November 30, 2008

"Another distinctly less sexy possibility is that I have never much liked sex because, when all is said and done, there’s not much to like."

"I mean, really: What is the big deal? Especially when it’s with the same person, over and over again; from an evolutionary standpoint, that simply couldn’t be right. I, for one, have always become bored of sex within the first six months of meeting a man, the act paling for me just as the sun pales at the approach of winter, and as predictably, too."

141 comments:

Big Mike said...

I got disgusted with the woman after the first couple paragraphs.

chickenlittle said...

It's fitting that her story is published in the Fashion & Style section. Her views are window-dressing on the mannikin she calls her life.

Mark O said...

What a lovely, selfish girl, calculating in every regard and defended by her marvelous fear.

Again, I speak for all 13 year-old men everywhere when I say, "We would if we could."

Jack said...

I guess this means the Republican base can go back to hating Hillary, now, while also promoting accusations that she's a homicidal lesbian drug deal, and Marxist. There was something surreal about hearing Hillary cheered at the Republican National Convention and hailed as heroic on Fox News.

Darcy said...

"There's not much to like"???

Well, pity for her! I profoundly disagree.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I guess this means the Republican base can go back to hating Hillary

C'mon Jack, the Hillary thread is one below. We're here discussing the deep and introspective thoughts of a poor woman who has lost her mojo for the horizontal mambo.

ricpic said...

Who could love this broad?!

But isn't it true that the honeymoon period of can't do it often enough lasts for, tops, 6 months? Mike Savage often talks about the inevitable cooling down, after which the real marriage begins, on his talk show.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well I was asked by a buddy what kind of birth control we use.

It's called kids.

amba said...

My two immediate reactions:

1) What a mixed-up mess.

2) What a violation of her husband's privacy.

Chip Ahoy said...

This brings us to the important matter of imagination, role playing, and experimentation. Porn is great source for getting new ideas. I recommend trying new things in new places under new circumstances.

I suggest her husband build a dungeon with a sling that twirls and a sound system that plays unrelenting pulsating music. Provided with insertion devices of incremental sizes. The writer indicated she expressed a rape (fantasy?), I say supply it, although it's quite impossible to rape the willing, I say give it a go. Come out of character, drag her down there and have his way with her, cave man style. Force her into a new perception and participation, if only to get it over with more quickly. Then return to the gentle, amusing, soft-spoken fellow she loves.

sean said...

What's interesting to me is that a slightly different hormonal cocktail in the writer's system would trigger (i) a wholly different set of behaviors and (ii) equally philosophical exegeses of said behavior. Truly, language is a lie, and reality lies elsewhere.

Trooper York said...

Hey does Tina Fey write under another name?

Trooper York said...

If sex is boring you're not doing it right.

mcg said...

She is truly, truly messed up. And as the second page indicates she has been for a long time.

SteveR said...

She obviously hasn't tried enough things with the right attitude. For instance, can she please herself?

William said...

On Wall St there was a saying that investing in a bull market is not the same thing as being smart. With the coming of age there is a waning of the sex drive. This is not the same thing as being depressed or, as it used to be viewed, acquiring wisdom. In the different ages of life, we are different types of fools. Robert Frost: "We dance round in a ring and suppose,/But the Secret sits in the middle and knows."

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Windbag said...

I stopped reading after the fourth paragraph. Imagine how her lovers rate sex, based on their experience with her.

Donn said...

Great sex is not about finding the right person, it's about being the right person.

bearbee said...

amba said...

2) What a violation of her husband's privacy.

My thought also.

Synova said...

I think we know a minister to set her up with, hum?

It's sad, though, that sex isn't connected to love for her... it's just sex. And isn't that the "liberated" way to look at it?

AJ Lynch said...

"2) What a violation of her husband's privacy."

Maybe she will do anything to get a book deal!

Eric said...

I wish women like that had a special tattoo or something. Six months of sex and a lifetime of celibacy - sign me up!

PatCA said...

I just don't know what to say about this horrid woman. This is what passes for deep thought in the NYT!

(I agree with amba.)

holdfast said...

What a freaking mess. I dates a girl a lot like this for a couple of years in college - starts out great, then went to hell on the sex front, but by that time you actually care about the person, which is where the real hell begins - you want to believe that it can be good again, so you torture yourself trying to figure out what went wrong. Anyway, lesson learned on that front - if she starts acting like a headcase, she is a headcase - move the hell on before you become one too.

If sex matters to you (and I think it does for most guys) then you need to find someone who feels the same, or you are headed for a world of misery.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

Especially when it’s with the same person, over and over again; from an evolutionary standpoint, that simply couldn’t be right. I, for one, have always become bored of sex within the first six months of meeting a man, the act paling for me just as the sun pales at the approach of winter, and as predictably, too.

of course from an evolutionary point of view, after 6 months of intercourse, the female is likely pregnant, and has an entirely different motivation for having sex: e.g. to keep the breadwinner around and interested.

paul a'barge said...

Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words.

Take a good look and ask yourself if this is how this lady gets made up for her picture in the NYT, with whom is she dating and then wonder that she ever has offers of sex at all.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Displaying one's psychosis in the newspaper is not exactly the act of a healthy person.

Must be a New York thing.

And wow, wait til her husband goes to the water cooler on Monday - eek.

A sad sad lady.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Hoosier Daddy:


old joke


Catholic Priest: "So when do you think life begins?"

Rabbi: "When the last kid goes to college and the dog dies."

Darcy said...

Yeah, I felt like she violated her husband's privacy, too. Awful woman.

Why do we care what she has to say on the subject?

EDH said...

There does seems be a familiar pattern in this woman's life.

Lawsuits are two for the books
By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist
May 21, 2007

Suing writers? No, that is not something I would approve of.

There is a New York-based outfit called the Penn Group that specializes in ghostwriting and college counseling. Lately it has taken on a new specialty: threatening to sue, and in one case suing , writers with whom it has had beefs.

Since the beginning of the year, Penn has been pursuing a $1.8 million lawsuit against Somerville-based psychologist/writer Lauren Slater for breach of contract, tortuous interference with business relations, and slander. Slater, a high-talent, high-maintenance individual, is author of "Prozac Diary" and "Opening Skinner's Box." If you've been reading Rosie O'Donnell's blog -- and who hasn't? -- you would know that Slater helped write O'Donnell's books, "Find Me " and "Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game."

