Recommended, Sex
comments 130

A Modest Defence of the Missionary Position

In our culture of sexual permissiveness, of free and open pornography, it might do well to occasionally remind ourselves that the missionary position remains the go-to for the vast majority of us. At a time when sexuality and gender are being hotly debated in the media, across campuses, high schools, and even primary schools (my grade three daughter recently expressed anxiety about feeling pressured to decide whether or not she was bi, or rather “B. I.,” as she called it), we sometimes forget that sex is also about actually having it. And for most of us, having it means that we’re going to be in the very ordinary missionary position, at least for a good portion of the time.

It’s true that vanilla is rarely anyone’s favourite flavour, but nobody dislikes it. There is of course much to be said for all the other flavours. But there is something comfortable, something honest and homely about vanilla. Comfort food. As a woman, this is especially meaningful to me. In the post-#MeToo, third wave feminist climate, it often feels as though, in order to be an ethical progressive women, I need to search out and identify aspects of our society that are sexist, oppressive, unfair. Much of this takes the form of critiquing tradition, which we view as largely inhibitive and repressive. Pointing out oppression, raising consciousness, is women’s strategy for getting out from under the patriarchy. “The Future is Female” signals that it’s our turn to be on top.

In this light, the missionary position might be read as an instance of masculine oppression—and sometimes it is. Women are literally pressed, after all, underneath the weight of masculine will and power. In her magisterial work The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, one of the matriarchs of modern feminism, describes, somewhat alarmingly, all penetrative sex as “a kind of rape.” “The bed,” she writes, “has always been accepted as a ‘service’ for a woman for which the male thanks her with gifts or guarantees of her keep: but to serve is to give herself up to a master; there is no reciprocity at all in this relationship.” Just close your eyes and think of England, as the saying goes. The attitude expressed by Beauvoir here is now embedded not only in radical feminism, but in mainstream culture and media. A visit to Wikipedia will tell you that the missionary position is a bad idea for losing your virginity. “You cannot do anything but lay [sic] there and take it.” This echoes Beauvoir herself: “It is he who has the aggressive role and she who submits to his embrace.” The woman’s position, she writes, “leaves the male means to relieve himself on a body that his muscular force permits him to reduce to his mercy. Since she is object, her inertia does not profoundly alter her natural role: to the extent that many men are not interested in whether the woman who shares their bed wants coitus or only submits to it.” Man on top. Aggressive. Powerful. Conquering. Possessing.

If we believe these things about human sexuality and about the way we so often experience it, we might want to consider the behaviour of bonobo monkeys, the only other primates to regularly use the missionary position. The bonobos are a matriarchal species—the only matriarchal primate species, including us sapiens. They are also an uncommonly peaceful primate species (again, including sapiens). This doesn’t mean that they don’t have violent conflict. They are primates, after all! But they do have less of it than the rest of us. And their sexual intimacy is, it seems, linked to their relatively low rates of violence. This shouldn’t surprise us if we think of the missionary position not as something oppressive or without reciprocity, but as the posture that lends itself to the most reciprocity because of its unique face-to-face nature. It’s the position that has the most potential for eye contact, for intimate connection, for joy as well as pleasure.

Sex, for the most part, is supposed to feel nice enough while it’s happening. But a part of the enjoyment of it, even a very large part, is the sweetness in remembering these intimate encounters. The secret pleasure of recollecting a moment of tenderness with a sexual partner is its own kind of eroticism. If one can call to mind a loving caress, a glance of intimacy, then the sexual act takes on more significance than an instinctual—compulsive or ruthless—quest for pleasure or for conquest. Even with a new partner, it’s in those face-to-face encounters where moments of connectedness happen, the moments when passion is deepened into something of a more tender nature, and can transform sex into something of immense value because its memory holds enduring erotic pleasure.

Early psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and his pupil, Wilhelm Stekel, relay stories of sexual neurosis in women, the compulsive repetition and reliving of traumatic sexual encounters, most of which involve women who are unable to cope with feelings of guilt or of regret surrounding sexual encounters rather than with outright sexual trauma because of rape or assault. Stekel describes women who psychologically repeat the ecstasy of their first sexual encounters, and then experience debilitating shame, crying fits, and phobias. These are not happy memories. While the extreme cases of female sexual neuroses that Stekel’s research outlines seem to be less common in our more permissive age, this does not suggest that women have stopped experiencing sex as a psychologically traumatic event.

Kate Julian’s recent essay for the Atlantic, “Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?,” arrives at many of same conclusions as Stekel’s early twentieth century research. Memories of the experience of sex are often forgettable at best, at worst, traumatic. A hookup rarely leads to great sex. It’s usually awkward or, what is hardly better than awkward, mechanical. Yet even awkward sex is preferable to painfully awkward sex. Largely because of the ubiquity of pornography, more and more initial sexual encounters involve things that are commonplace online, but less common for us everyday folks. In Stekel’s research, we read of young women surprised by the very basics of the sexual act itself, the feel, even the sight, of a penis caused confusion and trauma; today, young women are often surprised by things that figure predominantly in porn: choking, for instance, or anal penetration. Recollecting a physically painful or unexpectedly degrading experience isn’t likely to inspire great affection for sex, or for the people one has it with. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, about the current sex recession. Young people, Julian writes, decide to abstain from sex and dating “as if they were taking a sabbatical from an unfulfilling job.” One of the young women Julian interviewed, a 33 year-old who is constantly disappointed by the dating world says, “ ‘I want good sex.’ Or at least, she added, ‘pretty good sex.’”

I am not against people having casual sex. This isn’t an essay on prudery or on morals. I am against people having bad sex. Perhaps it is more accurate to say I find something immoral in having unhappy, joyless sex. Life is hard, and comically short. There is a kind of moral imperative for us to take seriously one of the greatest joys about being human. To do otherwise is a form of squandering the unlikeliness of our own existence. Erotic joy is not something we should take lightly, certainly the serious-minded poets did not. Shakespeare was never one to shy away from representing lust or aggression or the manipulation of sexual power, but he consistently holds romantic sexual love in high esteem—perhaps the highest; the union from which all social order flows. Shakespeare’s contemporary, John Donne, though he became Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and one of England’s greatest theologians, never left off writing love poetry; it was as serious to him as were the ideas of justice, grace, and redemption. Our erotic nature is the very foundation of human civilization, which is grounded in the bonds of affection and mutual care that result from the promptings of our sexual instincts combined with deeper emotions of love, self-giving, esteem, and friendship. If we view sex as the fulfillment of our natural instincts, then we really have no grounds to take offence at sexual harassment, or even sexual violence, since it would simply and unashamedly be the expression of male animal sexual aggression. It is rightly unthinkable to define our sexual nature as wholly instinctive. To do so would puts us at the mercy of appetite and invites brutality.

In her discussion of female heterosexuality, Beauvoir begins her analysis of sex from a place of resistance, but she concludes with a much more subtle understanding of female sexuality—throughout her work, Beauvoir demonstrates her brilliance when she describes women as they are, not as how she wishes them to be. Sexual pleasure for the women, she writes, “is a kind of spell; it demands total abandon.” For a woman, this means abandoning herself to her desires. This is complex for women because the deepest female desire is for a man to see her as the object of his desire; she desires to be desired. A man’s will must assert itself in order to have the flesh he covets. But a woman’s desire is to abandon her self, her subjectivity, to be viewed as an object by the man without losing herself in the process. It is a tricky business for a woman to abandon herself in the arms of a man; there is a danger that she won’t be respected and won’t be restored undamaged. To mitigate this risk, we often treat sex as just bodily pleasure, individual gratification. But protection of oneself comes at the cost of a calculating self-interest, a sexual ruthlessness that is masculine in its aggressive search for conquest and pleasure. This might often lend itself to “not bad” sex, but probably does little to inspire erotic memories of good sex.

