February 6, 2018

Making fun of the "mancold" — it's sexist but it's okay because it's against men.

And a man is doing the fun-making, showing his alliance with women. It's Max Read in the "Style" section of NYT in "Have You Heard? This Guy Has a Cold":
“Men 10,000 percent are babies about getting sick,” one female friend told me recently. “It’s like no one has ever been sick before.” Everyone seems to agree: Men are drama queens about illness. When my girlfriend’s mother heard that I was looking into what she calls the Mancold, she insisted she be interviewed to provide cross-generational testimony to its existence. “We all roll our eyes when the Mancold comes calling,” she said. “All activities come to a halt, and, much like sports, there is a continuous update, sighing and groaning.” Under the name “Man Flu,” the phenomenon has entered the Oxford English Dictionary (“A cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms”), though all things considered I suggest the more clinical and less judgmental term “Masculine Flu Drama Syndrome.”
I'd never heard this idea expressed and, hearing it, I can't think of any experience with the phenomenon. And I don't relate to this style of comic writing. It feels like something from The New Yorker in the 1940s.

But I am going to check the assertion that "'Man Flu'... has entered the Oxford English Dictionary." I search the OED. Click to enlarge:



I search the language the NYT printed and found this, which is not the Oxford English Dictionary:



What is that thing? Here, the OED website explains:
The OED and the dictionaries in Oxford Dictionaries are themselves very different. While Oxford Dictionaries focuses on the current language and practical usage, the OED shows how words and meanings have changed over time.
From the Oxford Dictionaries FAQ:
OED: Once a word enters the OED, it is never removed so it has to merit its place. We consider a word for inclusion once we have gathered independent examples from a wide variety of sources and the word has demonstrated its longevity by being in use for a reasonable amount of time – ideally 10 years, but five is the minimum. We continuously monitor developments in the English language.

oxforddictionaries.com: The process for adding words to oxforddictionaries.com is similar to that of the OED, but the turnaround time can be much faster. We're particularly concerned with monitoring and adding high-profile new technical, lifestyle, and informal vocabulary derived from corpus evidence, and we are also very interested in new meanings of existing words as well as entirely new coinages.
I wonder what other playful sexist phrases oxforddictionaries.com presents for our delectation. But "man flu" is not an entry in the immensely venerated Oxford English Dictionary!

But let's look at the things that came up under "Widen search?" (at the bottom of the first image, of my OED search). These are both — it looks like 3, but one is a repetition — in a quotation that is offered as an example of how to use another word. First, under "flu":
2010 Church Times 19 Feb. 17/1 Think of the times when you have just had a filthy cold or ‘man flu’.
And, second, under "touch":
2014 Daily Tel. 19 Dec. (Sport section) 11/1 This week I returned from our final regatta of 2014..with a touch of man flu.
A phrase is very different from a word. When does a phrase get its own dictionary entry?  Lots of us may be putting the same 2 words together at a particular time, but when should that be treated as something worthy of an OED entry? As a test, I look up "me too." It's there. Going all the way back to 1745, when Lord Chesterfield wrote, "And me, too, sweet Jesus." I don't know what he was talking about when he wrote that. Nor do I know what Herman Melville meant in "Moby-Dick" when he wrote: "Me too; where's your girls?" (I don't think there are any females in "Moby-Dick," so I'm guessing the "girls" are whales. Ah, no!)

137 comments:

Birches said...

We used to make fun of my brother for being a baby when he was sick, but to put it in perspective, he and most of the men close to me are sick far less often than me and the women I know.

rhhardin said...

Drama queen is women. Men are like women, is the meaning.

Michael K said...

Years ago, when I was in practice, GP called to refer a case. The patient was a man who had driven his wife to her appointment with this doctor. She had high blood pressure or some other routine issue. As she was leaving, she asked the doctor is he had time to look at her husband who wasn't feeling well.

The husband had a perforated ulcer, an incredibly painful condition and fatal in few hours.

Not all men are babies.

Fernandistein said...

What a load.

You may not be surprised to know that men tend to visit the doctor less than women.

I wonder what other playful sexist phrases

Like "sleazy lying feminist cunts"?

Maybe that one's not on the list of approved playful phrases.

Roy Jacobsen said...

The fact that scientific studies are finding that men really do suffer worse symptoms from cold viruses doesn't pertain, because men.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/its-true-mens-colds-are-worse-20110624-1gjnv.html

M Jordan said...

Men are babies ... who built the Empire State Building, the Mackinac Bridge, and every dangerous piece of infrastructure ever built. Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that women wearing hard hats held up traffic signs while men were doing these things.

MadisonMan said...

When I get a cold, or the flu, I go to bed to get rid of it.

Because I have to get back to work, and earn money, as soon as I can. Work doesn't stop piling up because I'm feverish. And sleep is the best way to combat illness -- for me anyway.

I've not been sick yet this year. Knock on wood.

Hari said...

Women math: Men 10,000 percent are . . .

LordSomber said...

"one female friend told me recently…"
"Everyone seems to agree…"
"she insisted she be interviewed to provide cross-generational testimony…"

Are sketchy anecdotes what passes for journalism at the Times nowadays?

M Jordan said...

Remember that time you had a flat and a woman stopped to help? Me neither.

jwl said...



There’s swine flu and bird flu, but man flu? Don’t worry, it’s (probably) not contagious. It’s more a humorous label for the tendency of many men to act like big babies, claiming they suffer much more than women when they have the flu.

There’s even a tongue-in-cheek website about the condition.

But men may have the last laugh. Previous animal studies have found that male and female immune systems react differently to attacks by viruses, and now, recent studies add fuel to the fire.

An analysis published this month in The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) looked at studies of various viruses and respiratory illnesses in men and women, and concluded that "men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women."

