Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sex and Housework

Reader Mark emails this article about women saying they are turned on by men doing housework:

Jen Simmons loves to watch her husband Danny tend to their two little boys, mop the floor or hang a picture. She also finds it sexy.

I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.

"If there's a sink full of dirty dishes, he knows I'm going to take care of that before I want to get intimate. If he wasn't helping with the housework, I would not find that very attractive....

And, says one expert, a more equitable division of household duties may lead to more intimacy in the bedroom.

"When a man does housework, it feels to the woman like an expression of caring and concern, which then physically reduces her stress," says Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework.


Reader Mark points out that the article is quite one-sided--only what women need for intimacy is made known. Mark states:

You know, I would be very turned on by a sweaty woman pushing a lawn mower, digging up that tree stump in the back yard, or fixing that leak in the roof. And, Oh... what a turn on to see your sexy legs extending out from underneath the car while you do the oil change!


I bet there are a number of male readers out there who feel the same way. Where is an article about that?

103 Comments:

Blogger Squeaky Wheel said...

I'm young and have never been married, so I feel like I have a different viewpoint, but I feel like the sharing of housework on BOTH ends is a good idea. I have no qualms about doing yardwork and helping around the house with "manual labor" (I've lived on my own long enough to be able to do a lot of stuff that might not traditionally be a "woman's job", as well as the stuff that is...except cooking. I'm a hit-or-miss chef), and the guys I've dated have had no qualms about helping me out when they come over with dishes and general clean-up. I appreciate it, and I know that when I'm at their houses, they appreciate my help. I don't see why that sort of attitude should stop when you get married. I mean, yeah, if you have kids, obviously it's more complicated, and I wouldn't know about that, so to some of you I may look like I'm talking out my rear, but I can totally see where both sides would appreciate a little help in their respective areas, and how that would contribute to a happier relationship all around.

12:27 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

I'm not doubting that some women find a man doing chores a turn on, but I would bet that most that say that are just trying to manipulate the man into doing more.

As far as what turns a man on (aside from almost anything lol), women would probably be more interested in what motivates a man to send flowers or court her moreso than what turns them on sexually. The best way to motivate a man to be more romantic and want to "date" his wife is for her to treat him with respect and be nice to him. (I can't tell you how many of my wife's friends tell my wife that they wish their husbands were more romantic like me, yet they are always telling the husbands how stupid and disappointing they are--trying to get a guy to be romantic by telling him he's an idiot is like trying to put a woman in a sexy mood by telling her she's fat.)

I wish I knew before marriage what I know 4 years later!

12:34 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Duck said...

One of the sexiest things my ex-wife did was, counter to form, boldly stated one Saturday morning "f**k the housework, lets go out and have some fun!"

I also find women who are into wargaming sexy.

12:49 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

It makes sense when you think about it. A helpful partner makes a family easier. Easier family life equals more open so more children. More open to more children is more baby making.

Trey

1:04 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Derek said...

In my experience, most of it from providing relationship education to couples, the core challenge to addressing this issue is that men and women aren't paying attention to the same things. In general, women want their men to help out more with the domestic chores during the week, and men end up feeling like their more labor intensive contributions (e.g., removing stumps) aren't appreciated.

Women often don't realize how much men do. I've heard numerous divorced women say something like "I didn't realize how much he did around the house until he left." But what he did was often incidental, not continual. She didn't realize how much work it was because she didn't see it week after week.

At the same time, men often don't realize how much women do on a weekly basis or how little they do to help. They often think that their hourly contribution is equivalent because the things they do take so much time, e.g. spending all day removing stumps. But you don't remove the same stump week after week.

Women can also feel frustrated because men hold up "big jobs" as examples of their contribution around the house, ignoring the fact that she was holding the ladder, handing the tools, or leveraging the stump. If she can help him with "his chores," she may wonder why he can't help with "her chores."

Many of the "ah-ha" moments I've seen in couples come when she recognizes the chores that he does and he recognizes how much it would cost to pay someone else to do what she does.

1:38 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

While I believe that chores should be divided up equitably, I agree with Mark. Men's traditional chores and desires often are left out of the equation.

This subject also brought back an humorous memory. The female half of a couple I know is very hot and likes doing household chores in the nude. One day while she was vacuuming a male friend stopped by. No one answered the door when he rang the bell. Since he could hear the vacuum cleaner, he decided to go around back to the sliding glass doors where he got a surprising view.

My friends thought it was hilarious but the guy was thoroughly embarrassed.

1:43 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger BobH said...

Mark's point is true and has been made before. In fact, I think Warren Farrell made the same point, complete with a list of some 60 male tasks that get overlooked as contributions to family labor. I think it was in (you'll like this title Helen) "Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say".

Of course, it only makes sense for men to speak up if women are listening and all too many women are too busy preparing their rebuttals to men's arguments to actually listen to them. In these situations, it makes perfect sense for men to just roll their eyes and walk away. After all, having no relationship at all is a perfectly valid outcome when two people are attempting to negotiate one.

2:15 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

I have no experience in psychology, but it sounds to me as if the women who get off on men doing the housework are on a power-trip. It sound like these women are saying in their heads, "Yes! I finally got him where I want him!"

Also, I agree with Mark. Little thought is given to what men want. What's interesting is the fact that men actually do more work overall than women do (when taking into account the fact that men put in more hours at the office overall than women do and are putting in more hours of work at home than ever). Men are expected to work all day at work then work all night at home. This country would fall apart if men stopped working over-time.

2:17 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

Too many women say "my man won't talk about his feelings" without even realizing that when they say "tell me what you're feeling" what they are really demanding is "make me feel good."

Surely, not all women do this. But it's more common than either side would care to admit.

2:17 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

I think this is a combination of fantasy and manipulative bullshit. I seriously doubt it leads to more intimacy over the long term. Quite to the contrary, once the man starts doing less housework, his wife will start bitching and moaning about it.

Of course, I can also find many women (several of whom I know) who find men doing housework annoying as shit.

2:56 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

trust,

I would observe that almost universally when women complain that "my man won't talk about his feelings" they are really saying "my man doesn't tell me what I want to hear."

My wife has long learned to not ask if she's not prepared to hear what I'm really thinking. (Though she also often asks, "What are thinking besides that." meaning, besides sex. Of course, that doesn't stop me from saying something like, "My boss is pissing me off and I'm horny."

3:05 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger P. Rich said...

I'm thinking the real message, conscious or not, is more along the lines of, " I've got a lot of chores, and if you don't help you aren't getting any in the forseeable future." It's just another variant on the 'trading sex for [fill in the blank]' ploy, the oldest trick on the planet. Ogg would recognize this for what it is, if he could read.

3:41 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

The Red Green Show figured this out ages ago, when speaking of women, "if they can't find you handsome, let 'em find you handy."

I love seeing the rough hands of my hubby after he's fixed the car or felled the trees in the back yard. I kiss them and thank him for each scar and callous. He loves having a clean kitchen in the morning, clean bathrooms; I love that he takes out the trash. It's all good.

