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Archive for September 25th, 2013

You seem to be unsympathetic to female sexual dysfunction.  In more than one survey two-thirds of women have reported some form of sexual dysfunction; if I were a woman I’d be mad as hell about that, and yet you (like many women) seem to have very little to say about it.  Is it some kind of mental block?  How can any woman not notice that male sexual dysfunction receives much more serious attention even though it is relatively rare compared to female sexual dysfunction?

An insanity expert at workWho defines “dysfunction”?  Are the numbers you speak of women who state they’re unhappy with their sex lives, or is it women whose responses fall into some category arbitrarily circumscribed by those who designed the survey?  If it’s the former you have a valid point, but if the latter I must remind you of what happens when we let academics define people’s experiences instead of listening to people’s own opinions about them.  When “authorities” set the parameters of “dysfunction” without regard to the perception of those they declare dysfunctional, the inevitable result is stuff like homosexuality being defined as a mental illness, transsexuality being considered a kind of delusion  and sex workers being classed as infantile victims who need to be “rescued” from our own decisions.  The belief that “authorities” have the sole right to determine which experiences and modes of behavior are “healthy” has led to what Thomas Szasz called the “therapeutic state”:

…normal behaviors have been…pathologized by quacks, hired guns and those whose professional ethics take a back seat to promoting an agenda.  Much of this involves uncommon or even rare disorders being misapplied to much larger groups, such as claims that sex workers commonly suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or that migrant workers who deny being passively “trafficked” do so because of Stockholm syndrome; fully 10% of American schoolboys are now being drugged daily because of quacks misdiagnosing their normal boyishness as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in order to please female teachers and single mothers who subscribe to “social construction of gender” and therefore refuse to accept that normal male behavior is innately different from normal female behavior…even beyond that, imaginary “disorders” are created to describe…normal human conduct which politicians find inconvenient or fanatics dislike; for example, the totally understandable resentment young people feel when they’re treated as “children”  (or spoiled younger kids’ predictable tantrums when they don’t get their own way) is now pathologized as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder”, and the normal male attraction to adolescent girls is both pathologized by many psychologists and wrongfully conflated with pedophilia in the public mind…

When it comes to female desire, it isn’t the state or some large social bloc which wants control; it is the medical industry, especially the pharmaceutical industry, which dreams happy dreams of a gold mine if female desire can be successfully (though often wrongfully) medicalized as male desire has been, and women can be convinced that the solution to normal or emotionally-driven losses of desire can (and should) be “cured” by popping a pill which the industry will oh-so-helpfully provide. painful sex A great deal of what is labeled “sexual dysfunction” in women has nothing to do with either body chemistry or socialization; many women who are perfectly functional under certain conditions or at certain times are not so in other circumstances, and it’s counterproductive and  absurd to seek solutions with drugs, testosterone patches or psychotherapy when the problem may actually be something as simple as exhaustion, stress or poor choice of sex partners.  But even setting those concerns aside, it’s spectacularly useless to define female sexual function in terms of male (which is how a great deal of it is defined nowadays); because it’s normal for men to feel randy all the time, the assumption is that if women don’t it’s “dysfunction”.  Poppycock.  I rarely feel anything like what men think of as normal lust, and I think that’s great; if I felt anything like the kind of near-constant desire men feel, I’d ask my gynecologist if there was anything we could do about it without ruining my looks.

If you want me (and a lot of other women) to get all “sympathetic” to the concept of “female dysfunction”, you’re going to need to do two things:  1) Define it in a way that reflects actual female experience instead of some pie-in-the-sky bullshit that would only benefit men (i.e. women as horny as men so y’all could get it for free much more often than you do); and 2) Do a lot better job of explaining why conforming to some one-size-fits-all textbook notion of “healthy” or “proper” sexual function is better than just being ourselves.  You say, “if I were a woman I’d be mad as hell about that”; no, you wouldn’t, because if you were a woman you would be a woman, not just a dude with a female body.  And as you yourself point out in the very next clause, most women don’t think it’s a big deal: men think it is, most especially men who stand to profit from convincing women that there’s something wrong with them that a less stressful life, more sexual knowledge and better communication with their partners couldn’t cure.

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