Earlier this year, research conducted on lab mice at the University of Ottawa’s NeuroImmunology, Stress and Endocrinology Lab suggested infections may indeed be more severe in men than in women.

https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/flu-worse-for-men-fd.html

M Jordan said...

Remember that time the roof was leaking and you saw a woman climbing the ladder to repair it? Me neither.

Henry said...

This concept is foreign to me.

Of course I grew up with two older brothers. Exaggerating your cold to stay home from school meant mockery. The highlight of my training was the day I vomited on the bus.

EDH said...

Let me mansplain it to you: manboobs are the cure for the mancold in the mancave.

M Jordan said...

Remember that last ice storm when the power went out and finally the utility woman showed up and rode the cherrypicker up and untangled the mess risking electrocution and Voila! the lights went on and everyone cheered that woman? Me neither.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Sexism is alive and well at the Times, I see.

“Women complain less in general,” a friend who works in television production theorized, “because we know we have to give birth someday, so we implicitly understand real pain.”

This is an article about metrosexual men and women, not men and women.

David said...

They should read up on Ulysses Grant finishing his memoirs.

richlb said...

I do tend to be more dramatic about being sick than my wife. But the flip side is that she is a bigger baby about every ache, pain, cut, scrape, etc than I am. Can we call that "Pussy Pain"?

whitney said...

My mother always said this but my mother was an idealogue and a feminist. She still maintains that women are superior to men yet when she describes herself she says that she has more manly traits and in doing so she means that she's Superior. Yeah I noticed that contradiction when I was very young

robother said...

"Me too, sweet Jesus..." Lord Chesterfield battled his ague with prayer, and a pack of...Lucky Strikes.

CJ said...

These pieces always say "a [female] friend told me" which is just newspaper columnist for "I made it up but don't want to sound like I'm making a story up."

Chris said...

This is bullshit of the highest order. Recently, I was sick with the flu. Fever the whole 9 yards. I still did my work, did work around the house etc. It didn't slow me down. My wife however caught the same bug, and was bedridden and couchridden for 2 days and I picked up her slack.

tcrosse said...

No news here: some men are pussies.

traditionalguy said...

They need to meet a better class of men.

Babying your body over every ache and pain seems silly to male athletes that endure pains to train that go on longer than Child birth by 1000 to 1.

The habit of seeing Doctors for everything is actually so avoided among those men that they will postpone or avoid Medical treatments they need in old age.

Tim in Vermont said...

Men, 1000%, want to get laid, so some of us think that the best strategy is agreeing with women’s prejudices. Look mommy! It isn’t, but it’s a strategy. Think of it as a “foreploy.”

Tim in Vermont said...

These pieces always say “a [female] friend told me" which is just newspaper columnist for "I made it up but don't want to sound like I'm making a story up."

I thought it meant, “I expensed my lunch with my side squeeze and this is just to keep the boys in accounting happy.”

Tim in Vermont said...

Women complain less in general,”

A cursory glance at Twitter will back that up!

Gahrie said...

I'd never heard this idea expressed

Seriously? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, apparently you were completely unaware of the fact that women leveraged access to sex.

Bob Boyd said...

Manspreading the mancold.

That's when you get on the train, spread your knees then turn your head and cough.

Angle-Dyne, Angelic Buzzard said...

I'd never heard this idea expressed and, hearing it, I can't think of any experience with the phenomenon.

Me neither. My dad got up and went to work every day with painful, crippling rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other serious health problems, with nary a whimper. Don't recall my brothers ever whining like this when ill. Let's see, I do recall my husband once politely asking, after sustaining a serious, bloody, painful injury, if there might perhaps be some form of pain relief available, (that is if getting it for him did not inconvenience the busy medical staff too much?), but that's it for all the "whining" he's done in a lifetime.

Seriously, fuck these vapid kvetching bints and their soyboy enablers.

And I don't relate to this style of comic writing. It feels like something from The New Yorker in the 1940s.

The unfunniest "comic" writing ever practiced.

Unknown said...

I suspect that the women recounting the depth to which their sick men behave like babies, i.e.; man-flu, are with or hanging around Pajama Boy sorts of 'men'.

-sw

Ann Althouse said...

Gahrie, you did not do your assignment. Now, reread the quote you are relying on and paraphrase it in a way that shows you understood my point. I will not allow you to continue to misparaphrase me. If you do not do what I am asking, I will be deleting your comments that refer to this. You were wrong, you need to admit it and prove to me that you understand your wrongness. I will not allow you to continue this here.

Gahrie said...

@Althouse:

Apparently I am too stupid to understand. Please explain it to me again.

Ann Althouse said...

"apparently you were completely unaware of the fact that women leveraged access to sex"

I'm going to say it myself. What I said was that a man worthy of my respect would not want the sex that he is giving to be considered worth less than the sex he is getting. He would not want sex from a woman who sees herself as needing something in addition to the sex to make the relationship equal. I realize this makes it difficult for many men, in that they can't find women who would view what she would get from him sexually as equal to what she would give to him sexually, but that is your challenge as I see it. You don't have to meet my test for worthiness, but if you have to kick in monetary and other nonsexual benefits to get sex from a woman, I regard you as on the prostitution spectrum. If you have to force yourself on the woman in some way, you are on the rape continuum. I don't respect that.

Ralph L said...

Not this morning, dear, I have a headache.

Ann Althouse said...

Spectrum... continuum... what's the difference? I want to use the same word and just pick the better word.

Ann Althouse said...

If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.

Leslie Graves said...

@Gahrie. Perhaps thy throat is spoilt with eating Amsterdam butter.

sean said...