But it's true: working women still have the bulk of daily chores on their plates. Many a night I'm doing the dishes after cooking dinner, while he watches television. If he wants nookie, he's just gonna have to get out of that chair and help me, and then I can feel a bit more settled and ready for the next day. When my mind is relaxed, good things happen. It's not that it's sexy or one-sided, it's that it's helpful toward a common goal: intimacy.

6:20 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Archivist said...

Major news outlets believe that women read features stories and men read sports and headlines. Thus, feature articles are going to have a gynocentric slant. This story is based on the view that women do a lot more housework than men even when men and women work the same hours. The fact is, the numbers given for how much housework women do (and men, too) always seems way out of kilter with reality. Are these people painting their homes every week to jack up the hours? So right there the numbers are suspect. In addition, the numbers fail to take into account the "fun" jobs men do outside, etc. Finally, the fact is, women want the house neater and cleaner than men. Ever seen a guy's dorm room? It's sad that desperate newspapers don't care if they insult men just to get women to read their inane stories. Very gender divisive.

6:48 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Sparks said...

Joan,

I bet if you called out, "Hey hun... you want to help me with the dishes tonight?" And then when he looks away from the TV at you, you just drop the clothes you were previously wearing to the floor. I bet he'll shut off the TV and come over to help.

:-)

7:22 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Sparks:

No, more than likely after hun sees a naked Joan he'd jump out of the easy chair and carry Joan to the bedroom for a few minutes of enthusiastic sex. Joan would still be stuck with the dishes.

Bad idea.

8:42 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Acksiom said...

Cham:

No, preemptive; if she's a working woman, why hasn't she bought and started using a dishwasher already?

Also, according to you: "Those pesky women simply won't behave right to make men happy."

Personally, I've always found that making other people happy is one of the greatest, most wonderful and uplifting joys in life that a person could ever experience.

Apparently, though, in the Chamiverse, that isn't the case -- at least, when the people to be made happy are male, and the person to be experiencing that greatest and most wonderful and uplifting of joys is female, that is.

Tell us, Cham: why do you want to deny so deeply rewarding and pleasureable an experience to not only yourself, but other women as well, as it appears you do?

10:47 PM, June 22, 2008  
Blogger Jess T. Mills, IV said...

I can only speak from anecdotal evidence. But every girl I've ever dated had no idea how to really cook or clean, all stereotypes to the contrary. Maybe that says something about my generation, or maybe it only says something about the girls I date!

I keep my place clean, and cook my own food. If I'm with a girl and she makes something dirty, I expect her to clean it. If I get something dirty, I clean it. And if she ever made any chore a prerequisite to having sex, I'd kick her the hell out of my house. Sex should be because you want it, not because you've fulfilled her list of chores.

One other thought: I've heard a lot of women say they find a man doing housework sexy. I rarely see them following through. These same women also claim to want a sensitive man, yet somehow they always end up with a "jerk" or an "asshole".

Pay no attention to what people say they want - pay attention to what their actions indicate. People say a lot of things they never mean, even when they think they do. To quote Otis Redding, "actions speak louder than words."

2:25 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

If both are equally interested in sex, or otherwise at least in spending (precious) time together, seems to me they'd work together to make time for it. But as living proof, even that doesn't work all the time.

Almost all marriages are an uneven yoke. Beware the individual who states they will always meet you half way. For it does not take too long to realize they are a poor judge of distance. Or they may have problems with moving in straight lines. I'm talking either spouse here. You know, in case someone is looking for a chink. Beauty is not the only thing that lies in the eye of the beholder, eh? Keeping score is real productive too.

7:04 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

Apparently those pesky men simply won't behave right to make women happy, either.

It looks like the solution is just for men to do all their own housework and pay their own bills and let women do the same. That way neither sex is imposing on the other.

At least men no longer have to get married to get nagged 7x24x365.

7:59 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger BobH said...

To jess t. mills, iv

Your experience is pretty much the same is mine.

"People say a lot of things they never mean, even when they think they do."

I agree. In social psychology, the definition of a "lie" when making a statement of intent is NOT whether the speaker actually intends it, but rather whether the statement is a good predictor of future behavior. The assumption is that people communicate largely to manipulate their social environment and that people who believe their own lies are more likely to convince others of them. (Trust me on this, this is not a good subject to bring up on the first date with a woman.)

8:07 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger bwebster said...

My wife has said (for 20 years or so) that "foreplay begins in the kitchen". Since I like to cook and don't mind doing housework, this works out well for all.

And, yes, I find it quite sexy to see my wife pulling weeds while I'm mowing. Of course, the bending over helps....

11:17 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Vicki said...

Well I must be one sexy wench as I pull out my tree stubs, mow my lawn and get on the roof to start up my air conditioner!

I've been in that chore battle before and just find living single easier. I felt like a maid, unpaid, and don't want to go there again.

11:21 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

"I've been in that chore battle before and just find living single easier."

Agree completely!

the real message, conscious or not, is more along the lines of, " I've got a lot of chores, and if you don't help you aren't getting any in the forseeable future." It's just another variant on the 'trading sex for [fill in the blank]' ploy, the oldest trick on the planet. Ogg would recognize this for what it is, if he could read.

What I find so interesting is that so few women object to the way they are being portrayed in the media. Apparently, trading sex for whatever they want is not only the oldest profession for women, it is the oldest hobby as well.

It has been very enlightening to really see what a shallow view of men that women have, and how everything seems to boil down to sex with them, even though they try to pin the blame on us for that. There are a lot of women whose mates don't want them any more even when they do the dishes, which leaves women like this with no bargaining chip at all - since they have neglected to develop pleasant personalities which might carry them through the later years when sex becomes less important for both men and women.

11:37 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

Why would one marry someone who refuses to perform their share of basic household chores? Maybe taking a hard look at how a potential mate maintains their living space should be part of the dating process. If a man/woman is a slob, it won't be cute before the marriage and it certainly won't be a cute idiosyncrasy after the marriage. If your mate doesn't know where the dishwasher is located it is not only his/her fault, it's yours as well.

12:14 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Garou said...

I call BS. I'm a SAHD, and, as such, read multiple SAHD websites, forums, etc. And a common complaint is that there is a definite lack of intimacy in the marriage - and this is coming from men who do the vast majority of the traditionally "female" household chores, in addition to most of the "male" household chores.

I'd expound, but I have dishes to do, laundry to start, and some general cleaning to do. If it doesn't rain, I might even get to finish mowing the yard. Some women might call it sexy, I call it "a typical Monday".

1:22 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

I'll just nod in an "I hear ya, bro" sort of way at garou's observations before answering our hostess' original question:

The assumption is that men find damn near anything sexy - or rather, that a constant state of near-readiness renders pondering such things unnecessary. I know, I know, enormous business is made of women's interest in being sexy. There's a disconnect between conscious thought and actual action, but the assumption is what it is.

2:42 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger JG said...

"Why would one marry someone who refuses to perform their share of basic household chores?"

---

Because the man makes good money or has high social status in some way.

Pretty simple.

3:32 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

I have just remembered how horny Al would get when he saw Peggy doing some housework on Married With Children. Good for the goose . . .

Trey

4:54 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Vicki said...

Funny you should ask Cham, because this mate had a lovely, clean apartment we when dated. Beautiful plants, cooked very well. Once the "I do" was said, that side of him disappeared completely. Who knew??