The papers filed in Penn Group v. Lauren Slater illustrate the familiar stages of a relationship breakdown. There is the initial euphoria when Brad and Evan Bailyn, the two young brothers who run Penn, land the services of the award-winning writer. (To Slater: "Great stuff! You've really been coming through with all these projects lately . . . Evan.") Then comes disenchantment, when, after several ghostwriting jobs, Slater objects to the 60-40 revenue split. (To Penn, from Slater: "I think the money thing is sleazy and its [sic] definitely what keeps me on edge." Also: "I cannot accept any arrangement in which the Penn Group's cut is more than 20 percent.")


From her MIT Knight Fellowsip bio.

Lauren Slater, 39, is a freelance journalist and author specializing in psychology. She is the author of the acclaimed Prozac Diary, a 1998 memoir of her struggle with mental illness. Her 2000 book Lying has won numerous awards. Her writings were selected for the anthology Best American Essays in 1994 and 1997. With a Brandeis bachelor’s degree in British and American literature, a masters in psychology from Harvard and a doctorate in psychology from B.U., Slater practiced clinical psychology for 11 years before writing fulltime. During her fellowship year, Slater plans to study neuropsychology, the future of psychiatric care and treatment, medical ethics and the future of medical technologies. Her outside interests include furniture "rehabbing and refinishing," carpentry and decoupage.

Matt said...

Having read the entire article, I'm a little disappointed that so few people are expressing genuine sympathy for the writer. She could be wrong in her attitudes or be psychologically incapable of continuous sex equated with love. She's still a person though. Where's the love?

PJ said...

The affair with the fundie was interesting. I know a very liberal married lesbian who is having a sleazy hotel room affair with a married republican christian man.

Someone needs to write a lurid thesis on the psychological implications of that topic.

Baron Zemo said...

My dear lady. A dysfunctional shrew who emasculates her husband and who is perfectly happy to live without sex. Who humiliates her spouse with her prose and pose. Without the touch of a devoted loving spouse because of her cold icy nature.

She speaks to you.

bobby said...

"C'mon Jack, the Hillary thread is one below. We're here discussing the deep and introspective thoughts of a poor woman who has lost her mojo for the horizontal mambo."
- - - -

I'm still not sure why you thought he posted this in the wrong thread.

Dudley Do-right said...

What's this? A warped secular counterpoint to the Dalai Lama celibacy thread? Seems like she's playing at the opposite end of the pool.

Dan Collins said...

I'm sorry, baby. Were you saying something?

Joan said...

Trooper beat me to it, but the thought that popped into my head reading Ann's excerpt was: She's not doing it right.

Having read the rest of the article, it's quite clear she's not doing it right, because she keeps sex walled away from love and sees it as an intrusion into her busy life rather than as a gift she and her husband can give to each other. If you're doing it right, it keeps getting better, even as you age and must make accommodations for things like children, long-term illness, and the effects of various medications. (Anecdotal experience doesn't add up to irrefutable data, of course -- but it does help if you have the right attitude.)

It's no wonder her husband is angry. She won't make an effort, even just for his sake if not for her own. There is this idea today that we should never yield anything of ourselves, that we must always be fully committed to every activity -- that it's somehow wrong to do something just because someone we love wants us to do it. I'm not talking about abusive relationships or subsuming your identity or anything like that -- I'm talking about simple things like making your husband's favorite dinner, or folding his shirts a particular way just because that's the way he likes it. Why is that such a bad thing?

The easiest conclusion to draw is that Slater's treatment for depression has so far been unsuccessful.

dick said...

One of the things that frightens me about people like this shrew is that she has been a practicing psychotherapist for 11 years. Think of the people she could have damaged in those 11 years and the lives she might have ruined. Then think of the poor husband. Seems to me that this article should be enough for a no-fault divorce without any other testimony for any man who has any ego at all. What a horrible female. She is almost as bad as that film-maker you also blogged about today. The two of them should be isolated from polite society for the good of the society.

Darcy said...

Joan: Yeah, Trooper did do a good job of summing it up!

Lots of clues in her approach to her marriage from the start...so, cheating as soon as the ring is slipped on her finger? Well done!

And no, Matt, I don't feel sorry for someone like that. She makes her own misery and then drags everyone else who care for her into it.

rabbi-philosopher said...

It is actually a very sad letter considering her 39 years - relative youth. Perhaps her promiscuity has not been a boon to marital satisfaction. I certainly feel sorry for her husband.

Will said...

I have a great deal of sympathy for her husband. Does that count?

Matt Eckert said...

Hey no one in their right mind would throw that dog a bone.

William said...

Her entire life, from sex to sculpture, is a slow swirl around the nothingness at the core of her being.

Sonar said...

Here in California we've debated same sex marriage. Some married couples have asserted it's beyond government; that after six months married, the sex is, and will be the same. But now we've outlawed same sex marriage. It's a brave new world. Hopefully, our imaginations will support our aspirations.

marclowenstein@mac.com said...

"This was softer, gentler, full of a wide-open love, a deep falling-down love. When it was over, I hated him. I hated that man (that boy, really). The intimacy was too much, too wrenching and shameful."

Perhaps one should not generalize from this. Instead some counseling might help -- and the privacy of a counselor's office instead of in NYT might be more effective if more mundane.

Freeman Hunt said...

Slater practiced clinical psychology for 11 years before writing fulltime.

I think her clients should be writing for their money back.

Freeman Hunt said...

Doesn't everyone know someone like this? Oh woe is me, and look how sad I am, life is just so hard, blah blah blah. It's always somebody whose life is pretty much fine and is waiting for someone or something to pop in and make it all have meaning for them. Drama queens feeling sorry for themselves and trampling over the people they're supposed to care about, like husbands. Nothing is their fault and they do nothing to fulfill themselves. And while they wallow in self-made misery and inflict it on their nearest and dearest, they think themselves so very deep and unique and intellectual.

I pity her husband. She will eventually divorce him, leaving him completely baffled.

Christopher said...

It's interesting to see all of the really strange things that people read into a simple article like this. We have a suggestion that this woman's husband should rape her, caveman style, because Ms Slater revealed a rape fantasy (she did no such thing), to all sorts of guys who are clearly and obvious threatened by the fact that this woman doesn't get a particularly big charge out of sex.

