Is Suzanne Venker advocating marital rape…?

how to choose a husbandShe has written extensively about politics, parenting, and the influence of feminism on American society for more than a decade. But, reading Suzanne Venker’s post the top 10 dos and don’t’s of wifedom, has left me nothing short of stunned. The list’s introduction reads: “Below are my top 10 Dos and Don’ts for being a good wife. They are not (naturally) politically correct, but they work. I do not address men here, only women. So don’t come back with, “What about him? What does he have to do?” My book, How to Choose a Husband, speaks to women, not men, and that’s where this list comes from.”

Number 1 on the list had my jaw drop and my chin bang hard on the floor: “When it isn’t absolutely necessary to speak up, don’t. Silence can be golden.” I did a quick check of my iPhone calendar and discoverd that it was, in fact, 2013. The days of women being silent are long gone. She may as well have said that women should only speak when spoken to or should be seen and not heard. It’s statements like those of this list that make me wonder if the single biggest obstacle to feminism and equality isn’t men/patriarchal society but other women.

Otherwise known as rape!

Number one on the list may well have had my heart racing, but number 2 on the list caused it to come to a complete and grinding halt! Number 2 advises us women to “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” Here it is again in case you didn’t quite grasp its meaning the first time: “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” In my opinion, she is advising women to have sex with their husbands when they don’t want to. Um, there’s a word for having sex when you don’t want to – rape! More specifially, marital rape.

The rest of her dos and don’ts are a sick joke – they have to be. Read them here, if you think your heart can handle the craziness. I know she says they aren’t politically correct, but what she wrote after that terrifies me – “it works”. It works to have sex with your husband when you’d rather not? Ladies, I beg of you, NEVER HAVE SEX WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT. I can’t stress that enough. Have sex when you and your partner BOTH want it. Don’t have sex just to please your partner.

There is so much I could say about this list, but I won’t. I’ve actually been known, in the past, to agree with Venker on a few points – but honestly, I am reeling. I’m raising two daughters and I have to wonder about a society, a culture that first teaches young women “don’t have sex until you’re married” and then when you are married “have sex when you don’t want to”. What kind of a fucked-up sex education is that to give our daughters, our young women, our future women leaders? What does it teach our sons, our young men, our future men leaders? Well, it teaches them that men can have sex whenever they want and never mind what the woman wants, thinks or feels. (The correct terminology for that is rape culture.)

It is time to stop this craziness once and for all.

Here is my by no means exhaustive guide to rape and sexual assualt and rape culture.

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54 thoughts on “Is Suzanne Venker advocating marital rape…?

  1. GracieUK says:

    I’m not sure this counts as rape, if the husband isn’t aware that his wife doesn’t want to. If as far as he’s concerned they’re enjoying mutually desired sex.
    That anyone is writing this in 2013, let along a woman(!), is really frightening though. It’s encouraging a relationship where a women has to live in silence with no kind of sexual agency, and where a man is lied to and might one day find out that he has been inadvertently forcing his wife to have sex. Which if he’s any kind of decent person would be a terrible thing to have on your conscience.
    What’s even scarier is that people are agreeing with her in the comments section! It’s difficult to believe that this kind of view is not only still being perpetrated, but is being paid for and agreed with by other women.


  2. The dos and don’t list doesn’t say to get in the mood or for your husband romance you etc to get you in the mood – it says to have sex EVEN when you’re not in the mood.


  3. “…if as far as he’s concerned they’re enjoying mutually desired sex.” This would be a situation in which, in their intimate emotional and sexual life, she is lying. She is deceiving him. I can hardly imagine anything more horrible, sickening, and destructive to HER soul, her sexuality, and their relationship. Not to mention his respect and trust in her because people KNOW this kind of thing! We women should not be required to be bullshit artists in our intimate relationships!