5:59 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger jp said...

"You know, I would be very turned on by a sweaty woman pushing a lawn mower, digging up that tree stump in the back yard, or fixing that leak in the roof. And, Oh... what a turn on to see your sexy legs extending out from underneath the car while you do the oil change!"

I don't think it will work, Mark. My ex was legally blind, so I did all those things (and the tuckpointing, hanging new gutters, installing the garage door opener, new roof, hedge trimming, ad nauseum). And here's the thing: maybe a man feels like having sex after spending all day baking in 115 degree heat at a junk yard, pulling a transmission off a 1987 Buick, with the gravel and rocks tattooing a roadmap to hell on his back, but I sure didn't. I wanted to be clean, I wanted a tall glass of Kahlua on the rocks to wash down the bottle of ibuprofen, and I wanted to sleep. It would have taken a little work get me in the mood, maybe some lotion, a nice backrub. That was way too much work for him. He'd grab the lotion alright, and aim straight for the online porn. In the end all he wanted from me was a divorce. Maybe it's different for guys; I have no problem spending my days doing whatever back-breaking labor needs to be done, but it's going to take a little TLC to get sex out of me when I'm finished, and most of the men I know would rather just do the work themselves.

6:13 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger iconoclast said...

I wonder if women evolved to enjoy sex a little bet less than men do (on the average) because this gives them more negotiating leverage in trading sex for other things.

This trading instinct seems pretty universal, but maybe if women would consciously recognize it, it could be made less damaging.

7:27 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Richard said...

What REALLY turns me on is when she builds a new addition onto the house or repaves the driveway. Her six figure salary gets me off too.

7:35 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

"and most of the men I know would rather just do the work themselves."

And be ready to get laid immediately afterward.

Man enters house drenched in sweat.

Man: God, I'm tired. I just want to shower and go to bed.

The woman drops her clothes on the floor, drops on the bed and spreads her legs.

Man: I'm not THAT tired.

Note that the man could have just walked 200 miles, uphill, in the rain while being shot at.

And even if we aren't horny at that moment, we've learned never to give up an opportunity. The only thing the man will be thinking is: Please God, let me get it up.

Yes, women, most of us are that shallow. Accept it and quit complaining (after all, we put up with your touchy, feely bullshit to an insane degree.)

9:00 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

joe said...

Yes, women, most of us are that shallow.


You clearly are, but you are wrong about most of "us" being that "shallow." No one elected you to speak for "most" men.

9:26 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger jp said...

I'm not sure how being willing and able to have sex after a hard day's labor makes one shallow. After all, if men weren't willing and able to have sex after a hard day's labor, the human race would have died out a long time ago. All I'm saying is that THIS woman is not particularly willing or able to have sex after a hard day of typically manly work, and I wonder if that has anything to do with the traditional division of labor (or the continuation thereof).

10:34 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

zed, give me a break.

I was clearly being sarcastic, but most men are willing to have sex even when tired. We find it relaxing. If you are not, you are the exception, not the rule.

12:09 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

I don't think Zed was wrong.

I am approaching middle age, and I find the chore of sexual manipulation needed to bed a woman to be, well, not worth the effort.

Zed is not the exception, he is just the "other half" that has passed the sexual drive that makes men into morons for the first half of their lives... and that first half, well, women have been manipulating that for THOUSANDS OF YEARS!

Personally, even at 37/38 years old, I find that a woman needs to stimulate me more than just with sight of her "wonderful" femaleness.

Women were really stunned to put men off until later in life, as according to fembot studies 101... It is said (I think by a study at Duke - though not sure) that if a man does not get married by 38, that it is highly probable that he well NEVER marry...

Well, at my present age, I can see why!

Marriage is driven by men having extremely high sex drives in their early years. It clouds all of his judgement. Women manipulate this weakness ruthlessly!

Once mid-life hits, if a man is not indoctrinated by being married PREVIOUSLY, then, he has little motivation to do so. Why in the hell would he? Exactly WHAT benefits do women bestow upon him? Seriously! List them please!

All of my married friends are miserable shits who aren't even really my friends anymore. (Slaves don't get to have friends... they are told who they MAY spend time with).

The whole "delaying marriage" tactic goes quite deep.

Women will marry at 110 years old.

Men will not.

Why is that?

It was best for society that men used to get married in their teens or early 20's. This is now gone... and, it is not in the best interests of WOMEN that it is so.

But, since we now live in a society that believes in "equality" at all costs... I don't care about the best interests of women... I only care about MY best interests... I find that to be "equal" to my dating partners.

And, so, I am single, 37, and not about to change anytime soon. The only thing I find changing at this age is my willingness to put up with female bullshit. That has dropped to such a level that I can't even describe it!

I will have what my father never had in his brief years of old age: Peace and Quiet!

I am only approaching middle age, and I am already craving for PEACE and QUIET!

Gen X might not surpass the boomers monetarily, but, perhaps, we can surpass them spiritually.

1:07 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

I read the article and didn't find it offensive.

I think one of the problems is people don't understand or care that the male and female sex drives are completely different.

A man's sex drive is visually and chemically driven (testosterone), while a woman's sex drive is emotionally and relationally driven. There are exceptions, of course, but these are the general differences.

Most men are interested in sex almost all the time. We are visually stimulated and the testosterone supply can't be shut off. The male brain also seems to be able to compartmentalize our lives so a bad day at work won't necessarily inhibit our desire or ability to have sex.

Women are different. They need to build up to sex with conversation, checking chores off their to do lists, soft touches, kisses, and kind words during the day from their spouse, and yes some help with household chores. And a bad day at work is going to be a real mood killer because it is hard for her to feel sexy and desirable when she is angry or disappointed about work related issues.

Personally, I know my wife isn't going to be interested in sex if the sink is full of dirty dishes, piles of laundry are needing washed, and the house is a mess.

But, I do know if I offer to help with the dishes, or laundry, or pick up the living room, that such a minor task means a lot to her and takes some of the stress off. And less stress creates an environment where a bit of romance can flourish.

Yes, I might be in the backyard digging up the metaphorical tree stump that has been there since we bought the house 15 years ago, but the tree stump is not on her to do list creating mental stress, so forget about the tree stump and lend a hand.

Bottom line guys, if you want to have sex tonight, start creating the environment first thing in the morning. Ask if there is anything on her to do list that you can do for her. It might be something as simple as taking the kids to the park for an hour or two after work so she can get stuff done around the house without constant interruptions.

For a helpful book on the topic, check out Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman. He approaches the topic from a Christian perspective, but there is a lot of good advice in the book for every married couple, Christian or not.

He also wrote a book titled Sex Begins in the Kitchen, but I haven't read that one yet.

Granted, I'm not an expert in this area, and yes some people are simply manipulative jerks, but I think some of the animosity between the sexes is simply an unwillingness or inability to understand what makes the other tick and feminist imposed political correctness keeps polite society from exploring and embracing those very real differences.

1:26 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Rob Fedders said...

Dogwood said: "Granted, I'm not an expert in this area, and yes some people are simply manipulative jerks, but I think some of the animosity between the sexes is simply an unwillingness or inability to understand what makes the other tick and feminist imposed political correctness keeps polite society from exploring and embracing those very real differences."