What I’m speaking of here, as a key component to women’s sexuality, is feminine submission. I realize that in our culture the idea of positive female submission is anathema among correct-thinking progressives. This is of course largely because insecure men have taken advantage of women, and women have often been socialized into meek agreeableness at the cost of self-expression and agency. Because it can go so easily wrong, submission is a great risk. And it is true that it often ends in pain, which leads to cynicism. But this is exactly why it requires fortitude and courage to accomplish.

The risk inherent in submission is also perhaps why we so often don’t expect it of ourselves, or why we rationalize it as an unattractive posture; it’s hard, and frightening. Biologically and historically women have always paid a high price for sex: we’re at risk for more sexual violence, more serious effects of diseases, not to mention unwanted pregnancies. Historically, sex for women was thought of as dangerous, and for good reason! A woman had to be cautious about to whom she gave herself. The emancipation from motherhood and reliable ways to protect ourselves from diseases have allowed women to enjoy casual sex in ways that were unthinkable in previous centuries. We’ve made sex “fair.” Yet risk-free, guilt-free sex has often come at the cost of good sex precisely because we no longer taste the exposure to another, the vulnerability, the existential hazard of giving ourselves wholeheartedly to our desire to give ourselves away. “Safe sex.” How boring!

Only rarely does a casual hookup lend itself to a sexual encounter worth remembering with a secret smile and a happy shiver. It is in trusting, loving relationships where a woman feels free to submit to her desire for submission that she discovers new depths of herself precisely because she surpasses the limits of her own will. Men discover new depths of themselves when they feel that the fulfillment of their will occurs through the women; the man too must surpass the limit of himself in order to satiate his desire by finding its end in another, in her. His aggression finds its denouement in her yielding. For him she is the call and the response. For her he is the one who makes her feel, in a sense, universal, most like a woman, when she lets go of herself and experiences his urgency as part of her body; most like a woman when she abandons herself to her own self-giving eroticism. She is on top and at bottom at once.

It’s no wonder that the ancients spoke of sex as the mystery of one flesh—or rather, it is exactly that: a wonder. A woman must consent to give herself to a man, just as the man must feel the submission of the woman as an act of generosity that allows him to experience the release of his own sexual energy, his own active virility. This is both a universal and deeply personal experience, an elemental encounter with something profoundly, simply, comfortably, ordinarily human. When it goes wrong, it goes awfully wrong. When it goes right, it’s one of the sweetest parts about being alive. When it goes right, one recognizes oneself as the other in the sexual act itself. The man reciprocates the soft smile of a woman with his own tenderness; the women feels the man’s power as her own power. The differences felt between the sexes are seen not as a battle, not as a frustration or as a competition, not as an inconvenience to self-actualization and agency, nor as sexual androgyny, but as the very foundation of human harmony and civilization, nature’s way of revealing herself within ourselves.

“She’s all states, and all princess, I. / Nothing else is.” The opening two lines to the final stanza of Donne’s poem “The Sun Rising” are perfectly balanced in their meter and meaning. The female position comes first, the male position is the response. She is the state; he the ruler. A feminist reading might be tempted to criticize these lines as yet another instance of patriarchal control of women, but to do this would be to do nothing more than pervert the poet’s honest declaration of wonder in sexual union into something resentful, petty, and self-serving. It would reveal the reader’s own emotional meanness, not the poem’s beauty. The setting of Donne’s short poem is immensely private: two lovers within their bedcurtains as the morning sun peeps in through the window. Yet Donne makes this moment political, this is the foundation of human organization, of states, of rulers, of civilization. And then he makes it universal by connecting it to the sun and the cosmos: “Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere, / This bed thy center is, these walls, thy sphere.” The lovers in the poem feel as though they’ve become the center of the universe, a feeling shared universally by all lovers everywhere.

“The ancients,” writes Camus in The Rebel, “even though they believed in destiny, believed primarily in nature, in which they participated in wholeheartedly. To rebel against nature amounted to rebelling against oneself. It is butting one’s head against a wall.” There is a kind of tragic heroism in rebellion. And a kind of deeply human beauty in it—rebellion, too, seems to be our nature. But there is also a uniquely human courage in participating in nature wholeheartedly, with abandon. The irony is that what we often consider the most boring, the most quotidian, the most comically old-fashioned, and unremarkably ordinary way to have sex with another is also the way we encounter our deepest selves because we transcend ourselves to find union with another.

 

Marilyn Simon is a Shakespeare scholar and university instructor. She is currently working on a book on Shakespeare, Eros, and Female Agency.

130 Comments

  1. David Franklin says

    “A hookup rarely leads to great sex.” I can’t imagine very many men who would write such a sentence. I’ve had some hookup sex that has been pretty amazing, and I have lots of friends – mostly gay men – who have had the same experience.

    While this is an interesting article – and there’s a lot to be said for linking sex with an emotional connection – she might at least nod to the fact that men and women are wired differently when it comes to these matters. The emotional dimension of sex looms very large for women, but less so for men – and the difference is easily explicable through evolutionary biology.

    Consider the stereotypes when it comes to the gay and lesbian communities. “What does a lesbian bring to a second date?” the old joke goes: “A U-Haul.” By contrast I know many gay men who have had literally thousands of sexual partners and generally find the experience gratifying. In both cases, we have a glimpse into what unrestrained male and female sexuality look like. As Dan Savage once said of the male propensity for promiscuity, straight men “would if they could, but they can’t, because women won’t.”

    • Alan Geal says

      @ David Franklin.

      There may be much truth in your words but as Zhuangzi wrote: A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean. And another:

      One man’s dream is oft some other’s nightmare,
      While visions render saints and madmen joy;
      And sometimes smoothing tongues beguile to snare,
      That else with scorn would tender hopes destroy.

      For my part, I’ll take the woman’s part.

    • Stephanie says

      Can it really be called “great sex” if only the man found it great? Certainly to qualify as “great” the sentiment ought to be shared, honestly, not just her saying so.

      • David Franklin says

        Isn’t that kind of proving my point? If women have a harder time enjoying casual sex than men, it shows that the sexes are wired differently.

        • Roberta says

          If you really think about it, you’ll realize it actually shows that straight men are rarely satisfying sexual partners.

      • William Blake says

        What is it men in women do require?
        The lineaments of Gratified Desire.
        What is it women do in men require?
        The lineaments of Gratified Desire.

    • Diego López Alonso says

      You are assuming that men share a common unique sexual behaviour (that I have called ‘philandering man’) which is far to be granted (see my mini-review Alonso, 2017, Psichol. Behav. Sci. Int. J. 4, 3). The title of my article is ‘The myth of the philandering man and the crafty woman’ where, taking empirical data from many sources, I show that although evolutionary biology might explain the promiscous and indiscriminate sexual behaviour of human males, actually it is not supporting this explanation. Conversely, most men engage in long-term ‘liaisons’ (pair-bond) and keep essentially sexual fidelity.

  2. JamieM says

    “my grade three daughter recently expressed anxiety about feeling pressured to decide whether or not she was bi”

    This is the most disturbing part of the article.

    • Defenstrator says

      Agreed. Save sex talk and identity for when kids are actually going through puberty.

    • Bruce van der Graaf says

      This does not seem likely to improve. Grabbing vulnerable kids and putting them in a box is child abuse. Let them grow up and a very small number will choose the 🏳️‍🌈 box. Let them enjoy their smut free innocence as long as they can.

    • Are 8 year olds now seen as sexual in American society? That’s terrifiying.
      This is the kind of thing I hear about as a parody of right-wing fears. In just a few years “oh, that will never happen” morphs into “you’ll all a bunch of bigots for opposing it.”