What a disturbing peek inside the minds of the sad little whining boys trapped in the bodies of the men of America's cubicle class.

peter said...

Ooohh . . . god. How tedious.

We might say of her what David Brock once wrote of Anita Hill: "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty."

Worse yet, she's an intellectual lightweight and a fraud. Not a good combination

Mian said...

Jeez, everyone, give her a break.
I'm amazed at how many of the posters (mostly male) are threatened by this column and see it as an affront (to their masculinity?) and worthy of disdain.
I do not see it so: I empathize with her comments and see them as being sad, but well-written and thoughtful.
I'm amazed by the lack of understanding here and repulsed by some of the crudeness of the comments.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Christopher, that was one comment. As to the general thread, you use the words "clearly and obvious (sic) threatened." When people use that phrase with no evidence, they mean "I can't prove it but all my friends agree with me." By your standard, no one should comment on any topic, lest they reveal how threatened they are by it. Please enroll in a local Get A Life program. Take Laura with you.

Ken said...

Clearly she is emotionally/psychologically stunted, and with her training she should be the first person to recognize that fact. I'm curious - if a new patient walked into her office with the type of emotional maladies she has - how would she diagnose said patient? As normal, or someone needing years of treatment?

Trooper York said...

This just shows why you should never go to a therapist because they are always more screwed up than you are.

Except for Trey. He's ok. But that’s just because he likes cigars.

He knows that none of your problems can possibly be as bad as trying to find a good stogie for under five bucks.

Mister Snitch! said...

" I, for one, have always become bored of sex within the first six months of meeting a man, the act paling for me just as the sun pales at the approach of winter, and as predictably, too."

This says more about the woman than the man. Not just because she's bored, but because I suspect the nature of her demands on the relationship, combined with what she was willing/not willing to do, put the man in a position where he was no doubt both bored and boring.

I'd love to hear his POV. But why do I have a feeling that's just not in the cards?

Ken said...

Her problem is simple. She is so in love with herself that no one else will ever do. She admits to fooling herself into believing she loves someone else. No partner can compete with her self love and so sex cannot be anything important, a form of worship like flowers or a good dinner.

Matt Eckert said...

Hey Mian, you need to get laid baby.

Paddy O. said...

Drama queens feeling sorry for themselves and trampling over the people they're supposed to care about, like husbands. Nothing is their fault and they do nothing to fulfill themselves. And while they wallow in self-made misery and inflict it on their nearest and dearest, they think themselves so very deep and unique and intellectual.

Sounds like the symptoms of acedia to me. A deadly sin, at least according to the best sorts of lists of such.

Not surprising she would want to announce it. That's part of the nastiness of this spiritual/emotional malaise.

Hucbald said...

The best relationship I ever had lasted for over three years, and the lovemaking got better and better throughout. Of course, my girlfriend had a top 1% IQ, a scary-vivid imagination, and a sublime sense of eros... just like me.

And yeah, I suppose it is a bit sad that three years was the longest I've ever been able to make a relationship last. LOL!

TitusisBackfromhaving Turkey said...

Some people are really fucked up about sex.

Paddy O. said...

This just shows why you should never go to a therapist because they are always more screwed up than you are.

So true. Crazy people like to figure out their craziness and go into psychology, often gaining excuses rather than help for their looniness.

There are some really great therapists out there, but it's shocking how many really crazy people go into the therapy business, and lead just confused people into more craziness.

So, Trooper, how do therapists rank with lawyers and journalists?

mcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jdeeripper said...

I found two different Lauren Slaters on Google Image search.

One is a psychologist and writer who lives in Massachusetts and has two children, two dogs, two houses (one of which was converted from a chicken coop), two computers, two cats, and one husband. She renovates stained glass windows in her "free" time. And she's sick of sex.

The other ia a trained Classical dancer since childhood who continues to dance professionally with a San Francisco modern dance company.

She's also constantly harassing me for sex and desperately craves my body and soul.

mcg said...

Christopher, don't be an idiot. How in the world is anyone "threatened" by a woman who doesn't want sex, for goodness sakes! That article was two full pages of the trumpeting of the dysfunctional as normal and inevitable.

She is not just a woman who doesn't want it as much as her husband. If that were all she was, this would be a non-story. But she's also a narcissistic twit who can invent justifications for any sort of inappropriate behavior she pleases, including lying about being raped and cheating on her own fiancee.

Steve said...

How is it that this woman with her background doesn't know that she suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder? All is ego and attitude and self-centeredness and resentment for the rest of us poor flawed humans. My marriage is ending because my NPD wife can't stop her impulsive shopping or sex with her boyfriend. So Lauren, continue to inflict pain on others and continue to work overtime casting yourself as a victim. Not that you can help it.

DWPittelli said...

Never mind the dishonesty in her past, the cheating, and the egregious abuse of the privacy of her husband (who may have given her permission, but still...) and her children (who will no doubt one day find this article). This stone sculptress thinks granite is sedimentary!

On a more serious note, I think the few people here who object to the others' attacks on the author fail to see that few if any attack the author for her lack of sexual response; they attack her for her immoral behavior, and even more, for thinking that blabbing about it is OK as long as you do it in the best newspaper in the country.

If your close friend, with whom everything is confided, admits adultery to you, you may have a problem with the adultery, but you will accept that his confession is itself not evil. But if a person tells all her colleagues and neighbors and the members of her book club about her adultery, etc., then the telling is itself a problem. Putting it in the NY Times is at least as bad as the latter situation, with the added problem that it can never be denied from anyone, including the person's children.

Unfortunately, the rise of blogging means a lot of people are now spilling their dirty secrets (or ought-to-be secrets) online, with equally permanent effects.

mcg said...

Hmm.

elHombre said...

Talk about screwed up .... On the other hand, we are reading and commenting on this drivel.

On another hand, obviously, her symbolic cure is at hand. From the next to last paragraph:

"Sex cannot compete with the massive yet slender body of granite I excavated last week, six feet long, this sedimentary stone, packed with time and stories if only it could speak."

If her aspiration is for a talking, six-foot, granite-hard salutary schlong, how could a mere mortal man compete?

mcg said...

