CTBHHM: Tell My Wife To Have Sex With Me!

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 161—164

In this post we begin on Debi’s chapter “To Love Their Husbands.” Remember that Debi is working her way through the things older women are commanded to teach younger women in Timothy 2. You want to know what this entire chapter on wives loving their husbands is about? I bet you can guess. Sex. That’s right, I’m not surprised either. I do need to start with a warning, though. If you’ve ever experienced intimate partner rape, I’d suggest you either read carefully or skip this post altogether.

Loving him means putting his needs before your own. I am a minister. If you are a wife, you, too, are a minister. Our ministry is directed toward our husbands and then our children. We were, and are, created to be help meets. Every day and every night we need to be ready to minister to his needs.

Because describing sex as “ministering to his needs” isn’t creepy at all!

And now we have a letter, which Debi gives the caption “A Normal Guy.”

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Pearl,

I am in a dilemma and need you guys to write my wife and tell her what I say is true. My wife thinks I am a sex pervert because I need sex. She feels I am not sensitive to her needs when I want sex and she doesn’t, which is most of the time. She will give me sex, but it hurts her feelings that I do not love her enough to consider her first. I tried to explain to her that to a man sex is just like having to eat. When I have missed a meal I unconsciously roam the kitchen, opening cabinet doors, and peer into the refrigerator, just looking and looking. I told her that a few days without sex leaves me in the same condition sexually. No matter how much I love her and respect her feelings and needs, I still have this overwhelming sexual need that drives me until it is satisfied.

There are very few times when everything is just right for her. She is exhausted, or has a backache or not healed right down there or whatever she comes up with. I tried to explain to her that she is setting me up for temptation, and that really set her off. Now I am not only a pervert, I am also unfaithful in my heart, so she is upset every time a good-looking girl walks by.

Please tell her I just down-right need my woman. That’s the bottom line; I am normal—all guys need a woman. She said I made it until I was 23 without sex, so why do I have to have it now? I told her when I was single, I did not have to see one undress or lie in the bed and know I could if I wanted to. I just want to come home and be a family man. I want to crawl into bed at night with a woman who is glad I am her man, and I want to make love every few days so I don’t have to think about the girls at work. Would you write her and explain all this to her. Maybe if she heard from you she might understand that I have feelings, too—physical feelings as well as emotional feelings.

Micah

First of all, unless Micah is a high school teacher (and I very much hope he is not), the strange female creatures (to use Michael’s term) he’s looking at at work are women, not girls.

Next, has Micah literally not thought of helping with the kids and the house after supper so that his wife won’t be so exhausted when bedtime comes? Can he seriously hear “I have a backache” and think about how awful his wife is for not wanting to have sex with him without even considering that she might need a back rub? And what in the name of all that is holy is this bit about Micah being upset with his wife when she doesn’t want to have sex because her vagina has not fully healed from childbirth?! You cannot—cannot—be more of an asshole than that. You try pushing a baby out of your vagina, ripping the skin of your vulva such that it has to be stitched back together, and then hopping between the sheets! I cannot believe how freaking insensitive Micah is!

The sad thing is that Micah started out so well. He’s right that having sexual urges doesn’t make him a pervert. I have to wonder if his wife grew up with such conservative ideas about sex that she’s been unable to shake them. It’s more probable that Micah and his wife are simply not sexually matched. From his letter, it sounds like he has a much higher sex drive than his wife. And you know what? That does suck. I’ve known women in the same boat—dating or married to men who simply don’t want sex as often as they do. Yes, you read that right—this sexual mismatched thing can go either way. Micah needs to know that it’s not just him, and then needs to be given healthy tools for handling this mismatch. And in case you’re wondering, “tell my wife to have sex with me even when she doesn’t want to” is absolutely not one of those healthy tools.

Also, Micah, telling your wife that she better put out or you might just be forced to cheat on her is totally not okay. It’s a threat, and it’s shifting blame. Your wife was damn right to be upset when you told her that!

Debi doesn’t follow this letter with commentary. Instead, she starts with this verse:

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:31—32). 

Then she offers bullet points that, presumably, expound upon what this verse means:

  • God’s ultimate goal is for you to meet your man’s needs.
  • God’s original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions.
  • From the beginning, God meant for us to be a comfort, a blessing, a reward, a friend, an encouragement, and a right-hand woman.

In other words, women were created to meet men’s needs, so they darned well better put out. If they don’t, after all, they’re not meeting their men’s needs, and that’s their whole purpose for existing. Debi then offers this dialogue:

“What can I do to help you, Adam?”

“Pick up the other end of that log, and help me move it over here.”

“What should my next project be, Adam?”

“Have my dinner ready every evening, and take good care of my little ones.”

“That is a very strong fence you are building, and the gate looks nice. I am so proud of you, Adam. What would you like now?”

“Take your clothes off real slow so I can watch . . . . Yeah, you’re a fine help meet.”

In Debi’s other life, she’s a porno writer.

Anyway, moving right along:

A man’s concept of love and marriage is different from a woman’s, especially after he has gone without sex for a few days. This is not a “how-to” book for a man. I will skip his part, and deal with the ladies’ part. God describes marriage as “they two shall be one flesh,” which is their bodies coming together. 

Many men feel that marriage is not quite what they thought it was going to be. Some men spend their youth dreaming about the wild passion they are going to experience with the woman they love more than life. It is their expression of the oneness they will have with her alone. This is truly God’s design for a man in the department of love.

The man remembers the passionate and loving looks his sweetheart had for him before marriage. He had naturally assumed that she would always think of him in that all-consuming, loving way. When they were courting, that is the way she made him feel. He saw it reflected in her face. All he wanted was to satisfy that hungry animal he thought she was, and, for a while, she was all he had hoped for; but then that faded away. She wasn’t interested anymore. Her disinterest in him sexually is a reflection of her heart, and he knows it. There are a multitude of excuses women use to explain why the would “rather not” or why the “cannot respond” sexually. I believe I have heard them all. Her husband knows in his spirit that all her excuses are just that: excuses for not wanting him. 

Uh . . . no.

First, let’s stop giving guys (and girls) unrealistic expectations about what their sex lives will be like when they grow up. My parents and my church talked about the glory of married sex to the extent that I was personally profoundly disappointed upon finding out what sex was actually like. I’m not trying to dump on sex or anything, it’s just that the view I was given was very unrealistic. I didn’t realize that it was something that took practice, for instance. Sex is great, but if you go into marriage thinking it’s going to be an eternal sexual pleasure fest, you’ve got something coming.

Second, what in tarnation is this idea that if a woman doesn’t want to have sex with her man every single minute of the day and at the drop of the hat, this means she no longer loves him? This is absolutely insane. Debi is saying that any time a woman doesn’t want to have sex, she is simply making up “excuses.” Excuses for what, I have to ask? Women aren’t obligated to have sex whenever their husbands snap their fingers. To the extent that women actually make up “excuses” for not having sex, it’s because they don’t feel like they can just say “no thank you, I don’t want to right now.” And that’s something they should feel like they can say without repercussions, because men aren’t babies, they’re fully grown men who should be mature enough to except a “no.”

Third, this idea that women shouldn’t be taken at their word when it comes to sex is a huge part of rape culture. And more than that, this suggestion of Debi’s that when a woman says “I don’t want to have sex with you right now” she’s really saying “I don’t love you anymore” is both complete bullshit and extremely destructive. Debi is creating a situation where men will interpret a woman saying “no” to sex one evening as complete and utter rejection and a situation where women feel like they can’t say “no” even just once without risking making their husbands feel completely and utterly rejected. And that’s a level of dysfunction someone ought to be able to see coming a mile away.

When a woman is not interested in his most consuming passion, he feels that she is not interested in him. When a woman just “allows, cooperates, and tolerates,” it leaves a man feeling sick at heart. If, to a man, sex were just copulation, he would make his deposit and be satisfied, but to him it is intimacy, a merging of spirits, a way of saying, “I love you . . . I need you . . . I like you.” A man’s most basic needs are warm sexual love, approval, and admiration. For his wife to be willing but indifferent, speaks of neither sex nor love.

A woman is a fool to believe her own excuses or to thinks he can convince him that what she says is truth. Her half commitment makes him feel incomplete and unloved. By not obeying God in this area of sex and love, a woman is putting a terrible curse on her husband. When a woman forces a man into that position, it is the equivalent of a man saying to his wife, “You are a stupid, ugly, lousy wife, but I will still be a good husband and kiss you today.” A man’s wife has more influence on his frame of reference than any other thing or person in life.

Holy hell. Not only do women have to have sex with their husbands at any moment or the drop of a hat, they have to also act as though it’s absolutely and completely the only thing they want to be doing. They have to be into it, active, passionate. Debi somehow sees nothing wrong with telling women that they must have passionate involved sex with their husbands any time their husbands want it, whether they themselves actually want to or not. More than that, how can Debi not see that what she’s telling women to do is to learn to be good at faking it?

Man is driven to succeed. Hormones drive him to be the best at work, to drive aggressively, to build the best building, or write the finest musical piece. But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man. He cannot view life differently; that is the way God made him.

You know, this is the first time female pleasure has come up, and somehow Debi makes female pleasure all about men. Women, you better feel pleasure during sex, because if you don’t your man won’t feel like a real man! Really? Is that, like, the whole point of female pleasure? Seriously, what?

He needs a wife, a help meet, a helper who will meet the need God put in him. If a wife does not meet his intimacy and sexual needs, she is a help-not-meet, a helper not suitable to the task for which God created her.

I’m done. I’m so, so done.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Iris

    You’re done and I’m feeling sick to my stomach…

  • Jolie

    Two side observations:
    1. Debi’s idea that female sexual pleasure is all about men and this whole ‘you have to have super-passionate involved sex whether you like it or not- aka fake it well’ thing seems to be resting on the assumption that, unlike men, women never *really* want sex in and of itself; and it illustrates quite tellingly why this idea is so rape-culture-y.

    2. Can’t help but think of how patriarchal sexual scripts may have a lot to do with why the couple are sexually incompatible; I’m not ruling out that they genuinely enjoy different things and different frequencies, but can’t help but notice:
    -So, her vulva is hurt from giving birth. Now, there are ways of giving your partner orgasms and experiencing sexual pleasure yourself without actually involving it… (Disclaimer: I am absolutely NOT saying that you owe non-vaginal sex to your partner if you can’t have vaginal sex in any way; it’s just that if you would genuinely very much like to give your partner an orgasm, except that your vagina doesn’t feel up to the task, there are ways). Now, I reckon Debi& co. wouldn’t encourage this kind of exploration…. so it’s have vaginal sex that’s painful to you or be a horrible wife.
    -On the same note, the idea that men enjoy sex and women don’t/ just do because it pleases the man have to force themselves to enjoy it can work as a self-fulfilling prophecy. So you get a couple of virgins having sex for the first time. The man happens to enjoy it, the woman not so much- physically speaking. If they don’t believe the “men are supposed to be sexual beings, women just need to submit sexually and meet men’s needs” bull, and if he is a decent, caring human being, she will openly tell them and together they will figure ways of having sex that they both enjoy (as in: What positions work best? Does she orgasm from the clit or the g-spot? Where are the erogenous spots on her body? Does she have any kinks or fetishes he shares or at the very least doesn’t mind indulging? What are her main turn-ons and turn-offs?) All of this can be found out over time, but only on the condition of full sincerity from partners regarding their likes and dislikes, with an open, non-judgemental mind as a prerequisite. If, however, they do believe the aforementioned bull, they will keep having sex the way they did the first time, believing that’s how it’s supposed to be like, and it’s not going to improve.

    Also, I’m dying to know how Debi would respond to the same letter with the genders reversed :)))

    • Squire Bramble

      Yes, one can see that Debi is very sexually inexperienced, for all Michael’s boasting. Secular men and women express pride in being able to pleasure their partners orally and manually.

      Does any woman really want “Micah” to put the moves on her? Apologies to anyone whose loved ones have this name, it sounds Starkadder-ish and unsexy to me.

      Oh, and this is clearly one of Debi’s many made-up stories.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Probably accusations of the woman being a Feminazi lesbian in a duplex. Proper, Christian women don’t enjoy sex. Just babies.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I think if the letters were reversed, Debi’s advice would be something like this.
      Dear Mrs. Micah-
      The Bible says that you don’t own your body; that it’s your husband’s. It’s an abomination and disrespectful to not put his needs first. If he is not in the mood, or not willing, then what are you doing to make him not love you? I would reccommend making sure his dinner is hot on the table by the time he gets home. Perhaps taking effort to look nicer, maybe lose a few pounds and update your hairstyle?
      Or, next time he is ready to go, make sure to let him know that his EVERY TOUCH delights you to the point of screaming in pure pleasure (just try not to wake the children!). If he knows that you are a good help meet outside the bedroom, and an amazing “minister” in bed, he will chase you down when it’s been a few days.
      If you keep trying to “lure” him into bed when he is not willing or able, he will turn to other girls; girls for whom lovemaking is an expression of love, not just of flesh. You will be left at home, wondering where he is, while dinner gets cold on the table. Your kids will lose respect for you, because you couldn’t bridle your passions. And through it all, your husband will have the most amazing lovemaking of his life, in the arms of another.
      And you don’t want that, do you?
      -Debi

      • tulips

        Totally. This is so apt it’s unnerving.

      • Brennan

        You’re so good at imitating her style, it’s almost creepy.

      • akb111

        Also: You will go to sleep in a 4-bedroom ranch, and awake in a duplex.

  • Turtle

    “A man’s concept of love and marriage is different from a woman’s, especially after he has gone without sex for a few days.”

    This is the part my husband and I most took objection too. Yes, his libido is higher than mine. Yes, he sometimes gets a bit tense if it’s been a while. However, it never changes his concept of love and marriage. Not even slightly.

    It’s really bizzaro world how this strain of Christianity seems to make sex into this amazing thing that is either the epitome of all sin or the pinnacle of married happiness. Whereas a couple of sex-positive people like us who were promiscuous before marriage can accept that sex is something rather nice that we enjoy a lot, but it doesn’t define Our Marriage.

    • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

      It seems like they are setting up this RIDICULOUS dychotomy where “to express love” means “being super duper nice and pretending you don’t have needs/feelings” for women and “having sex that is satisfying for YOU” for men. In the real world, of course, both partners are capable of expressing love through selflessness, sex, as well as a myriad of other things!

    • aw

      But marriage is often, in their world, completely defined by sex. Nothing else. I have known very fundie-lite evangelicals –people who dated conventionally–who married only for the purpose of having sex. And the idea of doing that is sometimes advocated as the best “protection” to keep teens from premarital sex–have them marry extremely young even in new or unstable relationships. It is very unhealthy and leads to the kind of dysfunctional relationships Michael and Debi define for us in their books.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Well, it does make sense. If you can never really talk to your spouse, if you are fully bound by gender roles and can never just be yourself, how else can they achieve anything even close to approximating intimacy?

        My husband and I recharge our relationship batteries in many ways, many of them involving the playing of video games together. I can’t imagine that being “allowed” in a fundie marriage (especially since I tend to choose to play video games instead of, say, cleaning the house whenever it’s nap time for the kid). We also do a lot of our chores together, like every Wednesday when we vacuum and mop the whole house and we bond and talk while we do it. A MAN? CLEANING??

        The genders are so confined in their separate spheres that there’s very little overlap, and when the man is off working all day and the woman has an expectation of perfection keeping her busy, there’s very little “off” time where they could share hobbies or really talk.

        What you’re left with is sex. It’s easy enough to have quickly and quietly after the kids are in bed, and it doesn’t require the acknowledgement or respect of either party’s individuality. Sex is the only form of intimacy that is readily available to someone trying to practice a “godly marriage.”

  • AlisonCummins

    “But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man.”

    And how does this relate to Micah exactly?

    (I do think this is another fake letter though: Debi has previously said that pain is no excuse and this is full of her threatening style.)

    • Sally

      She even mentioned pain in her outburst to Michael in his book’s story about their honeymoon. I wonder if she knows not all women experience pain with sex.

  • Pauline

    As usual there are a lot of half truths here. The “half commitment” stuff, translated into actual good advice, would become “don’t have pity sex”–which is really good advice. It sucks to feel like the person you love and are wildly attracted to is bored & just putting out to be nice. (Of course she spoils it by basically saying “But you do have to have sex, for his sake, when he wants and you don’t, so fake it to make sure it doesn’t *look* like pity sex.” Sheesh.) My husband would much rather, even just for his own sake, that I get some sleep if I’m too tired, rather than have sex solely to be nice to him. There’s always tomorrow. (And he would HATE it if I faked it. Hate it.)

    The funny thing is that I did get one piece of useful advice from Debi, when I read this book with rather complex feelings of horror (being a Christian feminist by that time, and never having heard of this crap before) at the house of a missionary I was working with as a sort of intern (gee, was *that* awkward. Luckily I was never asked to promote the book or give it to anyone…) Debi said something like “Try having sex when you are not in the mood, you will find that your body warms up to it once you get started and you’ll enjoy yourself.” There are all kinds of problematic things about that statement in conjuction with the rest of the book, especially if you’re someone who’s not just “not in the mood” but has real, deep reasons for not wanting it (Hey, just do it and you’ll enjoy it! You don’t? There is something wrong with you!) but it did make me wonder if this might be true for me, and it turned out it was. It did kind of help to consciously find out that when I feel like I could take it or leave it (not when I actually don’t want it–screw you, Debi), if I choose to take it I will, with pretty much no exception, have a great time.

    The more I think about it though, that’s probably largely luck, combined with the fact that DH and I really worked on learning how to pleasure each other, combined with the fact that he’s NOTHING like the men in this book.

    • ako

      The “Try when you’re not in the mood, and you’ll come to enjoy it” thing is one of those bits of advice that’s true for some women under some circumstances, which makes what she’s doing with it particularly dangerous. It’s something that can work for some people if “not in the mood” is pretty much what it sounds like, and everyone involved has a flexible style that will allow for “Please stop. I gave it a shot, and I’m still not having fun”, but she’s lumping it in with this obligation to perform Or Else, and telling women that injuries which would make sex painful and possibly even dangerous to her health don’t justify saying no.

      • grindstone

        It actually does work for me, with my current husband, not my previous husband. With my husband, I can say, “I’m not in the mood, but you could probably fix that.” And I know I have the right to say it is or is not working. I can also offer alternatives to PIV sex that provides for him, or me. This communication and respect means that both of us get what we want/need more often, so win-win. But you know, it took a couple of YEARS to get to this point. I didn’t feel I could say no without insulting him. We had tense times. But over time it became clear that this was an activity for us that was chock-full of mutual respect and giving. In short, it bears no resemblence to Debi’s advice.

      • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

        Yes. I have a really high sex drive, but when I’m stressed I go through periods of having a hard time getting worked up AT ALL until something is happening. It took me awhile to figure this out, and since I typically am the one to initiate sex, it was frustrating for both me and my wife. But now we communicate about it, and she knows when I’m feeling that way and not to be afraid to take the reins a little bit in those circumstances.
        Of course, this only works because we both know we can say “no” “stop” or “this just isn’t working” at any time.

      • Pauline

        “The “Try when you’re not in the mood, and you’ll come to enjoy it” thing
        is one of those bits of advice that’s true for some women under some
        circumstances, which makes what she’s doing with it particularly
        dangerous.”

        Oh, definitely. She’s the queen of half-truths, which are almost always particularly dangerous. That’s also what leads to some of the reviews this book gets on Amazon that say “Well, there’s some really good advice in here in places, you just have to throw away the chaff…” Yeah, that’s going to end well, because everyone can tell bad advice when they see it, right?

      • Mary C

        Yep – Debbie’s advice allows no room for the kind of communication necessary for this to work in a healthy way.

    • Lunch Meat

      The other night Husband was watching TV and I was sleeping on his lap. He fairly obviously wanted more but was doing a commendable job of trying to hide it and let me sleep. So when we got up to go to bed, I asked if he’d be offended if we had half-asleep sex, and he said of course not. So we had quite pleasant, undramatic, sleepy sex after which I promptly fell asleep. Debi would probably take this story to mean that everyone should put out all the time, but I think it shows just how much better and nicer a sexual relationship is when both partners respect each other as equals and are in tune with one another, not so insecure that a refusal sounds like rejection, and willing to meet each other where they are. If Husband insisted that we have sex all the time, there’s no way I would be offering when I could get away with not doing it.

