Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mars and Venus in the Bedroom.

Reading this book may be one of the most shamelessly unfair things I've ever done on this blog. I gave it no chance, admitted no redeeming virtues. But that's just because it doesn't have any. This is a book in which John Gray, the author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (which I previously trashed) tells you how to fuck. By the way, he was a celibate monk for nine years. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you want to be an authority on gender relations, maybe it isn't the best life experience to bring to the table.

As before, his advice is all predicated upon the idea that men and women are entirely separate species and the only way for them to relate successfully is to learn each other's bizarre and unreasonable needs from his book, never discuss them openly, and treat each other like gender exemplars rather than people.

He does lots of little summary bold-text things in this book (I guess the "complete paragraph" format was kind of alienating his readers with its highfalutin ivory-tower intellectualism), so it's really easy to grab the main crazy ideas in a sentence and see how ridiculously anti-woman, anti-man, and anti-sex they are.

Below the cut, I do just that.

Edit: This website deconstructs John Gray much more rigorously than I do. And it's fun.

Sex allows a man to feel his needs for love, while receiving love helps a woman to feel her hunger for sex.
That's the central thesis of the book, right there. Men only want to get their dicks wet, women only want to be hugglebunnies. In which case I'd say they it sounds like they just shouldn't be dating and clearly God wants us to all be gay.

For a woman, arousal slowly builds long before it becomes a physical desire for sex... it could be days before she wants to have sex.
DAYS? Another main theme of this book is "man sex takes ten seconds, woman sex takes hours." But... days? How can you get aroused over the course of days? Don't you have to go to work?

Men need sex to feel. To go out into the wild or into battle, men needed to put their feelings aside. To provide for and protect their families, men were required to risk their lives while enduring the discomforts of scorching sun and freezing cold. Men gradually adapted to this requirement by becoming desensitized... Women's skin is ten times more sensitive than men's skin.
Um, I don't think hunter-gatherer women had the benefits of central heat and A/C. And women generally have a higher pain tolerance than men. Which doesn't translate into lowered sexual sensitivity anyway; neither sex is exactly leathery and I've seen men respond to some very light touches in the right context.

When Mom said that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach, she was about four inches too high.
Okay, now I'm... somewhere in the intestines.

How are men supposed to know what makes women happy when they are not women?
Gosh, what a quandary! If only women were capable of communicating somehow... maybe a crude tapping code or pointing to simple pictures!

She didn't go right to my erogenous zone. It was as though she was purposely striking out. She was moving her hands slowly up and down my body. Down my thighs and then back up to my chest. Up and down my arms and then up and down my chest and back. She was touching me everywhere I didn't want to be touched. Since we were planning to go all the way, I reached down to her hand and put it between my legs. I said, "There!"
Congratulations, John Gray, you're a dick.

When a man is kissing a woman, abruptly putting his tongue in her mouth can be too sudden. Instead, he should kiss her lightly several times, and then as she begins to open up, he can place his tongue in her mouth.
Whoa there cowboy, it's not my butthole, I'm actually pretty good at opening my mouth up with a minimum of mouthplay and artificial lubrication. (The whole section on "how to make love to a woman" is like this; some guys do need to slow down but he makes all women out to be absolute molasses in January.)

Instead of taking off her panties, he can reach around her buttocks and pull her panties into her crack to expose her bare bottom.

One very effective way a man can learn to give a woman a longer interlude in sex is to time it. It doesn't sound romantic, but it sure works. I recommend that the man discreetly put a clock by the bed. While he is touching her vulva and clitoris, he can occasionally glance over and time himself.
Um... you're right, that doesn't sound romantic. Like, at all. Also, does he make love exclusively to frozen pieces of brick? I think my lovers time themselves via the progression from "mmm" to "OH GOD," not the ticking away of the minutes.

Huh. I just finished a chapter on "how to please a woman," and I was expecting it to be followed by "how to please a man," but no. No such equivalent in the book. Apparently you please a man by owning female genitals and not screaming "don't touch me!"

For a woman to experience the big "O," a man needs to place the "O" after his two to three minutes, making it twenty to thirty minutes.
Now I know people are all different (John Gray doesn't), but I've never been with a guy who regularly finished in two to three minutes. It's happened a couple times, but as a general rule, every guy I've been with has needed a good fifteen minutes of stimulation to get to his happy place. And me? It depends a lot, but it's somewhere between thirty seconds and ten minutes. Usually well less than ten minutes. This is just me of course, because people are different.

What makes sex fulfilling and memorable for a man is a woman's fulfillment. What makes success fulfilling and memorable for a woman is the same, her fulfillment.
Why do you hate men, John Gray? Why is your whole book about men demonstrating skill and patience and women merely enjoying? Why are a man's enjoyment and a woman's skill (or rather lack of need for skill, because having a vagina is enough) taken for granted?

These are some common phrases for initiating sex and common answers a woman can give instead of just saying no.
A little context: his idea in this section is that when women don't want sex, rather than refusing it they should agree to just have a "quickie" to get him off. No pressure on her to undertake the long and agonizing process of reaching orgasm, he relieves his burning masculine need, and everyone goes home happy, except of course the woman who just got a totally pleasureless fuck when she didn't want to fuck at all.