  4. I agree with Esther Essinger. Plus, how can it be mutully desired if one person isn’t in the mood?


  5. GracieUK says:

    Hanna – I’m not sure if your comment was in response to mine or Esther’s? If it was in response to mine, I apologise for appearing judgemental.
    I agree with you that this is not marital rape IF the husband has no idea that his wife doesn’t want to, or if like you his wife happily and readily consents of her own free will even if she isn’t in the mood at that point. Sex is a really important part of a healthy relationship and I think you’re right in saying that even if you’re not in the mood per se, you may still get enjoyment from the bonding experience and from seeing your partner in pleasure.
    The problem is that this kind of relationship depends on trust and communication, and on being able to say no on those occasions when you want to say no. This list doesn’t advocate that. Instead, it advises women that ‘When it isn’t absolutely necessary to speak up, don’t. Silence can be golden’.
    This is the kind of relationship that I think is harmful, not the kind you describe as having with your husband. It is encourages women to be passive participants in a sexual relationship AND puts men in the terrible position of being lied to, and potentially finding out one day that their wife has at times felt forced into sex.
    Communication and sexual agency seem to be key in the kind of relationship you describe, and that is exactly what is missing here.


  6. Hanna says:

    I think it’s pretty judgmental to imply that women who choose to consent to have sex when they aren’t actually aroused or into it are doing something wrong or harmful to themselves. My partner and I both have consented to each other at various points without having actually been interested when it was initiated. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. We both still get a lot out of it (particularly bonding, and the pleasure of seeing each other get a need met) I don’t lie and pretend to be super duper into it. When asked if I want to have sex and I’m meh about it, I usually say “I’m not particularly turned on, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get there.” and I usually do get there with his help and knowledge of what I like. The same thing happens in reverse, when I want sex, and he wasn’t even thinking about it. I’ve never once regretted having consented or felt like I was being deceitful. I’m not a bad feminist for doing that either. Of course if on the rare occasion I really just can’t get in to it, I say no, but the sexual satisfaction of my partner is really important to me so if it’s a “meh” I still say yes. He does the same for me because my sexual satisfaction is really important to him too.


  7. emmawolf says:

    I agree with everything you just said and have nothing meaningful to add! Yes! This!


  8. GracieUK says:

    I agree. The kind of relationship this encourages is hugely damaging to both people involved, and it’s genuinely upsetting that this kind of thing is still being written in 2013!


  9. Martin Evels says:

    Sex without consent is rape. To advising women to consent to have sex with their husbands when they don’t want to have sex – that is advising to see sex as a marital duty.
    If marital rape is any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse, committed without consent and/or against a person’s will, obtained by force, or threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent – than she is not advising marital rape.
    Rape is a lot more than an unwanted sex act. Rape is experienced by the victims as an act of violence. It is a life-threatening experience. In rape, the victim is unable to control the violence and stop it. And I didn’t see that “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” say the wife unable to control what happens or to censent to it.


  10. mizzquagmire says:

    Rape is NOT just a violent event. Although it is considered a violent act in nature, not all rapes include violence itself. It is like when you have a domestic violence situation, there may be no actual physical violence or threat, but the psychological damage and injuries are still there. This sort of thing as far as some rapes goes is similar in that there is a psychological aspect, not one of fear for ones life itself, but fear of the other repercussions of saying “no”, or not going along. Being drugged and then raped( no violence) is still rape. No consent= rape. Just because a husband does not beat his wife into having sex with him does by no stretch mean that he hasn’t raped her. Do we need to get into the “legitimate rape” discussion?


  11. Exactly. What this woman is advocating is that women become silent and not speak up when they don’t want sex. She doesn’t want sex, too bad. Keep your mouth shut and do it anyway. That is coercion. Rape isn’t always violent. And if you can’t tell your wife/girlfriend/partner doesn’t want it, you’re doing it wrong. I’d love to know why rape apologists always start arguments trying to qualify what is or isn’t rape.


  12. Ellen Shores says:

    Looks like we are having a “legitimate rape” discussion. Men go to prison for years for rape. We cannot define it so broadly as to include having a quiklie with a wife too insecure and idiotic to say no.


  13. What do you think “against a person’s will” means”? It means that it’s something that person doesn’t want. If you have sex when you don’t want to – what is that???


  14. dausuul says:

    “Against your will” means you don’t consent, or are coerced/manipulated into consenting. If you freely consent, even to something you aren’t personally eager to do, that’s different.

    I don’t *want* to go to work every day, but that doesn’t mean I’m a slave.