      • Lunch Meat

        Just to add–partners should understand that sex isn’t going to be the same all the time. Sometimes it will be hot and steamy and passionate and sometimes it will be just pleasant, as well as everything in between. And that’s okay. If a woman feels like she has to act like a porn star all the time, of course she’s not going to be into it.

      • Pauline

        I so agree. It’s like cooking. Sometimes you eat a sandwich, sometimes you cook something gourmet for Christmas dinner… it all nourishes you. Simple sex after a busy day is one more sweet moment together that strengthens your bond that little bit… as long as you don’t put stupid expectations on each other that aren’t based in real life.

    • Mary C

      I think I know what you are saying. My husband and I have an informal agreement of sorts that goes something like “I won’t do it if I don’t want to, but I’ll let you try to convince me I want to.” Meaning that we try very hard to be receptive to the other person’s foreplay – but if it still isn’t happening, then it isn’t happening, and that’s cool. This works well for both of us. We often are too distracted, tired, not feeling well initially – but a little “attention” of the right kind from the other party causes a change of mind. It took us a while to work this out, and it generally works very well for us. It comes from each of us wanting to meet the others’ needs, and trusting the other person to respect boundaries and limits.

      But the level of mutual respect and communication that it took to get to this point would likely be heretical to Debbie. I feel so sad for couples that actually try to follow what Debbie is preaching.

  • http://www.twitch.tv/eil0nwy/ Mira

    Ok, so, this “obligatory sex” mentality is what led to me being raped. I didn’t KNOW I could say no once he was aroused. I didn’t KNOW I had that right. I froze up. I desperately didn’t want it.

    On the second thing, yeah, no, my bf got really upset at me when I told him that a decent chunk of the time I was faking it. He said he’d rather improve and know he needs to improve than to think he’s doing an awesome job and I’m just meh the whole time.

    • Rosa

      I’m so sorry that happened to you.

      On the second thing…aside from your boyfriend wanting decent feedback, if he wants you to keep being willing to have sex with him the *last* thing he should want is for it to be a lot of work (faking it) with no reward (faking it). That’s like, classic conditioning for NOT wanting to do something.

  • ako

    I was just reading The Handmaiden’s Tale, and Debi Pearl makes being a handmaiden Gilead sound almost bearable in comparison. They’re only coerced into sex for a couple of days a month, and they’re not expected to pretend they like it. Also, they mostly have to put on a front of quiet modesty, not actively fake cheerfulness at all times.

    Also, her advice only makes sense if you assume all men are scum. The hopefully-fictional Michah obviously is, but there are lots of men who simply don’t want their wives to grimly endure a painful and potentially damaging sexual encounter, even if she pretends to enjoy it. There are lots of men who don’t even want their wives to grimly endure unwanted sex when there are no physical injuries. Many, many men genuinely want sex to be enjoyable for everyone involved, and are even willing to face things like occasional sexual frustration and criticism in order to make the sex that happens more mutually enjoyable.

    • NeuroNerd

      Margaret Atwood just did an AMA on Reddit. When someone asked her who the inspiration for Serena Joy was, she responded “No one in particular, but in general she was inspired by the women who make a career out of telling women to not have careers.”

      My first thought was Debi Pearl.

    • Ahab

      Debi would have made an very effective Aunt in Gilead.

      • Rosa

        Can you imagine how free and fulfilled she would feel as an Aunt? OMG the relative autonomy AND the power to enforce her authority on others.

  • Squire Bramble

    “What can I do to help you, Adam?”
    “Pick up the other end of that log, and help me move it over here.”
    “What should my next project be, Adam?”
    “Have my dinner ready every evening, and take good care of my little ones.”
    “That is a very strong fence you are building, and the gate looks nice. I am so proud of you, Adam. What would you like now?”
    “Take your clothes off real slow so I can watch . . . . Yeah, you’re a fine help meet.”

    Worst.Fanfic.Ever. That said, this dialogue is…intriguing.

    These are the only two people on the planet. Driven from the garden. Cursed to delve and spin. But now, Adam is building a fence with a “nice” gate. Huh.

    T-Rex kept at bay by logs erected by two people, but you need a “nice” trellised gate for when Mr Badger and Mrs Squirrel come to tea? Still – they have enough time for a healthy sex life, so that’s something, I suppose. Awfully decent of T-Rex and the other carnivores to respect the gate.

  • Sally

    “or not healed right down there ”
    I don’t know if this refers to healing after childbirth or healing after sex. If it’s the latter, the wife needs to see a gynecologist who specializes in pain with intercourse. Debi doesn’t even acknowledge that the woman see any kind of doctor (or be allowed to heal after childbirth, whichever it is).

    • ZeldasCrown

      I was also thinking that it could go either way. If her husband is too rough with her, or starts too quickly so she’s not “ready to start” until after it’s over (if at all), or any number of things that would make sex painful, would all be quite understandable why a wife would come up with “excuses”. If a husband supposedly loves his wife, how does he reconcile that with purposely hurting her? I’d bet the “letter-writer” hasn’t tried anything to help his wife out, such as talk about what works or doesn’t, or help out around the house so she isn’t so tired (or if she has chronic backaches, go to a doctor to see if there’s something to be done about that).

      Plus, Debi completely ignores (or is totally ignorant of) that there are things a woman can do to “help her husband out” that don’t involve her vagina.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Pretty sure she ignores it.

        In the version of fundiedom I was raised in, everything except PIV sex was considered sodomy. And I’ve heard of this attitude from lots of other people.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Which is weird, because there are sections in Michael’s book when he talks about doing things to make the woman happy. Like he says a man can’t be sexually fulfilled until his wife is, too.

      • ZeldasCrown

        I guess it’s just yet another way in which Debit and Michael paint their marriage in completely different ways. Although, how aware is Michael to know real from faking it? I’m sure Debi seems “into it” in the moment, but based on her book, how much of that is real? I suspect there’s a lot of manipulation from both sides in their marriage to make the other one think that things are one way when they actually aren’t (in pretty much everything). I doubt either has an accurate view of their marriage.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        That’s what I couldn’t understand. Debi’s book says Michael approved every word, so how could he not know? Having both books together makes my head hurt. :S

      • ZeldasCrown

        Trying to reconcile the two makes my head hurt too. I will say, though, that Debi’s book plays right into Michael’s hand. “Honey, you said in your book that you have to do whatever I want all the time, so hop to it.”

        I would bet that Debi hasn’t read Michael’s book (or at least not openly). She’s probably not allowed to, judging by the admonishments in Michael’s book for any wife reading it.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Not only that, but WTF was with Michael saying how sensitive Debi is, and how she “feels their pain,” etc.? I mean, seriously?!?

        Micah: My wife won’t have sex with me because she says it, uh, hurts and stuff.

        Debi: How dare you not put out, Mrs. Micah! Go have sex with your husband NOW!

        Somehow I’m missing which part is the sensitive part?

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Perhaps sensitive in compared to Michael? Though I don’t see his advice being any different in this example. :S

      • Mary C

        Lol that is exactly what I was thinking! Michael thinks anyone who even notices another person has feelings is empathetic.

      • Amtep

        She feels Micah’s pain, that’s what counts!

    • Jayn

      Yeah, I thought Libby was being more generous than I would be, because my first thought was that it meant from the previous sexual encounter as well. I can see a man being frustrated at having to wait until she heals from childbirth to resume sex (although, still, BACK THE FUCK OFF and let her be!), but if it’s from sex itself then something’s very wrong and she needs to either find a good doctor or a nicer husband.

      • Things1to3

        I have had this issue for many years with my husband. I have to be in the right “mind space” for sex and with children coming so soon after we were married we’ve never had time for more than quickies. It took me three years and lots of talking to finally teach him how to help me orgasm. I finally, about six years into our marriage discovered personal lubricant so I don’t chafe and spot blood after sex. My spouse still tells me that if I were better hydrated it wouldn’t be a problem. What he doesn’t know is that I spend a lot of time keeping myself in a state of artificial arousal (porn is SO my friend) so that when he wants sex, I can be ready, get done and move on.

      • persephone

        Your situation sounds miserable. I’m finally away from my abusive ex who demanded and coerced and threatened me into sex at least once, often more, times a day, and then would blame me if it didn’t meet his porn-fueled, drug-inspired dream.

        I’m going to try to believe that the other parts of your marriage are so good they make up for the forced sex, but I can’t believe that they do.

        I hope things get better for you.

      • Things1to3

        I’m finally away from my abusive ex who demanded and coerced and
        threatened me into sex at least once, often more, times a day, and then
        would blame me if it didn’t meet his porn-fueled, drug-inspired dream.

        I’m so sorry you were in that situation! I didn’t mean to give the impression that my spouse forces me in any way. We both came into marriage from places of profound ignorance, neither of us knowing what we wanted much less how to satisfy each other. Then kids were added into the mix almost immediately (we were both raised Abstinence Only and were each others firsts. I was his first and only girlfriend and he was my second boyfriend ever), on top of uncertain job situations and a serious lack of support structure for me. (I’d been away at college for five years.) We communicate well, and we do a lot of compromising, but it’s hard to work a solution when you yourself don’t know what you want, much less how to get it.

        We are good friends and balance each other well and we’re both really bad at sex. (I’ve spent at least seven years learning to give him a blowjob and I haven’t gotten him off more than twice in all that time) But we’re learning and, for me, as long as we’re making forward progress, I can live with that.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Don’t worry too much about the lack of orgasms with oral. Our culture makes it seems like oral is better than vaginal, from a guy’s perspective, but I’ve known several men who have a hard time orgasming from oral, because as it enjoyable as it feels, it’s still a lower amount of stimulation required for most male orgasms.

      • Kamil Kukowski

        don’t forget a BJ is the most disgusting thing a woman could do

      • MI Dawn

        WTF????

        I’m sorry. Giving my lover a blow job is one of the most FUN and wonderful things I can do. We have great sex – oral, vaginal, aural…. Anything that consenting adults want to do is not disgusting.

        I’m sorry you are so blind.

        MI Dawn

      • Helix Luco

        i don’t like the idea of performing oral sex on a man either, but commenting on the “disgustingness” of it is inappropriate. people negotiate sex acts for themselves with their partners, and judging another person’s choices is failing to respect their bodily autonomy.

      • Lyric

        I thought it was sarcasm, tbh.

      • Helix Luco

        augh, you’re probably right

      • Kamil Kukowski

        I never said I was judging another couple’s preferences, i was just voicing my personal opinion on the matter

      • Anat

        Then why did you use the wording you chose? You stated it as though it was a fact that everyone should know and obviously agree to.

      • Anat

        Huh? If you don’t like it, maybe don’t do it. Some of us really enjoy giving oral sex. And don’t find anything to be disgusted about.

      • Kamil Kukowski

        I’m a straight guy

      • Anat

        Well, if you find oral sex disgusting then don’t have any. Stay out of other people’s lives.

      • Olive Markus

        I like giving BJs to the man I love. Sorry :).

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        I’ve never met a man who didn’t like a little oral action.

      • Kamil Kukowski

        good for you..

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Yes, oral just doesn’t appeal to some men. My husband has trouble orgasming with oral and says that his personal theory is that part of the titillation of it is being in a “dominant” position, which he just doesn’t like. So while it feels good as part of foreplay, it just doesn’t “get him there.”

        That’s his personal theory and I’m not saying that it’s true that men like it extra for that reason, but the point is that not being able to get a man to orgasm with oral does not necessarily mean that you are doing it wrong or that you suck at it. Any more than a man not being able to get a woman to orgasm through penetration alone means that he sucks at it. It’s just one of those things. Everyone’s different.

      • Olive Markus

        Eeek. Sounds very much like my situation, too. I was always chastised for not living up to the expectations his hours of porn-viewing and celebrity fantasizing/obsession set him up for X*(. I have no problems with porn, per se, but combined with his addiction to it and his mental illness, I’m sure it fueled a lot of his ambivalence towards rape and coercion.

        Ick. The anger. The anger the anger. I need to not fuel the anger…

        I hope things are getting better for you!

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        I am so sorry, that is awful! There’s a lot of issues that affect dryness, and telling you that you should be “better hydrated” is ridiculous. Circumcised penises cause more friction, and it’s incredibly common for women having sex with circumcised men to need lubrication even if they don’t when having sex with uncircumcised men. Size can also be an issue. So can just individual variation in women. So can the absence of proper foreplay. Needing lubrication is NOT “a problem.” It’s just part of sex for many people and in many situations.

        I’m also very concerned that your view of sex is that it’s something to just “get done and move on” whenever he wants it. I don’t want to intrude on your marriage or be the busybody telling you what’s what, but from my outside perspective, that does not sound like a healthy dynamic.

      • Things1to3

        I’m also very concerned that your view of sex is that it’s something to just “get done and move on” whenever he wants it.

        It’s not so much “get done and move on” when he wants it so much as I tend to view sex as sensory manipulation designed to release feel good hormones. I recently stumbled upon the terms demisexuality and asexuality, and I think I fall between the two of those. Sex doesn’t do much for me and it takes me a long time to get into the right head space to enjoy it. We’re both so busy that I do the prep work ahead of time so we can both enjoy what we can when we can. For me, its not any more significant (and sometimes much less) than spending the time to cook a nice meal for us to enjoy together.

        I threw that post out there as a personal anecdote illustrating a situation where a woman could be sore from previous sex. I think you did a much better job listing the many possible reasons. :-)

      • Rebecca Horne

        I’m also asexual, in a sexual relationship. What’s helped in my case is teasing out the specific aspects of sex that I do enjoy and figuring out how to play those up, even if “sex,” as whole entity doesn’t appeal to me all that much.
        By specific aspects, I mean, for example, just enjoying simple touch; or having sex in a way that makes you feel “dominant” or “submissive” (whichever side you enjoy, if you enjoy either at all–oral sex is convenient in that respect, as it can feel either way, if you’re up for doing or receiving it).
        If you can find things about it that you do like, you can arrange for those things to be at the fore, and start getting more out of it.
        Or…I might just be bandying about unsolicited and unnecessary advice.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Lack of lubrication is due to a lack of adequate foreplay, and has nothing to do with whether or not he’s circumcised.

      • Olive Markus

        Medication did me in. I used to almost… overlubricate… (is that TMI? :)). When I became sick, it decreased a lot, but when I did desire sex, I produced enough.

        And then… medication. Now, even when I actually want sex and we spend an hour on foreplay, I produce almost nothing. I’m not even on it anymore, but it has done long-term damage.

        The unfortunate cycle here is that when you don’t produce enough lubrication, sex simply isn’t as wonderful, and you start looking forward to it less and less.

        Ack!! I want to be 20 again!! :( :(

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Yeah, some drugs (benadryl, for one) will do that, and, um… sometimes those things change with age. There’s nothing wrong with needing/using artificial lube, and it can be worked into the foreplay, so… yeah.

      • Olive Markus

        Oh, yes. Artificial lube is my friend :). I’ve never had a problem using things like that. I happen to find the act of using condoms quite sexy… which perhaps makes me very strange, but since I’m over sharing… hehehe

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        :( I’ve started to notice that too. I think it’s hormonal BC with me- every time I’m on it, after a few months I just have trouble with lubricating enough. It’s worth it to me- stupid cramps! But it’s a side effect I could really live without.

      • Olive Markus

        I remained on a supplement that did wonders for my cramping/PMS for about a year, but it killed my libido and response, as well. Supposedly it is good for other people’s libido, but you never know what’s truth or not.

        I’m getting a little tired of having to sacrifice one thing for another these days :P. It’s my frustration coming out.

        BC did entirely different weird things to me!

      • purr

        I have never been on BC. I want to try it, but still have about 5-10lbs to lose, and I am a bit paranoid that it will either increase my appetite, or just cause my hormones to start storing fat differently.

      • Olive Markus

        I think it reacts differently for each person. It did increase my appetite quite drastically, though! I gained some, but not a lot. Back then, it took a lot to make me gain weight.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I never gained appetite on it, but it’s different for everyone. It certainly didn’t cause me to gain weight!

      • purr

        it might also be due to reading Norm Doodad’s idiotic posts.

        Just sayin’

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        *snicker*

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Circumcision increases friction. That’s one of the functions of the foreskin – it allows the penis to move back and forth within the foreskin, thereby not rubbing against the vaginal wall. Given this, women often find that they need much less foreplay to be comfortable with an intact partner than with a circumcised one. Many women find that they need lubrication with circumcised partners and don’t need it with intact ones. (Condoms negate the effect, obviously.)

        As for the claim that “lack of lubrication is due to a lack of adequate foreplay,” no. Not only no, but that is a rather harmful assertion. The amount of personal lubrication a woman produces is subject to variation between individuals, as well as within individuals – affected by things like where she is in her cycle and how old she is. Speaking personally, I tend not to need artificial lubrication at all for about three weeks of my cycle, but my own lubrication is very watery and is insufficient for about a week after I menstruate. Unless you are trying to claim that my foreplay habits predictably change based on where I am in my cycle, your assertion is plainly incorrect.

        Needing/wanting lubrication is not a personal failing – either on the part of the woman nor her partner. It’s an optional but perfectly legitimate part of sex. Resorting to it is not due to a “lack of adequate” anything.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Way to discount plenty of women’s experiences, there. It’s been MY EXPERIENCE that lack of adequate foreplay was the problem.

        Also, I never said there was anything “wrong” with using lube, so thank you so much for assuming!

      • Turtle

        “My spouse still tells me that if I were better hydrated it wouldn’t be a problem.”

        I drink loads of water a day and it’s made no difference at all to my vaginal dryness. I recommend Replens.

      • TheCarolineEntity

        That was my first thought too. I’m still…dumbfounded as using either one of those as “just another one of those excuses women come up with!”

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      While I agree with your general gist, the idea that something must be wrong with *her* if she’s in pain after sex is… problematic. This guy does not strike me as a considerate lover. He comes home and demands sex – he’s presumably ready to go, but is she? And does he really strike you as the kind of person who is going to take the time to make sure she’s fully ready before he penetrates?

      Going dry with no preparation is going to hurt anyone, and it is NOT a physical issue with the woman.

    • Nea

      Later, Debi’s gonna snap about “don’t tell ME about pain.” Methinks that Michael’s been at her before she’s healed; we know he was all over her on their wedding night to prove something to another guy rather than consider her pleasure. Yet again, because she has survived the abuse, it is normal and everyone should live like that.

  • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

    In an alternate, better universe than PearlWorld …

    Dear Micah:

    I am in a dilemma and I need you to listen to what I say and know that it is true. You think that I think you’re a sex pervert because you want sex more often than I do. I don’t. You aren’t being sensitive to my needs when I say I don’t want sex and you insist on what you want most of the time. Because of this, I’ve had sex with you when I didn’t want to and that experience has left me feeling absolutely horrible. Telling me men’s sexual desires are akin to eating makes me feel like hamburger or a steak and discourages me from wanting to have sex with someone so insensitive. I want you to love me and respect my feelings and needs, despite our mismatched sex drives.

    There are very few times when I feel like having sex with you. That’s because I’m exhausted from taking care of our child. I’ve developed chronic back pain from all of the housework and childcare I’m expected to do that you don’t help with at all. Plus, I haven’t fully healed from childbirth. Checking out other women in my presence and claiming it’s my fault is making me love you less and less each day.

    Pressuring me constantly for sex is a huge turnoff for me. It makes me wonder if, in the future, I’d have to threaten you with bodily injury to accept my refusal. Sometimes, in bed, I just want you to hold me without thinking that inevitably it must lead to sexual intercourse. I know that you and I were raised with a very particular idea of what ‘family’ is, but this lifestyle seriously compromises my self-respect as a woman. The Pearls have given us spectacularly bad advice and I would appreciate it if you no longer asked them for help with our marriage. Going forward, I’m willing to make certain compromises (that I surreptitiously learned about outside of our culture, not within it) if you are equally willing to do the same, not threaten affairs if I tell you ‘no’ or ‘not right now’, plus share the housework and parenting duties. Believe it or not, I have physical feelings too, and I think they could increase for you if you pay attention to my emotions and what I’ve just told you. Otherwise, for my sanity, we may just have to part.

