Prager Part II: More reasons why women should put out on demand

Dennis Prager’s thoughts on why women have no real right to deny men sex (excuse me, the “giving” of their bodies) couldn’t be summarized in just one column. No, Prager needed a sequel to his ode to marital rape.
Jesse takes apart the whole piece, so I won’t reinvent the wheel – but I will leave you with my favorite part:

Why would a loving, wise woman allow mood to determine whether or not she will give her husband one of the most important expressions of love she can show him? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?
What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work? (Emphasis mine)

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Join the Conversation

  • zp27

    So, having sex is a wife’s job? Is he promoting some strange form of prostitution? What an ass.

  • DeafBrownTrashPunk

    he’s just angry probably because no one would have sex with him.

  • Thomas

    Chore! Slog! Obligation! He makes the claim that women just don’t have the sex drive that men do. He apparently never doubts the direction of the causation. Maybe women whose sex lives are characterized by obligation to perform perfunctory and unpleasant sexual duties for their husbands don’t really want sex with their husbands much — instead of the other way round!?
    My take at Yes Means Yes Blog.

  • Thomas

    In fact, I think he is. In Jessica and Jaclyn’s collection Yes Means Yes, I argue that everything Prager thinks presumes a “commodity model” of sex, where it is a thing to be traded; religious conservatives think marriage is the best package of stuff to trade for. I expand in my post on Prager’s Part I, a href=””>here.

  • Thomas

    In fact, I think he is. In Jessica and Jaclyn’s collection Yes Means Yes, I argue that everything Prager thinks presumes a “commodity model” of sex, where it is a thing to be traded; religious conservatives think marriage is the best package of stuff to trade for. I expand in my post on Prager’s Part I, here.

  • zp27

    Yeah, I think that’s pretty typical for some people…is he married? Jesus. “honey, I’m not in the mood” “That’s not good enough, woman! Don’t deny me your love, BLARGH”
    It seems like it’s just a big ol rationalization.

  • Ayla

    Oh boy, another post on this guy. Does that also mean we get the male commenters and rape apologists in this one to tell us silly women why this isn’t so bad? What the fuck is up with that recently, anyway? I’m getting sick of the male privilege hanging out in our feminist space of late. I saw a comment from a guy the other day named “Women Be Trippin” and the same (representing as male or male-“seeming”)screen names seem to be in every thread using silencing language and being disrespectful of the female posters. (Thomas and some others excepted, of course)

  • Blitzgal

    From comments on other threads I believe he’s been divorced twice. Shocking, I know.

  • lioness86

    Really! I can’t believe it. And here I thought sex was supposed to be an enjoyable sexual experience. Now that I know it’s a chore I guess I’ll just keep my virginity for keepsakes. /snark
    What an ass.
    And just to throw the name out: Rabbi Schmuley!

  • NYSofMind

    I’ll be pretty bummed if I end up marrying a woman and then we never have sex. And then if we have kids and we stop having sex and we stay together for the kids and I have to go ahead and cheat in order to have sex, nobody’s gonna have any sympathy for me, even though she’s the one who went through the change of libido, and I got stuck in a marriage with a woman who I thought liked to have sex a lot.
    That would be a bummer.

  • GOAM

    The sad/funny/bang-your-head-against-wall thing is that from the fundamentalist religious perspective, it’s a perfectly logical argument, since the biblical teaching is presented as — The husband’s job is “good provider”; the wife’s job is “keep hubby happy”.
    I’m in no way excusing it, but I was raised to this mindset in small town (about 2000 people) Georgia, so I do understand it. As an example of what comes of believing this crap, the day before my wedding, my mother told me about a marriage that ended because the wife wouldn’t do oral sex. Her advice was to never say “no”, or my soon-to-be hubby would look somewhere else. Exact quote: “it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it; you just do it”. I did the “grin and nod” routine and let it drop.
    I do a lot of that with my parents.

  • pcwhite

    I don’t think I can add anything that hasn’t been said in abundance, but I’ll add my voice to the chorus of people shouting “WHAT A DICKBALL.”
    btw, I’m digging the loldouche. that’s a great piece of snark.

  • Danyell

    That’s why most people get married for LOVE and not just for sex.
    And yes, you will most likely have less sex when you’ve been together for a while. (Especially with an attitude that she “owes it” to you.)
    And yes, you will most likely have less sex when your kids are born (and you know she won’t be able to have sex for a while after each birth, right OMG!)
    And yes, if you cheat on your wife, no one will sympathize with you.
    So I have a tip: Don’t get married! Or better yet, don’t get into ANY long term relationship wherein fidelity is expected. Either get involved with a woman who doesn’t care who you screw, or just go through your life having one night stands and hiring prostitutes.