  15. dausuul says:

    Addendum: I’m not saying having sex when you don’t want to is the same thing as going to work, nor endorsing the idea that a wife should always consent to sex with her husband regardless of her feelings. That isn’t rape, but it is absolutely part of rape culture (it’s a very small step from “a wife should always consent” to “it doesn’t matter if she consents or not,” and that *is* rape). But there is a clear distinction here, as Peta describes below.


  16. NotASlavetoSociety says:

    Society just manipulated every woman who agrees with Suzanne Venker into having sex. It’s rape culture in a different way. Basically this tells you you have no say when you want to have sex or not. A relationship built upon this is not a healthy one. Talk to any knowledgeable psych about this.


  17. Ellen Shores says:

    So are our husbands supposed to read our minds? If we say yes when we’d like to say no I would hardly call that rape. I’d define it as stupidity.


  18. What an extraordinary book! I am absolutely lost for words (not a common occurrence!)….


  19. It took me 24 hours after first reading her “dos and don’t” list before I could even contemplate writing a single word. I feel your pain.


  20. Clarabo says:

    So does that mean that if she were to write a version of these dos and don’ts for men, it would include one that said ‘Have sex with her, even if it’s just a quickie and even if she’s not in the mood for it’??? THERE’S your answer-and it’s not a ‘do’ I’d want my three sons to ever read!


  21. Having sex with someone who doesn’t want it – no-one should EVER recommend that. This is a subject matter that is normally kept quiet and hidden behind closed doors – it’s to bring it out in the open and make it go the hell away!


  22. Anon says:

    What some may call rape, others may call maintaining a happy marriage. I’m definitely a feminist and I don’t want to be roasted for this, but I’m never (ok, rarely) in the mood to have sex with my husband, but I occasionally do it anyway because I would rather do that than split up and be a single mother of two. I love him and want to spend my life with him. His sex drive is a lot higher than mine and he would never cheat, he would just be miserable. When we have sex, I consent and it’s not terrible. I just have other things I’d rather be doing and am ready for it to be over already. But it’s worth it for the companionship and our life together.


  23. Peta says:

    I must admit, I can relate to the second bit of advice, although it may be badly worded (and I’m not sure I’m going to do a better job here). I’ve had sex with my husband when I’ve not 100% felt like it, completely NOT under any pressure from him, because:

    a) I’ve learnt that sometimes I find I get into it and I end up glad I said yes. I’ve also had this happen when I haven’t felt like going to my exercise class, or going to a social event, or any number of other things that I have had to kick myself into doing when I didn’t feel like it, and then discovered that I enjoyed it. Note I kick myself to do these things when I don’t feel like it, no-one is forcing me or even mildly pressuring me, but if I never did any those things when I didn’t feel like it, I’d have missed out on a lot.


    b) other times I like doing my loved one a favour. Like going out of my way to pick him up from the train station or buying him a spontaneous present that I’m sure he’ll like or any other favour someone in love does for their partner. He does the same for me. As long as it’s mutual and never forced upon anyone, then I don’t see the harm.

    She doesn’t say have sex just to make the husband happy. For me, having sex under the above circumstances makes ME happy.

    “No” always means no. “I’m not sure” also means no. But if your husband asks and instead of instantly saying “no” as it hadn’t even crossed your mind, you take a few seconds to think TO YOURSELF “no… well… maybe… let’s try” then say yes to him – that’s what I think (hope?) she’s getting at here. Personally, I find regular sex important for the intimacy in my marriage, so sometimes I do say yes even if I don’t feel like it, for the reasons above.

    The silence comment has me stunned though, especially her italics. Speaking up and getting things out in the open right from the very start of my relationship with my husband is what’s made this relationship better and stronger than any of my previous ones!


  24. Hanna says:

    yes. what you said.


  25. […] Is Suzanne Venker advocating for marital rape? […]


  26. jenni says:

    I guess people are different but my relationship with my daughters father definitely broke up precisely because he seemed not to care whether I was actually really into sex with him or not. I had been very happy with our sex-life in the beginning but the thing that changed it was when he did not understand when I was tired from the child and kept begging me for sex instead of just helping me out the way I asked him to do. Actually tried to do that “do it to keep him happy” crap (can´t believe myself) and it of course made my own sex-drive lower with him, as I started to view it not as pleasure but almost as some sort of chore.

