has also advised the government on family law, among other things.

  3. With the right approach from a loving partner
    Otherwise known as waiting till sex is wanted…

  4. “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.”

    Excuse me, WHAT?

  5. Sure and then maybe she’d ‘enjoy’ anal if she just relaxed, sexperts agree after all *cries a little*
    If she’s not interested in sex, it’s rape. the end.

  6. In her usual way Arndt reasons from A to B when even the beginnings of any useful understanding of the situation lie at D or E, at the very least. In the whole article she gives one sentence (that’s right, one) to whether ensuring the lovemaking is more enjoyable for the woman might result in her wanting to do it more. She devotes no space at all to looking at the enormous amount of invisible work women are doing, and the fact that someone feeling exhausted and exploited is unlikely to be horny. She take the whinging of her male clients utterly at face value, and then tells of all sorts of stories about women reading while their men have sex with them. In my world, if a woman is reading a book while a man has an orgasm in her, the man is not the one who is having his sexual needs ignored.
    Thanks, I needed that space to vent.

  7. I’m planning to post on this myself on my place. There’s a blog or semi-blog-like entity out there called Why Your Wife Won’t Have Sex with You. It’s extremely edifying to read it after Arndt’s piece. Unfortunately the navigability is not all that, but here’s the introduction and parts one, two and eleven (out of order, but that one’s of great interest to many readers of this blog.) Scroll down to the bottom for all the others.

  8. Oh yeah, this gave me the sh*ts yesterday when I read it, and last night I lay awake (after not having sex with my husband) mentally writing letters to the Good Weekend about the offensive bullshit that is this article. I hated this article on so many levels, putting all sorts of pressure on women without really offering them something in return.

  9. This article has had me writhing in anger ever since I first read it yesterday. It’s basically saying that the healthiness of a heterosexual relationship should be measured in terms of the man’s sexual satisfaction, and that the woman’s sexual satisfaction is irrelevant — to the point that she can be blackmailed into having sex that she does not want (ie, raped), with the threat of relationship disintegration held over her head, as though she is the sole person responsible for whether or not the relationship is successful.
    And, of course, it completely ignores the fact that sometimes women in het relationships want sex when their male partners don’t, and that, regardless of your gender, masturbation is a fine and dandy way of relieving sexual tension if you’re feeling a bit pent up.
    Lastly, I’d love to see an article that argues that heterosexual men might have better luck obtaining the free and uncoerced consent of their partners (ie, the only true consent) if they considered women’s orgasms as important as their own.

  10. Nor was it just the jaw dropping hideousness of Arndt’s article; imagine my ‘surprise’ on discovering the NEXT article was on the happy happy 50th birthday of Barbie.
    What I find most worrying about Arndt’s position is that it promotes the pathologising of women’s libido as dysfunctional if it not equivalent to a bloke’s. Whatever that equivalency may be. The cheers from Big Pharma could be heard….

  11. Arndt reminds me a bit of Windscuttle, so readily trading one ideology for it’s near opposite. I can only imagine that her feminism was as blunt an instrument as her antifeminism now is. Now she’s an MRA she always knows who is to blame in any given situation, which is handy when considering situations that, to reasonable people, are full of ambiguities and irresolvable or hard to resolve conflicts.
    Word, Bernice.

  12. So what’s so surprising that Arndt is championing sex for the fellas? She was at the forefront of the sexual liberation in Aust in 60s & 70s (remember Forum?) And as every thinking person knows the sexual revolution was all about making sex easier, more frequent & with less responsibility for men. It commodified sex. It hoodwinked women into thinking there was some benefit for them. Sexual liberation and feminism are two quite different things. Women don’t feel guilty for maintaining your autonomy, self-respect and independence. It’s your right.

  13. 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.
    Because women feeling pressured to acquiesce to sex to keep their man happy, like, never happened before feminism came along.
    if women were willing to be receptive “and allow themselves to relax … they would enjoy it”
    Holy crap on a crapstick, the utter, utter male-entitlement of that line. It’s “women don’t have the intellect to know what they really want/need” plus “women who turn down sex are uptight” to “women will, naturally, (once they drop this “sense of agency” bollocks) be attracted and receptive to their male partners at all times”. THE BOOK OF GENESIS CALLED, IT WANTS ITS PATRIARCHAL RELATIONSHIP PARADIGM BACK.

  14. when considering situations that, to reasonable people, are full of ambiguities and irresolvable or hard to resolve conflicts.
    Why is basic personal hygeine and basic mouth care so hard to resolve? It’s one thing to neglect yourself in your twenties, another to neglect yourself in your forties. I’m talking about people who don’t seem to think dental floss and dental visits are necessary, and don’t bother to shave when “only” the wife is around (those prickles stab, y’know!) ONE thing that would go quite a way to resolve this situation is to make men understand that if they demand a high level of grooming and self care for a woman to be attractive, it bloody well works the opposite way too!

  15. Sorry, that was a partial response to Su’s question. I didn’t mean to imply that smells and stubble were the whole story.

  16. I agree with that Helen. I was thinking about Bernice’s point about pathologizing natural variations in desire. I don’t like the emphasis on getting two people’s differing levels of desire in perfect alignment in the first place, as if one partner’s libido ( almost always the woman’s ) is somehow “wrong”.
    And a plague on my spelling and grammar skills in 11.

  17. I was wondering when you were going to get around to this. An extract of her book was printed in yesterday’s Good Weekend, and it was just depressingly shallow. Since I have things to do today (breathing, eating), the three most annoying things:
    1. Women are the actors, whether they say yes or no: “women who want more sex than their husbands and women who’d live happily without it”. Men are portrayed as the passive, beleaguered victims of their wives’ capriciousness. This reinforces the meme that women are the gatekeepers of sex, and therefore hold considerable power.
    2. She compares men’s sexual frustration to the circumstances that led Betty Friedman to write The Feminine Mystique .
    3. There are so many quotes about how masculinity is predicated on concurrent sexual conquests, about how women “change the rules halfway through a game”, and how , without any criticism or analysis.
    (Oh ok)
    4. Seduction is portrayed as fulfilling the male gaze (in this case, a woman doing housework in lingerie while her husband watches and eats dinner.)
    5. Sex is owed to a man for living up to basic standards, not a mutual activity.
    6. Sex is another housework duty – another act of domestic maintenance.
    7. It’s just so damn gendered all over the place.

  18. So what’s so surprising that Arndt is championing sex for the fellas?

    Kate: It’s not surprising, it’s enraging; and it’s not sex, it’s rape.
    And the sexual revolution didn’t cause it. Men felt perfectly entitled to rape “their wives” before that came along.

  19. and that the woman’s sexual satisfaction is irrelevant
    Actually no, she has a line here… let me find it…
    “Women know their loss of sexual drive is a huge issue in their relationships. Many wrote saying they can’t bear what it is doing to their men.”
    See, she does care about women’s satisfaction!

  20. A well known woman writes this kind of stuff in a mainstream media outlet in 2009.
    I have a daughter who is almost 15. I feel like weeping that this kind of opinion can even be considered to be a tolerable viewpoint up for discussion.
    Why oh why would anybody, male or female, want sex with another if it is not a mutually joyful expression of intimacy?
    There is nothing wrong with a bar of soap a nice warm shower if it is only about ‘sexual tension’.
    Let’s discuss the forgotten art of masturbation and promote that as a legitimate way to relieve pent up sexual feelings. Not the notion that women somehow should function as some sort of toiletbowl for bodily fluids of men.
    I feel there is a definite anti woman trend going around the last few years. The truly distressing part is that it is often actually promoted by women.
    Am I the only one who has been observing with alarm the increasing resentment towards women? Not only in the media, but also in the workplace. Hopefully it is just a case of me becoming less tolerant.

  21. Am I the only one who has been observing with alarm the increasing resentment towards women?

    It is hard to tell whether it’s a true increase or an increased personal awareness, isn’t it? I know there are many days I wish Faludi would write another edition of

    Backlash

    .

  22. She started that line at least ten years ago,.. after marrying. Odd that.

  23. She has a website (check out the pornified header image, gah.)
    “You can volunteer for her latest research project – exploring that intriguing triangle between a man, his penis and his partner.”
    Where’s TimT?…This site is a minefield goldmine for satire. I have a vision of a man, his partner and a giant dick sitting in armchairs around the TV.

  24. The problem is uneven sexual desire, sometimes the guy wants it more and sometimes the lady, and the rejection hurts just as much when your female, but no exploration of that in her article. (Hey masturbation is an equal opportunity sport). In my rel/ship we have taken turns being the partner who is not as enthusiastic (impact of work stress, kids, health, etc) and it takes patience and understanding to deal with, not guilt and obligation. Its a problem of intimate rel/ships not a gender war.

  25. What made me sickest about the article was the constant equating of “intimacy” with “sex”. What’s intimate in the slightest about having sex with an unwilling partner?
    Feel slightly better after reading this post and comments. QOT, laughed till I cried over “THE BOOK OF GENESIS CALLED”

  26. I do my best! If we didn’t laugh, we’d scream, and possibly throw things.

  27. Wow, that’s some awesome relationship advice isn’t, “Lie back and think of Bettina”. Crap.
    I suspect quite a lot of women DO struggle with a libido that is lower than they would like – for their own reasons, and not just for the satisfaction of their man. It’s a pretty common complaint post-kids. But it has NOTHING TO DO WITH MEN. In fact, that tends to be the major cause of relationship conflict – that the bloke can’t work out that the drop in libido has NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. This sort of tripe only exacerbates that. Make it all about the men again. For Chrissake so many of us battle this mentality daily.
    And I’ll just nod at everyone else’s outrage at “do it anyway” for the sake of my own sanity.
    Ariane’s last blog post..User pays peeing

  28. Sex is a WANT, not a NEED. Nobody has died from not getting laid.
    Replace ‘mens need for sex’ with ‘mens want for sex’ in the original quote – the ‘problem’ doesn’t seem quite as pressing, does it?

