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Is it just me, or does he seem to be proposing a model of marriage that is, basically, ownership? Outright ownership of the woman by the man?


Excellent post Greta. And that last line? Killer.

Warren, I get what you're going for here, but outright ownership isn't the model he's preaching -- but he skirts the line... If it were outright ownership, there wouldn't be the possibility of saying "no," and he at least acknowledges that they have the right -- he just saying that they should never exercise it. The difference may be academic, but it's there.

No, he's doing what so many fundamentalists do and taking that vicious piece of text from the bible about wives being subservient to their husbands and applying it to today's world.

It's things like this that make me want to hate religion, and I don't want to do that because it's a small step from hating religion to hating people who believe in religion -- and mostly, those are good people.

Fundamentalists like this bloke make it bloody hard to do so at times.


Well said. There's just one thing. I do have a lot of straight male friends who very much wish their female partners were in the mood for sex even a quarter of the time that my male friends are. And I don't know a single straight woman in the situation my male friends are.

You're right that the primary lens through which this should be viewed is how partners interact regardless of gender (and that Prager is full of crap). But it's useful and honest to acknowledge that whether we like it or not this is at least in some part a gendered issue. Understanding the entirety of a problem helps us find a solution, even if the entirety is distasteful.


Warren - I wouldn't say it's ownership, per se. More like rental of the woman's body. He heavily implies that a man's primary responsibility to his wife is having a good job so he can "afford" her. That right there raises another buttload of issues.

Julie paradox

I'm still not sure why anyone thinks someone has the right to permanently refuse sex but demand fidelity.

Actual physical problems, fair enough. Psychological problems... I'd say get help (I did myself. Eventually. My husband remained faithful but was a bit pissed off).

If you've simply decided that you're not going to have sex any more - well, you've opted out of the monogamous sexual relationship. The monogamous sexual relationship actually No Longer Exists, so expecting your partner to remain in it is a bit daft.

In Christian terms, such a refusal to have sex is breaking your marriage vows just as decidedly as having sex with someone else.

(Married in, and still attending, church, by the way)

Julie paradox

Thought of something else (I should stop and hang the washing more often. Hmmm....).

The reason he doesn't want to phrase it this way is that this is bottom-up thinking. His type of religion is a top-down religion: it's good if God says so, not the other way round.

If we start to be reasonable and appeal to these people's feelings on how things could be good while talking about how to have decent relationships, or how to treat the oppressed and the broken-hearted, then they'll expect us to do it *all* the time. They'll expect us to do it when talking about contraception, or consensual polyamory, or - gasp - homosexualness. They won't accept that God Says So unless they're used to it. So whatever you do, don't put forward arguments based on rational humanity, because then you'll have to stick to it. And we all know where that leads.

(broad-church Anglicanism, anyone?)


I think you are looking too hard for a deeper message in the writing. This is pretty obviously a plea for the "good old days" when men ruled the household and women did what they were told sexually and otherwise. The idea of "sharing a life" with a women is totally foreign. Men like that are perfectly happy to have "a passive, compliant meat puppet" because their objective is NOT to feel loved and satisfied but to get off and feel power.


Thanks, Chad and Indigo. I recognized the cant of Prager's drivel; I was just wondering if he was equating marital life with either subservience or utter domination.

I like the "rent" idea particularly; that's a good way of expressing it, sort of like the "rule" that after the third date somebody owes something to someone.


Hi Greta, I'm just over here after following the link from the Blowfish article on which I commented a few weeks ago, and I've come upon this post. I deeply appreciate it, and thank you for it.

I particularly like two things about this post: One, that you address the nuance of partaking in sex when initially "not in the mood" and how that can be valuable (removing, of course, the irrelevant and [it seems to me] misguided discussion of gender from the topic), and two, the important recognition of the danger of supposed gender differences being purported as central to the issue, summed up exquisitely by your last line.

I would also offer disagreement with Ted in that I do and have known a number of women in the position in which he describes knowing a number of men, and I myself have experienced that situation as well. The only way in which I would offer that gender may be relevant is in the way we are socialized to believe it is. These disparities may not actually exist, certainly not to the extent they are sometimes purported to, and yet we may automatically find ourselves thinking that way at times because of this very purporting. (Btw Ted, I'm not suggesting that's what you were doing — your experience obviously is that which you described, and I wouldn't dream of arguing that. I just mean that in general perhaps we make certain leaps in perspective more easily due to socialized attitudes, like that men want sex more and more often than women.)

Thank you again for this, Greta.


Nice blog--I read Part One (couldn't read both), and was disgusted. Of course men should expect sex--so should women--and rejection damages both men AND women.

I find it hilarious that he seems to believe that gender begins in the 1750s, when women turned from dangerous sex temptresses to frigid wimps. For centuries, women were the "more natural" (see childbirth and menstruation), waiting around every corner to tempt men into doing something horrible with their bodies (or, hey, their minds, right Eve?). Most guys that hear this, in my classes for example, say something like "I wish it was still like this!" Hey, guess IS!


Why do you look so frumpy? Are you married? You can't be... Says alot! :P


Sam: if you actually read, rather than just looking at the pictures, you'd know she is indeed married. She writes about it often enough.

And what the f*** does it matter what an author looks like, other than idle curiosity?

If it matters to the quality of the writing, how am I supposed to evaluate yours? Where's a picture of you?

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