      Here’s a clue: if you have to teach a child what sexuality is, she doesn’t have an “orientation” yet. When she’s biologically ready, she’ll know whether she’s gay, straight, or bi completely on her own.

  3. Aylwin says

    @David Franklin. Excellent comment. A very good article, beautifully written and argued, but missing your fundamental, if disheartening, perspective.

  4. RexKnows says

    Enjoyed the article – thanks!

    Read a good book on BDSM with a whole chapter on the “gift of submission” – it’s a voluntary transfer of power, not forced. Think that concept is lost on most people. And for the record missionary can be fantastic for both parties – folks just need to do a little research on human anatomy and stop being hesitant sticks in the mud. Have some goddamn fun in the sack already! Not everything needs to be infused with our garbage politics.

    • Exactly what I was thinking while reading the article @RexKnows, there is no woman more powerful and fulfilled than a committed sub.

  5. Daniel says

    Hey, speak for yourself, David. I appreciate what the article is saying as well, but I think we need to be careful of sweeping generalisations about how either sex experiences sexual attraction and intercourse. How you experience masculine sexual desire is clearly very different to how I experience it.

  6. RTW says

    sexual freedom leads to women being treated poorly in the bedroom, because women only want to have sex with the same handful of very attractive men, who are so highly sought-after that they have no reason to treat women well.

    there are so many men out there (like me) who crave intimacy, and would treat the sex they receive with gratitude and the woman with utmost respect, but these men are icky, and so the sociopath porn-addict bad boys that women actually find attractive will continue to choke their partners and ummatch them on Tinder

    • Just Me says

      “women only want to have sex with the same handful of very attractive men”

      Nonsense. On the contrary, women are a lot less hung up on men’s looks than men are on women’s.

      You are more likely to see an unattractive man with a beautiful partner, than vice-versa.

      But one thing that both men and women find attractive in the other sex is confidence, and going around feeling “gratitude” implies a lack of such. Needy men are not attractive (and neither are needy women btw).

      I realize that this is a vicious circle, but it has to be broken. Do things that make you more attractive and confident.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Just me
        Exactly right.
        This stupid idea that women are all driven by the urge to mate with alpha males is one that is spread by men who have no ability to market themselves.
        Being a good salesman is what makes a man good. By that I don’t mean that he will be a great man if he uses shoddy selling techniques. He has to be good and a salesman.

        • Nakatomi Plaza says

          You should tell some women about your remarkable “good salesman” theory. I’m sure they’d find it hilarious.

          There’s a sub-genre of self-help books about how guys can trick women into having sex with them with the correct techniques (lies, basically). Creepy as hell, but it sounds like you’re quite familiar with the concept.

          • Peter from Oz says

            NP gets hold of the wrong end of the stick again. Can’t read very well, eh? If you could you’d work out that I too think that books about how to pick up women are silly. Also you’d note that I said you had to be good AND a salesman. Of course the word “salesman” is scary for plonkers like you, mate, because you are scared of anything that has the whiff of commercial trading or marketing. Freedom scares you witless down there in your mum’s cellar.

          • Scott Snell says

            @NP
            And you are an expert on what women think?
            Somehow how I doubt this.

        • 370H55V says

          Sorry boys, RTW is dead right. Some of us have to work a lot harder to make the sale, and then do it to fewer buyers.

        • Dan Flehmen says

          This is not a ‘stupid idea’ or fallacy spread by human males. There is a large animal behavior literature on mate choice in birds and mammals, and females seek high-ranking males as mates in most species. There are lots of reasons for this, but it is usually in a female’s reproductive interest to have a mate which controls a resource-rich territory, and will pass on to her offspring the genes which contribute to his success.

          • Laura says

            Women seek dependable men for partners, but occasionally have dalliances with high-status men to father at least some of their children; this is more or less how the scenario you are describing goes. The scarce resource is the uterus time; men have millions of sperm per shot, so sperm are not in short supply. If a woman can convince a high-status man to settle with her, she goes that route, and if she is valuable enough, he can even be faithful to her, in order not to risk jeapordizing the access to her womb’s production. This happens all the time in high-status families. People are not always faithful, after all, but at least half are – that’s a huge number. Devoted, life-long love is an actual product of evolution, as are the many other variants of sexuality out there.

            As far as women going for high-status men: we do know that @ 5,000 years ago, there is a dramatic drop in Y-chromosomes that were passed on, while the X stays the same. I.e., only a small proportion of men were getting past the goalies, as it were. About 1:17. As for men, I think paying attention to what women want and becoming a good lover will take you a long way. I respect the author’s point of view, but the best sex for me has not really been about submission, but being vulnerable, yes, with someone who knows what they are doing and pays attention. Submission, to me, is what is expected by an inexperienced lover who has never (not yet?) learned to seduce a woman. Also – call me deluded, but I think really great sex between monogamous, lifelong lovers is also better for a man than casual sex, as long as they have gotten to do that a bit first 🙂

            See: Who We are and How we Got Here, The Evolution of Beauty, Sperm Wars.

      • Alistair says

        “On the contrary, women are a lot less hung up on men’s looks than men are on women’s”

        Have you seen the Hello Cupid looks rating data split by gender?

        Wrong. Just utterly, utterly, false. Women give far lower scores to men AND a very right tailed distribution. They are vastly pickier on Tinder too.

        It’s like they only want to mate with the top 25% of males. Wow. What could we call them?

        • Just Me says

          Alistair –

          That is at first sight. I never meant to imply looks are unimportant, but they are just one aspect important to women, and not the most important.

          When given a whole lot of potential dating partners in a situation that puts the emphasis on pictures, of course people, male or female, will pick the best looking as a first “cull”.

          The next step is interaction where people find out more about each other and can veto the person they selected on looks, on the basis of their personality or other attributes.

          Men who have a smaller selection to begin with, may not have the choice of culling drastically as a first step.

          A man who manages to interact with a woman meaningfully and get her respect, is halfway there. But women find it hard to respect needy, self-pitying men.

      • Maximian says

        An old friend of mine is no more than a 3 on the looks scale, but his wife is at least an 8 or a 9, not dissimilar in appearance to Audrey Hepburn. In her prime she was sought after rather aggressively by some very handsome men.

        But she married my friend and had children with him. He’s one of the most brilliant and driven men I’ve ever known – not without his faults and quirks – but a fascinating person. And ugly as sin.

        She didn’t care about that, which to me is a stark reminder that I don’t and cannot fundamentally empathize at an emotional level with how women sexually evaluate men.

        It’s also great reminder to other men that being homely isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

        • Abominous Coward says

          Wouldn’t evolutionary theory suggest he would be the chosen long term “bringer up of children”, but also hint not all of them may be his?

      • @Just Me

        Can we please stop conflating physical beauty and attractiveness? I can’t get through a single comment thread in which human sexual dynamics are discussed without seeing this error.

        Attractiveness =/= Looks

        We may see beautiful women with ugly men, but we never see beautiful women with unattractive men.

        (I may appear to have contradicted myself, but note that for women , physical beauty is a rather good—but by no means perfect—proxy for attractiveness. It is specifically in the case of male attractiveness that the connection is tenuous at best.)

      • @Just Me

        At the risk of sounding like just another bitter incel—which I’m not, but there’s no reason for you to believe that—the maxim that “confidence is attractive” is not only much more male-specific than you seem to think, it’s also one of the greatest euphemisms in the English language. Let’s not mince words: a man is attractive who is able, competent, socially adept, active, ambitious, imaginative, creative, intelligent, insightful, thoughtful, healthy, strong-willed, driven; in a word, powerful. Truly, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, though we must take care to specify that it is not necessarily power over others, but rather pure, personal power that is so intoxicating. A man who is powerful will exude confidence, and a man who is powerless will entirely lack it. To sincerely conclude, however, that confidence is attractive is the “correlation/causation” fallacy at its most egregious.