Hmm, again.

As she interviews a patient in the very place where she herself was once incarcerated...

Christopher said...

Assistant Village Idiot wrote:

When people use that phrase with no evidence, they mean "I can't prove it but all my friends agree with me."

Hey, how about that? You're making an statement without any evidence to back it up, just like you're claiming that I did!

But you missed something very important. If something is clear and obvious, it doesn't really need to be explained. (You can look up the definitions of the words "clear" and "obvious" if you have trouble with this concept.)

Here's a hint, though: when people revert to overtly sexist language and stereotypes (in this case mostly in line with a 13-year-old boy's distorted conception of sexuality), that invariably indicates that they're frightened of the opposite sex. Pointing this out as I am now is to belabor the obvious.

By your standard, no one should comment on any topic, lest they reveal how threatened they are by it.

Clearly, you're striving to live up to the handle that you've selected for yourself. If you genuinely believe that someone who mentions that he is disturbed and saddened to see such an obvious fear of women really means that by that person's standard, nobody should comment on anything, then you need a remedial course.

Please enroll in a local Get A Life program. Take Laura with you.

Ohhh, sick burn! What's next, a threat to trip me on the schoolbus? Are you going to beat me up after class?

Whatever. In any case, thank you for demonstrating so vividly what I meant when I wrote that this thread was a "disturbing peek inside the minds of the sad little whining boys trapped in the bodies of the men of America's cubicle class".

vnjagvet said...

Based on MCG's link, the article may well be partly fiction, described as autobiography.

In any event, the article is sad. Especially for her children. I suspect her husband knew exactly what he was getting. He is either very self-possessed or a wimp.

Michael_H said...

I pity her husband. She will eventually divorce him, leaving him completely baffled.

Yes, and completely stripped of his assets and future earnings, especially if there are children. The children, of course, will be placed with mommy so she can use them as a mallet to inflict further emotional wolloping on the poor guy for having the bad sense to say "I Do", and mean it.

mcg said...

Her Wikipedia entry.

B.F. Skinner's daughter disputes (rather handily) assertions made in one of Slater's more famous books.

By the time I had finished reading the Observer this week, I was shaking. There was a review of Lauren Slater's new book about my father, BF Skinner. According to Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century, my father, who was a psychologist based at Harvard from the 1950s to the 90s, "used his infant daughter, Deborah, to prove his theories by putting her for a few hours a day in a laboratory box . . . in which all her needs were controlled and shaped". But it's not true. My father did nothing of the sort.

Audities said...

Two words of advice for the this lady: Reichian Therapy

Meade said...

I found the ninth paragraph the most disturbing:

“Have sex with someone else,” I tell him.

“The problem with that,” my husband says, “is falling in love. If you have sex with someone else, you just might fall in love with them.”

“I’d kill you,” I say.

Of course I wouldn’t. But I just might kill myself.


If I were her husband, that passage alone would lead to my accommodating her desire for a chaste marriage... followed as soon as possible with my suing for divorce.

John Althouse Cohen said...

"Especially when it’s with the same person, over and over again; from an evolutionary standpoint, that simply couldn’t be right."

Read Bob Wright's discussion of monogamy and "pair bonding" in The Moral Animal. There are plenty of evolutionary reasons for 2 people to exclusively have sex with each other.

Christopher said...

mcg wrote:

Christopher, don't be an idiot. How in the world is anyone "threatened" by a woman who doesn't want sex, for goodness sakes!

It's actually really common for guys to be threatened by the notion that women don't enjoy or want to have sex, because it suggests that the woman wouldn't enjoy or want to have sex with them. It's a rejection of the power that immature men believe that they have over women.

That article was two full pages of the trumpeting of the dysfunctional as normal and inevitable.

No, it wasn't. It was two full pages of a fairly introspective, thoughtful, and intelligent (if flawed) woman exploring themes related to sexuality in relationships.

She is not just a woman who doesn't want it as much as her husband. If that were all she was, this would be a non-story. But she's also a narcissistic twit who can invent justifications for any sort of inappropriate behavior she pleases, including lying about being raped and cheating on her own fiancee.

She didn't offer justifications for either. She explained how those particular events came to take place, and what the implications of those events were.

You don't think that it's meaningful that, as a girl, the author felt it was less shameful to make up a lie about being raped than to admit that she was a virgin who was afraid of sex?

You don't think that it says anything about the larger society that sexual activity is considered to be so important in even casual relationships that young women (and young men) feel the need to lie about their sexual abilities and prowess? Ms Slater's example here is insightful.

And, hey, do you think that the importance that we put on sex in a relationship might have something to do with why people, not just Ms Slater, cheat on their lovers and spouses? Hey, do you think that might be why she follows up the story of her first orgasm in college with the story of how and why she cheated on her fiancee?

There are some really interesting questions tangled up in her article, and none of them "trumpet[ed]" the "dysfunctional" as "normal" or "inevitable". (Of course, there's the distinct possibility that the dysfunctional is both normal and inevitable.)

But, of course, people will hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest. For the immature boys trapped in men's bodies posting here, what they want to see is a self-loving shrew who's cruelly violating her husband's privacy and somehow humiliating him, apparently for commercial gain. Because she says honestly that she doesn't really like sex all that much, but finds fulfillment in her husband's company, raising her children, and building a home (both literally and figuratively).

Matt Eckert said...

Christopher how can you sit in front of the computer when your panties are wet and in a bunch like that. It must be very uncomfortable.

By the way several of the women who post here felt really bad for the husband.

dick said...

Christopher,

You really must explain why it is so important that this woman after suffering the slings and arrows of society and realizing that she really doesn't like sex very much has to then write this article about it in the NYT and in this article not only speak of her feelings but also tell us all about her husband's feelings as she interprets them. Why precisely should anyone in the reading public give a good God damn what this woman thinks about anything. Is her experience going to open the eyes of some poor soul and enlighten her? I don't think so. Actually reading that article seems to me like a total waste of time and newsprint that would be better spend doing something else.

Meade said...

John Althouse Cohen said...
"... There are plenty of evolutionary reasons for 2 people to exclusively have sex with each other."

One of the best: Prevention of sexually transmitted disease means offspring are less likely to become orphaned.

Fatmouse said...

