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30 day sex (or no sex) challenge
February 27, 2008 10:59 AM   Subscribe

A church in Tampa, FL has issued a 30-day sex challenge: If you're married, have sex every day (PDF of daily workbook). If you're not married, don't have sex at all (PDF of daily workbook). There's a blog, there's a billboard, there's a lot of press.

Wirth told CBS News he believes most people go into marriage "without really knowing each other emotionally, without knowing their partner's emotional needs, and this (the challenge) is a way for people to discover their greatest needs -- both married and non-married couples."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (213 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
A valuable lesson in overkill: celibacy is just as easy to phone in as sex.
posted by hermitosis at 11:02 AM on February 27, 2008


I'm not married and I wish I was confronted with the problem of having to turn down sex every day.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 11:03 AM on February 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


I heard about this indirectly- through a confession on one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:04 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


(bursts into tears)
posted by aramaic at 11:05 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, as in what I like to call "last month"? (yea...I'm single by the way)
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:05 AM on February 27, 2008


You have *got* to be fucking kidding.
posted by notsnot at 11:06 AM on February 27, 2008


Metafilter: *Fade to black-and-white for grim emphasis* "You are single if you are NOT MARRIED."
posted by hermitosis at 11:06 AM on February 27, 2008


If you're not married, don't have sex at all

"Relevant" Church appears to be trying hard to become not so.
posted by dersins at 11:07 AM on February 27, 2008


Oh, as in what I like to call "last month"? (yea...I'm married by the way)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:07 AM on February 27, 2008


I don't know about 30 days. Friction can be a problem. Also menstruation. Otherwise, I support this idea.
posted by DU at 11:08 AM on February 27, 2008


The single people have it easier.

30-days. Every day?

Is the church gunna do my laundry?
posted by mosch at 11:08 AM on February 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


there's a lot of press

And let's face it, that's the point.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:10 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


All right. What do I win if meet the challenge?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:10 AM on February 27, 2008


There's an awful lot of god going on in this sex "challenge".
For me, this is an automatic FAIL.

Am I the only one that thinks god is the ultimate turn off?
posted by omegar at 11:10 AM on February 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


^ if yu'r married (and fertile), likely a muffin in the oven. if single, an accurate simulation of my so-called life.
posted by panamax at 11:12 AM on February 27, 2008


If you're just alone: masturbate less/more than usual and feel less/more guilt afterwards.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:12 AM on February 27, 2008


If you're not married, don't have sex at all (PDF of daily workwankbook).
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:13 AM on February 27, 2008


Wyfe, it is the tyme of day for rutting! Drop thine britches and present thine rosebud - Almighty God commands it!
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:13 AM on February 27, 2008 [54 favorites]


if single, an accurate simulation of my so-called life.

SWEET! I'm in!

*tucks hair behind ears*
*makes eyes at Jordan Catalano*
*thinks about going to the party at Tino's this weekend*
posted by Greg Nog at 11:14 AM on February 27, 2008 [11 favorites]


Sounds like an excellent way to have a congregation for the next generation..
posted by jamuraa at 11:15 AM on February 27, 2008


Friction can be a problem.

Science has a solution to this.

But the symmetry of the 30 days sex/no sex challenge is kind of weird -- those are such different "challenges," on so many different levels. For advanced users, does the challenge move to a straight 365 day event?
posted by Forktine at 11:16 AM on February 27, 2008


Wirth told CBS News he believes most people go into marriage "without really knowing each other emotionally, without knowing their partner's emotional needs, and this (the challenge) is a way for people to discover their greatest needs -- both married and non-married couples."

I would agree that lots of people do go into marriage without knowing each other well enough. But not having any sex with each other before marriage isn't going to help that.
posted by agregoli at 11:16 AM on February 27, 2008 [9 favorites]


"If you're married, have sex every day"

doesn't everyone? Or do they mean "sex ONCE a day"... in which case I would need to drastically reduce activities.... :-\
posted by HuronBob at 11:18 AM on February 27, 2008


Am I the only one that thinks god is the ultimate turn off?

I refuse to worship any god that I can't imagine going to bed with. This has actually resulted in MORE gods in my personal pantheon, not fewer.
posted by hermitosis at 11:19 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Friction can be a problem.

Science has a solution to this.

So does Nature, but not for 30 days in a row. Unless the total time you are adding up is under an hour.
posted by DU at 11:19 AM on February 27, 2008


It's hip for the Conservative Christians to be into sex all of a sudden. Make me wonder...

Senator Larry Craig's top 5 emotional needs as addressed to his wife:

1. I wish you would be more aggressive in bed, for instance, if you could man handle me more.

2. Don't speak during our love play. I find your high lilting feminine voice highly distracting.

3. Spontaneity. I think we need to spice up our love life with some spontaneity. For instance there is the park that some of the fellahs frequent for their love making. You don't have to go if you don't want to.

4. I wish you wouldn't weep so much during our love play.

5. Honey? Have you heard of the perfume Drakkar Noir? It's intoxicating. I bought you some.
posted by tkchrist at 11:21 AM on February 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


If you're married, have sex every day.

Lossens tie... wipes brow...

So I joined this church, see... and the minister... great guy... says that if you are married, you should have sex everyday for thirty days.... Heh. Fantastic. So I tried it .... but then the wife found out. Heh.
posted by R. Mutt at 11:24 AM on February 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


Hmm. This all seems rather spousal-rapey.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:24 AM on February 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


Larry Craig jokes? This is going well.
posted by DU at 11:24 AM on February 27, 2008


ya'll are showing remarkable restraint... there doesn't seem to be a single mefi comment on the blog......yet
posted by HuronBob at 11:25 AM on February 27, 2008


There seems to be an inequitable distribution of the coitus in this proposal. However, as a good Marxist, I've always lived by the principle of from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Therefore, as a married man, I propose helping to shoulder my share of the burden by offering to have sex with a different unmarried partner, every day for the next thirty days.

Such selfless activity might even get me canonized for my huge self-sacrifice in furtherance of the Christian faith.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:26 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Below, write your top 5 emotional needs from your questionaire.
  1. food
  2. peace & quiet
Notes: I know how to cook for myself.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:27 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]



Such selfless activity might even get me canonized for my huge self-sacrifice in furtherance of the Christian faith.

You're a giver.
posted by tkchrist at 11:27 AM on February 27, 2008


ya'll are showing remarkable restraint... there doesn't seem to be a single mefi comment on the blog......yet

This post was not an invite for anyone to troll the Relevant blog, so don't even think about it, y'all. Feel free to make your stupid comments right here in this thread.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:28 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, good luck with that.
posted by Big_B at 11:31 AM on February 27, 2008


Feel free to make your stupid comments right here in this thread.

Done.
posted by tkchrist at 11:31 AM on February 27, 2008


This will wendell.

(Offer not valid if you're unmarried.)
posted by dw at 11:31 AM on February 27, 2008


so...I looked it up... TPS...thanks for the correction...

"“How y’all doin’?” If you are rendering this common Southernism in print, be careful where you place the apostrophe, which stands for the second and third letters in “you.” Note that “y’all” stands for “you all” and is properly a plural form, though many southern speakers treat it as a singular form and resort to “all y’all” for the plural."

So, I guess I should have said "all y'all are showing a lot of restraint"
posted by HuronBob at 11:32 AM on February 27, 2008


Larry Craig jokes? This is going well.

As opposed to what? Complaining about the lubricative abilities of somebodies vagina? Classy.
posted by tkchrist at 11:33 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Bible on sex during menstruation:

If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean. (Leviticus 15:19-24)

You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. (Leviticus 18:19)

If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has exposed her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from their people. (Leviticus 20:18)

posted by Krrrlson at 11:34 AM on February 27, 2008


I don't care what that preacher says! If my spouse is out of town for work, I'm not going to go to bed with him, 30 days or not!
posted by Goofyy at 11:35 AM on February 27, 2008


What is it with christians and sex? Where does this obsession come from?
posted by signal at 11:36 AM on February 27, 2008


Here's a challenge for the churches - stay out of everyone's bedrooms for the next thirty days forever.
posted by malocchio at 11:37 AM on February 27, 2008 [19 favorites]


Thankfully they did not specify that the sex needs to be good for anyone involved. Even Jesus.
posted by slimepuppy at 11:38 AM on February 27, 2008


customary impurity

Where would we be without those wacky traditionalists and their crazy customs?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:38 AM on February 27, 2008


done and done.
(married)
posted by hulahulagirl at 11:38 AM on February 27, 2008


Thankfully they did not specify that the sex needs to be good for anyone involved. Even Jesus.

Sex is always good for Jesus. After all. What we do to ourselves we also do to Him.

So you could say you OWE it to Jesus to have sex.
posted by tkchrist at 11:41 AM on February 27, 2008


Hey, Leviticus, what if I touch her in the evening? Does that mean I'm automatically clean, or do I have to wait until the next evening? What about this "lies with her" stuff - first you say I'm unclean again (for 7 days) then you say I'm going to get cut off from my peeps. Is that all for 7 days or what? What if I sit on something but don't even realize she sat on it first - am I fucked if I don't go wash?

Man, and I thought Gremlins had a hard set of rules.
posted by Muddler at 11:41 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Few more links.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:43 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


"But he added: "I think it's worth trying to find out other things about each other.""

Like, for example, she hates it when I come in her eyes. I'd never have known!
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 AM on February 27, 2008


Few more links.

"God wants you to have sex." Does God want you to use birth control? As long as your crediting God with inventing sex then God invented THAT, too. By proxy anyway. Didn't see birth control mentioned. Is that a given that it's a no no? Or do these Life Style Churches realize arguing over Birth Control is losing issue these days?
posted by tkchrist at 11:47 AM on February 27, 2008


The single people have it easier.

30-days. Every day?

Is the church gunna do my laundry?


That must be one hell of a lot of laundry. Does your laundry still allow you time to eat or sleep? I sincerely hope you can find the time to bathe at some point.

This all seems rather spousal-rapey.

of all the things this seems to be (stupid, gimmicky, etc...) spousal-rapey seems to me to be one of the lowest things on the list.

It's funny, in my ignorance I had originally thought that perhaps it would be hardest on the unmarried couples who tried to take part in this nonsense. silly me.

from the confession TPS linked to:

Once again, here's the message: what the world needs now is for men to have more of what they want.

Which church is going to promote a 30-day share-the-housework-equally challenge? I think that's the one I need to sign up for.


Hey, welcome to PartOfTheProblemVille, Population: You. Guess what? Women like sex, too! And in a good marriage you can get your husband to share in the housework! Holy fuck, it's like we're not living in the 50's anymore! Where's my flying fucking car?
posted by shmegegge at 11:49 AM on February 27, 2008 [13 favorites]


A Marxist would say, simply: quantity drives out quality. Marriage is Intellgent Design's way of bringing about chastity.
posted by Postroad at 11:49 AM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


singles: DAY 4
question: In what situations are you more likely to make poor sexual
choices? For example: tequila shots.

posted by bigmusic at 11:52 AM on February 27, 2008


Hey, Leviticus, what if I touch her in the evening? Does that mean I'm automatically clean, or do I have to wait until the next evening?

The Mishnah says: If a fledging bird is found within fifty cubits of a dovecote, it belongs to the owner of the dovecote. If it is found outside the limits of fifty cubits, it belongs to the person who finds it. Rabbi Jeremiah asked the question: "If one foot of the fledging bird is within the limit of fifty cubits, and one foot is outside it, what is the law?" It was for this question that Rabbi Jeremiah was thrown out of the House of Study.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:54 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Women like sex, too!

