Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another shining example of "traditional marriage"

written by a man who knows all about marriages, having had three of them.


CC

15 comments:

Joel Monka said...

He errs only in degree, not in essence, in not acknowleging that the difference between individuals is greater than the difference between groups. In basic concepts, however, on a scale from one to ten, I'd give it at least a six.

Chalicechick said...

Ummm... Wow.

OK.

You don't seem like a man who would miss

...that women can like sex, too and that the idea that they might see it the way a man sees it is not "almost funny," it's a strong possibility.

...Or that men don't deserve a medal for "heroic self-control" for every day they don't cheat.*

...Or that if a man does cheat, it's not the woman's fault for denying him sex

...Or that sexual fulfillment is indeed attainable in this world.

...Or that Prager assumes that men have no duty to be attractive, romanatic, skilled at lovemaking themselves or anything that would make the woman want to have sex with him. His mere existence is sufficient.

...Or that the entire article pretty much takes the reasonableness of the timing and manner of the man's request as a given.

...Or that Prager's article puts all the rights on the men and all the responsibilities on women.

Once you take out those assumptions, how is there enough left to constitute giving it a six?

CC

*Item: This is what Dennis Prager looks like. I've seen worse, but I really, really doubt that other women throw themselves at his feet too often. I doubt much "heroic self-control" is involved.

PG said...

I join CC's amazement that Joel thinks Prager is essentially right. The idea that I can only show that I love my husband by having sex with him is repugnant. Who are these men who enjoy having sex with an uninterested partner, and can we get them preemptively tagged on dating sites so women are duly warned?

This is what Dennis Prager looks like. I've seen worse, but I really, really doubt that other women throw themselves at his feet too often. I doubt much "heroic self-control" is involved.

Dennis Prager presumably makes enough to buy the services of a hooker or at least the interest of a mercenary girlfriend. I'm sure he feels heroic when he abstains from doing so.

Joel Monka said...

I missed none of those things- which is why I only gave it a six, and noted the great difference between individuals.

Yes, obviously women like sex, too. It is not a question of who likes what, but how men think about sex. Men do equate willing sex with love, at least at a subconcious, knee-jerk level. Possibly an instinctive level. A mature man overcomes this as a litmus test, just as a mature man can overcome the instinctive fear of heights to become a high-steel worker. But not all men can be that mature, just as not all men can ever work a skyscraper.

That "heroic self control" bit might just be his projection. I don't cheat because there isn't anyone else I want; I've not yet had to exercise any self control.

As far as attractiveness, or timing, or skill, etc., of course these are important. But that begs the question, if he was lacking in all these things, why marry him? If he once was all these things, and has changed over the years, and lacks the self awareness to know it, well, that's what counseling is for.

And yes, the division of rights and responsibilities is unfair- but it is an emotional response he's speaking of, and emotions aren't fair. they come from a deeper part of the brain than that.

No one refusal will cause a man, even a teenager, to question love. But a long pattern of refusal will, without question. Any man with experience and perspective will look at other factors for an answer, to be sure. But the author is right that it will cause the question to be asked.

Chalicechick said...

Joel, I still disagree with you in lots of places but your explanation makes a hell of a lot more sense than Prager's.

I mean, if you're unhappy in you marriage "get counseling" seems like a logical solution.

"Just submit and give the man whatever he wants" does not.

CC

Chalicechick said...

It probably also comes down to what you see as a "long pattern of refusal."

CC

PG said...

but it is an emotional response he's speaking of, and emotions aren't fair. they come from a deeper part of the brain than that.

Yes, but that doesn't mean that you let your emotions run rampant over your sense of logic and fairness. I get upset over some things my husband does, but I also apply some sense of rationality and distinguish the things that really were thoughtless or wrong, from those that were just annoying to the three-year-old who wants to get her way all the time.

Prager essentially is validating in men's emotions the three-year-old who wants to get his way all the time. Note that this column is addressed to women, not to men. He's not counseling men to be more rational: "It might feel like her sexual withdrawal is a lack of love, but before you assume that, talk to her about it and make sure it's not due to something else."

Nope, he's telling women that because men feel this way, the women's duty is to go along with it. "Blame God," Prager says, don't blame the immaturity of an adult who thinks that he can't be expected to actually communicate with his spouse.