    Your wife

    • Ahab

      :: hits the ‘like’ button maniacally ::

      Yes. THIS. Perfectly worded.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        Aw shucks, Ahab, you just made my day.   : – )

  • Ymfon

    “to a man sex is just like having to eat”

    Dear Debi Micah,

    This is me after six months without sex:
    “Hmm, I’d really like to hook up with someone.”

    This is me after six months without food:
    *lies dead on the floor*

    These two needs are NOT THE SAME.

    • purr

      lol

  • M.S.

    I think this has been the worst part of this book yet… Debi is doing serious harm to women here. IMO all normal relationships go through both dry spells and great spells in a sex life. Being available 24/7 sexually is NOT part of the wife gig. And, in particular, a wife does not feel sexual post-partum, while recovering from delivery and breastfeeding 24/7. This is not a free pass to cheat.

  • Shiny

    I still have this overwhelming sexual need that drives me until it is satisfied.

    Say it with me. Mas-tur-bat-ion.

    Seriously, if you need an orgasm that bad then go give yourself one and stop being a whiny sex-pest.

    I tried to explain to her that she is setting me up for temptation, and that really set her off

    The only person responsible for who you look at, Micah, is you. I don’t care if they were walking around stark naked and they are all Playboy models, if you don’t want to be tempted by them then you don’t need to check them out.

    know I could if I wanted to

    I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. If one partner does not want to have sex you shouldn’t even be considering it.

    • Jolie

      I’m seriously wondering how much the ‘all men are sexual predators with raging hormones’ mentality has to do with the same purity culture not allowing boys and men to take the matter in their own hands, should they find themselves with a sexual urge but without a consenting partner.

      • Ismenia

        Also he needs to accept that actually its normal to feel desire for an attractive person (especially if you’re horny) and not worry about it. If he didn’t see natural feelings as sinful then maybe he could be less hung up about temptation and more senstive towards his wife. As for the Shiny’s comment on masturbation, when Debi talked about “right-hand woman” I couldn’t help but snigger.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Right. It’s the idea that you can sin with your eyes. If he’s looking at a woman, it’s as if he’s cheated, which makes him a disgusting perverted adulterer. No one likes to believe these things about themselves, so he’s projecting, he’s blaming his wife for making him into the disgusting perverted adulterer so that he doesn’t have to face the idea that he did that all on his own.

        Add to that the prohibitions on masturbation and the “pornography addiction” bs and you have a recipe for destructive sexual views.

        (Where was the thing about Michael Pearl talking about how to talk to his daughters’ potential suitors, and one of the main questions he says to ask is when they last looked pornography?)

      • Shiny

        Because obviously everybody answers truthfully when their potential girlfriend’s father asks when they last looked at porn.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        That was pretty much his point – that a “perfect” answer is suspicious. The ideal answer is one that talks about “struggle” with pornography in the past but a renewed commitment (made long enough ago to be “proved”) to stop.

      • Jolie

        Tee hee hee… I missed that-one.

      • Nea

        Of course! That would be impurity. Also, extremely hard (heh) for the men to dump guilt on women. By refusing an outlet to the guy, they control the guy and blame the woman at the same time. (Plus, bonus chances to knock her up as often as possible.)

    • brbr2424

      I was very unhappy when Bill Clinton caved on his pick for attorney general because the doctor suggested that masturbation was a healthy alternative to teen sex.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        The Jocelyn Elders fiasco. I was wondering when someone was going to bring that up here. Yeah, no better example of conservative politics / religious fundamentalism having a chilling effect on the federal government.

      • Trollface McGee

        Yep – especially since that would do more to reduce teen pregnancy and STDs than all the fundie abstinence programs.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      The “I know I could if I wanted to” just sprang out at me. “Micah” (I almost typed Michael, probably for a reason!) seriously thinks he is someone that any woman would love to bonk!

      • Helix Luco

        or he’s implying that he could force himself on his wife, since right in the same sentence he was talking about how insufferable it was to see his wife naked or lie in bed next to her without having had an orgasm immediately prior.

  • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

    This mentality is what prompted me to stay quiet and stay put in a bad relationship. I’m going to describe this relationship and dunno if comments need warnings or what but here goes. I was raised Catholic and him Methodist. This idea that men need and women give must be tucked into our mentality as a society so seamlessly- no ever taught me this. About him I don’t know. “I need this,” was his go to line. I rarely found ways to refuse. Our relationship ended shortly after one such refusal. I said no due to pain (I have since been to a doctor) and he was so upset he said something extremely twisted. He told me he was considering using me anally, the implication being without my permission. It’s really hard to write this because I feel like such a fool for going along with that crap for so long. But I thought it might be important to write that yeah, dudes like Micah exist. Even as boyfriends. At least I didn’t have to go through any legal proceedings to leave this guy.

    • Rilian Lunsford

      I went along with it for 2 years. Because he told me we should “compromise”. I said at first we should only do what we BOTH want to do, but he said if we did that then I’d be getting everything I wanted and he’d be getting hardly anything he wanted and that wouldn’t be fair. So we should compromise. I should do some things I don’t want to do because he will also not-do some things he wants to do. But his wants were ever-expanding. So I just kept doing more and more, because I didn’t know how to refute his “compromise” argument, and he would back it up with “i need to be fulfilled in the relationship too”, “if you love me..”
      (and i am noticing this behaviour in myself with current person i’m dating and ewwwww i need to stop that. I don’t do it with sex, I do it with other stuff, but is it really that different?)
      Anyway, ex monster also pushed me down and raped me 3 times and he won’t even say it, he will say “I know what I did was wrong” but he won’t call it rape.
      The times when I said “ok” after hours of “convincing” were no less terrible. i still have pain from all of that and i worry that something is really wrong. doctor said i was ok though.

      • https://aaatheist.blog AAAtheist

        I never know what to say in these circumstances except “be well.” Be as well as you can be under the circumstances. Take care of yourself and know that none of it was ever your fault. You were involved with a narcissistic, gaslighting sociopath that you are well rid of.

      • Rilian Lunsford

        “You were involved with a narcissistic, gaslighting sociopath that you are well rid of.” I know that now! Also I think he’s a sadist. He would look happy when I was sad or in pain. He licked my tears off my face.

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        As to finding yourself repeating that pattern with your current relationship, I had similar problems. It took me a long while to get out of that -yield and shut up- mode. My partner is very conscientious of this and gives me reminders- “No I don’t NEED this.” And he is secure in that I’m not making a comparison between them. It helps that we communicate often and thoroughly.

      • Rilian Lunsford

        I meant that I am coercing him? he seems to do it too, but maybe I am not asserting myself in those cases. but anyway I don’t know, like, what is really compromise anyway. I’m failing at asking a coherent question because I’m totally confused.

      • Rosa

        it’s totally worth it to seek out couples counseling for something like this. Just to have someone guide a discussion about it.

      • Rilian Lunsford

        That seems kind of silly since we’ve only been dating for five months? Also he’s terrified of counselors. he’s afraid they’ll decide he’s crazy and institutionalize or drug him against his will. However, *I* go to a counselor once a week. And anyway he’s willing to work on stuff, just not with a counselor.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Have you seen this before? I’ve found it really useful for all sorts of emotions and communication issues, not just anger.

      • Rilian Lunsford

        Thanks!

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        That’s ok I probably misunderstood what you wrote. If I understand you correctly now, you are concerned that the entire decision power always rests with you OR your partner and is never shared. I would argue that is one way to compromise; by taking turns. Generally this strategy includes the non-decisive partner having veto power. This means each of you needs to be aware of your own limits- what you would consider annoying but put up with vs what you would be completely uncomfortable with.

  • Lunch Meat

    I’ve told this story before in the comments to other blogs, so forgive me if you’ve heard it already. (trigger warning for painful sex)

    When I got married, my husband had had one sexual partner before me, but I was a virgin. I had never used any kind of sex toy or even a tampon. Our wedding night, predictably, ended in tears. It was so painful I couldn’t stand it; he couldn’t even successfully penetrate me without me reflexively pushing him away. After that, because I was expecting pain, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to relax enough to let him in. It took a few months before sex wasn’t painful and several months before I actually started to enjoy it. This was frustrating not only for the obvious reason but also because I have a fairly high sex drive and I wanted to enjoy it. We only got through it because Husband was willing to wait and not do anything I wasn’t absolutely comfortable with and because he did his level best to find what I liked and do that. Because of that I was willing to keep trying.

    I shudder to think what would have happened if either of us was raised in a slightly more conservative environment, if I had been taught that it would always be painful and it was my job to do it anyway, or if he had been taught that it was his right to have whatever he wanted. And the sad things is, this does happen to countless other couples.

    • Jolie

      I’ve been exactly there with my ex-boyfriend, minus the marriage part (though we were in a very serious relationship and had been for more than a year when we first tried). Even with him being all wonderfully patient and 100% supportive, it took me nearly 6 months between when I first tried having sex and when I first succeeded. I remember the feeling of my brain very much wanting sex and my vagina just refusing it; and I did get quite angry at my own body for it.

      Also, I think this may have a lot to do with attitudes towards masturbation; the thing is that oftentimes, the only thing you can do to cure vaginismus is to gradually accustom your vagina to having something inside, with fingers or sex toys. If you feel awkward and guilty about the idea of doing it, it’s not going to help

  • Charley

    This post reminded me of something I saw the other day in a different context, a place that is usually a feminist safe-space and all about empowering women. The comment was about how porn just doesn’t compare to an actual woman, or something like that. But it squicked me and I wasn’t able to articulate why. Put together with this (because I was raised to believe much what Debi puts forth in this section) it makes more sense. Porn is porn, and if you have a need for orgasm it’s always available. Women are people. Making porn sound like the poor substitute for a woman degrades women, making them into objects you (need to) use to meet your sex needs. And it encourages men to get coercive, because they’re such losers if they have to resort to porn. It’s the dysfunction Debi is promoting here, translated into secular lingo. I think.

    • Scott_In_OH

      And it encourages men to get coercive

      I think you’re right. They can reject Shiny’s recommendation (9/27 at 9:30 AM) and go back to bleating that men need sex–with a real woman, not a toy or a hand.

      I also think the point that these attitudes, or attitudes very similar to them, permeate secular society is very, very important.

      • Charley

        I won’t even guess at whether the attitudes were originally cultural or religious, but they are pervasive. What really pisses me off about seeing them in the religious context is they’re sold as the antidote to the problems in the larger culture, when they’re really just the same thing dressed up in Bible verses. And sometimes (as with the Pearls’ books) they’re even worse.

  • Baby_Raptor

    My boyfriend and I went an entire year without sex. Matt must be some sort of sex drive god. /sarcasm

  • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

    I’m doing my morning blog reading, and Sarah Over the Moon made an excellent point this morning that these ideas are NOT exclusive to quiverfull, or fundamentalist, or even just plain CHRISTIAN, circles, they are present in more watered down forms in mainstream culture.

    I can remember being sixteen, and considering myself a feminist (me reading Backlash pissed a lot of people in my life off) and joking with my boyfriend about women who use “headaches” as “excuses” not to have sex. It makes me feel sick now.

    If he wanted to try something new and I didn’t want to, I had to give REASONS, no was not enough. And the. The reasons weren’t enough, and I was reminded that I couldn’t know whether or not I enjoyed something until I tried it. If something sounded gross to me, I was being prudish, allowing my pesky female conditioning to affect my sex life when I should have known better. Yuck yuck yuck.

    Maybe some of these married Christian ladies would want sex more if they were allowed to have feelings, to sometimes have sex that was about having THEIR needs met, or to say no when they wanted to.

    • Jolie

      Just wondering: if you wanted to try something new and he didn’t, how did he react?

      • http://postnuclearera.wordpress.com/ Katherine

        This was all a decade or so ago, so I’m trying to remember, and I can’t recall it ever happening in that order. In reality, I was somewhat sexually repressed (for one thing, I was forcing myself to date men when I DESPERATELY wanted to be with women) but I still think my “no”s should have been respected more. I can see how our sex life may have been frustrating for him, and he truly believed he was helping me “break out of my shell” but when someone is DEEPLY uncomfortable with a sexual action “well, just give it one try!” Isn’t the way to go…

    • Lunch Meat

      Yeah, when I started having sex and it hurt so much, I thought I was a bad feminist because liberated women are supposed to enjoy sex all the time. Not that I had heard that from any actual feminists, but it does permeate culture.

      • Miss_Beara

        I don’t enjoy it at all. It hurts to freakin much and it feels like I am suffocating. I don’t know if it is a physical or mental thing. My boyfriend and i do other things but I do feel kind of bad and he feels just as bad. Bad for it hurting and being extremely unpleasant, not in a “i don’t care if it hurts!” way.

        Here is an article I ran across recently that relates to that… it is kind of long:

        http://ardhra.tumblr.com/post/9264155235/sex-positivity-is-rape-culture-in-disguise

    • Alix

      I had to give REASONS, no was not enough.

      That’s something pervasive in a lot of American culture, though, at least where women are concerned. (Can’t speak to other cultures.) It was a perennial source of frustration for me as a kid: I was never allowed to just refuse to, say, go hang out with someone; I had to give reasons, but if I lied it was a bad thing… Gah.

      “No means no” applies to everything, not just sex.

      Also, was it here someone posted a link to an article about how “indirect nos” (i.e. demurring with an excuse) are usually interpreted correctly as “no” unless a man is trying to pressure a woman into something – at which point men who are ordinarily quite able to parse indirect nos correctly suddenly pretend they’re unable to understand subtext? (I’ve lost the article link or I’d link it.) It was … kind of nice, to see people proving what we’ve all already known, given how often the “taking an indirect no literally” trick gets used.

      • Jolie

        Also, in some circles at least, women are culturally encouraged to ‘play coy’ and give a few ‘indirect no’s’ when they really mean ‘yes’.

        This is why I think a woman’s right to say ‘no’ (including -if I can say so, the right to her indirect no’s being correctly recognised as ‘no’) is so connected to her right to say ‘yes’; and the consciousness (both hers and people around her’s) that she can say ‘yes’ when she wants to.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Cosmo is horrible for this. You’re never allowed to just tell your partner what you want, you always have to play coy, make him ask, then make him ask again…

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Because straight answers are boner-killers? Or something?

      • purr

        Boner killing makes God sad!

      • Lunch Meat

        My husband hates it when I act coy, even if I’m just teasing him.

      • Alix

        That’s a very good point. And honestly? It is … kind of hard to blame a man for thinking women’s excuses/indirect nos mean yes when that’s exactly what they often mean in their subculture.

        Let me be clear: I am in no way excusing rapists, or anyone else who assaults people. But, well, if you’re told all your life – and confirm this by life experience – that “green” means “yellow,” you’re not going to assume that green means green when encountering the more common usage for the first time.

        …This is why the whole “playing coy” thing creeps me out, fwiw. It’s practically designed to make women into victims – because it means no one can know whether their statements really mean no or are really yeses. (What the hell is the plural of “yes”?)

      • Ymfon
      • Alix

        Yup! Thanks!

        I need to keep my links better organized, really. XD

      • HedgieButt
      • Alix

        That’s the one, thank you.

  • Alexis

    Is anyone else noticing how eerily similar a name ‘Micah’ is to ‘Michael’? Just sayin’… Freudian slip, maybe?

    • Kate Monster

      It gets really creepy to imagine that Debi’s real audience for this book is Debi.

  • Ahab

    You know, sex in the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy culture must suck, abysmally. There’s no concept of enthusiastic consent, sexual compatibility, sensuality, or real emotional connection during sex. It’s just depicted as an itch than boorish men need to scratch, and a household chore that wives must perform. Where’s the pleasure or intimacy in that? No thanks.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I was a fundie and yes, IT SUCKS VERY BAD. I spent most of my early adulthood thinking I just wasn’t very sexual, but the reality was I’d just never ever had decent sex, so of course I didn’t ever want to have sex–it was always guaranteed to suck, after all. I hated sex, or at least what I thought was sex. I didn’t even know how to masturbate. I didn’t even know what an orgasm *was* let alone what it felt like. The whole time, my disgusting husband (a preacher) was crowing about how awesome married sex was in our religion and how sex-positive it was (for married people of course) and how his god made sex soooo much more fulfilling and wonderful and everything, but at home we had a typical fundie sex life–he’d beg, plead, and occasionally force his way into sex, and I’d do everything I could to forestall it or push it away. It was a war almost every night, one we both lied about during the day. I literally didn’t know any better; I thought that’s how everybody’s marriage was, and Christian literature like this book reinforces that concept all the time. “Men are from Mars” does the same thing, just in fancier language; Debi takes the full-frontal assault tactic, but she’s not saying anything different from her apologetics peers.

      Anybody who thinks fundie guys want virgins for any other reason than that non-virgins might know they suck in bed and expect better treatment is only fooling him/herself. It’s got almost nothing to do with virgins being “pure;” I’ve heard with my own two pretty ears Christian young men talking about feeling threatened and insecure about their future partners–women they had not even met yet, mind you–having experience. It wasn’t impurity they felt threatened by; it was being with someone who had more experience than they had.

      • purr

        The whole time, my disgusting husband (a preacher) was crowing about how awesome married sex was in our religion

        Your story reminds me of that FLDS preacher from Texas who is now in jail for life. He had 12 year old girls shipped to him from Canada. He then tape recorded himself preaching to them about how sex with him is what God wants. And how they can only get close to God if he forces himself on them.

      • Ahab

        Captain Cassidy — What a horrible way to live, day after day. I’m sorry you had to endure that from your husband. I was alarmed when you wrote that he used force, as there is no excuse for marital rape.

        Are you and your preacher husband still together, or did you free yourself from his indignities?

      • LadyCricket

        “I spent most of my early adulthood thinking I just wasn’t very sexual, but the reality was I’d just never ever had decent sex, so of course I didn’t ever want to have sex–it was always guaranteed to suck, after all. I hated sex, or at least what I thought was sex. I didn’t even know how to masturbate. I didn’t even know what an orgasm *was* let alone what it felt like.”

        That’s pretty much the situation I’m in right now. I bought a vibrator on the sly once (accidentally broke it without having used it much at all) and I couldn’t even get it in, it hurt so much. Once I made myself twitch by using it on the outsidey parts, but, wow, I can’t even make myself orgasm using a device made for that purpose. What the literal fuck am I doing? (Just for context – I haven’t so much as kissed someone in a romantic context)

      • BiSian

        BTW it’s very common for women to need lots of simulation on the “outside parts” to orgasm. I suggest you keep trying 😉

      • Liz

        Start with your hands and go from there. If you’ve never used a vibrator before or had an orgasm that might be a little to much stimulation for you. And just remember, it takes practice to figure it out. It took me years to get into a routine where I knew that if I did XYZ then I’d generally have an orgasm.

        http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/with_pleasure_a_view_of_whole_sexual_anatomy_for_every_body <– this is a good resource to learn about your body and how it functions. The more you know the easier it'll be :-)

        Good luck!

      • angharad

        I had the same problem when I first started trying to have PIV sex. Fortunately my partner was very patient, and once I was both turned on and relaxed enough, it happened much more easily.

      • Whitney Cox

        I know it’s got ‘teen’ in it, but can I recommend to you the great folk at http://www.scarleteen.com/ ? I know some of the people who answer questions there, and they’re absolutely the best folk to given solid advice about literal fucks.

      • Alix

        Seconding the recommendation.

        On a slight tangent: you know what made me fall in love with that site? I mean, not just decide it’s useful, but really made it my go-to resource I recommend to people?

        They are the first site about exploring sexuality and informing people about sexuality I ever ran across that treated asexuality respectfully. And not even just respectfully – their info on asexuality’s as good as the rest of the info on that site.

        It is damn rare that I find a site with advice about sex, sexuality, understanding anatomy, and so on that doesn’t also alienate me when I’m looking for info. Major props to them for doing it right.

        *cough* End tangent. Sorry.

      • LadyCricket

        Weeelllll, um, I still live with my parents, and this computer has a web filter that I don’t have the password to. But that is solid advice.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Oh, don’t I know exactly what you’re talking about. It took about a year after I’d left religion and the scumbag preacher husband to finally figure out what all that fuss was. When I finally did, I thought I was literally dying of a heart attack. But I realized then that I had a lot to make up for! :) Keep at it. It’s going to happen eventually. And knowing how to pleasure yourself will go a long way toward evaluating your future sexual chemistry with a partner. You’ll know what to expect and how to get yours, so to speak, and it will give you a lot of confidence as well. Your pleasure won’t depend on another human being’s good graces, but by the same token you won’t put up with a selfish partner.