    • northernobserver says

      It amazes me how much people are in denial about the reality of female selection, and how our socially permissive culture had produced a “Sexual Utopia” that we must all endure.
      But this is normal, to deny sexual liberalism is to question the legitimacy of the liberal social and political order and that makes people naturally nervous. New ways of thinking and living are always intimidating at first pass.
      It is interesting that of all groups the one that has been persecuted the hardest are the PUA authors and teachers.
      It goes to show who wields the whip hand in our current social order.

      • Alistair says

        Yup. Sexual selection, hypergamy, HBD. Etc. People refuse to notice these plain phenomena because of their ideological implications.

        Denial is actually the proper term for this behaviour. The modern leftist narrative causes mental illness.

        • Peter from Oz says

          I’m a right wing, cavalier, Tory and I think all that sexual selection stuff is bunk.
          The biggest factor of all is proximity. I’ve lost count of the men and women I know who became couples because they knew each other through family connections, University or work. They settle for someone with whom they have some common ground and with luck the marriage grows into one where they become very good companions.
          Most women are plain janes and most men are too. Both are happy if they can find anybody with whom to mate. The world is not full of confident, beautiful women who are scheming about getting an alpha male for whom they really care nothing except that he can provide them with prize sperm.

          • Just Me says

            Peter –

            Exactly.

            What has messed relationships up is apps like Tinder which make physical attractiveness front and center, and make huge numbers of men instantly available to young women, i.e. it is a meat market for both, and everyone acts accordingly.

            That never happened before, people had to meet socially and so had a chance to appropriate the other person holistically instead of being able to make a short list based on looks.

          • @Peter

            You don’t have to uncritically swallow half-baked “redpill” theory in order to allow evolutionary psychology to inform your understanding of human sexual dynamics. To lump “that sexual selection stuff” all together and discard it as “bunk” is an intellectual catastrophe.

    • Heike says

      Women aren’t attracted to the same things men are. They’re attracted to Status and Dominant Personality. Have one or both of those, and you’ll do well with women. Wealth is good, but not as good as the first two. Plenty of rich men can’t get laid unless they hire sex workers. Physical Attractiveness comes in around #4.

      It’s actually good for the human race if females are only attracted to the top 5-10% of men. When inferior men breed, they transmit their inferior genes on to the next generation. One only need look at Appalachia to see the end result of such policies. Our culture’s insistence on enforced monogamy will be our downfall. One should view the documentary “Idiocracy” to see what we’re in for if stupid people keep breeding.

      Inferior men who learn the techniques of seduction from the internet are despised by women because they appear to be the desirable, dominant men that women want. But, they’re not. They’re frauds who choose the “sneaky” sex strategy. Any woman who is fooled by such a man runs the risk of reproducing with an inferior male, and thus her offspring will be less likely to reproduce with desirable mates, and on down the line.

      • Jimbo says

        @Heike —

        I think you’re underestimating the money component in what makes a man generally attractive. For one thing, since you included status, I’ll say a wealthy man is pretty much by definition a high-status one. Money equals power, the power to acquire things one wants, to access places others can’t, and to have things go your way generally. All of these things inspire respect and high regard among the people around you.

        As to hiring a “sex worker”, keep in mind that pretty all sex in transactional, at least between men and women. You pay for the date, and in return she puts out. You spend some time with her, talk to her, and that kind of investment, and in return she puts out. Same for women wanting a high-status or dominant-personality man invest in them (time, energy, money, etc.) and in return, they put out. In some ways, that’s a woman’s ultimate desire – have some rich/high-status guy invest in them, and they’ll end up screwing him. That’s the female version of “winning”. So there’s always a value exchange in it. And money (cash), at the end of the day, is just a medium for value.

        Also, painting the “bottom 90%” of men as inherently inferior is a little too broad-brush and subjective to be said so matter-of-factly like you did. Inferior to whom? To the top 10%? Sure. But they’re top 10% in what? Status? Money? Apparently, wealth doesn’t the man all that much. So how would you gauge a top-10% guy? And why specifically 5 to 10%? You could extend that a little and say that the top 40% are superior, thus making only 60% of men inferior.

        I also don’t know what makes you think people in Appalachia have been historically more inclined to polygamy than people from, say, Norway? Much of black America today is rife with baby daddies and baby mammas — do you think they’re on their way to produce a more eugenic, better-adapted next generation?

        By the way, in the movie Idiocracy, it was dumb, polygamous men who spread their seed around with with other dumb women that supposedly led to the continual decrease in IQ. The hot-shot college professor (or whoever it was), along with his highly intelligent wife, those were the monogamy-inclined that should’ve spread their seed but didn’t.

        To be sure, I’m not against polygamy per se. I’m just pointing that it’s often less practiced by the one capable man who can take care of several wives and descendants (like you seem to imagine being the eugenic norm), and more like this loser: https://web.archive.org/web/20140626230327/http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2014/06/by-joe-beck-an-edinburg.php — Yeah, I’m sure he did some seduction techniques on the b/tches to get them all to procreate with him. Or maybe he has some outstanding personality (= superior) which will makes his kids true genetic winners! Oh yeah, Reading Glasses Jr. is a sure bet for quality genetics.

        So in conclusion, Osama bin Laden’s dad = good polygamy; lower-class Idiocracy trailer dude who also sleep with the other trailer chick = bad.

        • @Jimbo

          Might not the preferred relationship be a certain kind of sex worker, i.e., the Asian geisha like hooker who operates out of massage parlors. The flamboyant owner of Boston’s football team, who could create any kind relationship he wanted, found this very appealing. It combines the behavior of a robot with an alluring sweetness or the oriental culture.

        • Just Me says

          Jimbo-

          “I’ll say a wealthy man is pretty much by definition a high-status one”

          Well that says more about your social set than about humanity in general.

          As Jordan Peterson points out, there are all kinds of status hierarchies in modern society, and not all involve making lots of money.

          Intellectual or artistic or punk, etc., women will prefer an intellectual, artist, or punk to some sports star or financier. Etc.

          The women who flocked around the ugly Picasso were women who admired artists, not wealth. Those who flocked around Sartre, a very ugly man, did so because they admired intellect.

          Others flock around the guys in the punk band, or the tortured writer, etc.

          That is also status, but status that comes from accomplishment. Some women even flock around imprisoned criminals!

        • @Jimbo

          Wealth is not attractive per se. If a wealthy man is more likely to sexually attract a woman, it is only because he is more likely to have other qualities that are sexually attractive. Of course, a wealthy but sexually unattractive man may find it easy to find a woman willing to trade sex for security, a sort of “softened” hooker/john relationship. But his wife will still not be sexually attracted to him. To put it rather crudely (but hopefully drive the point home): watching your lover ejaculate all over the carpet while none of her erogenous zones is stimulated in the least, simply because the feeling of you coming forcefully down her throat overwhelms her with primal lust, is something that cannot be purchased at any price, nor asked for, but only given, spontaneously. When a woman is sexually attracted to a man, acts that would disgust her if performed by another man will positively delight her when performed by him.

          Incidentally, this is the real reason why feminists are hyper-sensitive to “derogatory” words like “slut” and “bitch”. It’s difficult not to experience cognitive dissonance when, after being called a slut by some random loser, you feel genuine rage and disgust, while at the same time, just last night the act of responding in the affirmative to the question, “You’re just a horny little bitch, aren’t you?” sent shivers of pleasure running through your body. The cognitive dissonance disappears when you fully admit that, in this case, the source of the utterance is everything.