Yes, all women like sex, every day, especially when it's mandated by the church so that any "headache" she might have will be regarded as a rejection of Christ. Yep, no problem there!

Jesus.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


They say that doing something for 28 days straight will turn it into a habit.

I hope they offer counseling for sex addictions.
posted by aftermarketradio at 11:56 AM on February 27, 2008


You have *got* to be fucking kidding

Unless you're married to Kidding, I don't think so.

*badum-chhhh*
posted by katillathehun at 11:56 AM on February 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


"Relevant Church is proposing a challenge encouraging married couples to purposely engage in sexual activity for 30 days..."

You know, they don't specify that the sex has to be with their own spouse.
posted by horsewithnoname at 11:57 AM on February 27, 2008



Hey, welcome to PartOfTheProblemVille, Population: You. Guess what? Women like sex, too! And in a good marriage you can get your husband to share in the housework! Holy fuck, it's like we're not living in the 50's anymore! Where's my flying fucking car?

Great point.

I've been married 14 years. I'm still waiting for the sex to get bad. We have had friends who stopped having sex after the first two years. And they never talk about it with each other. But the women tell my wife about it. But don't talk to their husbands.

And surprise! Most of them have divorced.

Was it the not having sex? Or was it the not talking about it? Or was it idiotic expectations from the get go? How about all three.

But you watch sitcoms about married couples and what is the main joke? Raymond has to maniuplate with shenanigans Debra into wanting to have sex with him. God damned. As far as expectations go— It IS 1950 out there.
posted by tkchrist at 11:59 AM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Another single person here who has been unwittingly accepting his challenge for years. *sob*

How does this solve anything again? I'm so confused.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 12:01 PM on February 27, 2008


DU: Friction can be a problem.

Me: Science has a solution to this.

DU: So does Nature, but not for 30 days in a row. Unless the total time you are adding up is under an hour.


Different strokes for different folks. We've been averaging more than once a day for a long time (setting aside separations for travel and so on) and no friction burns yet. But if it doesn't feel good for you, then don't do it -- which is why I find this whole "challenge" so weird. There are a lot of good ways to get to know your partner (or yourself if you are single); the fixation on SEX misses a lot of other things that matter at least as much.

But still, as advice to couples goes, telling people to get it on frequently isn't bad advice -- sex is a good way to reconnect, to make someone feel good about themselves, and it's free (well, aside from birth control or the costs of the kid, and so on, of course), and probably better for the environment than surfing the internet (turn out the lights and your sex is probably carbon neutral, aside from accidental methane emissions).
posted by Forktine at 12:04 PM on February 27, 2008


Yes, all women like sex, every day, especially when it's mandated by the church so that any "headache" she might have will be regarded as a rejection of Christ. Yep, no problem there!

Yes, because that's exactly what I was saying. You've found the secret code in what I said.

Also, it's not mandated. for fuck's sake, as stupid as it is (and it's monumentally so) it's just an exercise. an experiment. what about this says mandatory to you?

But you know what? You're right. Sex is a horrible imposition on all married women and any implication by any organization that perhaps some married couples could do with more sex is tantamount to rape.
posted by shmegegge at 12:04 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least some Christians disapprove of masturbation too, right? That would make the singles challenge one hell of a challenge. Nice knowin' you, gentle pacifism!
posted by naju at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2008


you just need to master your domain.
posted by caddis at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2008


TKChrist....Debra wasn't that hot... Ray could have done better...

and is it "Where's my flying fucking car?" or "fucking flying car.." I'm thinking the former, but wanted to make sure...
posted by HuronBob at 12:08 PM on February 27, 2008


Lo, said the Lord, shagging when the painters are in shall surely make thee unclean, and thou shalt lay off the missus for a bit each month therefore. (Leviticus Chap IXX)
posted by biffa at 12:10 PM on February 27, 2008


Every month is "30 sex free days" month around my place. Get in line, slackers.
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2008


and is it "Where's my flying fucking car?" or "fucking flying car.." I'm thinking the former, but wanted to make sure...

Hey, I'm an open-minded guy. One's priorities are one's own.
posted by shmegegge at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2008


Dirty dishes, frumpy clothes, and a lack of authentic connections are killing the romance.

Frankly, by the time I take care of the dishes, I can't be arsed to do anything else. And Jesus accepts me and my frumpy clothes, tyvm.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2008


Don't forget the required equipment for this challenge! (NSFW and NSFchurch).
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:12 PM on February 27, 2008


Meh, this post is a little slow in coming, isn't it? I mean, I'm single and I started this challenge like 10 months ago now and there were no posts about it then.
posted by loiseau at 12:13 PM on February 27, 2008


What is it with christians and sex? Where does this obsession come from?

It's the "Christian" bit that comes from the "obsession", not the other way round. Their backward, rural system of morality that teaches them everything enjoyable and titillating is wrong was instilled into them from birth, and they consequently need a magical bearded old man to enforce that morality and think that naturally everyone else needs it as well.

Find that the idea of Clamlappers #49 thickens your love knuckle (like Fatty Arbuckle)?

NO! God Hates Porn!

Find yourself lingering a bit too long on paused stills of Rambo's glistening chest?

NO! God Hates Fags!

One of the most unintentionally revealing quotes I ever heard was some preacher or Republican congressman or something (it makes no difference) saying: "well, if gay marriage were legalized, EVERYONE would be gay!" Uh, no, actually only gay people would be gay. They all react the strongest against the thing that tempts them the most, like the old adage about hating in others what you hate about yourself.

I realize this is a totally half-baked theory and certainly doesn't apply to all Christians, some of which are very nice people with a beautiful, tolerant, intelligent faith, but I think there's something to it.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:15 PM on February 27, 2008


It's hip for the Conservative Christians to be into sex all of a sudden.

conservative? didn't even bother to look at the web site, didja?
posted by quonsar at 12:15 PM on February 27, 2008


Does buttsex count?
posted by jeblis at 12:17 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


sex is a good way to reconnect, to make someone feel good about themselves, and it's free (well, aside from birth control or the costs of the kid, and so on, of course)

In economics, we call this "ignoring the external costs."
posted by eriko at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2008


Forktine writes "sex is a good way to reconnect, to make someone feel good about themselves, and it's free (well, aside from birth control or the costs of the kid, and so on, of course)"

This is a fun game!

Cars are a way of getting from place to place, they're fun to drive, and they're free (well, aside from the cost of buying the car or the costs of gasoline, and so on, of course)
posted by mullingitover at 12:29 PM on February 27, 2008


why buy a car when you can just hire a taxi when you need it?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:30 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas writes "why buy a car when you can just hire a taxi when you need it?"

Good point. Or you could sell your car's services. The great thing about selling your car's services is you get your car back when you're done.
posted by mullingitover at 12:37 PM on February 27, 2008


I never seen such a beautiful billboard in all my life. Its like...my Holy Grail...

[wipes tear]
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:40 PM on February 27, 2008


Not having sex and then sublimating the resulting energy into religious fervour is cheating.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:45 PM on February 27, 2008


They all react the strongest against the thing that tempts them the most, like the old adage about hating in others what you hate about yourself.

That last part sounds suspiciously like it's from a book... oh yeah, it's kind of like this one with the statement, "Love your neighbor as yourself". I'm glad you'd never fall for such a thing, though.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:45 PM on February 27, 2008


Not having sex and then sublimating the resulting energy into religious fervour is cheating.
posted by Pope Guilty


Oh, so eponysterical!
posted by ericb at 12:47 PM on February 27, 2008


Good point. Or you could sell your car's services. The great thing about selling your car's services is you get your car back when you're done.

Of course, when you do that, you're likely to be arrested for being an unlawful taxi service. Oh, and your car is likely to be crawling with viruses. And it doesn't respect you any more.
posted by agregoli at 12:52 PM on February 27, 2008


Hey, welcome to PartOfTheProblemVille, Population: You. Guess what? Women like sex, too!

If that person is a woman who doesn't enjoy sex every single day, why is she "part of the problem" for noting that this seems to be emphasizing what may be more likely to be a male ideal than a female one? Why is having sex automatically the "right" attitude, which only repressed people lack? Maybe some people just find physical intimacy less central than emotional intimacy. Maybe some people would rather share a deep personal fear, secret or memory every day for 30 days than make sure to screw. It doesn't mean sex isn't worthwhile or physical closeness isn't meaningful, but if there are a higher portion of women who don't find sex as fundamentally central to their lives as men do - and perhaps looking at all male & all female sexual populations gives us a hint about that (yes lesbians have sex and gay men can be celibate but focuses seems to differ) - then isn't it a valid point that this experiment is starting according to one set of rules?

Of course it's a culture-wide issue, the general assumption that everyone should be sex-positive - there is almost no amount of sex that someone will deem "too much" in a general judgment, i.e., whoa, you're some kind of sex maniac. But if someone's sex drive is lower than average, whatever that may mean - if they're in a relationship but only have sex every couple weeks or something - then people will see that as a potential sign of a failing relationship, at least in the public square (though in private probably plenty of people do have "less than average" sex after a certain period with someone). I guess the point is, there are two approaches, one to fix the issue, and get them back to humping each other, and one to dissolve the issue, and decide that bumping uglies more regularly isn't always necessary or even positive. Love is expressed in a lot of ways, and sex isn't the whole story. If either partner is feeling disconnected that has to be addressed, but I am just thinking of the possibility of both parts of the couple feeling a kind of cultural pressure for more of something that actually works fine as a lower level stream at a certain stage.
posted by mdn at 12:53 PM on February 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


I’m not going to cut back to having sex with my wife just once a day because of some church challenge.
(Although I am recuperating...hmmm...nah, I can lay on my back)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2008


Well, this thing is being reported all over the internet.

Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate. For MORE than thirty days. So I don't get why the church is telling its unmarried MEMBERS to abstain for thirty days. Right there that tells me they are more interested in being what they think of as "relevant" than following the teachings of Jesus. Second of all, we are all grownups here and I assume that those of us who have sex on a regular basis enjoy it-but I don't think any of us want or need anyone telling us how often to be having it. And in all seriousness, if a couple is struggling, and one of the partners trots out this"well, the pastor SAID we have to do it" crap, I can see it really causing some folks some problems.

I'm involved in a prayer/counseling ministry where we hear a lot of what goes on in people's private lives. Believe me, if you think that just telling a couple to screw for thirty days straight is gonna fix anything, you are shamefully naive. So what would be the point?
posted by konolia at 1:05 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]



conservative? didn't even bother to look at the web site, didja?


Why. Golly. Yes I did. They sure are... hip. What with the faux hawks and admiration for U2 and all. So they must be liberals.

Who the fuck knows. And who cares.

But actually I was speaking of... you know... ACTUAL bone fide Conservative Christians who have been talking up sex lately so they don't appear to be fuddy duddies. However. Not necessarily these particular Christians.
posted by tkchrist at 1:08 PM on February 27, 2008


Since we had a kid, my wife and I have sex almost every day. We almost have sex on Monday, we almost have sex on Tuesday, we almost have sex on Wednesday....

Thanks and try the veal!
posted by Crash at 1:13 PM on February 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Try the veal every day for 30 days.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2008


I need a video montage a la Rocky to get in shape for this 30 days of hot action!
posted by papakwanz at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2008


Meh, this post is a little slow in coming, isn't it?