---

You got that right! That was one of the most disgusting displays of male eunuchness that I have ever read in my life! What, EXACTLY, is you enlightentend wife doing to RECIPROCATE? HMMMM?

No, seriously, Dr. Phil, what is SHE doing?

And I don't even know you, Dogwood, LOL!

However, I think that male suicides are significantly lowered because you are an exception, not the rule.

Your wife sounds like one mean heifer... and I would look for a good divorce lawyer sooner, rather than later.

But seriously, if this is what married men are offering to single men nowadays as an alternative, I say to REAL MEN (tm), HEAD FOR THE HILLS!

I am really tiring of the dogwoods trying to convince us mere morons that marriage to a shrewish harpy is the path to bliss.

Yeah, sounds like it, bub!

I mean, if, after all the screwing around... after all the wondering... and then all the trouble of ASKING (and wondering if YOUR ring will meet her GIRLFRIEND's expectations), which is YOUR responsibility... and then all the trouble of Courting, in which, you have NO IDEA - NOT ONE FRIGGIN' IDEA who else she is humping...

Oh man, I just can't go on.

You are on the hook for life, even if she screwed you! And, I don't mean screwed physically! I meen, screwed LEGALLY, by banging any other man within arms reach and passing a dumb schmuck with a paycheck, like you, off as the father!

Dogwood... you have offended men on so many levels that I just don't know where to start or to end.

Perhaps that is the point.

There will always be tools who jump up and say "yes ma'am," while not realizing that the sex drive has left the marriage, and turned to a single shmuck like me... yes, it is true! Your nice wives who only hump you on Wednesday night are actually banging more guys than you...

What... you thought only men were capable of sin?

5:31 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

Well, I don't want to say much, but let me say that it only took 6 months for sex in my marriage to turn from an enjoyable opportunity for us to have intimacy and bonding, to a weapon for her to shame and punish me with.

I don't want to say much more than that, because I don't want to dog my wife, even if it is anonymous.

6:18 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Garou said...

dogwoood - Again, I say BS. If your advice (WRT dishes, laundry, taking the kids, etc), then stay-at-home dads, who do those things virtually every day would not be commonly voicing complaints about a lack of sex and intimacy in their marriages. But IME, the lack of sex is the second-most common topic of complaint & conversation on SAHD boards and lists. (The first is the issue of being assumed incompetent at childcare because of our gender, and the third is the ostracization due to our gender.)

If doing the dishes, or the laundry, or the cleaning, or taking the kids resulted in sex, SAHDs would be getting it every night. And brother, that ain't the case.

8:27 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Gee, didn't take long for the haters to come out. Figured my post would generate that kind of response.

Helping your spouse does not turn one into a eunuch, Fedders, it just means you're not a self-centered jerk. I also have a tendency to stop and help women whose cars have broken down or slid off into the ditch during a snow storm. Guess a real man would just leave them to their own devices.

For the record, my wife is a kind, generous, loving individual who does a damn fine job caring for her husband and our children. There isn't a mean bone in her body.

However, we both understand that marriage isn't about us, it is about each other. The husband takes care of the needs, wants and desires of the wife and the wife does the same for the husband, at least that is how it works in a healthy marriage.

For marriage to work, it must be a partnership, not a competition.

Garou, helping around the house isn't a guarantee you're going to have sex, our wives are not machines after all, but it can help. Obviously, there are other issues in your marriage that need to be addressed, so get help rather than stewing about it and getting bitter or angry.

Great sex throughout marriage requires work and effort from both partners, it won't just happen because you live in the same house and sleep in the same bed.

8:43 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Trust said...

If people were to take an honest look at what gets a woman sexually interested, a man doing housework is no where near it. In fact, IME, the men that are the least likely to perform well as husbands are the ones most likely to be found sexy by a woman. That is not an insult btw, just an observation (men find a lot of things sexy about qualities that make for lousy wives as well)--but I do think it is dishonest of many wives to play the "a man doing dishes is sexy" card to manipulate her man.

8:44 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

I think you're missing the big picture. It is not the act of washing dishes that she finds sexy, it is the idea that you are willing to help her do something you normally wouldn't do because it is important to her, even though you don't really care about it at all.

9:09 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Garou said...

dogwood - You appear to have missed my point. I will restate, in hopes that it is more obvious.

I am a stay-at-home dad.
I have two children, a 4-year old and a 16-month old.
The dishes, laundry, cleaning, cooking, childcare, etc are all done mostly by me. I also do virtually all of the yardwork, car care, etc.
This is typical of stay-at-home dads.
A common complaint of stay-at-home-dads is a lack of sex and intimacy in the marriage.
Please note that I did not state it was an issue in mine. You may have inferred such, but I did not state it.

Therefore, doing dishes or other housework is not the guaranteed intimacy-creator that many would make it out to be.

10:25 AM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger MarkW said...

You know, I would be very turned on by a sweaty woman pushing a lawn mower, digging up that tree stump in the back yard, or fixing that leak in the roof. And, Oh... what a turn on to see your sexy legs extending out from underneath the car while you do the oil change!

Yeah, in theory. The problem is that most of the traditionally male jobs that I do, my wife does not know how to do, and does not show much interest or aptitude in learning (it's hard to tell which).

It's almost worse on the rare occasions when she tries because I end up having to wait interminably for her to get to whatever task she's agreed to do and then straighten it all out once she's 'done'.

If you think this sounds like the exact same 'incompetency dodge' that men of my father's generation used to pull concerning cooking, cleaning, and child-care -- I agree. But there you are.

There's no job around here that my wife does that I don't know how to do and don't do at least occasionally...without screwing it up. But the reverse is, unfortunately, not true.

1:18 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger CrankySpouse said...

I bet that Dogwood has a pretty happy marriage. He sure seems to have a good idea of what's what.

Garou, when my kids were little like yours, I was exhausted from the housework and kid care (yardwork and carcare were taken care of by gardners and mechanics). My libido was completely absent. Sex felt like yet another chore - only one wrapped up in guilt for me because I never wanted it and felt somehow deficient because of that.

Why do women often lose sexual desire after having children? Is there some hormonal factor at work? I blamed my problem on no sleep and constant caring for others. I wonder if breastfeeding contributed. Why would working women also suffer lack of libido?

There is a huge difference between most men and most women when it comes to sex, as Dogwood said above. No amount of wishing men and women are the same will make it so.

1:22 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Citizen Grim said...

My wife and I made some trade-offs.

I usually cook, she usually does the dishes. I mow the lawn, she does the laundry. I go grocery shopping, she cleans the bathrooms.

It works out. :)

Of course, baby is on the way, so that should shake things up!

1:27 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Kurmudge said...

Interesting debate between Dogwood and Garou; both are roughly correct from their individual perspectives.

The major point neglected is that the chores/activity/
"payment" aspects of doing chores (housework) simply do not create female libido. They may- if she has decided to be receptive for whatever reasons she has for being receptive- remove the barriers to intimacy. They don't create sex drive.

