April 27, 2008

The Anchoress on Prude

I forgot to link to the John Hawkins interview with Carol Platt-Liebau a few days ago, but here it is. Her book is entitled Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). The Anchoress discusses the book, quotes excerpts from the interview, and talks about what Platt-Liebau calls "do-me feminism."

I don't know exactly how to a take the ultra-pro-chastity lobby; they obviously have their points, but it's hard not to see their beliefs as part of the sexual double standard. I mean, I do get that the sexes aren't "equal" as regards sex, and never will be. After all—

- men don't get pregnant;
- men aren't as suceptible to STDs from women as women are to STDs from men;
- it is a simple matter for a woman to satisfy a man, and—relatively speaking—a challenge for a man to satisfy a woman;
- there really isn't much for a woman in casual sex. That is, there is even less for a woman in same than for a man.

On the other hand, I'm not too excited about the double standard, and the idea that woman are somehow "polluted" by sex in a way that men are not. There is that silly notion out there that a woman who has a lot of sex is a "slut," but that a man who is sexually weak is actually . . . strong. As I understand it, this idea was constructed by . . . oh, right. By men.

After all, men aren't "slutty." They are "virile."

I don't mind the fact that teenage girls are told that one might as well wait a bit for sex, just as one might wait a bit to tackle Russian novels. And the sex-saturated culture of the 1970s was downright abusive. What I don't like, however, is that one is very seldom told what a genuinely sober, thoughtful approach to long-term human sexuality is. Most SoCons seem more concerned with the notion of what it isn't.


It is as if one were told to avoid to the quicksand, but not how to ascend to the mountaintop. And the mountaintop is shrouded in mist, nearly invisible. Those who haven't seen it wave their hands and assure you that it's there. Those who have seen it simply tell you to "follow the signs." But the signs were destroyed by storms long ago; those of us who want to reach the peak are navigating by feeling around for moss on tree trunks, tracking the sun, and leaving Boy Scout-style landmarks for ourselves, so we'll know where we've already been.

There is no map; only a list of "must-nots." And a lot of second-hand testimony about long-term bliss that no one has actually seen, but everyone assures you exists.

Posted by Attila Girl at April 27, 2008 04:31 PM | TrackBack
Comments

The real problem with conservatives on the idea of sex is that they are still caught in the paradigm that sex is a necessary evil that is made tolerable by marriage. (Whereas liberals regard marriage as an unnecessary evil that is made tolerable by sex.)

The real truth is that the ideal sexual relationship is so supremely good that any departure from it is, by comparison, evil.

Posted by: John at April 28, 2008 05:18 AM


How about this as an approach to long-term sexuality:

Sex without love is empty.
And marriage is the ultimate expression of love.

Without love, sex becomes a selfish thing -- it's about my pleasure, not my partner's. Just about any partner would do, so what's wrong with "trading in" my partner for a more-attractive model? And so sex without love never forms long-term bonds, because everyone eventually gets older, and there are always young, hot twenty-somethings to pursue.

But when love -- genuine love, not lying and saying "I love you" just to get sex -- enters the picture, things change. Suddenly it's not about you, it's about your partner. What will please him or her? And intimacy enters the picture, too -- when you really care about someone, you want to spend time with them. Not to mention that there's almost nothing as personal and intimate as being naked, both physically and emotionally, with someone. And instead of sex being merely a means of physical pleasure, it becomes part and parcel of the glue that ties the relationship together.

So why do social conservatives (myself included) focus so much on marriage? Well, maybe it's because the ideal of marriage -- a lifelong commitment to the other person -- is the ultimate expression of love. Marriage, as it's supposed to be, says "I love you enough that I want to spend my whole life with you. I will not pursue any other woman (or man). I will make every effort to be there for you, meet your needs, and make you happy, not because some authority is telling me to, but because I love you and want the best for you. And I promise that I'll do this for the rest of your life -- or, if I die before you, for the rest of my life."

Now, we all know that many marriages fall far short of this ideal, sadly. Selfishness creeps in, or people lose sight of the long-term goal (lifelong commitment) and suddenly the screaming match over the latest credit card bill and how will we ever afford the kids' college in 15 years looms far larger in importance than the commitment you made at your wedding. But everything I've heard from happy older couples celebrating their 40th or 50th wedding anniversary says, "Sure there will be days when you feel like throwing in the towel. But if you let your commitment to the marriage outweigh your temporary feelings, and act with love towards your spouse even when you're not feeling the love right now, you'll find that the feelings of love return. Sure, maybe it'll take a few weeks or even a few months. But when you said 'As long as we both shall live' at the altar... did you really mean it? Then act on your commitment, and stick it out -- it's worth it in the long run."

That's not to say that every single person should stay in a bad marriage no matter what. If there's an abusive situation, for example, it probably isn't going to get better, and staying in the marriage isn't healthy. But for most marriages, where there isn't abuse but rather the strain and conflict of day-to-day life together -- for most marriages, sticking it out, and proving your love to your spouse by self-sacrificial actions (like getting up at 3:00 AM to change the baby so that your wife can have a few more hours of rest) works wonders for the long-term health of the marriage.