    The thing is if someone had sex with me to be “nice” rather than because they wanted to and I knew about it that would make me feel gross and disgusting and I would think a man who cared about what you thought of him would feel the same way?

    In most cases both of these pieces if advise (having sex when you don´t want to and not speaking up) will probably lead to hidden resentment slowly growing until the relationship finally dies.


  27. Gwyn says:

    To me, piece of advice #2 (inadvertently, I believe) compares marriage to sex work than advocating marital rape. “Doing it to keep him happy” sounds a bit like a business transaction to me.


  28. Jen says:

    Look up the definition of rape please! It is not rape when both people say yes. People might consent to sex because they are sexually aroused, or because they have a desire to give pleasure to their partner. They might say no despite being sexually aroused if they are worried about the risks involved, or because they are not sexually aroused and don’t desire to give their partner sexual pleasure in that moment. Whether or not a person feels sexually aroused (or “in the mood”) is not what defines rape. It’s consent. I also resent the idea that I am not being a good feminists (or worse, that I’m being raped) when I have sex knowing that it won’t feel like anything more than an intense hug because I’m not really in the mood. Please don’t bait the MRA’s like this. Sometimes I want to hide my face as a feminist when I hear other feminists say this ridiculous stuff. This list is stupid, but it doesn’t advocate for marital rape.


  29. Prostitutes must get a lot of “intense hugs” then. So, it’s not rape if you don’t say no – well, it’s certainly not healthy and it certainly allowing your body to be used for another person’s pleasure/sexual satisfaction. If you’re happy to do that, then that is your choice – as you’ve said already – you freely consent to that so it’s not rape But maybe you should take a step back and think about it. Venker didn’t say “sexually aroused” she said “in the mood”. She said it in the context of women sweet and not bitches, not speaking unless they need to, not handing the baby over to its own father who it hadn’t seen all day, and letting the men go out with the guys. Does this list sound like it’s about women have their needs met or men having their needs met???

    Allowing a man to use your body to meet his needs when you are calling it an intsense hugs is insane. Why are his needs more important than yours? Maybe you need to ask yourself why your man wants sex from you when your not in the mood??? And why you give it? Why would you lose if you didn’t have sex when you weren’t in the mood. Someone else has commented here that they’re scared their man leaves them and they’d be a single mother – that’s not a healthy sounding reason to have sex.

    I have sex so my man won’t leave me. I’m afraid he’ll leave me if I don’t. His needs are important. Women are not here to meet men’s needs – it’s supposed to be a mutual, equal relationship where both partners enjoy it and have their sexual needs met. No one partner should be giving more than the other.


  30. Jen says:

    The relationship I have with my husband is not at all like that of a prostitute and a John. I happen to like an intense hug and I don’t think it’s wrong for my husband to orgasm even though I know I probably won’t. It’s not a sport, we don’t keep score. What universe do you live in where both people always feel exactly the same degree of pleasure while having sex? How could we even know for sure that was happening? If we don’t have simultaneous orgasms, is that rape? I never said I was afraid my husband would leave me if I didn’t have sex with him. He would never threaten me like that. Respond to the appropriate people with the appropriate arguments please. His needs are not more important than mine. Sometimes we do say no to each other. Sometimes he does things to satisfy my sexual needs without expecting anything in return, sometimes he continues to please me after he is satisfied and would probably rather roll over and fall asleep, am I raping him when I ask him to touch me some more? I think perhaps you are just very young and have much to learn about sex. It is not some magical thing that makes two people into one, it is a human thing that happens between two individual human people and involves some negotiation, consideration, and sometimes the joy of freely giving without expecting anything in return (this applies to both partners).


  31. Your sex life with your husband is completely irrelevant to the original blog post and I’m not going to argue with you about your sex life. You obviously know why you do what when you do it and what you get out of it.

    My reply was in repsonse to all comments – not just yours – if you reply to a reply or another person replies to a reply – the replies merge and don’t attach to one single reply.

    What I am talking about in this blog post is whether or not a relationship based on the quote “have regular sex, even if it’s a quickie and you’re not in the mood”. Again, nowhere does in that comment about mutuality or a relationship based on give and take. It states “when you’re not in the mood” and not that you got in the mood half-way through.

