Prager Adds General Dementia To The Specific
I wrote here about Part I of Prager’s essay of wife-as-fuck-object. Part II is up. It is far less interesting. Prager endlessly recites his litany af grievances against the 1960s, when apparently everyone had lots of interesting sex but him. (This also explains Bill Bennett.) And he says, more or less flat out, that sex is a job and we all have to do our jobs whether we feel like it or not. Not for the man, you understand, but for the woman. Men have to go to work, and women have to “give their bodies” to their husbands. Even when it’s a slog. That’s his position, and he’s sticking to it.
There’s actually very little to add to what I said before in this edition. I can manage to make thin gruel out of two things. First, this:
7. Many contemporary women have an almost exclusively romantic notion of sex: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in sexual relations when he wants it and she does not, the act is “dehumanizing” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife have sex, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different sexual natures of men and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is romance a woman seeks — and she has every reason to seek it — it would help her to realize how much more romantic her husband and her marriage are likely to be if he is not regularly denied sex, even of the non-romantic variety.
First, does it make me a crazy romantic that, even with fuckbuddies and one-time hookups, I always wanted sex to be “mutually desired and equally satisfying”, and not mechanical? (Oh, I forgot, I’m some kind of freak …)
Second, again with the “the different sexual natures of men and women.” This is “evidenced” by Prager’s religious and social views, contradicted by many people’s experience and I think the science is all over the map. Perhaps the “different natures” have to do with married women’s and men’s different life experiences — like male sexual entitlement and the expectation that their partners perform even when it’s a chore? Maybe? Ya think there might be a self-fulfilling element to this?
Third, emotional blackmail. Put out, or he won’t love you, says Prager.
But what really got me is that Prager’s vision isn’t limited to a grey, sad, grinding, workaday view of sex. That’s how he sees … everything in life! That’s not entirely fair. In the quote below, I can’t tell if he really believes it, or he just thinks it should be said:
8. In the rest of life, not just in marital sex, it is almost always a poor idea to allow feelings or mood to determine one’s behavior. Far wiser is to use behavior to shape one’s feelings. Act happy no matter what your mood and you will feel happier. Act loving and you will feel more loving. Act religious, no matter how deep your religious doubts, and you will feel more religious. Act generous even if you have a selfish nature, and you will end with a more a generous nature. With regard to virtually anything in life that is good for us, if we wait until we are in the mood to do it, we will wait too long.
Fake it ’til you feel it! Insincerity, repression, and unremitting subservience to social obligation is his prescription. He says we’ll be happier that way. Know your place! Do not aspire above your station! (These are the worst notions of high Victorian faux-stoicism. I’m imagining the shock when Oliver Twist says, “please Sir, may I have some … more?”)
If he believes this bullshit, then that explains why he and his intellectual co-conspirators think that one can pray away the gay, or that telling kids that condoms don’t work is a public health solution. If he believes it, he’s a faith-based denialist about everything. If he doesn’t believe it, then he’s just another advocate of a crushing, stratified social order that benefits him, his friends on wingnut welfare and his paymasters. Only in the former case can I muster any pity.