One-Sided Pleasure

My blogroll is populated with weird posts today. What is it, winter avitaminosis? See this one, for instance:

I’m willing to bet more women have felt guilted or pressured into sex acts they didn’t want, than men have felt pressured into pleasuring women without getting off themselves.

Of course, this blogger is willing to bet since this kind of statement can neither be proven or disproven. Remember, folks, when you say such things, you reveal nothing about society or gender relations. You do, however, reveal a lot about your own pathetic sex lives. Either have the honesty and the courage to write about your own experiences, or keep these useless generalizations to yourselves.

See more from the same post:

We’re still socialized to accept, to say yes, to not rock the boat so as to avoid the perennial sulking, scowling and cold shoulder from male partners that result from our setting boundaries.

Why not just say, “My male partners tend to sulk and scowl, and I have no idea how to deal with it”?

Also, why resort to this weird generalization about some mythical “we” who are socialized into accepting any form of sexual activity that men propose? Does anybody really have the experience of Mommy and Daddy lecturing her at the age of 5 (15, 25), “Sweetie, when you grow up and your boyfriend wants anal sex, oral sex, group sex, BDSM, golden shower, or any form of sex you don’t feel like engaging in, remember that, as a woman, you need to accept it to prevent the guy from sulking. Remember, honey, just say yes to any male suggestion of sex, OK?”

Can you imagine a patriarch telling his teenage daughter, “You have refused to engage in acts of coprophilia that your boyfriend suggested? How could you? Didn’t I spend my entire life teaching you to just say yes? You are no daughter of mine!”

Seriously? Women are socialized to ACCEPT sex? Where does that happen? I live in a society where young women get are endless exhortations to wait, to say no for as long as possible, only to have sex when they are absolutely, completely, totally sure that it’s time. Female sexuality is discussed in terms of a precious gift, while male sexuality is not.

When we say “no”, we are “uncool”, and this is the ultimate female sin; whereas when a man refuses a woman, the universal assumption is that once again, the woman is the one who is deficient, who fails to please, who isn’t up to snuff.

This is just too bizarre. One of the central patriarchal myths is that a healthy male sexuality is capable of performing anytime, anywhere, with any one, while female sexuality is selective and delicate. A man who refuses sex will, in all probability, be branded as impotent and ridiculed by his own buddies. In the meanwhile, a woman who does not refuse sex will be branded as a slut by hers.

As an extra bonus, I suggest that those valiant people who manage to wade through the confusing post I quoted here count the number of instances where the passive voice is used and “society” is invoked. And we all know what that kind of writing means, don’t we?

32 thoughts on “One-Sided Pleasure”

  1. I guess it works this way: Women are, in general, socialized to please. Please their parents, please their bosses and coworkers, please their partners, their children, etc. Of course sex is made an exception, a the first glance, with all those exhortations to wait which you mentioned above. But, at the second glance, there appears to be a conflict for women – between the expectation to please the parents/neighbors/church/etc by being not sexually active, and expectation to please the potential male partners by being sexually active.
    Both expectations are real, in the sense that a woman is likely to face both, simultaneously.
    In some sense social conservatives are right – by legitimizing expectations of sexual availability the sexual revolution made life more difficult for women who are still socialized to please. Of course the solution the conservatives propose is wrong, instead of returning back to pre-sexual revolution times, the society 🙂 🙂 should stop emphasizing that general, across the board, not-necessarily-sexual pleasing requirement.
    But pretending it does not exist because we must be so enlightened that pressure to please should not exist will lead us nowhere.

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    1. “expectation to please the potential male partners by being sexually active”

      – I don’t see this expectation. I honestly don’t. Every other show on TV is about a middle age couple where the husband begs the wife for sex and she sometimes rewards him with it for good behavior. Where are women finding this expectation actually verbalized?

      As for being socialized to please, as I discussed recently on the blog, I do not believe that nowadays it is a gender issue at all. Some people, irrespective of gender, are socialized to please by their families. I’m not one of those people, in spite of being a woman. My very close male friend (Canadian) is, in spite of being a man. And I also have a male family member who collects self-help books on how to stop being a people-pleaser.

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  2. — I don’t see this expectation. I honestly don’t.