Wow, Christopher, with an ability to generate reams of pompous, pseudo-psychological ramblings like that, you could be a writer for the New York Times too!

Mike G in Corvallis said...

Why do any of you think that this is a truthful account? Just because it's in the freakin' New York Times? Paging Jayson Blair!

Every year or so the NYT publishes a POV piece from or profile of some vile, self-centered, manipulative, and self-justifying person. In fact, I recall Ann's appalled reaction to another such article not long ago, in which the woman gloated about how she was able to manipulate her husband. (I couldn't find Ann's blog entry on this by searching for likely keywords, but the article featured a photo of the woman -- an overweight, smug-looking late-middle-aged blonde -- in her living room, surrounded by her husband and two kids. I remember in particular that her son had an expression on his face that seemed to say "please, kill me now.")

Each such POV piece or profile seems to be of an exaggeratedly stereotypical modern urban pseudo-intellectual, usually female. The intent seems to be to inspire a sense of contempt for the writer in almost everyone who reads the piece, and a sense of "no matter how screwed up my own life is, I'm better than that! "

In other words, the Times seems to be following a deliberate policy of printing profiles of people its readers love to despise. Controversy sells newspapers. Why do you think so many newspapers run columns by art, music, movie, or TV critics whose reviews are so off-base that you end up showing the column to someone else with the comment "Can you believe they'd print this crap? I could do better than that!"

Lindsey said...

"It's actually really common for guys to be threatened by the notion that women don't enjoy or want to have sex, because it suggests that the woman wouldn't enjoy or want to have sex with them. It's a rejection of the power that immature men believe that they have over women."

This must be why men love lesbians...

Judging from her picture, her libido would likely return if she began regularly exercising and probably got her hormones checked.

mcg said...

It's actually really common for guys to be threatened by the notion that women don't enjoy or want to have sex, because it suggests that the woman wouldn't enjoy or want to have sex with them. It's a rejection of the power that immature men believe that they have over women.

Uh, sure, it's common among frat boys and terminal bachelors to mutter "lesbian" under their breath when a woman turns them down at a bar. But we're talking about this specific woman not wanting to have sex with her husband. So frankly the juvenile response is more like "well, she hasn't had me yet." Frankly her own admissions support that response. It's not that she's frigid; on the contrary. She enjoys sex tremendously with a new partner, for a time; a few months, maybe. And for most of those frat boys, that's a few months more than they're looking for anyway.

So can the amateur psychoanalysis. That's Dr. Slater's job.

"That article was two full pages of the trumpeting of the dysfunctional as normal and inevitable." No, it wasn't."

I quote, emphasis mine: "What is the big deal?" "Predictably, almost as soon as the engagement ring slid onto my finger, I fell in love with someone else." "And yet this affair, I sensed, was necessary for me to move forward with my marriage. It was a test." "But then the inevitable happened. Sex with this man turned tepid, then revolting." " But the real issue for me is that I’m not sure I have a dysfunction." I'll stop now.

I don't know. Maybe you would argue she's saying that these things were predictable and inevitable for her, not necessarily the common person or woman. Fine. Like I said, she's messed up.

She didn't offer justifications for either. She explained how those particular events came to take place, and what the implications of those events were.

Of course she did. She said the affair was "necessary"; "a test". And as for the rape...

You don't think that it's meaningful that, as a girl, the author felt it was less shameful to make up a lie about being raped than to admit that she was a virgin who was afraid of sex?

Oh wait, I'm sorry, I thought you just said she didn't offer a justification for lying about being raped. But of course she did; you just accepted her justification as reasonable.

But yes, I think it is "meaningful" that she felt the need to lie about it. That was part of the evidence I looked to when I stated she was messed up from an early age. Whether society is also similarly messed u p is another, interesting, discussion.

Ms Slater's example here is insightful.

Not really. I mean, if she were a normal woman, maybe, but there is ample evidence that she is anything but.

Darcy said...

Interesting take, Mike G. So we're all suckers. LOL. :)

Sorry about your Beavers, btw. I practically went hoarse screaming at the defense. Damn Ducks.

(And ignore all that if you're not from Corvallis, OR...or a Beavers fan.)

lady717998 said...

Seems to me her musings reveal much more about her struggles with mental illness than problems with her libido.
Reading the piece is like coming across a car accident - you don't want to look, but you just can't turn away.
Horrific, depressing, hopeless and miserable, expressed in pretty language which somehow passes in the NYT world as 'fit to print.'
What an unhappy and unfulfilled world the NYT paints for us.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

For the immature boys trapped in men's bodies posting here, what they want to see is a self-loving shrew who's cruelly violating her husband's privacy and somehow humiliating him, apparently for commercial gain.

Well, as for this mature woman.... I see a self loving immature shrew who has no consideration for her husband's feelings and has cruelly violated his privacy and has emasculated him in print for her own selfish gain.

Because she says honestly that she doesn't really like sex all that much, but finds fulfillment in her husband's company, raising her children, and building a home (both literally and figuratively).

She is free to dislike sex all that much but she should keep quiet about it and not humiliate her husband by baring all of her infidelities and bragging that she isn't having sex with him.

Frankly I think she is huge hypocrite and a bitch of the highest order. If you don't like something, like sex or rhubarb pie, you don't keep having sex or eating the pie and then complaining about it. Celibacy and silence would be the preferential.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This stone sculptress thinks granite is sedimentary!

LOL. I didn't pick up that because I couldn't read the entire article. The woman makes me ill.

Now we know she AND the writer of the article are stupid to boot.

nick said...

she is a chubby ugly woman!

who wants sex with her!

Bill Dalasio said...

Does this woman's husband own a steel company? Because reading that column, I could swear I was hearing Lilian Reardon. Honestly, I can't help but wonder if, fundamentally, her problem with sex doesn't stem from a deep-seated self-loathing. Because sex will not provide her with worth, because intimacy is deeply and inextricably personal, because sex would not make her worthy of her fiance, she damns sex, rather than face her own inadequacies

Freeman Hunt said...

You don't think that it's meaningful that, as a girl, the author felt it was less shameful to make up a lie about being raped than to admit that she was a virgin who was afraid of sex?