        BTW… if you’re feeling distress about how long it’s taking to get there, it’s totally okay to see a doctor. There is a LOT of stuff a qualified professional can do, advise, and give you to speed things along. :) Please don’t waste your finite lifetime on stress and anxiety when help is out there, kay?

      • Rosa

        LadyCricket, not everyone likes vibrators either – they’re too intense for some people.

        I had a girlfriend once who had assigned herself 15 minutes of masturbation a day, until she figured it out. No specific thing, just to try to find things that felt good for 15 minutes a day. it worked out pretty well but she said at first she really had to force herself to it because she had a real emotional resistance to it on a bunch of levels – feeling like it was something that should come naturally and not require work was part of it.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        There are outside-only stimulators you can use, too. I don’t like vibrators that are also dildos very much- they’re too intense for me, like Rosa said for some people. There’s cute ones shaped like bugs or flowers that strap on over the hips and rest against the clitoris/g-spot, though, and I like those. It can take time and experimentation to figure out what you like; I wasn’t even raised fundamentalist or even very religious at all (and not Christian), but I still took a long time in my early twenties to figure out how to masturbate.

  • onamission5

    My interpretation of Debi’s take on marital sex, in a nutshell: A) It is fine for husbands to rape their wives. B) If you don’t enjoy your own rape, you are a horrible person and a failure as a woman and neither your husband nor god will love you any more.

    Like I said before, I can’t see anything resembling empathy from her, just projection. Projection that is horrible and sad and tragic, given the subject.

    • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

      The name of the letter writer is making me think this is more than just projection, more autobiographical.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      and C) If you do refuse this rape somehow, not only are you a bad person but your husband will leave you for a stripper and you will die alone in an apartment in a ghetto while he parties up with his new stripper wife.

    • purr

      You also have to enjoy the forced pregnancies that may result. Anything else will make you a selfish non-woman.

  • DigitalAngel3

    OMG!! this passage has seriously screwed me over! I read this as a young, naive Christian wife during my “try-to-be-the-best-christian-wife” phase. Now 10+ years later after having gotten away from Christianity and growing upon a bit and realizing that marriage is a partnership not a dictatorship, this is still in the back of my mind. When I have an I’m-too-tired night and hubby is OKAY with that, yet when he rolls over and goes to sleep I’m up for the next few min trying to quiet these demons of doubt. The ones that say “oh, you didn’t satisfy your hubby, he might find someone who will satisfy him” ! Like seriously brain hubby loves me and is not going to cheat on me!! I so blame Debi and her book for those unhealthy doubts in my marriage.

  • onamission5

    Spouse and I started out like sex-starved bunnies in the first decade of our relationship. Both of us had high sex drives, a lot of experience, and as such, we were quite physically compatible, but this has started to wane over the past few years so that now, 13 years in, ever since my miscarriage, my sex drive has tapered off to practically nil. This is difficult for Spouse because his own sex drive hasn’t budged. He definitely wants more than we have in that regard, and sometimes he gets scared that I don’t find him attractive any more. So you know what he says to me? He says, “I love you and I will wait as long as is needed to for you to be in the mood because our relationship is built on more than sex and I’m in this with you for good.” and then he says “If there’s something bothering you, or anything I can do to help, I am here for you so just ask.” Then he hugs me and leaves me alone. Even if he’s really horny. Even if it’s been months. Even when he’s feeling super insecure about my feelings for him and desperately wants validation. He accepts me telling him verbally how I feel about him and showing him how much I care with other actions like trying to be a good listener; he does not want or need me to have sex with him in order to validate him when sex is the furthest thing from my mind.
    Because he’s not a rapist.

    • TLC

      You are a very fortunate woman to have such an understanding husband! Kudos to both of you for building the kind of relationship where this is possible. **turns green with envy — the good kind!**

    • Miss_Beara

      What a lovely husband you have!

      • onamission5

        Dashing the whole conservative Christian assumption that men won’t commit or show respect if women have sex with them before marriage, and also that you can’t have a healthy relationship without jesus, we’re neither legally married nor remotely religious!
        Yes he is wonderful, truly, madly, deeply. I think the whole “not a rapist” non-coercive part of his character is just basic human decency, though. Basic human decency that is entirely too uncommon as to be considered amazing when it happens. *sad*

      • Olive Markus

        Amen.

        We’re common-law married.. or something :D. I call him my husband anyway and he calls me his wife. We had to fill out some domestic partnership papers once, so we celebrate that anniversary by trying to remember every year exactly when we signed those papers!

        He wears a ring and I don’t.

        If we ever feel like it or need to for some reason, we’ll officially get married.

        All those who claim that a woman needs to trap a man through “purity,” virginity, religious ceremonies and paperwork for fidelity and support can go… well, you know what.

    • Rachel Heston-Davis

      And, ironically, the ability you have to communicate, and your freedom to say no, has obviously given you the space and safety to consider his feelings and be understanding of them (rather than being beaten over the head by a book author about how much empathy you should be having for him and how you should be gritting your teeth and smiling). When communication and respect enter the picture, both parties are able to feel safer AND understand their partner’s feelings better.

    • Olive Markus

      I’ve had very similar conversations with my husband. Just the other day, in fact, while talking about my hormonal imbalances, waning sex-drive and everything I’m doing to try to fix it, he simply said “Whatever you need, you know I’ll be with you.”

      My current problem sucks for both of us. I WANT to want more sex as much as he wants more sex. In the beginning of our relationship, I had the more active drive and I actually had to learn not to take his lower libido personally. And then things switched, and they switched fast. We’ve gone months without, as well, and he’s never done a single thing to pressure me. Ever. He can hug me and cuddle and touch and not feel as I’m obligated to be his sex toy because of it.

      For all of these religious people claiming that they build real relationships while we are no more than sex-crazed animals responsible for the destruction of the world, they are the ones with the most immature, shallow vision of marriage and relationships I’ve ever seen.

    • http://pro-abortion-rights.tumblr.com/ L.J.

      One of the moments that led me to decide to marry my husband was when, for some reason, a tryst didn’t go through as planned. Maybe I was menstruating heavily, I don’t remember. Since we were both busy and not cohabitating, opportunities for sex were rare and I was anxious that he would be disappointed. Instead he told me he was just glad we had met up; he liked me a whole lot more than he liked sex. And then we cuddled while I listened to this inner voice that told me this dude was a keeper.

      The thing that kills me is, isn’t that pretty much what evangelical Christian dating/courtship should be all the time? If there is a reason to keep sex out of the equation, isn’t it because you’re supposed to see the other person as a person in their own right and not a tool to fulfill your desires? (Just to be clear I’m not Christian and had sex before marriage, something I feel no guilt about. I’m just trying to see the premarital sex ban from an internal point of view.) So why do that restraint and respect fly out the window the moment you tie the knot and suddenly it’s okay to see one person as a thing or a means? Getting cognitive dissonance here like whoa.

      • Olive Markus

        You’ve made an excellent point. It seems like the moment a couple is married, a woman is nothing more than a blow up doll. But the whole point of pre-marital purity is because women are worth so much more than just sex, right? Right? Ummmm…

      • http://pro-abortion-rights.tumblr.com/ L.J.

        Maybe it’s the Madonna/Whore divide in a sneakier form. Though I doubt most fundamentalist Christian men consciously think of their wives as prostitutes* (at least I seriously hope not), maybe there’s this mindset that a woman is entitled to respect only as long as she’s a virgin–the moment she isn’t, even through the approved institution of marriage, she’s no longer deserving of sexual autonomy because she no longer has a virgin’s purity. Of course, women who have unapproved sex outside of heterosexual marriage or even suffered rape are accorded even less respect. Furthermore, since enforced virginity isn’t true sexual autonomy this means NO woman ever has full authority over her body at any time in her life. The obvious corollary is that women are not human beings but objects for men’s gratification.

        * And by “prostitute” I don’t mean, of course, that sex workers have no bodily autonomy. Rather I’m referring to the particular patriarchal/puritanical mindset that some classes of women are objects to be used. As discussed, though, the “Madonna” is in truth as much an object as the “whore” in this mindset.

        Whew, typing all that makes me want to take a shower.

      • Olive Markus

        I’ve always said that Church taught me that the entirety of my worth is located in my hymen.

        Whether they’ve thought their beliefs through or not, this is what it comes down to.

        I get what you mean about prostitution. These men believe that because they went through the effort of buying her (errr… marrying her), she is now his (people unfortunately believe that prostitutes literally become the property of the person paying, which is sick and wrong, but there it is). He paid the price and now she needs to deliver the goods. That’s what she’s for.

        All patriarchal beliefs place women as objects. There is no other way to continue these beliefs.

      • http://pro-abortion-rights.tumblr.com/ L.J.

        Whether they’ve thought their beliefs through or not

        It’s the fact that they haven’t that’s the most frightening of all, I think. They’re too morally cowardly to think through the implications of their own belief system.

        He paid the price and now she needs to deliver the goods.

        I don’t get this. I mean on a purely practical level. Doesn’t the bride’s family pay a dowry in fundamentalist circles? Libby Anne posted about how her college education was to be her dowry, and Baby_Raptor responded with a nightmarish story of her biological relatives (let’s not dignify these people with the name “family”) paying her rapist a dowry to marry her. Therefore, leaving aside all the other layers of wrong and focusing purely on the transaction, isn’t it the bride, or her family, that’s buying her a groom?

        Evangelical economics: Makes no sense since 4,000 BC.

        All patriarchal beliefs place women as objects. There is no other way to continue these beliefs.

        Word.

      • Olive Markus

        I hadn’t even considered dowries. Regardless of how much sense it makes, though, no matter who is doing the paying, the woman becomes owned. I’m not sure how they square that in their heads.

      • http://pro-abortion-rights.tumblr.com/ L.J.

        Ignoring cognitive dissonance is the only way to stick with right-wing authoritarian beliefs. The ones who have the courage and intelligence to recognize the contradictions find themselves unable to maintain their former convictions and get out, like Libby Anne and others did.

      • purr

        What’s weird is, I was reading one of the Quiverfull blogs here, and one fella was writing about how his wife was the one who forced them into the Q lifestyle.

        He talked about how she was completely obsessed with living the life of a ‘submissive’ wife, and how she would order him to order her around and stuff.

        He said he just wasn’t into the idea, and that the idea of ‘dominating’ his wife completely turned him off.

        I think that the only people who really get off on this shit are the folks who really really enjoy power, or the masochist fantasy of being a submissive housewife.

      • Olive Markus

        Hahaha! I find this hilarious. She obviously has no idea what being in a patriarchal culture and submissive position really means! It means that what she wants doesn’t matter. It is her husband’s wishes that matter. Forcing her husband into this role isn’t exactly… The way it works.

        It sounds to me like she really needed to act out some submissive fantasies more than enter the Quiverfull movement!

        That made my day :). Hehe

      • Lyric

        Handcuffs are cheaper. Besides, once you have a whole bunch of kids, your opportunities to play June-Cleaver-accidentally-forgot-everything-but-her-apron disappear to near zero.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Andrea Dworkin, a radical feminist scholar/philosopher from the 1970s, wrote a lot about this. I haven’t read much of her work (it’s misandrist and dated in a lot of ways), but she talks about how a traditional wife is basically a prostitute. She gives sex in exchange for a home and food- she is literally trading her body for material goods in a socially approved fashion. The only difference between a wife and a streetwalker is that the wife only has one john.

        Now, obviously, this is a major simplification of a lot of things and does leave out that marriage generally has a lot of emotional connections going on as well. However, for fundagelical circles, her critiques still seem on point.

      • Olive Markus

        You’re right about the emotional connection that is being ignored in the vast majority of marriages, but in fundy circles, how much room is left for emotional bonding/expression anyway? Their version of marriage is quite overtly a parallel of prostitution, I’d say, even down to requiring the women to “fake it” in order for the men to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. That makes me feel dirty :(

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        An upvote doesn’t quite cut it :/. I’m sorry you feel dirty or went through such things. You’re not dirty- you never were. Sex simply can’t make you dirty like that.

      • Olive Markus

        Thank you for that. My experience was definitely different than the fundy experience, but it shocks me how similar my mom’s interpretation of relationships and sex is to this nonsense. It seemed harmless at the time, but it is exactly these subtle beliefs that landed me in the arms of an abuser who certainly felt as though he owned me.

        It’s icky. It has given me a lot of hangups, particularly about my worth as a person. These posts and support from people like you do wonders to get me to see things in a new way and work through them.

        I think it’s also why I have such violent reactions to pro-lifers… this notion of ownership and the value of women being tied to these things…

  • TLC

    “You are a stupid, ugly, lousy wife, but I will still be a good husband and kiss you today.”

    How ironic for me that Debi uses this in the context of a woman refusing to have sex with her husband. My ex was, by his own confesion, addicted to pornography and masturbation — to the point that he could not perform sexually unless porn was playing. He had no interest in having sex with me — he was too busy with his cyberwomen. But the quote above is how he treated me, and how all of this made me feel. It took more than five years to get this out of my head after I left.

    I don’t think Debi realizes that there are women out here that want sex more than men. I think her brain cells would explode if she knew that.

    This passage shows how completely unrealistic are the promises of the purity culture: “If you wait to have sex until you’re married, you’ll instantly be ready for sex on your wedding night. Just flip off that light switch, and your “ready for passionate sex” switch will flip on, and STAY on, the rest of your life! And then you’ll be having sex like porn stars (not that we know what THAT looks like, wink wink). All it takes is some vows and a ring!” Um, no. It takes time to build intimacy and communication and trust and all the parts that make a good sexual relationship. All the parts that courtship does not allow to develop because there are too many people around and no time for privacy.

    Furthermore, the attitudes of Micah and Debi are completely unrealistic for this quiverfull culture. Maybe Micah’s wife hasn’t healed “down there” because she’s had six babies in eight years. Maybe she’s exhausted because she cooks massive meals, keeps an enormous house clean, and homeschools all these kids. And then she waits on her jerk husband hand and foot from the time he gets home to the time they go to bed. And she’s supposed to be swooning when she hits the mattress? Not in the real world!

    And Micah thinks he might fool around with the women at the office? Guess again! Those women probably know about his home life and his beliefs on submission, and think he’s a sexist pig. He probably treats those female co-workers like that, too.

    Micah, pull your head out of your nether regions and take a long, realistic look at the world. I don’t care what Debi and Michael say, you need to contribute much more to your marrige than income and sperm.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    “God’s ultimate goal is for you to meet your man’s needs.”—I just know lightning is going to strike Debi any minute. Really, Debi? So you’re going to ignore the whole Jesus/reconciliation/advancing the kingdom/forgiveness of sins thing and point to wifely obedience as God’s highest priority?

    Debi is confusing me even more than usual today. Why does she assume that all reasons why women are disinterested in sex are just “excuses” that aren’t true? What is her theory on the women’s ACTUAL motives? Does she believe that women just arbitrarily and maliciously decide to frustrate their husbands for no reason at all? If so, why does she believe that all women arbitrarily make that decision at about the same point in marriage?

    I don’t understand! This does not compute!

    She alludes to the woman “not wanting” the man, so I guess that’s what she thinks the real motive is? But then…why would all women suddenly stop loving their man at about the same point in marriage? I just don’t understand!

    I’m in agreement that this (probably imaginary) dude Micah should help with the housework and kids. Or divide it 50/50. Or, at the very very very least, why doesn’t he tell his wife to take a few days off from housework? Just say “Honey, why don’t you rest up for a few days? I don’t care if the house gets messy if it means we have enough energy to rekindle our intimacy.” What would be wrong with that, I ask you??

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      I don’t think for a heartbeat that a single one of these “letters” was really written by anybody but the author.

      • Rachel Heston-Davis

        Girl, I agree with you. There’s always a tell…something that sounds just a little fake-y. For this one, it was his vague, hand-wavey “or whatever excuse she comes up with” line, because it just played SO HANDILY into Debi’s later comments that all reasons are just excuses.

  • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    “She is exhausted, or has a backache or not healed right down there or whatever she comes up with.”

    GHAAA!

    This dismissive “or whatever she comes up with” throwaway line is so telling. This is not a man who views his wife as a person who has needs of her own. This is a man who is yelling at his laundry machine because it often doesn’t get the stains out.

    • Lunch Meat

      This and the above comment remind me of people describing abortions as occurring for “reasons of convenience.” Women don’t actually have needs, wants, desires, plans, agency of their own, so when they don’t do what you want them to do, they’re just malfunctioning out of spite.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Or they’re being “selfish.” That’s the one I got hit with all the time when I wasn’t functioning like a proper Stepford Wife/RealDoll.

      • purr

        Women are expected to:

        1) rely completely on their husbands for everything

        2) be his sex toy

        However, if your husband forcibly impregnates you…YOU CAN’T GET AN ABORTION BECAUSE YOU SPREAD YOUR LEGS YOU DIRTY SLUT – CAN’T YOU JUST SAY NO?

        So women are essentially forced into a position of being sex slaves, then told that they are sluts and whores for…being a ‘godly’ sex slave like they were told to???

      • zoey

        hey those boys just can’t help themselves! /sarcasm

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Of course. Can’t win for losing, can you? There’s nothing left to chance here at all. No matter what a woman does, she is punished.

    • Rilian Lunsford

      He would say to me that it just means I’m not actually attracted to him. If I were attracted I would want to all the time ne! And the other stuff that I said I would do but I tried to put it off because I would NEVER want to do it, it’s not about being in the mood it’s about me not having the same “kink” as him, anyway I would say I’m not ready, because I had to psyche myself up to it, you know? but he would call that an excuse, that i was just trying to get out of my “promise” to do it. He didn’t care if I wanted to do it, he just wanted to get as much as he could. That’s what the men are like that debbie talks about, they’re psychopaths. You have to keep your word! Even though your “word” was actually coerced out of you.

    • Pauline

      What the “whatever she comes up with” line (immediately following “not healed down there”!) actually made me think is… this dude’s a troll. I don’t know–he might not be! But it’s just so over the top.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        I don’t know. On the one hand, I’m pretty sure that the Pearls heavily edit or even completely make up all of their letters. On the other hand, I’ve heard too many stories like this in my mother groups not to know that there are plenty of men like this. Hardly a week goes by without a mother saying that she’s nowhere close to having healed, she hasn’t even finished the “off limits” time prescribed by doctors, and her husband is whining that his “needs” aren’t being met.

        It’s like there’s this subset of men who have never heard of masturbation…

      • Cephalopodpeople

        Sadly, it’s not confined to the Christian subculture. You could wallpaper a small room with letters to Dan Savage that are like this. (And often Dan will back him up, to some extent. Uggh, Dan Savage.)

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Whoa! Dan Savage backs up guys who want to have sex with women who haven’t healed from childbirth yet??

      • Cephalopodpeople

        Not specifically healing from childbirth, but he gets very ranty about what he perceives as partners withholding sex for no good reason. He’s definitely on the record as thinking that gives the partner who wants sex more a free pass to cheat, at least in situations where he deems a divorce impossible.

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Ugh, that’s really disappointing. I don’t read his column, but I’ve mostly heard positive things about it. :(

      • Cephalopodpeople

        He’s very good about some things. He’s gay-friendly (obviously), kink-friendly, and pretty matter-of-fact about sex education. And he’s entertaining. But he’s also kind of transphobic and biphobic, very nasty to fat people, and has some massive blindspots regarding sexism and rape culture. Plus, the thumbs-up to cheating. I wouldn’t say don’t read his columns, but they have issues. And the comment section is awful and frequently borders on MRA.

      • Cephalopodpeople

        Also, there was one letter where he flipped out on a rape survivor for being triggered by sex with her poly husband, but not by sex with her boyfriend. In general, he’s just not particularly sympathetic to women who are dealing with trauma and sexual hang-ups. His letters in those situations tend to have lots of eye-rolling “yeah, yeah, I acknowledge you have PTSD and socialized passivity and body issues or whatever, but let’s focus on how your sexual dysfunctions are cruel to your poor partner.”

