There is all of the difference in the world between paying and being paid. – Herman Melville
Since the third day of my blog the topic of marriage as a form of whoredom has been a popular one, both in my columns and in the commentary. Not that this is anything new to us; the observation has been made many times in history, as a perusal of my Quotes page will demonstrate. One year ago today I wrote it this way:
The exact same arrangement (man contributes support, woman contributes sex and/or companionship) is completely legal in the long-term form we call marriage but illegal in the temporary form we call prostitution. Now, don’t start screaming that marriage is different because it involves love; where is it written that a couple have to love each other in order to make marriage legal? Throughout most of human history love had absolutely nothing to do with marriage. Love certainly makes a marriage more pleasant…but any reader who asserts that nobody ever gets married for the bare-bones reasons mentioned above is hopelessly naive and might as well stop reading right now, because it isn’t going to get any better for him.
Or as I expressed it in a recent comment, “love is the icing, not the cake”. Marriage is first and foremost a socioeconomic relationship, and the modern insistence that love is the be-all and end-all of marriage is one of the primary reasons for the skyrocketing divorce rate, because couples who share no bond other than the biochemical one we call “romantic love” have no reason to stay together when time and adversity weakens or destroys it. True love is a much more complex emotional bond, but it takes time to develop and rarely does so between people who are not already bound together by other, more mundane bonds such as blood or mutual dependence. Just because a man is another man’s friend doesn’t mean he can’t also be his doctor or business partner, and if he thinks their friendship means he can neglect the economic relationship he will find that neither lasts very long. Similarly, a woman who thinks that “love” means she can neglect her defining contribution to the marriage, sex, may strain both interactions (the love-relationship and the socioeconomic partnership) to the breaking point.
Obviously, not all sex in a marriage is directly transactional; indeed, at the beginning of the relationship I daresay very little is. The distinction is important, and came up in a recent correspondence with one of my regular readers. He wrote,
For the past week or two I’ve been wrestling with the issues raised in the recent whores/marriage, speaking prostitute/speaking in Repressive Christian Archetype threads. I was not scandalized or offended by the concept of sex in marriage as a transaction on a continuum of sexual transactions which includes prostitution (wife = whore) But even though I’m trying to learn to speak Prostitute despite it not being my native tongue, I felt a sense of nagging unease with the argument if we leave it at that point. Among the things that scratched at my mind:
1. If all sex is on a transactional continuum, why does sex within my marriage feel qualitatively different to me than sex prior to my marriage?
2. If all sex is on a transactional continuum, why do so many whores in their own blogging or writing make a sharp distinction between work sex and relationship sex?
One has to be aware of the transaction, but one can’t be too concrete about the concept of gain…When a woman gives sex to a man, she doesn’t necessarily get cash or goods in return; she may get favors, or status in her group, or spiritual fulfillment, or a feeling of having done the right thing. And if she loves the man to whom she gives the sex, she may get pleasure from the simple act of giving, just as all normal people enjoy giving gifts to those we love. Love cannot be discounted; it’s a powerful and transformative emotion, and it can totally change the sexual experience because it changes “where your head is”, to express it colloquially. Sex for anyone, male or female, amateur or professional, is absolutely different with someone we love than someone we don’t.
Another important thing to consider is that for married women, there are two kinds of sex; we might call them “love sex” and “duty sex”…many women will use different terms for it (one girl I knew differentiated them as “making love” and “screwing”) or even deny it completely, but all mature women know about it. “Love sex” is what you have when you’re in the mood and want to be with that special person, whereas “duty sex” is what you give him when you’re not really in the mood but he is. A sexually realized woman can perform the two so her husband can’t tell the difference, but women who are out of touch with themselves as women (that’s not meant as an insult to them, it happens to a lot of career women because they try too hard to be “neuter” at work and can’t let that go when they get home) usually can’t; a successful GFE escort is one who can make the two indistinguishable with almost anybody (this is one of my greatest skills as a whore). The physical actions are the same, but “duty sex” is purely transactional whereas in “love sex” she gets a direct return, namely the feelings of affection and bonding with her mate (purely physical sexual pleasure may be present or absent in either form).
Every woman used to understand that this is the way the world is, but many modern women have been brainwashed into thinking that transactional sex is automatically bad, and that the only valid reason for sex is to please oneself, which is simultaneously selfish and self-destructive because it will invariably leave a man feeling unsatisfied since his wife isn’t providing to him as she should. This of course drives him to look elsewhere and creates relationship-destroying tension between the two. So when we talk about the housewife as whore, this doesn’t mean that the sex is always transactional; the best sex between married people, and indeed most of it in the first year or so of the relationship, isn’t transactional at all. The whoring starts the very first time one’s husband starts to make overtures when one is absolutely, positively not in the mood and one gives it to him anyway because it’s the right thing to do in return for the financial, emotional and social support he provides, or because one loves him and wants to offer herself as a gift.
Of course, in a really good relationship it’s even more complicated than that; I still enjoy the transactional sex I give my husband precisely because I do love him, and as I said in the first paragraph of my response that giving is a joy in and of itself. Years ago my husband and I went to Yosemite National Park, and stayed in one of the tent cabins; these are tents erected over permanent frameworks, so though they offer visual privacy one can practically hear the people in the next tent breathing. I knew that in the morning we were getting up early to hike up Half Dome, so I wanted a good night’s sleep to prepare for a long and exhausting day. But we had been together less than a year, and my husband loves Yosemite so he was feeling very amorous. I was absolutely not in the mood; I can’t relax without privacy, and I wanted to go to sleep, but I knew he would sleep better after sex so I gave it to him, willingly and in good heart. And I still treasure the memory of that night ten years later, not despite the fact that it was only for him but because of it. Loving one’s husband and being his whore are not mutually exclusive; in the best marriages they are so tightly intertwined that the individual strands are indistinguishable.