Those of us who are old enough to remember such things will recall that this meme (men as babies when they get sick) was popular in the early CR (consciousness-raising) groups. Unfortunately, when scholars tried to substantiate this claim, they discovered that men have lower absenteeism from work, and fewer doctor's visits, and receive less medication than women. These inconvenient facts produced various new feminist memes, e.g., that doctors "over-medicate" women and that the "second shift" makes them sick. It appears that the "men are babies" meme continues at the popular level, however, though scholarship has debunked it.

Infinite Monkeys said...

When my former husband would get a cold, it would be The Worst Cold Ever and he would need to be tended and catered to. When I would catch it from him, he'd already be recovering and would have decided it wasn't such a big deal after all and I just needed to suck it up.

My son isn't like that. Just because some men are self-centered doesn't mean they all are.

Ann Althouse said...

@Leslie LOL

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.

Much of the time your commentary is so logical and thoughtful, I forget you are not a conservative.

Then you say things that show a stunning detachment from reality, mixed with a complete lack of empathy for other people, and the lives that they live, and I remember that, deep down, you are truly a liberal.

Larry Day said...

My father was the toughest human being I've ever known. When I was a kid he held down two full time jobs, a production worker for IBM in the a.m., a short order cook/bartender at night. He'd go decades without missing a day of work. He probably wasn't the only guy who never complained of a "mancold".

sean said...

"It feels like something from The New Yorker in the 1940s."

It sounds the sort of thing James Thurber would have written about his colored household help.

gspencer said...

"okay because it's against men"

Or if the target is white or Christian or cis-gendered or wants the 2d Am or wants government generally restrained, or other stuff like that,

Especially if all of them,

Ralph L said...

Often when I felt ill as a kid, my temperature would register under 100, so my mother would send me off to school. Turns out my normal is 97.5, so I wasn't faking it (everytime). Butter won't melt in my mouth.

SF said...

I'm a man. Sometimes when I get a cold, it feels like it shuts down my brain's ability to reason. Like thinking through thick fuzz. As a software engineer, I know from experience that if I try to work through this, I will end up spending a day or two when I get better undoing everything I did while I was sick. My dad (a lawyer) was the exact same way.

I've always assumed this was what people mean by mancold. For me it has absolutely nothing to do with pain. Pain I can deal with. Like many (most?) men I have more than once tried to just power through crap the women in my life thought I should see a doctor about. Hell, once in middle school I sprained my ankle in 1st period, taped it, walked on it all day, threw shotput in the track meet that afternoon, and then spent the next few days on crutches.

But having my brain turned to low makes life difficult. And that's exactly how having a cold (sometimes) makes me feel.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

If you have a contagious illness, you are not a hero for going into work, whatever your sex is.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex...

I'd be happy to work on it. I'm willing to practice morning, noon, and night, 7 days a week, rain or shine.

Yancey Ward said...

Well, this really doesn't seem to be a true as a general rule- it is well established that men tend to not complain about even serious medical conditions that could actually be treated if they had only complained a lot earlier before the conditions became physically debilitating.

SF said...

(Also, when I'm like that I don't want to be taken of. I want to be left alone. Though left alone with chicken noodle soup is a plus.)

Drago said...

Every lefty: Men and Women are the same except for all the ways women are better.

Given that all these lefty gal writers are surrounded by lefty males, the observation that the men are whiny little wimps is probably spot on.

madAsHell said...

I realize this makes it difficult for many men, in that they can't find women who would view what she would get from him sexually as equal to what she would give to him sexually, but that is your challenge as I see it.

I think we have reached our Chick-fil-a inflection point. Eat mor pussy!!

DanTheMan said...

Shorter version: The Althouse Rule.

Edward Bo said...

When I was young and newly married, my wife talked me into going to the doctor for a minor condition. As the doctor started examining me, I sort of apologized and explained that my wife talked me into coming.

He laughed and said that the only reason he saw married men come in is that their wives made them come in, and that he never saw single men come in.

rhhardin said...

Radio Japan explained long ago that the oriental habit of wearing face masks in cold season is people with colds trying not to spread them.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Quit your whining, fellas. It's not like anyone microaggressed against you or anything.

Tim in Vermont said...

What I said was that a man worthy of my respect would not want the sex that he is giving to be considered worth less than the sex he is getting.

Actually, resident gnomic genius rhhardin has a whole riff on the idea that disagreement over the value of the thing exchanged drives the whole economy.

But evolution set a higher bar for men, and we have to deal with it if we want to play in the evolution game.

Tim in Vermont said...

I think we have reached our Chick-fil-a inflection point. Eat mor pussy!!

OK, here’s a tip fellas. Leave the damn clit alone once in a while. Get her hot and get in there, but keep your hands away. It only focuses the orgasm on the clit and limits vaginal orgasms. You need to last a little longer, sure, but that’s what long playing free porn is for! Practice! Have some confidence in the dick! I know there is a Tom Cruise movie clip somewhere about that.

Gahrie said...

@Althouse:

OK..so your point isn't that women want sex less than men and leverage access to sex, (even though everyone else acknowledges this) it is that if women don't want sex as much as men it's because men are shitty lovers?

William Chadwick said...

I've got your thermometer right here, toots. And it doesn't go in the front end, either.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

OK, here’s a tip fellas. Leave the damn clit alone once in a while. Get her hot and get in there, but keep your hands away. It only focuses the orgasm on the clit and limits vaginal orgasms. You need to last a little longer, sure, but that’s what long playing free porn is for! Practice! Have some confidence in the dick! I know there is a Tom Cruise movie clip somewhere about that.

Better tip: Talk to your lady and find out what she likes and wants. And talk to her about what you like and want. (Radical, I know.) Both of you keep the TV watching and smartphone scrolling out of the bedroom, and go to bed before you're falling asleep so you have time and energy for sex. Take pleasing each other seriously. It's different for everyone; take the time to learn about each other.

Chris Low said...

Estrogen may help women fight viruses, according to Dr. Kyle Sue, writing in the British Medical Journal. He told the Guardian, “I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu. This is shown in the fact that they [have] worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.”

