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sexism again…this time about sex

January 23, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25desire-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp

Interesting article all around, and I recommend a reading just ’cause it’s fun.  What I want to point out, though, again, is how women get judged as deficient because they’re judged by men’s standards.
A theme in this article is that these researchers want to understand women’s desire so that they can increase female lust.  They talk about how women aren’t as interested in sex as men, and then automatically jump to the next conclusion that this is wrong.  The standard, again, is the male standard.  The amount of lust as man feels is the right amount of lust for everyone to feel, so we need to figure out how to make women hornier.  Now, I can’t be the first one to think this, but why is it so much less common to assume that men are deficient because they want sex so much more?  That it’s wrong for them to make that so much of a deal and play down the other aspects of a relationship?  And why can’t we just see the differing sex drives as two different things, and realize that the only problem is figuring out a compromise when you’re in a relationship?
Hrm.  I wonder if there’s any connection to the way people disbelieve asexuals.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2009 4:07 pm

    I think it depends on whether or not the woman is happy with her level of desire. If she wishes to have more desire, then these studies would probably be fascinating to her, and not sexist.
    The article was mostly about why women are so WEIRD. Men are quite simple in their sexuality, for the most part according to those studies. Women are confusing, though. By understanding WHY women are confusing, many people could be helped in the future if they want to learn how to have better sex. To figure out what it is that triggers women into both physical AND mental desire.
    That being said, in general, I do agree there is a major double standard in terms of sex. I didn’t really see that in the article, though. The article seemed to genuinely be interested in what makes a woman tick, not “how do we get a woman to respond like a man does”.
    But yeah, culturally there is a huge double standard. Women ruin sex. We end up messing it up, by having headaches, being on our periods, just “not being in the mood”…etc. Why can’t women just step up and ENJOY sex all the time?! Is it THAT hard?
    …But, then, if a woman is actively interested in sex, she is judged as being slutty.
    *shrugs* There is no way to win.
    I think our culture just needs to start accepting that people have varying degrees of interest in sex. We’re starting to accept that people can vary along the “who you are interested in” axis, but still can’t seem to accept the “how much you want it” axis. It’s just that SUCH a majority of people are on one end of the “how much you want it” axis, that it is hard to understand how a person could be at the other end. They PITY people on the other end. My goodness, are those poor people missing out! We should find ways to bring them over to our side, because sex is a wonderful experience that every human has a right to and should be enjoyed in the best and most frequent way as possible.
    That sentiment SOUNDS caring, empathetic, and concerned for the well-being of others. But even if they mean well, people need to start understanding that some of us are quite happy without sex. That sex actually just adds stress a lot of the time.
    Personally, as an asexual in a VERY sexual culture, I spend a lot of time worrying about my level of sexual desire. I want to make my partner happy. Seeing as my partner is sexual, that means that sex is important in the relationship. I always feel responsible for my partner’s sexual needs, not because he tells me to feel that way, but because our culture does. When he wants sex, I am supposed to supply it – that is what the world I live in has taught me. Culture doesn’t focus on the female needs. Culture doesn’t focus on asexual needs. I doubt there will ever be a day when our culture gives equal time to pressuring people NOT to have sex, for the sake of their asexual partner’s happiness.
    Lately, though, I have gotten rather angry about this. I’ve been told multiple times (from a variety of other girls) that I have a responsibility to figure out what makes me feel good, sexually. Figure out how to please myself, make myself orgasm, all of that. This is not a responsibility to ME and MY HAPPINESS – this is a responsibility that I have for my boyfriend’s sake. This is what I’ve been told countless times. If I truly love him and want to make him happy, I’ll experiment sexually until I can force myself into arousal and orgasm at a moment’s notice.

    WTF?
    If I am not comfortable with doing things like that, I don’t feel I have a responsibility to ANYONE to figure that out. Just as I wouldn’t take a pill to make me feel more desire, I won’t do anything that makes me feel like hurling, crying, or drives me into a depressed, guilt-ridden hole of failure, just to become “normal”. Asexuality is not something cured by trying everything under the sun to find what unlocks your true, incredibly horny nature. Asexuality just IS.
    But like I said, our culture does not see that second axis. It barely sees the first one. It’s amazing how people refuse to see sexuality as an individual thing, as something that can’t be generalized. I guess that’s what happens when you are part of the majority, living in a culture that mostly ignores the minority.

  2. January 24, 2009 6:34 pm

    I totally disagree with the idea that men are more sexual than women. Men talk about it more but they aren’t any more interested. I know of so many relationships where the women wants sex more of the time and are really upset when the guy doesn’t seem to want to comply. I know relationships where the girl masturbates more than the man. I know they’ve done studies on this but I also know that studies can have a lot of faults and I really think there is some intrinsic fault in how they conduct or analyze these surveys either that or somehow I managed to pick a very horny group of friends :-D.
    Also any study that can teach men to help women orgasm better is a wonderful wonderful thing. There’s women who can’t orgasm with their partner because they need so much stimulation that toys need to be included. In some cases the man (or woman) can use the toys on her but in others it needs to be done so correctly that it can only be achieved through masterbation. This turns the sexual part of the relationship into the girl doing it only for the guy. This might be okay for some of the women but I think some of those women would love to take a pill that could make them orgasm with their men. And this isn’t a double standard at all. After all that is what viagra does for men. Men have to perform in sex. They are held responsible for making the woman happy. They are told by the TV that they should take male enhancement formulas to be better at sex. If a women says I can’t have orgasms during sex the next sentance that always follows is “he’s probably not doing something right” I think all women who want to should have the option of being made very very happy during intercourse.
    This paper isn’t sexist its just cool, informative and above all possibly leading to discoveries that could give women the options that men have had for years.

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