Maybe it's your technique?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


If that person is a woman who doesn't enjoy sex every single day, why is she "part of the problem" for noting that this seems to be emphasizing what may be more likely to be a male ideal than a female one?

This is a good point. Here's how I see it: She is not a part of any problem for not enjoying sex every single day. That's her prerogative and none of anyone else's business. She is a part of the problem for propogating a gender stereotype (women don't like sex as much as men do) whose origin likely comes from women being societally raised to think of sex as a male fixation rather than a natural process they can enjoy as much as they want (or don't.). She's part of the problem for acting like her husband's share of the household duties is anyone's responsibility but her own and her husband's to worry about, and most importantly for acting like a woman's natural priorities lie with housework over sex. She's free, as is anyone, to have whatever priorities she wants. But she's perpetuating a myth, and one that's harmful to the understanding that women are not naturally disinclined towards sex at all so much as they are raised to see their bodies as precious bargaining chips and objects rather than functioning parts of themselves. Her sexless marriage to a man who makes her do all the housework is dysfunctional, and the problem isn't that men want sex and women don't. Is she a bad person? No, and my earlier comment probably had a bit too much anger in it. But she IS a part of the problem, even as she is a victim of it.
posted by shmegegge at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2008 [6 favorites]


Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate. For MORE than thirty days. So I don't get why the church is telling its unmarried MEMBERS to abstain for thirty days. Right there that tells me they are more interested in being what they think of as "relevant" than following the teachings of Jesus.

My parents live in Tampa Bay, so I asked my Dad this morning if they had heard this story and what they thought, and according to him, that's how my Mom feels on it, as well.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:26 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meh, this post is a little slow in coming, isn't it?

Perhaps, and so is your wife.

ba-dum-chaw!
posted by davejay at 1:28 PM on February 27, 2008


Whoa whoa whoa, people.

First off, NOBODY should be having sex. Ever. Married or otherwise.

John of Patmos explains quite clearly in Revelation:

14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

So, fellahs, put that thing back in yer damn pants. If you absolutely have to have sex, make sure you don't have it with a woman.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:30 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


tkchrist: But actually I was speaking of... you know... ACTUAL bone fide Conservative Christians who have been talking up sex lately so they don't appear to be fuddy duddies. However. Not necessarily these particular Christians.

So nothing to do with the post at all then?
posted by garlic at 1:36 PM on February 27, 2008


Of course, when you do that, you're likely to be arrested for being an unlawful taxi service. Oh, and your car is likely to be crawling with viruses. And it doesn't respect you any more.

That's why it's better to avoid the whole thing altogether, and get your automotive fix by watching motor sport on TV.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:38 PM on February 27, 2008


I'm having one of those "agreeing with konolia" moments. What do I do? What do I do???

Anyway... It says right there on their "About Us" page that the Relevant Church aims to hip college students to Jesus, and that's really what irks me the most. First and second-year college students are pretty much a cult's main prey, what with all the "trying new things" and "expanding horizons" and whatnot, and this "church" seems to guard its affiliations like they're national secrets. What denomination is it? (That they're proselytizing at all leads me to believe that they're some sort of conservative evangelist thing, but who knows?) What do they believe about such-and-such? You don't find out until you go in for a "meeting." It's all a bit iffy.

If nothing else, this literal sexing up of the Bible smacks more than a little of bait-and-switch. This campaign is all SEX! SEX! SEX! don't have any
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on February 27, 2008


So nothing to do with the post at all then?

Does this post have to with sex and Christians?
posted by tkchrist at 1:40 PM on February 27, 2008


Does this post have to with sex and Christians?

This post is about a group of Christians, not all Christians. Feel free to stick to the topic at hand. This is not a dumping ground.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:42 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


This post is about a group of Christians, not all Christians. Feel free to stick to the topic at hand. This is not a dumping ground.

Okay. Sure.Then delete about 50% of the comments in this thread. But let's keep this about me for a while longer.
posted by tkchrist at 1:45 PM on February 27, 2008


Good point. Or you could sell your car's services.

Like hiring it out to the entertainment industry, eg for movies or shows like Pimp My Ride?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:50 PM on February 27, 2008


I'm having a man-crush on shmegegge right now.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:58 PM on February 27, 2008


14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.


Wait, does this mean that the only people to be redeemed will be New Zealanders?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:59 PM on February 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Right there that tells me they are more interested in being what they think of as "relevant" than following the teachings of Jesus.

Jesus talked an awful lot about who should and shouldn't have sex, didn't he? Somebody told me the other day that he used to hang out with hookers. "Blasphemy!" I said.
posted by goethean at 2:00 PM on February 27, 2008


Metafilter: you are shamefully naive.
posted by mrmojoflying at 2:01 PM on February 27, 2008


Wait, does this mean that the only people to be redeemed will be New Zealanders?!??

careful, gaspode will kick your ass.
posted by shmegegge at 2:06 PM on February 27, 2008


konolia, that's easy for you to say, you're married.
posted by vsync at 2:08 PM on February 27, 2008


Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate. For MORE than thirty days.

I'm almost afraid to ask: Is it... 31 days?
posted by shmegegge at 2:09 PM on February 27, 2008


I sell my car's services to Monster Garage. Hmm. Stretching the metaphor a bit now, I think.

And, I also, agree with konolia and shmeggege (whose user name is eponysterically gross, dontcha think?) If a married couple isn't having sex (and that is a problem), purely having sex for 30 days will fix a symptom, not a cause, and potentially make things worse. However, most commenters seem to be ignoring the "workbook." Day 7 might be appropriate for the Camp of the Dirty Dishes and Laundry. While I usually scoff at the "learn more about your partner" genre of questions and games, not all those questions are half bad.
posted by artifarce at 2:10 PM on February 27, 2008


After reading the comments (konolia, I'm looking at you), I doubt that many of the participants have read the materials or even looked at the Web site. (artifarce excepted ;)

First the criticisms.

Believe me, I'm one of those folks who believes very little in gender differences, but it does seem to simply be easier for (average) men to have quick sex and enjoy it, as compared to women. Also, I've never heard of a man who never had an orgasm before age 30, whereas such women are not that uncommon. I have definitely dated a few women who had never yet orgasmed.

Sexual arousal time for men seems to be less, as does the time necessary to reach orgasm. I have certainly had some partners who orgasmed very easily, but I do not believe it compares to the average orgasm response time for men.

Throw kids and complicated schedules into the mix, and it's mostly men who would be pushing for quickie sex, rather than proper throw downs that may not be possible because of time or location limitations.

HOWEVER, this church is very deliberate about stressing the communicative aspect of sexuality, rather than the physical art. The part about the married couples isn't such a bad idea in general. It's not really a God-ordered mandate to have sex every day for 30 days or you FAIL; it's a suggested exercise, and not such a bad one at that, especially if you expand "sex" to non-intercourse activities like blow jobs, buttsex, hand holding, kissing, hugs, erotic massage, etc. Personally, all of those things (OK, aside from buttsex) turn me on, at least slightly. If all those things qualify, most of us married folks have sex every day already. And when that affectionate sexual play stops, it's usually not a good sign.

Pastor Paul just should have left the part about single (NOT MARRIED) people out of the challenge. The materials didn't really explain any reason why anyone should not have sex. The married materials seem like they would actually be helpful/relevant for some couples with less than ideal sexual communication. That said, the singles material isn't horrible, but it's a little silly.

Regardless of whether encouraging people to have sexual intercourse for 30 straight days is a good idea (I'd say it's not), encouraging couples to communicate with each other about their sexual relationship is a good thing, in my book.

All in all though, it sounds like Pastor Paul concocted this scheme to get more kinky sex from Carly. Also, I doubt they have children in their house.

on preview: Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate. For MORE than thirty days.

Well, thing is, first off, so says you. My God never said that. How do you know what God really said or didn't say? You're putting a lot of faith in the translators.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:13 PM on February 27, 2008


They all react the strongest against the thing that tempts them the most, like the old adage about hating in others what you hate about yourself.

So Metafilter is full of closeted Christians?
posted by dubold at 2:16 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


physical art should be physical *act* and by "blowjobs" i meant "oral sex." also, I lied. buttsex does turn me on.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:19 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


careful, gaspode will kick your ass.

Well, my ass has a mean kick, too; especially when he's crept up upon from behind.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on February 27, 2008


She is a part of the problem for propogating a gender stereotype (women don't like sex as much as men do) whose origin likely comes from women being societally raised to think of sex as a male fixation rather than a natural process they can enjoy as much as they want (or don't.).

what happens if there is actually a difference in hormonal levels etc that means that men just naturally have a stronger interest in sex, the same way that they tend to be taller? I.e., not all men are taller than all women, but generally, a short man is still reasonably tall for a woman, and a tall man is unbelievably tall for a woman. If these same sorts of averages applied in the realm of sex drives, then we might hear from the 5'10" women but the 5'3" women might be accused of being repressed or being part of the problem due to the way they were raised, rather than just happening to have less interest in an activity that some portion of the species reallyreallyreally likes. Consider that there are lesbians who have very little idea of "male fixation" in their relationships whose sex lives, compared to their gay male counterparts, are somewhat more relaxed (of course this varies greatly, but this stereotype can't be blamed on repression, can it?)

All I'm getting at is, I think it's worth making the point that you can enjoy sex without considering it the key to humanity or the most important experience of life or whatever. Maybe some people are happy having less sex than you. Maybe that's healthy too. Why not?
posted by mdn at 2:28 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


shmeggege (whose user name is eponysterically gross, dontcha think?)

oh god, is that what people think my user name is supposed to mean?

CLICK MY PROFILE LINK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!
posted by shmegegge at 2:32 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


shmegegge you committed the cardinal MetaFilter sin of not qualifying the shit out of your statements. Next time remember to be as bland and inert as possible.

FI:

"I think quality food is the most important part of staying healthy."

Inevitably some one will say "How dare you imply that food is so important. What about BEVERAGES, huh? What about them!"

Best to say:

"I sometimes think that some kind of fairly good food is somewhat important to maintaining an average or above level of health for some people. Maybe. YMMV."
posted by tkchrist at 2:37 PM on February 27, 2008


Is this a good time to share the eye-rolls induced by 20/20's recent exposé on some "shocking" and "bizarre" new condition where women become sexually aroused -- without warning! -- while doing everyday unsexy things like riding a bus? 'Cause, hey, uh, ladies? Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what it's like to be male, and our arousal can be spotted from across the aisle.


[Gets own blog...]

posted by Sys Rq at 2:39 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


to be honest, tkchrist, I think my biggest sin was picking a username that apparently reminds people of smegma.
posted by shmegegge at 2:39 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is this a good time to share the eye-rolls induced by 20/20's recent exposé on some "shocking" and "bizarre" new condition where women become sexually aroused -- without warning! -- while doing everyday unsexy things like riding a bus? 'Cause, hey, uh, ladies? Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what it's like to be male, and our arousal can be spotted from across the aisle.

I hadn't heard that 20/20 "expose," but it's pretty stupid because it's not abnormal for women to have arousal without warning. Maybe they're just now talking about it? Not exactly news if you're a woman.
posted by agregoli at 2:46 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate."

Yeah, um, that's kinda one of those reasons that I don't hang around much with Him anymore. He can be kinda a jerk about random stuff that's none off His business.

"then we might hear from the 5'10" women but the 5'3" women might be accused of being repressed or being part of the problem due to the way they were raised, rather than just happening to have less interest in an activity that some portion of the species reallyreallyreally likes."