The only thing that generally makes a woman want to make love is the decision, that is, she chooses to. Women, with a few hypertestosteronal exceptions, are simply are not like men, period. If you are lucky enough that your wife chooses to meet that part of the deal that you thought you were making when marrying, great.

But all this nonsense about housework, being sweet, massages, etc., are only about improving receptive willingness, not creating a drive to Do It.

1:30 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Citizen Grim said...

"Helping your spouse does not turn one into a eunuch, Fedders, it just means you're not a self-centered jerk. I also have a tendency to stop and help women whose cars have broken down or slid off into the ditch during a snow storm. Guess a real man would just leave them to their own devices."

Well said, dogwood. Well said.

There are way too many men out there who are more concerned about preserving some perceived manly aloofness than actually living in a reciprocal relationship.

1:34 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Adam Jones said...

Dr. Helen, thank you for your smart blog. Everyone should read this and I am glad men have an advocate like you.

1:36 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Stephen said...

There is nothing sexier than sipping the coffee my woman made minutes ago while watching her start my car, turn on the heater and scrape the ice off my windshield. Mmmm.

1:44 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Stephen said...

I imagine.

1:47 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger GaMongrel said...

I'm a man who does the lion's share of kid rearing and housework. Not to mention my 40+ hour workweek and the outdoor stuff.

Heck, *I'm* turned on when my wife does housework. I can see what they're saying in this study. It's hard to feel positive about your spouse when you percieve (rightly or wrongly) that the relationship is a one way street. If it's truly a partnership, the spouses will work together.

2:04 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Number Six said...

That article shows women to be awfully manipulative. Sounds like women use sex to 'train' men the same way men use dog treats to train dogs.

2:09 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Number Six said...

Wanted: Attractive woman for marriage, 30-50 y/o who can cook, clean, wash, sew, iron, fish, hunt, skin critters, tan hides, plow, plant, hoe, can and freeze veggies, owns her own fishing boat. Please send picture of boat.

2:17 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

Rob Fedders said...

I don't think Zed was wrong.

I am approaching middle age, and I find the chore of sexual manipulation needed to bed a woman to be, well, not worth the effort.

* *

My badly made point was that regardless of how tired a man is, if his significant other is ready and willing, most men will become willing as well.

I happen to totally agree that the "chore of sexual manipulation" often makes it not worth the effort. Though for me, it took only until I was 27 not 37 or, now, 46 for that to happen. Fortunately, my wife got the message and has been making a concerted effort to be more intimate knowing that she'll get in the mood once we get going.

2:25 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dudley Do-right said...

What's the big fixation on stump removal? Are girls marrying guys that don't own backhoes again? That would explain alot, if true.
DD

2:35 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Michael Shoup said...

Sexual bribery is a valid technique in a fun, reciprocal marriage.

Happy marriages are 2-way streets. Takes 2 to make it work, but only 1 to derail a marriage.

The little wifey and I manage. We each try to do 60% of the work, and realize we are not clones. She hates housework and loooves the lawn and garden, and she is the best mom I know. I am the neat freak - guess who vacuums?!

The goal in marriage is to make the other person happy, not make yourself happy. Funny how if you that you end up happy anyway...
----
I met a lady last week. She self-disclosed about her life as a single mom. She was morbidly obese and unkempt. Her office was a mess. While chatting, I mentioned I did a lot of houswork. She exclaimed, "That's what I need, a husband who can clean and cook! I can't do either!" It actually made me sad to think of the lonely life she has condemned herself to. Not many selling points to attract a mate.

2:51 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Auto Report World Editors said...

One problem that men face when trying to do "housework" is that women regard the house as their domain and not only want the work done, they want it done they way they do it, not how their husband does it.

You can only be criticized so many times before you just say fuck it.

My mom's an OCD hoarder, but if you ask her, it's my father's fault her house is a disaster and he's been dead for two decades.

3:11 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger William Woody said...

While on the surface this looks like sexual bribery than the wife being honestly turned on by the husband doing housework, I'm not so sure.

One day when building some shelves my wife confessed to being extremely turned on, much to my surprise. When I asked her why, she confessed that she liked it when I was doing something that involved manual labor and made me look confident around a lot of dangerous power tools.

Not to sound horribly sexist, but it seems to me what turns men on is appearance--biological indicators that a woman would be able to bare healthy children--while what turns women on are indicators that the man would be a good provider. In my wife's case, the fact that I look like I could (if given the lumber and time) build shelter from scratch is a turn-on, for another woman it may be signs that her husband is good with children, and for another its signs of her husband's commitment. Being a good provider is an active activity involving doing things, so on the surface it may look like sexual bribery--but underneath there may be a biological component.

Oh, and for the record: the shelves I was building were for a gift--and I was avoiding housework at the time...

3:13 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Derek said...

We can also add to this mix a study I came across in the last year or so that noted how women in the late-1990s were doing more "housework" than their counterparts in the 1960s. The findings held even for women who were employed full-time outside of the home.

Much of the frustration we face in life, we create ourselves by insisting on standards that exceed what's necessary.

3:49 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

Please note that I did not state it was an issue in mine. You may have inferred such, but I did not state it.

Garou, thanks for the clarification, my bad.

3:56 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Kathy said...

Therefore, doing dishes or other housework is not the guaranteed intimacy-creator that many would make it out to be.

That's true. It's not guaranteed. And many women have been encouraged to think of sex as a tool or as something they should be free to withhold on a whim.

Dogwood's book recommendations were exactly the ones I was going to suggest too. I also haven't read the Sex Begins in the Kitchen one but have read Sheet Music. Most women don't really believe that men want/need sex as much as they do. Women can, in general, get by without it for a much longer period of time without real discomfort, especially if we're tired or distracted. We don't understand how much it means to you. It doesn't occur to us that just as we want our man to listen to us when we need to talk something out (even though he hates that whole experience), we should be willing to respond positively to sexual overtures even at times when we aren't necessarily in the mood.

That's not fair, but complaining about how we're all shrews and harpies isn't going to improve the situation.

4:05 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Barry Pike said...

Eh? Bribery shmibery. Whatever it takes is whatever it takes.

I don't have time to get too philosophical about this, there's dishes to do and laundry to fold.

4:05 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Peg C. said...

Dogwood is exactly right, and there are an awful lot of bitter men here with chips on their shoulders. Given how so many women behave, I am not surprised. He could not be more right: it is not about the specific chores or regularity or about bending to a woman's will; it is about sharing and caring and that is not feminist bullcrap (I've been a feminist - believe me I know this).

Both my husband and I work very hard in our jobs. We have evolved into a division of chores that works well and we also enjoy an occasional hour or two of intensive straightening and cleaning together. The house is anything but spit polish clean but the laundry, cat litter, trash, piles, dishes, linen-changing, carwashing, yardwork, bathroom-cleaning, etc. get done. He is as likely to ask me to straighten a room as I am to ask him to help vacuum but usually asking is not necessary. On occasion I'm bustling about and he's parked in front of the TV and I request help. He never says no.

