Thursday, September 29, 2011

Husbands and Wives

A few answers to the why-men-cheat question irk-me-the-fuck-out.

On the one hand, lack of effort on the woman's part:
"If you want to keep your husband sexually happy the best advice I can give you is, get the word “no” out of your vocabulary!"

On the other, that any extramarrital desire is sick and perverted - bad man bad.

Seriously, I don't think a wife should be a Stepford Wife and do all of the emotional and sexual work within a marriage. I also don't think a husband should be forced to remain monogamous or demonized if he strays.

Marriages fall apart due to poor communication and lack of compromise.

Primarily it is the former. What happens is that one party is not happy, something he does not try to change and does not bother to express to the other party; subsequently the other party becomes less happy, and it evolves into a decrepit spiral of misery.

I view this as a product of contemporary feminist dogma about gender equality. Particularly, second wave feminism
1) Declared male desire for sex as objectification and use of women, and made men ashamed of their own sexual desires.
2) Criticized little emotional or material motivators men have always used to get consensual sex.
3) Called women "repressed" and thus set the expected "bar" for sexual activity much higher.
4) Blanket-stigmatizing infidelity.
5) The Pure Relationship. Essentially, an idealized relationship freed from traditional economic and social constraints. A relationship that is only engaged in for what it can bring to both parties and that is reflexively evaluated - in other words: idealization of marriage and a structure in which failure of the marriage to live up to an ideal is a good excuse to break it...

As a result, men want and have gotten sex (prior to marriage) quite easily. Moreover, a variety of sex - oral, anal, porno-style, etc etc etc.

At the same time, once in marriage, men are ashamed of cajoling sex out of their wives, lest they be forcing their wives to engage in - oh no - unwanted consensual sex. They've also completely lost the art of cajoling unwanted into wanted.

They have also (because as we all know, masculine and feminine sexuality is essentially the same/gender is constructed) never been taught to engage in emotional work or honest, straightforward conversation about desire.

Thus - what happens?

Refer to the aforementioned spiral. Which typically ends with the sullen resolution that the marriage is bad, a series of affairs with secretaries/waitresses/strippers/housekeepers which either a) go no where "because of the kids" or (refer to the 'pure relationship' mentioned above, infidelity, lack of passion and excitement, and boredom indicates that something is broken. And interestingly, divorce is more socially acceptable than infidelity)  b) lead to divorce.

Your wife works too. She is also primarily responsible for childcare and household work. She really does not have the time and energy to ensure that your pure relationship stays zesty, sexy and passionate.

You have to do some of the work. Here are a few simple steps to take if you are unhappy:

1) Take your wife out to dinner. Hire a baby sitter or leave the kids at your parent's house and fly your wife out to New York or London or where ever you're traveling to. Do exactly what you would do with a call girl, except only with your wife (seriously, it will be cheaper.) I'm overworked, stressed constantly, etc. etc. etc. But still, it only takes the right kind of affection: listening to me ramble, little pats and cuddles and kisses, a thoughtful gift, a little love note, a dinner cooked for me, etc. etc. etc. and I'm more than in the mood.Even something a wee bit exciting. A note left on her dresser or a piece of lingerie. Essentially, all you have to do is demonstrate clearly that you passionately desire her.

2) If your wife is still sullen/cranky/whatever, talk. Talk about problems you are having/things you want that aren't there. Ask what problems she is having/things that aren't there.

3) If there are certain types of sex/fantasies she isn't into...or vice versa, talk about whether or not she would be comfortable with you getting them outside of the relationship. Establish rules. Make it explicitly clear that you are still in love with her - that it's just an excitement thing (seriously, I don't think I'd be able to keep up excitement/passion in a long-term monogamous relationship. And I do think infidelity - FOR BOTH PARTIES - stirs up an appreciation for the stability, friendship, and love in a long-term relationship. And I also do think that there are some things you can get from an escort that I would not want to give my husband. I would not want to perform porno-sex. I don't think I'd want to dominate my husband or be dominated by him...simply because I'd worry that that dynamic might seep into the overall relationship. I would be happy to pleasure my husband; but while I can fake it for cash, I simply cannot fake it for love).

Possibly purchase the 1970s "Open Marriage."

Establish rules. Maybe offer up a my-fault-you-take-95%-of-our-net-worth contract on the off-chance you fall in love in your dabblings and they detract from the marriage. (If my husband mentioned this, I would be way over okay with him doing whatever he wanted. I would be okay with not because of the insurance; right - the insurance would make me less used or cheated if he left me for someone half my age; but more importantly, that declaration would be an expression that he doesn't want anything beyond physicality; and more importantly, a built in incentive to just not let emotions develop.)

Honestly encourage her to express any sexual fantasies she has which are extra-relational. Maybe she just wants to be taken out to dinner by another married man on a "casual encounters" website. Maybe she wants to work as dominatrix or an escort. Maybe she wants to be gang-banged. Whatever. You have to be okay with that too.

4) If this fails, then you have my blessing to do whoever the fuck you want.

p.s. This whole post is based in my personal belief on gender. I think that men and women do experience sex differently and that masculine and feminine desire is different. I think this is inextricably tied to the dynamic of heterosexual intercourse: a man is doing something to a woman (Being on top is sort of like moving the wood-barrel of milk rather than the churn...get what I'm saying?)

However, I  do not believe not for one second, that men are fundamentally incapable of engaging in emotional work or communicating. 