  29. @ huckle:

    Sex is a WANT, not a NEED. Nobody has died from not getting laid.

    Emphasised for TRUTH.

  30. I just loved how she completely ignored the woman’s needs. If you’re not having sex because your wife is tired/depressed/stressed then maybe you could do something to help her out?
    The guy whose ‘new wife’ gave sex as a ‘gift’ really pissed me off. I wondered what ‘gift’ his wife got. Maybe he stopped whinging and pestering her for sex.
    I was tempted to suggest to Ardnt that maybe next study she get the men to keep housework diaries and see if their laziness was contributing to their lack of sex life. There is nothing more erotic than a man with a hoover.
    I’m glad to say that even my husband was outraged by this.

  31. The Canberra Times had an article today – I’m not sure if it was a different version – where Arndt also, about three-quarters of the way through, compared one partner withholding financial resources from the other (she points to a recent change in Victorian law to include this in the definition of domestic violence) to one partner withholding sex from the other. I don’t have the article in front of me, but she raised the changes to the law as an example of where we see one partner controlling the other’s access to money as abusive, and then asked whether we might consider it unreasonable for one partner to ‘withhold’ or only occasionally dole out sex. I was *seriously* annoyed by that. Just, well, you know, financial dependence can be a central element of abusive relationships, limiting a partner’s ability to access support services, maintain other relationships, be independent… And it’s something which in general is used against women, and in the past has been so fundamental to limiting women’s lives. Argg.
    (And I must say, she seems to be using a rather narrow definition of sexual intimacy. Perhaps she addresses it elsewhere, but it seemed to me that some of what she describes as the problem of women ‘withholding’ sex might also be linked to an absence of discussion about what kinds of sexual intimacy (rather than what amount of sexual intercourse) each partner might want.)

  32. Sorry for the long comment – I read that article this morning and, well, it was annoying enough for me to delurk…

  33. Mandy – totally! I was sitting there yesterday grinding my teeth in impotent fury while reading said tripe, and complaining to my partner that these men are probably leaving most of the housework and all of the childcare to their wives, and then wondering why they don’t want to get jiggy with them and would rather sleep.
    “You can volunteer for her latest research project – exploring that intriguing triangle between a man, his penis and his partner.”
    Clearly women have no sexual bits.
    And did everyone note the example of the woman who dressed up in suspenders and high heels to do the housework of an evening?? And Arndt basically telling us this is what we should all be doing??

  34. My partner has a high sex drive, much higher than mine. If he can’t arouse my interest at the time, he masturbates. We are both very comfortable with this, and he is welcome to do “it” in front of me, next to me, in the shower, or wherever. Sometimes I find his arousal irresistable, and then it’s the two of us, and other times I’m glad he’s happy with “Mrs. Palmer”.
    This subject is seemingly taboo for some other couples we know. Some men just do not admit to masturbation after adolescence, but supposedly they all do it. If more couples were comfortable with masturbation as a normal sexual function, and not feel left out or jealous about the Mrs. Palmers or Big Red Rockets (for her) out there, we might have less of this attitude that women are contractually required to provide their partners with sex. Men and women are more than capable of pleasuring themselves, and should be able to do so without guilt or drama especially if their partner is not in the mood.
    This woman is not looking at all the possibilities before putting the blame on frigid wives who just won’t put out making those poor, poor men so very miserable. This attitude of men being entitled to sex regardless of the mindset of their partners, espoused by a woman no less, just enables the current and next generation of rapists; married, date, stranger, and birth.

  35. I think the housework diary idea is brilliant. In fact, I would only consider paying any attention at all to Ms Ardnt’s sex diaries if she could show us the housework diaries alongside them.

  36. Lateline is doing this story tonight, 9:30pm (I think) ABC one. I hope they demolish her argument.

  37. Not looking good so far Rayedish….

  38. Very weak intellectual content and shallow analysis. Much of the book is about her opinion disguised as research findings. The scale and the depth of the research is good enough for honours psychology thesis, but not worth buying the book. There’s better use of money and time.

  39. I have a daughter who is almost 15. I feel like weeping that this kind of opinion can even be considered to be a tolerable viewpoint up for discussion.
    same. Mine is 18. And telling men ‘no’ – in the streets, in the shops, at work, going out in the evening- and then dealing with their reactions to her lack of interest – is something she deals with daily.
    Part of being an adult should be absolute bodily autonomy. She wants a tattoo, its her skin. She wants to refuse medical treatment? her body. She doesn’t want to be touched?
    Then back – the – fuck- away, arseholes.
    this sickens me.
    how can a mainstream newspaper publish this? Its obscene. I don’t care how much someone might ‘need’ it. If they feel they can’t live without constant and instant access to a vagina, perhaps they might consider consulting a plastic surgeon and having one installed somewhere.
    maybe then Arndt could campaign for medicare rebates for the op.

  40. If they feel they can’t live without constant and instant access to a vagina, perhaps they might consider consulting a plastic surgeon and having one installed somewhere.
    It would certain give new meaning to ‘go fuck yourself’!

  41. Lateline is usually the one place you can go in the hope of some decent critical analysis, but I missed your heads up Rayedish, so I didn’t see it. Any reports back?

  42. Just de-lurking to mention that Virginia Haussegger wrote a piece on Arndt in the Canberra Times last Friday: A call to loving arms which is a refreshing contrast to a lot of the MSM commentary. It’s a pity that the SMH has so many more readers than the Canberra Times.

  43. Of course, you read something like this (Arndt’s book, discussions thereof) and you know it’s just going to prove fodder for every misogynist oped writer to come out swinging. I give you Paul Sheehan and his pronouncement that Bettina Arndt has long been a ‘thorn in the side of feminist victimology’:
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/winning-war-with-bedroom-battles-20090301-8lh1.html
    Nevermind that in the context of Arndt’s latest writing ‘feminist victimology’ makes NO sense. I don’t really know what he’s on about, as his final sentence basically acknowledges that women don’t get enough sexual attention from their partners in many case to have any interest in playing Happy Sexy Sperm Receptacle, so exactly HOW are feminists undone by Bettina’s wily arguments? Argh the whole situation is making me livid.
    It also shat me when he said ‘I’ve known Tina for 20 years’. Her name is Bettina, and this is in the context of her professional writing, not your Sunday dinner so please don’t use an infantalised version of her name to show just how close you are. It’s tacky and gross and…well, infantalising.

  44. When I read “Tina” in Sheehan’s article I initially thought W(ho)TF is Tina? So the point was completely lost on me.

  45. You can watch the Lateline interview on the abc website http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/

  46. Annnnd… Lateline quotes Blue Milk without crediting her.

    ”‘Fuck you, Bettina Arndt’ is the message from one blog that savages her as an ‘obsessive male apologist’ who drags us back to the 1950s.”

    Fuck you, Lateline. I’m sick to fucking death of MSM quoting “one blog”, “a blogger”, “the blogosphere” while not offering so much as a name. SHE’S RIGHT THERE.

  47. Plus, LOL at an antifeminist redditer placing a link to this post in the “Men’s Rights” section. He whinges that I killed his boner, and compares wifely-duty-sex to men fixing “the dripping in the sink”.

  48. Still watching Lateline. Arndt is talking about the “roadblock” thrown up by the “ideological assumptions around women’s right to say no in their relationships”. Apparently this was an important step in the Sixties, but isn’t any more.

  49. The blogosphere as homogenous anonymous mass…blech.
    Anyone think it’s because the MSM feels threatened?

  50. “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.”
    OFFS!
    That’s really all I can say. Just…wow…
    I was trying to load the transcript, but I don’t think it is going to let me outside of Australia. Maybe it’s for the best if it is as bad as you say.
    OuyangDan’s last blog post..Names, words, wev…

  51. The transcripts aren’t loading here yet either – I suspect they haven’t been uploaded yet.

  52. Ooh! Maybe I am not blocked out by being in Asia! That would be a first. Ahh the adjustments to living in another country. Thanks!
    OuyangDan’s last blog post..Names, words, wev…

  53. “Lateline quotes Blue Milk without crediting her.”
    Regarding Lateline, when I heard that I did wonder if it was a blogger in this community. Nice to be noticed but terrible that they didn’t credit her and that they reduced her analysis (and that of all of the feminist blogosphere) into that one comment.
    I thought that Emily Maquire should have been give more screentime. She responsed to examples thrown up by Ardnt but I would have like to have seen her given the chance to rubbish the whole study throughly.

  54. Also, I object to the way that Bluemilk’s takedown of the logic that informs Arndt’s propositions gets casts as a savaging of Arndt herself. Mainstream media does this a LOT when feminists dare to criticise a position and it feeds there notions of feminists as nasty, angry, hateful women. READ Bluemilk’s takedown. It’s lovely, it’s strong, lucid, insightful, respectful of the complex issues at stake. Bluemilk is honest that she IS angry with Arndt, but she goes on to convincingly explain why. Just one more way in which women and feminism are disrespected in this hatefest. I mean SERIOUSLY. I’m reading about feudalism and property law and the ideas about women then. Then I read this stuff around Arndt and wonder what the fuck has changed.