    You are awfully defensive and you see this a personal attack on your relationship when it’s not an attack on anyone’s relationship.

    Why are you so quick to advocate that this kind of attitude, addressed to women, is a good thing??? I doubt YOU are as happy as you say are – there is such a thing as denial you know. So you consented and you can’t rap ethe wiling and all that jazz. You’re over-defending the issue in a “methinks thou doth protesteth too much fashion”. You don’t like what I wrote? So what, get over it. If you’re happy and no-one’s telling you to stop it, what’s the big deal???

    I think you’ve had a raw nerve touch and you need to go and think about why this bothers you so much and why you are defending this this keep women quiet and sweet mentality that advocates “good wifes” have regualr sex EVEN WHEN NOT IN THE MOOD!


  32. There are too many MRA creeps out there who believe that most rape accusations are false and come from women deciding the next day or the next year that a time they consented to sex, they didn’t really like it or they weren’t really “in the mood” and then crying rape, causing harm to innocent men. They believe that feminists generally promote this definition of rape. The truth is that men don’t accidentally or unknowingly rape women, and that it is not the norm for a woman to confuse regretting a sexual decision with rape, but this is what they think is happening most of the time! They believet that anything other than “stranger in the bushes” rape should not be taken seriously. The reason I am defending this so passionately is because, as a feminist, I think that your definition of rape in your blog post is actually very harmful and I can’t just “get over it” because it is an issue that I care deeply about. I hope the MRA’s don’t decide to use your piece as substantiation for their paranoid, misogynist theories. I respect and appreciate your acknowledgement in the comment section that consent makes the difference in differentiating rape from sex.

    As for the item on the list that we are discussing, it consists of literally just one sentence. There is no elaboration on what she means, it is totally open to interpretation. I don’t agree that naturally we should assume the unreasonable, reprehensible interpretation is the correct one over the more reasonable and understandable interpretation that I and others commenting here have taken from it. We will have to agree to disagree on that.

    I would put Susan Venker in the same category as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. They are appealing to their target audience (not us) and using a deliberately inflamatory tone in hopes that their ideological opponents will amplify their voice. We have taken the bait here I’m afraid.

    I was directed here through but I won’t be returning. In my relationship (I believe the personal experiences of women are relevant to any conversation about sex, consent and rape) of the two of us I have the stronger libido so this situation plays out with the genders reversed more often than not. I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed that based on your unsolicited psychological evaluation. I let it slide when you stopped just short of calling me a prostitute, but no one appreciates the type of personal judgement you have offered here. It is super condescending to tell someone how they feel.

    You probably have developed the community here that you want and it’s clear that I can never be part of it. I wish you the best, take care.


  33. Jennifer, I certainly did not mean to imply that you were a prostitute in your marriage – not at all. I apologise if it what I wrote came accross as such. That’s why I said I wouldn’t discuss your marriage and relationship. I have approved all the comments here and not simply the ones who agreed with me because I am not trying to push my opinion on anyone – I’m just trying to get people to question accepted norms. I’m pretty sure that I said in my post that in my opinion it sounded like she was advocating to have sex when you didn’t want it. It’s okay with me if people disagree with that.

    I truly believe that our thoughts and belief patterns will either stand up or fall down when challenged and if we cannot allowed our opinions to challenged then we cannot learn.

    If my post has provked people into thinking about what consitutes marital rape (and what doesn’t), and what makes a good healthy sex life (and what doesn’t) and made women think about when they should say no and maybe didn’t etc then my post achieved what I wanted it to – I wanted to get people thinking about these things.
    Everyone’s take on “not in the mood” is different. For me, not being the mood means I don’t want to do it at that particular moment in time and I would not feel good about having sex when I didn’t want to. I think it’s good that we have these discussions because at the end of the day, sex is something a couple do together (not to each other).
    That being said, a lot of women do consent to sex that they don’t want (for a myriad of reasons) and I’m concerned that they are empowered and realise that not all rape is violent and horrid (many rape victims actually orgasm (due to the physical nature of the act) and then suffer tremendous guilt about that.
    When I wrote my blog posts about rape and rape culture – I got so many hits to the blog from google searches with questions like “is it rape if it’s your husband?” “is it rape if you were sleeping?” “is it rape if you were too scared to say no?” “woke up to husband having sex with me” and a load more.
    One person actually commented on the blog that she had sex because she was scared her husband would leave her and she’d be a single mother. That doesn’t sound to me like the relationship you describe, or someone who’s got a low drive and trying to spice up their love life.