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Being sexualy compatable with a future spose is a very important thing to ensure a smooth marriage. If I want sex every 2 months and my future husband ever 2 weeks it’s going to cause problems. This is something you recognize BEFORE marriage. If you are creating unrealistic expectations before marriage, like say, expecting your spouse to submit to your ‘sexual cycle’ rather than communicating that ahead of time to each other what that may be it’s going to cause problems. Open, honest COMMUNICATION is not easy but it goes a long way in forging a happy marriage. This book rarly mentions cmmunication and it make me worry for the future of any couples who use it as a guide.

    • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

      Yes and no. Being compatible before marriage doesn’t tell you anything at all about how compatible you’ll be 5 years down the road, or 10, or 15… Barring the most extreme issues, sexual incompatibilities tend to be fairly easy to work around as long as all parties involved have a solid relationship built on trust, communication, and respect.

      When my husband and I first became sexually active, we were totally compatible. We were young (in our mid teens) and full to our noses with libido. But then my sex drive started dropping when I went to university and was dealing with a lot of stress, and it took an even bigger nose dive after we had a baby. None of this has mattered to our relationship – even though he’s good to go pretty much all the time and I would quite happily go several months without sex. It hasn’t mattered because, as you say, we communicate, and we respect each other, and I do put extra effort into getting myself in the mood and he is content with a “I tried, sorry.” And because we have many non-sex-based avenues for intimacy, reducing our frequency of sex hasn’t impacted our relationship in any meaningful way.

      • Pauline

        Yeah, this is a good point. I’ve seen a good deal of change in sexual cycles. Health affects it, age affects it, stress, childbirth and children, yeah. Establishing enough trust that neither of you is touchy about the whole when-will-we negotiation is probably more important long-term than initial sexual-cycle compatibility (unless the incompatibility is extreme. I’ve read of men who “need” to do it twice a day, now I wouldn’t be down with that.)

      • http://www.carpescriptura.com/ MrPopularSentiment

        Other extreme situations would include certain kinks. If one partner is *really* into anal and the other *really* isn’t, or one loves bondage, pain, rubber gloves, or rubber duckies, there could be an issue. But for the most part, human sexuality is very flexible and most people will be able to find a healthy compromise that addresses all needs in most situations.

      • Hilary

        Rubber duckies . . . . . ? I don’t wanna know.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        Rule 34.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor
  • http://www.letterboxd.com/gillianren/ Gillianren

    I’m now having the happy mental image of my doula “talking” to Debi about referring to pain as an excuse. She’d show Debi some pain. My doctor would, too, but my doula is a midwife, and I bet Debi prefers midwives to doctors. Oh, she wouldn’t listen to either of them, but it would have more of an impact from a midwife. Also I bet my doula can hit harder than my doctor.

    • Jolie

      In Romanian language, there’s a mild-ish swear idiom/euphemism which literally translates as ‘your midwife on ice’.

    • M

      My sis-in-law was a midwife for a long time. The image of her brilliant, 6-ft. self “talking” to Debi and that dude about taking vaginal pain seriously and waiting for proper healing is giving me fun giggles.

  • tatortotcassie

    This so perfectly dovetails with an article I read about a new book coming out that I’m just sick. The only difference between Michael Pearl and Joe Gorga is that Michael justifies his abuse with religion and Joe justifies his with . . . “I want so gimme”, I guess.

    http://jezebel.com/real-housewife-melissa-gorgas-new-book-advocates-mar-1371722729

    • Lunch Meat

      The way I see it, if a wife is a puttana, her husband will never feel the urge to go outside the marriage to actual whores, or strip clubs.

      Actual whores”??? So we’re just, what, “technical” whores?

      • Jolie

        Side note:

        A lot of people (not limited to fundie culture) use the words “slut” and “whore” almost interchangeably. I, for instance, see them as opposites. (As in: a slut is a woman who unapologetically and proudly enjoys sex in and of itself; a whore is a woman who uses sex in order to obtain other things: money, power, fame, emotional manipulation of a partner, social status etc.) That exemplifies interestingly the differences between purity-based and consent-based sexual ethics

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        I noticed as well when I was fundie that women who valued sex were seen as intrinsically flawed; they were viewed with considerable suspicion. Something had to be wrong with them. Denigrating a woman for her sexual past or behavior is about as low as someone can go, but fundies don’t see anything wrong with it.

    • Liz

      I just read that article and it reminded me so strongly of the Pearls.

    • TLC

      OMG, I just clicked over. I had to stop when she said her husband thinks she doesn’t poop because she never does it around him. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

      • Things1to3

        I just finished the article and then moved over to Youtube and had this advertisement pop up.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKLnhuzh9uY

      • TLC

        OMG! Now I’m gigglesnorting!

        When I was 8 months pregnant, my ex proudly declared at a party that we were going to have a child that didn’t poop. A woman at the party then told me about the “Everyone Poops” book. I got it for him for Christmas, which was a month before the baby was born. And yes, he poops!

  • Bobo

    Another reason this woman might not want sex (apart from the perfectly valid reasons she gives) is fear of another pregnancy. It seems unlikely that this reason would go over well in this subculture, or that reliable birth control would be considered acceptable. If I feared pregnancy with every sex act, but was ashamed to admit it, it would definitely squelch my libido and very likely cause me to come up with “excuses” not to have sex.

    • ZeldasCrown

      If one’s only option for birth control is to not have sex, and sex is seen as something a wife owes a husband, that puts women in this subculture who don’t want any more children (or even just don’t want children at all or a woman who has such a terrible time with pregnancy that it’s something she never wants to do again, even if she wouldn’t mind more children) in a tough place. I would also find any excuse I could to avoid sex (or severely limit its frequency) if I found myself in this situation.

  • tatortotcassie

    the only reason I can stomach reading this drek is that I’m half convinced “Micah” was trolling the Pearls and they didn’t realize it; and also that ridiculous dialogue with Adam reads like it’s got to be a parody. I feel much better if I view them like that.

  • Spectrall

    It’s a shame these two had kids, as it seems like it’d be best for them to just go their separate ways, like sexually incompatible people outside the Christosphere often do.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      In the Christosphere too–Christians, even fundagelicals like the Pearls, divorce about as often as anybody else, maybe more often. They just fancy up the reasons. “It wasn’t our god’s will” sounds a lot better than “we’re totally sexually incompatible.”

  • brbr2424

    Maybe the wife should use birth control so that she can enjoy sex without fear of getting pregnant.

  • Mary

    Does the issue of masturbation never come into play? Um….. sometimes, people have unmatched drives, and yes, it can go either way. In that case, you could guilt or pressure the lower-drive partner, you could tell the higher drive partner that they’re evil or dirty and to repress their natural urges, or……you could evaluate and communicate. Is the drive difference innate, or are there relational or lifestyle factors contributing? (e.g. for weeks, or sometimes months, after childbirth….dude. Not gonna happen. Your hand is your friend, and if you’re really nice your wife might even provide you with some…..artistic photos of herself to…help a brother out. Much hilarity may ensue. :) ) Are there medical/hormonal issues involved? Doctors are your friend. Is someone overworked/overcommitted? DOes someone need some basic sex ed/technical knowledge? Etc, etc. (ALso- sex can be more, or less, than intercourse. But how would you get into creative alternatives to work around issues for you and your partner if you’re not honestly communicating??!?!?) If the drive difference is innate, then you have two options- 1. End the marriage amicably, and this could be sad if you have kids and/or like each other otherwise, 2. Get creative/embrace self-gratification, or 3. Have an open marriage. (my personal beliefs prohibit me from recommending that last one, but depending on your beliefs it could be an option, as long as each partner’s health and safety is respected and no lying happens) While your partner of either gender should want you to have fun and should be respectful, your sexuality is ultimately your own. This is why it is so, so important to 1. Have comprehensive sex ed, and 2. To openly discuss sex and expectations, even if you choose to wait for sex until marriage, before you are married. If you can’t even discuss sexual issues with your partner in an affirming and healthy way, I cannot begin to imagine how you are going to have a healthy, intimate partnership.

    Just for the record, men having higher drives? BS.
    Men needing sex more? BS
    Faking it being good for your marriage? BS
    Having a partner whose ego is more fragile than your two year old’s? BS
    Having a partner who doesn’t care about @%$#%$#$ PAINFUL SEX or a HEALED VAGINA? SO, SO MUCH BS. I would advise that lady to separate, pending counselling, at the very least. Like, yesterday.

    • Lunch Meat

      I think Debi would disagree with you right at the beginning. See, “evaluating and communicating” places your feelings and thoughts above The Rules. If you start evaluating and communicating about whether this style of sexual relationship works for you, pretty soon you’ll be evaluating and communicating about whether you should be hitting your kids for having feelings, and then where would you be? No, better to follow all the rules and regard yourselves as dysfunctional if they don’t seem to be working for you. All you have to do is try harder.

      • mary

        Yep. So, so sad.

    • Charley

      But according to the fundigelical religious mindset, masturbation is a SIN. It says so in the Bible. Somewhere. I couldn’t actually find the verses. 😛 Adultery is a SIN. Divorce is a SIN. Therefore, the only options you have are to be silently miserable or guilt/coerce your partner into doing it when (s)he doesn’t want to. It’s a ridiculous and damaging mindset all the way around.

      • Mary

        Yep. I’m a CHristian, and I see nowhere in the Bible where it says that masturbation is wrong. Same thing with divorce. (That verse that people always quote about God “hating divorce?” Wrong. It says God hates a practice in which a man “put away” his wife without legally divorcing her, prohibiting her from marrying someone else but removing himself from any obligation to her. There is an organization fighting this practice in orthodox judaism even now. ) God hates injustice, not women’s rights. AT least that’s what I’m going with. Decent hermeneutics save lives, folks. :) If you think you must turn off your brain to be a christian, or religious in any way, that’s a sign that you are doing it wrong. (winces in preparation for lighting bolt striking my progressive butt…. j/k, j/k)

        http://www.rockymountainministries.org/mythbusters/17-mythbusters/56-marriage-and-divorce-myth-1-does-god-hate-divorce-marriage-and-divorce-myth-1-does-god-hate-divorce.html

        (don’t agree with everything there, but there’s a beginners’ explanation of the divorce thing.)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think the masturbation thing is tied to the story of Onan and how you’re not supposed to spill seed or something.

        Not saying it makes sense or is a prohibition of masturbation per se. Just saying I think that’s where that prohibition traces back to.

      • Hilary

        You’d think, given that the Talmud was written by men for men, they’d have found some halachic loophole for masturbating. Like, it’s a sin under such specific circumstances that’s impossible to enforce actual . . . . ahem . . . practice.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think they just prefer not to know. I’ve never been Orthodox, but I don’t think they harp on the anti-masturbation all that much?

      • Anat

        Spilling one’s seed for nothing is a thing in Orthodox Judaism. And there are beliefs in Lilith and her daughters – they collect semen that was left lying around to impregnate themselves and breed demons.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh. Ew. Well then I retract my previous statement.

      • TLC

        Amusing side note: my ex-brother-in-law used to be a UCC minister. He always swore that if he had the chance to go to an NFL football game, instead of holding up a sign that said John 3:16, he would hold one up that said Genesis 38:9, which refers to Onan spilling his seed. He loved the thought of people looking up the verse and wondering WTF? ;-D

      • purr

        It traces back to Onan, and Onan got in trouble for REFUSING to knock up his dead bro’s wife. IE, he DISOBEYED God, and that was the sin.

        Nothing whatsoever to do with beating one’s meat.

      • Mogg

        Interestingly, I’ve seen that particular story interpreted as uncharitable against the woman as well, in that a woman whose husband died needed a son or sons to care for her, and by refusing to knock up his brother’s wife he was also condemning her not only to social scorn for being childless, but also almost certain future poverty, with nobody to provide for her in a society where women had almost no way of supporting themselves. Bearing children was, according to this interpretation, absolutely vital for the woman, not just for the legacy of the dead man. I have no idea whether this isrealistic, but it certainly made me think again about exactly why a character like Onan might have been considered sinful or selfish in such a society.

      • purr

        Yep without male sons she has no rights of inheritance..of property…basically refusing to knock her up would leave her starving in the streets.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        I’m not sure that is entirely true. Women have always worked and some even had their own businesses that were separate from their husbands.

      • Anat

        This is a farming society where women can only inherit land under limited conditions. Not much room for business.

      • purr

        I heard a rumour that Mary Magdalene was actually the daughter of a wealthy fishmonger from the village of Magdalen, and that when he died, he gave his money and property to Mary:P

        And that Mary used that money to fund Jesus’ movement.

        The idea came from this show, so, take it with a grain of salt, obviously:

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487002/

      • Jolie

        According to the Slacktivist, not only does it have nothing to do with spanking the monkey, but actually…. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/08/19/the-onanism-of-teavangelical-republicans/

        So… He refused to knock up his dead bro’s wife. Now, why did he need to knock her up? It’s because his brother’s line needed to be continued, so that the widow and child keep the dead husband’s share of the land. As a childless widow, she would be utterly dependent in that ancient
        economy, whereas a second wife with a firstborn son has hope for an economic future. The law mandating brothers to marry their brothers’ childless widows (but never the widows with children was part of the Ancient Jewish society’s safety net for widows.

        A Deuteronomy verse (check link if you want to see this-one) specifies that men who refused to marry and give children to their childless, widowed sisters-in-law were to be formally shamed, but by all means not killed. Onan was dealt a more severe sentence because he was guilty of a more severe crime.Not neglecting to provide for a childless widow, but trying to weasel out of that duty while at the same time exploiting the very woman he was duty-bound to help. Attacking the existence of a safety net rather than merely failing to do his part.

        Therefore, if, in contemporary America, you see women working full-time unable to raise their children without government assistance, and the policies you are supporting in response boil down to “cut food stamps and any other forms of social assistance, abolish minimum wage, allow employers to not cover birth control in health insurance as well as not to offer any paid parental leave- or even to fire pregnant women if they so wish; then go ahead and tell women they need to submit sexually to their husbands and they shouldn’t be working outside the home anyway”, then you are committing the sin of onanism.

      • Scott_In_OH

        On whether divorce is forbidden in the Bible, I think one can make a strong case. Matthew 5:32, for example, reads,

        But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

        At the very least, it sounds like re-marriage is not allowed (or only under certain circumstances). For the Catholic Church, an annulment of the first marriage is required.

        There’s also Matthew 19:6:

        So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

        There are many, many people who interpret these and similar verses to mean that Jesus does not approve of divorce. (Which is not to say that’s the only possible interpretation, just that it’s a pretty mainstream one.)

      • purr

        jesus didn’t have a problem with people leaving their famlies in order to follow him though, did he?

        like, just walk away from your family…abandon them..

      • Scott_In_OH

        The prohibition on masturbation is less clearly from the Bible. The other commenters are right that the Onan story is sometimes interpreted this way, but it’s a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

        This is the Catholic excuse (from Persona Humana, Chapter 9 (1975):

        …[M]asturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act. … Even if it cannot be proved that Scripture condemns this sin by name, the tradition of the Church has rightly understood it to be condemned in the New Testament when the latter speaks of “impurity,” “unchasteness” and other vices contrary to chastity and continence.

        Of course, Catholics are not as constrained to follow the Bible as are Protestants, especially conservative Protestants, so I’m not sure where those denominations get their teaching from, unless they agree with the Catholics’ loose interpretation of Scripture.

        Fundamentally, though, at least for Catholics, it all stems from the belief that the only time sex is OK is when it’s between a husband and wife and ends with ejaculation in the vagina. Starting from the premise can lead to some pretty sick conclusions.

      • TLC

        On masturbation: My church said it wasn’t the act that was a sin, but the “lustful” thinking that went along with it, because most people have sexual fantasies while masturbating.

        On divorce: Most fundagelicals believe there are two reasons for divorce as cited in the Bible.

        1) Adultery (Matthew 19: 8-9).
        2) When one spouse is not a Christian, and that spouse deserts the family (1 Corinthians 7:15)

        They say there are no other grounds for divorce — not even abuse. You are supposed to get a legal separation and “pray for your spuse to return.” Uh, not much help for keeping an abused woman and her children alive!

        Keep in mind that the conversation in Matthew 19 refers to the divorce laws Moses passed down which said a man could divorce a woman simply by handing her a letter and kicking her out. It was a pretty easy thing to do, and left women little recourse. (Deuteronomy 24: 1-4).

      • violingal

        Re: masturbation, I was always taught that it was wrong because of the verse in Matthew involving using your right hand to sin. (Obviously, only if you’re right handed?) This was in Southern Baptist circles, though.

  • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

    I am simply heartsick thinking of what kind of life Debi has that she thinks what she’s describing is a healthy relationship between two adults. What a disgusting, sickening mindset. I remember thinking that way too as a fundie. I’m so glad I’m out of that horrifying religion. The faster we can get this sick stuff out of our society, the faster we can end rape culture and marriages like the Pearls are happily forcing on other women in the name of their god. That poor woman. That poor, poor woman. It’s just sickening.

    Thank you for the trigger warning. I’m okay, but I can easily see this topic needing one. And I bet Debi wouldn’t even understand why.

  • purr

    Sounds like the plot of The Stepford Wives

  • lawrence090469

    The so called men Debi describes are such pathetic cripples. Such sniveling, entitled parasites. They couldn’t survive outside the artificial exotic atmosphere of the patriarchy.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      No self-respecting woman, Christian or not, would put up with these mewling man-children if it weren’t for artificial inflations of these men’s opinions and desires.

    • onamission5

      There’s nothing inherently pathetic about someone being crippled, so can we refrain from disparaging disabled folks by comparing them to Debi’s depictions of sniveling, entitled men?

    • Hilary

      So, would you read my analysis of Micah, posted a little after yours, and let me know what you think?

      • lawrence090469

        You are probably correct in thinking Micah was a product of a toxic upbringing. My parents used emotional or physical violence when it suited them, so I understand it can teach some bad lessons. I am grateful I married and had a child later in life so that I had time to unlearn what I was taught. The essential claim of Micah’s worldview, which I never asserted, is class membership and class privilege. He asserts “I am a man. A woman must defer to me for no other reason than this. I must do nothing to earn this. I can behave in any destructive way whatsoever and the woman dare not ever complain or forget to smile and give me comfort. So says my god, for I am a man.” This basic authoritarian template can be repurposed to justify nearly every cruelty man has ever imagined. People must stop thinking this way. Micah also is a rapist. He is a particularly sadistic rapist who demands his victim pretend to enjoy his attentions. Mica’s claim that failure to accede to his demands for sex is an invitation for his infidelity. The idea that men cannot control their sexual impulses is rank bullshit. Many, even most, do not want this constraint, but recognize the necessity of it. When you really start thinking of women as people, the idea of this restraint being a chafing limitation disappears. Micah is part of the patriarchy, an idea as steeped in hate, ignorance, and blood as white supremacy. Forgive me if you are unfamiliar with the analogy, but Micah is a Borg. Sometimes, under the right conditions you can save and redeem one of the Borg. Mostly you fight them. With knives or your bare hands if you have to.

  • Carmen

    This might be kinda off topic, but I just finished re-reading Lysistrata, and I find myself seeing some parallels about men are viewed as entirely dependent on sex or they go out of their minds. The whole plot of Lysistrata is that the Greek & Spartan women get together and take an oath to swear off sex with their the men, while at the same time tempting them as much as possible, until they agree to end the war. The women agree that they will do their best resist their husbands and if they are forced to have sex, they will make sure their husband’s know they are being forced. Lysistrata explains that the men won’t enjoy sex like that (contrary to Debi’s idea). The women are victorious because the men become helpless idiots without sex. It seems to me that this idea that men need sex constantly or they can’t function has been around for a very long time.

    Interestingly, the women also have a hard time swearing off sex. Some have trouble just making the oath. There is a hilarious scene where many of the women try to sneak off from the Acropolis where they are barricaded. Each is caught, and gives Lysistrata different made-up excuses, my favorite of which was the women who said she was giving birth (“but you weren’t pregnant yesterday….why does your belly look and sound like a metal helmet?”). But the women are stronger than the men in being able to swear off sex, which is why they are ultimately victorious.

    • Carmen

      Sorry about the numerous typos in my post….end of a long, stressful week and I am not at my best.

    • Lyric

      Funnily enough, if I remember my humanities classes, the Greeks thought of women as the more sexual gender. So there’s an extra layer that a present-day audience doesn’t even see: “Guys, ending this war is so important that it would make women abstain from sex. Women. Abstaining. Think about that for a minute.”

