Oh my, this is going to get ugly…..
Not too terribly long ago while riffling through the used book section at a second-hand store (one of my most favorite things to do in the whole world ever), I came across a most horrifying, trauma-inducing book. After coughing up the obligatory half a dollar required to make it mine, I took it home to read, knowing perfectly well that because I am very familiar with and really, really hate the author, I’d probably at some point end up at the kitchen sink trying my damndest to cram it into oblivion down the disposal. But hey, I’m a trooper, and after having previously read some of the horrible advice Mister Fella doles out on the regular, I figured it was worth the money that it cost me to satisfy my curiosity. (It wasn’t.)
Anyway, so the book–you’ve probably heard of it, given that it’s been around since forever– is Mars and Venus in the Bedroom, by author and so-called relationship expert John Gray, and it’s one of several that follows the heretofore established reasoning of his bestselling lump of garbage, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Reasoning that, sadly, many of us are familiar with, and even more sadly, some of us believe, and it goes something like this: Human characteristics come in two sets. One set of characteristics comprises physical strength, dominance, aggression, logic, ambition, courage, responsibility, and an excessively high sex drive. The other is sympathetic, kind, nurturing, needy, intuitive, emotional, giving, cooperative, passive, docile, and submissive, durr hur dumb fucking hurrr.
And as most of you probably see coming a mile away, these characteristics are divvied up by sex. As we’ve previously discussed, this is just stupid. And yet, Gray is just one of many so-called experts who irresponsibly center their views about relationships and sex around such an unsound and defective (not to mention harmful) belief system and then proceed to speak authoritatively on the subject.
According to the cultural narrative, men need sex while women merely (sigh…and infrequently) desire sex, or, more specifically, women desire love and security, which we seek to get in return for sex. Because of this (in part), the tone in public discourse regarding sex is often placed within the context of women giving men sex. The reason I mention this is because not only does Gray make the same claim several times in the book but because it’s also an underlying theme throughout.
He completely sticks to the script regarding female sexuality, which is to say he pretends it doesn’t exist outside of its ability to please men. Women don’t want sex, women want love! Because of this belief, any conversation regarding the woman’s physical pleasure is practically non-existent. The reality that women are just as ‘visual’ as men is completely ignored. The reality that women can and do have sex purely for the physical pleasure, with little or no emotional attachment to our sexual partners, is completely ignored. But we do get to learn plenty about the ways in which to physically please our man in order to keep him from satisfying his (snicker) “biological need” for variety behind our backs. Convenient, right?
It’s a little frustrating to think about how many men have grown up in this fog of delusion regarding women and women’s sexuality. It almost makes me feel sorry for the little buggers. How sad to spend childhood believing that women are these pure, ethereal, magical creatures (who exist to serve you and only you) only to learn that in real life most of us aren’t really like that at all– we’re every bit as fucked up and depraved and sexual as men are. In other words, we’re human.
The book begins with these oh so fitting words:
He wants sex. She wants romance.
He wants sex. Him. Not her, because again, independent of a woman’s ability to please her partner with her body and to successfully barter sex for validation, romance, security, and love, her sexuality does not exist. Let me make this perfectly clear because it’s kind of an important point: In a book that claims to be about sex for couples, here is an author who frames his entire premise around the notion that sex is actually only desired by one person in the couple. This book, therefore, isn’t meant to benefit the couple; it’s meant to benefit the man in the couple.
He further clarifies his philosophy by stating that “Sex allows a man to feel his needs for love.” The idea that men use sex as a pathway of sorts to love and emotional fulfillment pops up frequently throughout the book. It is significant because the message it conveys is that when women turn men down for sex, we aren’t just denying men physical pleasure but the ability to connect to their emotions. Not only is this stupid, it’s also super manipulative. Women are increasingly expected to cater to our partner’s sexual demands (wooo! thanx porn! thanx, asshole relationship “experts”!) and this is just another way to further guilt us into shutting up and putting out.
Incidentally, Gray is also a proponent of the trope that men try to score with random hot women on the regular because they ‘need’ variety and have a biological need to ‘spread their seed’. The idea that they do this, while at the same time seeking sex to access feelings of ‘love’ is so absurdly oxymoronic that it’s almost funny.
I kept a pencil handy while reading the book, with the intention of making notes in the margins about all his whacked-out notions regarding sex. I realized pretty quickly, however, that such an undertaking would require a book of my own and way more time than I care to spend. But because this shit is harmful to women, it needs to be discussed, because even though you know it’s bullshit, and I know know it’s bullshit….some people don’t know it’s bullshit. So, on we go.
When he wants sex and she is not readily in the mood, he easily misunderstands and feels rejected. He does not instinctively realize that a woman generally needs to feel loved and romanced before she can feel her hunger for sex.
Okay look. I’m going to speak my own personal experience into this for a minute. I’ve done the casual sex thing. Sometimes I took men home with me during my bar scene years because I was drunk. Sometimes I had sex with men I didn’t care about or want anything else from because my body needed the physical release and pleasure of sex. And I can say with absolute certainty that there wasn’t one time– not a single, solitary time– that I had the casual-sexytime with these men because they filled up my love cup first. And no, sorry, I’m not an anomaly.
It’s weird how that works. It’s almost, like I said before, it’s almost like we’re all human or something.
