He took a deep breath before adding: “I know what a 50-50 marriage should be like. But what is 50-50 sex supposed to be like?”
Equal time on laundry with each spouse feeling like the other isn’t helping out quite enough. She doesn’t make quite enough for them to live on, he never gets the kitchen quite clean enough.
“The more powerful you are in your marriage, and the more responsibility you have in other areas of your life, the more submission becomes sexy,” Schwartz says. “It’s like: ‘Let me lose all that responsibility for an hour. I’ve got plenty of it.’ It’s what you can afford once you don’t live a life of submission.”
“Empowered” women crave being over-powered, yet they fight against any sort of submission every day in every other way.
So how do unplugged men respond? [emphasis mine]
“He was trying to do what I wanted,” she explained, “but he was so . . . careful. I don’t want him to ask, ‘Are you O.K.?’ I want him not to care if I’m O.K., to just, you know, not be the good husband and take charge.” And yet, she said, his caring and his concern that she’s O.K. with what he’s doing are what she loves so much about him in every other area of their marriage, ranging from which brand of toilet paper to buy to what to feed their children to where their money is spent and which nights each of them can stay late at work. “I don’t want him to take charge like that with anything else!” she said.
Got it. We’re supposed to take charge when she wants us to take charge.
Which means we’re not supposed to be in charge.
“It’s nice,” he said about the sex they have. “It’s not superhot all the time, but it’s really nice. I’m attracted to her, and I like being with her, and I’m very happy with our sex life. I don’t know what she expects. If I don’t clean up the bathroom, if I don’t give her equal time with her work, if I make a decision without consulting her, she wouldn’t want that. I’m so used to interacting with her as an equal — and I also want that — but I like what we have, and occasionally I like getting the other stuff on the Internet. Isn’t being a good husband and father and wanting to have semirespectful sex with my wife enough? Before we got married, we always said we’d have a 50-50 marriage, and you’d think that would be great for our sex life, but instead it’s the one area where we’re having trouble. Everything else is great. [ed. note: doubtful, expect divorce papers soon] It’s the sex we don’t agree on.”
What’s happening is that our innate impulses as men and women have become verboten in day-to-day life but “roles” we’re supposed to play in the bedroom. What’s supposed to be the raw culmination of who we always are is now the aberration, the primitive exception to our more “enlightened” “gender-neutral” division of chores and responsibilities.
Modern women “want” gender-neutered men in every area except for one, men who turn their innate masculine natures on and off at the behest of their wives. Be a seamstress at 9 but my badass gladiator at 10.
Honey, is it okay if I start dominating you yet?
Obviously, it doesn’t work that way. But not unlike the female Marines who belong on the front lines but can’t do three pull-ups, that doesn’t stop us from trying.
As demonstrated by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, women crave the very submission they so vocally despise. Women want men, but modern women insist that men be men only when they want us to be men.
Which isn’t being a man.
In prior eras, men weren’t ashamed of who they were. Some nights they might have come home and really given it to their wives. Other nights, maybe they’d had enough “rough stuff” fighting to survive all day so they expressed their softer side at home with loving sweetness and tenderness.
Either way, it was on his terms, and “performance anxiety” was the least of his worries. Today it’s all about hypergamy:
“We use X number of positions and various forms of oral and manual stimulation, and we’re happy as clams,” he said. “But a lot of people think it’s supposed to be more exciting than this.”
For every woman knows that there’s something more exciting going on somewhere, and if hubby doesn’t stack up against Christian Grey, hubby may well lose the wife, kids, house, dog, and find himself living month-to-month in the Fleabag Motel paying over half his salary in child support.
So much for his home being his castle, his sanctuary from the rough-and-bustle of the corporate world. Is it his turn to load the dishwasher? Did he forget to ask his wife to pick up some cat food? Can he work late this Thursday, or is it Tracy’s night to hustle to make more green? He’s tired but wants to spend some time with his wife before going to sleep, but he’d like to be more low-key tonight and that bores her. Better just hit the ‘net instead.
You see, gender roles are a societal construct. Just assuming that your wife will do the laundry would be oppressive because she needs sanctuary from her corporate job, too. You’ve got to negotiate, compromise, share responsibility for everything, cooperate, and communicate. Perpetual flux, vagueness, flexibility, complication, and shades of gray. Do everything and anything to find balance.
Except for the simple option: each of you doing what you’re naturally inclined to do.
For as much as the woman in the first quote seeks out power, she obviously needs for her man to shield her from it, to “lose all that responsibility”, to just be feminine.
However, she’s not going to get what she wants, not unless she’s really willing to let go. She wants her husband to be a man on her terms, but her terms are inherently downright emasculating, which means she can’t really have a man.
She’s exhausted, he’s confused. She sends signals he doesn’t understand. He’s confused by her indifference. They’re both “in charge”, and neither one of them will ever be able to just relax.
Unless, they wake up to the obvious and she gets #backtothekitchen.