  55. “Mainstream media does this a LOT when feminists dare to criticise a position and it feeds there notions of feminists as nasty, angry, hateful women.”
    And incapable of rational argument, too. Does anyone remember back to when Helen Garner brought out The First Stone? All the feminist criticism of it I ever read was reasoned, detailed, specific and entirely centred on the material in the book, yet the MSM insisted on pretending that Garner was undergoing some kind of ghastly personal eviceration. I’m pretty certain the word ‘vilification’ was used more often than not. Such bollocks.

  56. There is a critique on New Matilda but I’m on the iPhone so I can’t cut and paste the link. Its just today so I assume it’ll be on the front page.

  57. There is a critique on New Matilda

    Here it is – “A Wife’s Guide To Marital Harmony”, by Helen Pringle. Excerpts:

    The familiar trope of “breaking the silence” on sexuality is one which Arndt recycles gleefully. Throughout her long career as a sex therapist, she has clung to the idea that everywhere there exists a sexuality that is silenced by a social Puritanism; specifically, a male sexuality that is simply waiting to be invited to express itself in openness and without fear.
    However, you don’t need to be Michel Foucault to sense that “the confession of the flesh” has become a global injunction, invariably accompanied by a ritual recitation that society is doing its best to silence the confession. As Catharine MacKinnon phrased it in her 1989 essay “Pleasure, Pornography, and Method”: “Male sexuality is expressed and expressed and expressed, with a righteousness driven by the notion that something is trying to keep it from expressing itself .”
    […]
    Arndt has long defended the position that “no” does not always mean “no”. In 1993, for example, Arndt produced a program about rape reform for Four Corners entitled “Yes, no, maybe”, for which she found a small number of women who supported her contention that women use “no” as a come-on. In her view, initial refusal by a woman can be taken as an invitation to her partner to escalate to more persistent or aggressive seduction
    In regard to Bollen’s use of the term “rougher than usual handling”, Arndt told Tony Jones that “if you read his whole judgment, he actually had some sensible things to say there, and that particular phrase, of course, meant that everything else was coloured by that.”

    But it’s all quotable! Read the rest.

  58. Ahh this is brilliant – so glad I stumbled onto this blog and this topic. I tried to post a comment on Bettina’s SMHs news blog, but was too late. ANyway, I was still fuming about it today, so I just emailed Bettina the blog post I’d written – echoing many of the sentiments you’ve all posted here.
    My main gripe with her *bizarre* stance is that she seeks to cast womens low libido as the ‘problem’ in need of fixing, and mens higher libido as the norm that needs to be catered to. And this from a woman? What sort of cognitive dissonance is she trying to sooth there???!!! She probably gets hounded by her hubby for sex and feels too weak to say no, or is so insecure about her relationship that she feels she has to give in to his unreasonable demands.
    I posited that if women can be encouraged to take male hormones to have a more male sex drive (i.e. higher), then so can men take some sort of anti-testosterone (Androgen blocker -the kind that chemically castrates rapists) to LOWER their sex drive. Fairs fair.
    One is no different to the other, but I can imagine the howls of protests from men if it was suggested to them. Really shows how societal norms about sex are still so skewed towards the men, and its women who must conform.
    Ugh! How long is it going to take for things to even out?
    I have just ordered Jack Hollands History of misogyny book, so I’m hoping to get some answers…. does anyone know of a book like this which is written by women for a general readership?
    Thanks-love the blog!

  59. I know I’m very late coming into this post, but it’s all over the internet and I’m at a point where I want to chuck my 2 cents’ in.
    Another point that I’d like to raise where sexless relationships are concerned, especially in the examples that Arndt has drawn on, is this; men who have more ‘traditional’ attitudes towards their domestic arrangements (and, let’s face it, a middle-aged male who anecdotally regards sexual access to his wife as a ‘conjugal right’ is likely to do so) is are probably more likely to choose a marital partner who isn’t that into sex in the first place, because he’ll perceive her as one of those ‘marriageable good girls.’
    It’s very neat and tidy really, isn’t it…? A man can make all sorts of assumptions and judgements about sexual propriety in women (“Yeah I like to get laid a lot, but if she’s into it as much as me then that HAS to mean she’s been with loads of guys, and I’m not going to have some slut be the mother of my children, let alone a whole bunch of other guys being able to say they’ve had my wife…”). And then when the sex drops off he gets to blame his own inhibitions on her. I’m not saying it would ever be the only factor in a relationship where sexual interaction ceases, but I’d love to know if it was ever brought up for discussion in Bettina’s ‘research.’
    Additionally, re the woman who was praised (by Arndt) for parading around in her knickers to do the chores… I really don’t care what that couple does for one another’s enjoyment. It sounds like they both have a lot of fun. And if anyone was to get a glimpse into my bedroom, they might find some of the stuff that goes on between my partner and me a bit distasteful when seen out of context. But really…. When Arndt has worked as a sex therapist for YEARS, working with hundreds if not thousands of couples and seen all the gloriously varied ways in which people can enjoy sex and tenderness, the example she offers of seduction is such a Cosmo-fucking-politan cliche of ‘sexy.’ Oooh dress up in lingerie to please your man! And the gender-reversed example of ‘how to seduce your woman’ she gave on Lateline was…. Buy her something!
    Or guys, maybe you could make some effort to find out what the actual real live woman in YOUR life finds a turn-on, instead of pandering to the myth that a woman’s clit has a direct line to your wallet. Bleh.
    Rant over!

  60. Yes the more I think about the paragraph in which she is moaning over how some POOR guy whose wife is financially independant (well they whinged when we weren’t that we were lazy using gold-diggers, what exactly DO they want?), and he’s expected to seduce a woman who doesn’t want to have sex unless jolly well in the mood. I mean…jolly well in the mood? He’s obviously jolly well in the mood so if he wants sex WHY is it too much to expect him to seduce her. And KM, fucking PREACH IT sister! Jesus. Buy as many flowers as you want, if you’re a self absorbed, cranky bastard who is too selfish a lover to ensure that your partner is absolutely hot for it before you try to have sex with her? Flowers are NOT going to cut the mustard. Jeez!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..The Tenth Down Under Feminist Carnival

  61. @ Too Concerned to Read The Comments Policy on non-valid email addresses:
    There was actually one point this chap made that I think is worthy of exploring: that men just want a bit of intimacy and what’s wrong with that?
    The answer, of course, is that there is nothing wrong at all with seeking intimacy with one’s partner. There’s quite a bit wrong with equating intimacy with the sexual act. I bet you a golden quatloo that men who have a genuinely intimate emotional rapport with their partners, that involves affectionate and loving physical contact even when he doesn’t want sex right then, are not the ones whose partners are having trouble feeling enthusiastic about sexual relations.

  62. That Helen Elliott article rocks… and Unkel, the dude she cites? Oh yeah, nice work, you two!

  63. There’s quite a bit wrong with equating intimacy with the sexual act.
    WORD. There’s nothing intimate about having sex with someone who doesn’t want to be doing it. In fact, given that the unenthusiastic partner is probably completely dissociated the whole time, it seems to me, that intimacy levels between the couple would actually decrease.
    If one wants to increase intimacy in one’s relationship, here are a few things that tend to work very nicely:
    –Cuddles
    –Back rubs
    –Holding hands while watching telly
    –Actually communicating with your partner instead of just defaulting to outdated patriarchal relationship models that assume that women owe sex to men.

  64. I think everyone is missing the point. She’s not advocating women just having sex whenever they don’t want it, just because the man wants it. You people are not paying attention. What is at issue is what a marriage should, ideally, be all about and that’s giving your partner what they need and what they want – at least some of the time! What’s wrong with that? I’ve had sex with partners many times when I didn’t want to. Doesn’t make me a slave. It’s being generous, caring, warm and loving. Why would you tell a guy ‘Go and masturbate’? That’s an appalling way to treat someone you care about. Give it up sometimes when you don’t want it. Do the kinky stuff, share, be warm, open.

  65. Glad I stumbled upon this blog. Heard Ms Arndt this morning on ABC RN. She’s really flogging this new book with a LOT of free advertising – must be needing to top up her superannuation or something. One thing that irks me about this (and there are many) is that she seems to have no regard for the feelings of the many women out there who are already coerced into unwanted and unpleasant sex, often aggressively and/or violently by their partners. I wonder how all this very public endorsement by Ms Arndt must make them feel.
    I also found this clever little satire in the SMH which cooled the steam coming out of my ears! Enjoy. http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/no-sex-please-im-too-busy-vacuuming-20090305-8q0s.html

  66. My experience has corresponded exactly with what Arndt’s saying. Perhaps as a feminist I’d prefer otherwise. For sure I deplore her decision to present this as a matter of what ‘women’ in general ‘should do’. And what a bummer it’s got to be Bettina Arndt of all people who’s talking here. Because when she talks my first reaction is to stick my fingers in my ears.
    Yet, over the past five years of trying to have a child (getting and staying pregnant both being problems for us) I routinely ‘have to’ have sex when I don’t much feel like it to start with. And the same is true of my partner, though less often it starts as a chore for him than it does for me. But, usually, it turns out to be just as much fun as spontaneous undutiful sex.
    Rape? No. This is about love. Calling this rape trivialises rape.

  67. @ Anonymous for this, but you know who I am:
    A mutual goal of a pregancy, requiring the sublimating of spontaneity to the dictates of thermometers and mucus thickness, is a rather different proposition to simply a matter of differing libidos where Arndt instructs the woman to just do it anyway, don’t you think?