He says, "I have some time. Would you like to have sex?" She says, "We could go for a quickie now and then maybe tomorrow we could schedule some more time to have sex."
She says, "You're a real fucking romantic, aren't you, John Gray?"

My favorite example of sexual signals came from a movie I watched about a Mongolian family. When the wife was in the mood for sex, she would put out a flag. When her husband came home, he would see the flag and know that she was in the mood. He would then race to get his flag and hoop while she got on her horse and rode away. He would then get on his horse and chase after her, lasso her with his hoop, and wrestle with her. Then they would have sex.
Ah, this explains why the women of Mongolia are known for their passion, sensuality, and severe spinal injuries.

A man should remember that it is not what he does but how long he takes to do it that ensures a woman's fulfillment.
Jesus Christ. You shoulda stayed a monk. Or, like, consulted with actual women when you wrote your book on how to please women.


  1. Wooo erotic wedgie!

    Given my apparent reputation for incisive thought, seemingly indicated by long sentences with Byzantine structures, I feel a responsibility to say something more. And that is this: Sometimes having sex when you think you don't want it can end up being fun. From what you've posted on that subject, I'm not sure Gray is wrong.

  2. Bruno - I actually agree, except that the point of the John Gray "quckie" (maybe I didn't explain this well enough, he goes into detail in the book) is that the woman doesn't expect to enjoy it and the man doesn't try to please her. It's not a "try it, you might get into it," it's a complete "think of England and it'll be over soon."

  3. In the service of self-incision, however, I think the thing Gray is most right on is "slow down, fellas." Some men--especially if they've been sleeping with me for a while--can kinda get into the "whee I tagged your breast, whee I tagged your crotch, you have now been foreplayed, time for sexing please" speedrun. And that sucks.

    But telling them to set up a clock and take half an hour might be going a bit far the other way.

  4. Oh, so many lovely ways I could join you in snarking!

    Probably the most biting bit-o'-snark that came to me was, "Even Grease recognized that 'it only takes fifteen minutes!'" Conclusion: Gray is, if not from Mars, then from somewhere other than earth, or at any rate somewhere to which Western pop-culture memes do not penetrate.


  5. Fuck all that, I still say I am just in it for a good hard fuck most of the time. Whether that is good or bad?

    And now I know what the erotic wedgie is

  6. Matty - But can you do a thirty minute good hard fuck? You can never please a woman otherwise!

  7. Sunflowerp - The thing that needs snarking hardest is his insistence that a woman should never refuse sex because she should always have a "quickie" rather than dare to say no. Gray's actually been offensively explicit about this in his live lectures:

    "Does one spouse owe the other sex? The man goes out and risks his life for this woman. The man works hard for his family. What does she do for him? She has sex for him whenever he wants. ...It takes 30 minutes [for women] to have a real sexual experience. How do you have sex for 30 minutes every day in a busy life with kids? You don't. But you can do two minutes whenever the man wants."

    I don't know what crazy world John Gray lives in where men risk their lives at work, women do nothing, and a man can be reliably satisfied in two minutes.

  8. I suppose if I have to I can keep it down to a thirty minute good hard fuck.
    What I guess I really wanted to get across is that it boils me when people try to tell others HOW their sex life is supposed to be. All it really comes down to is mutual enjoyment and who is he to know what THAT is?
    All in all, another great post you have going here.

  9. Truly, that one pisses me off so much that I can't manage to be witty in my snark - I'm not sure if I'm pissed off more as a person who despises pseudologic, or as a feminist who despises being considered a convenient object.

    Y'know what's really ironic? The first person I ever heard pushing Gray's "genius" was a self-described feminist (a gender essentialist, obviously), who seemed to think what he was saying was that men had to learn to work with women's "natural" indirect communication style. She was fond of citing examples in which the woman's behavior just sounded to me like passive-aggressive bullshit.


  10. "Matty - But can you do a thirty minute good hard fuck? You can never please a woman otherwise!"

    I used to have an AVERAGE of 45 minutes with our longer sessions taking a couple hours. No, I don't mean including foreplay, I mean point of insertion.

    It actually really worried me because men were supposed to be all "lulz are in, lulz are had, and I'm done." I thought maybe I was broken. Turns out that a) condoms really, really kill the sensation for me and b) when I put my mind to it I can really push back that orgasm.

    Which incidentally is what happened recently when cybering with this girl... and the cleanup after THAT was certainly not fun.

    What this meant is that foreplay was often rushed for me and that girl because, well, there simply wasn't TIME for us to do an hour of playing and then get the penis in there. When there *was* time for me to take my time and do all the little things I wanted to do; however, we'd spend half the day before I ever came.

  11. I know this is an eternity later, but I've just been reading back through your Cosmocking stuff, and that Mongolian family story was so goddamn insane I had to see if I could find out what he was talking about.

    I think I actually found the movie he's talking about. It's called Close to Eden (or Urga if you're anywhere but the US), and unsurprisingly, it doesn't seem to contain any actual Mongolian-woman-lassoing. He seems to have half-remembered that the guy sticks his lasso-stick thing in the ground in what's apparently a traditional signal of "Sex in progress. Leave us alone." And then, of course, rather than be assed to find a movie he watched a decade ago and make sure he remembers it even remotely the way it happened, he just made up that bizarre story instead.