    And you are correct – that one sentence was open to interpretation but I read it in the context of Venker’s list and usual style/beliefs. That is why the post was titled as a question – and why I wrote “in my opinion”. The post has certainly provoked discusssion all over the internet about a form of rape we rarely hear about, and about what really does constitute rape, as well as the differences between consensual sex, unwanted sex, and the reasons for having sex. To me, that’s a good thing – and it matters more than whether or not people agree with me.

    This blog post has been all over various facebook, internet pages and twitter and I have tried to keep up with what people are saying – thousands of people have read it and I’ve read hundreds of comments – every one has been different. There almost as many opinions and responses to this post as there are people who’ve read it. Many people don’t agree that it counts as rape if you when consent is given. I am okay with that.

    I found this comment on the “Unpacking the “F” Word”particularly enlightening: “I strongly agree with what most people posted here. According to research, approximately 50% of American women (and 25% of American men) occasionally have desireless sex with their partners. For the purpose of these studies, this kind of sexual encounter was called “sexual compliance” and was defined as: “acquiescence to unwanted sexual intercourse for reasons other than sexual desire or the pursuit of erotic pleasure in the absence of explicit or immediate partner pressure”.

    Problems arise from engaging in this type of behavior only when it stems from certain kinds of reasons and motivations, which in the literature have been called “avoidance motives” (i.e., to avoid conflict in my relationship, to prevent my partner from losing interest in me, to prevent my partner from becoming upset, or to prevent my partner from becoming angry at me). People who have sex with their partners for these types of reasons are more likely to have lower levels of sexual desire and sexual satisfaction later on (if this behavior is kept up) compared to those who have sex for “approach reasons” (i.e., to pursue my own sexual pleasure, to please my partner/make him or her happy, to feel good about myself, to promote intimacy in my relationship, or to express love for my partner).”

    Jennifer, what that comment says may not apply to you, but it does apply to others. You are the best judge of your own relationship. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It is my belief that we really do learn more from those who disagree with us than from those who agree. So I thank you for your part in my learning. Best wishes.


  34. Ellen Shores says:

    Faking it is not rape. Saying no is rape.


  35. emmawolf says:

    I agree. Not in the mood is not the same as not consenting. But I still think Venker’s advice is crap.


  36. Amanda says:

    I protest with that definition of rape. I don’t want to mow the lawn sometimes but I do anyway. I wasn’t forced to mow against my will or coerced. I also think that in every healthy relationship there will be a point where you don’t really want to have sex but go ‘whatever’. That doesn’t make it wrong or bad. I’m sure there will be a point when your partner isn’t really into oral or your kink but goes along to make you happy. Her advice is bad but your opposite direction is extreme as well.


  37. Is sex and mowing the lawn equal in your mind??? I was under the impression that one was a household chore and the other was a physical expression of love and intimacy. Would you tell a rape victim that it just like someone mowed their lawn without their permission???? I highly doubt it.

    Of course explicit consent makes all the difference in whether or not a criminal case of rape has occured – what I am trying to do here is raise awareness or things women do that are so deeply ingrained that we don’t see the wrong or the harm in them.

    I will never encourage women to have sex with someone just to meet the other person’s needs because that is allowing women’s bodies to be used. That’s what prostitutes do.

    Feminsts have been fighting for years so that women can have control over their own bodies – and have always been agaisnt prostitution and porn – even though women consent to it. Why? Because it is degrading to women. It is not treating women like equals. It treats women like objects to be used for the sexual pleasure of men. Why shouldn’t they also be against having sex when your not in the mood???