  68. Anonymous: it sounds like you’re both joining in with an agreed goal of achieving pregnancy, something you desire together. If it was one of you cajoling and whining and “insisting” and playing emotional games to achieve something the other did not want, it would be a very different story.

  69. I really think (as I already said here) that people here have missed the point. Of course men (and women) – if they are caring partners – are not going to insist on sex if their partner is really tired or not well, or has other problems. What sort of person is that to be in a relationship with? That ‘s not what she’s saying. She appears to be advocating the goal of a ‘middle ground’, a negotiation, where both partners try to please each other sexually. If a man finds his partner not in the mood for whatever reason, he should back off. Conversely, if he’s not in the mood and his partner craves physical affection, then he should, at least some of the time, give in and give her what she craves. The same should go for the woman. I don’t see how this is wrong. It’s about generosity, surely. ‘I don’t feel like doing something, so I’m not even going to consider what you want’, is surely no attitude to have to your life partner, to (one would hope) one of, if not the most special person in your life.

  70. Hmm…I guess when you said it the first time people ignored you?
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And the Martha Gellhorn Wall of Awesome evolves

  71. fuckpoliteness: Maybe we were all just so stunned with the perspicacity of saying “Give it up sometimes when you don’t want it. Do the kinky stuff” to women who are expressing their wish not to.
    After all, this is a viewpoint that gets no airplay in mainstream Australian society; it’s going to take us all a while to recover from the shock of this astonishing insight, and organise our thoughts into written form.

  72. michelfoucault: “She appears to be advocating the goal of a ‘middle ground’, a negotiation, where both partners try to please each other sexually.”
    Really, it ‘appears’ to me that her advice is only directed to the women, they’re the ones that need to ‘put the canoe in the water’. While I agree with your point of view “If a man finds his partner not in the mood for whatever reason, he should back off. Conversely, if he’s not in the mood and his partner craves physical affection, then he should, at least some of the time, give in and give her what she craves. The same should go for the woman.” But that’s not how Arndt expressed it. Her advice was very pointedly addressed specifically at wives. She doesn’t seem to regard is as a big problem if the women has the higher libido (my impression from the SMH and Lateline). She is addressing something that can be a real relationship problem, an issue occurring in long term committed relationships and turns it into a battle of the sexes, and puts the boot into feminism while she’s at it. Granted her point may be that it cuts both ways, but that is definitely not the way that she expressed it. If that what’s she is trying to say, she expresses it offensively and is doing the ol self help book selling trick of solving the world’s problems by exploiting the gender binary.

  73. Lauredhel: hehe…well for me I was just staggered by the refreshing newness of someone swaggering in to say ‘HALT! LADIES!! YOU GOT. IT. WRONG! You don’t know shit about shit and you can’t read and your opinions are CERTAINLY not valid, because I THINK DIFFERENTLY so you’re WRONG!’ Woooh! Headspins from the newness!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And the Martha Gellhorn Wall of Awesome evolves

  74. Rayedish: that’s part of what shits me is that in how she’s chosen to tackle it she HAS made it to be a battle of the sexes, Team One: MEN: ALWAYS WANTING A COCK FEST, Team Two: Women. Groan. SEX?? FUCK OFF!
    And it means that you’re so spun from the staggering offensiveness of some of it that it produces a polemic reaction (ie my first reactions were like LOOK at most relationships, LOOK at men’s attitude to women, LOOK at these bastards who demand their wives strive to be Claudia Schiffer while they scratch their balls, fart, pick food out of their teeth with their nails, audibly ogle “HOT CHICKS” make ‘wife jokes’ and have sex like a fucking jackhammer) and makes it hard to get back to ‘in amongst all her HORSESHIT are real issues of gender relations, of marriage, of monogamy, of sex with long term partners, of maintaining an interest, a spark, a connection, of showing women enough respect and love that they WANT to have sex with you and feel like you want to have sex WITH THEM rather than just wank into them’. Let’s look at some women not having enjoyable experiences with sex and what would help them (not so much grin and bear it).
    And her attitude shines through when she bangs on about the POOR guy EXPECTED to go to the EFFORT of SEDUCING a wife who has a modicum of financial independance, poor HIM that she won’t have sex if she’s not ‘jolly well in the mood’…that phrase right there contains quite a bit of contempt for the women’s position. Ok, getting angry again. And please…you wanna come on and tell us we’re stupid and have collectively missed the massively OBVIOUS point? Do it under another name than Michel Foucault and stop blaspheming!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And the Martha Gellhorn Wall of Awesome evolves

  75. Why would you tell a guy ‘Go and masturbate’? That’s an appalling way to treat someone you care about.
    Oh woe, poor guy, being told to masturbate! Tragedy! He has to use his hand when there’s a woman walking vagina right there in the house with him! How cruel! But having sex with someone for your own pleasure, when you’re aware that she’s totally not into it — that’s not appalling at all! Because a man’s erection is FAR more important than a woman’s feelings and desires ever could be.
    Seriously though — there was a time when I did have sex when I didn’t want to, not because my partner manipulated me into it, but because I’d absorbed messages like Arndt’s that made me believe that his satisfaction was more important than mine. When my partner found out about this he was appalled that I’d felt the need to pretend for his sake, and asked me never to do it again — because he had no desire to have sex with someone who didn’t want to be doing it.
    (And I’d also like to note, as others have already said above, that the mismatched libido thing can definitely go both ways — it’s not always the man who wants sex and the woman who says no. The whole, “go masturbate” thing is not JUST a message for the guys — it’s just that there aren’t really any cultural narratives that make out that it’s a GREAT TRAGEDY if a woman is hornier than her [male] partner, and there’s no narrative that suggests that he owes her orgasms.)
    Lastly, I second third what Tigtog and Lauredhel have said in response to Anonymous — that sounds like a completely different situation to the ones that Arndt is describing.

  76. Yes Beppie, when she phrases it as one guy has never been ‘denied sex’, like he was ‘denied credit’ or something…men don’t want to often for tiredness/overwork/illness/WHATEVER issues. I have tried to initiate sex and been rebuffed for more than the other way around and NO there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with him…but where’s the book detailing THAT tragedy or pinning all my fucking ATTITUDE problems and aching crippling sadness on that? No one casts that as me being ‘denied sex’. We just didn’t *have* sex those nights cos they were nights when the two of us weren’t ‘jolly well in the mood’ at the same time. Given that you can wait (or wank, and hell I love a good wank, what’s so bad about that?) and then jump one another with renewed fervour when YOU ARE jolly well in the mood WTF is the big deal about saying no. If it is an ongoing issue then there are RELATIONSHIP issues going on…FAR more frequently that someone is unhappy with their treatment/in their relationship than that their biology has magically switched off the lust tap. Sheesh. I HATE ppl defining my alloted quantity of sexy naughty feelings. It’s just so RUDE, how would they KNOW? And convenient, if it’s my DNA at work no one has to ask question about how things are going, if it’s working for me etc. Aaaaand I’m off to bed having ranted quite enough for one night.

  77. Where it’s identical to what she describes is where I don’t have any discernible appetite for sex, on the days the doctor has circled on the chart, but I do it anyway, and sure enough it’s usually fun, though I thought I was too tired or whatever. And the differing libidos issue is still present. So my partner might be up for it and I’m not, aside from the fact that we both want to make a baby.
    the point is my experience corresponds to her claim that it might ultimately contribute to a woman’s sexual satisfaction if she can try putting aside the necessity for complete arousal before embarking on sex.
    Look, it’s sex. It’s never pure and rarely simple. Even Bettina Arndt can be capable of blundering upon a grain of truth

  78. Anonymous: I still think there’s a huge difference in that you’re choosing to have sex for your own reasons, rather than because it’s something you feel that you “owe” to your partner.
    And you know, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a situation where a less-horny partner agrees to a bit of a kiss and a cuddle to see if they can get in the mood — but that ONLY works if there’s no sense of obligation there, if the less-horny one is freely able to say no at any point should they not end up getting in the mood. Platitudes like Arndt’s actually make that situation more difficult, because they imply that it only works one way gender-wise, which creates a huge power-imbalance that means that, for women living with those messages, it can be very difficult to freely say no, if the foreplay isn’t working for them.

  79. Dear fuckpolitness, look of course men (and women) should make and effort. I think guys who are slobs and treat their women like shit deserve what they get. I think what I see is her advocacy of a spirit of generosity that she percieves is lacking amongst her diarists/ interviewees. Bettina, I don’t think, is just saying ‘give your partner more sex’, just like that. I think it’s more subtle. It’s saying that ‘well, I really love this guy. I want to keep him happy. I just don’t feel like sex very often, but I’ll make an effort to do more and I want him to meet me halfway and back off a little bit.’ That’s the point of it, surely. If you care about someone, I personally think you should at least listen to what they’re saying. Though you can’t have everything. You hear crap like ‘my needs aren’t being met’, bullshit pop psychology. What I would say is ‘drop some of your needs!’ That said, what’s wrong with saying: ‘You know what, I don’t feel like it at all tonight, but you do and I care about you. I’ll do whatever you want to get you off ‘- at least some of the time? I’m not sure what you mean by ‘blaspheming’, by the way. I’m not sure Michel would care who may or may not use his name – he is dead! Sorry, ‘metabolically-challenged’, ‘involuntarily immobile’,’experiencing limited breathing capacity’.