But they have good fundamentals and play solid defense!
posted by klangklangston at 2:55 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hadn't heard that 20/20 "expose," but it's pretty stupid because it's not abnormal for women to have arousal without warning. Maybe they're just now talking about it? Not exactly news if you're a woman.

Hence the eye-rolls. They even had a clinical name for it. It wasn't a "disorder"-y sort of name, either, just something along the lines of "random female arousal" or something. They (20/20) were very blatantly hyping up this non-news, going straight for that OMG-nymphos-in-heat ratings button. Silly, silly stuff.

posted by Sys Rq at 3:03 PM on February 27, 2008


This will receive a happy wendelling.
posted by fnord at 3:10 PM on February 27, 2008


Thing is, first off, God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate.

No, he never did. There is nothing in the bible that says so. And yes, I have read the bible, cover to cover.

The only thing that comes close is the idea that if a man seduces a woman who is a virgin, he is supposed to marry her if it is discovered that he has done so. You can look at this, of course, in a number of ways: it's okay if you don't get caught (for example, if the woman does not get pregnant); what does seduction mean in this context, coercion or consent?

/slight derail
Masturbation is mentioned in the bible, and the provision against "spilling your seed," as Onan does, but fundamentally religious people tend to gloss over that one in sexual discussions. [Most scholars agree that this prohibition was more to promote procreation in a time when famine and plague had devastated the population (which is obviously not the problem today).]
/end derail

Personally, I think having sex often is a great message for women who may think of sex as "bad" or secondary in their lives. One sure way to make married sex unsexy, though, is to tell married people how, when and how often they are "allowed" to have sex.
posted by misha at 3:19 PM on February 27, 2008


If you're married, have sex every day.

But won't their spouses get kinda jealous?
posted by miss lynnster at 3:29 PM on February 27, 2008


we are all grownups here and I assume that those of us who have sex on a regular basis enjoy it-but I don't think any of us want or need anyone telling us how often to be having it.
posted by konolia at 3:05 PM on February 27 [1 favorite +] [!]
See, this is what we've been saying all along.
posted by jtron at 3:34 PM on February 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


What are singles supposed to learn by doing this?

Seems like it's more of a "live the way we want you to for 30 days" kind of challenge than anything else.
posted by scarabic at 3:43 PM on February 27, 2008


*gets kicked by UbuRoivas's ass; cries*
posted by gaspode at 3:48 PM on February 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Masturbation is mentioned in the bible, and the provision against "spilling your seed," as Onan does, but fundamentally religious people tend to gloss over that one in sexual discussions.

I watched a wonderful documentary this week, about several fundamentalist families coming to terms with their gay children. It was called For the bible tells me so and the 8/10 that it gets on IMDB is an understatement of how good it was.

The ordination of the Bishop of New Hampshire, wearing his bullet proof vest under his cassock out of fear that he was going to be shot 'in the name of Christ' was one of the most moving things I've ever seen in any film ever.

I mention this precisely because there are a host of theologians in the movie who put paid to the kind of ludicrous nonsense that Konolia and others of her ilk propagate as 'The word of God'.

Two big thumbs up.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:56 PM on February 27, 2008


Consider that there are lesbians who have very little idea of "male fixation" in their relationships whose sex lives, compared to their gay male counterparts, are somewhat more relaxed (of course this varies greatly, but this stereotype can't be blamed on repression, can it?)

It can, however, be blamed on stereotyping. I hang out with dykes quite a bit, and there are lesbian couples I know who specifically organise their routines (including catnaps & so on) in order to indulge in a daily 2-4 hours of sex. It's not quite the same thing as a gay guy going to a steam room, but the sex drive is no less strong.

If anything, I think that lesbians' sexual practices are facilitated towards greater mutual satisfaction because generally women don't get off all that much on quickies. Thus, two women can happily go at it for hours; two men can happily go at it for minutes; and nobody feels shortchanged in either situation.

On the other hand, in a heterosexual relationship, the guy can be content with a quickie, while his partner is left high & dry, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the mythological lower sex drive in women - it's not that women necesarily want sex less; just that the kind of sex that can work at a pinch for a guy doesn't do all that much for them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:58 PM on February 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


gaspode: he's a lot more accommodating if you feed him a carrot & a lump of sugar first. start by stroking him on the head, then work your way towards his flanks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:00 PM on February 27, 2008


My wife and I tried this twice last year, before the whole church challenge thing, and while it was fun while it lasted, both times our experiment ended with a UTI.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:12 PM on February 27, 2008


shmegegge writes "That must be one hell of a lot of laundry. Does your laundry still allow you time to eat or sleep? I sincerely hope you can find the time to bathe at some point."

Sex can generate laundry.

shmegegge writes "oh god, is that what people think my user name is supposed to mean?

"CLICK MY PROFILE LINK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!"


I think it says something about MetaFilter that not only did I figure your handle was, um, anatomical it didn't really stand out for being so.

shmegegge writes "to be honest, tkchrist, I think my biggest sin was picking a username that apparently reminds people of smegma."

Well I'm LMAO so it wasn't all bad.
posted by Mitheral at 4:18 PM on February 27, 2008


What interests me about this is whether it's representative of a general liberalizing trend in mainstream American religion. I mean, yeah, they're still condemning sex outside marriage, but their willingness to openly talk about it (almost advertise it) seems like a pretty dramatic departure from tradition.

Is this the leading edge of a general trend where church becomes just a liturgically-tinted community center, whose primary focus is helping people cope with day-to-day problems? Is it a reflection of American consumerist values, bleeding into religious institutions?

Or are these guys just a statistical outlier, with no greater meaning?
posted by molybdenum at 4:43 PM on February 27, 2008


From the married guide, Day 27: "Who takes the dominant roll in the bedroom?"

Hehe, "roll in the bedroom."
I'll take you for a roll in the bedroom, baby.

(Learn to spell, ferchrissakes.)
posted by naoko at 5:01 PM on February 27, 2008


My wife and I tried this twice last year, before the whole church challenge thing, and while it was fun while it lasted, both times our experiment ended with a UTI.
posted by you just lost the game at 4:12 PM on February 27 [+] [!]


Rack up another eponysterical post for this thread... someone tell the jackass who maintains the index.
posted by scarabic at 5:03 PM on February 27, 2008



This will receive a happy wendelling.


Is that like a jolly rogering?

posted by rifflesby at 5:20 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey, Leviticus, what if I touch her in the evening? Does that mean I'm automatically clean, or do I have to wait until the next evening?

The Mishnah says: If a fledging bird is found within fifty cubits of a dovecote, it belongs to the owner of the dovecote. If it is found outside the limits of fifty cubits, it belongs to the person who finds it. Rabbi Jeremiah asked the question: "If one foot of the fledging bird is within the limit of fifty cubits, and one foot is outside it, what is the law?" It was for this question that Rabbi Jeremiah was thrown out of the House of Study.


And when all was said and done, I think Rabbi Jeremiah was rather happy with that turn of events.
posted by sourwookie at 6:27 PM on February 27, 2008


Is this the leading edge of a general trend where church becomes just a liturgically-tinted community center, whose primary focus is helping people cope with day-to-day problems? Is it a reflection of American consumerist values, bleeding into religious institutions?

Yes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:31 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reading the workbook for marrieds ... what the hell?

I'm especially liking day 20: If you stood in front of your spouse naked, what thoughts would go through your mind?


... is being naked with your spouse around supposed to be unusual? I'm confused.

Having read the entire workbook ... I guess I feel really sad for people who get to year N (where N > .5) of their marriage and haven't thought about some of these things. I'm feeling especially sad about some of the questions that imply a no deeper relationship than that of housemates. The question about having a date, like in the old days; the one about if you could find something to talk about to your spouse for 15 minutes. Those two especially make me very sad about the state of some of the relationships if questions like those are relevant.

I'm a Christian, and I hope my marriage is never as bleak as it seems a 'normal' Christian marriage is.
posted by ysabet at 6:34 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this the leading edge of a general trend where church becomes just a liturgically-tinted community center, whose primary focus is helping people cope with day-to-day problems?

This has always been the case with religious institutions of all kinds. That's kinda the point, actually -- that your religious life informs and inflects upon every other part of your life.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:56 PM on February 27, 2008


On the other hand, in a heterosexual relationship, the guy can be content with a quickie, while his partner is left high & dry, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the mythological lower sex drive in women - it's not that women necesarily want sex less; just that the kind of sex that can work at a pinch for a guy doesn't do all that much for them.

That may be part of it. But some of us just don't want sex that often, even if it is really good sex, that takes plenty of time for us to get off as many times as we wish.

I don't think the "women tend to want sex less" idea is merely mythological, or only due to social programming. A lot of it is due to testosterone. This is why testosterone is often prescribed as an aid to increase a woman's sex drive.

Yes, yes, statistical outliers abound, but this is about general trends across large populations.
posted by marble at 7:14 PM on February 27, 2008


A lot of it is due to testosterone. This is why testosterone is often prescribed as an aid to increase a woman's sex drive.

True. I didn't soften the argument enough.

I wonder if this is why some guys have a thing for girls with a bit of peachfuzzy facial hair (removed or not)...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:29 PM on February 27, 2008


shmegegge, I AM SO SORRY. Really.

Smegma, maybe, but I was thinking schmeg.
posted by artifarce at 8:16 PM on February 27, 2008


I don't think the "women tend to want sex less" idea is merely mythological, or only due to social programming.

(Insert caveats here -- this isn't my field of study, I'm not up to date on the research, I'm reducing deeply complex subjects to simplistic internet drivel, etc etc etc)

That would be great, if the idea of women being less sexual than men were not a culturally- and historically-bounded idea. Meaning, there have been times (like now) when men are thought of as more interested in sex, and women need to be protected from them; and times when women were considered to be the raunchier half of the species, from whom vulnerable men (with those limited supplies of life-sustaining semen) needed to be warned.

So nowadays we buttress this idea with pseudo-scientific words like "testosterone," rather than looking at the (often very real) phenomenon of women feeling the need to repeatedly turn down unwanted sexual advances from their partners as a culturally-embedded issue first and foremost.
posted by Forktine at 8:48 PM on February 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The above argument is very interesting; the dialogic relationship between culturally- and socially-constructed versus biological notions of gender vis a vis the intensity of sex drive. Does anyone have more information that they could point me to?
posted by exlotuseater at 9:10 PM on February 27, 2008


Well, back in Garden of Eden times, women had a higher drive than men. Eve, for example, tempted Adam into "eating from the tree of knowledge", not vice versa. There's a well documented start for you.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:27 PM on February 27, 2008


Does anyone have more information that they could point me to?

exlotuseater, Ali ibn Abu Talib allegedly said that God created lust in ten parts, then gave nine parts to women and one to men. This has supplied titles for a book by Geraldine Brooks (Australian) and an unrelated play by Heather Raffo (American).
posted by tangerine at 11:55 PM on February 27, 2008


That would be great, if the idea of women being less sexual than men were not a culturally- and historically-bounded idea. Meaning, there have been times (like now) when men are thought of as more interested in sex, and women need to be protected from them; and times when women were considered to be the raunchier half of the species, from whom vulnerable men (with those limited supplies of life-sustaining semen) needed to be warned.

People keep trotting this out as though it means that biology matters not one whit. Do we see an actual difference in cultures with that stereotype, as far as initiation / drive / refusal are concerned? I'm asking because I don't know - please point me to the data if you can.