Do women want to have sex with men who don’t objectify, dehumanize, and degrade us? Well obviously. The reason I mention this, and this is quite possibly the most important point of all, is because Gray, and so many whacked-out freak-shows like him, often construct a narrative in which the man does seem to disrespect, disregard, dehumanize and degrade his partner, and this seems to be the premise from which Gray et al. work, and then they confuse respect and basic human decency with love and romance and sparkles.
It is Gray who makes the claim that women need to feel loved first in order to become turned on to sex. But then he tells us, several times over in fact, that if a couple is experiencing problems in the relationship, it is the woman’s responsibility to put this need aside and sexy-up up for the man regardless of her desire to do so. Because men can’t (or won’t) express love when they aren’t feeling it, the onus is on women to have sex when we aren’t feeling it in order to improve or save the relationship. This directive comes up frequently in the book:
When sex gets better, suddenly the whole relationship gets better. Through great sex, the man begins to feel more love, and, as a result, the woman starts getting the love she may have been missing.
Great sex is the most powerful way to open a man’s heart and help him to feel his love and express it to a woman. Great sex softens a woman’s heart and helps her to relax and receive her partner’s support in other areas of the relationship. This softening of her feelings dramatically improves her ability to communicate in a manner that her partner can hear without becoming defensive.
When a couple is experiencing relationship problems, sometimes, instead of focusing on the problems, taking a shortcut and creating great sex immediately reduces the problems and makes them easier to solve.
What a narcissistic snotrag this guy is. Can we flush him down the toilet now?
Through sex, a man’s heart begins to open up. Through sex, a man can give and receive love the most. When a woman begins to understand this difference, it changes her whole perspective on sex. Instead of a man’s desire for sex being something crude and divorced from love, she can begin to see it as his way of eventually finding love.
Please take note of the word ‘eventually’. He’s been saying that men use sex to access their feelings of love for their partners. Up until now, he’s given us the impression (even though we know it’s bullshit) that men find the magical pot of love at the end of the sex rainbow. But now he tells us that if we give in to the man’s demands for sex, and he still treats us like garbage, then we just need to keep on having sex! Because you know….he will eventually be a loving person instead of a selfish, disrespectful fuckwad.
It is confusing to her when he wants sex and they are not even talking or he has ignored her for days. To her, it seems as if he doesn’t care if they have much of a relationship. She has no idea that when he begins to hunger for sex it is because he wants to reconnect and share love.
Goddamn you, John Gray. There is nothing confusing about not wanting to have sex with someone who treats you like dirt, you big rotten bundle of ass fungus. Goddamn you to hell for telling any woman anywhere that she should acquiesce to an emotionally abusive man who would ignore her for days and then turn around and degrade her by treating her like a sex object who’d better bend over and put out on command or else. Fucking hell!
Most men are never taught how to have sex. Once they can get turned on or can masturbate, they are somehow expected to be sexual experts. Sure, they know where to put it and how to have an orgasm in two minutes, but the art of giving a woman an orgasm is a different story altogether.
Well, gee. I guess that’s what happens when people like Gray are allowed to open their fucking mouths and speak for all men for the whole world to hear. When sex is something that women give to men and the pleasure is the man’s for the taking, I guess it makes sense that no one bothers to teach men how to please women. That would just fuck up the whole paradigm altogether, now wouldn’t it?
Men don’t instinctively know what women like, and even when they hear about it, they tend to forget.
Well fucking duh to the first part of that thought, bullshit to the second part of it. Men aren’t ALL thoughtless, forgetful morons, but I feel more pity for Gray’s wife that I’d have ever thought possible!
A man’s immediate desire to touch and be touched in his sensitive zones is a given. He does not need much help in getting excited. He needs help in releasing or letting go of his excitement. In a sense, he seeks to end his excitement, while a woman seeks to extend her excitement to feel more deeply her inner longing.
What the actual fuck does this even mean? And why in the world would a woman want to ‘feel more deeply her inner longing’ (barf) for someone who acts like a stupid asshole?
For a woman, arousal slowly builds long before it becomes a physical desire for sex. Before longing for sexual stimulation, a woman first feels warm, sensual, and attractive. She feels drawn to a man and enjoys sharing time together. It could be days before she wants to have sex.
I’m guessing that in his wife’s world that’s called ‘delaying the inevitable.’ I mean, christ on a mutherfucking cracker! this is such goofy, ridiculous drivel that I just can’t even. It takes days to turn a woman on, John? Really? Days? Or is it really, possibly, just a case of, some days I want to have sex and some days I don’t?
And why must a woman feel that she is attractive to her partner in order to feel sexual? Could it possibly have anything to do with the way we’ve had one single beauty ideal (thin, bronzed, blond, etc.) shoved in our goddamn faces everywhere forever until we begin to feel somewhat less-than for failing to live up to that airbrushed, non-existent ideal? Pshaw….nah, that can’t be it. Surely it’s biological. Because EVO-PSYCH ya’ll!
To wait days requires enormous restraint on his part.
It’s really too bad you can’t have someone neutered against their will.
Oh the poor, poor menz!
Of course, if you’re really just feeling gross and yucky and totally unsexy, don’t feel like fucking a complete assbag, and have access to a hammer, you do have other options…
For many men, other than hitting their finger with a hammer or watching a football game, sex is one of the only ways they can feel!
Hey, I’m game. Although I’m pretty sure it isn’t the finger that I’d be aiming for.
[Edit to add: And just so you don’t think I’m completely full of shit when I say that John Gray is full of shit, I present to you some actual research (and oh lookie here, here’s some more! and wooooooooo here’s some more!) to validate my assertion that he is, in fact, completely full of shit.]