      • Peter from Oz says

        Heike
        You started out well and then fell in a heap in the second paragraph but came back reasonably well in the end.
        Most males and females settle for what they can get. Some plain Jane from the outer suburbs who has no bottle and intelligence isn’t going to hook an upper middle class Chappy from the better part of town.
        She knows it. What drives is not the wish to have the best babies, but to have babies full stop. She will do what women have done throughout the ages, book up with the first bloke she meets from her own milieu who shows sufficient interest in her.
        Inferior men who learn pick up techniques from the internet will match up with inferior women who fall for such guff.
        I am a paid up member of the upper middle class, and I can tell you that most members of that class marry others of that class because that is whom they meet in the social circles. The number of women from outside that class who marry into it is very small.
        But as the old saying goes, there’s always room at the top for money, brains or a good pair of titties.

    • Rational Number says

      If you have been on tinder et al for any time you know that RTW is pretty much spot on. I have, and so have friends. I also talk to the ladies, and I can guarantee you that as far as casual sex goes, the top 10 pc most attractive dudes are banging 90pc of the ladies. The ladies then complain that “guys wont settle down’. Of course not – they dont need to and dont want the future divorce payout.
      This is reality.
      But also, the argument that attractive ladies are seen partnering much less comparatively attractive men also proves the above, in that after realising that many many many MR Top Ten’s wont partner up, the ladies then get disillusioned and grab what they can.

      like it, lump it. Its fact.

  7. David of Kirkland says

    “To do otherwise is a form of squandering the unlikeliness of our own existence.”
    There are 7.5 billion humans living now. All will die, so how important/significant can “unlikely” be? More will be born, some on purpose, others by accident or for lack of control. All other species reproduce and create existence on a daily basis, hardly a miracle. Life may be “unlikely” cosmically (as far as we know), but not even a bit here on Earth.
    Do you kiss with your eyes open? Is that gaze key? During sex is there much face to face staring? And why not just have the woman on top…same basic position, but with the lighter person on top?

  8. Asenath Waite says

    Sexual intercourse is far too stressful. I began to see it as a chore in my previous two relationships. And apparently as a man I’m also oppressing my partner by doing it, so I give up I guess. Can they just hurry up with the VR sex already? We were supposed to have had that like twenty years ago.

    • Heike says

      I’m actually with the women on this one. One day, and this day will come soon, there will be a “good enough” sex robot. It won’t be quite as good as a real woman, but it will be good enough. They’ll probably cost about half as much as a car. So, if you can afford a car, you can probably also afford a sex robot. And if not, you can rent.

      This is going to be an utter disaster for women as the pool of available men shrinks overnight. Men will simply drop out of the system that is rigged against them. Feminists created this situation and it’s going to be absolutely baffling to them as it all collapses. Birth rates and marriage will drop like a stone, as men no longer need women for constant sex urges and can evaluate a woman without the urgency of sex constantly pushing them.

      The feminist dream will be realized: Men will no longer judge women by their bodies. And that’s going to destroy the only leverage women ever had over men.

      • jamal says

        The real leverage they will always have is birthing your children. Rather that awaiting the robots, consider the outcome of women being able to select the gender of their children. Men will be reduced to a pitiful few who deliver their one and only product by industrial extraction.

        • Heike says

          Sorry for the double post, I got an error on the web form.

          It’s funny, when they had a computer “boyfriend” for women in Japan, the most popular model wasn’t the kindhearted one. It was the dark, cruel one that ordered women around and didn’t take any shit from them. And yet feminists have been working overtime to eliminate this kind of man. Why do they want to make women so unhappy?

          • Just Me says

            Heike –

            Evidence for this in Japan?

            But then, a heck of a lot of men are into masochism and dominatrixes, many of which aren’t even very attractive.

            There is also that what people do for fun, like see horror movies, isn’t the way they want to live their daily lives…

            Japanese women stopped being eager to marry authoritarian, patriarchal Japanese men as soon as they got the freedom not to, they prefer western men who treat them better, and that seems to be the real problem.

      • Maximian says

        It does seem inevitable, but I think we should expect natural selection to eventually limit the relative population of exclusive sex robot users after a generation or two.

        In a sexbot society, only men and women with very strong reproductive drives will bother having kids. Since that drive is heritable, the next generation should have a ridiculously high proportion of “breeders” who aren’t as satisfied by sexbots and are more strongly inclined to real sex.

    • Heike says

      One day, and this day will come soon, there will be a “good enough” sex robot. It won’t be quite as good as a real woman, but it will be good enough. They’ll probably cost about half as much as a car. So, if you can afford a car, you can probably also afford a sex robot. And if not, you can rent.

      This is going to be an utter disaster for women as the pool of available men shrinks overnight. Men will simply drop out of the system that is rigged against them. Feminists created this situation and it’s going to be absolutely baffling to them as it all collapses. Birth rates and marriage will drop like a stone, as men no longer need women for constant sex urges and can evaluate a woman without the urgency of sex constantly pushing them.

      The feminist dream will be realized: Men will no longer judge women by their bodies. And that’s going to destroy the only leverage women ever had over men.

  9. Stephanie says

    I don’t understand why missionary got a bad rap. In addition to the capacity for greater intimacy that comes from eye contact and kissing, it offers greater stimulation to the clitoris. What are the woke alternatives supposed to be?

    Is missionary supposed to be passive? I thought that was derided as “starfishing.” From the bottom you still have the ability to roll your hips and even thrust. You can use the man’s power as much as he’s using your helplessness.

    As for submission, it is the most common kink for women. Missionary isn’t bad because it lends itself better to submission, it’s great because of that.

    • Just Me says

      It seems masochism is pretty popular with men, too, hence the existence of dominatrixes.

    • J.P.A. Craig says

      And, done with a small amount of energy, it is a great ab workout.

    • hei says

      Feminists used to despise missionary. It was the very embodiment of vanilla, stale sex that was boring and meaningless. Now they’re arguing for it? Go figure.

      • dirk says

        Despised missionary by feminists? But what was the perfect position in their mind? Or maybe all intercourse with males was to be abandoned? Another thing: the Bonobo monkeys also know the missionary positions, what about the Neanderthalers? The Homo erectus, or earlier? When and why did this missionary stand become fashionable? Probably, we will never know! But, it haunts me nevertheless, when and why??

      • dirk says

        The photo, tom, is again superb, perfect presentation of a human act we all are familiar with, but seldom is presented properly (just look at all this disgusting porn all over). I wonder, who manages all these illustrations?? Congratulations!

    • Just Me says

      The feminists of the 70s and 80s insisted that missionary position was bad because the vaginal orgasm was a myth, and the clitoris was where the action was, and there were better ways to stimulate it.

      I think that view got less convincing with evidence of the G-spot. Once you find it, it gets easy to stimulate.

    • Peter Lloyd says

      Agreed. Two helpful hints: place a pillow under the girl’s bottom and the chap needs to support himself on his elbows so he doesn’t squash her chest. Get those two things right and you will start to discover the possibilities and pleasures of the mish posish.

  10. Etiamsi omnes says

    Although the words “sex”, “sexual” and “sexuality” crop up close to 80 times in this essay, there are few that would have the same power as this one to keep your mind off sex. Zzzz…

  11. Eton H says

    ” For her he is the one who makes her feel, in a sense, universal, most like a woman, when she lets go of herself and experiences his urgency as part of her body; most like a woman when she abandons herself to her own self-giving eroticism. She is on top and at bottom at once.”

    This is more erotica than porn. Somebody get me an ice pack.

  12. Sean Leith says

    Your three year old? and you are saying that without a great deal of anger?

    • JustAnOldGuy says

      Read it again. It’s her daughter that is in the third grade.