And if it's not supported by the data, well, that certainly doesn't mean the stereotype can't continue being promulgated.

Cultural factors (probably) do play a part in the behavior actually seen, but the question of exactly how far this can and does differ from what the underlying biology would dictate is difficult if not impossible to quantify. I don't know all the details about what we can know but my understanding is that there is a limit, since we are always embedded in one cultural milieu or another.

So nowadays we buttress this idea with pseudo-scientific words like "testosterone," rather than looking at the (often very real) phenomenon of women feeling the need to repeatedly turn down unwanted sexual advances from their partners as a culturally-embedded issue first and foremost.

Since when is a very well-known and powerful sexual hormone only "pseudo-"scientific? You can do very rigorous scientific experiments measuring its presence and effects. Is this not the essence of true science? Some women with a "low" libido are given testosterone, and their sex drive increases. Seems pretty clear to me that testosterone is important, and men of course naturally have quite a lot more than women do.

Sometimes in these discussions I get the feeling that some people handwave away the biology because it makes them uncomfortable to think that maybe women (to a certain extent) can't help being how they are, and that it's normal. If their behavior is assailable as a cultural construct, then of course they should just enlighten themselves and get over it and get on with the fucking already (wherever, whenever, however, as long as it's LOTS AND LOTS).

Cue the arrival of people telling how they are a statistical outlier. This always happens.
posted by marble at 12:29 AM on February 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wonder if this is why some guys have a thing for girls with a bit of peachfuzzy facial hair (removed or not)...?

I guess I'll respond: eww, gross, no.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:50 AM on February 28, 2008


Let's talk about sex, babee
Let's talk about Jesus C
Let's talk about all the boning and matrimoaning
we should do, daily

Let's talk about sex for one
Let's talk about *so* not done
Let's talk about ugly folks who are just God's jokes
So they just get none
posted by Sparx at 3:29 AM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Since when is a very well-known and powerful sexual hormone only "pseudo-"scientific?

When the term is used in pseudo-scientific ways to buttress cultural ideas. Sure, women are sometimes given testosterone to boost sex drive... but so are men. So the very scientific word "testosterone" then appears in contexts like this as a support for not very scientific arguments about female sexuality.

Sometimes in these discussions I get the feeling that some people handwave away the biology because it makes them uncomfortable to think that maybe women (to a certain extent) can't help being how they are, and that it's normal. If their behavior is assailable as a cultural construct, then of course they should just enlighten themselves and get over it and get on with the fucking already (wherever, whenever, however, as long as it's LOTS AND LOTS).

I actually agree with you that men and women are (often/generally/across a population) quite different from each other in some pretty deep ways. But I'm not at all sure that the jump you make from "they are different" to "women don't want as much sex" is at all true -- since I can't imagine how you would assess sex drive independent of culture (in that we have sex, or not, with the people and in the contexts we have available), and given that women have been given the short end of the stick in many ways in our world, I'm not ready to jump from the current state of female desire to "it's hardwired."

Nor am I so sure that a woman with a strong sex drive is a statistical outlier -- in my very small and unscientific sample of "women I have dated plus women my close male and lesbian friends have dated plus women I am close friends enough with to know about their sex lives" there are a preponderance of women who really, really like sex. Sure, biased sample, unrepresentative, etc. But it does suggest to me that if you give women a context where they are respected, loved, supported, have freedom, etc, they are able to express themselves sexually. That said, I am as uncomfortable as you with the frequently heard push for women to put out more -- that is the kind of cultural context that seems to me assured to restrict women's sexual expression, not support it.
posted by Forktine at 5:18 AM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


konolia: God has commanded unmarried folks to be celibate.

konolia part deux: I assume that those of us who have sex on a regular basis enjoy it-but I don't think any of us want or need anyone telling us how often to be having it.


Seriously, don't you get it yet? Or is it different when you're the one telling people how often to be having sex, and what sorts they're allowed to have?

I've asked you before, and you've refused to answer: show us where Jesus--not Paul-- said anything about sex. Show us where Jesus--not Paul--said anything about homosexuality. What's that? It's in Leviticus? Well then, one can only assume that you follow all the Levite rules, yes? What's that, you don't? Oh, how interesting...

Thing is, this exercise is actually a really good idea, if people approach it thoughtfully as "let's look at our sex life for the next thirty days, and how it interrelates with our emotional intimacy," and not "alright, it's 11:45, time for the daily."

Unfortunately, I don't think it'll happen. I have to echo what ysabet said above: the exercises in there seem to point at such a depressingly bleak view of relationships and actual intimacy that I'm not sure that people who have gone so far down such a road are interested in truly exploring their relationship. That's not a judgement on them; it's more of a thought that exploration of true intimacy seems to be completely foreign to people in relationships as implied by these exercises. I'm sure that there can be some successes, but there won't be many.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:08 AM on February 28, 2008


I agree with Forktine.

I have to say, I'm always scratching my head a little when people trot out the "women aren't as interested in sex as men" kind of thing. That hasn't been true for the women I've had as friends, and I have a wide variety of different kinds of friends. I think it's a far more prevalent saying than it is truth.
posted by agregoli at 6:53 AM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


In related news: Born-again virgins claim to rewrite the past.
posted by ericb at 7:08 AM on February 28, 2008


ericb, oh my that is sad. The value that is placed on virginity must end - it hurts so many people to think that way. "Do you feel like second-hand goods?" Yikes.
posted by agregoli at 7:21 AM on February 28, 2008


I see what Forktine is saying, but I think it's a more complex issue than social factors alone, and biology certainly plays an integral part. Don't discount marble's input here.

Women are cyclical by nature, and hormonal changes do affect their sex drive. During times when hormonal levels peak, women want sex, believe me. It's a primal, built-in urge, and if they don't act on it as much as they want to during that time, it's entirely the societal idea that women shouldn't be promiscuous or sexually assertive or take the initiative that hold them back. But when those hormonal levels plummet, their sex drives wane.

Men, on the other hand, are more of a constant in that, after puberty, their hormone levels are much steadier and level than women's are. Women are the tides, ebb and flow, while men are a steady current.

The great thing about being human is that we can choose to have sex at any time, and enjoy it, not just when we are physically able to reproduce.

I'm tempted to wax poetic on the subject, but I won't subject you all to that!
posted by misha at 7:41 AM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


agregoli: ericb, oh my that is sad. The value that is placed on virginity must end - it hurts so many people to think that way. "Do you feel like second-hand goods?" Yikes.

Holy crap. The other night I watched a Dr. Drew show about restoring "virginity" and "vaginal rejuvenation technologies" and it made me want to weep.

One of the women featured was easily in her 40s and had the hymen-restoration surgery done so her new partner could be her "first". I hate to be crass (well, I don't hate it that much) but if you've had a dick in you, you've had a dick in you. Sewing yourself back shut doesn't make you any less of a 3-dimensional adult with past experiences. I honestly can't relate at all to what must be going through a woman's head to think that you can go back or that there's anything sensible about trying to. (It's not like all women even still have an intact hymen by the time they first have intercourse anyway.)

That's not even getting into the "vaginal rejuvenation" business, which is a whole other ball of wax.
posted by loiseau at 7:44 AM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Men, on the other hand, are more of a constant in that, after puberty, their hormone levels are much steadier and level than women's are. Women are the tides, ebb and flow, while men are a steady current."

Umm… Actually, men have both monthly and yearly hormone cycles, with the yearly cycles causing more of a deviation. It's not just cliché to say that spring is when a young man's thoughts turn to love.
posted by klangklangston at 7:57 AM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thanks, klang. Absolutely right.
posted by agregoli at 8:30 AM on February 28, 2008


Yeah, klang, there are certainly diurnal changes in male testosterone levels as well (monthly? I know of no research showing that, although my research is in estrogens) but gonadal steroid hormone changes in men are simply nowhere near as dramatic as they are in women.
posted by gaspode at 8:59 AM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does it still really follow that women are actually universally disinterested in sex at times and men are universally interested in sex all the time? I just find the blanket statements about women and our sexual desires (particularly by men) to be somewhat distasteful. Maybe that's my own hang-up, but it feels really weird when no woman I know has a low libido.
posted by agregoli at 9:15 AM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


No, I don't think it follows at all. It's just that libido is a changeable thing, and sometimes is is stronger than others. I don't think it's a universal thing. Some women, after they have a baby, go right back to a normal, active sex life. Others wait months. It's just that, added to all the other stuff, women have monthly cycles to deal with as well, as an added factor.
posted by misha at 9:53 AM on February 28, 2008


Umm… Actually, men have both monthly and yearly hormone cycles, with the yearly cycles causing more of a deviation. It's not just cliché to say that spring is when a young man's thoughts turn to love.

Seriously? Shit, I don't know a damn thing about my body.
posted by shmegegge at 10:30 AM on February 28, 2008


scarabic said: "What are singles supposed to learn by doing this? Seems like it's more of a "live the way we want you to for 30 days" kind of challenge than anything else."

I think it's a shrewd marketing ploy: "Hey, singles! If our church is making a big production out of asking you to voluntarily abstain for 30 days... then aren't you to infer that we're actually cool with rampant unmarried sex all the rest of the time? Don't you want some of that kind of churchiness? Come on in!"

UbuRoivas said: "It can, however, be blamed on stereotyping. I hang out with dykes quite a bit, and there are lesbian couples I know who specifically organise their routines (including catnaps & so on) in order to indulge in a daily 2-4 hours of sex. It's not quite the same thing as a gay guy going to a steam room, but the sex drive is no less strong.

Are you saying that lesbian bed death is just a stereotype, then, and not an actual phenomenon?

UbuRoivas said: "If anything, I think that lesbians' sexual practices are facilitated towards greater mutual satisfaction because generally women don't get off all that much on quickies. Thus, two women can happily go at it for hours; two men can happily go at it for minutes; and nobody feels shortchanged in either situation. On the other hand, in a heterosexual relationship, the guy can be content with a quickie, while his partner is left high & dry, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the mythological lower sex drive in women - it's not that women necesarily want sex less; just that the kind of sex that can work at a pinch for a guy doesn't do all that much for them."

I don't understand. Isn't it this just another variation on, "Women like to have sex like this, but men like to have sex like this."?


artifarce said: "Smegma, maybe, but I was thinking schmeg."

I see you differentiating here, but smegma = schmeg

≠ schmegegge.
posted by pineapple at 11:05 AM on February 28, 2008


I am not saying women have low libidos. That would be like saying "women are short." It's not like that. These things are all relative. The point is just that men may be taller, overall and in general, than women. Going on about how you know a lot of really tall women doesn't address the question. Supposedly men think about sex an average of once a minute. I'm sure there are some women who also think about sex that often. But I am also sure that plenty of women who think of themselves as having high libidos think about sex less often than that. It's like a woman who's 5'9" - that's pretty tall - for a woman. On the other hand, it's kinda on the short side for a guy.

Who knows how accurate these polls are, but all I'm really thinking about is, why is it such an embarrassment to people if some women do turn out to be less focused on sex than their male counterparts? What is problematic about that? The cultural attitude seems to be that you must be repressed or backward if you don't recognize sex as the great savior, and that it's a chance especially for women to free themselves from traditional roles where their sexuality isn't as intense. But this seems to me to put things in the male terms to start with - the notion of sexuality being the life force or vitality seems like a masculine assumption. I don't know that that is the descriptive female writers would have come up with if they had been dominant historically. Isn't it just as liberating if women express what they want, regardless of how it fits with current cultural expectations?