Meaningful in that it means she's a nuthouse crazy drama queen. (1) I don't believe her that she made up the lie to hide that she was a virgin. I think she enjoyed the lying and the attention she got for being a "victim." (2) You'd have to be a very stupid young woman to think that being a virgin is going to put a guy off. (3) If she really did want to make up some lie about why she wouldn't have sex, why rape? That's a heck of a place to take a lie. A place that only a nuthouse crazy drama queen would go.

Simon said...

An assumption that many commenters have made in suggesting that the husband's privacy has been violted is his lack of consent in this matter.

Moreover, sexual dysfunction doesn't strike me as being a problem; sexual mismatch is the problem. If she doesn't want to have sex and her husband feels the same way, there isn't a problem. She writes that their lack of sex life makes her "husband miserable and cold and withdrawn, and it is so unhappy, living this way"; that points towards the latter, but is that her interpretation? Her projection? Or has he said as much? If he has said as much, it seems to me that they need to seek professional help - psychologists or divorce lawyers, one or the other. How can she claim to love this man and yet remain sanguine about trapping him in a cage of frigid misery?

No one voluntarily remains in a "miserable and cold and withdrawn" situation. They do so, I suppose, because they don't know how to escape, or are afraid to end up in an even worse situation, or believe that it will get better. This chap's situation isn't going to get better: the article confirms that this is a lifelong pattern for Slater. A commenter wrote above that no-fault divorce is needed, but it seems to me that what may be necessary is a new form of divorce: third-party initated, where a couple are too stupid to realize that they have to be broken up for their own good, whereupon friends or relatives will do what they can't bring themselves to.

I do agree with the commenters who have said that she should be stripped of any license to pratice psychology, though. I can't imagine her being competent to do so with so damaged, distorting a prism to look through.

Synova said...

There was just a counter top advertisement on television that said that granite comes in metamorphic and sedimentary.

Maybe it's a special not-geology sort of definition of granite.

leishman said...

As unhappy and frustrated as she describes her husband to be, the odds of her living in her dream house "with my family — my children and animals and husband" seem quite slim for the long term. What a selfish, self-centered, bitter woman. Perhaps she knows that and wrote this article as an apologia.

Meade said...

"No one voluntarily remains in a "miserable and cold and withdrawn" situation. They do so, I suppose, because they don't know how to escape, or are afraid to end up in an even worse situation, or believe that it will get better."

Or they suffer from an inverted narcissism and live to supply their disordered narcissist with what she is addicted to - worship of her false self.

Michael Lee said...

Lauren Slater, like all American women, has been relentlessly encouraged to rationalize anything and deny accountability for everything she does. Any immature, amoral, selfish or even evil behavior that a woman engages in must be excused, explained and usually blamed on a man who hurt her. If the woman doesn't excuse herself, plenty of other people eagerly lurk, waiting for the chance to egg her on.

Consider the extreme example of Andrea Yates, the Texas nutjob who drowned all her children. I remember how immediately the speculation rushed into the fact-vacuum: that she must have been horribly abused, that her husband must have had a hand in it or driven her to it. People were much more interested in getting to the bottom of him than getting her to explain himself. After all, it was much more likely that the ultimate moral monster in the case would turn out to be the man, not the murderer.

Yes, Andrea & Rusty were both religious nuts--the received wisdom from nearly all press accounts is that she was fine till she met up with him, and he dragged her into odd beliefs that eventually sent her over the edge.

Andrea was obviously schizophrenic and psychotic and had been for years. Rusty had repeatedly tried to get her help all those years, including several inpatient stays. The narrative could have been that he refused to abandon her, but it wasn't.

Andrea wouldn't take her meds and if you've ever had to deal with a non-compliant mentally ill friend or family member (and most mentally ill people are very non-compliant), your prejudice should be to have sympathy and even admiration for Rusty, not to suspect him of being the motor behind her madness.

Even today, though Andrea got off without the death penalty, most follow-up stories about her have the moral that people who wanted her held accountable are narrow-minded reactionaries and that this is another case of us all harshing on mentally ill women. And that Rusty guy...well, still...we really got nothin' on him, but he looks shifty to me...

When's the last time a father killed his kids and we spent months agonizing over finding excuses to explain what drove him to it? We're just glad he's dead or that the state will soon make him so.

Getting back to Lauren the Liar, my point in all this is that we have developed into a culture that sees women as, at best, moral adolescents. Women need have only innocent virtues, such as naive and all-inclusive empathy and nurturing, and those virtues trump all their faults. They are not expected to show mature adult moral judgment, including mature empathy for people they have harmed.

So a selfish brat like Lauren Slater publishes a hit piece like this against her husband. (I wonder--was this the first time she admitted the affair she lied about during their engagement--did he have to read about it in the paper?)

She has the expectation that most people reading it will feel sympathy, consider her brave, and she's right. The reaction she's getting here is atypical. This blog is not a "most people" place. Most people can't tell bravery from viciousness, if it's a woman justifying the latter while emoting the former.

Here we see a woman bragging in front of the whole world to her husband about the prowess of her former lovers. She admits to lying about being raped (she never accused someone, but she selfishly reduces the credibility of other women who actually were raped). She sees and shrugs at her husband's misery in their sexless marriage, and taunts him with her double-binding craziness -- "go sleep with someone else; if you do I'll kill myself." I could go on, but that's the high points.

She is oblivious to the notion that she ought to step it up, perhaps even fake it now and then to relieve her gentle partner's misery from her bait and switch. She's eternally, righteously, morally passive, and thus firmly in control of everyone around her who doesn't have the moral clarity to jettison this bitch.

I've gone on at length here to indulge the fantasy that her husband might read this and a light bulb might flicker and then stay on.

Obligatory disclaimer: if you're a woman this doesn't apply to, then it doesn't apply to you. Thank you for resisting the siren song of daytime talk show morality.

Meade said...

Simon makes a good point - the husband likely proofed her article and gave his okay.

DWPittelli said...

Granite is always an igneous rock. Also a very hard one to sculpt, even if your chisel is not made of "silver"(?!).

Brant said...

The whole, miserable article is only further proof of my theory that the average, young, female Manhattanite has an uncompromising need to cast herself in a Woody Allen movie.

Simon said...

Meade said...
"Or they suffer from an inverted narcissism and live to supply their disordered narcissist with what she is addicted to - worship of her false self."