The study is here:

Manflu is real!

Tim in Vermont said...

Sure, talk is great, but the above tip was an eye opener for me, I read it on the internet, and my wife didn’t know about it either, and this idea that pleasing a woman is either totally centered on her clitoris, or on spots so deep that only certain men can reach them is extremely widespread.

Actually, every long term relationship I ever had, and they are the only kind I really like, I talked my way into her pants by talking about anything and everything but sex, not in a condescending or “foreploy” way, either. Genuine discussion of what she cares about, and what I care about, sharing my insights and appreciating hers. It works, and you don’t have the issue that one guy was complaining about where she is not into kissing. Better to have a makeout session with no sex before sex involved somewhere along the way. Seduction is one of the primary pleasures in life.

Tim in Vermont said...

It’s also possible that all your hypothetical wife knows about sex she learned from bumbling high school boyfriends, or worse, romance novels.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Jesus Christ, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the menopause today.

bagoh20 said...

Most women have a natural desire to be caregivers. We are all just manipulating for a sponge bath from a nurse. Everything men do is designed to get sex. Test the hypothesis. The next time a man whines, take off your clothes. He'll get better.

Kyzernick said...

I'll be 10,000% honest - I will, usually once every 2 or 3 winters, come down with the man flu. What is it, you ask? It's a cold, that's somewhat worse than a regular cold, accompanied by nausea and a pervasive cough. And when I get it, I take a few sick days and remain in bed for most of the day. And yes, I will complain to my wife about it. And yes, I will ask her to do things for me, like make me a grilled cheese sandwich or refill my tea or water. And yes, she rolls her eyes and calls me a baby, but she still does it because she loves me and wants me to feel better.

Do I exaggerate the symptoms a bit? Sure. Do I act like I'm mostly bedridden for a few days, when in fact I could be up and about (to some extent) doing work or getting things done? Sure. Does my wife understand? Yup. She knows that I rarely ever get sick, and I usually shrug off most minor head colds and coughs. So when I come down with something slightly more serious, I pack it in for a few days. It hasn't happened so far this winter, and didn't happen last winter either. It did happen the winter before, and I basically just took the last half of a week off of work and enjoyed being lazy for a few days while popping Sudafed and catching up on reading and documentaries on Netflix. Wifey got it, and as a side bonus she got some mileage out of teasing me about my "man cold".

Win-win.

Kyzernick said...

By "Wifey got it", I mean she understood, not that she caught my ailment. She did, in fact, end up with a minor cold herself, but it only lasted a day and she had no fever, whereas I was north of 102 at one point. Again, I could have powered through if I had to, but luckily I didn't have to.

bagoh20 said...

It's not sexist if it's true, which I think it is to a degree, but I will call it sexist if anyone accuses me of having a "manflu". We are slow, but we are learning the power of being the weaker sex.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Ann Althouse said...
If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.

2/6/18, 9:36 AM


Hey babe,

Sometimes it's not us, it's you.

Ann Althouse said...

"Then you say things that show a stunning detachment from reality, mixed with a complete lack of empathy for other people, and the lives that they live, and I remember that, deep down, you are truly a liberal."

My statement is not detached from reality, and you sound lacking in empathy to me.

Men should know what they are doing to women, and if you are forcing sex on women or buying sex from women, you should be honest and conscious of what you are doing and use your powers of reason to figure out whether it is still desirable and whether it is actually wrong. It is no answer to say that you really want something. There are all kinds of bad things that people want and the degree of wanting does not transform it into ethical behavior. I'm not being unrealistic there, because I'm not saying that people can learn or be forced to rise above all unethical behavior. I am simply choosing to confront you with a starker and more uncomfortable view of reality than you may want to absorb.

Of course, I realize some women will extract nonsex things that they want when they engage in a sex transaction, but what I am asking is that people see that they are doing commerce and are therefore on what I call the prostitution spectrum. The amount of empathy I feel for people who engage in prostitution and prostitutionish transactions depends on the particular circumstances, but the buyer isn't a particularly sympathetic character. I certainly, realistically, understand why you resist this idea, and I'll admit to not feeling empathy if you are resisting because you'd prefer not to be roused out of what you are experiencing as a pleasurable interpretation of your life.

Seriously, do you have a wife who doesn't want to have sex with you, but you demand sex in exchange for economic support and that's a fine way to live as far as you're concerned? If you are not married, would you choose to marry a woman who is not excited about having sex with you but is willing to go through with it, without complaint, because you'll provide enough money? Do you want to say, yeah, that's fine, that's life, that's how I live or how I plan to live? I'm just telling you I don't respect that.

And I totally reject arguments based on the notion that men want sex more. X might want money more than the next person but that isn't an argument in favor of letting X steal. X might feel stronger violent impulses, but he cannot point to those as a reason to let him punch people. The argument for men getting sex from women who don't want to give it is actually weaker than the argument for stealing and punching, because men can masturbate.

Again commerce is different from the use of force. Using force to get sex is completely wrong. Sex commerce is more complicated, and there, I'm just saying open your eyes, look at your life, and think about what you are buying. I don't think you should buy sex, because the thing you are buying isn't good. Good sex should mean that the other person loves the sex. Wanting to have sex with someone who doesn't think it's good — is that your sexual preference? I'm being realistic in saying I think it is the sexual preference of many men, but I don't see many men openly admitting that what they like about sex is when their partner doesn't like it!

Inga said...

Having taken care of hundreds of sick patients over the last 35 years, I’ve observed that everyone is unique and tolerates pain and illness in their own way. There is no gender connection.

Temujin said...

You're going to miss us when we're gone.

Kyzernick said...

Oh, we're back to this again? The solution is simple. Be a man that women want to have sex with, learn how to turn a woman on, and learn to be good at sex.