Sure, women can learn to ask for what they want more, to enjoy sex more, but think about it: if women were furiously driven, the way boys are, toward sex, wouldn't they have figured out how to release the burning fire within themselves sooner? If there are women who are still figuring out how to enjoy sex when they're 30, doesn't that tell us that the drive within is different? That doesn't mean they can't enjoy it, but it makes it more of a leisure activity than a raging need. I think there are women for whom sex is like going to the movies, or the amusement park - yes, it's great fun, especially once you know which rides you like, or which directors, but it's not always a deep, powerful urge that just takes over.
posted by mdn at 11:30 AM on February 28, 2008


Is this the leading edge of a general trend where church becomes just a liturgically-tinted community center, whose primary focus is helping people cope with day-to-day problems?

You just described the last 30 years of the American Christian church.

Is it a reflection of American consumerist values, bleeding into religious institutions?

You just described the post-Second Great Awakening American Christian church.

Honestly, there are some interesting trends going on -- The very conservative Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is pushing the idea of these sorts of assembly center style churches, often held in gymnasiums without any church building, heavily centered on mixing Reformed theology with the "day-to-day problems" aspects you're talking about. In other words, the PCA is trying to become a megachurch denomination, which is curious considering most megachurches are non-denominational. But it could be a good thing, since their megachurches would have the denomination's rules of the road built in. Fewer Ted Haggards, or more providing mechanisms to deter and remove Ted Haggard types and tamp down on personality cults.

Meanwhile, the mainline-to-liberal denominations have actively resisted the megachurch movement. And while it's understandable why they'd be against it (generally evangelical-to-fundamentalist and reflective of a consumer culture), it's odd that at least one denomination -- or even just one part of the leadership -- hasn't broken with this and attempted to create a liberal megachurch. Because, honestly, a liberal megachurch would be an instant megaphone for the liberal side of the church to get their message out.
posted by dw at 11:53 AM on February 28, 2008


I guess I just don't agree with some of your assumptions. I'm not trying to offend you with my reply below, honestly. Please take it with that intention.

Women more than likely underreport their thoughts about sex and the height of their sexual drive. It's not vogue for women to be lust-driven, and I think a lot of women still feel shame about their sexuality. If women weren't treated as sex objects by the majority of advertising, etc., and the focus still wasn't on "pleasing your man," etc. I think women taking care and charge of their sexuality are still not as prevalant as we'd like to think.

Who knows how accurate these polls are, but all I'm really thinking about is, why is it such an embarrassment to people if some women do turn out to be less focused on sex than their male counterparts?

I don't find it embarassing or problematic, I just don't accept it as fact. Men seem to have been making pronouncements about women's sexual natures for a long time, and I still don't trust the research, and whether people accurately report, etc. To be fair, I don't believe that the majority of men think about sex once per minute either.

Sure, women can learn to ask for what they want more, to enjoy sex more, but think about it: if women were furiously driven, the way boys are, toward sex, wouldn't they have figured out how to release the burning fire within themselves sooner?

Some do? I don't understand - these still seem like blanket statements to me. I don't think it follows that women, even if furiously driven towards sex, would figure out how to have sex satisfactorily to their liking - there is a LOT of cultural pressure for them not to do that. Cultural, not to mention religious, in a lot of cases. Women are not treated the same as men growing up in regards to their sexuality, and that has a lot to do with it. Add in that they are frequently cautioned to be suspicious of those "furiously driven" men makes it even more complicated.

If there are women who are still figuring out how to enjoy sex when they're 30, doesn't that tell us that the drive within is different?

Uh, no? Because male and female sexuality is different, yes, and the main way it's different is that our arousal is different. Do boys need any teaching in how to come? Women often do need to learn how. Add in all the cultural factors, and many women don't even masterbate to the level they probably should, if at all. I don't find it strange at all (although sad) in our culture that women haven't orgasmed until later in life, for example. Oh yeah - and lack of patient partners has a lot to do with it too.

That doesn't mean they can't enjoy it, but it makes it more of a leisure activity than a raging need.

Bu-wha? Almost all people (except the asexual) desire sex, and desire it intensely, to a more or less degree regularly. Again, I don't know any women who consider sex a leisure activity instead of something they need and want and desire. I know that's anecdotal, but I'm honestly baffled at the notion that it could be that way for most women. I think it's unfair to characterize it this way - even in this discussion, I'm seeing a denial and discouragement of women as sexual beings. Just because people want to say that men are MORE sexual doesn't mean that women aren't sexual at all. I know you're not expressly saying that but that sentence heavily implies it.

I think there are women for whom sex is like going to the movies, or the amusement park - yes, it's great fun, especially once you know which rides you like, or which directors, but it's not always a deep, powerful urge that just takes over.

Perhaps they haven't been given a proper chance. Who are these women you think this about? Do you have concrete examples in your mind or is it just a feeling you have? I'm sorry, but I still find this line of thought kind of presumptuous. I hope I haven't offended, I wasn't trying to.
posted by agregoli at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2008


The cultural attitude seems to be that you must be repressed or backward if you don't recognize sex as the great savior

not really. the cultural attitude is that you must be a total slut and dirty if you openly enjoy sex. what a lot of people in this thread are saying is that that's a repressive viewpoint, and unhealthy for women and girls to grow up with regardless of how much they want to have sex. no one has to want sex more or less than they do, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you something. But that's exactly the point: anyone who tells you otherwise, including soccer moms comparing sex to housework, is selling you something. in the case of the soccer mom, what they're selling is a lie about female biology. it's simply not true. a woman's body does not make her want sex less. anyone who thinks that there isn't a societal pressure to chasten women has forgotten that as recently as 50 or 60 years ago women were still committed to mental institutions for wanting to have sex. that's what people are getting at. it's not that everyone should see sex as the great savior. it's that they shouldn't be forced to see it as dirty or a problem. have or don't have as much sex as you want, but understand that as long as you keep spreading the same lies that everyone else is, you're telling someone else how much sex they should have. you're telling them not to have sex not because they don't want to, but because they shouldn't want to if they're normal. that's what people are speaking up against.
posted by shmegegge at 12:25 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I feel like schmegegge was much clearer than I was being.
posted by agregoli at 12:28 PM on February 28, 2008


well, I am pretty great.
posted by shmegegge at 12:35 PM on February 28, 2008


Fair enough!
posted by agregoli at 1:03 PM on February 28, 2008


I've asked you before, and you've refused to answer: show us where Jesus--not Paul-- said anything about sex. Show us where Jesus--not Paul--said anything about homosexuality. What's that? It's in Leviticus? Well then, one can only assume that you follow all the Levite rules, yes? What's that, you don't? Oh, how interesting

I believe the whole Bible is the word of God, not just the red-letter parts. As to the Levitical laws, I am under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant. I recommend Romans and Galatians for your reading pleasure regarding that.

I will mention, since I just thought of it, that Jesus said even simply looking at a woman lustfully makes one guilty of adultery. Even hyperbolically recommending one pluck out one's own eye if it led to sin... His point actually being that since no one can claim they never lusted, all are equally guilty of sin and in need of salvation.

If you want to discuss further, there is mefi mail and my email in my profile. I'm not gonna start a derail on this thread nor am I gonna turn this thread into a referendum on me and my faith.

That is all.
posted by konolia at 1:41 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Perhaps they haven't been given a proper chance.

what boy needs to be given "a proper chance" to realize he's a sexual being, though? It seems that the hormones of the male make it so that even within a repressive religious household that won't give them a "proper chance", pretty much every adolescent boy is forced by inner urges to masturbate consistently. He doesn't need to learn or to have a patient partner or anything like that. There is an irrepressible need that he will try every which way to find release for. The hormones of a woman work differently, and though she'll experiment and fantasize, the thoughts are often entwined with other things, and it's rarely such a fundamental component of life as it is for the guys. If you read those advice pages for teenage boys, I just feel like they're going through something really different than what most girls go through. There's nothing wrong with this.

not really. the cultural attitude is that you must be a total slut and dirty if you openly enjoy sex.

yeah? ok, well, I live in NYC, where that's not prevalent, so maybe I'm making assumptions that aren't necessary. To me, the sex-positive movement has been pushing so hard at least since I was in college (which was all about "safe sex" at the time, early 90s) that I feel like we get a little bit brainwashed by it. It starts to seem like it's already been decided that it's absolutely The Best, and if women don't want it as much as men, that's just because they're Repressed, but if we can save them, they'll be as good as men in no time.

The thing is, as above, if it comes down to levels of testosterone (which is only reinforced by the idea that men are also prescribed testosterone for low sex drives, don't know why that was raised as if it were contentious - both genders naturally produce testosterone, women just much less) then the natural drive of a woman for sex will simply be less aggressive. That doesn't mean she can't love it, that doesn't mean some women don't want it all the time, that doesn't mean the right guy won't set something off, etc, but taking averages across populations, it seems perfectly reasonable that there may be differences. I just think the point should be, do what you like, rather than, you too can revel in as much sex as men, which is what you really want! I have absolutely nothing against people fucking their brains out as much as they please, male or female, straight or queer, but it feels to me like the taboo these days isn't being slutty but being prudish. Just look at the pop culture.

Still, it would be great if any level of interest were welcome, and as i said, maybe I'm overreacting if other parts of the country don't feel like NY.
posted by mdn at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2008


Are you saying that lesbian bed death is just a stereotype, then, and not an actual phenomenon?

Hm, I guess I was just providing the statistical outliers that marble predicted. LBD is at the other end of the spectrum.

I don't understand. Isn't it this just another variation on, "Women like to have sex like this, but men like to have sex like this."?

Yes, but as a partial explanation for stereotypes of women supposedly "wanting sex less often", as measured by greater refusals of their partners' advances: "Um, I've gotta be out the door in the next seven minutes or else I'll miss my train" "So, that's long enough; c'mon...(jebus, is she frigid or something...?)"
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:56 PM on February 28, 2008


Supposedly men think about sex an average of once a minute.

What absolute fucking bollocks.

How on earth does that leave us time for thinking about other things, like sports, cars, hunting, DIY hardware, whiskey & fighting?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:30 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"(monthly? I know of no research showing that, although my research is in estrogens)"

I remember an NYT fluff science article about it (which I believe made up some sort of male PMS as well, though I could just be remembering the snarky discussion of the article), but I'll see if I can have my librarian girlfriend find a cite on monthly hormonal variations in men.

"It seems that the hormones of the male make it so that even within a repressive religious household that won't give them a "proper chance", pretty much every adolescent boy is forced by inner urges to masturbate consistently."

No, there actually are guys who have to be taught to masturbate, etc., usually from repressive religious backgrounds. I had a guy in one of my college classes who was a sophomore in college before he learned that he could jerk off, and he was nearly in tears over the revelation. Needless to say, we didn't shake hands after that.

"To me, the sex-positive movement has been pushing so hard at least since I was in college (which was all about "safe sex" at the time, early 90s) that I feel like we get a little bit brainwashed by it. It starts to seem like it's already been decided that it's absolutely The Best, and if women don't want it as much as men, that's just because they're Repressed, but if we can save them, they'll be as good as men in no time."