  80. I reckon I’m not alone in having done the “ok, I’m not in the mood, but I’m not repulsed by the idea either” sex for both reproductive and generosity reasons. I can see what Mr Foucalt is saying. I just think he is being spectacularly generous to Ms Arndt on this point. Even if this is the point she is trying to make (and here I am being very generous), she is deliberately choosing to make it in an offensive and antagonistic way.
    Anonymous was talking about her experience with finding that once underway, it can work for her, even if she wasn’t interested to start with. Absolutely, that can happen. Even often. But only if you are not thinking “You arsehole, you know I don’t want to do this, you just think you’re entitled, and if you think that pushing button A and tweaking button B will be sufficient to change my mind, you’ve got another thing coming… oh for god’s sake will you JUST GET ON WITH IT….” etc. And it seems to me that talking a whole hell of a lot about how men NEED to have sex (whilst never acknowledging the existence of women’s desire) and how women should just oblige is going to create exactly that internal monologue.
    In other words, often, chronically mismatched libidos have a cause other than sex. Trying to fix it with sex won’t work, and dismisses both partners as infantile, instinct driven beings. Go look at why it is happening. If, as in Mr Foucault’s situation, it happens both ways, and both partners oblige out of generosity on occasion, there is clearly no problem. If there is a constant requirement for sex on one side and utter disinterest (quite distinct from denial) on the other, it seems incredibly shallow to call it a sex problem, blame it on feminists and tell women to ignore their own feelings on an ongoing basis.
    Not to mention the total disservice it does to women who struggle with a physical libido that doesn’t match their mind’s. Arndt doesn’t ask for patience and assistance from her partner, she asks the (quite possibly already distressed) woman to ignore her own issues and make him happy. Can’t see that causing a negative spiral much.

  81. That said, what’s wrong with saying: ‘You know what, I don’t feel like it at all tonight, but you do and I care about you. I’ll do whatever you want to get you off ‘- at least some of the time?
    The problem is that this sort of attitude is expected of women, as a sort of default position, whereas there is little pressure on men to do the same — and Arndt’s opinions reflect that. It’s all about what women “should” do in response to men’s “needs”, and as such, it erases the idea that a woman’s consent needs to be uncoerced in order to be meaningful.

  82. I’ll do whatever you want to get you off? Even if I’m not in the mood? Sure, whack it in my arse, no problems, call me whatever you like, I mean I heard you swearing about how fucking stupid I was when you couldn’t find your socks, but BOY I feel sexy now. I’m not in the mood and I’ll just make mental lists of what I need to do tomorrow, but no issues whatsover. I really enjoy encouraging you to get off *on* bodies that aren’t into it, (rather than with bodies that are) and learning that total dissociation for women during sex is functional. I think that’s an excellent lesson and not one men have been encouraged into before.
    The taking his name in vain thing here? Sure, he’s dead. But as someone who spent his life discussing how power didn’t just come from the top down, that it was produced by discourses, particularly in the area of sex I think that coming on here after Arndt has said any number of horrendous things (like Justice Bollen had some good things to say if you put the ‘rougher than usual handling’ phrase to one side ((like using Human instead of Man it just masks that the deeper logic of patriarchy is still at work)), like poor men having to seduce a woman first if he wants a root, we all know he’s entitled to shove it any old where any old time) and pretending that what she’s saying is simply ‘Aw, let’s all be nicer’ when it’s CLEAR that patriarchal crap runs all through it is yes, to take the name of someone like Foucault in vain…also it was a little bit of a joke about gods since I’m an atheist.
    Anyway, she’s NOT just saying ‘Hey, we should all learn to love each other with more generosity’.
    She’s saying lots of these women aren’t enjoying sex or getting enough foreplay, some of them have to really *psych* themselves into sex, and if you ask me, then if you have to psych yourself into the experience for an hour before hand and you dread it that much you need a DIFFERENT sex therapist than Arndt. Shall we ask the men to look at their own behaviour? No. Shall we ask them to take some time to help her *be* in the mood? (For me a little giggle over dinner, a couple of low murmured promises, a few grazing kisses to the neck and back and I’m racing him to the bed) No. Are we discussing issues of respect for your partner, and how if you’re a jerk the whole time she’s NOT GOING TO WANT TO SHAG YOU later? How unhappiness with general treatment can absolutely and validly impact the bedroom and that putting out more is at best a bandaid solution leaving the real wounds to fester, and at worst a slippery slope to marital rape? No. Just lie back and think of England dear. If he gets off on you it will bring marital harmony and bliss and a happy man is a happy home and you get the joy of knowing you’re a Good Woman.
    You say in the case of men who disrespect their wives they don’t deserve sex…look at society. Society as a whole UTTERLY disrespects women, it’s a running joke, in pubs, in workplaces, on tele, in movies, in music…hahaha….hot=slut, hahah, wish I wasn’t married so I could tap that, hahahahaha wives=sexless frumpy nagging haridans…I’ve heard men doing this shit amongst themselves and in front of wives/children/siblings/ANYONE who happens to be near…and then they expect their wife to feel like fucking them. Sorry.
    There’s no attempt to give us background info on how lovely and respectful and mutually worshipping these couples are and in the absence of that, seeing do it for your man as ‘I’m just encouraging generous love’ is horseshit. I know what I see when I look around society and what I see are unhappy couples and people treating each other with contempt and THAT is what needs to be fixed and it AIN’T gonna happen by more ‘happy in pants’ time for guys.
    I would argue that this is PRECISELY the my needs aren’t being met crap pop psych that you described.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And the Martha Gellhorn Wall of Awesome evolves

  83. FP – Hear, hear. SO much is wrong with Arndt’s approach and polite mentioning that her expression is way OFF is obviously being ignored. Anyhow I was wondering why someone calling themselves Michel Foucault wouldn’t diss the heteronormative aspects and the privileging of marriage in Arndt’s work. No instead we get ‘What are you girls getting upset about?, cos she’s right you know’.

  84. This whole conversation makes me glad that I’m queer…
    One thing I don’t understand: she’s advocating women have joyless sex out of charity? And this is supposed to help men feel good about themselves? I always thought there was nothing so humiliating as a pity-f***.

  85. I don’t know what happened. My last post didn’t work for some reason. Anyway, what I said was that, yes, the Frenchman did look at sex in its social and political context and the privileging of ‘normal’ heterosexuality in societal discourse, but these are, ultimately, issues between couples that they need to sort out themselves. Give, be generous, listen, empathise and respect. This is the only way a marriage/ partnership’s going to work. That’s what I take from Bettina’s work and her interviews etc. My partner initiates sex more than me. I’m tired sometimes, but I will do anything for her. That’s what it’s about, surely. Why are people in relationships if not for each other.

  86. In other words, often, chronically mismatched libidos have a cause other than sex. Trying to fix it with sex won’t work
    Yes.

  87. the Frenchman did look at sex in its social and political context and the privileging of ‘normal’ heterosexuality in societal discourse, but these are, ultimately, issues between couples that they need to sort out themselves
    Are you honestly saying that discourse doesn’t reach into the bedroom? Into relationships? That societies views on women, views that shape men and women don’t impact here? And if they need to sort it out themselves why is she telling women they’re the ones at fault and to just lie back and take it.

  88. I never said that, just that people have to deal with these issues independently, they have to talk. Of course prevalent social mores are going to impact on their behaviour, but people are different. They’re going to deal with things their way. They do this by talking and listening, by empathising, by compromising. Really, why should anyone listen to Bettina Arndt anyway? Who cares what she thinks? People have to make their own decisions. She’s got a book to sell, so she’s going to be controversial. Still, it’s worth challenging orthodoxies, whether patriarchal or feminist. Everything’s open to debate.

  89. Yeah, because Arndt is totally challenging the dominant orthodoxy with her suggestion that men are entitled to sex from women. We’d never get that message from anywhere if it wasn’t for her brave attempt to tell the truth.
    [/sarcasm]
    And no, my personal control over my sex life is not “open for debate”.

  90. Still, it’s worth challenging orthodoxies, whether patriarchal or feminist. Everything’s open to debate.

    That word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
    There is nothing about Arndt’s current writing that challenges orthodoxy. She is all about conservative heteronormative middle-class traditional-gender-roles MRA grievance politics, straight down the line. Have you read her whinging about single mothers?

    ARNDT: Every time you open a newspaper there is yet another celebrity who is proudly proclaiming the birth of her child and no man in sight. Do we never ask the celebrity do you think you’re doing the right thing, do you think this is going to be a good thing for your child. We never even raise the questions anymore.

    Yawn. Yeah, she’s so transgressive and original.
    And yes, as Beppie says, “No means no” is not up for debate. If you think it is, you’re a rape apologist, michelfoucault, and you need to leave. You’re also rapidly becoming both repetitive and insipid, which are sins against our comments policy. Mention of “feminist orthodoxy” is a prime sign de la trôle. On top of that, you’re ignoring Rule One, which is “Be at least one of: feminist, friendly, amusing, or perspicacious. Two is even better!” We’re past the three-comment stage, so Hoydenizens, feel free to not hold back if the mood strikes.

