Am I the only woman sick of hearing the advice, “Make your marriage stronger by having sex even when you don’t feel like it?” How about, “NO.” Enthusiastic consent doesn’t only apply when we are teaching our kids about rape culture. Enthusiastic consent should be a given every, single time you have sex. And if you don’t feel like having it — men or women alike — you shouldn’t be guilted into it on the premise that it makes you a better partner.
I’ve heard this advice time and time again, but was reminded of how much it annoys me while reading an article this morning titled, “The mistakes I’ve made (and you have, too) as a wife.” Some of her points are sound, but here is the one that got me:
“I want to relax and heave a collected sigh of relief that the day is done. I have no desire to play birds and bees. But, by God, men need it. My husband is just as in need as the hungry Betta Fish. I need it, too, but not as much as my husband. This doesn’t mean that I’m abnormal or completely lacking a libido. It just means that my testosterone levels aren’t as high as his. I often forget that sometimes I shouldn’t be selfish.
Sometimes I should meet the need, whether or not I’m in the need-meeting mood.”
The idea that men need sex any more than women is not only untrue, it’s downright dangerous. It implies that men have some burning carnal desire that they cannot and should not control. It is total bullshit. And it lays the ground work for a lot of potential victim blaming and excusing a lot of bad behavior. Guess what? When a woman marries a man, he does not own her body. She still has full bodily autonomy and can damn well decide whether or not she’s in the mood to have sex.
On what planet does this pass for good advice? Apart from the idea that women are a piece of meat that should be made available for their husbands whenever the mood strikes — it also implies that there is something healthy about engaging in sexual activity when you don’t feel like it. There’s not. What is so great about faking it? How disingenuous is that? If your partner doesn’t care if you are fully participating in the act, he may as well watch some porn.