Stef (firecat) wrote,

Oversimplification of other people's sexuality is the anti-viagra

Ogas and Gaddam, the perpetrators of SurveyFail, are at it again. This time (in a blog post in Psychology Today, titled "Why Feminism Is the Anti-Viagra," which I am purposely not linking) they are claiming that American women have "difficulties in bed" because "The majority of women have submission fantasies." They think romance novels prove this. They also think that female mammals in general are "wired to find sexual submission arousing." Proof of this? Female rats raise their hind ends to mate.

Certain parts of the feminist and fanfictional and romancefictional blogosphere are having a lot of fun with this. In a way I'm sad because Ogas and Gaddam don't deserve the attention. But I love so many of the comments, and I'm excerpting some of them here.

Starting with feministe:
a photo of rat sex doesn’t really prove that women love submission, since “submission” is something that’s being projected onto the rats who are just trying to do their thing without getting stuck in the middle of some gender war bullshit.
Was everyone way more sexually satisfied 100 years ago when Men Were Men or whatever? I think almost definitely not.
As for animal positioning being a sign of submissiveness, I never understood this. I can’t figure out for the life of me how else those animals would fuck. It’s not like they can try missionary or reverse missionary because animals are round and they roll.
The romance and fanfic communities can (and have) run rings around Ogas and Gaddam when it comes to explaining what their stories say about female desire.
Ogas and Gaddam claim "Avon Books and Ellora’s Cave feature no heroes who are kindergarten teachers, accountants, or plumbers" and sossajes comments (
harlequin has several series that feature blue-collar or working class heroes, and many, many other authors use the sensitive blue-collar or brilliant idealist hero., also here:
The cherry-picking starts in the first paragraph. By the second, he’s already claiming that the Sleeping Beauty novels support his thesis, when in fact there are men and women both topping and bottoming throughout the three-book series.
There’s a fundamental problem with using a data-set drawn largely from fiction: it’s fiction!
1. Romance heroes always know how to find the clitoris.
2. They always find the heroines exciting, whether she’s plump or skinny or matronly or what-have-you.
3. Foreplay is a given, and there’s many a scene where the hero pleasures the heroine and doesn’t get to get off himself.
4. Pleasure is often depicted as something the hero gives to the heroine, in a reversal of the standard cultural line of sex as taking something away from the woman.
5. “Dynamic and highly variable” is a fairly accurate description of the way sex scenes ideally work in erotic romance
Even this describes only a narrow part of the possibilities of romance tropes, but it's a more accurate stereotype than Ogan and Gaddam's:
From what I can see, your typical romance novel has a dominant man paired with a “feisty”, “free-spirited”, i.e. NOT EVEN REMOTELY SUBMISSIVE woman, who fight a lot before finally “taming” each other and settling into a relatively equal relationship. The dominant man typically is filled with admiration for the woman’s strength, courage, strong will, etc. (This makes sense from an evo-psych point of view, because Doormat Woman is also likely to end up Sabretooth Tiger Lunch.) And in the sex scenes, he physically dominates her while emotionally submitting
Fun game: Anytime you see men complaining about how women prefer dominant men replace “dominant” with the word “confident”.
I’m from Sweden. I am currently doing a sample translation for Harlequin to make some extra money. In the guidelines for the English to Swedish translation, we are instructed to actually remove or change parts where men are overly dominant or women are overly submissive. Because Swedish women do not get off on that apparently.

Moving on to The Rambling Feminist:
Not once in this article have they considered a sexual practice that doesn’t involve a cisgendered man sticking his penis in a cisgendered woman’s vagina. ...I guess LGBTQIA identifiants aren’t having sex! Add that to the obsession with penetrative sex and you’ve got a full cisheterosexism bingo card.
I'm pausing here to admire the word "cisheterosexism" before moving on to some helpful anecdotes about rat sex:
the girls, aka The Ladies, they were fucking fierce. They were tiny criminal geniuses, home decorators, explorers, and experts at Getting Shit Done. I mean, the shit they got done was rat shit, but it was still pretty epic even if I'm not sure what a lot of it was about.

One of the things they Got Done was, one day while I was at work, managing to cling to the inside edge of their cage long enough to chew through the screen mesh lid. This was pretty epic itself because the cage was two feet tall, see. And glass. (I don't use glass anymore, don't worry.) But that's not all they did--no, they chewed through the screen, got out, went across the room, and wriggled into the boys' cage. I found them in there when I got home, all "Neener neener, we make our own sexual decisions."
Frankly, I am pretty sure every single one of The Ladies (who taught themselves how to climb three feet straight up the wall by pressing themselves between the side of an aquarium and the wall, let me tell you, that is fucking brilliant) was actually a much more clever and scientific researcher than these guys. I mean, The Ladies observed their world and drew inferences from what they observed; these dudes just make shit up as they go along. That is not Science.

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