Feminism Makes You Bad in Bed, According to 'Men's Health' — But It's The Opposite of the Truth
It's true: Hell hath no fury like a feminist scorned, especially when a recent article in Men's Health points to feminism as the reason men are dissatisfied in bed. In the article, noted sexpert Dr. Pam Spurr faithfully reminds us that “in the past few decades, women have learnt that orgasms, like voting and equal pay, are their right." Once she's done stating the obvious, both Spurr and Men's Health then proceed to tell us the problem with this thing we call equality where it applies to the bedroom:
This tide of female emancipation has led to a “princess-and-the-pea syndrome” – her “pea” gets all the attention, while everything else gets sidelined.
“The pea’s demands will eclipse those of your penis,” warns Spurr. So stand up for your rights, man!
Let me get this straight — for starters, women are considered "princesses" (AKA overly demanding of attention) in the bedroom because we're asking that our orgasm be a priority. And on top of that, asking for our needs to be fulfilled apparently takes away from the fulfilling of his needs. Are we on a serious time crunch here or something? And all this coming from a female sexpert.
But this isn't the article's only problem. Among the "15 Ways to Turn a Good Girl Bad," Men's Health suggests withholding sex if your female partner gets "sexually defensive or shy," turning her around to face your feet when she isn't in the mood, or signing her up for a Pilates course if she's feeling a little loose downstairs. All of these are terrible ideas that are bound to drive a wedge in your relationship, but more importantly, they all fail consider one important detail — these aren't your decisions, men! You can sign us up for Pilates courses all you want, but that doesn't mean we're going to attend, and try as you might to deny it, you're not our only option for sexual pleasure.
Clearly Men's Health has missed the mark when it comes to doling out sex advice, but giving men this kind of advice is also highly problematic since it encourages them to take back the power women have only begun to claim in the bedroom. What is more, it presumes that feminism is an evil monster whose sole intent is to sideline men in bed. (Are they the only ones who missed Emma Watson's speech at the UN? Feminism is about gender equality!)
In fact, certain studies suggest that feminism can actually make for a better sex life. According to a Sept. 25 study in the journal Sex Roles, led by Yale University's Lisa Rosenthal, Ph.D., the assumption that men must take charge in the bedroom can actually decrease one's sexual confidence:
If men believe that men should dominate sexually, this may prevent them from feeling open or comfortable discussing sexual behavior and protection with their partners or asking questions about things they may not know.
When put into action, then, Men's Health's plea for men to take back control of the bedroom could actually lead to a less safe and less enjoyable sexual experience. The fact remains that sex is usually more satisfying when both partners feel open and secure.
This is exactly the kind of environment that feminism allows for — one in which both partners' needs are prioritized and desires are met. This notion is reinforced by Samhita Mukhopadhyay, editor of the blog Feministing.com, in an interview with The Globe and Mail. According to Mukhopadhyay:
[Feminists] have better sex because they like their bodies; they know what they want, ask for it and walk away when their partners aren’t accountable; and they don’t define their self-worth through couplehood, which can make for softer breakups.
It is possible, then, for sex to be pleasurable for both partners and empowering for women in the process. Whether or not this is the current case, it can and should be a reciprocal endeavor. And what Men's Health seriously overlooks is the fact that men need only speak up if they feel they're desires aren't being met. There is no need to try to regain some sort of control "without her even noticing." Of course, what a woman does in the bedroom is her decision, but chances are that, if her desires are satisfied, she'll be happy to return the favor.
It is possible, then, for sex to be pleasurable for both partners and empowering for women in the process.
Still, men should not disregard the fact that feminism can make for a more connected and liberating sexual experience. So instead of viewing it as a threat à la Men's Health, perhaps men should begin to view feminism as a way to enhance their sex life. If hell hath no fury like a feminist scorned, imagine what can happen with a feminist satisfied...