Over at Eros Blog, Bacchus has an interesting discussion about a point raised in Adrienne West’s post at Thought Catalog. In West’s “true sex story”, she writes about her discovery that men like porn because it’s “a world free of rejection” ~ specifically, a world free of sexual rejection. (And not the sort some men enjoy.) West also claimed to discover that she herself was part of her boyfriend’s problem, if not entirely to blame for it:
With me, (and he loved me very much, he clarified), he had to woo me, constantly. Sex was never a given, and this is a biological difference between men and women. He was trying, all the time, to make me think of him sexually and to initiate sex and even my higher-than-average female libido couldn’t keep up with him. As loving and as open and assuring as I was towards him, he was still getting rejected by me in this way, often (and even more often if he would be honest about how frequently he wanted sex).
West, a self-described “maximizer” who likes to make to-do lists to accomplish her goals, then sets about to tackle this as a self-help or relationship repair task ~ a la 50 Shades style. Her task is to live the life of a sexual submissive who is always ready, willing, and available for sex with her Master, err, boyfriend.
Honestly, from there on the whole thing rather bored me; the lessons were over and the “Dear Penthouse” style erotica was on. Her relationship was saved by being sexually submissive ~ her gift in return, the orgasms he gave her. Whatever. I’m so over the “We won’t let little things like jobs, bills, or life get in the way of our sex lives!” fantasy. Anyway, like Bacchus at Eros Blog, I think there is some more interesting stuff to discuss here.
West’s earlier surprise discovery of porn being the rejection-free choice for men has Bacchus making a discovery of his own. After tipping his cap respectfully to the very necessity of women having to (often carefully) reject male sexual advances, Bacchus writes:
[I]t had never occurred to me that this project of ongoing rejection could become so automatic, as with breathing, that a woman might cease to be aware of doing it. And yet this author was, she says, surprised to learn how often she was rejecting her boyfriend.
That surprise? It surprises me.
What surprises me? That anyone would be surprised that such rejection could ~ and can ~ become as automatic as breathing.
But apparently lots of folks, male & female, are surprised, hurt, or confused by how often women reject male sexual advances & invitations. So let’s talk about it as a general issue.
Yeah, I know; rejection hurts. But you want to talk about rejection? We women face harassment, stalking, rape culture, and rampant misogyny (like right at West’s post; look at this gem of a comment from Bob and his cohort too) ~ and that’s just on the Internet alone. (FYI, the Internet is real.) Our wardrobes are discussed, controlled, and stigmatized because men can’t control themselves. We can’t walk down the street without being harassed. (But that is probably safer than being at home in many cases; because one in three women will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime AND the majority of such gender-based violence is committed by someone the woman knows.)
Oh, and at work? We are harassed there too. Plus, we are paid less, have glass ceilings, and otherwise are forced to wear pink collars and/or live in the pink ghetto. And the media contributes to and reflects such things as well. (On the other hand, if & when we do manage to bring home more bacon, y’all suffer from erectile dysfunction? Isn’t that a rejection of us?)
This isn’t even a complete list & I’m exhausted.
Now imagine living it.
And think about that the next time you want to complain that you have to “woo your woman constantly”.
Just what do you think it feels like to be rejected as “not equal” every single minute of every single day? Shouldn’t it come as no surprise that a woman would be on automatic pilot for delivering rejection? Instead, you should be amazed at how subtly & inoffensively she delivers it .
Because if we thought about it at all, we’d say, “Oh, I’m sorry I won’t automatically agree to let you thrust & ejaculate inside the very thing that keeps me from claiming that 30 cents on a dollar to be equal with you in the workplace ~ the very thing that you want to regulate and control with your laws & social commentary ~ and have you complain about your lot yet!”
[If you find this all unnecessarily angry, the foam-flecked rantings of a “man-hating feminist“, well, then you just haven’t put any thought into the facts. Otherwise you’d be angry over the same things too. I mean, how can you not be? Sure, maybe you’re angry, you deny & deflect, become outraged that you’re not one of those guys; but you aren’t dealing with the facts. Frankly, you can’t handle the truth.]
But let’s just pretend for a minute that all things were equal, that women were paid the same as men & had the same job opportunities, that we had the same economic rights and autonomy over our bodies that men enjoy simply for having a penis, and that women were not continually harassed sexually, so that at the end of the day we weren’t covered in some sort of cultural residue that left us let’s say petulant at the idea of letting someone ~ even those we love and lust after ~ enter our bodies. (Yes, even if that should lead to orgasms; we can do that ourselves, and in less time, thankyouverymuch. That, and male privilege, are reasons why we might fake orgasm; another rejection if you find out, I know.) Let’s put all those real things (and the rant) aside and look at another issue: Biology.
Let’s not pretend there aren’t biological differences. Not just some sort of leftover biological imperative in terms of species survival (one that Dr. Whiplash mentions but eschews in favor of the “extraordinary lives” women will leave if they buck the system and fuck their men; a whole other slut-shaming issue related to the above cultural issues), but let’s talk about the very real matter of differences in hormones.
Dudes, your hormones (primarily, anyway) cycle every 24 hours; that, and not your love for us, is why you get a woody every morning. On the other hand, our cycle of hormones is a bit more complicated and lengthy than that; the result is that we are on far less of a “daily horny schedule” than men. And that’s before we get into realities like the processes of pregnancy and menopause. We don’t just age and change to disrupt your fantasies and desires; we ride the wild wave of our biology because that’s fucking life. Literally.
In a civilized culture, where humanity & good citizenry is defined largely by our ability to override our animal nature, hormones still have their way with us. Even amidst our culture wars and culture lag, they play their role. But, romance aside, if culture is to override such base things as biology, then something desperately needs to be done in terms of equality and the messages being sent to and about women.
And that includes complaints and surprise that we reject sexual advances as automatically as we do. They come across as bullying*, really.
Yup, you can go enjoy your rejection-free porn now. (Hell, the good stuff works for women too!) And then you can take a serious look at the big picture, try to handle the truth, and work for change.
UPDATE Clarification: Use of the term “bullying” has been objected to in terms of one’s surprise at our automatic rejection, including by Bacchus himself. To clarify, I mean that vocalizing surprise and complaints to your female partner in response to her rejection comes across as bullying & whining about the situation in order to get her to capitulate & give into your sexual desires. My use of the term bullying does not apply to conversation about the subject as we were all doing here. Nor does it apply to general discussion with your partner that are not based in the heat of the rejection moment. Discussions are not bullying. I think they are needed, and I applaud us for having them. Even if the facts do require some heat as we’re discussing the hot truth. I do hope that makes things clearer.