If you drive a shitty 1990 Chevy Corsica, you dread taking a job with a long commute. If you drive a 2017 Cadillac CT6, not so much.

If a man is a slob, or has no personality, or has a repellant personality, or doesn't know how to talk to, tease, flatter (convincingly), or lead a woman, she won't want to sleep with him. If he is good at all the above but really lousy and self-centered in bed, she might not want to sleep with him a second time, or will only do it grudgingly.

It's not that hard to learn how to be a man who knows women. It's also not that hard to learn to be a skilled lover. Taking the time to do those 2 things will change your life.

Women talk. They gossip. If one woman knows you're good in bed, all her friends do too. Think of the possibilities. This is how guys can break up with a girl and be sleeping with her friends the next day.

Women control access to (consensual) sex. Men need to learn the passcode. Economic support isn't it, except for the most craven golddiggers.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sometimes it's not us, it's you."

Doesn't matter.

My point is that both should want it.

Let's say you have a restaurant and there's good reason to think the food you serve there is excellent, but X doesn't like your food and doesn't want to eat there. X doesn't eat there. X has a preference and is a free person. Doesn't matter if X is a picky eater or likes harder-to-make things that you think are not worth serving. X goes somewhere else. You don't get X as your client. You can insult X all you want, but you don't get X.

You speak as if there is an objective reality of whether you are sexually desirable and providing good sex, but there isn't. I don't know why you'd want to have sex with someone who is of the opinion that you're not worth having sex with. But assuming you are, why would it be contingent on your objective belief that you are sexually desirable and providing good sex. As I read your comment, I think you mean that it's enough that it could be true that you are sexually desirable and providing good sex and the woman you want could be wrong in thinking you are not. But so what? Why do you want to go through with having sex with this woman as opposed to finding someone who would like to have sex with you?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Actually, every long term relationship I ever had, and they are the only kind I really like, I talked my way into her pants by talking about anything and everything but sex, not in a condescending or “foreploy” way, either. Genuine discussion of what she cares about, and what I care about, sharing my insights and appreciating hers. It works, and you don’t have the issue that one guy was complaining about where she is not into kissing. Better to have a makeout session with no sex before sex involved somewhere along the way. Seduction is one of the primary pleasures in life.

Agree with all of this. This is good advice :)

Inga said...

“If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.”

LOL! And she’s right.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Sure, talk is great, but the above tip was an eye opener for me, I read it on the internet, and my wife didn’t know about it either, and this idea that pleasing a woman is either totally centered on her clitoris, or on spots so deep that only certain men can reach them is extremely widespread.

And, well, I think the ideal is talk + experimentation. There's a lot of weird ideas and sex tips that people try to use to become better lovers, and sure some of them are liked by some people, but that doesn't mean a specific person will. Go ahead and read it in Cosmo ladies but then tell your fella, "I thought this might be fun to try ~ what do you think?" and then during or after, talk about it. Maybe 96% of dudes indeed have their mind blown by this one amazing sex trick but maybe your guy doesn't care for it. Etc. Maybe some women want exclusively clitoral stimulation, but maybe some women don't, and maybe it depends on the day and mood. Have fun and communicate, kids-that's all I'm saying.

Darrell said...

Leave Althouse alone!!!!!!

She makes valid--not kind--points.

rhhardin said...

Sex is a handy way for a woman to show a man she's satisfied with him.

Lacking that, a marriage isn't going to work.

Being a nyphomaniac isn't a plus.

Kyzernick said...

"Seduction is one of the primary pleasures in life."

Agreed.

My wife still enjoys when I seduce her. She knows it's coming, she has me mostly figured out by now, but she enjoys the feeling of being wanted but not taken for granted.

Of course, she also enjoys me grabbing her waist, pulling her to the bedroom, and getting right to it. We balance out, and we work well together.

bagoh20 said...

Of course there are women who only have sex with a man becuase he has resources she can access, but there are a much larger number who have sex with a man not becuase it's a direct exchange, but becuase it's part of the larger deal. Withhold the sex, you stand to lose more than just his financial resources. You could lose companionship, happiness, peace, security, and respect from others, and you might feel bad about yourself. Men mostly just have sex for the sex. We're more honest that way. That's why it's so much easier for us to have it without any other connection or larger deal. Think about it. How often do women imagine having casual sex with a man and never seeing him again. For most men, that's the ideal, and we imagine it everyday - it's why porn would never exist without men.

Kyzernick said...

"Have fun and communicate, kids-that's all I'm saying."

+1

Dad29 said...

Perhaps "man-cold" definition arises from the doily-dainty "men" these people are talking about. I've worked with a lot of men--and have had colds, and flu--and sorry, no crying, wailing, grunting, or sighing.

Girly-men, maybe. Nobody I know.

Inga said...

There’s also the element of physical attraction. Maybe Gahrie hasn’t found a women that finds him physically attractive. Having said that, there is someone out there for everyone, keep searching. Maybe the lonely guys who resent women for turning them down, need to lower their standards of physical beauty and find a partner on their own level. Being realistic about your chances of getting it on with a model quality beauty Would be helpful. Aiming too high, thereby denying yourself good sex with a willing woman who finds you irresistible is a possibility. Happy ending for both.

madAsHell said...

“foreploy” way

You might be doing it wrong.

Bay Area Guy said...

Beta-Males, Snowflakes and Pajama Boys do get traumatized by a winter cold. It's like cancer or something.....

Bay Area Guy said...

Jeez, I read Althouse's post, but not the comments, and I missed how the entire conversation morphed from the Cold to Sex!

Inga said...

Clarification from 11:21AM

Aiming too high, thereby denying yourself good sex with a woman who finds you irresistible might be be your impediment to having a willing partner. There can be a happy ending for both of you.

mockturtle said...