  91. I’ve been anything but insipid or repetitive. I most certainly am not a rape apologist by any stretch of the imagination. That is a competely bogus assertion and one totally unsupported by anything I’ve said. Yes, no means no. When have I ever said anything to contradict this? I agree with the essential ideas of feminism, who wouldn’t? Women, obviously, should have the same rights as men. The right to equal pay and conditions. They should insist their partners share the housework and child care responsibilities. They should have the right to go unmolested in the street or workplace. They should have equal access to education, to political franchise and/or to be elected to office. These things are self-evident and incontrovertable. However, we need to be able to challenge ideas and point out contradictions and inconsistencies – even if we’re talking about feminism. The Dworkin/Mackinnon bullshit for example. All sex is rape? What is that? Anyway, I do think that Arndt is talking nonsense some of the time, with all that shit about single mothers. As I said, couples need to talk to each other. I’m lucky with women in my life, believe me. My mother grandmother, sister, my beautiful niece and of course, my partner. My beautiful partner helped me after I was in hospital and has looked past the health problems and my minor change in appearance and the fact I can’t use my left arm too well at the moment. All the women in my life have been wonderful. I haven’t been that close to death, but I was in a pretty bad way and I ‘m so lucky for everything women in my life have done, so I resent the implication I am anti-women’s rights. I’ve never said anything to indicate otherwise. take it easy. Respond if you want, or not. I don’t care.

  92. michelfoucault, you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. I suggest, again, that you stop talking, and start listening. Start here. Then here.

  93. Yes, no means no. When have I ever said anything to contradict this?
    [Since I’m tired and don’t feel like wasting my own words answering you I figured I’d just quote yours back at you]
    I’ve had sex with partners many times when I didn’t want to. Doesn’t make me a slave. It’s being generous, caring, warm and loving. Why would you tell a guy ‘Go and masturbate’? That’s an appalling way to treat someone you care about. Give it up sometimes when you don’t want it. Do the kinky stuff, share, be warm, open.
    what’s wrong with saying: ‘You know what, I don’t feel like it at all tonight, but you do and I care about you. I’ll do whatever you want to get you off ‘- at least some of the time?
    [In closing what pissed ppl off is you ambling onto a site where clearly intelligent people were thoughtfully discussing their problems with what Arndt said.
    You ask who cares what she says? Well it’s got everyone talking, it was on Lateline, she’s a woman with influence and when women go out and blame women for shit they get a BIG OLD mic to do it into. Besides we obviously *do care* and we’re discussing it – so coming on to say ‘who cares’ is kinda…stupid wouldn’t you say? Or massively annoying and condescending at the least.
    You claim she’s not saying the things we said she said…go look for yourself. She said them…so how’s about YOU don’t care, and YOU take it easy and YOU don’t bother coming onto feminist blogs to tell women who have the point, are discussing the points and are entirely capable of picking up many many points that they *MISSED THE POINT* of the wonderful generosity of Arndt’s approach but who cares anyway.
    YOU have missed the point dare I say it, since NO ONE here is having a problem with generosity and openness, what they DO have an issue with is some dick in front of a big mic getting media attention for acting as though she’s saying something new when she posits it’s a wife’s duty to put out more even though the thought of sex with her husband fills her with dread, and she’s NOT BOTHERING to look into any of that…besides, if you’d followed through any of the links you’d see her science is pulled right on out of her uptight arse, she doesn’t know jack about the Bollen judgment (not even which DECADE it occured in) and she’s using the same *illuminating example* NOW (post research) as she did in 1997 (pre research), it’s almost like she didn’t find any support/hasn’t got anything new to say.]
    You say:Women, obviously, should have the same rights as men. The right to equal pay and conditions. They should insist their partners share the housework and child care responsibilities. They should have the right to go unmolested in the street or workplace. They should have equal access to education, to political franchise and/or to be elected to office. These things are self-evident and incontrovertable. However, we need to be able to challenge ideas and point out contradictions and inconsistencies – even if we’re talking about feminism.
    I’d say they have the right to go unmolested in their homes as well.
    Challenge ideas and point out contradictions and inconsistencies? Go ahead, cos so far you’ve not done any such thing as regards the ideas expressed here or feminism. Nor has Arndt.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..And the Martha Gellhorn Wall of Awesome evolves

  94. The interesting thing about Dworkin and MacKinnon is that, when you read them, they aren’t so much saying “all intercourse is rape” as much as they are saying “all intercourse is rape if women don’t have any choice in whether or not they engage in it.”* And Arndt, in writing what she writes, makes it harder for women to see saying no as a valid choice, because she suggests that simply “not feeling like it” is not a good enough “excuse”, if you’re a woman (because women are flightly creatures who don’t know their own minds). It feeds into this cultural idea that women’s choices don’t need to be taken seriously — and therefore their consent doesn’t need to be taken seriously either.
    *This is a simplification, in that they also criticise the way that the dominant paradigm for intercourse is penetration as a violation of women’s bodies — that is, as I read it, it’s not intrinsically a violation, but mainstream discourse constructs it as such — but that’s a whole other discussion.

  95. I think I’m going to try out a few more explicit “Feminist commenters only” threadspaces, starting on some sexual violence & rape culture threads.
    I’ve always been reluctant to claim “safe space”, because there’s no way this space can be close to truly safe in the absence of 100% moderation (which slows things down dramatically), but does anyone have any thoughts on “safer spaces”?

  96. Well, I’ve been on one lj comm where everyone looks forward to trolls because the group response to trolls is to post endless pictures of kittens.
    And recipes. And occasionally sections of medieval treaties. I think Beowulf in the original showed up at one point.

  97. Well, I’ve been on one lj comm where everyone looks forward to trolls because the group response to trolls is to post endless pictures of kittens.

    I think doe snot has a fun place once a thread has played out (we’ve done it here before), but in this format it can really get in the way of a good-going discussion.

  98. Uhh, dear tigtog, you lose big time. Lots of men with good emotional rapport are not getting enough sex, and its hurting them and their relationships. Incidentally, why so much anger here? Is that what feminism is all about, the right to not have sex? Would it really hurt that much, to do it a bit more often?
    One more thing…most of you are dead angry about stuff that you put in Bettina’s mouth. In other words, you are pissed off about something in your own heads.

  99. No sex please…we’re women.

  100. I love the smell of FAIL at lunchtime – to the commentor in the moderation queue, you appear to have mistaken the author of this post!

  101. A bunch of us who commented on this thread got quoted in the SMH today.

  102. Oh God, by de Brito! This:
    The thing I think a lot of Arndt’s critics missed is there’s a huge difference between being forced or guilted into having sex with your partner and working together to have a happy marriage.
    No, I don’t in fact think Arndt’s critics have *missed* this point, it is ENTIRELY their point! That Arndt’s ‘just do it’ is guilting women, and that working on your marriage together is about more than just putting out more.
    Hi Garry, Garry from over at the thread derail at Deborah’s? Mmm…you DO like to comment before you read properly don’t you.

  103. @ Beppie:
    Ah, that explains it.

  104. Crispy, orange-haired FAIL. Mmmm.
    Beppie: And once again, it’s “responses from the blogosphere”. One giant amorphous mass, no names, no locations. Just a big pile of stuff to be mined and left citeless. The MSM is an arse, and Sam de Brito is its dingleberry-crusted centre.

  105. Yeah, FP, isn’t it funny that for so many women, “working together” seems to equate to “feeling guiltly for not being a sexbot”. *sigh*
    I also just love how Arndt’s comments, which were very pointedly made towards women, are now being reinterpreted by so many as, “she was just saying that men AND women need to be nice to each other.”

  106. I know. Not so. Let’s not forget that her MAIN PREMISE (that men’s libidos are always high and women’s always low and it’s HORMONES is UNSUPPORTED BY SCIENCE – thanks to Bluemilk for this info) is horseshit, then to ‘solve’ the bullshit ‘problem’ caused by hormones her radical suggestion is for women to lie back and think of England, or at MOST ‘buy her sommat pretty boys’. HOW is that the ‘ok, marriage is about love and mutual respect and support and working together for a stronger relationship’ that it’s now purported to be??

  107. Beppie, I wonder if there is a lot of people making the argument they really wish she had made, on her behalf.
    You know, the one that people here have been making sideways all the way along – that sex is an important part of a relationship, that being nice to each other matters, that using sex as a weapon is BAD whether it’s coercion or punitive withholding, and that ultimately both partners need to work at getting sex right, both together and separately.
    I think perhaps there are a lot of people wanting someone to say publicly that if libidos don’t match as things are, there are things that one can choose to do to put yourself in the mood more often. And things that the other can do to satisfy themselves on the occasions when matching ain’t gonna happen. Plenty of other specific advice can be given, none of which involves just doing it when you don’t want to.
    Sadly, she didn’t say that. She said do it whether you are in the mood or not. Do it because you should. Interesting version of a straw man argument.
    Ariane’s last blog post..Josh Pyke

  108. @ Ariane
    Got it in one. If she had said “if your partner wants sex, and you could go either way, why not say ok more often” then that would have been fine. But she didn’t. She said it as if a man’s sexual desire was the most important thing and women should have sex even if they don’t want to, and IMHO that’s wrong.

  109. Lauredhel: “And once again, it’s “responses from the blogosphere”. One giant amorphous mass, no names, no locations. Just a big pile of stuff to be mined and left citeless. The MSM is an arse, and Sam de Brito is its dingleberry-crusted centre.”
    And no link back here to allow readers to investigate the criticisms here for themselves, just the accusations that we’ve missed Arndt’s point. I was wondering how long before the menz starting chest thumping and plugging Arndt’s book.
    Ariane – seconded.

  110. You know, I’m glad in some ways that there was no link back, simply because of the onslaught of trolls that would have followed (even if they almost always end up in moderation) — it’s not like most of the people commenting over there would care about seeing where we’re coming from, they’d just want to tell us how wrong we are, particularly those who don’t get the links between what Arndt is saying and the rape culture that allows narratives like Arndt’s to be used to coerce women into sex.
    Ariane, I definitely see what you’re saying there — I think a lot of it comes from this assumption that “we’re all equal now” — when some people come up against something that challenges this assumption, instead of recognising that inequality exists, they try to explain that inequality away.

