Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Sex Diaries

I've often felt that you can judge the quality of a man not only by the character of his friends but also by the character of his enemies. I generally operate on the assumption that if the Left hates you, then your likely to be alright till proven otherwise. With that in mind the hatred that the feminists directed towards the book The Sex Diaries by Bettina Arndt piqued my interest.

It is a shame that Australia is such small blip on the world cultural radar, because sometimes we do produce individuals which deserve a wider audience and I feel that Ms Arndt deserves more airtime than she has been currently given.

It also needs to be understood that Ms Arndt is in no way a politically or culturally conservative, she was in the forefront of the sexual revolution here in Australia and I can remember as a child here name being bandied about derogatively by sexual conservatives and she was one of Australia's first sex therapists.

Her book The Sex Diaries was the result of her research looking into the sex lives of 98 Australian couples. It's an easily readable book, with excerpts from the diaries which the participants were asked to keep about their sex lives. While the research is anecdotal and has its flaws, I feel it has some merit and is an accurate gauge of state of marriage in Australia: It makes for depressing reading. In reality the book is not a book about sex, but a book about relationships, and the sad fact is that many relationships are clearly dysfunctional.

The biggest message that has come from the book is how sexually starved the majority of men are in their relationships and how totally uncaring many of their wives are. It needs to be noted that she also deals with sexually unsatisfied women and happy couples but as other reviewers have noted it's the sexually and emotionally starved man which makes the biggest impression.

As Arndt documents; in most cases the wife starts of with a high libido but over time her libido diminishes and her response to this is to shut of sex supply to her husband. What comes across as most disconcerting however is how just callously indifferent a lot (not all) of the women are to the husband's situation. Indeed what is really off putting is how so many men try so hard to please the woman with progressively diminishing returns.(Game advocates will recognise the fallacy of the approach)

What also seems to come across in Arndt's book is how our modern culture seems to have belittled men's sexual desire while at the same time inflating the importance of women's. Women have been taught by our feminist culture that having sex when you don't feel like it is wrong. Men have to learn to accept it: And men are. Apart from the callousness of the women what struck me was just how hard men were trying to keep the marriage going.

The book isn't all moans and groans and Arndt illustrates that some marriages are are full of sex. They also tend to be the most intimate and the partners seem the most "connected". What struck me about these relationship was that each of the partners were "other focused" while in the sexless marriages one or both of the partners was completely self-focused.

Ms Arndt is a intensely pragmatic woman who can actually empathise with the situation that the men are in. She also seems to go to pains to explain how sex is important to men on an emotional level and how men perceive sexual refusal as emotional refusal as well. Her solution to the problem of a woman with low libido is for her to " just do it" for the sake of the marriage.
Her rationale being, that even if a woman is uninterested initially, she will be interested and enjoying herself in the end.

The feminist response was as predictable. Ms Arndt was accused of being an apologist for rape, sexual assault and was denigrating women, blah, blah, blah: We've heard it all before.

Here are two book reviews that are worth a read. Link 1. Link 2
Also worth reading are some of the articles which can be found at her site. She has some very good articles on divorce and the law's current anti-male prejudice.

Ms Ardnt also talks about the diminishing female libido and how to treat it. Personally I found this the weakest part of the book, but then again Mrs Arndt has not heard about Game.