Yeah. Back to colds....My husband was miserable with a head cold but took truly serious illnesses and wounds in stride. Go figure. I had to drag him to the hospital with a nearly ruptured gall bladder.

Leslie Graves said...

Althouse commenters enjoy getting right to it. We balance out, and we work well together.

Gahrie said...

Hey babe,

Sometimes it's not us, it's you.


Apparently, it's never them.

Women must never be made to feel bad about, or responsible for, anything, ever.

If a woman doesn't want sex, it has to be a man's fault.

Tim in Vermont said...

The problem with lowering one’s standards is that geologically significant amount of time humans spent evolving. Raising one’s game is also an option. I am pretty sure that physical attraction in women is sort of malleable, depending a great deal on how she perceives you as a man. I tell myself, and I choose to believe it, that women who are not like this, aren’t worth the bother anyway. They likely don’t have the depth of, for lack of a better word, intellect, to sustain a relationship. As a man, I know that as affection toward a woman increases, so does my perception of her physical attractiveness.

Not to mention that female hypergamy is as real as a heart attack, though admitting it goes against the whole “nurturing” thing. I don’t read romance novels, but are there a lot of them about being seduced by the dishwasher who lives in an abandoned school bus by the river?

Howard said...

Man sick is another great tool for man-ipulating the women in your life. I mean if you are a real man, not a snowflake crying about were trannies take a dump or how kneelers give you vapors. Women need reassurance that men are invincible and weak at the same time. It's like the particle-wave duality or the Weisenheimer Uncertainty Principal only more complicated.

Real men understand this because humor and self deprecation are required to keep the ladies interested, begging you to touch them in naughty ways. They laugh, they mother, but not too much. The man sick female control tool also works in everyday life. Amaze your friends! If you want to improve the service you get from a woman, complain about being sick (even if you are not sick or have put sickness on ignore), then confess you are just man sick and laugh it off. This confession of weakness joins you in a conspiracy, she will tell you what a cuck her husband is and then give everything you want like putty in your hands.

Inga said...

Gahrie, there are times when a woman legitimately has a headache, or a gut ache, or is tired from running after children. A woman is a human being, she is isn’t there just to accommodate her husband or boyfriend every single time he wants sex. If he was a decent guy, he’d understand the occasional refusals. If the refusal is happening too often, then it might be time to move on. Life is too short to be yoked to someone who isn’t compatable with you.

Gahrie said...

Apparently all those years I was told that testosterone effects the sex drive people were lying to me.

Tim in Vermont said...

Self-deprecation works as long as you have something going on to deprecate. Just sayin’.

Inga said...

“Apparently all those years I was told that testosterone effects the sex drive people were lying to me.”

Gahrie, I think it’s a biological fact that testosterone increases the sex drive in humans, you're not mistaken here. Males who are undergoing a sex change report a significant decrease in their sex drive once they start taking female hormones.

Howard said...

I think, Inga, what you are describing is that sometimes you can gobble the cookies right out of the box and sometimes, you gotta make them by scratch first. The trick is knowing what buttons need attention depending on the moon and madness cycles. It's like starting a stalled car, you just need to tickle the obvious parts that make it purr again. Sometimes it's oxygen, sometimes spark, other times fuel or maybe something is rusted shut and needs a bit of lube...

Inga said...

“I think, Inga, what you are describing is that sometimes you can gobble the cookies right out of the box and sometimes, you gotta make them by scratch first. The trick is knowing what buttons need attention depending on the moon and madness cycles. It's like starting a stalled car, you just need to tickle the obvious parts that make it purr again. Sometimes it's oxygen, sometimes spark, other times fuel or maybe something is rusted shut and needs a bit of lube...”

Very astute Howard, lol!

Gahrie said...

Gahrie, I think it’s a biological fact that testosterone increases the sex drive in humans, you're not mistaken here. Males who are undergoing a sex change report a significant decrease in their sex drive once they start taking female hormones.

Wait....so you mean that the reason most men want more sex than most women has nothing to do with men being shitty lovers?

Inga said...

“Wait....so you mean that the reason most men want more sex than most women has nothing to do with men being shitty lovers?”

In my humble opinion, if you are a good lover you won’t be turned down as often.

Luke Lea said...

I like mancold. I'm one of the most guilty.

Inga said...

Gahrie, yes testosterone plays a big part, I don’t think you’re mistaken.

“Despite the presence of other androgens — the hormones that stimulate or control development and maintenance of male characteristics — scientists believe testosterone is the key component to the sex drive. Testosterone levels peak in the late teens and then gradually decline over time, typically about one percent a year after age 30. By age 60 to 65, though usually earlier, most men notice that their sexual inclinations and sexual abilities have changed; it takes longer for the penis to become erect and their erections may not be as firm. It may also take longer to achieve orgasmic and ejaculatory experiences. Erectile dysfunction also becomes more common.”

http://www.medicaldaily.com/male-sex-drive-mighty-testosterone-alone-responsible-libido-246793

Gahrie said...

In my humble opinion, if you are a good lover you won’t be turned down as often.

How much experience do you have as a man seeking sex?

I am sort of flabbergasted. I thought it was a well established and non-controversial fact that women desire less sex than men and that women leverage sex for other things. There is at least one study that shows that a woman's sex drive diminishes once she's in a committed relationship.

Am I the only one who has heard of lesbian bed death?

Inga said...

“I am sort of flabbergasted. I thought it was a well established and non-controversial fact that women desire less sex than men...”

Yes, usually this is true based on biology,

“and that women leverage sex for other things.”

There are women that may, but it’s NOT the norm. To assert that most women do, smacks of misogyny.

There is at least one study that shows that a woman's sex drive diminishes once she's in a committed relationship.