    • Victoria says

      @DBruce

      I read your comment yesterday and it was one of those things that bounced around my head all day.

      There’s a real element of truth in what you write and it explains some of feminism’s more quixotic claims.

      • TWC says

        I think its more along the lines of feminism is, and always has been, utterly confused. Its basically women trying, and failing, to be masculine at the expense of their feminine power. This is, ofc, unteneble and we are witnessing capitulate before our very eyes, not even a full generation after the fact.

  13. Victoria says

    “Women are literally pressed, after all, underneath the weight of masculine will and power.”

    C’est bon!

  14. Respek Wahmen says

    It’s the “go-to” position for most everyone, except crazies who also think “penetrative sex” is rape, and here’s my “defense” anyway, because I like to write about sex.

  15. Marqués de Galapagar says

    I don´t understand this article. Shakespeare and missionary position? I´m confused. What about blowjobs? Aren´t these submission position or something? I like blowjobs.

  16. Tim H says

    Thank you for this reflection. As I read this, I couldn’t help thinking – folks are going to find this hard to believe – but the basic tenets of this article would be very at home in a religiously Catholic setting. There is an ecstatic self giving, different for male and female, that is at the very basis of all human activity including sex. And while the context is a little different in this article, focused as it is on one aspect of human existence, self giving leads to one of the “hopes” of God for us – thesis – Divinization of humans. This will be over the top but the missionary position under the right circumstances – yes, that means at the very least between married woman and man – can be part of this process of Divinization. God did create sex afterall.

  17. Jean Levant says

    A very refreshing and unexpected piece in this era of self-importantism, cynicism and above all materialism on a subject which is usually prone to this kind of vices in isms: thanks, Marilyn. I should read John Donne in these next days (Poetry, to be sure, is not on the mood today).

  18. Memetic Tribe says

    Sterilization and abortion destroyed the west. Female discretion was the locus of our evolution into dominant beings. Because the consequence of sex was pregnancy, women were forced to dissuade suitors until the most dominant, successful and appealing suitor emerged. And so men created society in response.

    Sex as recreation feels unnatural because it is.

  19. Kencathedrus says

    ‘my grade three daughter recently expressed anxiety about feeling pressured to decide whether or not she was bi, or rather “B. I.,” as she called it’.

    I’ve been working in education for almost 20 years and have seen it devolve from teaching subject-matter to teaching ‘correct’ attitudes and competencies. I’ve also witnessed the changes in how sex education is taught. What used to be a rather dry and probably embarrassing explanation about reproduction has now become about preaching alternative lifestyles. I remember ‘homosexuality’ being taught in class when I was 13 and even at that young age wondering why this crap was being brought into my school. As an adult, I now realize that education has become about stunting natural development in children so that they are unable to form healthy and stable relationships with other people hence the weird transgenderism fad we’re experiencing in the West which is the ultimate symbol of children being taught to be uncomfortable with themselves (particularly boys). People who sexually undeveloped are easy to control because they will always crave more government to ‘protect’ their bizarre lifestyles.

    Not only that, but all this so-called sex ‘education’ is actually making sex boring and lackluster for young people. There’s nothing left for them to explore as it’s all ‘explained’ to them by adults who have little experience of the world outside the confines of academia.

    Western Education systems are long-overdue for a rehaul. Much of education (particularly Higher Education) has become an artificial extension of childhood full of anxious children and professors who are trying to turn society into one giant nursery school.

    • dirk says

      Could it be that the present methods and styles of sex education are as bad and off the balance as they were in my youth? I remember from the biology classes (and why not in religion or humanities??) some stories about technical details on eggs (whereas we knew them best as chickeneggs) and seed (we knew that from the grain fields in June), and the bees also were always mentioned, That it went together (or had to) with certain feelings and emotions was not mentioned I wonder what can be behind all this spasmic behaviour and going round and round. Adult Post Traumatic Stress Syndromes? Guilt?

  20. Harland says

    “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children…because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
    — Simone de Beauvoir

    How many women had their lives ruined by feminists who didn’t want them to be happy with their families? All because it benefited the feminists to deny them human joy.

  21. Heike says

    Have you heard that bonobos are peaceful, matriarchal apes that use lots of free sex to obtain delightful egalitarian community? You’ve been lied to. The popular account of these wonderful apes is more faux-nobo than bonobo.

    If you’re just tuning in, this topic is highly politically-charged. Bonobo sexuality has been used (injudiciously, I would argue) to advance such worthy causes as greater sexual liberty, tolerance for polyamory, and reducing backward social norms of strict monogamy. My criticism isn’t motivated by opposition to these political and moral ideals- I support them. This debunking is necessary because the faux-nobo mythos is dishonest, manipulative, anti-science, and feeds an unhealthy leftist dogmatism that misinforms the public and threatens free academic inquiry.

    https://www.skepticink.com/incredulous/2017/10/09/bonobo-myth-demolished/

    • ga gamba says

      Valuable comment, Heike. The laid-back free-love hippie bonobo myth came from a group of researchers who studied them exclusively in zoos. They were bewitched by the gender politics aspects and the boost to feminism provided by their unsubstantiated assertions. A waste of precious research funding and scholars’ time and energy in making these claims and the knock-on effect on other areas of study by researchers citing this malarkey.

  22. I’ll leave aside the sexual part of the article and focus on vanilla. “Vanilla” is not the same as “plain.” To the contrary, vanilla is probably the most complex flavouring that exists. It is ubiquitous because it is so good. You don’t add chocolate to vanilla to bring out the flavour, but you do add vanilla to chocolate, and just about everything else. Vanilla is also the second-most expensive spice. You can buy an individual vanilla bean for $10 or more retail. It saddens me when people use “vanilla” as a synonym for plain or boring. They are missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures.

    • Denny Sinnoh says

      Most natural vanilla flavoring comes from the ass musk glands of beavers, as the real vanilla is very expensive.
      Odds are if you are eating “naturally flavored” vanilla , then you are eating beaver.

      • C’mon, it’s not that expensive. I make my own vanilla extract, but even if you buy it in the store, you can get it from real vanilla beans for a few dollars.

      • @Denny

        Re: beaver ass-musk

        That’s one of the most ridiculous-sounding claims I’ve ever heard.

        I, for one, choose to believe it, sans googling.

    • Heike says

      Vanilla ice cream is flat and flavorless, just like missionary style sex. It’s just a palette upon which other flavors can be cast that appeal more to the palate.

      Missionary style sex was promulgated by missionaries who were horrified to find that the natives were having sex from behind. It was degrading to women to have sex this way. Missionary is the very embodiment of stale, boring Christian lectures on what sex should be.

      • derek says

        And yet it is these uptight people with the most rules that are having the most sex and most babies.

      • You either have no tastebuds or you’re lying if you think vanilla is flat and flavorless.

        I was surprised the article did not even contain a brief discussion of the origin of the term “missionary position.” My understanding is that no one is sure where it came from, but there is no evidence that it is related to missionaries.

        • Just Me says

          Mataratones –

          I agree. It is a very subtle flavour. Appreciating it is an acquired taste I think.

          Children usually prefer bold, sweet flavours like chocolate, as I did, but I have developed an appreciation for it over time.

    • dirk says

      But, mataratones, you must know that most vanilla (vainilline now) is just the cheap artificial stuff (made from some pine-tree material)?? The real vanilla (such as the one from Papantla, Veracruz) is by now beyond the common means. Complex and expensive, as is all good sex.