  • zp27

    Thanks. You just cleared a lot of things up for me.

  • Meep

    Off-topic, but your comment about male “seeming” screen names now has me really curious about gendering ourselves on the internet.

  • Shinobi

    Here is my advice for Prager, and any other guys whose wife just isn’t providing them with the sex they are entitled to:
    Go fuck yourselves.

  • Ayla

    Damn, I made the mistake of spending some time in the comments section where the douchebag’s original article was posted. There’s some pretty icky colluding going on, and I was particularly disgusted at one commenter’s explanation of how the job/having sex with your husband analogy was just SO APT! Other commenters suggested that the feminist-leaning commenters were incapable of rational thought, ironic considering Prager’s lack of ability to follow analogies and ideas to their logical conclusions and the feminist commenters’ ability to pick up on that to make him look like the simple-minded idiot that he is.

  • Ruchama

    Actually, he’s Jewish, and within Jewish law, sex is something that the husband owes the wife, not the other way. (I vaguely recall once seeing a Talmudic passage that actually detailed how often a man is obligated to have sex with his wife, based on occupation — a scholar was fairly often, since he’s not working physically and he’s usually close to home; a farmer was less often, since physical work can be tiring and he might have to stay out in the fields some nights; and so on, up until you got to a sailor, who was only obligated to twice a year. I can’t remember the full context of this, though, and I have no idea what search terms to use to google it.)

  • Ruchama

    What strikes me is that nearly all of the things he lists as reasons the wife might not be in the mood are things that the husband does have some control over. Wife is too tired from taking care of the kids? Husband can take on more of the nighttime kid duties, like dinner and bath and bed, giving her time to relax. Wife worried about some other issue? Husband can listen to her talk about it. Wife “not feeling sexy”? Husband can do something to help make her feel sexy — massage, sexy talk, music, whatever might work for her.
    His “I’m only talking about a good man” disclaimer seems to imply that a “good man” is already doing everything right.
    Also, he seems to think that, in most marriages, women are routinely refusing sex. Like, not just once in a while, but regularly. Seriously? He actually says that some women might only be in the mood once a month.

  • Bee

    That scene from “Office Space” when Peter is having that dream where Lumbergh is having sex with his gf keeps popping into my mind when I think about this guy.

  • Bee

    That scene from “Office Space” when Peter is having that dream where Lumbergh is having sex with his gf keeps popping into my mind when I think about this guy.

  • Ruchama

    OK, I just read his wikipedia page more carefully, and had an “Oh! He’s that Denis Prager?” moment. This guy has been looking ridiculous in much of the Jewish press for years, insisting that Jews should conform to America’s Christian culture.
    Also, he’s written several books on Judaism, and used to run a Jewish educational program for young adults, which means that must know better than this and is just ignoring his religion when it doesn’t suit his cause du jour. (As usual.) The basic info is here, but basically, within Jewish law, sex is something that the husband owes to his wife. Nobody is supposed to have sex with someone who doesn’t want it, and having sex without regard for your partner’s pleasure is “evil and wrong.” But generally, the husband is supposed to know his wife well enough to be able to tell when she wants to have sex, without her having to directly ask for it.

  • Tom


  • Jennifer

    It’s just another religious nut-ball that believes the man is to be waited on and his wife his inferior.
    Prager lists reasons a woman might use when she’s not in the mood: childhood trauma – which is lumped in casually with other scenarios.
    Seems like he’s downplaying child hood abuse.
    “Dammit, you’re a bitch if you use that excuse! Now, be a good broodmare and spread ‘em!”
    My feminist hackles are seriously raised from this prick.

  • alixana

    You know, there’s this thing called TALKING and MAKING IT WORK where you confront changes in your marriage and figure out how to proceed in the future. People change. Shit changes. Life changes. Successful couples communicate and figure out how to make those changes work for them.
    Or, you could be like Prager and run off and pout and cry and never actually try to solve any problems like an adult. I’ve heard that’s a really great strategy if you want to go through life being resentful and miserable.

