March 1, 2009

What? Female narcissism?! It can't be!

XWL encounters a violation of the Althouse rule for gender research. (Note: He's reading an article that we discussed a while back when it appeared in the NYT Magazine.)

35 comments:

XWL said...

Last week in the Washington Post, Gene Weingarten and Gina Barreca discussed the same article, and she made it clear that in all aspects women were better than men with regards to their sexuality, so obviously I must be wrong about it violating your old rule.

I found that article after Michelle Malkin was poking fun at a pre-apology WaPo had run because they used an illustration of an amorous ape.

So, you get two old Althouse conversations for the price of one here (how hard do you have to try to make the WaPo ape a racist image?).

Also, pet peeve of mine, papers that reprint articles that have appeared elsewhere without indicating the article is a reprint. Damn you Times of London for making me think I was reading something fresh and new.

Jason said...

It's funny... this person writes about women's rape fantasies in the same ginger, self-conscious, hyperapologetic way that people write about race, and the way people tiptoe around the word "Jew."

Kinda silly.

Quayle said...

ahyperapologetic way that people write about race, and the way people tiptoe....

As Lawrence Summers will tell you: it is best not awake the Gods of what is and what isn't, even if it factually isn't or is.

rhhardin said...

Female love of being desired is the evolutionary complement of male low standards.

Big Mike said...

I don't think it's good thing to use the word "violation" when discussing female rape fantasies.

blake said...

Woman: Grape! Grape!
Officer: Don't you mean "rape"?
Woman: No, there were a bunch of them.

Benny Hill used that joke on his show. The laugh track seemed to think it was funny.

David said...

The article is incoherent. Probably it's because they are trying to generalize something that is so highly individual. The sexually comfortable women I have known have varied in their levels of desire and demands, but the common thread is that they didn't analyze it very much.

Narcissistic? Well, if you are narcissistic in other areas of your self, you might well be narcissistic about sex. But to generalize to all women? Ridiculous.

David said...

"Benny Hill used that joke on his show. The laugh track seemed to think it was funny."

Laugh track was right. It is funny.

TitusJustShotaLoad said...

We are going to get a foot of snow here.

I am scared. I need someone to hold me. Hold me mommy. Hold me, never let me go. Protect me mommy. Don't let the big bad snow storm hurt me.

TitusJustShotaLoad said...

Narcissism is one of the 7 deadly sins. I deplore narcissism.

traditionalguy said...

This Science of women is too funny to be taken so seriously. Everybody knows that men will never, ever, figure out how women tick. We men are just glad that our women occasionally let us in on their female narcisissm complete with their brains,their beauty and their breasts. But women will have to figure themselves out. Men really cannot do it, although we proudly act like we can to keep you around..

Great White Father George said...

Here is a deeply bizarre question from last week's NYT "Ethicist" column:

"I recognized a friend in a short video clip on an amateur pornography Web site. She is now a medical professional, wife and mother, and I doubt that she posted it. (Perhaps a former boyfriend did.) I think she would want to know it’s there, but I fear the effect on our friendship if I tell her. Maybe she’s better off not knowing: it is probably tough to get such a thing removed. Should I tell?"

This must be a phony question. Someone just happens to see this?

The answer is equally preposterous:

Tell her you saw it!

"By speaking up, you give her a measure of autonomy, a chance to do what she thinks best."

Jason (the commenter) said...

If only women would learn to get in touch with their emotions.

Joe said...

George, the correct answer is: if she's a babe and the video is hot, first make a copy and then tell her. (Do understand that dilemma here isn't telling the woman per se but to admit that the person was at a porn site. The person asking the question is hoping the answer will be the opposite of what their conscience is dictating. This the entire purpose of call in relationship shows [i.e. Dr. Laura] and most psychologists/psychiatrists--an attempt to find justification for doing the opposite of what you know you should do.)

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

More science.

PatCA said...

"...a prestigious psychiatric teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, where Chivers was a postdoctoral fellow. The genitals of the volunteers were connected to plethysmographs..."

And she got lots of subjects to volunteer?

It must be really boring in Ontario.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Be certain not to use any metallic objects in the orgasm process - that is one large magnet!

Traditional is right - women are always a mystery.

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

"Everybody knows that men will never, ever, figure out how women tick."

I haven't seen any women do that good a job either.

Darcy said...

LOL, Oligonicella.

William said...