    Not even at the stage of dating?
    Theoretically, if I was on the dating market, I would not expect everything on your list above 🙂 :), but I would find a woman not comfortable with any form of sex somewhat suspicious. Who knows, what other hangups she may have… In non-sexual spheres as well… Thus, even if that may not be my direct intent, the woman may feel this pressure from me.
    For me it seems quite evident that being sexually available and interested in experimentation (within reasonable limits, which are of course different for different people) does increase one’s chances in the dating game…

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    1. “For me it seems quite evident that being sexually available and interested in experimentation (within reasonable limits, which are of course different for different people) does increase one’s chances in the dating game…”

      – Of course. But it is so for men and women alike. Try being a man who is uncomfortable with sexual activity and who tries to date. I once dated such a guy. He revealed that he was a virgin (at 27) because sex was very serious for him and he was only ready to give it up with a woman he really cared about. Are you willing to guess what happened every single time he confessed that to a woman he tried dating? I advised him to stop confessing it because that way he was never going to get laid.

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      1. The only reason I lost my virginity is because I admited I was still a virgin and the girl pretty much jumped on me. I was 28. In general I agree with you, but for this girl it was special and «wild» (something along those lines). But I was not looking for the love of my life as much as I was looking to be enough confortable with the situation to do it. I knew who she was and she knew how to calm me. Because no, a guy in that position will not be calm at all….

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  3. When we say “no”, we are “uncool”, and this is the ultimate female sin; whereas when a man refuses a woman, the universal assumption is that once again, the woman is the one who is deficient, who fails to please, who isn’t up to snuff.
    I just want to say that I’ve lived as a male long enough to know that a guy turning down a woman for sex does not always play out like that.

    Simply put for the most part sexual shaming for women starts when they’ve had “too many” partners and male sexual shaming starts when we’ve had “too few” partners. And since we all start at 0 guess which one happens more often…

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    1. What I don’t understand is why people share these numbers or even keep them. I’ve had a couple of people try to ask me this question about my number but I always responded “are you weird or something? Do you have issues? What makes you think that sex is an arithmetical category?” And it isn’t because I’m ashamed of my sexual history. I honestly think that counting in this area of life is weird.

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      1. What I don’t understand is why people share these numbers or even keep them.
        As silly as it sounds it appears that people use these numbers to determine one’s worth.

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      2. I think the best answer to “how many” is “define sex” 🙂 If required, ask about orgasms. It usually derails the discussion quite satisfactorily. I stumbled on that by accident (ie, it was a genuine response) but it works really well.

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  4. I’m willing to bet more women have felt guilted or pressured into sex acts they didn’t want, than men have felt pressured into pleasuring women without getting off themselves.

    To be fair I think the original poster could provide some evidence to win her bet with the report from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf

    Funnily enough I found this link at the news article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16452014

    Where I was surprised to find that until today the FBI didn’t consider it possible for a man to be raped.

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    1. “Where I was surprised to find that until today the FBI didn’t consider it possible for a man to be raped.”

      – I think they have now recognized that this was wrong and changed the definition (very recently).

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  5. Try being a man who doesn’t want to jump into sex at every opportunity. I can assure you that women are quite capable of coercing, shaming and pressuring you into having sex and doing things you don’t want. Perhaps more so. If you make a list of things you can accuse your partner of in order to shame them for not wanting sex, anyone can guess which gender has more means at their disposal.
    Of course, none of these problems should emerge if both partners care about each other.

    At some point though, not wanting sex can start to hurt your partner. If you’re with somebody who doesn’t want sex for years, then you could start feeling rejected (unless there’s some medical reason). That could easily be a deal breaker that your partner might interpret as coercion. So, the person wanting sex isn’t the only one who should respect the others feelings.

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  6. This poor woman! Her friends slut-shame her and her boyfriends sulk when she doesn’t want to have sex, and that makes her feel guilty! It is obviously all society’s fault. It is the fault of that antacid commercial. And it is a feminist problem, because all women feel the same.

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  7. First of all, you have to take into account that ‘no’ is a word that men are socialized not to hear. Even if the woman refuses sex, it’s likely that sex will be happening anyway. Secondly, having an angry man around the house is about as safe as having a bomb in the living room; giving in is the easy option for most women.

    As for men who don’t want sex, that’s a red flag that something strange is going on. A reversion to childhood (usually seen in former addicts) a sudden medical issue, a realization that they aren’t attracted to their partner (because of weight gain, aging etc.) or a sudden realization that they aren’t actually attracted to women at all. I hope that virgin boy you dated wound up with a nice man; that’s a textbook case of denial if I’ve ever seen it.

