Have you ever wondered what turns on Naomi Wolf? Have you ever whiled away an afternoon trying to imagine what sets her loins aquiver?
OK… you haven’t.
Then again, have you ever tried to imagine what turns on Sheryl Sandberg?
If she is to be taken at her word, Sandberg, like Wolf before her becomes transported with lust at the sight of a man doing the dishes.
Sandberg draws erotic sustenance from the visions compiled by the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative—yes, there is such a thing. Among those visions are: “hunky guys vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the kitty litter.”
Actually, the CWPC has put out a series of books filled with images that are supposed to excite women. On the cover of one we see a man vacuuming. Are the members of the CWPC excited by the nondescript male or by the oversize hose?
This leads to a more salient question. Since Sandberg is married to a corporate executive, what makes you think that he does the dishes? What makes you think that he has ever done the dishes? And besides, can’t these people afford to buy a dishwasher?
We are led to the regrettable conclusion that “dish washer” is a euphemism for what used to be called the “pool boy.”
For all I know these ladies are telling the truth about their own sexual arousal mechanism. As the saying goes, de gustibus non est disputandum—that is, there’s no arguing with taste.
But they are not telling the truth about female sexual response. They are merely trying to trick men into becoming feminist enablers.
You know it’s a subterfuge because you know that female erotic response has little to do with images. How do you know this? You know it because you know that women consume a relatively miniscule quantity of porn. In the porn world, the male gaze rules.
Speaking of the marketplace, women seem far more aroused by fictions like Fifty Shades of Gray than in feministically correct porn. For women, imagination trumps graphic images. The book has sold 70,000,000 copies. Could that many women be wrong?
In fact, the CWPC’s version of erotica,-- visions of hunky guys doing household chores—really belongs in the domain of gay male porn.
Remember the inscription on the portal of Apollo’s temple at Delphi: Know thyself!
Now, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?
Anyway, for those who will not accept this on my say-so, a couple of sociologists have done a study. Christina Hoff Sommers reported on it for Slate’s XX blog.
The truth of the matter is that men who do more housework get less sex than men who do less housework. Specifically, men who do what are traditionally considered women’s chores—dishes, laundry, vacuuming—are more often rejected in the bedroom.
In marriages where women performed all the typically female tasks (cleaning, cooking, shopping—called “core work” by the researchers), couples had sex 1.6 times more per month than couples where men carried out all these traditionally female chores. In marriages where men helped out but stuck to stereotypical male tasks (“non-core” work such automobile maintenance, yard work, bill-paying, and snow shoveling), couples had sex 0.7 times more than those where women performed the traditional male tasks. But, as the researchers point out, even in marriages where men did 40 percent of the "female" chores, couples experience "substantially lower sexual frequency than households in which women perform all the core [typically female] chores." Put simply: There appears to be an inverse relationship between husbands doing traditionally female tasks and sexual frequency.
Obviously, men need to do their fair share. But if they want to get more sex they should be doing tasks that are traditionally performed by men.
I don't want to speculate any more than I have about what turns on feminists, but when it comes to women, it appears that manly men are high on the list.
Even in our time when gender neuterdom is becoming the law of the land, the traditional sexual division of labor still rules.