      • purr

        Women were not allowed to view the Olympics because they would be too turned on by the sexy NAKED male athletes.

  • Carmen

    I wonder what this kind of thinking does to men who have difficulties with sex, for whatever reason. It is probably very messed up for them as well.

    • Hilary

      Probably would mess them up big time.

  • Hilary

    I am very, very carefully going to speak up on Micah’s behalf. Not to excuse what he is doing, but to try and put some perspective to where he might be coming from with some sympathy. Warning, long post. First, the caveots:

    1. I’m not from this culture, not even the Jewish version of fundyland. I’ve never been beaten, raped, or married to a man, so a lot of this is imagination and analytic observation.

    2. I’m not excusing him or this behavior. It is everything everybody has said it is and I’m not defending that. But a few things have caught my eye that I want to explore here. I don’t know if all three Pearl books have ever been gone over point by pont at the same time in the same space, and I’m drawing off of the other stuff we’ve read from their other books, mostly TTUAC.

    3. I’m not trying to offend or trigger anybody by treating him with some sympathy. If at any point my language is off, triggering, or disrespectful please let me know. That is never my intent but I’m walking though a minefield – no matter how hard I try the odds are good I’ll put a foot down wrong. Apologizes in advance if needed, my intent is to look at this behavior with some analysis for patterns, not to hurt anybody or deny the validity of anybody else’s experiences, especially people who have personal experience with these issues.

    4. While I don’t think this is a real letter, I do think this type of man and this situation is very real. For the purpose of my analysis, I’m going to treat MIcah as a real person.

    I just wanted to clear that from the start. OK, this is something I read recently from links from the Slactivist:

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/childhood-abuse-of-men-associated-with-rape-perpetration-says-un-survey/article5111439.ece?homepage=true&ref=relatedNews

    This is what really caught my attention in the article, after all that we’ve been reading about Pearl style abusive childhood:

    “Many men who admitted to committing rape had been physically or sexually abused as children or neglected by their families. Low socioeconomic status, food insecurity, low educational attainment, alcohol abuse and drug use were also associated with rape perpetration. A large proportion of men reported very high levels of depression, stress and suicidal thoughts.

    Those who used sexual violence against their partners were more likely to have experienced gender inequality in the home and child abuse . . .”

    I do not know if Micah has been sexually abused. It is possible he has, this is the type of culture that enables child sexual abuse more then others. However, if he has come out of anything like a Christian fundamentalist background that the Pearls and co. encourage, he has been physically abused, witnessed gender inequality at home, and witnessed child abuse even if he himself was spared being beaten.

    This is what really stood out to me, that we’ve all commented on how ‘training’ and ‘discipline’ for these families is well past the line into child abuse. Micah has been beaten for rebeling by having his own opinion, or simply not moving fast enough or with a convincing enough smile for adult convenience. He was probably told to ‘toughen up’ as a boy and stop being a sissy for having any sensitive emotions, even as a very small boy. People on this blog are (rightly) calling him out for having no consideration for his wife’s physical pain, yet do we know when or even if anybody ever gave consideration to his physical pain as a child? Where would he learn to respect another persons physical pain as a valid limit if nobody ever respected and validated his own pain?

    What made me think of this was his line that “not healed right down there ” was just an excuse. If he was raised as has been described in TTUAC, and by many people here from their own childhoods, the fact that he was still recovering from the pain of a previous beating would *never* have been reason enough to cut him some slack. Especially as a boy it would have just ‘toughened him up’ to ‘make a man out of him.’ The fact that any cuts, bruses, or lacerations from an earlier act of abuse are only half-healed would never stop such a parent from further abuse/discipline/training if they felt it necessary. Thus his disregard for “she’s not healed right down there” isn’t just him being a sexist boor, it’s a valid understanding of human interactions from his lived experience.

    Being beaten is (among other things) a terrible violation of personal boundaries. If he was repeatedly beaten as a boy, and told that he earned it or deserved it, he learned over and over again that his personal boundaries are meant to be violated by someone stronger than him or with more authority than him. From where would he learn to respect another persons boundaries if his own were never honored? In this world of strict hierarchy, he now has authority over his wife, and it is completely within range of normal human interactions for men in higher authority to utterly disregard the personal boundaries of women and younger boys with less authority.

    There seems to be two basic variations in reaction to deep personal trauma; never again will I let myself or anybody else be hurt like this, *and* never again will I let myself be vulnerable, no matter what the cost to another person. Many people reading here have gone the route of saying that “I hated it when this was done to me, so I won’t do it to another person. I’ll never do it to my own children.” Which I personally think is amazing, wonderful, and one of the best reasons to be hopeful for humanity. But “Nobody ever cared about my pain or personal boundaries, why should I give a rats ass about yours?” is also a human resonse. Or simply “How can I see you boundaries and needs if I am blind to my own, because I’ve never been allowed to have them?”

    Where Micah is between the last two responses, I don’t know. What I’m trying to get at, is his behavior didn’t come from nowhere, and connecting these dots is just more reason to stop the child abuse from the begining. Because if I follow this logic out, the Pearls are starting a rape culture in childhood from pre-verbal infancy on.

    Or I am totally blowing this out my ass, but I don’t think so. What do you guys think about this analysis?

    • Hilary

      Guys, I really would like some feedback on this. I put a lot of thought into connecting some of these dots, I’d like a reality check from somebody.

      • tdd68

        I think you are on to something. This fundamentalist subculture goes out of its way to destroy a child’s ability to identify and protect their own boundaries. They can call it “discipline” all they want, but it is quite obviously abusive for any but the most naturally mild-natured child. Once the ability to identify/define/protect their own physical boundaries has been destroyed it is just a matter of convincing them that these types of boundaries don’t exist for any person. When you then add on the authoritarian and hierarchical thought patterns, you have set up an inherently abusive system and culture. This abusive culture IS rape culture for the women within it, because the men are told repeatedly that the women exist only to fulfill ALL their needs.

      • Shayna

        It makes me think of of those psychology experiments where students were sorted into guards & prisoners. They all knew that the ‘prisoners’ hadn’t done anything wrong, but the power & authority given to the ‘guards’ led to a lot of abusive behavior.

        Even if Micah wasn’t abused as a child, his position in this culture makes it ridiculously easy to become the bad guy.

        To me, it seems like the Pearls are creating abusers & victims almost on purpose by the way their system is set up.

      • purr

        Even if Micah wasn’t abused as a child, his position in this culture makes it ridiculously easy to become the bad guy.

        I have heard TWRA’s (traditional woman’s rights activist) argue that patriarchy is just WONDERFUL, and that Islamic societies aren’t a true representation of patriarchy because ‘some bad men have taken advantage of all that power.’

        Of course, they never offer a solution as to how these ‘bad men’ can be prevented from taking advantage of all this power that has been handed to them on a silver platter.

        TWRA’s btw, are just the secular version of Quiverfull.

        http://unmaskingfeminism.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/on-traditional-womens-rights-activists-twras/

      • TLC

        I’m with tdd68. You are making me see this in a new light. If “Micah” was raised in the “World According to the Pearls,” it’s pretty likely he grew up being abused. Along with that, the “man is king” idea has been incorporated into his DNA. He’s stayed in the patriarchal culture, and he’s paid his dues. It’s time for all those purity teachings to come true! And he has no clue why his hurting wife won’t perform on demand for him. . . . .

        I just can’t imagine the frustration of both the men and women in this culture when they become adults, get married, and find out that pretty much everything they’ve be told isn’t true. And since they’ve been taught not to question anything, and their relationship skills are so lacking, they don’t know what to do.

        I think the childhood abuse is a part of this sick cycle that we hadn’t considered. Thanks for bringing this up.

    • Squire Bramble

      While I think that this letter is completely made up, and “Micah” merely an avatar for Michael, you have a point: what a man like this really needs is weekly counseling and behavior management sessions, a few lessons on social/ sexual etiquette and a copy of the complete works of Dan Savage.

      This is also the reason I assumed the letter was a fake – a man like “Micah” would not be able to function effectively in an office environment, even in a male-dominated field. As someone up thread mentioned, the “girls” would give him a wide berth and the blokiest men would tear him a new one for his sexual inexperience: “Ever hear of a blow job, Micah?”

      • Hilary

        I’ll see you the complete works of Dan Savage. I’d pay good money to see Micah/Michael in the same room with Dan Savage for an hour.

    • Liz

      I wasn’t going to step into this one, but I know you would really appreciate feedback so I’ll try to articulate my thoughts.

      I agree with you, but I’m still conflicted about it.

      I have always had a strong policy of understanding where a person is coming from, no matter what. I can feel empathy for a shopping cart, for pete’s sake, so going out of my way to understand *why* a person is being hurtful isn’t a stretch.

      However, the more I hang out around social justice blogs the more complicated it gets. For one thing, we’re both speaking on a topic we’ve never experienced, and as a result neither one of us gets to define the appropriate response to an abuser (not saying that was your intention or the result, necessarily).
      Also, sexual violence (which, in my book, includes violating boundaries, coercing a partner into sex, and disregarding a person’s pain during sex) are *never* ok regardless of the intention or the history of the person involved. I know you made it clear you weren’t excusing his behavior, just trying to understand it (and I agree), but will the pursuit of a conversation to understand the *why* become a space that ends up invalidating and questioning survivor’s experiences and anger? Again, I’m thinking about the privilege of defining the “appropriate” response and tone policing, not to mention abuse apology, etc.
      (But those assholes show up in every conversation, without fail–should we just ignore them in favor of the larger work that is being done on understanding in order to prevent violence? Can we afford to ignore their impact on survivors? Or would that be throwing a group under the bus in order to achieve a larger goal, a la racism within feminism?)

      So… I guess what I’m saying is that I do agree with you. A lot. I just have a hard time agreeing with you and I wonder what the consequences of focusing on the why of an abuser’s behavior would be.

      Knowing and studying how violence is perpetuated is *extremely* important, and can help prevent abuse in the first place, but this could quickly become an academic discussion that silences survivors.

      This is not meant as criticism of your comment in any way, and I could just be way off the mark on this one. Just some thoughts.

    • angharad

      You may have a point about the abuse leading to a lack of respect for other people’s pain. On the other hand there is a very strong cultural narrative that makes light of women’s reasons for not having sex, and suggests that they are just made up eg the ‘oh I have a headache tonight’ trope. Although headaches are pretty common, especially among women, and although having sex is last thing you want to do when your head is throbbing, there’s still this notion that a woman says ‘not tonight, I have a headache’ just as an excuse. So why wouldn’t all the other things she says just be excuses too?

  • Norm Donnan

    “to a man sex is just like having to eat”
    Ok,heres a better analogy.Sex to a man is like TALKING is to a woman.
    90% of sex to a man is stress relief,it’s not about power or control,it’s relief.Thats why we drop off to sleep straight away after sex.
    For a woman to have no one to talk things through especially when they have had a stressful day leaves pent up and anxious.Men are the same.
    If a husband told his wife “I really dont want to hear about your day,leave me alone”, you would call him insensitive and inconsiderate.Same with sex for a man.

    • Lunch Meat

      I’m a woman, I’m an introvert and I usually hate talking about my day. Quit trying to tell everyone what all men or all women are like.

      Also, it makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER to hear that at most 10% of sex is, you know, about love or intimacy or desire to this supposed ideal of a man.

      • Hilary

        High five fellow introvert. When I’ve had a stressful day, sometimes I want to go over it with Penny and get some reassurance, and other times I want to go curl up in bed with a book and let the world go away for awhile.

      • Norm Donnan

        sorry to break it to you but 10% high.

      • Anat

        You know Norm? I’m really sorry for you. Your description of your life sounds awful.

      • Norm Donnan

        No,life really good.And guess what?My wife totally agrees with my analogy that women talk things out to release stress.

      • Anat

        So? That something applies to one specific couple does not make it a rule for everyone.

      • Norm Donnan

        Im talking averages here.There are no rules,we all have the right to work it out as a couple.

      • Anat

        You start with blanket statement and only bring up ‘averages’ as a backpedal when called out.

        If for you sex is more about a physical ‘need’ than about love, intimacy and desire, as Lunch Meat said then you are missing out.

      • purr

        Yeah well, I’ve known guys who say they would rather have emotional support than BJ’s.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And also guys that really liked BJs, but were fine that I didn’t like giving them.

      • Olive Markus

        My DH would be very offended if I felt that he wanted sex more than emotional support from me.

        Actually, in the beginning of our relationship, he was a little wary about the fact that I wanted sex so much more than he did. We had a talk because he was fearful that we weren’t intimate enough in other ways.

        You can’t make blanket statements about all men vs. all women. It doesn’t work in the real world.

        I’m actually very glad that your wife is happy.

      • Norm Donnan

        And thats all good,Im talking about averages here.We all ebb and flow through life,its all about balance and working out what works for you both.

      • Olive Markus

        I would say it is less about averages than it is boys and girls growing up being inundated with messages that things are simply a certain way. Men were raised to believe they are owed sex because they want it. Women want sex, too, but they weren’t taught that they are allowed to get it on demand.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        What a miserable, miserable human being you sound like.

      • purr

        He should hook up with myintx:)

      • Lyric

        If this is true for you, then you need a MASSIVE stress reduction in your life. ‘Cause if you’re treating sex as just a form of stress relief, you’re missing out on a lot.

      • Norm Donnan

        No this is normal,people also use alcohol and drugs or working out at the gym also,what ever works for you

      • Lyric

        I didn’t say that sex couldn’t be a form of stress relief. I said it could be more and better than that.

    • onamission5

      So to dear Norm here, a woman not allowing him to use her body like it’s a treadmill is *her* being insensitive and inconsiderate.

      Norm. If you feel that you need a sexual release and there are no consensual adult partners available to help you, then use your hand or a sex toy made for that purpose. Women are not sex toys. If you have sex with someone who does not want to have sex with you, whether by force or by coercing her into it, then you are a rapist.

      • purr

        Yeah well, Norm is also vehemently pro-life.

        big shocker there, I know right

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        What does that have to do with anything? Pro-lifers are not all misogynistic douchebags who think women aren’t people. I’m a woman AND pro-life in most situations.

      • Anat

        The pro-life position is that someone else has more rights to a woman’s body than herself. Which is exactly what Norm is saying here.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        That’s one spin you can put on it. I can’t speak for anyone else who does not support abortion, but the reason why I don’t support it is not because I think women should be punished for sex, or that I think we don’t deserve to have the right to control our own bodies. But pregnancy involves two people: the woman, and the baby. There is no way for it to ever be perfectly “fair”, if I can use that word – the only way that the baby can continue living is if it resides within the woman’s body. There is so far no getting around that, although I suspect the day will come when technology advances to the point where even that barrier will be broken. Until then, though, there’s no easy answer. I still do not think it is acceptable or morally defensible to allow one person to kill another without a very serious reason to do so. For example, if the woman will die if the pregnancy continues, and the baby isn’t old enough to have a chance at surviving it if is delivered. That’s a good reason – a horrible choice, but a valid one, like self-defense.

        There is more at play here than only the woman’s body and her rights to control it. The baby is not part of her body like her kidney or her skin; it is a distinct life, genetically and otherwise. That has to be taken into consideration too. Abortion is not a black and white issue.

      • purr

        “Baby” is a matter of personal opinion.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Call it an unborn human being, then, because that’s not a matter of opinion – it’s a fact.

      • purr

        “Unborn human’ would be more precise.

        Human being is a synonym for person, and it is not a FACT that a single cell zygote is a person.

        EDIT: Anyways, abortion is off-topic, and I don’t want to get into it if the subject is something that will upset the mods.

        However, my point is, people such as Norm believe that women who willingly engage in sex (ie, if they are not violently raped) deserve to ‘pay’ for their ‘irresponsibility’ with a forced pregnancy. All the while, ignoring the fact that the woman, if she is viewed as the *property* of the man in her life, really doesn’t have much of a say in whether or not she has sex. Because it’s her DUTY. So, in essence, he is saying that the woman’s body belongs to the man, to his sperm, and to his offspring. And if she dares to take her bodily autonomy back through abortion, she’s a dirty slut!

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It is a zygote for an incredibly short time – technically you aren’t even pregnant during that part of the process because it comes and goes before implantation ever occurs. If you are going to use words like “zygote” as if it applies to the whole pregnancy, well, you shouldn’t, because it’s a bit ridiculous. You set up a straw man and then knocked it down…nobody was equating a zygote with a person! Most abortions take place between 7 and 9 weeks of pregnancy. At that point, the embryo/fetus (it becomes a fetus after 8 weeks’ of pregnancy) is very different from a zygote. If you want to know more, check this out: http://www.ehd.org/ It is not a pro-life site (I hate those!). It’s just science, it is backed by such reputable organizations as National Geographic, and all information is presented in an ethically-neutral manner. Look at weeks 7 – 9.

        A human being is simply that: a human. I am not talking about legal personhood, because I don’t trust that as an accurate definition to use in this discussion. Legal personhood has historically been denied to those who were actual humans…it has a poor track record where reliability is concerned. But the unborn are completely human even at the most basic, genetic level, and they are also demonstrably alive, once they get to the point where the heart begins beating and brain waves are produced (heart begins beating around 4 weeks; it takes several weeks beyond that for the heart to develop all its chambers and vessels, but it still does its job).

      • purr

        I am quite familiar with all of the science.

        However, human DNA does not a human being make.

        You set up a straw man and then knocked it down…nobody was equating a zygote with a person

        The majority of pro-lifers I have met equate a zygote with a person. Besides, why should a zygote be any less valuable than an embryo or a fetus?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        That’s not very scientific of you. Human DNA makes a human embryo a human being. I know, I know, “tumors have human DNA too but they aren’t human beings” – yeah, well, an embryo is not a tumor. It isn’t an organ. It is not something you can equate with fingernail clippings, or hairs, or teeth, or any other random body part because that’s not what it is. It is a whole human being – it takes a few months for all body systems to be present, and once they are present it takes more time for them to be developed enough to sustain the baby after birth, but so what? That doesn’t make an embryo *not human*. Newborn babies aren’t done developing yet either. Toddlers aren’t. Heck, my fourth-grader isn’t! Humans are a process, not an event; an unborn human being at the starting line of the process is just as human as an old person at the end of her life.

        Edited to add – if you are familiar with the science, then you know full well that it’s intellectually dishonest to pull the whole “a zygote is not a person” routine as a way to dismiss the entirety of what I said, as if a zygote is in any way comparable to an embryo or a fetus.

      • Anat

        I’m going to side-step the whole thing – it doesn’t matter what the fetus is. Even if fetus were capable of debating philosophy, it should have zero rights to using the organs of its host without the host’s continued consent. Rights start when one is capable of maintaining their metabolism without using someone else’s body for this purpose.

        For comparison, people die while waiting for organ donations. Yet we do not violate people’s bodies to save other people’s lives. We don’t even take organs from corpses for this purpose.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        There are legal cases which argue against your statement that “rights start when one is capable of maintaining their metabolism without using someone else’s body for this purpose”… Laci Peterson being a very noteworthy case. Her husband was charged with second-degree murder for the death of his unborn child. Obviously, rights begin before birth in some cases.

        At any rate your second paragraph is contradictory. You are saying that it’s wrong to violate someone else’s body to save another person’s life, while at the same time advocating giving one person the right to kill the body of another human being. How does that work, from an ethical standpoint? It’s wrong to allow a fetus to use the mother’s body to survive (although wording it that way makes it sound deliberate on the fetus’ part, but it has no control over its existence and did not choose to partake in the act which created it…), but it’s right for the mother to have the fetus’ body torn up and removed? It’s contradictory.

      • purr

        If someone, or something is using your body against your will, you have the right to remove them.

        Abortion = eviction from the uterus.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Oh please. It’s not just eviction – the embryo/fetus is killed in the process. Let’s not try to coat it in words that disguise the reality of the situation. Abortion is legally-sanctioned killing. Don’t pretend otherwise.

      • purr

        In the vast majority of abortions it is removed whole – in the amniotic sac, no less.

        Besides, a ZEF cannot survive outside the uterus regardless of *how* you remove it, so whether every jellybean sized embryo is removed through c-section or taken out in pieces is immaterial.

