Sex Tips for Feminists*
Look, ladies, we’ve all heard it over and over, from the fine women at IWF who just want to help, conservative bloggers making fun of you for being so ugly and unlovable, and Lori Gottlieb telling you that if you don’t settle for the first asshole to come along, you’ll die alone and be eaten by your bevy of cats. And don’t forget, you’ve been scolded about thinking you have a right to “have it all” by some random douchebag who reads Andrew Sullivan. So you laughed at some lame jokes, put up with some sexist bullshit, and got dragged to dates that involved sitting through “The Hangover” more times than you care to admit. And you’ve won! You got that boyfriend you were told to get. Sure, he’s an insufferable baby who makes cracks about women having “cankles”, but remember! Cats eating through your papery dead old lady flesh!
But just because you’ve settled doesn’t mean your hard work is over. When you’re a woman, there is no end to the work of man-pleasing, and if you read more Cosmo and fewer feminist blogs, you’d get that. But I’m here, as a feminist blogger, to take pity on you and not to run you off reading my blog so that you can spend more time serving your man drinks off a tray that you’ve strapped to your back to bring him on all fours while naked. There is room in your life to be a feminist and to keep that man-child you’ve carefully earned with eyelash-fluttering until you got the spins. Just follow these careful sex tips for feminists, and you’ll be able to keep that feminist habit up while leaving him in the blissful ignorance that he requires in order to stay with you. Like so much of the performance of femininity, it’s just a matter of stage craft.
Talking about feminism. There’s no need to do this. Obviously, this seems hard to avoid, since it’s an important part of your life, until you realize that you don’t really need to talk to your man-child much at all. The vast majority of comments you make should affirm what he’s said or be sexy talk, though you’re obviously okay if what you say has to be said in the shortest but most ladylike way possible. “Not to nag, but perhaps you shouldn’t step on that rattlesnake,” is okay under most deadly circumstances.
But don’t worry! If you feel bottled up, that’s why god invented blogging. You can spill all that stuff on your blog, and don’t forget that you’re allowed to talk to your friends on nights when he’s doing something else and isn’t any the wiser.
Books. Being a feminist, you probably have a lot of these, and many of them have man-child-startling titles that could provoke unpleasant discussions, which as you know are strictly forbidden. But don’t worry. Your best friend here is one of those fat markers, the kind you use when labeling boxes. With a few quick edits of the cover, even the most forbidding feminist tomes can seem like sexily unthreatening, empowerful even. Don’t forget that men-children can get antsy if women are more successful than them! But your friend the marker plus some ingenuity can do a quick un-sexing of most female authors’ names. An example to get you started:
Voila! With 10 seconds of your time and a little creativity, you’ve turned a hefty philosophical tome on the oppression of women into a kicky fun how-to manual written by a male authority on the subject.
Music. If you’re of a certain generation often referred to as “third wave”—or if you’re a music fan at all—you run the high chance of having a lot of albums by female artists that see being a musician as a matter of playing music instead of taking their clothes off and looking ready to give head for the camera. Let’s face it; we all know that this is going to be a point of conflict, because with your newly lowered standards, you’ve been dating guys who list 100 favorite bands on their dating profiles, and not one has a female musician of note in it. You don’t want to send him fleeing for the hills the second he casually looks over you CD collection and discovers alarming images like this:
This album cover will overload a man-child’s ego to the point where he’ll have to run screaming for the strip club, and he’s unlikely to come back. The women are a) wearing clothes that aren’t lingerie b) making faces that don’t indicate immediate desire to have sex with the viewer c) touching instruments! and d) listening to oversized headphones that threateningly suggest a willingness to listen to music on your own, instead of just what’s been provided by a man.
But you don’t have to throw out your music collection just yet! It’s not like he’s going to pick up your CDs and listen to them out of any kind of curiosity about what you like. So all you have to do is address the album covers. To do this, all you need is a stack of Maxim magazines, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick. Cut out some of the pictures of barely clothed women slathered in oil laying around on shiny surfaces and simply paste them over the images on you CDs and records. Voila! He’s not going to look too closely and see the seams—this is just to protect you for when he idly goes through your stuff while you’re cutely making him wait 5 more minutes to leave while you powder your nose.