For those of us who don't want to be married to emotional infants, I think the warning tag on men who think like this and are uninterested in applying reason to their feelings is a good solution. (Women who think their inner three-year-old should get her way also should come with warning tags.)

hsofia said...

What a jerk. I'm glad he's not my husband.

hsofia said...

Oh, and CC - your comments are spot on.

Chalicechick said...

PS. Joel and I moved this to email, where after a lengthy exchange we discovered that part of our disagreement on this issue was that I was imagining the wife turning down sex around one out of every four times she was asked or something like that, while he was imagining the couple only having sex a couple of times per year.

A lot of our differences of opinion lay in the vast differences between those situations.

I will cheerfully state for the record that absent extreme medical or emotional circumstances, and completely regardless of gender, any married person has real cause for concern if their spouse doesn't want sex at all, for months on end.

(Unless, of course, neither spouse wants it.)

CC

Joel Monka said...

Rember that "6 out of 10" also means "nearly half wrong".

"Prager essentially is validating in men's emotions the three-year-old who wants to get his way all the time." Note that Prager also said, "Every rational and decent man knows there are times when he should not initiate sex. In a marriage of good communication, a man would either know when those times are or his wife would tell him"

Maybe men ARE three year olds. But they can also be vulnerable in ways some women don't seem to understand, and I think that's part of what he was trying to say. (or at least, that's part of what I was getting) When a wife turns her husband down for months at a time and then wonders why he stopped asking, or when sex hasn't happened in over a year, and the wife is shocked to learn that he thinks she doesn't love him anymore, then maybe, just maybe, reading that article might have been of value. Six-tenths of it, anyway.

Joel Monka said...

Obviously, we posted simultaneously. :)

PG said...

Men as a group aren't three year olds any more than women as a group are. All of us have a little brat inside who always wants to have her own way, and can't believe that the rest of the world doesn't want her to have her own way too. Men are socially conditioned not to let this brat run wild in most situations (e.g. when asking for a raise at work), but Prager seems to think that the brat should be able to run wild when it comes to marital sex.

Note that Prager also said, "Every rational and decent man knows there are times when he should not initiate sex. In a marriage of good communication, a man would either know when those times are or his wife would tell him"

Yes, and instead of advocating for good communication by both spouses, Prager encourages the "lie back and think of England" model for a happy marriage. This is crazy.

I'm not saying that every couple will be perfectly matched in their sexual desires, or that we shouldn't be willing to do things our spouses ask even if it's not what we most feel like doing right then.

But Dan Savage has covered this area much better, without the gender stereotyping, hetero-centrism and the rest of the baggage that Prager carries. The difference is that Savage believes BOTH partners should be "good, giving and game," and not just about sex; Prager believes that unwanted sex is a sacrifice that women regularly have to make for a happy marriage. When I read Savage, I think, "He's being fair minded and realistic about what will achieve a fulfilling sex life for a couple." When I read Prager, I think, "If I believed men were like this, I'd have to give lesbianism a sincere effort."

When a wife turns her husband down for months at a time and then wonders why he stopped asking, or when sex hasn't happened in over a year, and the wife is shocked to learn that he thinks she doesn't love him anymore, then maybe, just maybe, reading that article might have been of value.

Except why would the man think she doesn't love him anymore if the ONLY gap in their relationship is the sex? Love isn't just about sex, nor does it necessitate sex. If she's otherwise loving toward him and just has lost interest in sex, then he should be trying to help her regain interest in sex, not grumbling, "She kisses me, hugs me, takes care of me, and says she loves me, but doesn't have sex with me, therefore none of the rest of it counts and she must not love me."

As for the idea that a woman might be helped by reading Prager's article, because she hadn't cottoned on that not having sex for a year might be a sign of a problem, I suppose there are people that oblivious in the world. But the Sex & The City movie made the same point (Miranda's not having had sex with her husband for six months was a sign of a problem) without saying that the problem must be all the woman's fault, that the man was justified in cheating on her, or that the solution was for her to have sex without desire.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion.
I snorted at :
When I read Prager, I think, "If I believed men were like this, I'd have to give lesbianism a sincere effort."

I found that, after the breakup of a long relationship with a man, I just couldn't trust men again. I'm with a woman now. But, what makes this funny, is that Prager would have loved how I was in relationships with men. I basically never refused unless we were on sand. The theory being that though I might not be into it now, I could get into it. But then, that requires a man with a lot of skill.... :-)

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, never do it on sand.

CC
wincing at the thought