  • Kristen

    What if your husband woke up one day and announced that he was not in the mood to go to work?
    Umm…well, when my husbands wakes up on just one morning and announces that he isn’t in the mood to go to work…I usually suggest we play hooky.
    When at one point in his life, he was chronically unsatisfied with his job and was never in the mood to go to work, I asked him about it. We had a conversation…about what was wrong and whether we could find a solution so that he wasn’t miserable all the time.
    Because I want my husband to be happy and fulfilled…but maybe that’s just for those of us who love our spouses and are considerate of their needs.
    So in that way…a job and sex can be similar…as one of the gazillion times in which you can show your love and respect for the person with whom you share your life.

  • SociologicalMom

    I’ll be pretty bummed if I end up marrying a man and then it turns out he sucks at foreplay. And then if we have kids and he expects me to do everything, never does his share, and can’t figure out why I don’t feel close enough to him to get physically intimate, he might act like he “has to” cheat in order to get sex because the lack of action is all my fault, even though I’m the one who subjected my body to all kinds of physical and hormonal hell in order to have a kid we both supposedly wanted, and I got stuck with an unsupportive jackass.
    That would be a bummer.

  • Frau Direktor

    Ha! Ha! EXACTLY what I was thinking, SociologicalMom!! You rock!

  • eb

    This guy is stuck in the 50s. As we all know, people who are stuck in the 50s vortex have a warped sense of everything. To them, 1950 to 1959 was the greatest 10 years in the history of the world. You know – the decade when girls were girls and men were men. Never again will there be a decade as perfect as the 50s.
    And, if the 50s was the greatest decade, the 60s was the decade of Satan. The decade when we all got in touch with our feelings. We’re paying for it to this day, by gum. Prager constantly blames the 60s for everything. Got diarrhea? Blame the 60s. Got the heartbreak of psoriosis? Blame the 60s. Can’t get laid? Definitely blame the 60s.
    Of course, there are those who would blame The Enlightenment.
    But they’re all dead.

  • Lis

    Then don’t get married. Last I heard women did not go around with giant clubs hitting men and dragging them to their caves in order to get married. If you are afraid of change in your relationship (and change happens in any relationship, or are you the same person that you were at 18?) then engage in casual relationships. There is nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong in expecting a marriage to be perfect.
    There. Have sex. Don’t get married. Don’t have kids. That way you went get “stuck” in a marriage.

  • Ayla

    It was all sounding half-way nice and fairly female positive for being one of the “big” religions, but then they had to throw that “eeew menstruation!” mess in there and ruin things.

  • allegra

    You know, really, I can’t help but think that if masturbation was more normalized that we wouldn’t be having so many problems with rape or with a hypothetical husband wanting sex desperately while his wife is totally disinterested. I’m sorry, nobody is entitled to anybody else’s body. (Well, I know legally parents are entitled to their children’s bodies, etc., which I also think is problematic.) But why couldn’t a guy just go whack off? Seriously? If I didn’t want sex, I might still be interested in watching. I might tell him I’d watch while I was … reading or doing what I was doing. I would find it rather fascinating and humorous. Watching is a rather different dynamic than regular sex. Watching a guy whack off who wanted me so bad but respected me enough not to touch me probably WOULD put me in the mood, to be honest, and has in the past. Ha.
    Anyway. If guys who felt some need to rape would instead just use their flockin’ hands, it’d be fabulous. It just reenforces the theory that our patriarchal culture turns sex so much into an act of power/aggression – more than just pleasure/enjoyment. And I think at least part of the enjoyment derived by a person fucking somebody who doesn’t want it is from some sense of power/ownership. And that’s, well, not really how sex should be – unless consensual (BDSM).

  • allegra

    Heh. Being someone who values emotional/bodily knowledge in addition to logical/scientific knowledge, I don’t know about the Englightenment.
    But I’ve had psoriasis since I was a flockin’ baby and I get laid. I feel sorry for this guy’s wife. If he has one. I assume he does, since it seems even the most tremendous douchebags manage to get married before everyone else. This is simply what I’ve observed from my home town and national politics, etc. :o)

  • lyndorr

    Ha. My grand-pa is one of those nothing-will-ever-be-better-than-the-50s people. Funny.
    If women hate sex so much, why is so much sex had before marriage? With the abstinance message aimed more at women, you’d think we’d have it in our minds that it’s okay to make the guy wait. Ha. General society seems to believe men want sex more than women but this guy seems to go beyond that.

