October 30, 2005
Do Sexists Fall in Love?
Via Matt Yglesias, I see that Phoebe Maltz and Amy Lamboley have done their part in attacking an old conservative line about how women shouldn't have premarital sex with men if they want to get married -- "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" It seems to me, though, that the obvious answer has not yet come up.
Why would a single man marry a woman who's already having sex with him? Obviously, because he loves her, and wants her to be with him for the rest of his life. Maybe he also wants to be the father of her children. Being in love inspires men to do big things like marrying a woman and raising a family with her. Women have many wonderful attributes beyond being people whom one can have sex with. Some of these attributes might cause one to wish to be in a particular woman's company for the rest of one's life. (I feel like I'm stating excessively obvious things here, but the conservative view seems to depend on denying them. So I state the obvious things.)
If a man is getting married just so he can have lots of sex with a woman who wouldn't have him otherwise, he's making a mockery of marriage and an awful decision. Do the old sexists who say these things see their marriages as long-term prostitution contracts? Is the emotion of love entirely foreign to them?
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» Why Buy the Cow When You Get the Sex for Free? from Blog of the Moderate Left
Neil the Ethical Werewolf (guesting for Ezra) makes a good point on the whole "men don't marry girls who give them TEH SEX" thing.... [Read More]
Tracked on Oct 31, 2005 9:29:14 AM
Tracked on Oct 31, 2005 11:50:23 AM
Excellent point! The same logic applies to same-sex marriage too.
Posted by: David W. | Oct 30, 2005 11:04:17 PM
Yes, well done.
Posted by: Lindsay Beyerstein | Oct 30, 2005 11:21:01 PM
The "milk/cow" argument is clearly meant as a pro-prostitution argument. In this modern age, nobody buys a cow, even if they drink milk. Specialization and commodification (like plastics) are the orders of the day. Kass is clearly making the argument that you should be able to acquire sexual intimacy with your cereal. I, for one, applaud this bold new move by conservatives.
Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Oct 30, 2005 11:21:16 PM
A man might like their woman, but they aren't getting married because of that (even if they tell themselves this post-engagment). They get married because of social pressure that being a bachelor at 35+ is quite gauche.
Posted by: dan | Oct 30, 2005 11:59:13 PM
Dan: Speak for yourself.
Posted by: Andrew | Oct 31, 2005 8:22:43 AM
Dan--I'll be more blunt than Andrew. You're a moron.
If the cow/milk thing was at all true, then we'd have seen marriage rates completely bottom out over the last forty years. They haven't.
Quite frankly, I'm tired of being told that because I own a penis, I'm incapable of any deeper emotion than lust. The cow/milk thing is deeply offensive to women and men alike.
Posted by: Jeff Fecke | Oct 31, 2005 9:15:27 AM
This kind of thinking came up recently at MoxieGrrrl's blog. Someone posted a comment in a rather anti religion thread that he didn't need a god to tell him what is moral.
Maybe this is the true origin of the liberal/conservative divide. Some people may not be able to control their "morals" without a higher power forcing them. These people tend to become conservative. Others have a built in sense of right and wrong, and are moral, not because they are forced to, but because they are just basically ethical. They tend to be liberal.
I don’t say that all liberals are good, and all conservatives evil, but the "bleeding heart", want-to-help-others thing is definitely considered a liberal trait. The stereotypical "ditto-head" also seems to fit the idea of needing others to tell you how to think.
Has anyone done a study on this?
Posted by: William Bollinger | Oct 31, 2005 10:38:36 AM
Just because I'm perverse like that, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?
Because it's the bestest milk ever, and why would you even conceivably want any other kind of milk, that's why. Good sex is good for relationships, and anybody who'd tell you otherwise clearly has never had any.
Posted by: Dennis | Oct 31, 2005 11:17:23 AM
William Bollinger -- personally, I'm very skeptical about the "conservatives depend on an external locus of moral authority, liberals are morally self-guiding" viewpoint, but if you're interested in such views, I recommend reading Coturnix, who's been hitting the Lakoff pretty hard and has all sorts of thoughts on this kinda stuff.
Posted by: Julian Elson | Oct 31, 2005 12:19:51 PM
Convincing arguments, guys.
Posted by: Dan | Oct 31, 2005 12:25:04 PM
There's a divide here between talking about this on a general level and on a specific level.
On the specific level, some girlfriends might be advised to not give sex for this reason. This would be in response to Dennis's point, because we are talking about the same milk. However, the better advice would of course be "find a boyfriend who values something in you besides your vagina". Still, if empirically we're talking about a world where there is no true love and only stability-through-marriage, which say, might describe some parts of America, I understand the appeal of this advice.
And there's the general advice, which is if more women are giving milk for free, then the other women who previously had reason to use milk to get men into marriages they wouldn't otherwise want (presumably for the material advantage of the woman), will find this more difficult to do. And there is a point that if a) the amount of promiscuous women is the limiting factor of how much sex happens in society and b) the amount of promiscuous women increases, then c) lots of complex ramifications will happen.
Some people worry about C and don't question A. I myself, rather mock a culture of male-promiscuity and ask "why buy the pig when you can get the sausage for free?"
Posted by: Tony Vila | Oct 31, 2005 2:09:30 PM
In what parts of America do you think there is only stability-through-marriage and no true love?
Posted by: Julian Elson | Oct 31, 2005 4:25:07 PM
That's funny. The original comment I mentioned was a response to MoxieGrrrl's response to a post by Coturnix. Round and round we go...
Posted by: William Bollinger | Oct 31, 2005 4:27:20 PM
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