        And if you deny a person a much needed organ or bone marrow donation (no, donors don’t grow on trees), they will also DIE because you are denying them use of your body.

        http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/judpol/mcfall.html

        “Here is a rare case where a person asked a court to force another person to donate body parts in a situation of medical necessity.”

        “The common law has consistently held to a rule which provides that one human being is under no legal compulsion to give aid or to take action to save that
        human being or to rescue. A great deal has been written regarding this rule which, on the surface, appears to be revolting in a moral sense. Introspection,
        however, will demonstrate that the rule if founded upon the very essence of our free society. It is noteworthy that counsel for the Plaintiff has cited authority which has developed in other societies in support of the Plaintiff’s
        request in this instance. Our society, contrary to many others, has as its first principle, the respect for the individual, and that society and government exist to protect the individual from being invaded and hurt by another.”

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        I love McFall v. Shimp.

        Even if I caused the car accident that made the cute college student I hit need a kidney and I turned out to be the perfect match, I AM NOT REQUIRED TO GIVE MY KIDNEY TO THIS PERSON.

        Even if I caused the disaster that made people need loads of blood and I could donate blood and save a life, I CANNOT BE COMPELLED TO GIVE BLOOD AGAINST MY WILL.

        Even if having sex with me would literally save someone’s life, I AM NOT REQUIRED TO HAVE SEX WITH THAT PERSON.

        Nobody has a right to expect me to endure violation against my will. Nobody can force or compel me to endure violations.

        And if the situations were reversed, if I were the person needing the kidney, the blood, or the sex–if I were needing one of those things or else I would die–I would die rather than take them from an unwilling sentient being.

        The pro-life position ultimately says otherwise: that slavery’s just fine if it’s for a good cause, and that women should lose their bodily ownership and consent if the entity needing their body is adorable and little. It ultimately negates the very real medical risks and complications women face in pregnancy; it ultimately negates that the fetus wouldn’t exist at all if the women in question were not actively building that fetus out of their own tissue, bone, blood, and organs. It treats women like shopping baskets and pregnancy like a particularly onerous cell phone contract. It says loud and clear that not only is a life gained or sustained under such monstrous terms acceptable but advisable.

        Ultimately, let’s not forget that Veiled doesn’t seem to be in favor of criminalization, but she’s thrown in with some truly disgusting human beings and groups who very much are.

      • Anat

        That an embryo or fetus has to die so that a woman not be exploited is unfortunate. But her bodily integrity trumps its life.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Wow. Its life isn’t even important at all.

        At least you are honest enough to say it, though. Way too many other people pretend that they don’t really feel this way when they do.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Because it’s not a life, and it doesn’t get to use a woman’s body without clear, informed, explicit, ongoing consent.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Not a life? Then what is it?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        A thing that, while it has the potential to become life, is currently invading it’s host’s body.

      • Anat

        The importance of its life is secondary to the bodily integrity of its host. Therefore it is important if and only if the pregnant person decides it is.

      • Anat

        I am opposed to laws that equate feticide with murder in any case. In the US I believe they should be struck down as unconstitutional. If someone causes the death of a fetus against the wishes of the pregnant person they should be tried for their violation of the pregnant person and all the harm caused to them, including physical, mental and emotional.

        No, my second paragraph is not contradictory. If it is right to kill people by not donating organs to save their lives it is right to kill fetuses by not donating to them the uterus in which they exist. Most abortion are just that – the removal of a fetus from the uterus – whether by pharmacological means, aspiration or inducing dilation of the cervix.

        The people who are dying while waiting for bone marrow transplant? They do not have a right to my marrow. Even if I agreed to donate, was found compatible, but I changed my mind. People dying while waiting for a lung transplant? Don’t have a right to my lung, even if I’m dead, unless I gave permission explicitly. (I actually do carry a donor card, so they have it.) A fetus which would die if taken outside my uterus? Doesn’t have the right to stay in, unless I say so, and keep saying so. (Note that most of the people waiting for transplants did nothing to be in that position either.)

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        I go with viability as well. As long as that fetus’ survival hinges upon only one human being, and that human being is the only human being whose body can do the job, then that human being gets to decide if this violation will proceed or not.

        When the fetus hits viability, other entities–the government in most situations–have expressed interest in helping that fetus, and an abortion at that stage wouldn’t look a lot different from having a live baby. So once it’s viable, if the risks and pain work out to be the same (which isn’t necessarily the case, I know), then I don’t have a problem with letting these other entities have the fetus and care for it from then on.

        Thing is, by that stage, abortions don’t generally happen except for medical needs of some kind, so it’s largely a rhetorical question by then. But to me, the only person whose opinion matters is the person who will have to endure the risks and violation. Once viability comes about, the fetus doesn’t depend upon that one human being anymore; it can get sustenance from other people and isn’t just a parasite leeching off someone’s physical body.

      • purr

        It is a whole human being – it takes a few months for all body systems to be present, and once they are present it takes more time for them to be developed enough to sustain the baby after birth, but so what?

        A zygote is a genetic blueprint.

        It is not simply a ‘smaller’ version of a baby.

        Until birth, the ZEF is incomplete and unformed.

        If the ZEF was ‘whole’ as you say, it would not take ‘ a few months for all systems to be present’. The ZEF is literally *constructed* by the woman’s body. It doesn’t just magically grow bigger.

        That doesn’t make an embryo *not human*

        It’s human, just not a human BEING. Stop conflating the two.

        Newborn babies aren’t done developing yet either. Toddlers aren’t. Heck, my fourth-grader isn’t!

        Newborn babies are separate, sentient individuals. They are not infringing on anyone’s bodily autonomy in order to survive.

        Also, newborn babies are pretty much ‘complete’ and ‘fully formed’. They just need nutrients to grow bigger. They don’t need another person’s body to sustain their life and perform all of their bodily functions for them.

        Fetii without brains and with missing organs can survive in the womb. Wonder why that is? Because the woman’s body is doing all of the work. They die once they are born. This is why birth is the big dividing line. So much can go wrong in gestation – the construction, if you will, can go awry.

        Abortion by definition cannot be infanticide, because if it was, you could simply ‘remove’ the ‘baby’ and put it up for adoption at any point during gestation.

        Humans are a process, not an event; an unborn human being at the starting line of the process is just as human as an old person at the end of her life.

        So you accuse me of bringing up the zygote as a strawman and now you are saying that the zygote is a human being?

        And yes, gestation IS a process. Human life is a process. However, for pragmatic reasons, there has to be a dividing line. And that line is birth.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I know what a zygote is. I never said that it was a homonculus. Geez, it’s starting to feel like you aren’t really reading what I wrote.

        It isn’t true that it is unformed and incomplete until birth, though. On what science are you basing that claim? According to experts in the field, at just 10 weeks after conception the fetus has more than 90% of all the body parts found in adults. All organs are in place long before birth; that’s what happens during the first trimester. By the end of that first trimester, all bodily systems have begun to grow…they have to develop further in order to be functional after birth, but they are present. That’s what I mean by “complete”…all the needed parts are present. That’s not “unformed”. There is nothing magical about a trip down a vagina that completes a fetus’ development, and considering that many babies are born prematurely yet still in possession of all the normal body parts, it doesn’t line up with reality either.

        Human and human being are synonymous terms. A human is a human being. I refuse to play a game of semantics. It’s nonsense.

        ” They don’t need another person’s body to sustain their life and perform all of their bodily functions for them.”

        No. The mother’s body does not. The fetal heart keeps beating by itself. The fetus’ body performs respiration and metabolism on a cellular level – the mother’s body supplies it with nutrients and oxygen, and removes its waste products, but her body does not keep the fetus’ heart beating or keep its brain functioning. Babies who have no brains can survive in the womb because the brain stem controls their bodily functions, and the brain stem will often be present in these babies even though they lack the rest of their brain.

        “Abortion by definition cannot be infanticide, because if it was, you could simply ‘remove’ the ‘baby’ and put it up for adoption at any point during gestation.”

        Abortion is killing. Whether you consider it infanticide or not is irrelevant – if the fetus or embryo was alive before the abortion, it certainly is not by the end of it. Abortion kills. I never mentioned infanticide; I simply pointed out the very obvious, that it is legalized killing. Because that’s what it is. I have to say, though, that your statement really doesn’t make any sense.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        At 10 weeks after conception (12 weeks after LMP which is the normal standard), a fetus doesn’t have a brain. It has a very few of the structures, but the nerves don’t connect. It doesn’t even have the capacity to feel pain, for crying out loud! Its limbs are too short and it has only very stubby, malformed digits. It doesn’t have kidneys or many internal organs. Its eyes are huge and its head is quite overly large for its body- it looks like a stereotypical alien. I don’t think I’d call that 90% of the structures being fully developed.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        You know, I’m reading all these contortions Veiled is having to make to justify her position–this development versus that; this terminology versus that; this situation versus that; consent vs. non-consent in conception; and it just makes my head reel.

        My position is so much easier:

        A woman has the right to refuse her body’s use and violation to anybody at any point for any reason she wishes or for no reason at all.

        Ta-da.

        Doesn’t matter if the pregnancy was conceived consensually or not. Doesn’t matter how far along it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s twins or so deformed it cannot survive past birth. Doesn’t matter if it feels pain or not. Doesn’t matter if it seems “convenient” to outsiders or not. There’s no contortion. No wondering. No judging. No justifying. There’s only consent to the fetus’ presence, or refusal of consent. The woman in question can decide if the fetus is something she wants to build and donate her body to. She gets to decide if she can deal with the risks and catastrophic changes it will bring to her situation. She gets to decide how much torment and torture is enough for her.

        Consent. It’s what’s for dinner.

      • zoey

        perfect. 😀

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Actually, you’re wrong. The brain is the first organ that begins to develop; by 5 1/2, all the cranial nerves are identifiable; by 6 1/2 weeks, brain waves begin to be produced; the embryo begins moving right around the same time, which would not be possible without any nerve connections between brain and body. And not just any movement – during the 6th week, if you touch lightly around the embryo’s mouth, its face withdraws in response to the sensation (which would also be impossible if the nerves were not connected!). It does not only have stubby, malformed digits by 10 weeks – check this out. http://www.ehd.org/prenatal-images.php?thum_id=158#content

        Kidneys are present by 5 weeks; urine output begins during the 8th week. So you’re mistaken about that too. And it actually does have quite a few internal organs! Here is a prenatal timeline which shows how all the internal organs/body systems develop, and when: http://www.ehd.org/science_main.php?level=i

        Sorry, but I’m sticking with the experts on this one.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        I’m not sure I trust the website you’re getting that stuff from or how expert they are; what you’re insisting flies in the face of stuff I’ve seen from way more reputable groups and sites. But ultimately, it hardly matters how “human” a fetus is.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        National Geographic has used their materials, so I’d say it’s probably reliable.

        I don’t agree that it doesn’t matter how human a fetus is. It’s incredibly important, seeing as the fetus is the one being forced to give up its life, the one whose bodily integrity is literally torn apart. It matters very much. But people don’t like it, because they want what they want even if it means needing to sacrifice another life to get it.

      • purr

        The fetus ‘wants what it wants’ because it is genetically programmed to suck nutrients from a woman’s body and to grow as big as possible – even if it maims and kills her in the process.

        The fetus doesn’t even know it’s alive and is completely unaware of it’s own existence. It can’t suffer. A woman however, can.

        A woman is not being selfish if she decides that she does not want to be used as a broodmare by a fetus. The fetus is genetically programmed to be selfish, and a woman has the right to defend her bodily autonomy.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Shut up, slaver.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I will leave you this –

        http://fablegod.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/disagreement-hierarchy.jpg

        …and encourage you to aim for the top tier, not the bottom.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Sorry, but you are explicitly advocating reproductive slavery, which makes you a slaver.

      • purr

        An anencephalic fetus can move and also respond to noxious stimuli.

        So can an amoeba. And a fly.

        These are all involuntary muscle movements, reflexes if you will, and are meaningless, at least as far as the question of *personhood* goes.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I already mentioned that I don’t debate personhood; as a legal definition it has a shaky track record. I have been debating humanity.

        My point in mentioning movement was that it would not be possible if none of the nerves were connected to the brain, as was claimed.

      • Lyric

        Actually, you can entirely remove the brain from a frog and have it react more or less normally to stimuli. Obviously a human brain is far more essential, but it still doesn’t handle everything.

        This has been your random creepy-ass nature fact for the day. Er, night.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        That’s actually kinda neat…

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        If you take skinned frog legs and cover them in salt, you can make them “dance.” Really, they jerk unpredictably because the sodium ions are closing biochemical circuits, but it’s the same thing…

        Biology is neat.

      • purr

        Then stop conflating ‘human’ and ‘human being’.

      • Anat

        I don’t see ‘humanity’ the way you use it as a valid concept for determining moral consideration. There are non human beings more deserving of moral consideration than some entities with human DNA. My morality is based on reducing harm and increasing enjoyment, therefore one’s species is only an inaccurate proxy as to one’s moral value.

        As for brain – the level of neuronal activity you describe is not sufficient for moral consideration. Withdrawal in response to sensation is reflexive. It only requires the brainstem, no higher brain functions.

        Moreover when a being is physically dependent on another for sustenance all above considerations are secondary.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Sorry, nope on the brain stuff. I insist you read the appropriate and relevant medical science. Pain structures don’t exist until 22-24 weeks at the earliest.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1440624/

        A quite relevant quote:

        “Free nerve endings, the “alarm buttons,” begin to develop at about seven weeks’ gestation1,2; projections from the spinal cord, the major “cable” to the brain, can reach the thalamus (the lower alarm) at seven weeks’ gestation.3 An intact spinothalamic projection might be viewed as the minimal necessary anatomical architecture to support pain processing, putting the lower limit for the experience of pain at seven weeks’ gestation.

        At this time, however, the nervous system has yet to fully mature. No laminar structure is evident in the thalamus or cortex, a defining feature of maturity.4,5 The external wall of the brain is about 1 mm thick and consists of an inner and outer layer with no cortical plate. The neuronal cell density of the outer layer is much higher than that of a newborn infant or adult and at seven weeks’ gestation has yet to receive any thalamic projections. Without thalamic projections, these neuronal cells cannot process noxious information from the periphery.​periphery.

        The first projections from the thalamus to cortex (the higher alarm) appear at 12-16 weeks’ gestation. By this stage the brain’s outer layer has split into an outer cortical rim, with a subplate developing below. The thalamic projections that develop from 12-16 weeks penetrate the subplate. Within the subplate, cortical afferents establish prolonged synaptic contacts before entering the cortical plate. The subplate is a “waiting compartment,” required for mature connections in the cortex.6,7 The major afferent fibres (thalamocortical, basal forebrain, and corticocortical) can wait in the subplate for several weeks, before they penetrate and form synapses within the cortical plate from 23-25 weeks’ gestation. Subsequent dissolution of the subplate occurs through prolonged growth and maturation of associative connections in the human cerebral cortex.

        Current theories of pain consider an intact cortical system to be both necessary and sufficient for pain experience. (emphasis mine) 9,10 In support are functional imaging studies showing that activation within a network of cortical regions correlate with reported pain experience.9 Furthermore, cortical activation can generate the experience of pain even in the absence of actual noxious stimulation.10 These observations suggest thalamic projections into the cortical plate are the minimal necessary anatomy for pain experience. These projections are complete at 23 weeks’ gestation. The period 23-25 weeks’ gestation is also the time at which the peripheral free nerve endings and their projection sites within the spinal cord reach full maturity.1 By 26 weeks’ gestation the characteristic layers of the thalamus and cortex are visible, with obvious similarities to the adult brain,6,7 and it has recently been shown that noxious stimulation can evoke haemodynamic changes in the somatosensory cortex of premature babies from a gestational age of 25 weeks.11 Although the system is clearly immature and much development is still to occur (fig 1), good evidence exists that the biological system necessary for pain is intact and functional from around 26 weeks’ gestation.”

        You should find less biased, more scientifically minded experts.

        EDIT: I could very well be wrong about the kidneys, but I am not wrong about stubby limbs and stunted digits. Also, it’s about 2 inches long. Definitely not developed.

        http://www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-fetal-development
        http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/medical/IM04611

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Who’s talking about pain? Does lack of pain sensation make abortion somehow acceptable? By that logic, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to physically abuse a paralyzed person because they won’t feel it anyway. But we know that’s not the case – it is still wrong because they have the right not to be abused.

      • purr

        The point is, the fetus doesn’t suffer. The fetus can’t *care* about anything.

        A paralyzed person, though they might not be able to feel, would certainly *care* about being abused.

        And again, the fetus 1) uses another person’s body as life support 2) a paralyzed patient is an *individual*, an individual who is not infringing on anyone’s bodily autonomy.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Ah, but you said an 10 week fetus was fully developed. I’m just pointing out you are dead wrong. It doesn’t respond to physical stimuli because it can’t. The reason one shouldn’t abuse a paralyzed person is that ze is sentient and has feelings- both things a fetus is incapable of. Pain is simply one easy marker for basic brain development- it’s one of the first things to fully develop, because it’s so basic to our nervous systems and instincts. People have the right not to be abused, but that is also not actually an argument.

        People don’t have the right to use the body of another person against that person’s will, even paralyzed people. A paralyzed person may not require me to carry hir on my back- why can a fetus require me to carry it inside my uterus? A paralyzed person may not require me to feed hir- why can a fetus leech off my bloodstream? Why are you giving a fetus more rights to a person’s body than any born person ever gets? Are fetuses more special than people?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I didn’t say that a 10-week-old fetus is fully developed. I said that by 10 weeks, 90% of the bodily structures that we have as adults are already present. I even said they are not fully developed. Please go back and re-read my comment – it seems like you missed some very important parts.

        And you are wrong – embryos and fetuses (fetii? damn Latin! messing with all I know about plural forms!) have been observed reacting to stimuli. If you touch their faces or hands or feet, they can feel it and they move in response. They may not be able to feel pain but they can feel something. They are capable of touching their own faces, touching their hands and feet together, making facial expressions, sucking their thumbs, many different things which require a basic nervous system. And I’m not talking about babies in the second or third trimester – I’m talking about later first trimester. Obviously they are capable of doing it, if they’ve been observed doing it.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        You mean they make non-purposeful movement of random nerve firings? Yeah, I got that. That doesn’t mean brain at all- that means some development of nerves attached to a spinal cord, sort of. A person with that level of brain activity would be considered completely brain dead and would require a whole lot of life-support equipment to even stay breathing/heart beating.

        You also completely neglected the actual questions. I shall repeat them for your convenience. People don’t have the right to use the body of another person against that person’s will, even paralyzed people. A paralyzed person may not require me to carry hir on my back- why can a fetus require me to carry it inside my uterus? A paralyzed person may not require me to feed hir- why can a fetus leech off my bloodstream? Why are you giving a fetus more rights to a person’s body than any born person ever gets? Are fetuses more special than people?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Purposeful movement has been observed even in the first trimester.

        The only way the fetus can stay alive – until it reaches the age of viability – is within the woman’s body. It isn’t the same as being forced into slavery. Quite frankly, hearing that thrown around so much is getting rather irritating – I suspect that real slaves would find it demeaning to have their suffering compared to something like pregnancy.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Really? Forced pregnancy was a common aspect of slavery, and one of the reasons the women’s rights movement got off the ground was the abolition movement started talking about how awful slavery was, and women looked at their position in society and went, “heeeey, that sounds familiar”.

        I think a slave woman would understand perfectly just how awful a forced pregnancy is and wouldn’t reject the comparison for a second, considering forced pregnancy was one way she was enslaved. Now, she was enslaved in many other ways as well, so it’s not the exact same, but the idea that her body doesn’t belong to her? Yeah, that’s the same idea.

        And no, purposeful movement in the first trimester has not bee observed. Movement has been, and it has been interpreted to be purposeful by people with agendas, but it simply isn’t physically possible for it to be purposeful because the nerves aren’t connected to a brain and even if they were, that brain isn’t developed enough to have purpose.

      • purr

        Purposeful movement has been observed even in the first trimester.

        Citation needed. The fetus would have to be capable of consciousness for this to happen. And those structures do not yet exist.

        Forced pregnancy is part of slavery, btw.

        Dorothy Roberts writes in Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty, “the essence of Black women’s experience during slavery was the brutal denial of autonomy over reproduction.” Female slaves’ ability to produce more slaves was central to the economic interests of slaveowners and, once the importation of slaves was banned, to the perpetuation of
        the institution of slavery. A woman’s reproductive capacity figured into her price on the market and was as valuable as labor in the fields. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider a woman who brings a child every two
        years as more profitable than the best man on the farm.”

