Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Affairs of Men

So Philip Weiss recently "reported" in New York Magazine on the secret lives of married men. And the gals at Slate's XX Factor blog responded, calling the piece "not an outré confession but a fiftysomething baby boomer's long-winded attempt to rationalize his desire to screw a variety of women despite being married." I concur. Though Weiss' article presents itself as provocative and edgy, the piece is inflected with the naïve, wishful rhetoric of 1970s thinking about sex. Here's the XXers' take:

Weiss explains that men "hunger for sexual variety" and determines that this hunger is "a basic and natural and more or less irresistible impulse." He reports that men are using more porn than ever and quotes Mark Penn wondering what will happen when women "realize it." He notes that sexless marriages among power couples are endemic. He harps on his own desire for "some[thing] strange." Yet when his exasperated wife proposes an open marriage in response to all his bellyaching, he flinches at the thought that she might avail herself of the new rules, too.

Ah, Phillip. Double standard, much?


Anonymous said...

What's really telling to me about that article is the final few paragraphs, where Weiss tells us that he has talked to his wife about an open marriage and that it's out of the question.

He's really not comfortable talking to his wife of presumably many years about anything that deep or serious. He's not comfortable with her being his equal or having a discussion that could end up with him being unable to have his cake and eat it too.

In the end, he sounds uncertain, lacking in confidence in himself as the person that his wife chose as her life's mate. He comes off lacking in confidence that she sees him as who he wants to be seen, And finally, he comes off lacking in the confidence that if she branched out, she wouldn't find someone who she loved more than she's ever loved him.

Fear is holding him back from so many things, and the real casualty is their relationship and both people's happiness. Not because they would or wouldn't be happier in an open relationship, but because after so many years, they still don't feel comfortable talking to each other.

Anonymous said...

It's fascinating how many men still buy into the notion that for women sex is all about snagging a sperm donor and having his tadpoles.

It's like the talking heads being amazed by Hillary Clinton's tenacity because women don't do the competition thing, right?

Articles like this sound remind us that the war ain't over.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that so many people with evolved senses have been rejecting this article.

It's such an easy cop-out for men and women to assume such sexual deviance is simply "normal." This type of faulty "science" is used in place of people actually examining the ways in which we are in relationship with each other--lovers and friends. Many of us simply simply don't have healthy patterns and when people resent each other, they are not going to want to have sex with one another.

Boys-will-not-be-"boys" on our watch! And neither will the "girls."

Deborah Siegel said...

Hello, Eclectic Hedonist. I LOVE your blog! And thank you for your insightful comment. Anniegirl (I hope you received the book!), right on re HRC analogy... Becca, welcome! And I know, the junk science aspect of this all just drives me nuts.

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