  111. Quote who? Blog handles? Jesus – put your names to your opinions ya sooks and you might get your names in the big bad newspaper.

  112. So I suppose your real name is BevvyNom (one word, two capitals) you condescending twit?

  113. Quote who? Blog handles?

    Yes, ideally with a link to the blog in the online version. This is absolutely routine in the blogosphere, and not even slightly difficult.
    For a rare example of the mainstream media citing online sources, check out these articles:
    news.com.au “Power restored to Sydney CBD and eastern suburbs following huge blackout

    The Twitter social network was flooded with hundreds of messages from those affected:
    Gotsound said: “Apparently the whole Sydney CBD all the way to Central are currently on diesel power generator. I hear firetruck alarms all over the place.”
    Xoprime said: “No power here in Bond St as well as there is a smoke coming out from the Harbour view.”

    Telegraph.co.uk: “Sydney hit by massive blackout

    The unfolding drama played out on micro-blogging site Twitter, with hundreds of people affected by the outage “tweeting” about their experiences http://search.twitter.com/search?q=Sydney+blackout.
    Some joked that the residents of Sydney were being punished for not switching off enough lights during Earth Hour on Saturday.
    Travel man http://twitter.com/ttravelman said: “Will have to work tonight fixing computer stuff related to the Sydney CBD Blackout”, while Simon Willis http://twitter.com/Simon_Willis remarked: “ sydney she loves a drama. choppers, alarms, fire brigage, ambulance. Just love it. Wish the blackout lasted all night and storms rolled in.”

  114. And Miranda Devine finally weighs in — she mentions this post, but of course she attributes it to “one blog”.
    More of the same, really — poor sex-deprived men, biologically pre-determined libido mismatches (women NEVER want sex when their male partners don’t, apparently), women shouldn’t use housework as an excuse because men do more paid work outside the home, which means that everything is equal, actually, and of course it would be wrong for men to force women into sex — but guilting them into doing so is nothing like that. And, as always, the implicit assumption that men’s sexual satisfaction > women’s sexual satisfaction (except that it’s not, apparently, because according to Arndt, if we’d just let ourselves be guilted into sex, we’d end up enjoying it anyway, and she knows this because EVERY WOMAN IS EXACTLY THE SAME IN THIS REGARD).
    The thing that really gets me is the assertion that women are “changing the rules” a few years into the marriage. As I was saying over on FP’s blog last week, we women are the ones who have the rules changing on us all the time. If we have a high sex drive when we’re younger — if we want to have sex outside the context of a monogamous heterosexual relationship — then we’re unnatural sluts. The rules are that we should be the gatekeepers of sex, that unless we withhold sex, we don’t value ourselves, we’re asking to be treated with disrespect. Yet after marriage/monogamous relationship, we’re suddenly supposed to put all of that social conditioning aside and provide Sex-on-Tap, and if we don’t then we’re evil selfish prudes who have no respect for men’s NATURAL BIOLOGICAL URGES. Meanwhile, “the rules” for men don’t change at all — regardless of their marital/relationship status, it’s just “get it where you can”. I know this is just another reiteration of the old women are sluts/men are studs double-standard, but, damn, it PISSES ME OFF.

  115. Oh hey Beppie, just finished an absolute shit attack over this back at mine, so was glad to find some solidarity here. GOD it’s so infuriating! Devine’s just so SMUG about it! Shit. NO one bothers engaging in historical/institutional examinations of marriage, or mistreatment of women. NOPE – just put out more biatches and ALL will be well.
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..What’s good for the gander…

  116. Oh – and the Devine Bitch stopped recieving comments at about 2pm – just as I was about to post a furious lengthy retort. Shes a coward – and she certainly did a hit-n-run today. Why do the smh news blog mods close the comments down after only a few hours? No doubt, fear of starting a war in which they know the feminists will win, because the male apologists like Bettina and Miranda haven’t got a leg to stand on ideologically.
    All the bimbos over at the smh (Miranda, and that breathtakingly vacous samantha brett of the “ask sam’ blog, are just milking this topic for all its worth… without showing any interest in actually exploring the issue in a balanced, educated way. It just is a vehicle for page hits (they must be paid a commission on the number of page-hits)

  117. Blogaddict, please don’t use gendered insults here.

  118. I’m sick of listening to ‘if only he’d do more housework’ argument as a reason why women refuse sex.
    some jerk has written this into the Herald today.
    Personally, I think more housework is great, but a completely different issue. I’m over the whole thing being seen as a trade off/transaction.
    what is really creepy is that this whole argument has very quickly become about ‘rights of access’ to a woman’s body, rather than any interest in sex where women are willing and happy to participate.
    I can’t believe it needs to be pointed out, but I’d like Bettina to realise that my vagina is actually part of my body, connected to my nerves, connected to my reproductive organs. It’s not detachable, it’s not like a cricket bat that you can borrow to play without me, it’s not replaceable, it’s actually inside me so it’s not something I share or show to just anyone, and it’s a part of my body I feel is important, intimate, special.
    and while I can’t and don’t speak for other women, having someone put their penis inside it affects my whole body, including how I feel.
    I really don’t understand why she thinks that someone ELSE should feel entitled to penetrate my body, if I’m not willing or interested.
    ‘he just wants more sex’ is a euphemism, because no one is advocating men stop masturbating. What Bettina, and all her supporters are saying is he wants more access to a vagina. And women should give it to him, because it will make him happy?
    this is MY body. And in the wonderful words of Blue Milk, sex is a participatory activity.
    comment after comment says the same thing. That either I ‘spread’em’ or I’m ‘withholding.’ I am so depressed that person after person in mainstream fora equate a woman’s right to decide who can touch/hold/view/penetrate her OWN body with ‘hurting men.’ !!!!!!!!! Hurting men!!!!
    I think that this attitude has possibly been the biggest libido killer I’ve experienced in ten years. Right now I’m so repelled by this great wave of entitlement I’m planning on staying single and celibate for the rest of my life.
    Is there ANY way to explain bodily autonomy to men who feel like this?

  119. I know, I KNOW, I need to just not read Miranda Devine, but I keep being sucked in because I wonder what the reactionaries are being given to prop up their skewed world view. Anyway, I’ve heard the “women do more unpaid work but men do more paid work, so they actually do the same amount of work” line somewhere before but, even putting aside the crudity of that summary in not allowing for any of the power differentials within “work”, it sounds specious to me. I’m pretty sure that most assessments conclude that women do significantly more hours. Does anyone know what the study she’s refering to is, and whether it’s contradicted by others, or if there is some other quick answer to the “see, it all evens out” camp?

  120. She’s probably twisting the fact that men get *paid* more for the work they do. Just because they’re *at* work and getting paid more doesn’t mean they’re performing more labour.
    Most of the labour on this planet is performed by women. Sociological fact.
    This whole argument reminds me again why the institution of “marriage” as one the the main heteronormative units of patriarchy, just has to go.

  121. She’s also assuming that women are staying at home or only working part time and men are going out to work full time too I think. Which, as a full time worker, and a full on mum I find particularly insulting. I know, as does my husband, who works the longer hours in my family. He does his bit, and he does his best and I’m not blaming him because the kids yell “Muuuuummmm” first, but I still come out ahead in the hours worked, as I suspect do a lot of Mums.

  122. Anyway, I’ve heard the “women do more unpaid work but men do more paid work, so they actually do the same amount of work” line somewhere before but, even putting aside the crudity of that summary in not allowing for any of the power differentials within “work”, it sounds specious to me.

    The only way I can figure they got those numbers is that parenting work was excluded, or they only surveyed those with live-in nannies. Seriously- how many mothers do you know with NINE hours of waking leisure time every single day? Fifty hours a week of work total? Really? Even if you took the small subset of SAHMs with all children at school, are we to postulate that they did absolutely nothing house- or child-related for the six hours of school, then had all the kids asleep by 7:30 and did no domestic work of any kind between then and their own bedtime, then had, say, one entire weekend day completely off both parenting and housework (including shopping)? And the kids were never sick during school time, and never had doctor’s appointments, and the mothers never volunteered at school or anywhere else? It doesn’t add up.
    She says the data comes from the ABS social trends survey, which is here. Unfortunately, the wording of the questions are not made clear. I’m just not buying it. There’s a methodology problem, either in the data collection, the sample selection, or something else. My suspicions are in that women vastly underestimated either the hours they did housework, or their definition of housework was not the same as the ABS is saying. For example, women tend to underestimate how much time they put into what is sometimes called the “emotional” work of maintaining relationships with both sides of extended family, they tend to not count bits of cleaning up done between other things, etc. “Housework” is when you settle in with gloves on and scrub the bathroom, not when you just tidy up and put things away, and swipe the benches down and supervise the homework and prep tomorrow’s school bags and… and… and…
    I think a clue to definitions might be buried in the “A CASE OF MEN’S WORK AND WOMEN’S WORK?” section – when childcare was tallied as a “secondary activity”, mothers’ childcare hours were 55 hours a week. That’s still low, I reckon, but getting slightly more plausible.
    Now, how about if they included sleeping hours as “on-call time” instead of leisure, just as they do for doctors and firefighters and such? I wonder how the numbers would change then.