  • mercedes

    ok… so. i love feminism and all *yay* but sometimes y’all go looking for it. i mean this guy, right he’s an orthodox jew, so already he’s only allowed to have sex 2 weeks out of the year.
    (long story involving zoroastrians)
    and while what he’s saying is *hits head with palm* duh stoops, i have 2 points to bring to the table.
    1. he’s just ripping off dr laura in her book “the proper care and feeding of husbands” she says the exact same stuff.. same wording, could be plagiarism.. then again they’re both orthodoxish jews so maybe they know each other and this is based on their * cough* discussions.
    2. it’s not marital rape! you can’t cry rape at this! you can call it commodities or brainwashing or old fashioned, and while it might be offensive, calling it rape only makes us (feminists) look like feminninies.

  • ShifterCat

    Or, hey, there are times when one of us is too tired for sex, but will happily cuddle and caress the other while they masturbate. It’s a way of expressing sexual affection that doesn’t turn sex into an unpleasant chore.
    But what do I know? I haven’t even been divorced once.

  • ShifterCat

    If sex is occurring within a highly coercive context, then yeah, it’s rape.
    I think Thomas covered this well here:
    “He’s not arguing for the wisdom of being giving. He’s arguing against the notion of a right to say no within marriage for reasons of disinclination.”
    And Jesse here:
    “This is why Prager’s advocating marital rape, no matter what he says – he accepts that a lack of consent should be honored if given, but then spends his time arguing that it should never be given… Accepting a woman’s consent or lack thereof to sex is kind of meaningless if it’s bracketed by the belief that there’s almost never a legitimate lack of consent to be given.”

  • NYSofMind

    Marital rape is rape and is always wrong, the key to good sex in marriage is good communication, this just shows the weaknesses in traditional notions of monogamous heterosexual marriage, etc.
    There’s a weird victorian aspect to not wanting to look at sex as the woman’s work in a marriage where only the man does commercial labor outside the house. While these kinds of marriages usually involve the woman doing *more* work to run the household, in an upper-middle-class household with hired help, you can imagine that, yes, bedroom affairs become the aspect of familial harmony that the woman most obviously contributes to the relationship. What’s wrong with taking that approach?

  • Ruchama

    Two weeks out of the month, not year. And depending on the woman’s cycle, it could be closer to three weeks. And this article is definitely not a Jewish perspective.
    As for Dr. Laura, she’s not Jewish anymore. (Or at least she says she isn’t. Jewish law says that she converted, thus she’s a Jew forever, but she says she not anymore.) She was for a few years, but then she said that the Jews were all so meeeean to her, and Christians were nice, so she wasn’t going to be a Jew anymore.

  • Clix

    I think there’s a difference between “not wanting to” and “wanting not to.” I dunno, I may get ripped to shreds for admitting it, but sometimes when I’m not in the mood, I’ll decide to put those feelings aside, because I love my husband and I want to please him. I enjoy making him happy, and it’s important to recognize that sex is one way I can do that. I also buy presents for him, and give him scalp massages (he LOVES that), and leave him mushy voicemails, and all sorts of other little stuff. It’s important to note, though, that the decision is mine to make, and my husband respects and supports that (as I do for him).
    But also, I find myself in similar attitude-situations at other times: often when I’ve said I’ll get together with friends, or made plans to go do something that I know I want to do, it comes time to get ready to go and I’m like “eh.” I know from experience, though, that if I wear something I like and put on some groovin’ music and adjust my attitude, I’ll have a great time. It’s WEIRD. If I only did fun stuff when I felt like it, I’d be a lump of boring! (And yes – sex definitely counts as fun stuff ;)
    Finally, it helps immensely that my husband is the greatest husband EVER, and I can be secure knowing that he loves me no matter what. He’s said that if we never ever had sex again, he’d still love me, but he’d want to get it looked into because he wants me to be happy. How awesome is that?!

  • Ellid

    I still remember an interview with Vanity Fair wherein Dr. Laura touted her Orthodoxy, yet appeared in a photo shoot bareheaded, wearing aclingy evening gown that bared her neck, shoulders, and chest. At least one Jewish reader wrote a scathing letter to the editor about her hypocrisy and flouting of the modesty/hair conventions, and in essence called her a brazen hussy.
    It was most amusing.

  • FrumiousB

    It’s not that masturbation isn’t normalized. It is, for men. The problem is that entitlement to another person’s body for relief of sexual urges is normalized (for men). Worse, entitlement to the body of the person you are married to is normalized (for men). Remove that entitlement and a lot of douchery would go away.

