Friday, October 17, 2014

"Making Responsive Desire AWESOME": Feminism still has no answers.

I was hanging out over at Feminist Sex Nerd Dr. Emily Nagoski's blog, The Dirty Normal today, and I came across this post about how to make responsive desire (which most women possess most of the time) "awesome".  

Problem is, Emily's answer to it falls somewhat short of "awesome".  But she does invite her readers to tell how "spontaneous desire" people (i.e. most men, most of the time) deal with "responsive desire" people (i.e. most women, most of the time).

The responses that followed tended to be straight-up Blue Pill methodology, i.e. the "responsive desire" spouse still maintains the sexual control in the relationship and the "spontaneous desire" spouse is advised to "self regulate" (i.e. masturbate).

While I'm all for a good wank, the plain fact of the matter is that men don't get married so that they can masturbate.  Our desire for sex is paramount to most other considerations.  Open, honest communication, which Dr. Emily suggests is the winning strategy, tends to flow out of our mouths as "I'm horny and I'm bitterly disappointed that you rejected me again", to which the RD spouse usually says "deal with it."

So . . . no win for Emily, there.

Most of the following (my comment, too long not to turn into a post and in danger of being deleted in moderation) will not be a big surprise to most of you, but might be instructive to those who are new to the Red Pill.  Here is, in a nutshell, how I got here and why:

I'll bite.

My partner (wife of 23 years), like most women, falls into the standard 70%/30% responsive/spontaneous category, dependent primarily on her place in her menstrual cycle.  I'm about 80% spontaneous, 20% responsive.  For the first eighteen or nineteen years of our relationship we followed the Standard Model of post-feminist marriage, with hit-or-miss sexual encounters involving a large number of initiations on my part and a large number of rejections on hers.  Once we matured as a couple, things got a little better, but we were still largely depending on random variables and crappy timing.  Attraction was high, arousal was not.  That's mostly because we didn't truly understand the functioning male/female cishetero dynamic, until I started studying the potential for Female Viagra, which (among other areas) led me to this blog and Emily.

Emily's work has led me to conclude that the Standard Model used by most married couples post-1965, depending on the ideal of presumed equality of sexual experiences and outcomes between the genders, is highly flawed and works in a minority of cases at best.  It ignores the essential gender differences between cishet men and women, and depends on a range of low-return strategies that lead, eventually, to divorce.  It discourages, rather than encourages, pairbonding and long-term relationship survival, and encourages infidelity, socio-sexual polygamy, divorce, and the dissolution of families.  As sexuality is the root of marriage in every human culture, and as "married sex" is highly denigrated by both popular mainstream culture and feminist subculture, using the Standard Model as a workable theory is a recipe for failure.

In breaking down a workable replacement for the Standard Model, Emily suggested to me the SIS/SES mode, which makes far more sense and fits with the observable reality of cishet LTRs.  And when examining the Context Dependence elements of the SES, it became clear that no amount of chemical monkeying around with female sexuality is going to increase a given woman's over-all sex drive and satisfaction.  Pink Viagra doesn't exist.  Female sexuality is, as Emily has explained, just far too complex and sophisticated to respond to cheap neurochemical theatrics.

So . . . what's a standard model, spontaneous desire-driven husband to do? 

Current literature on the subject includes lots of "helpful" advice which falls into two categories: Treat Your Wife Like A Princess (let's call it Mode A), essentially using your resources to decrease her SIS until she's just so darned relaxed that she has no real reason to say no to sex; and then there is the much-smaller Mode B, which, among other things, does not advocate treating your wife like a princess. 

The problem is, Mode A doesn't work.  Oh, it can have a few short-term positive effects, but if the goal is to increase your sex life (as it is with most husbands with strong spontaneous desire) then Mode A involves expending a lot of resources for very little return.  It will make your wife feel good, no doubt, but . . . well, anecdotal evidence demonstrates that subservient, attentive husbands just are not having the crazy amounts of sex with their wives suggested by the Treat Your Wife Like A Princess model.  Quite the contrary.  There are so man Very Good Men who are doing everything under the sun for their wives, and their wives are still divorcing them for no particularly good reason.  It's a big enough deal that major news outlets are writing about it.