  38. Susan Murphy says:

    To me, if you replace the word “sex” with another activity you may not be enthusiastic about at the moment, all the suggestions sound like the foundation of a good relationship with anyone. Don’t denigrate rape by applying it to sex that involves two adults saying yes. Are we women not strong enough to determine when we want to say yes and for what reason? I have never been able to fit into a corporate structure because I could not make the same kind of concessions in the name of business, which one ALWAYS has to do (I’m not talking about sex here, just cooperating when you don’t feel like it, keeping your immediate opinion to yourself, etc.). However, I have found that learning to give in or step back or shut up on some occasions has given me incredible personal power and the ability to have great relationships without selling myself out.


  39. emmawolf says:

    If anyone else had said this, I may have given her the benefit of the doubt and think that she just inartfully tried to say, well, you can try to get in the mood and you may surprise yourself. (TMI: Last night I was really tired and didn’t want to have sex, but my husband was in the mood. We fooled around and then I got there and wow! Mind blowing! So yeah, I’d say frequent sex, even just a quickie, is a good idea. And if you’re not in the mood, maybe you can change your mind.) But apple/tree (or whatever the saying is for niece/aunt) because Scahfly is a known rape apologist.

    What I think is missing in this “advice” is YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND AND IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE MOOD DON’T DO IT. I think that Venker and Schafly just don’t get it that husbands are capable of rape and that marriage =/ consent all the time. They don’t get that it’s ok to say no. I can only speak for myself, but I know that I do not enjoy sex unless I’m in the mood (TTC…don’t judge), so just lying because you think you’re doing your husband a favor is not a good idea.


  40. emmawolf – I agree with you. She didn’t say try to get in the mood. She said to have sex even when you’re not in the mood. She didn’t say that you might enjoy it once you got into foreplay etc – nope. “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” As far as I can see – none of that says that you get in the mood after a while – it says do it when you’re not in the mood for it.


  41. allie says:

    I agree and disagree. I don’t think that women should have sex when they don’t want to. No questions there! I do think that sometimes in every relationship, you need to try to make things happen. Relationships are more healthy when sex is a regular thing, and sometimes you have to work at the sex, too. If you aren’t in the mood and you know your partner wants it, there is nothing wrong with encouraging yourself with some candles, a warm bath, a backrub, whatever works for you. It should never be required, but sometimes in a relationship you do things because it makes the other person happy, and that makes you happy.


  42. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not being instantly aroused when you partner initiates and you’re not in the mood and then trying to get in the mood. She didn’t even say that you might enjoy it once you got into foreplay etc – nope. What she said was: “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” As far as I can see – none of that says that you get in the mood after a while – it says do it when you’re not in the mood for it.


  43. Julia says:

    These were interesting responses, and as someone who’s been married for (almost) 13 years, I know I’ve had sex when I wasn’t particularly “in the mood,” and even some of those times I’ve really, really gotten into it; other times I’ve enjoyed it without having my mind blown. I think it’s something that comes with genuine intimacy–neither of us have had sex when we REALLY didn’t want to, but there have been some times where one of us–not just me, even him, because men sometimes don’t want it, either–wasn’t all in, and have “taken one for the team,” as they say. Not as a “wifely duty,” of course [ew, blech], but because we love each other and like to make one another happy [and ourselves, too]. OH, and when we were trying to get pregnant, and HAD to do it whether we were “in the mood” or not? Wow, that was crazy! But it never feels like a duty. It never feels awful or uncomfortable, or forced. This is something partners have to work out for themselves, and understand the boundaries in their own relationships. We obviously aren’t talking about abusive, or coercive, relationships here, which have other dynamics entirely.

    I’ve been raped. Knowingly consenting to sex with a long-term, loving, and great partner isn’t it. Is Venker’s advice gross & seriously one-sided? Yep. But the “be silent unless it’s absolutely necessary” bothered me way more…she may as well have said “be a doormat.”


  44. Consent, of course, is a major factor and one that makes all the difference – there’s no doubt about that. I am not disagreeing with on any level. And you are right that abusive etc relationships have other dynamics at work.There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not being instantly aroused when you partner initiates and you’re not in the mood and then trying to get in the mood, and then getting in the mood and enjoying sex. But she didn’t even say that you might enjoy it once you got into foreplay etc – nope. What she said was: “Have regular sex, even if it’s just a quickie and you’re not in the mood.” As far as I can see – none of that says that you get in the mood after a while – it says do it when you’re not in the mood for it.

