This is a comment by QuantumInc on the post “On Withholding Sex“.
“That sounds infinitely frustrating. It was my goal to show ways that women’s attitudes can be harmful, and why women might have those attitudes. There are male behaviors that contribute to those harmful attitudes, but ultimately women must change their own attitudes. I agree with you, men receive a disproportionate amount of the blame for sexual troubles. However women participate in the sex negative culture too! Women often mistrust sex-positive attitudes, and fail the recognize the value of a better sex life. Even if they see the value and make an honest effort, internalized guilt and shame and stereotypes make a for a heavy obstacle. Splitting chores more equitably helps since stress is a big libido killer. Though the same applies to men who work hard and stress out at their job (since making money is the traditional male role). But it won’t be enough if the woman has psychological baggage around sex, and certain psycho-sexual baggage has become standard issue.
“There’s just so much in our lives that promotes these horrible views about sexuality that both men and women fall victim to it. Men are able to seek fulfillment through sex in different ways, but other times they are limited, and sometimes feel forced to have sex just to prove themselves. Some times men feel entitled to sexual service from women, which directly contributes to the harmful stereotype that sex is only good for men. Meanwhile women view sex with suspicion in almost all cases. A man expresses his sexual desires and gets labelled a pathetic creep. Even her own sexual desires might make her feel guilty.
“The weird thing is that these people are BOTH VICTIM AND PERPETRATOR. They both suffer under these sex-negative ideas but also end up spreading them. They think of justifications for their beliefs and actions and romanticize silly ideals. They get sentimental over behaviors that ultimately make their lives worse, and remain convinced that they will have their happily ever after if they just stay faithful to the often conflicting ideals taught to them by a variety of sources earlier in life. Even if the original message was sensible, it becomes muddled by the lack of, and irrational fear of, open discussion of sex.
Unfortunately one of these stereotypes is that when sex is involved, men are the perpetrators and women are the victims. In extreme cases people say things to imply that sex is always good for men and always bad for women. The feminist movement has both helped and hurt in this regard. Feminist language is frequently co-opted by sex-negative ideologues. I’ve heard “sexual objectification” used to describe all pre-marital sex by a catholic author. The feminists themselves recognize that the real problem is our culture, and that both men and women contribute to this culture, though statistically it seems that most feminist discussion focuses on the ways men hurt women. I still consider myself a feminist, but this tendency is disappointing (it seems to be human nature to blame others, feminists encourage self analysis but are still human), and the ways that feminist rhetoric and ideas get co-opted by sex negative ideologues is incredibly frustrating and often goes unrecognized by feminists.”
Photo credit: Flickr / austinevan