Feminists are selfish lovers, apparently

// 6 November 2007

Does anybody else wonder if the Femail section of The Daily Mail exists primarily to piss women off? There’s an…ahem…interesting article featured today, written by one Dr Pam Spurr, claiming that feminism has done nothing but propagate generations of self-centred women who, when not denying their partners a shag, are so determined to get what they want in the bedroom that any sexual tryst is likely to end in frustration and disappointment.

Spurr, introduced as a “leading female theraphist,” (as if reiterating her gender validates her regressive argument), is of the belief that despite the fact that feminism “quite rightly urged women to reclaim their bodies for themselves,” it has encouraged women to be sure about what they want and need to the detriment of men:

“In my work as a life coach, agony aunt and psychologist, I regularly encounter women in their late 20s, 30s and 40s – the inheritors of the feminist revolution – with bitter regrets over relationships that have failed on one pivotal issue: the issue of sexual compromise.

And professionals such as myself are being forced to realise that feminism, with all the wonderful things it did for women, went too far with the “I will only do as I please” attitude to sex it engendered.

It has produced a generation of women who simply refuse to compromise over sexual matters with their partners. As a result, they have ruined their relationships.”

So if feminism, as Spurr claims, went “too far” by encouraging women to take responsibility for their own sexual needs, then is she asking that we return to the days where women were nothing more than elaborate cock socks? What exactly is wrong with female sexual empowerment? With the fact that we are willing to say “yes” and “harder” if we want it, and “no, not tonight” if we don’t? Is Spurr suggesting that we should be receptive to any sexual proposition put forward by our partners? That if we want to have a healthy sexual relationship that we should bend over and take it any time any place any where, unless, of course, we have been so badly influenced by the corruptive ideology that is feminism that we consider the idea “unhygienic?” It is notable that she invests women with the responsibility for the lack of compromise, that “they have ruined their relationships,” passively referring to men throughout the article as nothing more than victims of this female folly, rather than a part of this decision.

What Spurr is failing to recognise is that since the beginning of time men have been predisposed to believe “I will do as I please” during any sexual encounter, and have expected a woman’s needs to be second to their own. However, whereas women have learnt through the sexual revolution that sex is something that they are just as entitled to enjoy, and hence will actively pursue activities likely to end in their own gratification, men are still holding the archaic belief that their sexual pleasure is the most important. It is the fact that men are unwilling to “compromise” that is leading to the breakdown in relationships and not, as Spurr purports, because women are essentially selfish lovers. A compromise can only be reached when two people are amenable to the suggested alternatives, and as women are traditionally the subservient sex the reason one is yet to be reached is because men are reluctant to accept that they will need to amend their demanding, rigid attitudes.

Spurr speaks with several women, and uses these conversations to try and bolster her loosely held argument. Jennifer, 38, is the director of a marketing company, who “no man bosses around because she is her own boss.” From the outset Spurr indicates Jennifer is transgressive: self-employed and not accustomed to patriarchal rule. So what? Why Spurr assumes that the title of ‘boss’ is a predominantly male role, I do not know, but it becomes clear that poor Jennifer is about to be told that in her endeavour to establish her own business she had selfishly sacrificed her relationship. Jennifer’s husband had an affair, feeling “cold-shouldered” owing to the fact that she was preoccupied with her work and had lost interest in sex. Spurr is quick to come to the defence of the unfaithful husband, berating the ignorance of Jennifer to whom “it never occurred…that eventually he’d look elsewhere.” Although claiming she does not endorse this sort of behaviour, it transpires that in actual fact Dr Spurr does:

“Don’t misunderstand me. I never encourage or excuse infidelity. But when you hear story after story of men feeling sexually neglected by women who find it perfectly natural to put their own interests before their husband’s – and not for a good reason such as a medical issue or a traumatic event like a bereavement – I can’t help but feel that some men have little choice, bar ending the relationship.”

So, it seems ladies that the only circumstances under which it would be legitimate to refuse a fuck would be if you were involved in a dramatic car crash, during which a number of close family members died. Then, and only then, can you play the headache card, but be warned this is only valid for a very short period of time. You need to be back ready to bounce on a bell-end as soon as you’ve stopped crying if you don’t want to force your husband into the crotch of another woman. What Spurr suggests is that it’s not natural for a woman to put her own interests before that of her husband, but why is it that a husbands sexual needs should be prioritised above and beyond that of a woman’s? Was it “selfish” for Jennifer to expect her husband to understand that her libido was waning temporarily owing to pressure, and not to go dipping his wick in the nearest orifice because he felt “neglected?” I wonder what Spurr would say had the situation been reversed; if Jennifer was feeling dissatisfied as her husband was suffering with impotence and was physically unable to have sexual intercourse. No doubt Spurr would have told Jennifer there are other ways to feel satisfied, that penetration is not the be all and end all, and that she has to be careful not to undermine her husband’s masculinity at what must be a difficult time for him.

It’s really disconcerting for a seemingly educated woman such as Spurr to endorse an argument that does nothing more than consolidate the redundant belief systems that feminism has done so much to eradicate over the last century. One does wonder why such an article was commissioned in the first place? As it does nothing put promote the idea that a woman’s needs should always be second to her partner’s, and to pursue anything that is likely to have an influence on their physical relationship is more or less granting your husband permission to achieve sexual gratification from any source he seems fit. Surely, when a couple are married it’s not unusual for there to be a period of time where intercourse is not paramount, and the emotional connection and mental intimacy they presumably feel can compensate for the fact that no-one is getting a “good rub?” If Spurr is to be believed no woman can ever rest easy unless she is willing to display her best porn moves every night of the week. This is a cynical interpretation of relationships that I wish she’d kept to herself. Just another journalistic triumph under the editorship of Paul Dacre, then.

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