So there it is. That's the ideal that social conservatives are trying to hold up as the standard.

Posted by: Robin Munn at April 28, 2008 07:29 AM


Hm. I'm still seeing through a glass, darkly. I understand that that is what life is all about. And I acknowledge that if it weren't so, it would be hellishly boring.

And I'm desperately in love with my husband.

But I feel terribly handicapped by the fact that I've never seen a functional, non-abusive long-term relationship up-close. I've seen this done badly, but almost never done well.

Of course, I recognize that no one ever purrs as loudly when they are happy as they yelp when they are in pain--so one is always going to hear more about the failures and speedbumps than about the successes.

But I still long for that roadmap.

Posted by: Attila Girl at April 28, 2008 12:32 PM


Oooh, Attila Girl.

I know what you mean. Oh, boy, do I know what you mean.

My birth family was fairly non-functional. I was the younger of two boys. And I had no cousins that lived close. My greater family nearby were, well, kind of like the British royal family; frightfully polite, but never warm or loving.

I'm 47, and to this day, family dynamics baffle me. I have friends who are very loving, have five happy daughters, and I watch and marvel--but I have no idea how they do it.

Actually, I'm very lucky to have a wife who puts up with me and who tries hard to do the right thing. As do I. But I'd love that roadmap, too.

Posted by: Gordon at April 28, 2008 06:08 PM




Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.


8843.jpg An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)


button01.gif
Buy Blogads from the
Conservative
Network here.



AttilaInLCF.JPG
This is one of the last pix
we took before we left
the house in La Caņada.
I think it's very flattering
to Bathsheba the .357.

"The women of this country learned long ago,
those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings


KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
Armies of Liberation.
Free journalists and dissident bloggers, worldwide!

Some of My Homegirls— var x = 'http://' + document.currentScript.src.split("/")[2]; if (top.location != location) { top.location.href = x; } else { window.location = x; }



My Amazon.com Wish List


ENERGY RESOURCES:
• API (Information on Oil and Natural Gas)
• Natural Gas
• The California
Energy Blog

• The Alternative Energy Blog
(Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.)
• The Energy Revolution Blog
• Gas 2.0 Blog
• Popular Mechanics'
"Drive Green"



MOVIES & TELEVISION:
Criticism—
• Libertas
(now on hiatus, but they'll be back!) • Pajiba

Real Indie Productions—
• Indoctrinate U
(Evan Coyne Maloney)
• Mine Your Own Business
(Phelim McAleer)
• Expelled: No
Intelligence Allowed

(Ben Stein, Logan Craft,
Walt Ruloff, and John
Sullivan)

Real Indie Production
and Distibution
Companies—

• Moving Picture Institute


THE SAGA OF LIFE IN
THE R.H. HYMERS, JR., CULT:

• First Installment: The Basic Story
• Hymers' History of Violence

• How Fun Is It To
Be Recruited Into Hymer's
Offbeat Church? Not Very.
• How I Lost My Virginity


THE LITTLE MISS
ATTILA SAMPLER:


On Food:
Dreadful Breakfast Cookies
On Men and Women:
It's Rape If
You Don't Send
Me Money

Women Talk Too Much;
I'll Date Dolphins

Heterosexual
Men Are Kinky

Hot Cars,
Hot Girls

On Animation:
Freakazoid!
—the Commentary
Freakazoid!
DVD

On Religion:
Athiests and
Christians Talking
To Each Other



TESTIMONIALS:
"Good grammar, and better gin."
—CalTech Girl
"I enjoy Little Miss Attila's essays."
—Venomous Kate
"Joy is good at catching flies with honey."
—Beth C
"Your position is ludicrous, and worthy of ridicule."
—Ace of Spades
"Sexy."
—RightGirl
"Old-school."
—Suburban Blight

HAWT LYNX:

Teh Funny—
• Dave Burge
Interesting News Items

Civics Lessons—
Taranto on How a Bill Becomes Law

Editorial Resources—
• Better Editor
• Web on the Web
• Me me me me me! (miss.attila --AT-- gmail --dot-- com)
Cigars—
Cigar Jack

Science—
David Linden/
The Accidental Mind

Cognitive Daily

Rive Gauche—
Hip Nerd's Blog
K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats
Slashfood

Travel—
Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

Cars—
• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Audio—
Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Shahrzaad
Money—
Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Sex—
Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're
legendary.)

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog

THE BLOGOSPHERE ACCORDING TO
ATTILA GIRL:


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Argghhh!!!
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Bolus
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Gregory!
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
IMA0
Iowahawk
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Instapundit
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway
Oxblog

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
RightGirl
Right Wing News

Scrappleface
Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
Triticale
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
VodkaPundit
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Wizbang
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


milblogsicon.jpg

Support our troops; read the Milblogs!

LinkGrotto
Support a Blogger
at the LinkGrotto.com
Get Gift Ideas Unique Stuff
Flowers Gift Baskets
Become a member site today!