  • mercedes

    you’re right oops i typed that on new years eve and maybe had year on the brain… but depending on the cycle what? the law is 7 menstruant days and 7 clean days.. ze hu. it could be more if her period is more than 7 days but not less..
    well i keep one week of niddah and it’s ANNOYING. 2 would probably kill me.
    and irregardless of dr laura now, when she wrote that book ( probably in your local library) she was jewish and she said every word.. when i heard it it didn’t feel like coercion, it is different when a man says it…
    i think it should go both ways, if my boyfriend isn’t in the mood he should put out too… sometimes…
    anyways, why do you guys want to call this rape?
    i’ve been “not raped” and i’ve put out with someone i love when i’m not in the mood and they are not even on a spectrum.
    i wonder if anybody here would admit to doing it out of love or pity at some point in their life… it’s not as bad as you are making out to be..
    maybe it’s just because of my specific upbringing (hypersexual parents with no boundaries) I don’t think as sex as such a problem..
    rape on the other hand, or “not rape” or whatever, is a problem, but as long as the woman gets a say (intellectually, physically, etc) calling it rape is a gross misuse of the word and * sigh* makes people numb and used to it so it’s ineffective when it’s acually appropriate.

  • Ruchama

    Two weeks of abstaining from sex could end up with more than two weeks of allowing sex, if the woman’s cycle is longer than 28 days.

  • idratherbedrunk

    Can’t stand him. He’s one of these wackos who presents fascism with a smiling face.
    He’s all like “Yeah, I think women should be forced to have sex when they don’t want to. Wouldn’t that be old fashioned and nice like the show Leave It to Beaver?”

  • ShifterCat

    “…as long as the woman gets a say…”
    Prager is saying that a woman has no legitimate reason to say no to sex. Ever. Not even flashbacks to childhood sexual abuse, for fuck’s sake. He’s carefully avoiding saying that husbands should outright ignore their wives’ refusal; instead, he’s trying to create an atmosphere in which a wife’s refusal carries no weight.
    Please read through the full text of the analyses of Prager’s articles.

  • ShifterCat

    Okay, let’s compare sex to work for a moment.
    There are different kinds of work. You can do carpentry, or make your kids’ lunches, without being “in the mood” to do so. It’s possible you won’t do quite as good a job as if you were really into it, but in the end, the shed is built and your children are fed.
    But sex isn’t like carpentry or sandwich-making. It’s clearly* a creative, mood-driven thing, like making music. (I’ll borrow the simile from here.) You can’t write, or play, good music if you’re not feeling it. If you try to fake it, chances are the results will suck. If you’re not in the mood but want to be, you could try doing some solo exercises to get yourself in that creative space, but sometimes even that won’t work.
    Your band or record company could try to force you to play, but why would they bother? If it’s not fun and interesting for all involved, the music will be lousy anyway. Either work things out outside of the studio, or get a new bandmate.
    I’m in kind of a unique situation here, as my husband and I did in fact have a friend who moved in for a short while with the understanding that she’d help out with a writing project. After days of watching her argue about details, insult the work already written, and barely contribute anything, I asked her why she was bothering. She admitted that she had agreed to this thinking that it was somehow equivalent to helping friends pack for moving. I had to explain that she was harming, not helping, the project by staying on when she clearly didn’t want to.
    Of course, neither of these similes is perfect because they don’t involve letting someone else inside your body.
    History_Mom had a pretty good comment on “sex as a job” here: “…if my husband woke up every day complaining about his shitty job I would encourage him to find another job he enjoyed… since in this scenario the husband is the boss, the job is sex, and the woman is the complaining employee, I’d also suggest she tell her boss (husband) that the job (sex) sucks and that she is going to find a job (sex) that is more fulfilling for her with a boss (husband) who treats her as a valued employee (wife).”
    *”Clearly” to anyone who’s had good sex, anyway. Another thing that explains Dennis Prager.

  • sciencevalkyr

    I highly doubt that Prager was writing for that situation in particular. He clearly sees sex not only as a woman’s job, but also as absolutely necessary if she wants to keep her husband.
    And at any rate, even if we accept your premise, keeping a man happy should never translate into following his every whim. The problem is not that he wants women to have sex they don’t want. The problem is that he’s telling them they have no right to say no. We all sometimes do things we don’t want for other people’s sake, but the situation changes when you feel like you have to do it, rather than like you decided to make someone else happy.

  • Ruchama

    I keep meaning to put together something with my thoughts on a feminist perspective on the menstrual separation laws, but I never get around to it. Maybe I’ll put it into a community post sometime next week.

  • zp27

    That makes sense. The key might be that if you said stop, it sounds like your husband is the kind of man who would actually stop. It’s ok to sex someone up to show you care sometimes, but if it’s a chore, or an obligation that someone can guilt you into…well, yeah, that’s different.