Good Sex and Bad Sex

Contemporary society has a fairly standard understanding of "Bad Sex"

There is Rape - "Lack of consent may result from either forcible compulsion by the perpetrator or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim (such as persons who are asleep, intoxicated, otherwise mentally helpless or under-aged).

There is Consentual Unwanted Sex - This is described as sex engaged in for reasons other than desire for sex: "to get him to love her, for a hug of physical closeness, to be popular, to prove her worth, to gain sexual experience." On this line of thought, "...virtually all prostitution, phone sex, nude dancing, etc. is unwanted sexual activity by definition, since these workers require payment."
Finally, there is Consensual and Wanted but Unequal Sex  typically, the measuring stick for whether or not a sex act is equal is sexual pleasure: do both parties have orgasms?

Okay - There are a million types of wrong to this, IMHO.

Or, at least in my own opinion, from my own experience, in terms of the type of sex acts which were most traumatic to most enjoyable.

The most traumatic experiences were completely consensual - I was sober, I was naive, I had low self-esteem. What was involved was overt declarations that I was physically attractive, mentally titillating, that he was in love. I slept with him. Naturally, everything changed the next morning...he fucked off. What was so awful about this was that he, my friends, everyone else said that I was silly for being upset. Moreover, being upset at having been deceived and hence treated inconsiderately was interpreted as "love" and thus pathetic.

The second most traumatic experiences I had were also consensual - by this time, I was not so naive, I just wanted physical and personal gratification. At the same time, what upset me was that I did not specifically tell the person: "Right, you don't have to lead me on. You do realize I just want to fuck." Thus, although I had not been "tricked," I felt as though my sexual partner felt gratification in having tricked me. Additionally irritating was that (these were friends) my partner was quite aloof and different subsequently. Thus, I did not necessarily want anything from sex. I certainly, though, did not want to have given something I did not actually consent to giving (an ego-boost at having pulled) and I did not want sex to deteriorate a relationship.

The third most traumatic experiences were sex acts which I experienced as expressions of love but were not experienced as expressions of love by the other person. This was normally sex with a boyfriend during the end-stages of the relationship. I'm not blaming the boyfriend - I think the relationship began genuinely - he sincerely believed that I was special and that he was in love with me. I sincerely believed that he was special, and I was in love with him. The relationship corroded because of fear of commitment/contact from a former partner/life generally being a mess/the fact that I continued to work as an escort. This might have been the most traumatic; but it wasn't his fault (IE, he didn't consciously try to hurt me) - it really was my own fault for remaining within the relationship when I knew and he knew implicitly it was over.

The fourth most traumatic experiences were rape. I was raped once while traveling abroad. I believe they would have been most traumatic had they been unprotected or violent - ie, had the acts physically jeapordised my own health or safety.

But honestly, use of physical force for consent was less traumatic than emotional or mental coercion to consent--I remained mentally detached from the act; I was not complicit in the act. The perpetrator did not use anything other than my body. I had not given him anything. Had I not feared for my own safety, they would not have been traumatic at all. Once I was safe, I felt a sense of exhileration. I bought watermelon and laughed and laughed and laughed.

There was sex I engaged in out of love - which was enjoyable but dangerous - particularly outside of long term and committed relationship.

There was sex I engaged in because I was being paid. This was overwhelmingly enjoyable, and it ranged from general detachment with a sociological fascination at the client to a sense of bounded connectedness to something quite similar to the final experience I'll write about -- a client paid, took me for drinks and dinner, then told me I could do whatever I wanted. At minimum, payment made all of these sex acts completely consensual. 

The most positive sexual experiences I have had have been those which were engaged in for reasons other than gratification or attention or love, or that were explicitly purchased. What I mean by this is - they were serendipitous experiences in which I was traveling and met a stranger who had no interest in sleeping with me. We talked. There was a sense of connectedness, perhaps fantasy-based, perhaps context-specific. They let me sleep on their couch, they took me out to dinner. They did all of this without any expectation that I would engage in physical intimacy with them. In these cases, I consented part as a sign of value for their kindness and sincerity and personality and uniqueness, in part because I wanted to imprint that transient relationship on both of our minds and bodies with sex, through a kind of momentary intimacy and connectedness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feminist Logic

I think I've expressed this a number of times previously. I'll say it again: pushing for gender equality and the criminalization and stigmatization of exchange of monetary goods for sexual services produces the following pattern of logic:

-Masculine and Feminine sexuality is not different.
-Thus, women and men should equally enjoy recreational, romantic and reproductive sex.
-Que in Sexual Liberation - women start having sex without romance or commitment for free.
-Because masculine and feminine sexuality is different, women experience extra-relational sex negatively, quite simply because it leaves them feeling cheap, under-appreciated and used.
-Additionally, free promiscuity leaves men less likely to commit.
-Which leads to female sexualization broadly: what I mean is that women dress slutty, flirt, deal with crappy, disrespectful men, have sex more frequently than they would like and engage in sex acts they do not enjoy, simply to attract and retain men.
-Which in turn, validates neo-con assertions that women are harmed by recreational sex, at which point we return to female suppression of sexuality and preservation of purity in order to secure romantic and committed relationships.


I recently discovered that are more gyms offering strip-inspired dance and work-out classes than actual strip clubs in my city. 

For me, this is the symbolic summation of feminist movements' efforts to eradicate gender: women paying to dance erotically for themselves.