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The Happy Feminist

I can't speak for other people's religious beliefs, but certainly in terms of what our secular right should be, it's very simple:

I do not have the right to invade someone's body against his or her will for my own sexual gratification. I do have the right not to have someone invade my body against my will for his or her own sexual gratification.

As far as women using withholding sex to manipulate men, I have a couple of observations: (1) I bet a lot of men perceive that as the woman's motivation even when that is not the case; and (2) Don't forget that women are (morally) entitled to sex within marriage as much as men are. The Jewish tradition actually places the obligation on the HUSBAND to ensure that his wife is satisfied by having sex with her a certain number of times per week. And don't forget the plight of poor Mrs. Roper in "Three's Company," whose husband never had sex with her to never ending disappointment.

The Happy Feminist

Sorry, Mary, that last comment of mine wasn't in response to you at 10:43. I think you are right on when you say:

To me if a man "made" me have sex because he just wants it and I really really didn't feel good or was just overwhelmed or whatever, but if he used his "biblical authority" in marriage -- that is just as bad to me as if he physically forced himself on me.

I agree. I can't imagine going through something like that. Mental or psychological coercion is not illegal, however (and I am not sure how we could make it such), except for very specific cases like blackmail.

Zan

Ya, Mary. I hope I clarified myself, better in the third comment. I often say things I don't mean. ;-)

In the Christian faith a man is supposed to love his wife as his own body and pressuring sex on her when she is not feeling up to it is wrong. I say no when I'm menstrating, but I usually don't have to say anything because my husband "just knows." I think a lot of evangelicals forget that the Christian man is supposed to be incontrol of himself. Just because he is married, it doesn't mean that he should lose all control of his sexual urges.What about when you are post-partum. You are supposed to refrain from intercourse for 6 weeks. Husbands should have control and common sense in this area. I guess I didn't realize this until I met my husband who is not from the extreme Christian circles.

Zan

I completely agree with you, Happy, about women being satisfied in the marriage bed. If a husband truly loves his wife, he will try to the best of his ability to do this.

Mary

Happy, I agree with your observations. Sorry if I'm wandering in this thread, but another point about women being forced into their so-called Biblical role is that the women are told by their culture that if they say no to their husband no matter the reason that they are using sex to somehow manipulate men. For these women any time they don't "meet their husbands needs" they're taught that they are being purely selfish and manipulative. I'm making general observations that are not true of all Christian marriages (Zan and me) but it seems to be an increasing trend that women are taught to submit every aspect of their body, mind, and soul to men who are not being taught to love their wives in a Christ-like manner.

Mary

No prob Zan!

Zan

I do know women who use sex as a tool to keep their husband in submission. I have some friends who brag and joke about it. This is not cool! Men use sex to express love, more so than women, and that must be so humiliating for a husband. I guess I never thought about the popular idea going around that saying 'no' at anytime is manipulative. What should Christian women do, Mary, who are in these kind of extreme situations?

Mary

Zan, I've sent you an email. I didn't want to wander off the topic more than I already had. I would however be happy to to share my answers to your question, What should Christian women do who are in these kind of extreme situations, to anyone interested.

K.A.

There is still such a burden placed on women when it comes to being seen as deserving objects of sexual abuse. Whether it be a contract of marriage used as a means of justification for rape or positing that how she dresses in public could be an open invitation, there still seems to be this notion of excusability on the man's part if a woman doesn't play by society's archaic rules. That's why women aren't afforded the same outrage in response to sexual assaults as, say, a child would be afforded.

I left a response on the Amazon message board for The Secret, as I was trying to point out its utter stupidity. I came across a topic explaining how the guy promoting the book implied that a child being attacked by a pedophile was somehow attracting it, according to the laws of The Secret! What struck me was not just how horrific and stupid this was, but that the person who posted the thread had to emphatically point out in the subject line that the Jessica Lunsford in question was not a woman, but a CHILD! As if the outrage wouldn't be potent enough had she been a grown woman who may, indeed, have put out rape-vibes. The responses to my observation about society at large as embodied in that one statement were off-the-wall frightening, to say the least. And the craziest ones were from a WOMAN. There are still women who believe that other women who break certain social "rules" are somehow more deserving of a sexual assault than other targets of prey.

Check out the message board on the bottom of The Secret's Amazon page. You really have to see this lady's response to believe it.

The Happy Feminist

Of course, those who believe that marital rape shouldn't be a crime are saying it is okay to force sex on a woman who IS following all the rules (or perhaps they are saying she is not following the rules because she shouldn't be saying no to sex). In any case, it seems that forced sex is a woman's justifiable lot if she asserts herself in any way, such as going out by herself or making her wishes known within her marriage.

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