I pride myself on being as depraved as the next guy, but rape never played a big part in my fantasy life. I think the male version of a rape fantasy is better expressed in sultan fantasies. I found it a turn on that Elvis could get women he had just met to wrestle in their underwear. It wasn't the wrestling that was so exciting; it was the fact that he could make a bizarre request and the women would do it just like that. He didn't have to go through any of that sensitive, caring guy crap. How can you ask two strangers to wrestle in their panties in a sensitive, caring way? He bullied them with his sexual magnetism and celebrity. There was no need for rape or third dates.....His real life was more fantastic than my fantasy life. However, he was by all accounts an unhappy man who died a wretched death. It leaves me illimitably sad to reflect that I have had, on balance, a better life than Elvis. That's just so wrong.

Great White Father George said...

Then there's this new play in NYC..."That Pretty Pretty; Or, The Rape Play."

NYT photo slideshow...

"A pair of radical feminist ex-strippers scour the country on a murderous rampage against right-wing pro-lifers, blogging about their exploits in gruesome detail. Meanwhile, a scruffy screenwriter named Owen tries to bang out his magnum opus in a hotel room as his best friend Rodney ("The Rod") holds forth on rape and other manly enterprises. When Owen decides to incorporate the strippers into his screenplay, the boundaries of reality begin to blur, and only a visit from Jane Fonda can help keep worlds from blowing apart. Sheila Callaghan's THAT PRETTY PRETTY; OR, THE RAPE PLAY is a violently funny and disturbing excavation of the dirty corners of our imaginations."

With Jello-O Brand Gelatin

; Or,

Synova said...

So...

This guy I worked with... incredibly good looking, hard body, and just plain nice, too... He screwed up. Bad. (A pilot's wife... oopsie!) And so we're sitting at work and I'm a sympathetic ear and a girl, too, probably safe by being massively pregnant at the time, and so I'm hearing all about his, "what do I do, how do I get her back" talking about his wife and how he'd gone to her mom's where she was with their kid and tried to prove how much he loved her... by NOT trying to have sex, by making sure she knew he loved *her* and wasn't just horny.

And I thought... that was all wrong. That what he really needed to do was to tell her how he couldn't even see her without imagining her naked, that she was the sexiest woman he knew, that her breasts were perfect. And he should tell her he wants to put another of his babies in her womb.

But I didn't... even if I should have. Because I wasn't very old, then. And because I didn't trust what I felt in my gut because the culture I lived in told me the same thing that it told him... that he had to try to win his wife back by not wanting to have sex with her.

theobromophile said...

Still on the subject of narcissism, she talked about research indicating that in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies centre less on giving pleasure and more on getting it.

If you need the "women aren't horrible creatures" justification, it's right here: women don't have fantasies about giving pleasure for the same reason that people living in Southern California don't have fantasies about sunny weather.

In real life, the vast majority of men experience a great deal of pleasure, very reliably, from sexual encounters. Between, inter alia, physiological issues (vaginisimus, primary anorgasmia, etc), hormonal problems (especially menopause, later in life), and the side effects of medication (many of which interfere with pleasure), women's responses are all over the map. In fact, even women who regularly orgasm do so only about half of the time.

To me, to call women's fantasies about actually experiencing pleasure to be "narcissistic" is like saying that people in the third world are "gluttons" for having fantasies about eating three meals a day.

The rape fantasies, on the other hand, are the result of having read too many of Ayn Rand's sex scenes.

Jason said...

There is nothing at all funny about rape.

Well, unless you're being raped by a clown.

Donna B. said...

Synova, you nailed it -- "what he really needed to do was to tell her how he couldn't even see her without imagining her naked, that she was the sexiest woman he knew, that her breasts were perfect. And he should tell her he wants to put another of his babies in her womb."

So-called "rape fantasies" are all about desire and trust. This man desires me so much that he cannot help himself, yet I can trust him not to hurt me. It's that second part that is often left unexplained, especially to men.

There's also an element of "I trust him to protect me from other dangers."

That's the trust that finally lets a woman give all... it is a submission thing - yes, most men could easily physically hurt a woman.

Steven said...

Theobromophile —

Prostitutes are able to charge men significant amounts of money just for the opportunity to perform cunnilingus. If a woman is having trouble getting sexual pleasure, it seems likely that it's because of her own choices and inhibitions about partners, not the unavailability of sexual pleasure.