Co-dependence, perhaps?

What an 'orrible can of worms Slater has opened.

David Baker said...

Say what we will, Ms. Slater is a gifted writer. Also a high-functioning bipolar, apparently. That's the catch, to understand her you have to understand her condition.

To put it another way, I tend to doubt her world is exactly the way she writes it, and less so her husband's.

And what of her children, they'll refer to their mother's "delicate" condition, having already learned to retreat to a distant corner.

As for her subject, sex - intercourse - seems more a symptom rooted beyond the rational mind. But there it is in front of us, intellectually intriguing, flailing, and carrying a ton of guilt.

The repetitive act of intercourse may well be overrated, but what of intimacy... trust? I don't think it's easy being bipolar.

Meade said...

Yes, Simon, it could be that.

If in fact Slater is diagnosable as NPD, she would predictably be gorging herself right now on all the attention her article has garnered.

PJ said...

Half a century plus ago people would be aghast at someone who dared write publicly about sex. Now it's writing about lack of sex that elicits the same response - which was probably the real reason why those in the earlier, more married era considered it a touchy subject.

chickenlittle said...

Say what we will, Ms. Slater is a gifted writer..

So was Joseph Goebbels.

theobromophile said...

Cripes, I really wanted to feel sorry for this woman (and not in a condescending pitying way, either). There is a huge range of human sexuality, from the perpetually turned on to those who just aren't into it. We wouldn't apply the "dysfunctional" label to those who are extremely tall or short, and the same should apply to sexuality. Add onto that the fact that she's been treated for depression and cancer, both of which can seriously mess with sex drive, hormones, and body image, and you could have a woman who just doesn't know what the big deal is all about.

But... but...! Cheating on her loving, caring fiance? Liking sex a lot for the first six months, then turning on the guy like a praying mantis? Wash, rinse, repeat for a slew of men? Getting physical satisfaction from it but not wanting one's husband (and father of one's children) to get that same satisfaction? Ugh. There's nothing wrong or abnormal with not being obsessed with sex, but that clearly isn't this woman's problem.

As for the lying about not being a virgin thing: Oh, please It is not that hard to admit that you're a virgin, especially at the tender age of 19. The biggest problem that a girl will run into is that every man around her will want to be the first. Men love a challenge, and a virgin is a challenge and a reward.

J said...

"This brings us to the important matter of imagination"

Yes it does.

"Imagine how her lovers rate sex, based on their experience with her"

The only man this woman has ever had sex with is her husband.

"I confided to my roommate that we had not yet done the deed"

From the motion picture "Animal House:

OTTER: l used to touch Fawn this way.

Shelly Dubinsky: I know. She told me.

OTTER: She did?

(Moaning)

mcg said...

The only man this woman has ever had sex with is her husband.

Only according to the Clintonesque parsing.

mcg said...

Now this is abstinence.

Dana said...

"Women need have only innocent virtues, such as naive and all-inclusive empathy and nurturing, and those virtues trump all their faults. They are not expected to show mature adult moral judgment, including mature empathy for people they have harmed."

As a woman, I would also add that men have willingly allowed themselves to be so emasculated by women in American culture, that it is no surprise women can in a sense, do no wrong, hence the seeming innocence or all encompassing empathy. But if one looks closely, these resemble more selfishness and anger married together in a chronic disappointment. Disappointed that they now call all the shots, an disappointed in weak men...the very ones they have created.

Ms. Slater has established herself as a liar. I would have had some respect for her if she had come clean at some point in the essay and admitted she has spent a great deal of time justifying and rationalizing what is in essence, childish selfishness.

Freeman Hunt said...

Say what we will, Ms. Slater is a gifted writer.

The world is full of gifted writers. Rare are writers gifted with something worth writing.

Donna B. said...

The article and this thread has done at least one little bit of good, I think.

I just went to tell my husband how much I love him.

He is near 70, has cancer and I am much younger, but have a brain tumor so we're nearing the "Alzheimer's state" at nearly the same rate.

Sex? oh yeah... my question is how... after experiencing sex with someone you love, can one enjoy sex for the mere "fun" of it?

Meade said...

It's rare when something I read on the internet brings me tears.

Donna B., you are a jewel.

Darcy said...

I second Meade, Donna B.

That was very touching...bless you.

Freeman Hunt said...

I third.

And look at that; right after mentioning the rarity of writers with something worth writing about, one shows up!

Ralph said...

When they first married, my nutty step-mother would drop a conversational brick about being gang-raped and aborting the baby. Something should have told my father to run, but the women in his life before her were sensible and kind. It's been 20 years now, and she's driven most of her and his families and friends away. I kept hoping she'd meet someone richer and sicker than my father.

Glen said...

I would love to see this thread readdressed from the perspective of sharia law.

John Stodder said...

Lots of interesting comments have been generated here, for an article that I suspect was written by someone with a touch of mental illness. She writes like she's a sociopath for whom other people, including her husband, aren't quite real except as things to manipulate for her own purposes. She must have a cold look in her eyes.

It's not just that she doesn't enjoy sex. It's that whole business of her dalliance with the other man to prove that any man, not just her husband, will bore her in bed.

It was an odd choice on the part of the Times to run this piece. On the surface, she fits into a marriage trend that's as old as Croesus -- dwindling sex as the years go by. But that's not her. She just finds sex disgusting and tiresome, and after a field test, has determined there is no man about whom she would feel differently. I don't think that's indicative of anything other than her own makeup. The only takeaways possible from this article are either 'I hope I'm not like that' or 'I hope I don't accidentally marry someone like that.'

David Baker said...

Rare are writers gifted with something worth writing.

Sex seems worthwhile, don't you think?

Slater offers a single point of reference to an obviously unsatisfying subject, at least for her. That she appears in the NYT gives it weight, and may even explain the malady of Maureen Dowd.

Which proves that we can leap to any conclusion we want, certainly regarding sex.

Speaking for myself, "good" sex avoided me until I was forty, which was long after I had been married to a Victoria Secret model. The difference was not in the girl, but in me.

Then at 40, I met my opposite - a girl with so many sexual hangups and so devious and so "sick" she ruptured my imagination. Next thing I knew we were hanging from the chandeliers.

But what of Ms. Slater, are sex and love compatible?

