Stephen Fry: Only Men Truly Like Sex

British actor, Stephen Fry, has created controversy with a claim that women don’t like sex as much as men, in a recent interview with Attitude Magazine. He feels sorry for straight men because women only have sex with them as the “price they are willing to pay for a relationship.” More proof of women’s sexual disinterest: they don’t go off having random sex in churchyards and restrooms, like he apparently does, to “get my f’ing rocks off.”

One woman questioned equating sexual enjoyment with random restroom meetings, “Most of us prefer intimacy with men who understand trust and respect, and give time to the art of seduction. And the men who want us are not dupes or dogs on heat. Trust me — more erotic pleasure and excitement is experienced with a true love on clean sheets than a quick one with some sad, unwashed, unnamed bloke on a gravestone.”

Meanwhile, British feminists like Germaine Greer have publicly denounced him.

At the same time, anyone who looks at social research will know that there is a kernel of truth to what Frye says. On average, women do report liking sex less.

 Cross-cultural research and survey data suggest that while women have the capacity to be extremely sexual and sexually interested – probably more so than men with their capability for multiple orgasms – our culture does dampen women’s sexuality.

Frye feels sorry for men, but it’s a patriarchal culture that has created this situation.

Sex isn’t so appealing when society and religion send signals that women’s sexuality is sinful, or when women are slut-shamed and seen as devaluing themselves when they “give it up,” and blamed for not controlling men’s sexuality. On some college campuses men take the walk of fame Sunday morning, while women take the walk of shame.  

And who gets screwed, f’d, banged, nailed (the list goes on)?

Meanwhile, a cock is proud. But “down there” is shameful.

Rape and incest also dampen women’s sexuality. As one of my students related, “I was molested by a family member for seven years of my life before I could tell anyone, and it repressed me to the core. I didn’t want to be touched by anyone, and I wanted to look ugly. I still fight some of these battles today.” Rape and incest are higher in patriarchal societies. In cultures where men value women, there is little violence against them.

Surveys show that women who don’t feel sexy can also have a harder time enjoying sex. With narrow notions of what sexy is, a lot of women find the bedroom something less than fun.

With all of these negative forces in play, it’s no wonder women are so often repressed.

For women to fully engage and enjoy their sexuality, we as a culture must start loving women.

Georgia Platts

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 3, 2010, in feminism, gender, sex and sexuality, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Women love sex just as much as men do if not more! But women like sex more when it has depth and meaning. Sex is much more intense and romancing to women when they are in a relationship. “Quiky” doesn’t mean that only men truly enjoy sex, for men when they ejaculate they are satisfied, what about the women?Men are selfish because they claim that women don’t enjoy sex, how can they when they aren’t climaxing or even orgasmic! If men took the time to insist on foreplay and focusing on the women more than surely women truly like sex!

  2. From the ABC News “Primetime Live” survey in 2004, 70% of men think about sex every day – double the rate among women. And 83% of men enjoy sex “a great deal”, that falls to 59% of women. It seems like women like sex less than men. Actually women can enjoy sex as much as men and women do enjoy sex. I agree with “most of women prefer intimacy with men who understand trust and respect, and give time to the art of seduction.” Women place more emphasis on the emotional aspects of sex, while men focus more on the physical side of sex, men are much more to find sex personally and physically pleasurable. Sex is important as a way to bring two closer, to help maintain healthy relationships.

    • I agree that many women enjoy sex as much as men, though on average they don’t seem to. Women may even have the ability to enjoy it more, with their capacity for multiple orgasm. At the same time, we have a culture that represses women’s sexuality. Given cross cultural evidence (Tahitians and American Indians before — or right at — contact with Whites) I believe that even women who currently enjoy sex would enjoy it a whole lot more if they lived in a different cultural climate.

  3. I suspect many women do enjoy sex less than men. Most men have an orgasm (almost) every time they have sex, and feel some frustration and lack of fulfillment when they don’t. Though I don’t remember the real numbers, I have seen reports that 2/3 (or some large number) of women do not have an orgasm most times they have sex. And I suspect even that depends on who their partner is. After all, guys probably learn about pleasuring their partner only by trial and error…if they care to at all. It’s not like there are courses we can take that make us experts.

    • But keep in mind that the reason women in our culture don’t enjoy sex as much, is because their sexuality is repressed and demonized. Women’s lower sex drive in our society has *nothing* to do with inherent biological factors – it’s not like they are innately programmed to be less interested in sex by biology/nature. The reason they are, in general, less interested in sex than men is because of societal and environmental factors in our sexist culture. There are almost too many to list: in the media, portrayals of unrealistic beauty ideals foster low self-esteem in girls/women who do not or cannot imitate these artificial ideals. And how can anyone truly enjoy sex when they hate their own body and don’t feel like they’re “hot” enough? (Boys/men, on the other hand, aren’t subjected to these inflated beauty ideals as often as girls/women are. Hence, they tend to have greater body satisfaction, which in turn leads to greater sexual enjoyment.)
      And of course, there is the pervasive “she’s a slut; he’s a stud” sexist double standard which encourages men’s sexual behaviour, but punishes women for theirs. It’s a no-brainer to see how this societal attitude affects women in the bedroom, what with all the guilt and negativity impeding their sexual enjoyment.
      As for women not enjoying sex because they don’t orgasm from it as often as men do, this only applies to sexual intercourse. Since most women – around 80% – need direct clitoral stimulation in order to climax, intercourse alone is not enough. If only more attention was paid – by men and by the larger society – to how women get off; if only society began to acknowledge that intercourse is effective for men but not women, then women would orgasm more frequently from sexual encounters, which would lead to them enjoying sex more.

  4. I am a firm believer that maybe if negative connotation was not always attached to women who prefer the single “multiple sex partner experience ” such as slut and whore, maybe more women would be honest about how many sex partners they have had . If I was always getting the thumbs up from my friends about the latest hook up I had and weird place I met up with some guy I prob would feel free to boast myself. There is a huge stigma on women about how “free” we choose to keep our intimate lives. Just because we don’t all talk about our latest conquest doesn’t mean we enjoy intimacy any less then men. I agree with the women who said some of us prefer to be with someone we love and loves us back rather then some crazy one night romp with a random person.

    • Yes, women certainly may not want to admit to certain sexual activities. But in cultures that repress women’s sexuality (like ours) women report enjoying sex less than men. And there’s good reason to believe that this is true. Women who are taught that sex is something bad often have difficulty having orgasm. Women who have been sexually abused often lose interest in sex. Women who don’t feel sexy (who feel they don’t fit a narrow cultural ideal) can be distracted by feeling unsexy. It goes deeper than that, as I’ll discuss later.

      All of this comes from a society that fails to value women. Change to a more women-friendly culture, and women will enjoy sex much more.

  5. I’ve been a fan of Fry for a long time. His occasional appearance on the show “Bones” is simply, awesome. I read his personal blogs and heard his podcast about the English language, extremely fascinating stuff. I personally believe that he was misquoted and like the media constantly taking only the information they need, the news of this “quote” or “interview” and issue has been blown way out of proportion. I have personally seen and experience what happens when the paper and local media misquote something and truly horrible feeling for the families and person involved.

    Get your facts straight, media. People need to think before trusting the media with quotes.
    Like Forrest Gump would say it, “And that’s all I have to say about that.”

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