So, just how does your standard cishet married couple learn to deal with such issues?  For one thing, I educated myself about the difference between arousal and attraction.  Mode A emphasizes trying to build desire by fueling attraction - being supportive, communicative, and other stuff to work on the SIS.  All well and good . . . but it does jack to build desire.  As studies have shown repeatedly, doing laundry and housework does not actually lead to more sex for a married couple, despite two generations of feminist rhetoric to the contrary.  It might make the wife happier, but it actually decreases the amount of sex.  So Mode A is a fail, for this purpose.  Waiting around for her to ovulate so that you can take advantage of her brief spontaneous desire window is not the kind of sex life most husbands signed up for.  Indeed, once-a-month sex is the clinical definition of a "sexless marriage".

If Mode A builds attraction but not arousal, then . . . what?  Emily has little to say about stimulating the SES, in any helpful fashion.  And there's a reason for that.  Because the one thing that DOES consistently (and scientifically) tend to build arousal in women, as opposed to attraction, is dominant male behavior.  That's Mode B.  That's the mode that Emily and the rest of the current crop of sex educators doesn't want to delve into, for two reasons.  One, it's dangerously close (ideologically speaking) to nasty ol' patriarchy, denies women's agency, encourages male sexual "entitlement" (because men wanting to have sex is "entitlement") and otherwise contradicts the feminist narrative about How Sex SHOULD Work.  All that consent stuff Emily wrote about, after this post, for instance.

It's good stuff, don't get me wrong . . . but it ignores (as much of Emily's writing on the subject does) the ugly reality that regardless of what genderless pronoun constructions you try to use to describe it, generally cishet men and cishet women are very different in generalizable ways, when it comes to their approach to sexuality.  And while those generalizations do not describe every situation adequately, the do so well enough for most folks to be of use.  The fact is, if a man wants to learn how to invoke reactive desire in his wife consistently, then the only certain way to do that is to cultivate a male-dominant attitude and approach to both his sex life and his personal life.

And that really damages the whole "equal partner" construct that modern marriage is supposed to reflect.  Problem is, modern marriage is coughing up blood trying to swallow that particular pill.  That's not an issue for folks who view marriage as a temporary thing, as most modern women often do, but for men who value their commitment and wish to establish a permanent relationship, being an "equal partner" in a marriage seems about the surest way to kill it beyond criminal charges or an unemployed live-in brother-in-law.  The "equal partner" dynamic insisted upon by Mode A does not encourage female arousal.  It discourages it.  Husbands working under the "equal partners" mode do not initiate often, they do not persist after an initial rejection, and they are so mindful of their partners mental-emotional state that they will fail to initiate even when circumstances present themselves, leading to frustration on the part of both parties. 

Mode A "equal partnerships" do not encourage male-dominant behavior, they discourage it.  And in doing so, they discourage the arousal triggers that allows a man and a woman to properly function as a sexually-fulfilled cishet monogamous couple.  In short, the wife grows less and less aroused by her husband, even if her attraction for him waxes, and eventually an opportunity or a growing sexual dissatisfaction encourages her to seek for sexual novelty outside of the relationship to make up the lack.  Equal partnerships lead far more frequently to infidelity than male-dominated marriages.

That's the uncomfortable truth that Emily, and the other feminist-oriented sex researchers (and that's the vast majority, these days) don't want you to really understand.  There is no Pink Viagra, because women's sexual psychology is too complex to respond to a drug.  The drug it craves is psycho-sexual stimulation brought on by the context or observation of male-dominant social behavior.  Every time a wife exercises her "independence" at the expense of her husband, socially, she is sabotaging her own arousal for him, and her own possible sexual fulfillment as a result.  Every time a husband defers to his wife’s judgment, presenting a submissive side to her, he squashes his own hopes of a fulfilling sexual experience.

You want “concordant desire”?  You want “enthusiastic consent”?  You want “joyful succumbing”?  Feminist sexuality has no practical route to that for cishetero couples.  Not one based in reality and demonstrating any kind of success.  While bashing the shaming nature of our culture when it comes to sex – and quite rightly – the feminist-led sex education and research establishment in our culture has done little to rectify that.  Indeed, instead of decreasing the amount of shame, feminism has encouraged the wholesale shaming of male sexuality and male social dominance to the point where it has had a profound and widely-observed deleterious effect on men in our culture.  Men being socially dominant at work are told to “check their privilege’ by well-meaning feminists.  Men being socially dominant at home are told to beware of patriarchy creeping into their lives (without any explanation about why patriarchy might, in fact, be a good thing).