  23. John says

    The truest, most beautiful, and the best of all I have read in the last few months (except maybe for The Cloud of Unknowing.). This little essay has layers and ramifications that go well beyond sex–and a vision of sex that goes well beyond most sex. The only disappointment is that contemporary sexual behavior, experience, and ideology have strayed so far from what is described here that this article is deeply incomprehensible for many people. People are raised and educated without a knowledge of the framework that supports this understanding and experience of sex. It’s no surprise that the writer is grounded in Donne and Shakespeare, and, as others have noticed, has a vision that is mostly consistent with a Catholic or religious understanding of the meaning of sex. This is not the way people write or talk or make movies and videos about sex these days. It’s no longer what most people believe. Deepest thanks for this piece!

    • dirk says

      I think, John, you are just a romantic, plain, positive guy, not like most of us here. But, of course, diversity is the thing that counts these days, we are all children of God.

  24. ga gamba says

    Given the two extremes presented, “plain vanilla” missionary and reverse cowgirl butt sex with choking whilst watching infomercials, what then is the centrist position? Of course, missionary anal. Perhaps doggy for a change of pace, but without the hair pulling and butt spanking. Yet, I wonder: who’s limiting themselves to one or two positions? Why not six? Or two dozen? At least give them a crack before dismissing them.

    People are wired in different ways, they have both their kinks and hang ups, and there are the issues of flexibility, strength, and stamina to consider, as well as penile length/girth and vaginal depth at sexual arousal (a lot of women dislike the penis banging against their cervix, though there are many who find stimulation of it to provide sensational orgasms). I’m not knocking missionary, but in my experience women like many other positions and actions as well.

    I’m not knocking Ms Simon’s thrust, “I am against people having bad sex,” yet there is the whiff of “this is how sex ought to be and, if not, you’re doing it wrong.” As if women need another item on the-things-that-rattle-their-confidence list. What appeals to her need not appeal to everyone else.

  25. Fran says

    Sex with a partner you love and trust is fantastic, whether vanilla or variegated – even after 40+ years. The reason for not putting oneself in the way of sexual encounters with others is to not risk the relationship, because, particularly for females, it is hard not to get emotionally entangled with someone you have sex with. I suspect that there is a biological basis for this insofar as sex reinforces pair-bonding in humans. The pair-bond is necessary to ensure the survival of children. Even in hunter-gatherer societies, the usual family pattern rests on parental pair-bonds.

  26. eric says

    de Beauvoir’s view of sex was tainted by the fact that her lover JP Sartre insisted on an open relationship, and Sartre dominated her in that arena. She had lovers too, but considering they continued their relationship and she had no children, it is probable she kept a flame for him that he did not reciprocate. While she was lionized for her bold open relationship, it seems an objective disaster. It’s no wonder she felt the sex act rather one-sided.

    Bad sex in the sense bad positions is unfortunate but eminently correctable, a trivial concern. Bad sex in the sense of having sex with people who betray you, who are not who you think they are, or who do not love you as much as you love them, is the problem, and what really underlies de Beauvoir’s observation.

    • dirk says

      Was the relation with Jean Paul maybe Platonic, eric? For the physical sex, she found other ways, she even did not keep this relation secret, there is a Youtube photo or picture of a naked Simone (from behind) somewhere in a bedroom in the USA. Imagine, a picture as the one above, but then from this ultra intellectual couple, unimaginable I think.

      • Just Me says

        She had lesbian affairs, and affairs with men, and a great love affair with Nelson Algren, an American writer. They had an “open” relationship.

        But Sartre was the emotional center of her life the way she was not for him, and that hurt her.

    • Partic says

      Sex as far as I can see is very important to everyone.
      Those that don’t get it want it, those that get it want more quantity or quality or both.
      It seems to me the happiest people are those who can find enjoyment while in the classic position.
      And if, by some godly chance, they happen to connect with a partner of similar tastes they are the luckiest people in the world.
      Sex is so vital yet the simple act seems to satisfy fewer and fewer people the farther we travel down the sexual rabbit hole.
      This would lead some to believe there’s something more going on here than a bodily fluids.

  27. Pierre Pendre says

    “One of the young women Julian interviewed, a 33 year-old who is constantly disappointed by the dating world…”

    Her problem is a failure to grow out of adolescence. In any earlier generation, she would probably have been married at her age, been the mother of children and had different sexual needs. As it is she’s still at the stage she was when she first went to college, having casual sex with different men in hopes that one will lead to a different kind of relationship and a more evolved sex life. Behind the dissatisfaction is the realisation that it’s not going to happen. She’s on the shelf. There are consequences to still being a teenage gypsy in your thirties and the responsibility is entirely one’s own.

  28. Rick in NY says

    A few weeks ago I stopped by the florist to pick up some roses for my wife for our 40th anniversary. In the course of our dialogue, the (female) shop owner asked “OK, so what’s the secret to staying married for 40 years?”. There were a handful of other customers in the shop, all female as well, and they were naturally drawn to the conversation. They didn’t get the off-the-shelf answer they expected. My response was “sexual fidelity”. I elaborated of course, and I saw tears well up in several eyes. Maybe it’s because I think about the societal price we pay as we reduce sex to a consumer good, and the derivative consequences of sexual promiscuity. Mind you, I speak as a hypocrite. All these things, hypocrisy, love, lust, promiscuity, fidelity, betrayal, loyalty and trustworthiness are part of the human condition. But there was a time when promiscuity was shunned or at least frowned upon, and it upon discovery was accompanied by a sense of shame and perhaps later, redemption and a vow to do the right thing. Now it is “celebrated”. We in our progressive, liberated mindsets go about tearing down barriers without the slightest understanding of why they were erected in the first place. And we do so willfully and gleefully ignoring the accumulated wisdom of experience which will eventually manifest itself in broken families, betrayed children, emotional wreckage, cancerous cynicism, and later, a loneliness that rots the soul. A pretty expensive BJ if you ask me.

  29. Andrew Van Horn says

    Bonobos are not monkeys. They are apes, like chimps, gorillas and humans. The ape lineage split from the old world monkeys (e.g., baboons) 25-30 million years ago.

  30. Andy Ngo says

    my favorite part about missionary sex is the incredibly painful orgasms that happen as my bowels loose control and the poo starts sliding out of my butt, small price to pay for being a good Christian boi. I love the lord.

    • Partic says

      This would seem to offer credence to the old Jewish insight that God, or Nature, is mischevious but not malicious.

  31. WH says

    Good read, but one glaring misconception it seems (maybe I’m misreading) is that there’s not this equal desire by men to be desired by women. Not just being gifted or rewarded the presence of a goddess. I’ve been on both sides of this – awkward and treated like shit until my early 20s and beyond, when suddenly I was apparently really attractive and women have become as solicitous with me as caricaturized males are with women. To the point I’ve turned down women for sex. Came back to my seat at the bar one night a while back to find a note from the girl next to me with her number and a very explicit message, she an attractive professional brunette. I would never have imagined a world like this, I appreciate it immensely, and I wish more men had this experience. And that they would act like they’re worth pursuing, like women typically do, rather than essentially groveling. That’s unhealthy for everybody. Evolution is a hell of a force, but it’s not like we can’t play with it. Try asking more of women, guys, and not just being grateful for whatever you can eke out. Have some pride.

  32. Tersitus says

    Thanks, at least, for reminding me of Hitchens’ wonderfully titled book on Mother Teresa.

  33. Jim says

    I appreciate the critical comments, but at 66 years age, with a not-inconsiderable amount of life experience, I think your take on this subject is right on the money. The feminine desire for submission – in a relationship with a man willing to BE a man – is real, and timeless. Don’t believe it? Take a look at online sales numbers for bodice-rippers, stories about lusty pirates, spanking-cowboys and no-nonsense firemen. Who is buying these books? Hint: it ain’t men.

    An older woman-scholar was interviewed on television a few months ago about the modern man-woman relationship. Her take was as follows: toxic masculinity? What are you talking about? Men have always been – and will always be – sexually aggressive. So what has held them in check lo these many years? Other men.

