Watch out ladies, your empowering principles may be making you bad lovers.
At least that's the opinion of the "sexperts" quoted in a recent Australian Men's Health article dissecting female failings in the bedroom. The male-centric magazine seems to have gone the way of Cosmopolitan for the piece, which diagnoses and then attempts to subvert a so-called "princess-and-the-pea-syndrome" that has apparently been plaguing heterosexual beds since the dawn of feminism.
According to "renowned sexpert" and self-help book author Dr. Pam Spurr, feminism has turned women into pillow queens, newly empowered to fight for their rights. According to Spurr, this may be detrimental to a male partner's satisfaction.
"In the past few decades, women have learnt that orgasms, like voting and equal pay, are their right," Spurr told the magazine. Now, the woman's "pea" is prioritized. "The pea’s demands will eclipse those of your penis."
Besides Spurr's absurd use of a children's fairy tale as a euphamism for women and their sexual organs — when was the last time you heard a clitoris referred to as a pea? — her whole point adds to a frustrating set of double standards when it comes to women and sexual expectations.
These days, feminism is much more likely to be more often blamed for turning all women into birth-control-popping sluts. Jill Filipovic describes this irony in a piece over at the Guardian:
"When it comes to sex, feminists get a bad (and confusing) rep. We're both man-haters and whores, unmarryable spinsters and family-destroyers. We purportedly want to outlaw pornography while encouraging adolescent girls to get on the pill. We're hideous hairy-legged lesbians, and we're using undergraduate Women's Studies programs to turn your daughter bisexual. We're promiscuous oversexed sluts, and we're angry femi-Nazis because we're not getting laid.
Critics can't decide if feminists hate sex or are having too much of it."
This divide is particularly apparent when women lose control of their narrative. Case in point, Rush Limbaugh's long-standing, self-appointed defender of Americans against such feminist sirens as Sandra Fluke.
For its take, Men's Health solicited the help of five "sexperts" to aid men in getting what they want in bed, if need be, as the title reads, "without her noticing." Because one way to get the sexy back into the sack is to remove consent altogether.
Unlike Cosmo's plethora of sex advice pieces, however, Men's Health believes that the feminist fight for equality has found its way into the bedroom, effectively denuding sex of its sexiness. Spurr, author of Sensational Sex, blames the central feminist tenet of equality explicitly. And it doesn't take too much of a hypothetical leap to see how this type of rhetoric might inform the opinions of people like this gentleman:
Sex is sexy and passionate because of a variety of reasons; for many, these include the way power dynamics play out in the bedroom — or wherever else sexy-time happens. Some egalitarian feminists may take a more conservative line about sex, but sexual relations can certainly be influenced by the inclusion, or lack thereof, of politics in a consensual sexual relationship.
This is not a nuance recognized by the Men's Health article, however. Rather, its sexperts dismiss women's ability to differentiate between fighting for equality under the law and what goes on in the bedroom outright.
Equally problematic, their rhetoric implies that sexual satisfaction for men is a narcissistic and one-sided enterprise. And as Kasey Edwards noted for Daily Life, this is "not the first time in recent memory that Men's Heath has used its slick machismo to reinforce male dominance," criticizing the magazine for encouraging it's readers to "view women as objects that exist for their benefit."
Perhaps these sexperts should turn their attention to helping men figure out how to resolve their own sexual inadequacies pumping into their partner's "tunnel of love" before blaming women for them.