Pogo said...

it's never any fun being married to Sylvia Plath.

ballyfager said...

I'd have to say Christopher makes his case better than those criticizing him.

Henry said...

This is my take. I only changed three words of the thesis:

"Another distinctly less honest possibility is that I have never much liked honesty because, when all is said and done, there’s not much to like."

"I mean, really: What is the big deal? Especially when it’s with the same person, over and over again; from an evolutionary standpoint, that simply couldn’t be right. I, for one, have always become bored of honesty within the first six months of meeting a man, the act paling for me just as the sun pales at the approach of winter, and as predictably, too."

TitusBiotech said...

I would like to have sex with someone I love but it scares me.

Pogo said...

Lauren Slater is the author of “It's Hell to be Me, It's Even Worse to be Married to Me.

Her previous works include "Me, Myself, and I: A Love Story", "Narcissus: Misunderstood Genius", "Sylvia Plath was Right", and "Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me."

Freeman Hunt said...

Sex seems worthwhile, don't you think?

Writing about sex may be worthwhile, but writing a bunch of selfish, dishonest drivel about sex isn't.

aberman said...

“Have sex with someone else,” I tell him.

“The problem with that,” my husband says, “is falling in love. If you have sex with someone else, you just might fall in love with them.”

“I’d kill you,” I say.


Anyone else catch the negotiation here?

Tibore said...

Putting aside the fact the article was about sex, there was one question that ran through my mind when I read it:

Self- obsessed much, lady?

Seriously. If anyone wants to see narcissism in practice, wouldn't this article just be a prime example?

TitusLyposomalDisorder said...

"I would like to have sex with someone I love but it scares me."

That was an invitation to Althouse.

Christmas 2008, Madison. Be there.

Fabulous dindin, delish wine, walk down State Street to window shop. Pop in to your favorite dress shop. See if Jazzman has anything cute for me.
And then back to your place.

Christopher said...

ballyfager wrote:

I'd have to say Christopher makes his case better than those criticizing him.

Thanks Bally. At least someone got something out of it.

Meade said...

TitusLysosomalDisease said...
"I would like to have sex with someone I love but it scares me. That was an invitation to Althouse."

How do you know you're not scaring her?

Pogo said...

Anyway, FWIW, it scares me.

TitusLyposomalDisorder said...

I am picturing Dindin at Delmonicos. It is a brisk evening walking around the lights and shops of State Street.

We stop into Althouse's favorite shop. I encourage her to try on a few numbers I find attractive. She models them for me. I approve or decline them. She respects and values my superior judgment. We decide on a purchase of a couple of cute pattern skirts, a scarf and perhaps a nice winter hat.

Next, we go to Jazzman and I try and find something I like there but it is highly unlikely. Jazzman thinks they are fabulous but they aren't. I will ask the sales queen where their Prada section is and she will be embarassed by telling me they don't carry Prada. I will then look down on her as she does frequently to all of the customers that come to the store from the northern parts of Wisconsin. I will then ask her where I can pick up a cute Prada item in Madison and she will inform me that I will need to go to Chicago. I will then ask what about Kiehls products? Again, she will point me in the direction of Chicago.

After that embarassing fiasco we will go to Althouse's favorite coffee shop for some fancy coffee with a whip cream drawing. Also, some sweets will be purchased. We will take turns dunking each others sweets in each other's fabulous expensive coffees...and giggling and looking seductively at each other. We both know it is so wrong but it feels so right. So we shrug off all of the reasons why it won't work and throw them in Lake Mendota.

We will be overwhelmed by intensity of the evening. Appreciation for fine food, wine, clothes, art, poetry and life will create a sensory overload. Our tastebuds are dancing, our bodies tingling, our minds swirling, our emotions raw with excitement.

We will need to act about these strong feelings in the most intense way.

This will be our own little secret. What so many here have wanted and yearned for I have achieved. It was not a priority of mine-it just happened. It was a time and place that will never be forgotten. But I will not kiss and tell. I will honor my word by never speaking about this to anyone. It will be something that both of us will cherish for the rest of our lives.

Thank you.

TitusLyposomalDisorder said...

Oh and Phermones.

There will be many phermones visiting us during the evening.

Very important.

Meade said...

"Phermones"

Oh! That really IS shaping up to be an unforgettable night.

Pogo said...

"Phermones"

Oh, I loved their single 'Pinhead': Gabba Gabba Hey!

Simon said...

TitusLyposomalDisorder said...
"But I will not kiss and tell."

If there's one thing we've come to associate you with, Titus, it's discretion.

Meade said...

Yes - discretion.

Now, in all seriousness,TitusSomethingorotherDisorder, you broke her heart once before. How do we know you won't do it again?

Dave Hardy said...

I sincerely pity any person, of either sex, who has ever had the misfortune to have a role (romantic or otherwise) in this person's life.

If you encounter a person like this, do not walk away. Run like hell.

Larry said...

There is no question this woman is pathologically narcissistic. That she has had a role in "treating" people is terrifying - I can't imagine how much sicker she must make her patients. My evidence....there is skads, here is a quote:

Call me cold. Call me frigid. I should want to soothe my father, or my stepmother, a beautiful, showy woman with perpetually moist red lips and adorable toes, each one a little pearl-dropped doll. I should think about the family, not the science, but I am a little cold. People tell me so. "You know," people sometimes tell me, once they know me well, "you can be a little cold." At parties I stand in one corner and do my fair share of glaring. I am decidedly not demonstrative, except with my dogs. Dogs are perfect.

Ah, yes, the perfection of pets. Pets are perfect in ways people cannot be, because they are so simple their mimickry of actions to please you is interpreted as love.

Read it all.....she tries to derail her father's treatment for sex addiction. More than likely, she inherited her father's very high libido, and rationalizes her, I'm sure, serial infidelities with her coldness, her claim to dislike sex.

http://www.nerve.com/PersonalEssays/Slater/devilInside/

Her husband should run, screaming, in the other direction.

Larry said...

One more quote from Slater:

"Shhh," my husband says to me, and we make love, or make disease, and when I stand up afterwards, semen pours from me like pus."

Charming, charming woman.

LordSomber said...

Obviously, this woman does not need a mirror over her bed. Perhaps one over her shrink's couch with her on it would be more fitting.