There is a give and take in a good relationship and marriage that is absolutely necessary and many people refuse to do it. The folks for whom "it's all about me" will never be happy. Making your partner or spouse happy should be what makes you happy. Dogwood fundamentally understands this. Women are hardwired to desire a strong man and good provider and men are hardwired to desire a young, voluptuous and fertile female. We cannot escape biology and human nature but we can work with it and civilization is about working with our natures and adapting to a developed society's demands. Sometimes that means SAHDs and women who earn a big buck outside the home.

I need some conversation (and a lack of testiness or silence) to feel romantic. Just a good, shared experience like a favorite show or a drive or visit with family and friends works, or a calm, relaxed evening. I can be teased out of a bad workday mindset and an hour of shared laughter and joy works wonders for my sex drive. Sharing in and outside the home contributes to all of this.

Bitter resentment and dogmatic rules and expectations are the biggest romance killer possible. I see a number of men here who are lucky to get any at all with their attitudes. I can say the same about a lot of women and I have before, but that's not the topic here.

4:43 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

Peg C. said...

there are an awful lot of bitter men here with chips on their shoulders. Given how so many women behave, I am not surprised.


Thanks for acknowledging that men are human beings too, who have a side of the story which is not completely invalid just because they are male, Peg. Great way to start communication out on a positive note.

Contrary to joe's assertion that most men are shallow walking dildoes with legs, men also have emotional and circumstantial needs for intimacy. Years ago I dated a woman whose notion of "foreplay" was to run her yap 90 miles an hour about all the "a**holes" at work and how she got even with them while she was humping the side of my leg like a neutered cocker spaniel. Men do not have the market cornered on thoughtless boorish behavior. Instead of "getting in the mood", my strongest urge was to vomit.

Also contrary to the prevailing belief system, some women do actually have a libido and want sex as much if not more than their husbands do. When I was a counselor, I once worked with a couple that it was the wife who was frustrated with the lack of sex. The ritual they had worked out involved him cleaning the house and cooking dinner for her to set the mood and it eventually got to seem like more work than it was worth for him. I helped her realize that her script of rigid expectations of everything having to be exactly a certain way were preventing her from getting what she wanted. In the case of another couple, she was so terrified that if she ever once gave her husband the kind of sex he wanted that he would never again give her the kind of sex she wanted that her solution was to never give him what he wanted. With such deep seated attitudinal problems and beliefs about the other person, their marriage had many more issues than sex.

Then, there is the member of my family who has been married for 25 years to a woman who used to call me up in the early years of their marriage so that she could complain to me about how much he wanted sex. She seemed terribly surprised that I didn't think it was as awful as she did. She has never worked during their marriage and I pointed out to her that when the alarm went off at 5:30, he did not decide each and every morning whether he was "in the mood" to go to work in order to fulfill his half of the implicit bargain of marriage. This was the same woman who followed me around one entire xmas day whining "He didn't get me anything" despite the fact that he had just gone out and plunked down over $15,000 for a new car for her to drive.

The bottom line is that anyone who uses intimacy in their relationship as either a weapon or a bargaining tool is going to end up poisoning it. Reciprocity is the essential ingredient to a healthy relationship and when one part of a couple starts to use the other's needs against them, you have a very ugly and screwed up person with a lot of control over your emotional well-being.

5:40 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Jim C. said...

I just thought I'd lighten the mood a bit. :)

Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum - "My God, the floor's immaculate! Lie down, you hot b!tch!" ~Joan Rivers

Nature abhors a vacuum. And so do I. ~Anne Gibbons

6:13 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Acksiom said...

"I see a number of men here who are lucky to get any at all with their attitudes."

Unfortunately, that attitude on your part is exactly the kind of standard female contextualization of sexual intimacy as a commodity to be bartered in a dominance struggle which has contributed to so many of we men losing so much of our interest in whether we 'get any' from you anymore ITFP.

And there is a good reason why you need to take this seriously, rather than just writing it off with more negative psychological ad hominems; it's because the whole "it makes me feel better which makes me more interested in sex" outlook is fundamentally passive and infantile, which traits continue to be a critical issue in women's progress towards real equality.

More and more, men are relying upon the general Male Standard of behavior for their expectations of women, rather than applying the doubled, and much lower, Female Standard. And that, by my analysis, is what you, and those who share your feelings, really don't like about the comments of some men here -- the belief behind them that, for a change, you might have to start exerting yourselves more to meet our standards.

Because it's not just in sports that women get 'handicaps' and special treatment simply for being women.

I don't quote Cham's idiotic response to Dr. Helen's PJM article at random. It illuminates very clearly one of the biggest problems with women's attitudes these days: how they've bought into the femelitist myth that because previous generations of women were primarily expected, and constrained -- by both men and women alike -- to be home-makers, the current generation of women now, somehow, magically! therefore deserves loyalty and service from the men around them without any need for reciprocation on their part.

In short, "gender reparations".

And that's much closer than Peg C.'s comments to what the topic here was actually supposed to be: the one-sided expectation of men alone being responsible for women's emotional states as a condition for sexual intimacy between them both.

Do I see women with Peg C.s attitude addressing that femelitist sexism? No, I do not. I see them attempting to rationalize it, and to treat men like beggars starving for the fruit of their loins.

Sorry, Peg C., but no: we're not "bitter men here with chips on our shoulders". We're men exhausted by others' unreciprocated expectations to the point of depraved indifference, with sufficient self-respect to speak out against that.

And you should be grateful we're still interacting with you at all anyways, because who else out there is telling you that if you really want to succeed and be happy, you need to stop sucking your femelitist thumbs and start picking up the comparative slack in responsibility that you've been coasting on since birth?

Bitter? Angry? Misogynist? Uh, no. This is simply the kind of raw Man Talk that some women rarely ever hear. Men talk like this to the male newbies when they need it. It's part of how we teach and transfer the self-awareness that boys need to be able to turn themselves into grown, adult men. It's no more angry or bitter or hateful of women than either gender's raising of children to be genuine adults is general is angry, bitter, or hateful towards children.

What it doesn't do is allow you the usual female emotional handicaps and special treatment. And that's not bitterness or anger or misogyny. That's real equality -- the kind that that can't be taken away from you, because it's an internal resource developed through exertion, through accomplishment, and through meeting and overcoming real challenges.

Taking advantage of the free ride of choosing to be either women in a gendered environment, or neuters in a non-gendered one, depending upon which situation is more to your personal advantage, is not to your long-term benefit. It retards your growth and maturity, keeping you infantile and passive.

Choosing to be strong, independent, actively working non-women when you want something, and weak, dependent, passively irresponsible women when someone else wants something from you does not make you equal.

It makes you, if anything, immature, lazy-ass, incompetent freeloaders.

6:35 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

Acksiom said...

"I see a number of men here who are lucky to get any at all with their attitudes."

Unfortunately, that attitude on your part is exactly the kind of standard female contextualization of sexual intimacy as a commodity to be bartered in a dominance struggle which has contributed to so many of we men losing so much of our interest in whether we 'get any' from you anymore.


Hello, Acksiom, nice to see that you are up to your usual form.

Peg sounds young, so I was willing to cut her some slack and point to the positive aspects of what she said - which is that she understands why some men are bitter due to the way women have treated them. The last half of the movie is quite different from the first half, but someone who hasn't seen both halves can only go on what they know. I suspect that she is still a few years away from the point where no one "wants any" of what she has to offer.