I think something that's worth noting here is that both of you are right, at least to some degree—there's heavy mediation on both sides of female sexuality, and that dominates discussions to some degree. Because when I hear you, mdn, talking about this march of "sex positive" theory, I think back to the Maxim/Cosmo "feminism," which puts forward an ideal woman who's ready to fuck at any time in any place, because she's just one o' the guys and isn't that great, which does play into male fantasy and ignore the fairly sizable proportion of women who don't want to fuck every guy who wears a $300 watch. There's also a fairly sizable proportion of "Christian" or "conservative" folks who seek to repress female sexuality to a greater extent. I can understand a context in which this made sense—the consequences of sex before birth control did weigh most heavily upon the women—but I consider it a mark of intellectual peasantry to hew to superstitions developed for social control by some bunch of desert hicks a couple centuries before Plato.
posted by klangklangston at 2:31 PM on February 28, 2008


Jesus didn't say word one about [homosexuality]

What about that bit about turning the other cheek?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 PM on February 28, 2008


And I'll add that because I'm knocking together invoices for the girl copy right now, that the All American Horny Teenage Girl is a fantasy that we peddle intentionally, and so perhaps that makes me more momentarily sensitive to mdn's concerns here, but I do think that the fixation on extrapolating desire ["I want a girl who wants to fuck all the time"] to a normative statement ["Women should want to fuck all the time"] is a problem, even if some women do want to fuck all the time.

Something else that's weird, just from reading the last couple months of copy, is that there's been an uptick in the number of "nerds" who are totally into, you know, like, higher level math and physics, and, like, anal. On the one hand, I think that it's a nice idea to encourage guys to see smart women as attractive and sexual, on the other hand, I think that it's kinda weird to build it as an archetype.
posted by klangklangston at 2:42 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


"(monthly? I know of no research showing that, although my research is in estrogens)"

heh, an exchange the other day:

L1: "what's up with you? you look down in the dumps"

me: "i dunno, i just got hit by this wave of anxiety & hopelessness for no reason today, and haven't been able to shake it"

L1: "oh, don't worry about it. you're probably just getting your man period"

me: "man period?"

L1: "yeh, we girls learn to put these kinds of random depressions at arms' length, and just rationalise that we're getting our periods. but the same happens with guys, only without all the bleeding, so it's harder for you to realise what's going on"

me: "uh, ok..."

L1: "the good thing for you is that man periods usually only last a day. why don't you go curl up on the couch, put The L-Word on, and I'll make you a hot chocolate. Just ride it out & you'll feel better tomorrow"

And she was right! Why didn't they teach us about man periods at school?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:45 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


To me, the sex-positive movement has been pushing so hard at least since I was in college (which was all about "safe sex" at the time, early 90s) that I feel like we get a little bit brainwashed by it.

Ok. At this point, it's (I think) a matter of perspective. I tend to see it the other way, but I'm really not going to insist you're wrong to see it that way. That's really totally fine. The larger point I'm trying to make, and which I hope I'm not muddling, is that the general movement, at least among activists and the like, is not so much about shoving sex down a person's throat as it is about allowing a person to have their own feelings about it. The effect of all of that may very well be to make a lot of people feel the way you do. But it's important, I think, to point out where the message is being confused by reactionary marketing and social backlash. For instance, on one end we might have Naomi Wolf, but on the other we have Sex In The City. And the problem is that Sex In The City is not actually a representation of empowered sexual women. It's a marketing ploy to get women who would like to be empowered sexual women to think that they can do so by buying expensive designer clothing. But how on earth is anyone supposed to realize that?

Anyway, the point is, you're right to feel the way you do about it. But there is also another side that isn't all about shoving sex down your throat. And that side of things, when it's not coming from a corporate mouthpiece, is just trying to allow people to make up their own minds. And part of what causes people to shut down parts of themselves, and some of their natural healthy inclinations, is a widespread belief in what is ultimately untrue: that women simply don't like sex as much as men. And the way that belief indoctrinates itself often enough is just through people repeating it in casual conversation. We adopt it as conventional wisdom when it's actually conventional folly.
posted by shmegegge at 2:54 PM on February 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


why do you have this hangup about things being shoved down peoples' throats, shmegegge?
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:55 PM on February 28, 2008


This is a really interesting conversation.

I sort of think of anti-female-pleasure social forces and the Cosmo-magazine-style "10 ways to please him... right now" social forces as two sides of the same coin. Though they look the opposite on the face, they are both driven by the same desire to shape women's sexuality as a commodity for male enjoyment.
posted by loiseau at 4:08 PM on February 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


But don't Cosmo (et al) also feature articles on how to (help him to help you) get off? And from what little I've seen of mens' magazines, they're also full of "10 ways to please her... right now" pieces.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:44 PM on February 28, 2008


More to the point: I remember reading an interview with a Cosmo / Cleo editor, who was asked why their covers & stories were so damned repetitive.

She replied "We found that sales dropped by 10% whenever we didn't include the word 'orgasm' on the cover."

So, every month there's a slight variation: "How to have mindbending ORGASMS!", "Multiple ORGASMS at your fingertips!", "The secrets of easily ORGASMIC women!" etc.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 PM on February 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


She replied "We found that sales dropped by 10% whenever we didn't include the word 'orgasm' on the cover."

I am now adding the word "orgasm" to every comment I make, in a shameless bid for more favorites. Orgasm!
posted by misha at 9:26 PM on February 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


As soon as that's taken out of the context of this thread, people are going to think you're very strange. Or lucky; I'm not sure which.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:49 PM on February 28, 2008


Both.
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posted by misha at 9:50 PM on February 28, 2008


If a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her body is blood, she shall be set apart seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything that she lies on during her impurity shall be unclean; also everything that she sits on shall be unclean. Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. And whoever touches anything that she sat on shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If anything is on her bed or on anything on which she sits, when he touches it, he shall be unclean until evening. And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean. (Leviticus 15:19-24)

Gee thanks Captian Leviticus Obvious...they didn't have maxi pads back then.
posted by dasheekeejones at 3:55 AM on February 29, 2008


And part of what causes people to shut down parts of themselves, and some of their natural healthy inclinations, is a widespread belief in what is ultimately untrue: that women simply don't like sex as much as men. And the way that belief indoctrinates itself often enough is just through people repeating it in casual conversation.

Beautifully said.
posted by agregoli at 6:41 AM on February 29, 2008


UbuRoivas: But don't Cosmo (et al) also feature articles on how to (help him to help you) get off? And from what little I've seen of mens' magazines, they're also full of "10 ways to please her... right now" pieces.

I dunno. It's probably my personal bias, but when I read/hear/see things like that I get a distinct feeling it's about being a sexy object (in a way that's been defined by society) rather than being a sexual individual, having comfort with your sexuality, being familiar with your body, etc. In other words, it never quite seems like the advice is being given for my benefit and enrichment.


orgasm
posted by loiseau at 8:30 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks all for your interesting thoughts and contributions.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:29 AM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm stupidly late to this thread, but I have to respond to this:

what boy needs to be given "a proper chance" to realize he's a sexual being, though? It seems that the hormones of the male make it so that even within a repressive religious household that won't give them a "proper chance", pretty much every adolescent boy is forced by inner urges to masturbate consistently. He doesn't need to learn or to have a patient partner or anything like that. There is an irrepressible need that he will try every which way to find release for. The hormones of a woman work differently, and though she'll experiment and fantasize, the thoughts are often entwined with other things, and it's rarely such a fundamental component of life as it is for the guys. If you read those advice pages for teenage boys, I just feel like they're going through something really different than what most girls go through. There's nothing wrong with this.


Uh, you apparently just can't get women to open up to you. Either that or I know women who have first class tickets on the TMI train. Either way, from what I'm told it's not at all uncommon for pubescent females to masturbate. They just don't generally talk about it.

Now, I grant that the overall percentages may be lower (although not from what I can tell, but that's what surveys have shown), but it's not as if boys can't keep their hands off their pricks and girls never could figure out that they can touch themselves for pleasure.
posted by wierdo at 12:23 PM on March 3, 2008


Either way, from what I'm told it's not at all uncommon for pubescent females to masturbate.

I never said it was uncommon for pubescent females to masturbate - I said it was not in the same league as it apparently is for guys. According to the advice pages on these things, pubescent males normally masturbate pretty much every day or multiple times a day even when brought up in households that specifically tell them it's wrong, to the point that even that "Focus on the Family" website above suggests that you should let yr kid jack off, because he's going to anyway, and repressing it will just make wet dreams worse yadda yadda.

So sure, girls masturbate, but from what I know - and admittedly it wasn't something we talked about all the time, as boys apparently commonly do as adolescents (another hint?) but I did go to a boarding school from the ages of 12 to 18, so had pubescent female roommates and dormmates - girls are not usually obsessed with it. As I said it is often combined with fantasizing, and often just more exploratory than urgent. Of course there are outliers - that's why I keep making the analogy to height, that there's crossover, taller women & shorter men, etc (so I never claimed all women are midgets, all men are basketball players - i'm just saying, the average heights of males exceed the average heights of females) - but I don't see why it's so hard to accept that perhaps there are statistical differences, and that this isn't a failing on the part of women.

There is a tendency in all of us to imagine that everyone has got to be pretty much like we are. I think this means that women will assume that men must have basically the same level of sex drive as they do, and so will dismiss claims that sound too high as just overreporting, and men will assume the same about women, dismissing what sounds like too little interest in sex as underreporting. But where did these interests in over- or under- reporting begin? Maybe the reports were actually different to start with, and it's only the outliers - men with lower sex drives or women with higher ones - who actually feel like they have to nudge their numbers around to match expectations. I don't deny that there may be some people who lie in polls.

But I also think it's entirely likely that guys have a statistically noticeable higher sex drive than women. Women will not pay for sex. Plenty of guys won't either, but that doesn't mean the sex industry isn't real. Someone is paying for it. Some women will pay for some porn, but the numbers on that will be way higher for guys too, and it's a pretty small portion of women who even really think about paying for porn beyond an occasional curiosity / fun thing with partner / etc. (though explicit "romance novels" shld probably be counted there - even so, I'd bet men spend a lot more). Reports of situational homosexuality among hetero men are universal, whereas among het women left without men there is often more discussion of sisterhood & female bonding (yes, commonly reinterpreted sexually these days, but often with very little evidence beyond "of course women want sex as much as men")

Perhaps the comparison above to going to the movies was too flippant, but consider this: for some guys, sex is like food, while for some women it's more like music. You can absolutely love music, think life would really suck without it, be very happy to have it, and still not feel a deep physically painful ache when you don't get enough of it the way you do when you don't get enough food. Women feel an aching need for sex sometimes, but men get hard-ons every day, often multiple times a day when they're young...

And part of what causes people to shut down parts of themselves, and some of their natural healthy inclinations, is a widespread belief in what is ultimately untrue: that women simply don't like sex as much as men. And the way that belief indoctrinates itself often enough is just through people repeating it in casual conversation.

and if women they can be convinced by casual conversation that they aren't really feeling physical needs, maybe the needs aren't really all that physical in nature! If these "healthy inclinations" are so easily muted, then I just can't see them being on the same level as waking up with a woody every morning.

None of this is to say that women are defective in any way. I just think insisting that women are just as horny as men is sort of trying to match some male ideal of what we all ought to be. There's nothing wrong with not constantly thinking with your crotch. Basically, I think it's possible to have a healthy sexuality without thinking about sex once a minute (and yes, I know not every guy thinks about sex that often, but apparently some do, or at very least think that answer is not ridiculous - for a lot of women, that wouldn't even cross the mind as believable)

apologies for length.

orgasm
posted by mdn at 11:08 AM on March 5, 2008


I think you are seeing biology where I see culture. (And I say that as someone who would very much agree that there are big biological differences; I'm just not convinced by some of the examples you pick.) For example, you write:

Women will not pay for sex.