    Women have enjoyed this protection through a certain …(long pause)….. modesty. Now, with a great number of women feeling they have to compete with men aggressively, and in the process ignoring the fact that they are, on average, half as strong as their male partners, they have to a great degree lost that protection – and most men have lost the desire to provide it.

    Not all “progress” is forward. Hubris – the feeling that we moderns are exempt from human nature because we are oh-so-much-smarter than those who went before – sometimes leads us to a place where we don’t want to be. Welcome to the modern world of sex and love.

    • Daz says

      Well said Jim
      People seem so hung up on sex, maybe it’s just the intellectual world?
      I can imagine what the French would say about the whole thing.
      “tais-toi et fais l’amour”

  34. mario says

    an article nobody asked for
    an article nobody needed
    …we still don’t need it, please delete it 🙂

  35. Jezza says

    I may be stating the obvious, but to have profound sexual satisfaction one must have profound sexual desire first. You may be extremely desired by the other person, but if the desire is not mutual, neither will be the satisfaction. I know a young man burdened with an exceptionally large penis who shies away from sex because he is tired of being treated like a piece of meat by women who just want to use him. Go figure.
    “It’s a wise child that knows its own father” is an old wives’ saying that probably reflects societal fluidity (though the old wives could probably figure it out); however, there are some markers which reveal the incontravertible truth – refer the old court case in New Zealand when a farmer initiated a paternity suit against his wife (this was in the days before DNA profiling) because she gave birth to a child with Chinese characteristics. Their neighbor (proximity) was Chinese. The Court’s ruling was that as it was his wife, therefore it was his child. Go figure.

  36. cat says

    We went to Stand Up New York, a comedy venue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan last week. A cheery black, gay comedian was the first to get the audience going…he introduced the subsequent comics as well. He was totally riveted by his high intersectionality quotient and went on and on about how fab gay ‘doggie’ sex was with his wonderful white boyfriend. He driveled on about how boring whites were in general (I guess except his boyfriend) and repeatedly promoted the fabulousness of doggie sex – everyone should be doing it! – and the wonderfulness of being gay and black. The more he talked, the more he bored us…..all we wanted was a few jokes and a few laughs. That said, I’ll take the ‘missionary position’ anyway. I guess you could say I like ‘vanilla’ – I’m never bored – as least never, as much as that comic bored us.

  37. jpsullivan says

    Typo in Donne quotation. Should read “She’s all states, and all princes, I.”

  38. Sean Michael Bearly says

    If you took birth control and abortion out of the picture, this whole discussion – including the comments from all the know-it-all sex and relationship experts – would be very different. Unsurprisingly there was little or no mention of ethics in the article or comments. Not that ethics should have anything to do with sex or relationships.

  39. Charles Ralph Gardner says

    One guy’s cure for the missionary. Outlast her in play. Cuddle, kiss, fondle, tease; do not initiate penetration, just tease her and please her. Inevitably she will take the situation in her own hands and climb on top. Exactly how I like it best and how most girls can best reach the big O. Apparently most guys never learn this. Or can’t do it. Or won’t.

  40. Charles Ralph Gardner says

    And if she doesn’t, all the better. The best sex is not having it. Just keep the energy going…and going…and going. Cuddle, kiss, fondle, tease…till someone has to go home, go to work or just rolls over in exhaustion.

  41. Pingback: Liberal MP Adam Vaughan's most embarrassing Twitter moments - The Post Millennial

  42. lewis guignard says

    I always thought part of the plan was to leave your partner wanting to come back for me. It worked for me.

  43. In a world that has abandoned itself to secular desire and fantasy as both an economic necessity and central social paradigm, it is hardly surprising that sex, sexuality and sexistentialism (I am my sexuality) has the keystone cultural traction that it does, has become an absurdly inflated and fetishistic artifact and ballooned into every aspect of the architecture of economic and social discourse.

    Giving into desire is no longer the work of the devil, but an urgent regime imperative that ‘you owe to yourself’ because having one’s pleasure buttons pressed is all that matters.

    Sex is the pre-eminent myth of our time, just as belief in an omnipotent God once was. The article above has an almost theologically mystical quality that was once the monopoly of clerics.

    Sex has become a central driver of Indulgence capitalism, which 60-70 years ago figured that ordinary needs and wants were no longer enough to keep accelerating the economy exponentially. Fantasy and in particular sexual fantasy became the main driver for the excessive economic indulgence that we now know by the euphemism, ‘the consumer society’.

    Sex isn’t just another consumable pleasure or commodification of women. It isn’t just an expression of indulgence as a social principle that erodes axiomatic bottom lines and disciplined rules based behaviour, and builds tolerance for sub-optimal conduct. Nor is it the closest we humans can get to the spiritually sublime. It is perhaps the most successful totalitarian leverage for economic and social conformity ever developed to grab mass populations quite literally by ‘the short and curlies’ to the point that they will buy anything when prompted.

    Sex is very little more than a special introductory hormonal offer to get us into the very protracted, difficult, trying and demanding investment we all make in the future of our species. The rest is just colour and movement accompanied by massive amounts of propaganda baloney delivered from the pulpits of our age by people who presume to the authority once the sole preserve of priests.

    Sex promises the world, but delivers mountains that quickly shrink into mole hills. At least religion promised eternal salvation in another world, even if what actually did (amongst a lot of other things) was to try (when it was working) to bring out the best in us and reduce the worst, in this one….sometimes.

    That is not to say that Marilyn is talking nonsense anymore than her clerical predecessors were. They and she are both regime propagandists. There is always enough truth in there to give the lie and engage the sensibility of audiences. Whether the missionary position has the significance she assigns is no greater question than whether the church mass involves trans or consubstantiation….

    And when the consumer society and Indulgence capitalism devolves back to the rigors of primary economic/ecological necessity and capitalism ‘lite’, we’ll be getting back to basics in everything else, including sex and wondering what on earth the Marilyn Simons and their sexological contemporaries of the early twenty-first century were twaddling on about.

    Building a successful reproductive relationship that will withstand the rigors of domestic and economic effort for a full reproductive cycle is 98% sacrificially good quality partnering and parenting, and 2% sex. At best iIt is a nice if modest condiment on the table of domestic life.

    Pass me the hot chili…….Get lost lover boy….

  44. dennis ward says

    What’s Love got to do with it, with sex? Or a preferred position when sex has been reduced to a commodity as are modern men and women? Good article, interesting comments, a reflection of the disconnected perversity that has crept into the cultural insanity of modern life. Great sex has been reduced to memorable orgasm, Just can’t remember their name now??? Friendship, Love, caring where does that fit into the equation/orgasm? Everything reduced to a cliche, like a “fuck buddy?”

    You’ve been sold a bill of goods by Madison ave., Hollywood and the playboy/penthouse, Cosmo and Ms. print programming empires. I call it great expectations, and mediocre conversations. “Was it good for you?” All about performance and not much else?

    Observations from an old guy who’s been around the block, been there done that and miss those missionary eye contact moments that transcend modern life.

    • dirk says

      Dennis, have another look at the photograph above, recognize anything? I liked it a lot, and said so above somewhere. Indeed, transcending, but, maybe, no longer fitting in this time of performance and instant emotions.
      And of identities and Ayn Rand’s EGO.

  45. Pingback: El sexo es divertido (pero no es un juego) | Biología de la conducta humana

  46. Brett Hilder says

    I agreed with almost every word in the article. Although I thought the one-night-stand got a bit too much of a bad rap; in can be pretty intense on a sexual level and even leave you thinking about your experience of the other as a person. Even in a ONS, much is communicated outside the physical.

Leave a Reply