I've reached the stage of life where men and women my age pretty much ignore each other. There are several divorced women in my office in their late 40s to mid-50s who haven't had a date since last century. Without the lens of hormone-induced want, these women pretty much look like 9 miles of bad road. They squandered their opportunity to form strong emotional bonds with their ex-husbands by assuming that their men would always want them more than they wanted their men. Then, one day they woke up and found that their men didn't want them at all any more, and they had no other strategy. At least 20% of all marriages are completely sexless, and contrary to popular mythology it isn't always the woman who is putting on the brakes.

Women who consider it an unbearable imposition to anything whatsoever nice for a man are actually doing men a favor in the long run. The better a man learns to get along without it, the weaker that women's bargaining position becomes with him. At some point, the bicycle decides "Hey, no slime on my seat or rust on my gears. COOL!!!" And, they are actually doing other women a grave dis-service because theirs is the face of womanhood that a lot of men see. "But, NOT ALL women are 'like that'!" just doesn't cut it any more as an excuse.

In the US, more than half of all women and nearly 70% of black women have no husband to withhold anything from. Marriage rates are in free fall, and I see nothing going on to reverse the trend. Certainly, the worn out, used up, mostly obese, women my age with their own chips on their shoulders don't inspire anyone to ask for "any", except young men looking for a quick free shag or perhaps looking to reverse the classic gold-digger paradigm. (Terry McMillan, anyone?)

No amount of tummy-tucks, fake boobs, collagen injections, and liposuction is going to give these women back the squandered opportunities of their youth to build mutually supportive and trusting relationships. They are so pathetic in their attempts to pretend that they still "have it" that there is a great deal of amusement to be had by a man who has gone his own way.

He who laughs last, really does laugh best.

7:16 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger pockosmum said...

"the femelitist myth that because previous generations of women were primarily expected, and constrained -- by both men and women alike -- to be home-makers, the current generation of women now, somehow, magically! therefore deserves loyalty and service from the men around them without any need for reciprocation on their part.

In short, "gender reparations"."

Very well said. That's it in a nutshell.

7:17 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Dogwood said...

...therefore deserves loyalty and service from the men around them without any need for reciprocation on their part.

As someone said above, successful relationships are reciprocal. Don't think anyone is really disputing that point.


the one-sided expectation of men alone being responsible for women's emotional states as a condition for sexual intimacy between them both.

I may have missed it, but nothing in the article indicated to me that men are singularly responsible for a woman's emotional readiness for sex. The crux of the article was that helping around the house can help establish such a receptiveness.

In his book, Dr. Leman puts the onus on both partners to help set the stage for intimacy.

In the book Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus, the authors describe how they helped change their own thinking about sex. One of the authors, don't remember which, is a very task oriented personality who uses a calendar to organize her life. If it isn't on her calendar, then it doesn't get done.

So, to help maintain intimacy in her marriage, she began writing TS on her calendar every couple of days. TS stands for Think Sex. It is her way of preparing herself emotionally and mentally for intimacy and ensuring that her sexual relationship with her husband doesn't get pushed aside by life's daily grind.

Such efforts are helped along, of course, by her husband's willingness to do a couple chores around the house.

Again, it all comes back to a mature, reciprocal relationship and a willingness to keep working at it until you find out works works for both of you.

7:57 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger M. Simon said...

This is probably going to upset a lot of feminists but here goes:

If a woman will totally surrender to her man she can get anything from him.

Anything.

Which is why it is most important for men to be feminists.

Biology trumps political theories.

8:16 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Tom said...

My wife enjoys playing "Settlers of Cataan", not quite a war game but pretty good. Plus, at 12 years younger, she looks great even after having our 4 kids.

I'm a bit sad for other men because looks really are so important, still after 14 years of marriage. But that's the way I am, and think most men are.

I'm quite turned on by my wife when her hands are full: of dishes, of cooking pots, of toothbrush; yeah, bending over!

There seem to be plenty of too selfish men and plenty of too selfish women, so many it's no wonder the divorce rate stays high. I like being nice, and I like it when my wife is: to her/me, to our kids, to others.

We have our own balance of work/chores, it's important to honestly discuss the differences.

Some housework after work certainly is expected, but nookie is most likely with watching some TV/ DVD together, talking about it, and going to bed at the same time.

No blogging or email reading (like now)! But while men may want it every night, the nights after getting it they might want blogging a bit more / reducing the seduction effort seems OK.

I don't know the SAHDs, but I can easily guess both they and their wives have too confusing cross-expectations in their feelings. While they both rationally think such a marriage should be fine, either or both has nagging feelings that it is not quite right, not "manly" enough.

But that's a very different set of issues than the working man coming home, doing a few chores to establish his caring of the wife and the sharing of some housework, and indicating he values her. I know women need to feel valued, and my own goal is to find the easiest ways for me to show how much I value my wife. A bit of housework works well.
Cut flowers (no maintenance later) are nice too.

8:18 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

"I know women need to feel valued,"

So do men. But, the messages men have gotten from women for the past few decades is that is the last thing a man can expect.

The interesting thing, which goes to the "surrender" point above, is that nothing will make a man value a woman more and faster than getting the message from her that she values him.

So, it is real ugly Catch-22. Her only bargaining point is sex, which he might "get lucky" enough to "get some" if he demonstrates that he "values" her enough. But, since she makes it clear that intimacy with him is an imposition which she must be bought out of, and that she does not value him enough to respect any of his needs, the value he sees in her is restricted to sex. As the fires of youth begin to cool, her value drops rapidly.

Fish and bicycles in their separate worlds, folks.

9:24 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger SMSgt Mac said...

Dr. Helen,
Are you getting all this? If you're writing a book, the comments are worth a chapter in itself! LOL!

9:54 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger pockosmum said...

Sex should never be used for bargaining, period. It should be an expression of love and affection, not appropriated like doggie treats tossed for a well-done trick, be it dish-washing or baby minding.

I wonder if some of these women who have men jump through hoops for it somehow think they're never going to age. It's once you're old and wrinkled, and your sex drive has gone *poof* that you find out what you've 'put in the bank' of the marriage all those years.

All the frustration visited on all these husbands is going to come 'round to bite quite a few women in the arse.

10:39 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Interno said...

Men are good men are great, when their woman is gone over half a day they masturbate.

Look, *your* husband, unlike mine (since I am a man whose passive-aggressive girlfriend of 17 years just backstabbed me during her sex-role reversal "midlife crisis") is THE most famous media star of a new age of communication that began with the printing press, for real, and before that with songs that told stories of old.

You are today's "it" girl, and without warning, about every two weeks, your FAMOUS husband links me, once again, like the old media used to do about some intern being murdered in a park every day for a month, day after day, just before 911...to...YOU.

To my intuitive mind you are a hypocrite, a "we are the president" type of gal. But you are *not* the cold hearted (despite your wonderful man-designed pace maker), hen-pecker of a social libertarian that Glen is.

So stop playing back the same married-to-a-celebrity broken record: "men are not so bad."

I'm a man. I know I'm not in some man-only, original-sin sense, "bad".