    When I am not in the mood to do something, I don’t do it. I may well have enjoyed it if I had done it – but why should do I something I am not in the mood for. Sex isn’t my job – so I won’t get fired for not going to work. It’s not a household chore. It’s not an obligation.


  45. xinpheld says:

    I dunno if I’d call it Marital Rape, so much as Marital Prostitution, because it’s voluntary, if not invested.


  46. Good point, xinpheld.


  47. You know who consents to sex they’re not in the mood for it??? Prostitutes, porn actresses, domestic violence victims, people who (for whatever reason) are unable to say no. Venker’s dos and don’t say to have sex even when not in the mood. I don’t know about you but when I’m not in the mood for something I don’t want it – be it sex or mowing the lawn. It doesn’t mean I dont want it at other times, or that I don’t like it when I have it.

    Venker’s list doesn’t say to let your man romance you to get you in the mood (that is what foreplay is, after all). The list days to do it EVEN when you’re not in the mood. Sex isn’t something to be equated with lawn-mowing or other household chores. FFS, if someone mowed my lawn when I wasn’t in the mood or when I didn’t give them express consent, I would NOT feel the same way a rape victim does after they’ve been raped.

    Not all rape is violent and scary. Some rape victims have even have orgasms.

    Would you advise your daughters to have sex when they’re not in the mood? Would you be happy to have sex with someone who wasn’t in the mood? Would you be happy if your daughter was having consensual sex as a prostitute? What kind of a man wants sex with someone who isn’t in the mood? Wife’s don’t owe their husbands sex – where is that bit in the marriage vows????? If husbands need a “release” then they know what to do? What of the rape victim who freezes? Freezing is a natural, biological reponse to fear an dit paralyses – no express consent can given.

    Frankly, whether you think rape boils down to a simple act of consent, or like me, you thnk it’s deeper than that – all of these questions need to be answered.


  48. Consenting to sex doesn’t mean you wanted it. It means you gave permission. Saying yes to sex doesn’t mean you were in the mood for it either – it means you agreed to it.


  49. I find it utterly tragic that any woman would degrade herself so much as to barter her body for the sake of a relationship with a person who cares so little about her as a person that they’d happily take sex from her regardless of her emotional perspective. Women, when did we start thinking our minds, our bodies, our lives meant so much. We need to stop being treated like passive objects for the gratification of others. We will never be able to realize ourselves as emancipated beings with inherent human value if we don’t.


  50. I find it utterly tragic that any woman would degrade herself so much as to barter her body for the sake of a relationship with a person who cares so little about her as a person that they’d happily take sex from her regardless of her emotional perspective. Women, when did we start thinking our minds, our bodies, our lives meant so little. We need to stop letting ourselves be treated like passive objects for the gratification of others. We will never be able to realize ourselves as emancipated beings with inherent human value if we don’t.


  51. The Savvy Senorita says:

    Through my own writing I have explored whether other women act as the barrier to the progress of ‘feminism’; and I believe they do. Some women’s behaviour towards other women can be archaic – bitchiness, competition, popularity contests, fighting to be the most sexually attractive, aggression and game playing (such as trying to poach other women’s boyfriends for fun, making comments to lower other women’s self esteem, playing ‘alpha’ female as though they belonged to an animal pack not a group of developed human beings). Women hate other women for being other women, because other women threaten their dominance, supremacy and standing in the social group. Watch women’s eyes when an attractive female enters the room; if looks could kill. I don’t understand it or adhere to such behaviour, but some women do. I have spoken to groups of women, and they all report the same behaviour and concur – women are their own worst enemies to progress and development.


  52. I couldn’t agree more. How many times have you heard a woman say that she would rather work with a group of men than a group of women??? Too many, I’m sure.


  53. The Savvy Senorita says:

    Exactly so, too many times and it is such as shame. Why do women do this to themselves, as it doesn’t make for a happy existence; I despair!


  54. I have two daughters, and this is exactly the kind of girls/women I am raising them not to be. I can’t stand when women are jealous and competitive.

    If women were able to stop this behaviour, and TRUST other women, the world would be a completely different place for women.


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