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    1. Sweet Jesus on the cross, more of the boring “the world is soooooo scary” stuff? Politicalguineapig: you have been told time and again by several people on this blog that these pronouncements of yours say nothing about the world but everything about your own damaged psyche. You are not a child any more. It’s time to take responsibility for your life and start resolving your severe psychological issues instead of dumping them on people.

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    2. Would you consider changing your circle of friends and acquaintances?

      It all reminds me of high school… With certain group of “popular” girls choosing men who do not hear no, while being indifferent to those boys who would hear it. Because those are not manly or popular enough. I guess it sounds like some sort of a high school nerd rant on my part… 🙂 🙂

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  8. Everything is about the psychology mumbo-jumbo with you, isn’t it? I don’t know what world you live in, but the world *is* scary, and no one gives a crap about my well being except for me. You think cops actually care about rape or abuse victims? That anyone cares about them?
    I love your writing, but sometimes you need to take a reality check. And here’s the reality: Men and women live in two different worlds, and what is common sense to women is bat squeaks to men. Women look after their own interests and sometimes that involves doing things they don’t neccessarily want to to do. Sex is a real need to men, but women learn to do without.

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    1. PGP: I’m 35 years old and, with all due respect, I’m willing to bet that I’ve had a more populated personal life than you have. And in the course of that populated personal life I haven’t met a single man incapable of hearing “no” and reacting with anger or even annoyance when I said I didn’t feel like sex. Not a single one. My friends and family members also do not report stories of men incapable of hearing no to me. This is our reality. The reason why you inhabit a reality where men don’t hear women when they say “no” has NOTHING to do with society. It is your individual problem. Keep cherishing this problem if you enjoy it so much. Just please stop regaling people with it in hopes that your neurosis will be perceived as originality and insight.

      “Sex is a real need to men, but women learn to do without.”

      – That is one of the most insulting things I have ever heard as a woman. Who the fuck are you to deny me basic humanity just because I have a vagina? Don’t you see that this is exactly the same as saying “Food is a real need for men, but women learn to do without”?

      “And here’s the reality: Men and women live in two different worlds, and what is common sense to women is bat squeaks to men.”

      – Every anti-feminist in the world is now applauding you for this medieval barbarity. Bleh, it makes me want to vomit to hear this kind of insane, offensive rubbish.

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    2. Between:
      Men and women live in two different worlds, and what is common sense to women is bat squeaks to men.

      and

      Sex is a real need to men, but women learn to do without.

      It sounds like you have a bit of a disregard for men and not much regard for women either. Hell with the way you’re ranting I think I’d take my chances with the bat sqeaks. At least since bats use them for communication they are actually useful for something.

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  9. but the world *is* scary, and no one gives a crap about my well being except for me(Political)

    Well, I suggest you get it over with then, OR, change your mindframe.

    “The world is 50% shit, 50% sugar, you choose where you put your focus. But just remember, iif you stand in shit long enough it dries around you”

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  10. PGP:

    Trust me, life gets better when you realize that if you’re unhappy, it’s you and only you who has the responsability to fix it.

    As for men, all of us hear “no” when no is said. The only ones who ignore it are rapists, and despite what certain scaremongers would say, they aren’t that common.

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    1. “As for men, all of us hear “no” when no is said. The only ones who ignore it are rapists, and despite what certain scaremongers would say, they aren’t that common.”

      – Of course, rapists exist. They are vile criminals who should be in jail. However, rapists are not the majority. Not even close.

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  11. Actually, the scenario I’ve encountered, at varying weights or fashion budgets, is “You’re too cute to be doing without sex” vs “Someone who looks like that should learn to do without”.
    I’ve known several male rape survivors over the years. With only one exception (he was 5’2″ and incarcerated), they were castigated for unsafe behaviors, accused of leading the rapist on, and were accused of being closeted gays. You’ll find many a male feminist among survivors.

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  12. I’m well over 40. My best friends mother DID advise her that she should consent to sex every time her husband asked. (My mom did not put the same trip on me.) Neither mother mentioned coprophilia, natch.

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    1. The central world here being husband. I don’t think your friend’s mother told her to consent to any sexual activity any man would propose.

      This would make total sense if these people were Christians, for example. The Bible tells Christians not to avoid sexual relations with their spouses. This exhortation is addressed at both men and women. Hence, it’s not a gender issue. It’s either religious or simply based on a model of marriage inspired by Christianity, that’s all.

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      1. —The central world here being husband.

        I’d say this advise has very questionable value even for legally married people. 🙂 🙂

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