Vegetarianism. It’s an epidemic amongst feminists. You may not be a vegetarian feminist, so if not, skip this. But if you are, remember that all men-children think of vegetarianism as a judgment on them so severe that it will permanently emasculate them. But luckily, the solution to your problem is simple—order the salad. If there’s any kind of meat product, ask them to hold off while patting your tummy to make it clear this is about calories, not environmentalism or animal rights. Just don’t forget to ask for the dressing on the side, or your cover will be blown.
Cats. Okay, you have them. Just admit it; you had a moment of thinking you should just go ahead and start your path to spinsterhood and got them, before you panicked and put up an eHarmony profile. Or maybe you just like cats, and think this is non-negotiable. And now you have them, and you’re worried, rightfully, that your man-child will be jealous and threatened, and will use anti-cat rhetoric that has a whiff of misogyny to it in order to make your life miserable.
There’s a couple of things you can do. If you have mellow, compliant cats who lay around all day, tape pieces of felt two inches wide and 3 inches long over their ears and tell your man-child they’re basset hounds. Again, his lack of interest in what you bring to the table besides your vagina will keep him from investigating your claims too closely.
Unfortunately, some of you have cats like mine, and this ruse will not work, because the pieces of felt will come flying off as they tear around the house chasing each other. This is one of those cases where you may have to speak multiple sentences in a row to your man-child. Hopefully, if you’ve kept a strict diet of lip-zipping, this will be so out of the ordinary he’ll be forced to listen. And then employ the Amanda Marcotte twofold strategy of getting sexist dudes to take what you say seriously: 1) borrow male authority and 2) play the helpless but caring female.
In order to do this, talk about a made-up brother who was your family’s golden child and the light of your life. And how he absolutely loved cats. (This addresses #1.) And then (quickly so he doesn’t get bored!) explain that your brother passed away tragically doing something uber-masculine, like racing cars, and how you were the only person in the family brave enough to take on and care for his beloved cats. Give them names like Ferrari and Pam Anderson, and hopefully, this will minimize the teasing.
Sex. You have plenty of time to come on your own with that box of vibrators you wisely keep hidden from your man-child. Don’t startle him and run him off with your demands in bed. Just keep him satiated, and he’ll stick around to validate you while mostly staying out of your hair.
Separate residences. This is crucial. Even the most oblivious man-child will realize something’s up after he moves in with you and realizes you spend a suspicious amount of time reading suspicious-looking websites like Jezebel or Feministing. The basset hound ruse is extremely likely to fall apart if you move in together, especially if you don’t have a good place to hide the litterbox. It’s not just the blogs, either. You watch TV shows with multi-layered female characters who keep their clothes on. You might actually want to listen to some of those albums. You read books. You have to eat some time.
Separate residences is the way to go. Even if you have the big “look-someone-will-have-me” wedding.
This one seems like a stretch, but it’s simple. As long as you’re willing to come over to his house to clean up after him, your man-child will be open to you telling him that he’s a big, strong man who needs his space and you sure wouldn’t want to take over his life with your stupid girl stuff. Perhaps you can make a pile of items that will have to be in his home if you live together, to make it clear how much he doesn’t want this: hair dryers, shoes, make-up bag, flowers, throw pillows, etc. Whatever goes in your pile, make sure to put a box of tampons on top to drive home the point.
Who says you can’t have it all? With the simple Marcotte plan, you can both be validated by a man and get the peace of mind of not having to settle for some asshole clogging up your living space and making your life miserable.
Of course, you could always hold out for a good guy who makes you happy. But the NY Times wouldn’t recommend it.
*Produced after reading this interview about how hard it is to find where to draw the line while being a dating feminist, combined with Cosmo’s suggestion, “Without asking, swap his empty beer for a fresh one when he’s watching the game.”