I think you get the picture. Everyone I've ever dated has really gotten the picture. I think I've said "no, not tonight, honey" about a tenth as often as I've said "oh alright, not tonight, honey."
Why does this matter? Because it gives me visceral proof that women can be horny. I know I'm off to one side of the bell curve, but I also know I'm not alone, and my experience of being a woman is one of being physically and emotionally ravenous for sex. Not dates, not cuddlewuddles (those are awesome, but they're separate desires), fucking.
It seems like a fact of life to me, but it puts a big ol' hole in a creepily common worldview, paraphrased thusly:
Women don't have any innate sex drive. Sex for them is kind of undignified and gross, like holding a worm in your mouth. Now, unless you're particularly squeamish, you can be convinced to hold a worm in your mouth. You'll do it for money or gifts. You'll do it if someone special says "darling, it would mean the world to me if you'd put this worm in your mouth... for me." You'll do it if you're insecure and all the cool kids have worms in their mouths. You'll do it if you're convinced that no man will ever love a woman who doesn't mouth worms. Hell, sometimes you'll do it just because you're not sure what you want out of life and putting a worm in your mouth seems like it's worth a shot.
But you will never, ever, in any of these situations, like the taste of the worm.
The implications of the worm-in-mouth paradigm range from the annoying:
Porn is for men; romance novels are for women.
To the horrifying:
If a woman doesn't want to have sex, that's no big deal, because women never actually want to have sex and they're used to coping with that. She's just holding out for better compensation.
How lesbians have sex is a mystery for the ages. (Usually it's resolved by either declaring them honorary men, or by conjecturing that they all suffer "lesbian bed death" and just "lie around and hug.")
There's this entire mess of social phenomena, from my ninth-grade health teacher telling me to "respect yourself more than that," to PUAs trying not to arouse women but to appeal to their insecurities, to "women need a reason to have sex; men just need a place," to the freaking bazillion people buying into the "being a rich man is like being a beautiful women" thing, that can be punctured with one simple and ridiculous phrase.
"I love worms."
The inspiration for all this (besides certain third-grade incidents) was being forwarded this article, from "Time" magazine: He Wants Sex, She Doesn't. Are Beads the Answer? I'm not doing a full fisk because some days I just don't have the energy for an extended session of Logical Fallacy Whack-A-Mole, but I'll hit the highlights. Such as "what the hell? BEADS?"
A fortieth birthday is a big deal that calls for a big present. How about 40 straight days of sex? That's the gift that Carolyn Evans bestowed upon her husband, Ray, in January 2009. Immediately, she regretted it.
“I woke up the next morning and thought, I will not survive this,” says Evans, 40, who ostensibly did not receive an identical gift on her milestone birthday.
I'm not sure what the "ostensibly" is doing there, because if this is her attitude toward sex, her husband better not pull that shit. That's like getting himself a present for her birthday.
But the "I will not survive this" is really bugging me. And it's not explored in the article; it's treated like a normal thing, like having sex every day would naturally be a hardship on a woman (and not on a man). I'm curious what she means by it, though. Is the sex physically painful for her? Is she too tired at the end of the day? Does she not experience pleasure during sex? Does she feel embarrassed or uncomfortable having sex? Does she not like her husband, or not desire him sexually? Is she ashamed of her body or her performance? Is her husband just really, really, really bad at it?
Because "ugh, sex, am I right, ladies?" isn't a normal thing. It's a sign of a specific problem, and I wish they'd dig into what that is. Or at least acknowledge that it could be a problem, instead of the inevitable, semi-humorous way of the world.
(From the author's mostly unenlightening blog: I became painfully aware of the fact that I don’t have the emotional stamina or bodily constitution [to] survive that much sex. I saw myself laid up in a hospital bed accepting antibiotics intravenously.
Holy crap, just how bad is her husband?)
“I was at a friend's shop and I complained to him. He said maybe a token system will work better.”
Reaching under the counter, her pal pulled out a dusty Mason jar housing a collection of Venetian glass beads. Forty beads, to be precise.
That's the title of Evans' new book, due out Tuesday. Part memoir, part treatise on why men like sex more than women, part instructional manual in her proprietary method that she credits with transforming a marriage on the rocks into a happily-ever-after, Forty Beads is relayed in a straight-up, slightly raunchy tone reminiscent of a giddy gathering of too-tipsy girlfriends.
The premise behind “beading” is simple: The woman keeps a bowl, a.k.a. beadcatcher, by her bedside. When her husband (or lover) is in the mood, he drops a bead into the beadcatcher. The woman has to be ready to slide between the sheets within 24 hours.
This friend and his charmingly rustic, handily planted jar (with the exact right number of beads!!!) are fictional. Let's get that out of the way right now. I'd feel more respected as a reader if she said aliens gave her the method.
So, hey, why do men like sex more than women? I'm kind of intrigued if there's a substance to that, if it goes beyond "well, duh, they totally just do." (Perhaps it's evolution--like how I evolved to get a mate and get my eggs fertilized--or anatomy--like how I can have more orgasms in a half hour than most men can have all week.)
But the really disturbing part, of course, is "has to be ready [...] within 24 hours." Has to. Ouch. Apparently the way to address an imbalance in sexual desire is to just go with whatever the man wants, and soften the blow by at least providing some advance warning.
Hey... when I want to fuck the ever-loving shit out of him, where's my little bead bowl?
Looking out for the best interests of its female readers, Healthland asked Evans whether a woman has any recourse should her man act like a total jerk; thankfully, Evans has a clause for bad behavior. “If a bead has been dropped and the husband exhibits real a—hole behavior — not just run-of-the-mill irritating behavior — he can get turtled,” says Evans, referring to a maneuver in which the disgruntled wife turns the beadcatcher over so beads roll off. “My husband got turtled once in a year."
I didn't check Urban Dictionary on this one, but I think my boyfriend got turtled last Saturday.
But why is it a matter of being an asshole or not? What about a matter of "darling, you're my schmoopy-boo and you've done nothing wrong, but Little Holly just ain't feelin' it?"
Well, continuing to say "but I put my token in the vending machine, and you better give me a good reason why I don't deserve sex or
To be honest, I don't have a great solution for couples with mismatched libidos. (Well, I do, but "hey, you don't have to fuck just me" isn't the solution for everybody.) But I'm absolutely positive that "women just need to work out a cute little system for doing their wifely duty" isn't it.