Save your sympathy. This would sound like a rant except that I have a point. Save your sympathy for who? For those WOMEN who do *not* have a knack for new media (or otherwise) celebrity, by default, First Blog Lady.

To change the topic slightly, do you *not* understand that you are an exception that proves a rule? You actually are physically attractive, man-loving, left-*and*-right-brained, and thus you make us bachelors (new or newly created) somewhat jaded, red-shirt–girl with some hottie jailbait murderer as your documentary poster, and are baiting us men to some sort of male-empowerment revolution akin to first wave feminism.

No. As a man, and I imagine but cannot so do many women, go to Instapundit to get my news in the same way that people in newpaper days (or printing press days) looked to the comic pages for the real news.

Fixing the temporary confusion of this day, today, plus or minus five or six years, of mens' vs. womens' role in either society or a relationship will not be done by a stealth blog entry to your own quickie sort of "mean are cool" bomb drops in the desert.

I'll tell you what men want. Men want to fall in love. I have a minor inkling that your husband is in love with you, and so you cannot understand the hell that most non-famous men actually go through, trying to find a girl who wont just shut the hell up about their neurosis piled upon their 34 year old continuing obsession with their gay fathers and perverted uncles. Great in bed, the one who are still single in middle age, but the morning light, oh horror thy name is mommy.

The only way you can support men, over time, which is your message, is to attack and utterly subdue their enemies. That, you are daintily skirting around with the feel-good enthusiasm of a cheerleader.

I say one thing. You are emotionally supporting your very stoic husband, who in the face of a world gone mad, is an exception. I call for immediate Helen cloning. That will only sound crazy when I admit that I am not kidding, for the only flip side of a coin is the other half: the now realized male boycott on monogamy and marriage.

10:50 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Zed said...

interno said...
(a lot of things, and ended with...)
the only flip side of a coin is the other half: the now realized male boycott on monogamy and marriage.

While I don't particularly disagree with the other things you said, interno, I think they are beside the point. Helen is married to some man other than myself, and thus her personal characteristics are irrelevant. Her existance as an individual says absolutely nothing positive or negative about any other woman - she simply is who she is.

Women are not going to be men's cheerleaders in sorting out this mess, nor are they going to fight our battles for us, nor should they. Our strategy needs to be to make it their own battle to fight if they want a chance at marriage and a husband - thus the boycott.

What she is - is the publisher of a somewhat well-known blog that gets a lot of readership and does not cut off all comments except those with which she agrees.

To that end, this blog is a great opportunity and platform for men to make their points and tell their side of the story - something which is damn difficult to do given the lace curtain and the stranglehold on the Lame Stream Media which the feminists have.

Engaging in lengthy back-and-forth diatribes on the net is the ultimate in uselessness. No one who is arguing with you is suddenly going to have an epiphany and say "My GOD, you are right! I have been such an idiot!!"

The strategy is to play to the lurkers - the ones reading but not posting. They are the ones still forming their opinions instead of pontificating on them. Take something someone says, and use it to illustrate a point that you want to make. When they argue, take something else they said and use it to make another point.

We are not here to win individual verbal fistfights - we will get the best results if we use any venue at our disposal to educate the masses about the real issues.

11:18 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger Verlch said...

Yeah, there is nothing that I like better than seeing women work overtime at least 45 hours per week, like men are willing to do.

What about the fact that men pay more of the bills, work more, pay 40 billion per year in child support, alimony, and lose jobs thanks to affirmative action to women?

I don't think feminism was about equality, more like special advantage, and eternal victim status for women!

3:24 AM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger Verlch said...

Nothing like working 60 hours a week, to your wife's 36, paying the majority of the bills, and still having an angry wife that you haven't spent at least 7 hours a week doing housework.

3:26 AM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger iconoclast said...

This may or may not be a useful analogy...but maybe for men, sex is like driving a car. Turn the key and head on down the road.

For women, it's more like driving a steam locomotive. Light the fire, throw some coal in and let it build. Wait for the steam pressure to build up. Then open the throttle, carefully, to overcome the intertia of the train.

But once the fire is roaring and the throttle is open...

No matter how much a person liked driving their steam locomotive, they probably wouldn't drive it as often as their car...the startup is just too slow and complicated. Maybe the same thing applies to sex.

1:04 PM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

SMSgt Mac,

"If you're writing a book, the comments are worth a chapter in itself!"

Absolutely--some of the comments are priceless.

7:13 PM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger Cara said...

I would not have a problem with men writing an article like the one Mark suggests, if men are really interested in that. Is that something that men would appreciate women doing, or are men dissatisfied with feeling underappreciated for doing it? As for me doing those things, I think that pulling out tree stumps may be a bit over my capacity. As a child, I used to follow my father around and want to do whatever he was doing. I can't say I became proficient at most of it, but I never had a problem with doing yardwork, shovelling snow, etc. Most of the neighbors in my building are elderly and the landlord doesn't reside there, so I handle it. There is one man who lives in my building who sometimes shares the work with me, but his work schedule means that I usually get to it first.

I suppose that whether you see this article as manipulative depends somewhat on your own lifestyle. Many people hire others to do the heavier work now, and that leaves many men available to do other things. Obviously, most of that paid work is done by men, although I have known a few women who do it because the money can be quite good.

Perhaps balanced articles that talk about the need to share work fairly in accordance with people's strengths and reciprocity would be refreshing.

7:26 PM, June 26, 2008  
Blogger Anthony said...

I was walking through my neighborhood the other day and saw this:

http://thecatholiclibertarian.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-exactly-is-feminist-psychology.html

(Sorry for the link, but I cannot get the picture to post).

What exactly is feminist psychology?

12:37 PM, June 27, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Hi Anthony,

This might help explain feminist psychology or it might not....

http://www.apa.org/about/division/div35.html

7:12 AM, June 28, 2008  
Blogger br549 said...

As one who has worked his fan tail off since a teen, I hire a local kid to mow the lawn, take the car to Jiffy Lube, and have a tree service bring down a dead tree and remove the stump.

Why are wedding dresses white?
So the dishwasher matches all the other appliances.

Wake up America!!

9:59 PM, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Wormwood said...

This is something that occurred to me a while ago. I was watching some movie that had a male stripper, and his act was very similar to female strippers acts. I wondered why anybody would think that a woman would be turned on by a man acting like a female stripper. I figured that if I ever opened a male strip joint that I would have no music and no dancing. The guy would come out on stage and start chopping wood, and then as he got warmed up start taking his clothes off.

5:07 AM, July 13, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Bob H,

Helen did a post on Farrell in 2006.

Iconoclast: I wonder if women evolved to enjoy sex a little bet less than men do (on the average) because this gives them more negotiating leverage in trading sex for other things.

I was wondering about this recently and decided that maybe it is purely based on the different genitalia.

1:02 AM, July 29, 2008  
Blogger serket said...

Zed: Years ago I dated a woman whose notion of "foreplay" was to run her yap 90 miles an hour about all the "a**holes" at work and how she got even with them while she was humping the side of my leg like a neutered cocker spaniel. Men do not have the market cornered on thoughtless boorish behavior. Instead of "getting in the mood", my strongest urge was to vomit.

Thanks for sharing your experience, I laughed out loud!

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