The feminist sex education industry has done some remarkable things when it comes to improving the understanding and sex lives of women.  But when it comes to improving and understanding the sex lives of men, or the practical functioning of an actual cishetero relationship, the political ideology of equality runs smack into the hard, cold science of sexuality.  Women dig dominant men, and are aroused by them.

Feminism discourages men from becoming dominant, and actively struggles against a culture that encourages men to be dominant.  Once Emily convinced me that feminism was just the wrong way to run my marriage, things got a LOT better.

By establishing a regime of socially-dominant and traditionally-masculine behaviors, the kind of stuff that leads directly to female arousal, not female attraction, I’ve managed to work with Mrs. Ironwood’s responsive desire and escalate the number of sexual encounters while reducing the number of rejections.  We went from once every 2 weeks or so under Mode A to five or six times a week, sometimes more, under Mode B.  Male social dominance, confidence (which is more than just knowledge and understanding of your body) and applied charisma did more to increase reactive desire and improve sexual joy than any amount of dishes, backrubs, and flattery.

Nor am I alone.  Thanks in part to Emily’s work, thousands of couples are now taking a second look at male dominance in their marriage, and end up saving and improving their marriages as a result.  Without, I might add, recourse to marriage counseling and other crutches.  While this is by no means a silver bullet, it is a far, far more productive strategy when dealing with a woman with strong reactive desire than anything I’ve seen come out of Emily’s work, yet. 

That may be in part due to her feminist identification, which precludes advocating masculine dominance in any setting, no matter how effective.  Or, she might surprise me and propose a workable and practical way to make the Mode A “equal partners” approach work in a way that invites the happy fulfillment of both parties, not just the woman, and a way that doesn’t encourage infidelity or presuppose the temporary nature of “commitment”, when it comes to marriage. 

But the science is there.  The practical application is there.  The peer-reviewed exchange of information is happening.  Techniques are being refined.  And the current surge of suspicion of feminism that’s surfacing in the popular culture is indicating that there is fertile ground for this approach to fall on.

I’m not tempted to believe Emily will respond to this comment, or even read it – she doesn’t, usually, considering our opposition on several points, and her unwillingness to read comments longer than her original posts.  But I leave this here to help inform any other poor husband desperately searching for a way to make his marriage work again.  You won’t find the answers here.  You will find some good information, but Emily won’t tell you how to make your wife aroused for you again, she’ll only be able to convince your wife that there isn’t anything wrong with her lack of desire for you.

If you want the real answers, you’ll have to seek them elsewhere.  But that’s how one spontaneous desire husband dealt with his reactive desire wife.  He rediscovered his masculinity, honed it into a helpful tool, and applied it wholeheartedly to his marriage.  Now he’s getting laid like a teenager and his union has never been stronger.  Hold that up to a 50% divorce rate and declining marriage rates, and see if you can find anything in feminism that promises better.


  1. Nice. A quibble - I think we are all responsive, just to different things. Calling it 'spontaneous' just because it appears that way because you are not impacted by the same stimulus is really a statement of one's own lack of understanding. I'm 'responsive' - to the sight of most female humans with developed secondary sex characteristics aka fertility. I called most human female responsiveness 'spontaneous' (where did that come from?) too, until I learned more about what (male dominance behavior) they were responding to. Each half of our fine species is walking around with our own superpower. And each half is mostly oblivious to its impact on the other half, because it generally has very different or little impact on us/our half. Men have size/dominance, women have curves/beauty.

  2. Why do you use the words "cishet" and "cishetero"?


    1. 'Cause he's showing he can "talk the talk" and operate within the same "conversational space" as the author to whom he is responding. By using the same terms, vocabulary and argot as the OP, he is simultaneously demonstrating that he "knows his stuff" (understands their position), and removing a potential (common) barrier of "arguing about terms," a tactic that forces the OP to deal with the *content* of the argument Ian presents, not just dismiss it based on it's mode of presentation.

    2. I know. But my eyes still crossed every time I saw the stupid prefix "cis."

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  4. Jesus. Six years of Athol's blog on one post. Right on.

  5. Yep,
    I have my hand up for having gone through an "equalist marriage". Thank God I was on a "sexless marriage" forum and someone left the bread crumb of knowledge in the form of "Outcome independence". A few minutes later with Google I found this place and in turn MMSL. Like Ian I put reactive desire to work for me and turned around what was about to drive off a cliff.

