by Emma Kaufmann
I sometimes feel like marriage as it is today is some
sort of anachronism from the past. It seems like
feminism should have changed it all for the better,
and it did change it, certainly, but whether it was
for the better, I'm not so sure. Firstly, sexual
pleasure got all mixed up into it. Now women are
expected to demand sexual pleasure in marriage and if,
after working at the sex by reading countless articles
on 'How to Spice up Your Marriage,' things are still
rather poor on the bedroom front, then one should
simply cut one's losses and head for the door.
It is a well documented fact that sexual disgust for women in marriage was
once part and parcel of the marriage contract, and a very useful one at that.
In the eighteenth century, when marriages were still made as business
arrangements, it was necessary, nay even desirable, to make your wife think
sex was an unbearable chore so that she would never even consider leaving.
Since many women probably didn't have any lovers before marriage and
consequently had no point of comparison, once they got married and found the
marital sex to be awful (as I would guess it usually was, seeing as people did
not choose each other on the basis of sexual attraction), sex became linked in the
wife's mind with disgust, and she didn't crave physical relations with someone
else outside of the marriage.
Women throw up their hands at how in the old days, men and women made
marriages based on pragmatic choices that had little or nothing to do with love.
Apart from the fact that women no longer become the legal property of men
when they marry, however, we still choose partners in the same old ways. Most
people marry others of a similar or higher social status, calculating their long
term earning and investment potential. Women and men also usually marry
partners of equal physical attractiveness. Physical attractiveness and good
education/job are the reasons people choose their partners and yet, who would
admit it? It is always dressed up as, 'I fell in love with him', or 'our eyes met
across a crowded room'.
But falling in love is so natural, you may reply, it's as natural as breathing.
But is it? Is it really? Is there any evidence that people en masse 'fell in love'
with each other in the past? Some did, but passionate love tended to be
an unstabling influence on society and was not encouraged. Happy love
did not even enter the vocabulary of romance until the seventeeth century,
and many historians believe that romantic love is a learned behavior that
became fashionable in the late eighteenth century, along with the new
fashion for reading novels - the novel itself being a radical cultural form that
explored 'individuality' for the first time.
For the Greeks, passionate love was a disordering and thus preferably
brief experience, in opposition to the goal of marriage, which was to
create a well-balanced household. Marriage was certainly never the journey
towards self-fulfillment that it has become today.
The mixing of romantic love with marriage is, I would say, the fundamental
problem in today's marriages. On the one hand, you are told to ‘work’ at
your marriage and to suppress desires to have affairs, yet, on the other hand,
you are told that falling in love is the greatest thing that can happen between
two people. And once the buzz is gone from your relationship, what to do?
No wonder, I think, that so many people are having affairs and the divorce
rate is so high. There seems to be a fundamental flaw in the concept of
marriage today. It is meant to give so much to people, yet gives so little.
And with so many now playing away, or, more commonly, reaching
for the Prozac, I wonder if this is progress? What do you say?
Monday, September 10, 2007
by Emma Kaufmann
Featured Post and Blog of the Week
You Are Here
by Amie from MammaLoves...
You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.
With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.
And now what?
Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her
After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested Match.com, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.
A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, Match.com "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.
Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...
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A Lost Opportunity
by John from Altjiranga Mitjina
Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.
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by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.
This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?
They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.
When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...
A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.
A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bossy.com bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.
Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.
This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...
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