Dr. Laura’s baaack! With a new YouTube video and more assholery. She’s…kidding, right? Except no, I don’t think she is.
The question: “I’ve heard you counsel married women to not turn away their husbands when they want to have sex with them. I’ve never been married so I’m soaking up all I can to help me when I do marry. Is it absolutely NEVER okay to say no to your husband – even when you’re sick? [Gives a “sigh” and disappointed look.] Not being there yet, I’m curious what “tips” you can give all women for overcoming not feeling well to go forward and still have sex with their husbands.”
And Dr. Laura’s response: Let’s just say that if you’re needing Kaopectate or an IV… come on, that’s just silly. If you’re husband is saying, “Hey baby, I want to pump you,” when you’re sick, you’ve married a jerk. We’re talking about when you’re feeling irritated or “I’m annoyed,” or “I’m just too tired today,” and turning away your man when… this is the measure that men have of how much we love them whether we’re willing to accept them (literally) into our bodies, whether we’re willing to open up to them; this is how men register that their woman loves them.
It’s not just “getting off” – he can do that without you, all by himself with his thoughts, with his memories, with a computer, with a magazine…he can do that without you. He’s wanting to make love to you. To turn that down is a blatant rejection. If you’ve got a fever of 104 and he’s not taking you to the emergency room but he wants to get you from behind, I think you married the wrong guy.
You’re kidding me, right? Dr. Laura? You aren’t really advocating never saying no except for in life-or-death situations, right? Right?
Oh wait, you are advocating that. Because you are Dr. Laura, and your schtick is making women feel shitty unless they are constantly subjugating themselves to and worshipping the men in their lives.
Marriage is not a prison. It is not a contract to be miserable and go against your own desires for the rest of your life. Marriage is a partnership, and most people enter it wanting it to last forever. But it isn’t just something that should last forever for the sake of lasting forever – it is intended to be a source of strength and happiness for both partners. Two in a marriage become stronger than each individual alone.
But not if one person is constantly subjugated. In that case, you might think that one person gets to live a fantastic life and the other might be content to be sacrificing, but it doesn’t work that way in real life. This kind of inequality breeds resentment, which ends up creating misery for both people.
The problem with Laura’s advice goes beyond potential misery. It is incredibly insulting to men to imagine that the only way that they can express love is through sex. It is insulting to women to think that the only way they can accept affection is through their husband’s orgasms. Dr. Laura makes it sound like sex is the duty of a physically unfulfillable wife to fulfill the needs of an emotionally stunted husband; in reality sex is something that both partners in a relationship rely on and desire at varying degrees.
Sex provides comfort, sex provides pleasure. For both parties. If one person is gritting their teeth and just getting through it as the other person “makes love” to them, it is neither comfortable nor pleasurable for either partner, assuming that both partners have even a modicum of esteem for each other. When a woman feels that she can never (or almost never) say no, there is never a time when saying yes is her own choice. When a man understands that the woman will never (or almost never) say no, he will never be able to feel like his advances are desired.
There is something to be said for agreeing to sex when you aren’t 100% up for it, because many women don’t get in the mood until they are already partway down the road. However, agreeing to sex whenever and however your partner wants it does not show love, it shows duty. There are enough things that I feel duty-bound in my life about. I want my marriage to be about love and trust and intimacy, and I want to know that that love and trust and intimacy is genuine. I would be insulted if I felt like he could never say no to me, and I know he would feel the same way about me. What you’re talking about isn’t love, Dr. Laura. It’s bullshit. Disguised as marriage.