Lovehacker’s Double Standards

Also: Why consent for males is irrelevant.

May I present for your interest this article from the Lifehacker column “Lovehacker”. In it, a (presumably female) person writes in complaining that her sex with her boyfriend isn’t enjoyable – mainly because he won’t give her oral sex and she can’t achieve orgasm on penetrative sex alone. She does give him oral but he doesn’t want to give her oral.

Here are a few choice quotes from the article:

It doesn't sound like your boyfriend is too bothered with any pleasure 
other than his own. [...]  If your partner is only concerned with his own 
orgasm, I think a serious discussion is in order. That level of selfishness 
isn't sustainable for a long lasting and happy relationship.[...] 

In regards to oral sex — has he said why he doesn't like it? Could it be 
the taste or perhaps even a worry about 'doing it right'?

However, if you suspect that it is just laziness on his part, then that 
really isn't on. Again, this should not be one sided and it's really 
unfair that he thinks this is okay. [...]

I can't help but wonder how giving he is outside of the bedroom. [...] 
If he is generally quite thoughtful and loving, that tells me that the 
bedroom issues aren't necessarily indicative of larger problems. However, 
if he tends to be more selfish and take you for granted in your everyday 
lives, that's something to be concerned about.[...]

 

So basically, here’s what the Lovehacker column have advised:

  • If he’s just being lazy in not consenting to give you oral, he’s selfish, it’s a red flag, and he’s in the wrong, and it might suggest that he’s a bad person in general
  • If he’s giving outside the bedroom then it’s still a problem but not necessarily indicative or larger problems
  • You two should communicate to work out something beneficial

In short – if he’s not consenting to a sexual act and you suspect it’s out of laziness, he’s a bad person and he’s wrong.

If the genders were flipped, would they dare say something like this? Fuck no, and rightly so, because it’s totally inappropriate. If somebody doesn’t consent to a sexual act, then that’s the end of it. They aren’t required to give a reason other than “I don’t want to.” This is the message we sent to females, and rightly so – sexual autonomy is paramount to personal free will.

But that’s not the message Lovehacker wants to send here. Their motivations are unclear, but apparently intent and motivation are irrelevant these days, so I’ll just follow the current norm and assume ingrained sexism and malicious intent (I mean, everyone else does it, so why not me, too?).

About the only thing the article got correct was that the right thing to do is for the couple to sit down and discuss what they should do about this situation. Calling him “lazy” and “selfish” if he doesn’t have a good reason is attempting to coerce him into something he doesn’t want to do. Again, if this was a female partner refusing to give oral sex to a male, would there be a similar discussion? No – it’d be “She said no, respect that boundary”.

I agree with the author that there should be no expectation of receiving oral if you aren’t willing to reciprocate – but the solution to that is not to give it and talk with your partner about it. Instead, we need a Lovehacker article that suggests your partner is selfish and lazy if they don’t consent to giving oral sex because you want it. “No, look, it isn’t about consent – there must be a reason why he doesn’t want to give it, and if it isn’t a good enough reason, he’s just selfish.

The hypocrisy of Lifehacker AU

So I decided to point this out on the article. And within less than 30 minutes it was removed for “violating community standards”.

comment

Lifehacker’s Community Guidelines can be seen here. Where, out of any of those elements, has my comment violated community standards? Answer: nowhere. It’s not even remotely violate any of the standards. The closest you could come is an accusation of “trolling” – except it isn’t, because it’s pointing out the absurdity of diminishing his right to consent by trying to shame him into giving consent.

Here’s the moral of the story, kids: men’s consent doesn’t mean shit if you’re not happy with his “reason” for withholding consent. And trying to point out this ridiculous duplicity surrounding consent is against the community guidelines. According to Lovehacker, if you’re a guy who doesn’t like going down on his girl, you might just be an arsehole.

 

Yeah, fuck you, Lovehacker.

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