So, learn to spice it up! This diminishment you speak of may have to do with boredom, more than the woman having gotten what she wanted materialistically

mockturtle said...

Gahrie asks: Am I the only one who has heard of lesbian bed death?

Don't know if you're the only one but I've never heard of it.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Don't know if you're the only one but I've never heard of it.

2/6/18, 12:57 PM

I think Camille Paglia has referred to it. And she's in a position (pun not intended) to know.

rhhardin said...

There are women that may, but it’s NOT the norm. To assert that most women do, smacks of misogyny.

It may be true but you're a bad person if you say so.

The Whistler said...

I thought women were supposed to be more in tune with other peoples' feelings and more caring.

This pretty much proves that the women behind this movement are a bunch of clods.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


I realize this makes it difficult for many men, in that they can't find women who would view what she would get from him sexually as equal to what she would give to him sexually, but that is your challenge as I see it.

Do you believe that, on average, men have a higher sex drive than women? If not, I would say that you are wildly out of touch with reality. That is not to say that some women don't have as high, or higher, sex drive, than men.

If you accept reality, then you should see that it is not possible for most men to find long-term partners with the same level of sex drive. The math just doesn't work. Those men who end up with a partner with a lower sex drive will almost always value the sex more than their partner. The challenge you set before us is not difficult, but impossible.

We could of course shoot for the lesser challenge of having our partner value sex less than we do, but still as a positive experience to be engaged in with enthusiasm from time to time.

I'd say that was where my marriage was most of the time, up until my wife's bipolar disorder ramped up. Then she started on the medicine for bipoler disorder, and her sex drive went away. Completely. Of course she could go off of her meds. Then we would have a great sex life for a month at a time, followed by nothing for a month or two. But she would probably be dead in not terribly long, either from reckless behavior while up, or suicide while down.

Good sex should mean that the other person loves the sex. Wanting to have sex with someone who doesn't think it's good — is that your sexual preference?

My preference is for sex with someone who thinks it is absolutely incredible. Baring divorce, infidelity, or a medical breakthrough, I will never, for the rest of my life, have my preference. And I value my wife far more than value my sexual preferences, so divorce and infidelity are non-starters.

Short of that preference, I would happily accept maintenance sex. Sex that she engages in freely, and preferably enthusiastically, not because she values the sex, but because she values our relationship.

Tonight is the 30th anniversary of the day we met. I mark such occasions by cooking her a fancy meal/dessert that she likes. I don't like to cook, it is a chore. I like the food I am cooking, but not nearly enough to be worth the effort if I was only cooking for myself. I will spend well more than an hour cooking dinner and dessert, plus I will clean up*. Not because I like cooking. Because I love her.


*Of course, this is not the extent of my contributions to the household. This is an example above and beyond my normal contributions. Don't bother with comments along the lines of maybe if you made dinner more than once a year...


Cruising Troll said...

hmmm, or just as likely, women, ESPECIALLY feminist minded women are hypersensitively resistant to even the slightest hint that "their man" may actually benefit from some care and concern from them. After all, "how DARE he have the temerity to be sick when I have so many Important Things to attend to...."

Gahrie said...

So, learn to spice it up! This diminishment you speak of may have to do with boredom, more than the woman having gotten what she wanted materialistically

So we're back to "it's the fault of men for being shitty lovers"?

mockturtle said...

Since a woman is capable of having sex without a sex drive while a man cannot, it seems evident that it is the woman who must do most of the accommodating, no?

Gahrie: While some men are better lovers than others, the ability to achieve sexual satisfaction is really mostly on the woman, herself.

Gahrie said...

Gahrie: While some men are better lovers than others, the ability to achieve sexual satisfaction is really mostly on the woman, herself.

Women must never be made to feel bad about, or responsible for, anything, ever.

Henry said...

PSA: It may be depression. Look for other symptoms. Get help.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

mockturtle said...

Since a woman is capable of having sex without a sex drive while a man cannot, it seems evident that it is the woman who must do most of the accommodating, no?

I don't think that follows. If the man has higher sex drive, one accommodation is for him to do without.

If the woman has higher sex drive, and the man's is so low that he cannot manage intercourse, he can still participate, with enthusiasm, using hands, mouth, toys, etc.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Inga said...
“If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.”

LOL! And she’s right.
2/6/18, 10:59 AM

Ann Althouse said...
[“If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls.”]
"Sometimes it's not us, it's you."

Doesn't matter.

My point is that both should want it.

---

1) You are in high dudgeon crudely insulting mode which means you are on the defensive, therefore you are afraid, because probes would reveal things you do not want us to know. So this talk will only go a little farther before you shut it down. Totally off limits: your past and present sex life, your divorce.

2) The simplest, and right, thing is for you to admit or state (words to the effect of):

My remark, “If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls,” was [foolish, inappropriate, ill-chosen, you pick]. I regret it, and I withdraw it.

3) Will you do that, or does this get worse? You can also just go radio silent, as you did when I challenged you on anatomy a while back (again, we can have that out if you want, too).

4) To give you something - because you always have to have something - you're certainly right that if a woman doesn't want sex, a man who does is wasting his time with her. It would be better if she disclosed this before commitments were made.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Put it this way:

Ann Althouse said...
"Sometimes it's not us, it's you."

Doesn't matter.

My point is that both should want it.

Let's say you have a restaurant and there's good reason to think the food you serve there is excellent, but X doesn't like your food and doesn't want to eat there. X doesn't eat there. X has a preference and is FRIGID

FIFY

Ignorance is Bliss said...

For me, what it comes down to, is this:

If you are in a committed relationship, then anything that is a problem for either of you is a problem for both of you, and you both have a responsibility for working to fix it. ( I was going to say an equal responsibility, but there are cases where that is not true. If one of the people is engaging in destructive behavior, they have a greater responsibility to stop. )

In particular, if your partner wants more sex than you, that is your problem every bit as much as it is theirs. If there is something that you can identify that is contributing to your lack of interest, let them know so they can work on it. If you can't identify anything, ( with the advantage of being inside your own head/body ) then how are they supposed to, from the outside?