  123. The survey was reported in the ABC news, in a way that seemed to imply everything is Ok as men’s paid work + unpaid work and women’s paid work + unpaid work is about equal. (Sarcasm ahead) Oh breathe a sigh of relief, so that’s unproblematic, its all even, let’s not worry that it means that financially women are still pretty dependent on their male partners and will rarely have security in the form of a lifetime of accumulated superranuation, etc etc. Plus yeah the data doesn’t seem to quite add up, and what Lauredhel said.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/25/2525756.htm

  124. Ugh, Mindy, I think that Frew article is awful. It’s all about Teh Fat and “drooping body parts”? Uh, no.

  125. Thank you for the detailed response Lauredhel, that’s really useful.

  126. Blogaddict, please don’t use gendered insults here.
    Ok, sorry – I will have to invent a gender neutral form of bimbo , but until then I’ll just use ‘uneducated, mindless twat’ if thats ok.
    aelo 04.03.09 at 1:25 am
    Yes- I’ve actually put some thought into how best to get across men the big deal it is for women to have sex, -this bodily autonomy concept, and the best I’ve been able to come up with is to get a guy to imagine he’s gay, and his partner has a really high libido and is always wanting it; in this way a guy might be made to feel like an orifice which someone feels entitled to use. I think the experience os sex is just so different for hetero men and women, guys actually have no concept of how invasive (physically, psychologically) penetrative sex actually is… their sexual unwelt is just so different to ours, that I think its impossible for them to think about sex in the same way (hetero) women do. I cannot speak for lesbians so i’m focusing on hetero sex.

  127. Ok, sorry – I will have to invent a gender neutral form of bimbo , but until then I’ll just use ‘uneducated, mindless twat’ if thats ok.

    Are you now taking the piss? Because no, that’s not acceptable either, obviously.

  128. “I’ll just use ‘uneducated, mindless twat’ if thats ok.”
    Uneducated=classist
    Mindless=ableist
    Twat=gendered
    How about just plain “asshole”? Just to be safe.

  129. “Twat=gendered”
    I know that’s true, but I had to think hard about it. In my mind it is the next step up the scale from “git”, and has absolutely no connection to its origin.
    I’m not sure what my point is – I think I just prefer words being re-appropriated rather than eradicated. Mainly because it is more effective.
    And I’ve not ever thought of mindless as ableist before. I can’t think of a disability that would routinely be described as “mindlessness”. It seems to me to have an intent to it, along the lines of willful ignorance.
    But yeah, uneducated as an insult? Not ideal.
    Ariane’s last blog post..Sadly, this is why we need politicians

  130. Ariane: “Uneducated” I’m on the fence about, “mindless” I don’t care, it’s “twat” I don’t like. Twat means the same as cunt – maybe it has become detached from that for you, but it’s not even slightly unconnected for me, and I’ve heard it used in the literal “female genitalia” meaning plenty of times – it’s not an archaic usage in my dialect at all.
    It’s not reclamation to use “cunt” or “twat” as an insult, so I’m not seeing how that applies? (elaboration: here.)

  131. Can’t reclaim what was never your’s to begin with.
    Ariane, I say ableist because “mindless” to me has the same meaning as “loony” “batshit crazy” etc.

  132. Fair enough Lauredhel, I wasn’t meaning to argue with your right to request it not to be used, just defending the possibility that someone might not think of it as a gendered insult.
    I don’t think of mindless as meaning loony. It means unthinking.

  133. P.P. 04.03.09 at 8:41 pm
    Uneducated=classist
    Mindless=ableist
    Twat=gendered
    I dispute that ‘uneducated’ is classist in Australia. I had a friend who lived in Minto, was an immigrant, parents didn’t speak much english when they arrived. He’s now got his masters and earning 6 figures…doing way better than I am despite being poles apart “socioeconomically”. Actually I have several friends like this, all with masters or PhDs, all came from the lowest socioeconomic rung of society. So I don’t agree with you on this point.
    According to my dictionary, ‘mindless’ means acting without concern for the consequences, and doesn’t imply not having a mind, but not using the one you have! – or are we not going by standard dictionary definitions?
    But you got me on twat – I only used it in terms of the meaning of ‘a person who is stupid or obnoxious’ and I was unware of its meaning as a vulgar slang for a womans genitals. So, as i don’t approve of the word cunt (which I saw used on a feminist bloggers website the other day), I won’t use it from now on.
    And in Australia, I believe its ‘arsehole’ (?). As for Samantha Brett and Miranda, I will just refer to them as intellectually lazy, which is an apt yet pallid description, which is what I originally meant.

  134. Miranda and Sam? Colour them colonised.

  135. “And in Australia, I believe its ‘arsehole’ (?).”
    Lol, true, but language isn’t concrete. It’s fluid and always changing. Lol and google wouldn’t have meant anything to me fifteen years ago. I use both versions of that particular non-gendered insult, but I do think “asshole” looks more obnoxious, has more of an impact, besides, Devine is american (and has a degree from Columbia).
    I know that social and class mobility does occur, although not as much as we’re led to believe, and it depends a lot on the the class division a person was in in their country of origin too, immigrant, no english does not always equal poor (neither does living in Minto for that matter).
    But class mobility or no, I still think it is inherently classist (and intellectually snobbish) to accuse a person of being uneducated, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.
    As for mindless, well again, language being fluid, to me sounds the same as “he’s out of his mind” or “have you lost your mind?” which is defo ableist. The dictionary meaning doesn’t really help much because the way the word or the expression is understood or used in pop culture is what counts.
    Ableist language that refers to mental illness is just so common in our culture, we don’t even notice it most of the time.
    I think refering to people like the sams and the devines as stoopid or uneducated or mentally ill, kind of lets them off the hook a bit too. I think they know exactly what they’re doing when they write such hideous bile. They’re deliberately upholding the views of the dominant class.

  136. Could we leave this subthread here, please? Further discussions on the nitty-gritty of various insults could go to the nearest Otterday Open Thread, or questions on moderation decisions directly to me by email. Thanks.

  137. P.P. – no worries regarding all your points. But
    “I think they know exactly what they’re doing when they write such hideous bile. They’re deliberately upholding the views of the dominant class.”
    See- I once thought so too – that it was deliberate, at least definately in the case of M.D., but I don’t know about S.B. I just cannot decide if she’s deliberately imitating a ‘cosmo/cleo’ type approach to gender issues, or if she gets paid to write the most outrageously divisive bile, OR if she just basically grew up on a diet of these types of magazines and any sort of informed (deconstruction) analysis is beyond her. Its a pity because theres a real opportunity to inform the public and promote intelligent debate that would reach a a large audience (like the Gaurdians CiF blogs do – they have great writers, and generally much better informed debate than does the SMH).
    Anyhoo, I shall be more mindful of the insults I use on this blog in the future.

  138. ‘Sex Diaries’ a vicious assault on women’ is a great article about Betina Arndt and the womens lib movements past gains n stuff…id urge all interested in womens rights to read it!
    http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1948&Itemid=125

  139. Ugh, There’s a vomitous 3 page article on ‘What men really want and why they’re not getting it’ in The Sunday Times magazine, full of the same old – ‘women should just get over it and spread their legs’ hideousness. There are THREE WHOLE PARAGRAPHS about SOME women who disagree – and one paragraph is quotes from the comments here at Hoyden!

  140. Billie: Kudos to the author Shelley Gare for actually mentioning the blog name! (Even though there’s no link.)
    Text of the article can be found here at AdelaideNow: “What men want (is more complex than you think)
    Money quote:

    Arndt wanted to get to the bottom of what she sees as a big problem: why women go off sex. In her book, The Sex Diaries, she has unashamedly gone in to bat for men trapped in sex-less, or mostly sex-less, partnerships where physical intimacy is doled out like Meaty Bites to a dog; relationships where men lose a sense of their masculine selves.

  141. This diarist from Arndt’s collection is especially endearing:

    ”What men want will differ from man to man. Generically, though, there is one thing upon which I think ALL men would agree – we want women to stop dribbling on about the toilet seat. It’s been left up again? Then put the effing thing down – are you crippled? Has a man ever said: ‘You’ve left the loo seat down again, dear’? No. Get over it.”

    You don’t want to fuck him? Why on earth not?

  142. Thanks for the link to the Adelaide article Lauredhel.
    It is so very disappointing that neither Arndt nor the author of the Adelaide article stop to wonder why women may not want sex with their men. It is very disappointing that women’s supposed fickleness, hunger for power and ‘feeble’ (!) libido is being blamed for hordes of sexually frustrated and angry men.
    It sounds so poignant when it is implied that a man just wants to be intimate with his mate and only wants a woman who feels ‘positively’ about him and here he is being rejected. If only it where so. Because that is exactly what a woman wants from her mate too.
    Where did the notion arise that penetration of a penis in a vagina with subsequent male ejaculation equates in intimacy and therefore a happy man who think that his woman thinks ‘positively’ about him?
    The whole argument is so irrational.
    If men reflect honestly on their courting days, if things have changed after marriage, they must admit that they showed interest (were positive about their woman) and that they expressed intimacy in other ways than just with penetrative sex. After marriage it is somehow no longer deemed necessary. ‘What’s for dinner’ is the level of interest and a grope in bed is the hint for ‘let’s get intimate for the next 2 minutes before I roll over and go to sleep’.
    Don’t any of these ‘rejected’ men ever have adult conversations with their women? Or do they all just have over developed child psyches that makes them stomp around having temper tantrums because they’re not getting their way because they have to consider somebody else?
    They’re not men, they’re little boys in men’s bodies.

Trackbacks

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