    Every once in a while I slip and find myself being slack and in turn a shade resentful of the work I have to do, so I read something like Ian's post above and it reminds me that I am the one, not her, that constantly has to roll up my sleeves, get in there and slap her ass etc to foment the desire. No amount of wishing, rationalizing, hoping or choreplay will ever stoke her fires of desire. Only straight up in your face masculinity get the juices flowing. Forget that at your peril.
    For good measure, femenists are bloody idiots and they prove it more every day. I cannot wait for their movement to implode under it's own weight. It will be messy, but well worth it. If the current barrage of feminist public perception lobbying is any indication, they can smell defeat a ways off and their howls of righteousness are growing louder by the day. The louder they are, the closer the end is.
    Love live positive masculinity! May the juices flow naturally

  6. Great essay. Thanks for writing honestly. I've got another issue that limits sexual interaction that is impossible to talk about safely with women present, and that's the plain fact that men and women's bodies age differently.

    It's easy for a man without serious health problems to stay fit and trim well into his 60s. Men have more muscle as a percentage of body weight and that muscle can be toned and sculpted through moderate weightlifting and weight-resistance training and activities like swimming or running. Women are less able to do this, and when you add in the toll childbearing and breastfeeding can have on a woman's bodies, once a man enters his forties and especially his fifties it's very difficult to find a woman who is still physically, sexually attractive. The epidemic of overweight and obese women has already left most sexually unappealing, and the Fat Acceptance movement, led and endorsed almost exclusively by women, further makes being unattractive perfectly acceptable, and removes incentives to remain attractive.

    When fit men in their 40s and 50s continue to get involved with women in their twenties and thirties, though, women who are comparable to us in physical attractiveness, we're insulted and demeaned for doing so.

    God help the man who tries to explain why emotional closeness doesn't have a 1 to 1 translation to sexual attraction, or why a woman with a typical 50 year old woman's body is all but impossible to respond to, physically. It can make for real loneliness at times, frankly. A fit, healthy man knows that he's going to quickly run out of sexually attractive female peers as he moves into his late 40s and beyond, yet I've never once seen this honestly discussed. To merely bring it up is to court immediate abuse.

    1. Actually, as I've aged myself (51) this year, I've come to enjoy attraction to (somewhat) older women. What they lose to child-bearing and gravity can be compensated for in grace and elegance (to a point). A woman who keeps herself fit, takes care of her skin, and above all, doesn't get fat, can maintain her attractiveness into her 50's.

      No, it's not the same as her 20's, but it's not without it's charms.

    2. Which is why viagra is so popular. Can't get it up for your old, saggy, unattractive wife? There's a pill for that!

  7. Yes, I noticed my own physiological responsiveness is almost equivalent to my 20 year old self - when I'm with a 20 year old woman. I've mentioned that casually in public a couple of times in the past few years and neither males nor females seem to know what to do with that little dose of reality

    1. Oh, the amount of contempt a middle-aged man gets for admitting he's attracted to 20-somethings. It's astonishing.

      It's also NEW, historically speaking. Until the 20th century, it was COMMON for men even in late middle life to marry very young women. Back in the 80's, the Federal Government was still paying a dozen CIVIL WAR VETERAN pensions. Why? Old veterans marrying Sweet Young Things, who then went on to inherit their husband's pensions.

  8. It's funny they call it the female viagra. Even the male viagra doesn't increase male desire, it's just supposed to help him keep an erection when aroused by something external. What a misleading name.

  9. Jack Carter is right on. I have been married for almost thirty years. Did the beta blue pill for years, found Ian and Athol and turned it around. Wife responded amd dropped fifty pounds and our problem for a while was daily sex left us over tired. So relationshipwise we are safe

    But as Jack points out my own responsive desire lacks something when looking at her fifty year old body. For a fifty year old...a 9. Objectively in the SMP maybe a 5. She works the girl game hard but it is true you can only work with what you have.

    Worse because of going to the cliff edge a few years back the wife goggles are smashed beyond repair. I see her fresh daily. Action wise great but I do see a fifty year old woman.

    Feminists especially the EPL forty plus crowd have to deal with this. And they cant change male response. We initiate but that is in response to the visual stimulation of curves and beauty. I would like to see a feminist response to that.

    P.s. before the trolls ask I am fifty an executive earn six figures and run cross country not treadmill outside five km daily and can still bench my own trim 190 lb weight.

  10. I can see this all over my 28 yo relationship as far as the equality issue and feminisim goes. I am actually highly attracted to the fuller older female body. What really kills my attraction is the fact that I cannot stand the inner angry feminist b*&$%h person that she has become. What I would really like to be married to is a woman. A woman of strength but a woman. I can see women like that a mile away when I am in public. Funny thing is that I can build a rapport with a woman like that at a galnce that I don't htink I can build with my long term spouse. My spouse will reject the dominant male in a heart beat. Now I ask this question? In the pack if the dominant male sees that the female is not in heat or making for him he ingnores her. Why does she stick around until he makes his dominance known and is submissive? Why does he keep her around? In a true dominant situation like this the female does not initate all she does is signal her rediness by smell or sight. Right now I ignore and do what the hell I want. Is that showing dominant behavior?

  11. When I give young men advice about mating the one thing that I can't address in print and in public without getting publicly lynched is:

    "Look at her mama. They ALL turn into their mamas. If her mama is fat at 40, SHE's gonna be fat at 40. Make sure you are willing to wake up next to someone who looks like her mama for the REST of your life before committing."

    I didn't listen to my Dad. I love my wife, but she's a 250 pound landwhale now.

  12. Desire cannot be negotiated,
    The boner cannot lie

  13. Off topic but about frequency, can I be so frank as to ask what it was when you first met/honeymooned/whatever "peak" time and how that fluctuated? I know you've said your average sex life went from ok to great post red pill but didn't realize it was as low as that. Personally my marriage has always been about every other day or so, every two days, and more or less stayed that way, granted with some definite effort on both our parts. However we've never really had insane doing it a half dozen times a day experiences so it's always insightful to know what reasonable expectations are. (Dual virgin couple, late 20's, together over decade, married over half decade, two young kids...)

    1. Not exactly off-topic. I'd say we have SOME sort of sexual experience daily, but our definition of sexual is pretty broad and may not satisfy everyone's definition.

      This is the deal, though: you're having "enough sex" when you both decide it's enough. While disparity of desire is one of the biggest relationship-killers out there, if you're both satisfied (or reasonably mildly unsatisfied and working toward satisfaction) then don't depend on someone else's artificial benchmark to tell you whether or not your marital bed is fertile enough.

      As the kids get older, it actually gets harder, depending on the circumstances. But that's a major issue to: circumstance. Our 21st century lives are fraught with the potential of interruption and disturbance, so getting your parental groove on becomes more and more challenging as time goes on.

      A BP couple will admit defeat and lapse into the IV-drip mode of married sex that breeds discontent and eventual infidelity, one way or another. A RP couple understands the vital role their sexuality plays, not just in their relationship but for the stability of the family as a whole, and they take steps to ensure that their partner is reasonably satisfied (or unreasonably satisfied, depending upon their tastes).

      For BP couples that effort usually includes lame date nights with duty sex. For RP couples that includes lunch-time nooners, unexpected nights of hotel sex, and regular couples' vacations as part of a full-press strategy to keep their partner engaged, entertained, and continuously intrigued.

      The difference between married sex and single sex is profound, and cannot be adequately explained to single folk. Singles can only have a few kinds of sex: passionate initiatory encounter, hesitant exploration, boredom sex, and breakup/makeup sex.

      Married couples, by contrast, can have more kinds of sex than that in a week. It's a level of sophistication you can only reach with one partner over a long period of time in which trust and understanding has been built and cultivated. The number doesn't really matter (as long as it's "not quite enough"), what matters is that you're both happy with the result.

      I know RP couples who think thrice a week is a gracious plenty, and are satisfied with that. I know others who would consider that starvation rations. Mileage varies, and with that understanding you should pursue your happiness, not a metric.

      (That being said, when in doubt, pound one out. It had to be said)

  14. Yes, that ever elusive inner satisfaction - so difficult for a socially attuned species like we are to identify in terms that do not in some way reference the rest of the bell curve.

    In other news - I ran across an interesting (female) perspective "if women could have fewer orgasms, men could have more sex." Alison Armstrong's theory is that most women find it very satisfying/empowering at some level to be a proximate cause of pleasure for (the right 'alpha') male ejaculation with them. (Evolutionary note, female orgasm, while potentially influential in sperm selection or uptake, is not strictly necessary for reproduction) But with all the modern emphasis on "she comes first" sometimes the idea of chasing her own relatively elusive orgasm can feel like a chore to be avoided. I've seen a room full of women nodding their heads at this idea, but her demographic is obviously self selected in interesting ways.

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