Micha Elyi said...

(1) Feminists do not consider men to be people.
(2) Females complain about everything more than men do. Females consume far more resources, including medical resources, than men and this is true even if all things related to pregnancy and childbirth are excluded. What's more, females even complain in order to amuse themselves. Ever heard a female complain that her man is giving her 'sh*t tests'? Neither have I.
(3) Females expect to be rescued. By men. Rare are the cases in which a female has rescued a man who is a total stranger to her. The reverse happens frequently.

Are females cost-effective?

Barry said...

My wife and I have been married for 44 years. I am 70 and my sex drive has moderated to the point that it is no longer a problem but it used to be. We have had a good life together, should I have left her because her sex drive was much less than mine? Would either of us have been happier divorced or never married?
She has never complained and has refused very seldom and I have never used force or threats but I could not have waited until she wanted to have sex. We love each other and have accepted each others limitations.
I have enjoyed this blog but your attitude appalls me and your comments strike me as just plain mean. Doing things for each other, even if you don't really want to is the essence of a good marriage.

Mr. Satyre said...

Every time I've gotten sick, I've simply powered to through it. But every single woman I've ever known---at the slightest sniffle or random cough---I hear ”Have you seen a doctor?"

Who's the baby?

Tim in Vermont said...

I think that Althouse is empathetic, BTW, just not sympathetic.

Tim in Vermont said...

It’s said that the cruelest people are the ones with empathy who can perceive the effects of their cruel neutrality and feed off of it.

I am just kidding on the above, although I think the first part is true!

Men are disposable in evolution. It’s a fact we have to transcend. Every female in a colony of birds of paradise mates with the same fucking <--double meaning! male. Even if it means that her male offspring have almost zero chance of mating. Male praying mantises give up their life to mate, as do other species, not just insects. Male honeybees are so useless that the colony only makes a few of them, and if one of them ever mates, it’s really a case of “getting lucky.” Life is very cruel, but it’s also beautiful, and it’s all we’ve got.

The best way is to take a chance with a woman early on in the relationship by showing her your true self. If she doesn’t run away, then you have a chance of having something, if she does, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Games to get your dick wet are really counterproductive to a happy life.

Unknown said...

Women do not tolerate their husbands being sick because it shows weakness which makes them fearful. They do not give sympathy to sick husbands lest it encourage them to be weak. It really is all about the girls. In reality, men miss much less work due to illness than women.

mockturtle said...

Men are disposable in evolution.

Evolution, schmevolution! Without men we'd still be living in the Stone Age. Every time I see a jet fighter I ask myself, would women ever have come up with that? Or see an elegant bridge and wonder if a woman could have designed and built it. Would women have created the massive freeway system we have today? Ocean liners? Freighters?

We need you guys. And not just for sex and heavy lifting.

mockturtle said...

And electricity!

walter said...

Interesting.
I was on a video gig yesterday when the coordinator from teh school system we interface with daily went off about when her husband initially approached her about a date, she told him she is a "lobster girl", and not Red Lobster..she could afford that on her own.
I guess she's kinda on the prostitution spectrum.

Warren Fahy said...

A friend of mine, Bob Mack (who was editor of the Beastie Boys magazine, Grand Royal) asked me to help on a project to establish a new word for a hairstyle that Beastie Boy Mike D particularly loathed. The word he wanted to paste on that hairstyle forever was "mullet." I wrote an article for the magazine called "The Ancient History of the Mullet" and traced the hairstyle back to prehistoric times to the present. It was, of course, all a parody. But the word stuck, and it was introduced into the OED a few years ago. Now everyone says, "mullet" for that hairstyle... wish I had a nickel for every time someone says it. And the rest is hairstory.

ebtobiassen said...

Speaking of The New Yorker, there was a cartoon from the 60's or 70's which showed a man in bed with a cold or flu, asking his wife, in what one assumes are tragic tones, to "put on the last side of Rosenkavalier." My mother put it up on the wall where it stayed for decades.

walter said...

Physio-pycho-sexually, invocation of spectrum or continuum might rightly address the "orgasm deficit" between the sexes.
Sure..you can point the finger at inadequate male technique, commonly defined as lack of (required) extra-intercourse techniques. But..when those considerations are not an issue on the male side...
Ok..dumb it down to "Man up!!"

walter said...

Methinks this thread conveniently aged out of follow up by the hostess..

Gahrie said...

My remark, “If you think women don't like sex enough, work on giving better sex, you numbskulls,” was [foolish, inappropriate, ill-chosen, you pick]. I regret it, and I withdraw it.

It'll never happen. She still stands by calling male rape victims splooge stooges.

Bad Lieutenant said...

That's okay. Everybody knows who won.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

"Then you say things that show a stunning detachment from reality, mixed with a complete lack of empathy for other people, and the lives that they live, and I remember that, deep down, you are truly a liberal."

My statement is not detached from reality, and you sound lacking in empathy to me.

Men should know what they are doing to women...


Sure is. If you think that the thought that more men know what they're doing physically would be enough to entice more women to want to have sex with more men, then you are indulging either pure fantasy or pure mendacity. As well as irrationality: Unless a woman is more sexually adventurous in the first place, she's not going to find out.

But no, the thought that more men out there might know what they're doing is not enough to change most women's natural disposition for choosiness. And that's completely putting aside the entirely relevant fact that most sexual stimulation occurs in the brain anyway, is a result of a natural attraction/chemistry, and takes place before any touch or physicality even occurs.

I don't understand why you persist in saying things like the above that are so demonstrably and obviously incorrect.