And that seems to me to be a perfect example of a culturally-driven issue, rather than a biologically-rooted example. When you put women into a context where they are free from observation by friends, family, and neighbors, and where they have enormously more resources than the men they are encountering, and can obtain high-quality and low-risk sex-for-hire, they turn out to be quite willing to pay for sex. It gets called "romance tourism" rather than "prostitution" (just like "romance novels" aren't called "porn," no matter how many sex scenes they have). You can see this phenomenon, plain as day, in countless Caribbean beach resorts and most anywhere else that becomes a tourist destination for American, Canadian, and European women.

There are a growing number of ethnographic books on the subject, but more entertaining are films like Stella Got Her Groove Back and Heading South. It is interesting not only because it is women doing what our (cultural or biological) theories say they shouldn't, but because female-centered prostitution functions very differently than male-centered prostitution -- more emphasis on companionship, more disguising of the transaction, etc.

Although a deeply outlier phenomenon at home, in resort areas female-centered romance tourism is a common and public phenomenon. Change the cultural parameters, and you get remarkably different behavior, even if there are underlying biological differences at play as well.

I totally agree with what I think is your main point:

perhaps there are statistical differences, and that this isn't a failing on the part of women.

But I just don't agree with some of your examples and conclusions.
posted by Forktine at 11:42 AM on March 5, 2008


Women will not pay for sex.

As a blanket statement, that's simply not true. In fact, I used to live with a guy who turned tricks for women. The clients of his - that I saw - were typically ageing, overweight & unattractive, for whatever that's worth. I'm guessing they were having a hard time picking up in bars.

Also, you've clearly never heard of the female sex-tourist scene in places like Kenya, and Forktine mentions the Caribbean, above. You should be able to google the Kenyan scene easily enough.

You can absolutely love music, think life would really suck without it, be very happy to have it, and still not feel a deep physically painful ache when you don't get enough of it the way you do when you don't get enough food.

Deep physical painful ache? WTF? Was that supposed to be literal? I don't think it even applies figuratively, but it's 100% wrong if you mean it literally.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:02 PM on March 5, 2008


"Women will not pay for sex."

Flat-out untrue, sorry. The number of women paying for sex is smaller than the number of men, that's true.

But something that I'd say to this debate is that there doesn't exist any great data—self-reporting is notoriously flawed on sexual matters, and there just isn't a good way to measure directly what's a private and largely sub-rosa activity. Which means that everyone here's arguing from n=1, and extrapolating with a bit of anecdote. I've also never seen a study that does a good job of controlling for culture (or biology); I'm not even sure that's possible.
posted by klangklangston at 1:23 PM on March 5, 2008


There have been times in my life where I would have paid for sex - if I could have been guaranteed it was safe, meaning, I wasn't going to be beaten or killed or raped. Men don't usually have to worry about that when they hire a hooker.
posted by agregoli at 1:29 PM on March 5, 2008


(Also, you're comparing waking up with a woody to the fact that women, well, don't? Women will wake up in the middle of dream fantasies too - I knew one lucky gal that woke up orgasming, and I've known several to have woken up stimulating themselves or be very wet and horny.)

And the way that belief indoctrinates itself often enough is just through people repeating it in casual conversation.

and if women they can be convinced by casual conversation that they aren't really feeling physical needs, maybe the needs aren't really all that physical in nature!


Or they are shamed into thinking they are abnormal for having those needs, and so don't talk about it. I really don't think we can ignore cultural stigma for women to have regular sexual desires.
posted by agregoli at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2008


Deep physical painful ache? WTF? Was that supposed to be literal? I don't think it even applies figuratively, but it's 100% wrong if you mean it literally.

well,
some people disagree...
I am not saying that all men experience this, nor that no women do. I would say there have been occasions where I've felt something analogous - but I did have the impression that the majority of men have the feeling regularly, ie, it's why they masturbate (or have sex), whereas a lot of women will just masturbate because it's fun - not because they need to relieve a feeling, but because they want to enjoy a climax.

ANyway, perhaps you're right & the mistake is trying to divide these things by gender - maybe there are more men who don't feel that sort of need than traditionally claimed, and it's just like the way the focus on the family guys say 'of course all guys have homosexual fantasies' - maybe the idea of the intensive male sex drive is also overhyped by the ones who do have it, & people with lower sex drives don't speak up to correct it.
posted by mdn at 1:45 PM on March 5, 2008


whereas a lot of women will just masturbate because it's fun - not because they need to relieve a feeling, but because they want to enjoy a climax.

Whoa. What!? Uh....no. Women masturbate to release sexual tension just like men do. It's not like I only masterbate when I'm bored or something.
posted by agregoli at 2:20 PM on March 5, 2008


mdn: I think you totally misunderstand blue balls. From my experience & understanding (heh, extralopating from n=1 plus anecdotal evidence) it's something that only ever happens if you've been in a state of high arousal for quite a long time without release. Think an hour or so of highschool heavy petting, for example. It's not as if you get a hardon & all of a sudden it's all "ouch, ouch, must come!"

Also, you're comparing waking up with a woody

Actually, that's just a physiological side-effect of REM sleep, ie any kind of dreaming, not necessarily sexual dreams. Unless you're physiologically broken, you'll have an erection whenever you dream. Wake up during or soon after any dream, and it's "what's the story, morning glory?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:54 PM on March 5, 2008


"It's not as if you get a hardon & all of a sudden it's all "ouch, ouch, must come!""

There's a great book by Allan Sherman (of Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah fame) called The Rape of the A.P.E. (American Protestant Ethic), all about the sexual revolution. A bit of it is too much obvious standup "women drive like this" riffing, but when discussing his '50s experiences with sex, he talks about how "blue balls" (which does happen and does suck, but yeah, takes a while) was this beneficial rumor that allowed women to have sex out of "sympathy," rather than really wanting to. "Oh, you've got blue balls…" they'd say, and the Florence Nightingale would come out. Similar was noting the feigned resistance of undressing a woman was capped with the subtle lift of the ass to get the panties off—without that action, you couldn't have sex (he's obviously precluding rape), but it couldn't be overt, because then the girl would get the dreaded "bad reputation." It's a pretty funny book, and it's a pretty interesting catalog of all these sexual mores and ways to negotiate both parties acting on a socially-prohibited desire while attempting to minimize individual culpability.
posted by klangklangston at 3:08 PM on March 5, 2008


A tiny bit more on blue balls: I think of it as a strictly virginal / adolescent thing. It only comes about when the structure of the situation is that there are limits on which bases you can go to. Adults don't do that sort of shit. If two adults are into each other enough to go at it snogging for hours, they'll find a private place to go long before the phenomenon could ever rear its ugly head.

More to the point, the way it was first presented by mdn made it sound like you could be going about your day-to-day life, shopping or working or whatever, with this building ache in your groin that drives you to desperation, thinking "man, I've really gotta get off soon!" and that's just so far from the truth it's laughable.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 PM on March 5, 2008


"Adults don't do that sort of shit. If two adults are into each other enough to go at it snogging for hours, they'll find a private place to go long before the phenomenon could ever rear its ugly head."

My parents visited this weekend. I can assure you that blue balls is alive and well in America. When my girlfriend's folks visit next weekend, we're putting them up in a hotel rather than having them stay with us.
posted by klangklangston at 4:16 PM on March 5, 2008


"More to the point, the way it was first presented by mdn made it sound like you could be going about your day-to-day life, shopping or working or whatever, with this building ache in your groin that drives you to desperation, thinking "man, I've really gotta get off soon!" and that's just so far from the truth it's laughable."

As a side note, I was trying to explain to my girlfriend that my penis is a phenomenological consciousness in its arousal—it's an intending existence, a dowsing rod. But yeah, without encouragement, it'll lose focus on its own and not leave me with any lasting damage.
posted by klangklangston at 4:19 PM on March 5, 2008


I'm sorry to hear about your discomfort, klango.

I still think it's unusual adult behaviour, though. The point is that it's something that happens when people engage in sexy activity, but set an arbitrary limit on how far that behaviour can progress. Understandable in teenage quasi-fucking, but when you have the means to getting your end in, you either go ahead & do it, or else set it aside for another time - once bitten, twice shy, right? It's probably only the urgency of adolescence, combined with hypocritically prudish restrictions, that make it such a feature of growing up.

As an aside, what's the deal with no sex when the parents are around? Do they sleep in the same room as you? Or is it an example of the truism that everybody knows that everybody has sex, but the two classes of people who we refuse to conceive of as sexually active are one's parents & one's children...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 PM on March 5, 2008


I'm with you, UbuRolvas. I've heard so many people say they won't have sex when their parents are visiting or when they are visiting their parents, and I think, why not? You know they had sex or you wouldn't be here.

I also think that a lot more girls and young women masturbate than men realize, as agregoli said (I just realized I spelled your name wrong in another thread, thinking that last letter was a second l). I do find it interesting, though, that it is much more expected and accepted that guys do this, to the point where, when I was expecting my second child and the ultrasound couldn't clearly show the gender because the baby's hand was between the legs, the ultrasound technician felt perfectly confident telling me the baby was a boy (and he was!) because, "Boys are always touching themselves during the ultrasounds, but girls don't."
posted by misha at 5:11 PM on March 5, 2008


Right conclusion, wrong reasoning.

He wasn't touching himself, he was covering up. Girls don't have to do that, because there isn't anything really to see.

(aside: the ultrasound couldn't clearly show the gender sex)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:31 PM on March 5, 2008


"As an aside, what's the deal with no sex when the parents are around? Do they sleep in the same room as you? Or is it an example of the truism that everybody knows that everybody has sex, but the two classes of people who we refuse to conceive of as sexually active are one's parents & one's children...?"

Cheap apartment=thin walls. They were in the living room on the air mattress, and since we could hear them chatting, we thought it'd be uncouth. Having sex where people you know can hear is kinda dorm-room thing.
posted by klangklangston at 6:10 PM on March 5, 2008


Whoa. What!? Uh....no. Women masturbate to release sexual tension just like men do. It's not like I only masterbate when I'm bored or something.

the way it was first presented by mdn made it sound like you could be going about your day-to-day life... with this building ache in your groin that drives you to desperation, thinking "man, I've really gotta get off soon!" and that's just so far from the truth it's laughable.


It's funny that we now have a man saying men don't experience painful tension or a need to release, and a woman saying women certainly do.. so as I admitted above, maybe my mistake here is caring about the gender percentages to start with. To go back to my tired height metaphor, it really doesn't matter if men in general are taller than women in general; what matters is that there are people of all different heights out there, and they're all okay.

All I was going for in the beginning was, it's not unhealthy to be less interested in sex - it doesn't necessarily mean you're repressed or self-hating. Of course I'm all for making it clear that it's also perfectly healthy to love sex, whether you're male or female. Living where I do, I feel like that is perfectly well covered by the current culture, but perhaps I'm overestimating how much these things influence "small town values" &c.
posted by mdn at 7:13 PM on March 5, 2008


mdn: i think it's all in the semantics. read "sexual tension" as general horniness, and don't confuse that kind of *desire* to release with any *need* to release, as experienced only by frustrated teenagers & people with thin walls.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:48 PM on March 5, 2008


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