Radio Host Calls Sex a "Wife's Selfless Duty": What Century Is This Again?
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The fascinating thing is this.
There's this ... thing on the Internet. A pair of columns by conservative writer/ radio host Dennis Prager, exhorting wives who aren't in the mood for sex with their husbands to suck it up and do it anyway, pretty much whenever he wants. You really have to read it for yourself (if you have high blood pressure, be sure you've taken your medication first), but here's the gist:
A man knows that his wife loves him by "her willingness to give her body to him." Therefore, she should only rarely refuse to have sex with him when he wants it. And her decision to accept or refuse sex should have nothing to do with whether she's in the mood for it, or whether she thinks she's going to enjoy it. A considerate husband will of course recognize that "there are times when a man must simply refrain from initiating sex out of concern for his wife's physical or emotional condition" ... but apart from "those times," a wife should pretty much never say "No." And her mood should have nothing to do with that decision. Sex is an obligation that a wife owes to her husband, and for a wife to refuse it simply because she's not in the mood is just plain selfish. (Oh, and by the way: This isn't just how nature made us. It's how God wants it.)
No, really. I'm serious. It'd be laughable if it weren't so appalling. I could scarcely believe it was written in this decade. It reads like a marriage manual from the '50s ... and not a very modern marriage manual from the '50s at that. It almost makes me want to call parody on it and invoke a sexual version of Poe's Law ("it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that can't be mistaken for the real thing").
But the fascinating thing is this.
If you take out all the content about gender roles?
If you take out all the sexist, retrograde, "sex is an obligation that women owe to men," "women's sexual desires are less important than men's," "close your eyes and think of England," Total Woman dreck? If you leave out the creepy, oft-repeated language about a woman "giving her body"? If you disregard the bizarre assumption that sex is always something men initiate and women either accept or reject? If you ignore the unsubstantiated at best, blatantly wrong at worst assertions about women's and men's sexualities ... including the assertion that experiencing sex as a sign of love is somehow exclusive to men? If you overlook the idea that sex with a passive, compliant meat puppet will make men feel loved and satisfied? If you pass over the glaring omissions ... such as the idea that men have an obligation to pay attention to women's sexual pleasure, and if women are repeatedly saying "No" to sex, maybe it's because their men are inconsiderate lovers who treat sex as something women do for them, instead of something they both do for each other?
If you can squint real hard and somehow ignore all that?
What he's saying is not radically different from stuff I've said in this very blog.
I, myself, have argued that you don't always need to be in the mood when you start sex. You just need to be willing to be in the mood. If you always wait until you're both in the mood -- especially if either or both of you are stressed, getting older, parents, a couple who's been together for a while, or just insanely busy -- you may wait a good long while, and will wind up having a lot less sex than either of you wants. But starting to have sex can get you in the mood, even if you weren't in the mood to start with. It's a good idea sometimes to let yourself be seduced, to start having sex before you're in the mood and let yourself get drawn in it as you go.