Skip to content

Prager Adds General Dementia To The Specific

December 31, 2008

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.

(Emphasis supplied.)
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.

h/t Zuzu, who pointed me in the direction of Roy Edroso’s take.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2008 7:25 pm

    Opposition to mutually desired and equally satisfying sex seems to be the foundation of many an anti-feminist’s beliefs. This explains why rapists who know that their victims don’t want sex feel no obligation to stop trying to have sex with someone who is clearly unwilling.

    Willing is clearly optional. So too is mutual pleasure.

    With that standard it is easy to see how some anti-feminists claim that most rape reports are fraudulent.

  2. Wendell permalink
    December 31, 2008 10:07 pm

    Funny/true characterization of this as “adding dementia” by Prager. The only useful thread I could grab from his writing is in #8–with the ginormous caveat of if it were in some other context or standing on its own: when in a depressed state, if you act *as if* you have the gumption, motivation, ambition to do something, you will still get it done. Whether it’s get out of the house for a walk because you know it’ll help, or asking for help from someone even if you’re too afraid they won’t. But this is the *only* time I can see this sort of framing of action not belying one’s mental state as being at all useful.

  3. eroticundulation permalink
    January 1, 2009 8:48 am

    First of all, my question would be if Prager’s prescription would be the same should the situation be reversed: if the wife desired sex but her husband didn’t. (I confess I have read nothing more than this post, so I don’t know who Prager is or anything else about him or his views other than what I am privy to as a result of this post.) Because he may not have a world view that allows him to become aware of such instances, but in my life I have run into probably more women who desire sex more often than their partners than the opposite.

    Secondly, again, for his prescription to fake it til you feel it, would he prescribe the same for men? How about faking sensitivity and respect for his wife until he actually becomes a sensitive, respectful husband?

  4. January 1, 2009 9:43 am

    EU, the first Prager post (which I linked) deals with much of what you asked.

  5. ephraim permalink
    January 1, 2009 11:17 pm

    Even if we lived in a completely bio-essentialist universe where all men always want more sex than all women, it seems he’s forgetting the more obvious potential solution to this problem: men should start having sex with each other.

  6. January 2, 2009 3:08 pm

    ephraim, that is EXACTLY what I have thought. A man commented on another site that he thought ALL women were scandalous good for nothing, etc. I told him, problem solved, just be gay! (comment #55 in the link)

  7. eroticundulation permalink
    January 2, 2009 9:25 pm

    Thanks, Thomas, I will go read it!

    ephraim and RJ- excellent points! But I think they do…When I was dancing in Greece I felt misogyny more than probably anywhere else. It was weird- it was not just in the strip club (actually, it was only once in particular in the strip club), it was in the grocery store, in the streets, in the nightclubs, etc.

    My agency housed us in a hotel that was clearly a love hotel- mirrors on the ceilings and all. One day I was standing for about an hour talking with the guy at the registration desk, and watching people coming and going in and out of the elevators. Suddenly it dawned on me- they were all men- the same types of men who came to my club! (I.e., seemingly hetero.)

    One night I was talking to a Greek-American guy in my club about that particular incident of misogyny I experienced in the club, and the fact that only men were in and out of my love hotel. He told me that historically, Greek men hated women, and that they would only deign to sleep with them to bear children. But they reserved their love for other men. He said that the culture hadn’t changed that much, and that men like those who came in and out of the hotel considered themselves heterosexual, but again, saved their true affection for men because of their disdain for women.

    Who knows. All I can say is that it is an interesting culture, and strippers didn’t make much money there. I also remember that Aristotle wasn’t that enamored of women.

  8. Interrobang permalink
    January 5, 2009 2:38 pm

    “Insincerity, repression, and unremitting subservience to social obligation” is the truest thing ever written about the right-wing mindset. Add in the fact that none of them believe that anybody owns their own bodies, and you’ve got the whole argument right there. (Men’s bodies are owned by God and/or the State, women’s bodies are owned by God and/or the State, and men.)

  9. Mina permalink
    January 15, 2009 3:58 pm

    I actually agree a lot with what he says. When in a relationship you cannot decide to just have sex when you feel like it, unless it matches your partner’s feelings. To be honest I think laziness is more often to blame than lack of desire. When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, sex needs a little work. It doesn’t mean that you must give your partner sex no matter what. The thing is that many women (I used to be one of them) are too quick to disregard their man’s needs as unimportant. “It is not important to me, it can’t be that important to you”. That is not very considerate. We all know it is hard to be rejected, and sexual need is a delicate issue. If your are in a functioning relationship you will do things for your partner even if you are tired (housework, kids etc). Because love sometimes mean to go the extra mile. Why should sex be so different? It won’t hurt you to do it even if you’re not in the mood. Again: I am talking about functioning relationships with adults who love and respect each other. You should of course choose a partner with roughly the same sex drive as yourself, otherwise there will be trouble. And of course; you can’t demand sex or anything else if you treat your partner badly or disrespectful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: