Archive for June, 2010

"Default Female"

June 30, 2010 - 5:36 pm Comments Off

Since long pieces where I don’t know entirely what I’m going to put in and what I’m going to leave out don’t get along well with raid nights where the bulk of my evening is going to be devoted to geeky social things, a brief little Random Science Lesson regarding a pet peeve that got woken up and growling again today.

It’s a fairly common thing to say that all fetuses are “female by default” until they’re masculinized into boy babies by uterine exposure to testosterone. I’ve even used this phrasing myself before (though not again now that the peeve has reached full maturity) when attempting to explain how male genitals and female genitals are structures derived from the same tissues that only differentiate after that uterine hormonal exposure, which is one reason sex-change surgery has been refined so successfully for male-to-female transsexuals, at least in terms of retaining sexual pleasure. It’s also a lie-to-children- an oversimplification of the actual biology that’s useful because it’s easily graspable. It also has a point where it stops being useful, as illustrated today when I had an epic facepalm seeing this used as an assertion that femaleness is an example of neoteny.

Fetuses aren’t female until they’re masculinized, they’re neuters until they’re masculinized or feminized. It’s just that we associate maleness so completely with external sexual traits that we tend to read an apparent lack of external traits as feminine rather than as neutral. The external genitalia of a fetus that has not yet undergone sexual differentiation are neither labia and clitoris nor penis; they’re just the substrate. The tubes that will become the urinary output system, sperm delivery system, fallopian tubes, and other internal and external plumbing are still just Wolffian and Mullerian ducts and haven’t had their destiny delivered yet.

The fetus in this state isn’t female- being female requires all sorts of additional development, just stuff that isn’t visible on an ultrasound. What it actually is in biological terms is much closer to being primitive- the basic reproductive structure upon which placental mammals build in a very complex fashion but many other vertebrates barely elaborate on at all. If you’re a bird, fish, or reptile, which gender you aren’t isn’t so much a complicated anatomical statement as it is minor variation on whether the same basic tube setup delivers large gametes or small gametes. This is why it’s possible for so many fish species to be more than one sex over the course of their lives; when the only changes that need to be made are which hormones do what and whether the gametes are large or small, changing sexes as advantages change is an entirely sensible evolutionary approach. The biological definition of “male” and “female” itself, as when applied to plants and fungus and every other life form on earth that comes in two sexes, lies solely on the question of gamete size. Everything else is elaboration.

Fetuses are not “female by default”. They’re tetrapods by default.

Other Nerds Approve

June 29, 2010 - 7:59 pm Comments Off

On the down side, all you get tonight is a link.

On the up side, one of the reasons is that my planned post inspired by a recent comment has been mutating in my head all day from a relatively short commentary on gender differences to something much bigger, assuming it doesn’t devour itself as quickly as it spawned.

We’re not the nerds involved, but we definitely approve: Nerd Approved, a site that apparently exists to make you spend money and time and not care because it was cool. There are enough gadgets, toys, and other diversions reviewed here to keep any geek happily occupied until the heat death of the universe. It’s so distracting I’m writing this sentence five minutes after the other ones.

Old McDonald won incorporation, BATFEIEIO

June 28, 2010 - 1:41 pm Comments Off

I suspect what will happen in cities ruled by those who are completely convinced everything would just COLLAPSE if they allowed their law-abiding citizens the ability to effectively defend themselves against the other sort, who are already armed to the teeth, is that a series of Jim Crow laws making such things very difficult if not impossible will follow, and must be addressed and eventually defeated in the same fashion as such laws. They are made, after, all, out of the same mindset- a combination of sensed threat to the clenched fist of power and genuine terror of what might happen if the fist were unclenched.

However, that does not render a joyous response to the legal declaration of the second amendment to be one that functions like other Constitutionally guaranteed rights and is subject to the same legal logic inappropriate.

Is it time for an Aquaman Dance? I think it is.

Chromosomal Radio

June 25, 2010 - 4:43 pm Comments Off

Note: This is one of those posts where I’m as much speculating out loud as anything, so.

One of the things I’ve noticed in the background when reading and participating in various discussions about modern sexual battlegrounds is a certain form of mutual confusion that can seem less than mutual depending on the discussion. When men discuss divorce law and predatory wives that get married and then abuse the law and the court system to take a man for everything he has, emasculate him and then abscond with his children, the women in the audience have an almost palpable thought bubble over their heads reading “….So why don’t you guys just not sign legally bonding contracts with predatory controlling bitches? Women don’t just turn into that by magic.” Likewise, I’ve had at least one experience discussing sexual harassment and women’s dilemma in distinguishing a man who is merely slightly too pushy and maybe socially awkward from one who is predatory and testing the boundaries with a man that cleared up as though by magic once the guy realized “oh, creeps. An element of “why rape-avoidance tips are often more harmful than helpful” discussions seems to be men with that same kind of intangible thought bubble hanging over their heads along the lines of “….So why don’t you women just not hang out with predatory creeps? It’s not like all or even a majority of men are this kind of scum.”

It seems that most men and most women can fairly easily recognize someone of dubious character within their own gender; maybe not spot someone and go “Yep, there’s a rapist/thief/murderer”, but readily spot someone pushy, manipulative, status-seeking, and generally self-centered enough to abuse other people for their own ends. Moreover, we seem to have distinct trouble with it when it comes to recognizing the same underlying predatory character in the opposite sex; most guys, whether genuinely nice guys or “nice guys” seem to have a story about a female friend who’s as sweet as can be but seems to have a tendency to get involved with real assholes, and most women know similar men who just seem to be put on earth to be hapless victims for the sort of woman who is looking for one.

To go into storyland, when I was in college, there was one young woman on our floor that every single other person on the floor with two X chromosomes knew was trouble within an hour of meeting her. It wasn’t that we hated her and certainly not that we were jealous of her, though that is the usual motive ascribed in cases like this, but we knew her for what she was on a nearly instinctive level. I wouldn’t say that she wasn’t even necessarily *disliked*, but we watched her mow through every male on our floor and eventually on campus, use them in outrageous ways, and leave a trail of broken hearts, maxed credit cards, and academic malfeasance in her wake with utter lack of surprise. What DID surprise and confuse us was that it seemed like NONE of the men she abused, even if they had no reason not to know her history, seemed to see her for what she was even a little bit; to a man, they all readily volunteered for it. It wasn’t even about sex; she was fairly chaste so far as we knew (and in a dorm it’s hard to NOT know someone’s general behavior), it was just that all she had to do was flutter her eyelashes and they stepped up for the pain. It was utterly baffling- none of them were stupid. They were, so far as we could tell, simply very, very blind.

A working idea I’d already had is that by whatever result of biology, culture, and social forces, men and women tend to develop distinct and mostly non-overlapping intra-gender forms of communication. I’d long since noticed that my male friends in general and Stingray in particular will sometimes come to radically different conclusions about interactions among men that I experienced as neutral, and also completely miss what I’d experienced as elaborate communications among women. This experience of completely differing observations happened often enough between Stingray and I that we gave it one of those little couples’ terms, “XY/XX Radio”. Someone missed something because they weren’t tuned into the right gender’s radio band. I know what life is like on the XX side of the band (not even misanthropic tomboys get to opt out), and I can catch a few stray signals from XY from time to time if I’m paying close attention, but that’s about it.

The idea that’s taking shape now is that XX and XY radio aren’t just a source of sitcom misunderstandings and each gender’s perception that the other is cryptic and unfathomable*, it’s also the source of the “why don’t you just…” confusion. To me and most likely most other women, a gold-digger, nymph, or other Chick To Avoid is rather trivial to see coming; a short period of interaction is all we really need. Likewise, the distinction between a shy and awkward guy who’s maybe trying some sort of assertiveness on for size, or an oblivious guy who really has issues with identifying boundaries, and a guy with bad intent trying to test our boundaries to see if he can override them really do look and feel almost exactly alike from a woman’s perspective, especially if she’s never been victimized before and doesn’t know specific signs to look for. When we hear any variant on, “just don’t hang out with creeps or just shoot the creep”, we want to snap back with “as soon as they start wearing nametags we will”. By the time we can readily tell, as with the dazed fellow wondering what direction the crazy bitch came from, it’s generally too late.

*Yes, men, women really do find you difficult to understand. That’s why they analyze dates and relationships with their girlfriends in levels of detail that the Pentagon would do well to emulate and why there are best-selling books with mind-boggling titles like “He’s Just Not That Into You” and a market for magazines like Cosmopolitan. We HAVE collectively figured out that sex is a motivation for y’all, but that didn’t really require NSA-level intelligence work to ferret out.

Bloody Thursday

June 24, 2010 - 4:14 pm Comments Off

So far today: aggressively clogged sink, plumbers that don’t call back, the discovery that plumber’s snakes in excess of 30 feet cost truly exorbitant amounts of money*, my magic ability to break computers in new and fantastic ways, the ongoing joyful work experience that is abetting the efforts of two major government agencies to speak to each other with no understanding ever gained, and an overall theme of fuck it, time to pour drinks and kill Alliance. On hot summer evenings, that means bloody mary time. There are many recipes like it but this one is ours.

Ingredients:
Your largest big fuck-off beer stein or similarly proportioned vessel
Two shots vodka
1-2 tsp Worcestire sauce, depending on taste
Three drops Tabasco
A few grinds black pepper
A shake of celery salt
Lots of ice, because it’s disgusting warm
Enough tomato juice to top off your big fuck-off stein

Stir drink ingredients together. Let the ice cool the drink. Drink the drink. Repeat as necessary depending on the bloodiness of your day.

*We have already received our lifetime RDA of plumbing advice from #gunblogger_conspiracy and do not require any further. Rest assured Top Men are on the job.

Link Love

June 23, 2010 - 6:49 pm Comments Off

*snif, snif, achoo*, “Where’d the day go?”

Linked around in various spots, an interview with one of my very few favorite celebrities, Penn Jillette, in Vanity Fair.

The interview is worth reading more for what the interviewer tells us about himself without meaning to, mainly that the title of the magazine is well-suited to him and that he values the team sport of politics over any sort of principle. The quotes from Penn are great, but if anything I admire him for managing to turn the interview into more of a dissection of the interviewer than of himself.

I’ve often disagreed with Penn, sometimes quite strongly, but he never gives me the impression he’s being an out and out weasel or that he hasn’t thought through his position- and more importantly, that he’s playing that demented team sport that so much of politics has become. Money quote:

Do you think Bullshit is fair and balanced?

We’re very, very fair and very, very biased. (Laughs.) Which is what I want from all media, by the way. I want the anchor on the nightly news to come on and say, “I hate President Obama… and here’s the news.” All this whimpering in the press about how we shouldn’t have news that’s partial and subjective, it misses the point completely. It was (newspaper magnate William Randolph) Hearst that invented the idea that journalism should be in the middle. It was never like that before. It was the Ohio Democrat and the Minnesota Republican. They said it right in their titles. And then Hearst decided he could sell twice as many papers if he pretended that they didn’t have a position. And of course that’s always a lie.

Bite-Sized Hate

June 22, 2010 - 4:57 pm Comments Off

Still got nothing. Still too hot. Still probably more to do with mental lockup.

- Obama administration vs. General McChrystal: indifferent, uninterested, and thin-skinned administration meets self-centered, insubordinate, and egomanical CO meets really, really stupid military handling of the press. A pox on all their houses.

- Arizona vs. Obama administration: as to the law itself, I view it as a restatement of supposed federal law. As a former resident of Arizona, I think Joe Arpaio and his bloc of supporters are psychotic and it will be one more tool they will abuse to carry out their campaign against targets of political opportunity. As to the Obama administration’s response, I wonder if they have gotten around to reading it yet and think this course of action in a time when the electorate overwhelmingly agrees with the law is great news in the midterms. As to the actual problem of illegal immigration and the official approaches taken I want to drink whiskey until my liver rots.

- Gulf disaster: may not be readily solvable by engineering. May end up the greatest environmental disaster of my generation, as if the Gulf didn’t have enough problems. Meanwhle, the ongoing economic crisis is deepened and felt most critically in local economies dependent on overfishing the Gulf. Energy crisis deepened by additional number of things we cannot do to obtain energy and must outsource to the environmental destruction of other nations that care less. But we should not worry, because those in leadership are going to use this political opportunity to shift the nation to energy sources that do not yet exist and punish targets of political opportunity that have already committed financial seppuku. Where’s the whiskey?

- Israel: only stable democracy in the region that’s squatting on all the oil, and the only technologically productive one. Only armed and assertive power between us and Iran, which has stepped into the power vacuum left by Iraq and is just fucking thrilled about resumed Persian control of the Middle East. So, obviously, fuck them and their fascistic and feeble attempts to enforce blockades against people bringing in more rocket parts to aim into playgrounds.

- World Cup: world’s most boring sport being totally ruined by world’s most irritating local tradition. World’s tallest midget protests.

- Apple does stuff: iFuckit

Random Image File Monday

June 21, 2010 - 6:28 pm Comments Off

…Blegh. I’ve spent most of my time the last few days adjusting to Windows 7- which is nice enough so far, but I’m one of those people that doesn’t so much use a computer or program as build an elaborate, bower bird like nest in it- and wilting from the heat, which is just cool enough to make turning on the central air and burning the energy seem unnecessary, and just hot enough to be uncomfortable.

I blame Obama for not providing me with something to rant about coherently, and also the fact that the chicken for dinner turned out to be off.

Anyway, I was browsing through our mutual image archives for something to use for a background image other than GIANT BLUE WINDOWS LOGO, and of course this instantly sucked about two hours of my day into the abyss. Here are a few of the results. Click for big.

We no longer have any idea who drew this for us/Stingray- and we are really sorry for that if this person happens to be reading- but it is evidently our first and only piece of fanart. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Stingray in various undisclosed locations, he looks exactly like this.

This is one of those images that makes me laugh each and every single goddamn time I see it, presumably until the heat death of the universe or such time as I am captured and consumed by skeletons. My mirth turned to horror when I paged the next few images in the folder over and came up with…

Oh fuck. A goddamn animated skeleton. Intellectually and morally I am aware I should feel pity and rage, however my inner seven year old thinks she might be in my closet tonight and is afraid of this possibility.

B-Movie Review: Legion

June 18, 2010 - 1:35 pm Comments Off

More light content. I am finally being dragged kicking and screaming into upgrading to Windows 7, and since it’d be a good idea for a number of reasons to do a complete wipe and reformat of my hard drives, this means I have to spend today and possibly part of tomorrow moving everything I actually care about over to the house media box. Woe is change-resistant me.

Okay, so technically Legion cost FAR too much to be considered a B movie, but in terms of spirit and execution it was. It was an exceptionally shiny and special-effectsy one, but it still embodies pretty much the same spirit of “let’s go with this because it’s fun for an hour and a half, never mind the details.” It is best described as a cross between Terminator and zombie apocalypse films with Christian trappings. It is, depending on your state of sobriety, your appreciation for shout-outs, and your willingness to forgive a movie all sorts of failings because it’s fun, either so bad it’s good or just a very pretty yet awful movie.

I landed on the side of “so bad it’s good”, though what I would actually describe it as is a series of cool scenes that are, as a movie, substantially less than the sum of its parts. If they’d been able to decide on an overall coherent plot arc and an ending that made sense before shooting the cool scenes, it might possibly have qualified as a decent action flick, and if they’d decided to make the characters more interesting than the best the actors could squeeze out of cardboard (which in some cases- Dennis Quaid- is actually quite a bit), it might have qualified as a good one.

This movie has an exceptionally high degree of gun porn, which was what initially made us sit up and go “ooh, do want” instead of nonstop snarking at it, up to and including a scene that inspired a shout of “OLD SLABSIDES SAVES THE DAY”. EVERYBODY gets a gun, including the teenage waif and the pregnant lady whose survival the plot hinges upon, and this is universally presented as not just a good idea, but the only good idea. It also, sadly, contains a cringeworthy scene in which the only human character who carried a gun for personal protection BEFORE the apocalypse started is ruthlessly grilled on why he’d have such a thing… which is so incredibly out of place amid the rest of the aggressively survivalist movie that the actors themselves look downright confused and angry about having the conversation.

What merit the movie has is in a few funny moments and a series of great action scenes and sequences. There is stuff blowing up, there is creepy shit being shot, there is toe-to-toe supernatural badass brawling, and there are plenty of shout-outs to classic action and horror movies like Jacob’s Ladder. What the movie lacks is characters who are remotely interesting or all that sympathetic (the few who are do not survive), and ending that makes a single lick of sense, and overall a reason to exist beyond the action sequences.

If those are enough for you, grab your alcoholic beverage of choice and some popcorn or nachos (we went with nachos), at least one friend, and give it a rental. It’s not worth buying, but it’s fun enough for a watch.

Error 403: Forbidden

June 17, 2010 - 2:26 pm Comments Off

Via Holly, who has already fisked it admirably, a particularly abominable article that can pretty well be predicted from the title: Reasons Women Withhold Sex. She covered it fine but damned if it isn’t cranking up the rantmachine anyway; forgive me if I repeat many of the same points.

I like how even the title manages to be both fundamentally offensive and wrong. “Withholding” something from someone implies that this thing is either an accepted default state, or that the someone being withheld from has some sort of basic right to the something. I know the article is broadly meant to address men in relationships or men in marriages, but it still manages to say, basically, “reasons women deny men their happy fundamental default of having sex with them”. It is nearly an afterthought to point out that men in relationships and marriages sometimes “withhold” sex from women too and that this frustrates the women just as much, but overall it’s framed as a “woman problem”.

One of the benefits of being in a long-term relationship is that you have someone that you can readily depend on for regular sex. For guys especially, this is a very important part of a commitment to another person. However, it is precisely when you start to expect sex from your girlfriend that she starts using that presumption against you.

Translation: “In exchange for commitment to a single person, regular sexual service of the man is contractually expected, but women frequently default on the contract.” I could get more mileage out of this if there weren’t so damn many men and women alike who see relationships as EXACTLY THIS.

Some women make a habit of withholding sex from their partners, while some only do it under very specific circumstances. To men, this seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Not having sex with you is not cruelty. It’s not having sex with you, which is the default resting state for every human being on the planet including ones with which you are in a relationship. Having sex is an intimate act between two people, not some kind of allowance for the guy in exchange for fidelity.

What’s actually extra sad about this is that I DO regard mutual sexual satisfaction as a critical component of a healthy intimate relationship, and view the lack thereof as a problem that needs to be addressed. The difference is that I definitely do NOT regard it as a service dispensed for the relationship satisfaction of the man, a transaction to be repaid in some kind of female relationship currency, or a right.

Of course, there is a difference between a woman simply not wanting to have sex and purposefully withholding it.

Oh good, I’m so glad we’re making some acknowledgment of the forgivable condition that is simply not wanting to have sex right now versus the cruel and unusual sort of not wanting to have sex.

When a woman withholds sex, she’s trying to send a message. Here are some of the reasons she might cut you off and what you can do about it.

Is it honestly this fucking impossible to tell there’s something wrong in any way other than her refusing sex? Or, for that matter, for her to send messages not written in Pussy Code?

She’s pissed

This is probably the most common reason that women withhold sex.

Sweet bleeding Christ on a chariot-driven crutch. Holly already covered this one, but again it bears repeating. If I am angry with someone, I do not want to play Guitar Heroes with them, I do not want to chat about Kirk vs. Picard with them, I do not want to do any of the relaxed, affectionate things I otherwise like to do with them when I’m NOT angry with them. This most definitely includes having them physically inside me. That is not withholding. That implies something I would otherwise be doing if only I weren’t actively seeking to punish.

If you’ve done something that made her furious, she may not be above punishing you by keeping the one thing you really, really want out of your reach.

You know, if my partner were so completely fucking uninterested in me that he didn’t care I’d stopped being friendly with him, didn’t care that I was upset, and only noticed anything was wrong because the Pussy Tap had oh so mysteriously shut off, I really wouldn’t want to have sex with him then, or ever.

The last thing a woman wants to do when she’s feeling any kind of negative emotion, whether it’s mad, sad, frustrated, annoyed, stressed, or worn out, is get busy between the sheets. While many guys can turn off the unpleasant feelings and get down to business, a woman finds it more difficult to push those emotions aside and get aroused. You might be satisfied with angry, violent sex, but she wants to work out her angst before she jumps into bed.

I like how this starts out with an acknowledgment of what I said above- that being pissed at someone generally excludes feeling amorous about them- and once again makes this out to be some sort of moody chick problem. I like a lot less the last sentence, especially as it seems to rather miss that “angry, violent sex” has COMPLETELY FUCKING DIFFERENT connotations and experience for a man and a woman.

The solution to this is to find out why she’s upset and try to fix it. Sometimes simply acknowledging that you’ve done something wrong is enough to make her calm down. Other times, the only way to get out of the doghouse is to participate in one of those long, heartfelt conversations in which you share feelings.

So, finding out what’s wrong and trying to make it right is the throw-yourself-on-your-sword solution of last resort to get the pussy flowing again. Why do people who think like this have relationships at all? It would save everyone a lot of grief.

She’s asserting herself

If she’s keeping the good loving from you, it may be an attempt to assert her power over you and the relationship.

Again, this has been pointed out by people who are not me (this time in Holly’s comment section), but exercising your right to refuse to allow someone to stick a body part in you isn’t really much of a power trip, especially if you’d enjoy it otherwise, which “withholding” implies. If this is her only form of power in the relationship- perhaps because, say, he doesn’t give a shit about anything else she does and considers her feelings something only to be dealt with if absolutely necessary in order to have sex with her- I don’t think this makes her all that powerful, or gives him much to fairly complain about.

She’s manipulating you

Another reason women withhold sex is to get something out of you. When no other methods of getting what she wants are working, she might resort to revoking your sex privileges until you agree to what she’s after. This will usually be a pretty big thing. Generally, she’s not going to bother holding out on you in order to get you to take out the garbage.

Ah, now we’re getting explicitly to sex-as-transaction. Normal humans don’t actually need to communicate desires and negotiate things using sex-no-sex Morse Code, but then again normal humans don’t usually form relationships with the idea that you’re making a regular-sex-for-fidelity contract rather than because they are fond of the other person for reasons unrelated to sex as well. I won’t say that no woman has or would ever tried this- but if she’s only using sex as currency and so are you and you’re getting the short end of the stick, why the hell would you want to stick around?

And again, sex is not a privilege. If I let you drive my car and we assume this is always the case unless I tell you otherwise, that’s a privilege. Sex is something we DO TOGETHER. Each time discrete.

She’s bored

She could be avoiding sex with you because she’s not enjoying it. Some women are embarrassed by the idea of talking about sex with their partners, especially if there is a problem. So instead of telling you what’s wrong, she might just close up shop.

To get around her sex ban in this case, try suggesting something new sexually. Take her to a sex shop and buy something fun for both of you. Buy a book with suggestions on how to spice things up. If you show some interest and put some effort into making some changes, she may open up again.

Alternatively? You could ASK HER WHAT’S WRONG. Which would also be showing some interest and putting in some effort, only without the guessing games that may well just feel like pressure to turn the Pussy Faucet back on if you guess wrong. That tends to breed resentment, and resentment and desire are incompatible emotions. But then again, so does having the completely correct perception that you are being kept around because you are the Pussy Faucet.

She’s tired

Maybe she’s not putting out because she’s just too damn tired. Perhaps you want to do it more often than she does, and she just can’t keep up. Other life demands might be stressing her out and keeping her busy too, making her too worn out to enjoy sex as often as you’d like.

Yes, being tired tends to be incompatible with desire as well, and sometimes people’s sex drives are just plain mismatched. It would be nice if it was acknowledged that this happens with high-drive women and low-drive men too, but far too much to expect from an article whose advice on how to deal with this is….

To get her back into the idea, pamper her with some relaxing treats beforehand. Draw her a bubble bath or give her a massage. If she’s relaxed, she’s more likely to feel sexy. Or, you could be truly unselfish and devote your time entirely to her pleasure for one night, making her more likely to want to return the favor another time. Also, you might consider cutting back a bit on the frequency. Instead of going to her every time you’re aroused, take matters into your own hands every now and again.

“Don’t be completely and utterly selfish, occasionally treat her like something other than a sex vending machine that keeps breaking, and she might then tolerate you doing it only most of the time.”

Playing games

Women withhold sex because men let them get away with it.

….Get away with refusing to have sex? You know, as basically misogynist as this article is, this sentence still makes my jaw drop.

It’s pretty clear it’s the one thing that most guys can’t live without and that they’ll do pretty much anything to keep it coming on a regular basis.

It’s pretty clear that single men who aren’t spending their disposable income on prostitutes are, in fact, living without sex with a woman. Something you want is not equivalent to something other people are inherently wrong not to give you- it still belongs to them, and nothing moreso than their own bodies.

All of that ranted, I honestly don’t mean to demean or belittle the situation of people who are in relationships or marriages in which the sex is very rare or altogether nonexistent. As I said before, I think mutual sexual satisfaction is an important component of a relationship; it may not always be 100% attainable due to that problem of people having differing drive levels plus drives changing over time for varying reasons, but I do regard it as an important thing. Relationships are hard, and said sex life can be difficult to maintain for a thousand reasons, not least of which is that dominant cultural memes hold that talking about sex or feelings about sex is humiliating and the absolute last resort, and that sex is something women shouldn’t want unless there’s something else in it for her, whereas sex is something guys should ALWAYS want and should also be entitled to. It is all too easy to run into problems maintaining a satisfying sex life WITHOUT being a shallow, selfish fuckhead. These are, however, relationship problems, not problems with men or women- and being a shallow, selfish fuckhead will get you there every single time.

All that said, I’d like to go back to “sex as transaction”, which sadly is an all too common thing with both men and women. I’ve heard men complain about wives/girlfriends who explicitly expect gifts in exchange for any sex at all, and compare them to whores. To which I would reply, just like the tango, every transaction involves two people. If she’s treating sex like any priced good or service, and you’re still sleeping with her, so are you- and you have nothing to complain about. Service on demand, as any professional knows, is expensive. To modify an engineering adage, good, cheap, honest- pick any two.