Women aren't starving Zimbabweans dreaming about three regular meals. They're dieters sitting in the parking lot of a Baskin Robbins, $20 in Basking Robbins' gift certificates in their purse, choosing to dream about eating an ice cream cone instead of just getting one. They have other priorities than enjoying themselves, and are perfectly willing to forgo pleasure to meet them.

--

On a related note:

A few years back, a FOAF was complaining about how shallow men were, that just because of her weight they wouldn't date her. I pointed out that there were plenty of "BBW admirers" out there, how about trying to contact one? Her response was that any man who found a fat girl attractive was by definition a weirdo who wasn't suitable boyfriend material.

Well, if a person's definition of suitable boyfriend material is "someone who finds me unattractive", yeah, she's going to have a rough time on the dating scene. But it's not because there's anything wrong with men or society. She's chosen her misery.

(Seriously, who ever heard of a man rejecting a potential partner as unsuitable because she found balding, overweight, middle-aged guys attractive?)

Great White Father George said...

The absence of narcissism on display:

Pas de deux du baiser.

   His kiss?
Bliss, miss—
       abyss.
       x
       a
Furn(i)ce.

(www.thewinger.com)

Anthony said...

This man desires me so much that he cannot help himself, yet I can trust him not to hurt me.

I think I figured that one out after watching that one movie scene with. . . .Kathleen Turner? The one where the guy breaks a door down to get to her and she's getting all hot 'n bothered. Women seem to think that's like the hottest sex scene in the movies.

mariner said...

synova:

"But I didn't... even if I should have. Because I wasn't very old, then. And because I didn't trust what I felt in my gut because the culture I lived in told me the same thing that it told him... that he had to try to win his wife back by not wanting to have sex with her."

Isn't it interesting how much of getting along in our society consists of strenuously denying what we all know?

mariner said...

re: "Ayn Rand" "sex scenes"

There are two terms that should NEVER be in the same sentence^^^^^^^^paragraph.

theobromophile said...

Steven,

???????? Seriously, WTF?

Did you just use random, anecdotal evidence (i.e. the actions of a small minority of men) to extrapolate to the 6 billion humans who inhabit this planet? Does the phrase "bell curve" have no place in your lexicon?

If a woman is having trouble getting sexual pleasure, it seems likely that it's because of her own choices and inhibitions about partners, not the unavailability of sexual pleasure.

I take it that you haven't seen Kinsey. Watch it, then consider that the problem that Mac's character experienced manifests itself in a lot of ways - from nerve damage, PCOS, diabetes, etc to the formation and location of the clitoris (there are some women who have gone so far as to have surgery to move it!) or the existence - or lack thereof - of the G-spot.

Strange that you should take a comment that was based entirely on female physiology, and, without rebutting a single assertion in it, go straight to frigidity as the underlying problem. Cruel, too.

Steven said...

Six billion? I'm pretty sure the article was talking about women in the developed world; I certainly wasn't making any claims about, say, women in Saudi Arabia.

And frigidity? I'm pretty sure I didn't say one word about frigidity. I talked about priorities. The dieter in the Baskin Robbins' parking lot has reasons to not eat the ice cream, and none of them involve indifference to or fear of the pleasures of ice cream. They involve actively valuing things more than the pleasure.

There are a tiny handful of cases where cunnilingus is not physiologically able to induce orgasm in a woman. Outside of that handful, orgasm is a matter of personal priorities. A woman who put up, say, a Craigslist ad seeking a man to perform cunnilingus would get one. The only thing stopping her is her choice not to do so, and the many (often valid) reasons for that choice.

theobromophile said...

ROFLMAO.

Ya know, Steven, most men have a really easy time getting off from blowjobs, but Cialis and Viagra are widely popular pharmaceuticals. So, in your world, women's path from kissing to orgasm is a cobbled walkway through a lovely park, punctuated only by the slew of dollar bills that willing men throw at her for walking down it, whereas men face treacherous seas, the passage of which is only possible with the aid of the USS Cialis?

If that's your world, I don't even want to know how you rationalise the existence of the Rabbit.

By the way, thanks are due for moving us from the illegal (i.e. prostitutes) to the merely "totally sketchy" (i.e. Craigslist). Did it ever occur to you, my dear boy, that women might want a sexually fulfilling relationship - no random Craigslist oral, nor prostitution, involved?

If you're on board with that, what would possess you to argue with me?

theobromophile said...

By the way, before pontificating out of your posteriour, would you at least google yourself a few statistics? You might actually learn something about the female body.