        Slaveowners beat women who did not reproduce or sold them, separating them from their families. Some engaged in slave-breeding, forcing slaves considered “prime stock” to mate in order to produce particularly valuable new slaves for labor or sale. Evidence exists that slaves
        resisted slaveowners’ demands that they reproduce by using herbal and other makeshift contraceptive and abortive methods. Slaveowners were free to rape slaves with impunity and the children who resulted increased their wealth. A slave women’s child was not her own, but the property of her master. Even prior to conception, a slaveowner held a property interest in a woman’s future children that could be bequeathed by will.

        Slavery separated black women from their future children at the moment of conception, treating the interests of the fetus as separate and conflicting with that of the mother. Though this conception of the fetus as having distinct interests to be protected from the mother is a familiar part of our discourse and legal framework today, this division
        did not exist for white women at the time. Professor Roberts describes one method of whipping pregnant women that illustrates this early conception of the maternal-fetal conflict. The mother would be forced to
        lay with her stomach in a hole dug in the ground so the mother could be beaten while the fetus was protected. “It is the most striking metaphor I know for the evils of policies that seek to protect the fetus while disregarding the humanity of the mother,” she writes.

        Professor Koppelman has argued,on the basis of Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition of slavery and involuntary servitude to protect individual liberty and equality, that the government may not prohibit abortion. To do so would be to require physical service from a woman forthe benefit of a fetus.

        http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=facultyworkingpapers

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Purposeful movement has been observed even in the first trimester.

        Neuroscience is another field I’m experienced in; I’ve been in several classes taught by well-known neuroscientists (Idan Segev springs to mind).

        You’re going to have to define “purposeful” here, because any movement you make has a biological basis. Your brain decided before you even thought you had the free will to make that movement to move. Before you clicked that mouse, your brain had already decided and sent the message to click the mouse. And you weren’t even aware of it.

        Now, I’m not a pure biological determinist; I don’t think we’re robots; slaves to our genetics, epigenetics, and preprogramming. But in order for something to be “purposeful” by compatabilistic terms, you have to have a degree of consciousness and humans don’t show that until they’re around 24 months old (when they can pass the mirror test).

      • fiona64

        Purposeful movement has been observed even in the first trimester.

        No, it hasn’t. Response to stimulus is not “purposeful movement.” Pithed frogs respond to stimulus, and they are unable to actually feel what is happening. It’s the same thing.

      • Anat

        Reaction to stimuli that is reflexive means nothing for moral consideration.

      • purr

        I heard that a 16 week fetus can purposefully *masturbate*

      • Lyric

        I suspect that as soon as fetii get fingers, they can close them around anything that presents itself, which is a fairly short list. Newborns seem to have a pretty strong instinct to grab, possibly because of some monkey ancestor that got around hanging onto mommy’s fur. But six weeks seems way too young to have fingers. At that stage, they’re about the size of a comma, aren’t they? And roughly the same shape.

        Still not the same thing as masturbation, IMO. Hell, my seven-month-old doesn’t masturbate. He just reaches down when I’m changing him and goes, “Heeeey, I found a wiggle-stick. What a fun toy!” Obtaining any sort of satisfaction from it, or at least any sort of satisfaction that’s different from pulling on his sister’s ear . . . he hasn’t discovered that, yet.

      • purr

        I was making fun of the Republican congressman who said that abortion should be banned because fetii masturbate in the womb;P

        16 weeks and not 6, that was a typo:(

        I came across one crazy commenter who said that masturbation was possible within the uterus, but not out, because the fetus is ‘weightless in the womb’ but, once it’s outside, it lacks the motor control due to gravity haha.

      • Lyric

        Ah, okay. I think I purposefully forgot about that guy. And sixteen weeks makes a lot more sense, yeah.

        I don’t think that person has ever observed a newborn. It isn’t that they’re weighted down by the Jupiter-like gravity and incapable of moving. They actually move a lot more than you expect. It’s just that all those movements are apparently controlled by signals from space, to the extent that my son’s archnemesis was the mysterious baby-hand that would come out of nowhere and smack him in the face.

        No, it wasn’t his sister’s. :)

      • purr

        Well, I think it’s possible that the commenter didn’t understand gravity, either.

        She admitted that a baby could move outside the womb, just that it couldn’t properly *control* it’s movements, or grasp anything. Apparently, removing gravity gives fetii and newborns the ability to perform precision movements;P

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Your “experts” are lying.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        My experts have no reason to lie. The whole point for the EHD is education. It is dedicated to remaining utterly neutral on the issue of abortion and ethics. If you don’t agree with them, that’s fine, but I trust them more than I trust a random internet person who says they’re wrong just because.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        You still advocate for reproductive slavery, so I wouldn’t trust you if you told me the sky was blue.

      • purr

        I don’t doubt that your National Geographic sources are telling the truth. I am sure they are completely neutral as you claim.

        I also have no doubt that some nerves are connected.

        And that some parts of the brain are somewhat functional.

        However, none of this is enough to make a ZEF a *human being*.

        It just means that it is capable of involuntary muscular contractions. Reflexes.

        As I have already stated, an anencephalic fetus (lacks entire brain with only the brain stem) can react reflexively to all sort of stimuli. But it will never be conscious. It will be a bag of skin and bones with an empty braincase.

      • Lyric

        Your experts disagree with the experts that I’ve read.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Well we’re at an impasse, then, because I trust mine more than yours, given that I’ve read all about mine but don’t know anything about yours. If it’s good enough for National Geographic, though, it seems reliable to me.

      • Anat

        It doesn’t matter when the first something that will become the brain as we know it develops. But for a being to deserve any kind of moral consideration it has to have the capacity for suffering, which for organisms as we know them requires a brain that can actually process information and produce feelings.

      • purr

        I know what a zygote is. I never said that it was a homonculus. Geez,
        it’s starting to feel like you aren’t really reading what I wrote.

        You wrote: “an unborn human being at the starting line of the process is just as human as an old person at the end of her life.”

        Sure sounds like it to me.

        By the end of that first trimester, all bodily systems have begun to grow…they have to develop further in order to be functional after birth, but they are present.

        If it was ‘mostly completely and fully formed’ as you are stating, then it would already be functional outside the womb. You know, like a newborn.

        There is nothing magical about a trip down a vagina that completes a fetus’ development, and considering that many babies are born prematurely yet still in possession of all the normal body parts, it doesn’t line up with reality either.

        And these extreme neonates are often born with severe disabilities because their various body parts and well, their brains, cannot develop properly outside the womb.

        Human and human being are synonymous terms. A human is a human being. I refuse to play a game of semantics. It’s nonsense.

        It isn’t semantics. Human being is synonymous with person. Human DNA is NOT a person. And people are capable of sentience, DNA and pre-viability fetii are not.

        The fetal heart keeps beating by itself. The fetus’ body performs respiration and metabolism on a cellular level – the mother’s body supplies it with nutrients and oxygen, and removes its waste products, but her body does not keep the fetus’ heart beating or keep its brain functioning

        Well then it doesn’t need the woman. You can remove it and let it grow on it’s own. Just like a newborn!

        Babies who have no brains can survive in the womb because the brain stem controls their bodily functions, and the brain stem will often be present in these babies even though they lack the rest of their brain.

        Is that why they die a few hours or days after being born?

        I never mentioned infanticide; I simply pointed out the very obvious, that it is legalized killing.

        I brought up infanticide because you are giving the very strong impression that you believe ZEF’s to be nothing more than smaller babies.

        “A person is a person no matter how small” – this is what your argument can be distilled to.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        What about hydatidiform moles? Are they people? They have unique DNA, they started as fertilized oocytes, it just … went wrong in development. Technically, by your definition, it’s still a person though.

        What about identical twins? Are they one person or two? They have identical DNA …

        What about chimaeric people? They have two sets of DNA. Are they one person or two?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        A molar pregnancy is a birth defect – if left alone it would never develop into a viable life at all. A healthy embryo is not the same.

        Identical twins are both human beings – that’s what we’ve been discussing here. And obviously they are both individuals; even though they started out from the same egg cell, there will still be slight differences in their DNA due to coding error and other such things.

        Chimaeric people are still human beings, too, and as any one of them will tell you they are one person and not two.

      • purr

        A healthy embryo is not the same.

        And you won’t know it’s healthy until it’s born.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Exactly! So clearly, human DNA is not the determining factor of what a human being or person is. You’ve got it exactly right.

        And identical twins are for all intents and purposed identical. Their cells are more similar to each other than our cells are to our cells- the random mutations we accumulate over time in some cells but not others make our cells differ from each other. So if you call all our cells part of the same person, you must call identical twins’ DNA identical as well.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        No, it isn’t. It’s no more a human being than your kidney is. I realize why you do it; you want to make the fetus seem more “human” than it really is. But it’s emotionally manipulative and misleading. If you stopped calling it that, your position would seem pretty silly. But if I began calling it that, the funny part is that my position (that a person is allowed to withdraw or refuse consent to the use of his or her body at any point during any sort of violation for any reason whatsoever because that person OWNS his or her body) would still be just as unassailable.

        Either a fetus’ “humanity” or “personhood” don’t exist, in which case who cares what its host does with it, or else it does, in which case its host’s consent still is the only important consideration there is. Overriding consent is called “slavery,” and civilized people don’t do that.

        I do realize you’re not into criminalization, so ultimately you’re entitled to feel however you want about abortion privately, but you are not entitled to your own facts. A fetus is a fetus. Or a blastocyst. Or a zygote. Or an embryo. But it is not an “unborn human being.”

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        On what are you basing this? Science? Have you even got any science showing that a fetus or embryo is not human, is not alive? I’d love to see it if you do. Because the source I’ve been using is a very reputable one, and everything there indicates that unborn humans really are human and really are alive. I find it ironic that you accuse me of essentially using “weasel words” to try and manipulate the conversation but that is precisely what you are doing here.

        PS – “mother”, not “host”. Hosts have parasites, not babies. Gestation and parasitism are two entirely different biological relationships/processes. Any biologist worth his salt will tell you that much.

      • purr

        Stop conflating HUMAN and HUMAN BEING.

        Please.

        Every cell in your body is alive and is in possession of human DNA. So, those two criteria are not enough to award something the status of *human being* ie *personhood*

        As for the fetus as parasite, no, it is not *strictly* a parasite, however, it does behave in a parasitic manner.

        Further investigation revealed that placental NKB contained the molecule phosphocholine, which is used by the parasitic nematode worm to avoid attack by the immune system of the host in which it lives.
        During implantation, fetally derived cells (trophoblast) invade the maternal endometrium and remodel the endometrial spiral arteries into low-resistance vessels that are unable to constrict. This invasion has three consequences. First, the fetus gains direct access to its mother’s arterial blood. Therefore, a mother cannot reduce the nutrient content of blood reaching the placenta without reducing the nutrient supply to
        her own tissues. Second, the volume of blood reaching the placenta becomes largely independent of control by the local maternal vasculature. Third, the placenta is able to release hormones and other substances directly into the maternal circulation. Placental hormones,
        including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human placental lactogen (hPL), are predicted to manipulate maternal physiology for fetal benefit.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7081298.stm

        The host-parasite relationship during pregnancy is a fascinating interaction and research in this area will improve understanding of disease pathogenesis and the various consequences of the host immune response, being host-protective, parasite protective and contributing to disease pathology. Pregnancy poses an interesting problem for the immune system of the dam as she is essentially carrying a semi-allogeneic tissue graft (the foetus) without immunological rejection taking place.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8115596?dopt=Citation

        Another role for foetal transferrin receptors on trophoblasts could be to bind maternal transferrin at the materno-foetal interface, thus frustrating maternal immunosurveillance. This is similar to a mechahism
        used by schistosomes in the host-parasite relation where host proteins are bound by the parasite to escape immunological recognition.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17958926

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/37515

        —————

        Why Do Women Menstruate?

        Biologist PZ Myers wites, and I am linking to him, because he gives a good explanation of the study:

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/21/why-do-women-menstruate/

        A new paper by Emera, Romero, and Wagner suggests an interesting new idea. They turn the question around: menstruation isn’t the phenomenon to be explained, decidualization, the production of a thickened endometrial lining, is the key process.

        All mammals prepare a specialized membrane for embryo implantation, the difference is that most mammals exhibit triggered decidualization, where the fertilized embryo itself instigates the thickening, while most primates have spontaneous decidualization (SD), which occurs even in the absence of a fertilized embryo. You can, for instance, induce menstruation in mice. By scratching the mouse endometrium, they will go through a pseudopregnancy
        and build up a thickened endometrial lining that will be shed when progesterone levels drop. So the reason mice don’t menstruate isn’t that they lack a mechanism for shedding the endometrial lining…it’s that
        they don’t build it up in the first place unless they’re actually going to use it.

        So the question is, why do humans have spontaneous decidualization?

        The answer that Emera suggests is entirely evolutionary, and involves maternal-fetal conflict. The mother and fetus have an adversarial relationship: mom’s best interest is to survive pregnancy to bearchildren again, and so her body tries to conserve resources for the long haul. The fetus, on the other hand, benefits from wresting as much
        from mom as it can, sometimes to the mother’s detriment. The fetus, for instance, manipulates the mother’s hormones to weaken the insulin response, so less sugar is taken up by mom’s cells, making more available for the fetus.

        Within the mammals, there is variation in how deeply the fetus sinks its placental teeth into the uterus. Some species are epithelochorial; the connection is entirely superficial. Others are endotheliochorial, in which the placenta pierces the uterine epithelium. And others, the most invasive, are hemochorial, and actually breach maternal blood vessels. Humans are hemochorial. All of the mammalian species that menstruate are also hemochorial.

        That’s a hint. Menstruation is a consequence of self-defense. Females build up that thickened uterine lining to protect and insulate themselves from the greedy embryo and its selfish placenta. In species with especially invasive embryos, it’s too late to wait for the moment
        of implantation — instead, they build up the wall pre-emptively, before and in case of fertilization. Then, if fertilization doesn’t occur, the universal process of responding to declining progesterone levels by
        sloughing off the lining occurs.

        Bonus! Another process that goes on is that the lining of the uterus is also a sensor for fetal quality, detecting chromosomal abnormalities and allowing them to be spontaneously aborted early. There is some
        evidence for this: women vary in their degree of decidualization, and women with reduced decidualization have been found to become pregnant more often, but also exhibit pregnancy failure more often. So having a
        prepared uterus not only helps to fend off overly-aggressive fetuses, it allows mom a greater ability to be selective in which fetuses she carries to term.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        On what are you basing this? Science? Have you even got any science showing that a fetus or embryo is not human, is not alive?

        I doubt it, and that’s because “human” is not a scientific term. The scientific term is H. s. sapiens.

        Human, humanity, and personhood have traditionally been the purview of ethical, philosophical, and legal schools of thought. And right now, the legal school of thought states, “no, it’s not”, because you can’t award it personhood and humanity while allowing the mother to retain her own personhood and humanity, as well (they both occupy the same body, after all, and bodily autonomy is one of the legal rights of being a human – slavery is illegal for that reason).

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        And yet the law is not totally consistent. Scott Peterson was charged with murder in the second degree for the death of his unborn…son? child? because he didn’t only kill one person, he killed two.

        I don’t like using the legal system to inform my views on matters of biology.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        No, that law isn’t totally consistent. That’s absolutely true.

        Biology is mum on when a “human being” is a “human being.” Biology isn’t even really sure what life is. Think about the some of the basic requirements for life; metabolizing and reproducing. Computer viruses reproduce but they’re not alive (viruses do, too; are viruses alive? Ask a group of microbiologists and virologists that question and have fun watching) Wildfires metabolize but they’re not alive. What is life? Biology doesn’t really know; the definition is perched on a slippery slope.

        The answer to this question is not going to come from science, and that’s my point.

      • Lyric

        Utter tangent: my personal guess is that when we discover life on another planet, it’ll be more along the lines of discovering thingy on another planet and arguing about what the hell it is for years.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Oh, very likely; I’ve taken a couple classes on astrobiology and that’s actually where I learned there isn’t a clear cut definition of life. I’m also trained in microbiology, virology, biotechnology and behavior, genetics, epigenetics, and bioelectricity. I knows me some biology. What is and isn’t life is hotly debated in all corners.

        Especially if you leave carbon-based chemistry behind. Once you get into potential hydrocarbon biology, you start talking things like creatures that might incorporate naturally occurring biological plastics and be made of what we’d recognize as complex fats (since polylipids are more likely than amino acids at that temperature). And there’s a place right here in the Solar System where such life is likely: Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

      • Lyric

        *g* Did you obsess over the Huygens probe? I obsessed over the Huygens probe.

        I also reeeeeally want them to design a robotic mole machine submarine thing and get a look at what’s under Europa’s ice.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Oh my goodness yes :)

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I would rather look to science for the answer. They are actively seeking these answers. The legal system is not. And it’s a darn sight better than looking to feelings and ideology for answers, too. I’d rather stick with biologists and experts than anyone else.

      • Lyric

        Except, biology isn’t seeking answers about what makes a person a person. Biology informs ethics (by telling us what has the capacity for thought and what doesn’t, for instance) but it can’t possibly dictate them.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        I am an amateur biologist – did you see the list of sciences that I’ve got experience in? I know more about biology than the average American citizen.

        Science does not have the answer and it’s not going to have the answer any time soon, since this isn’t really a scientific question. Is the fetus alive? Yes. Is it H. s. sapiens? Yes, genetically speaking (but then, so is a kidney). Is it human? Question not valid; “human” is not a scientific term. This is a legal question. Which means you have to look to the legal system, and jurisprudence, for answers.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        A fetus is a parasite, and any REAL biologist will tell you that!

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I have yet to hear even one say so. But I’ve noticed that the definition for “parasite” does not include pregnancy – not only that, but I have never seen pregnancy used as an example of parasitism in a textbook or on a reputable website or in a scientific journal.

      • purr

        I have already debunked your claim and provided you with citations.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Then you haven’t been paying attention.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I don’t suppose you have any sources you could give me.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        jejune posted it earlier — like I said, you haven’t been paying attention.

      • purr

        Every time I paste the parasitism stuff (and the health, and the menstruation stuff), they act like it never happened.

        They always seem to mysteriously miss the comment…

      • purr

        The biological ability to create a baby does not make a person a ‘mother’.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        …you completely missed the point.

      • purr

        Oh, I got it.

        The point still stands however.

        Many pro-lifers like to make the argument that, even in the case of rape, a woman is a ‘mother’ and how can she ‘kill her offspring’, because when a woman becomes pregnant, she should immediately feel overwhelmingly maternal and loving because an egg and sperm fused to create an organism that is now growing inside her.

      • purr

        you’re entitled to feel however you want about abortion privately, but you are not entitled to your own facts

        +1 for this.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        No, calling it H. s. sapiens is a matter of fact.

        Calling it a “human being” is a matter of law, ethics, and philosophy. And none of those are in agreement yet (for instance, there are people who argue, convincingly, that cetaceans and the Great Apes should be considered – myself among them – humans. I take it further and argue that definition should include corvids, kea, elephants, and a handful of other animals, and then turn right around and say that we should be genetically engineering them to human-type sapience (that’s a different discussion in and of itself). If you have an Artificial General intelligence, that should likewise be considered a human despite being software, right? Human is far from a solidly defined term).

      • Lyric

        Hey, someone who agrees with me about the elephants!

        (I am convinced that there’s a buttload of elephant communication that we’re discounting because it’s too deep for us to hear.)

      • purr
      • Chalkdust

        Do you think that making elective abortion illegal is a good goal in and of itself, or do you think of it merely as a means to the end of preventing as many abortions as possible?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I don’t think it is a solution. Abortion is a problem, but I think it’s more a symptom of a greater problem. Banning abortions won’t address the reasons why abortion is sought. I think it would make far better sense to make sure people are receiving a thorough, in-depth sex education in school, so that they understand things like the female cycle, fertility, how pregnancy happens, different birth control methods and how/why to use them. I know that a lot of schools in the USA are teaching this abstinence-only crap that leaves teens totally unprepared for adult life, and that the abortion rate (and the rate of STD transmission) and the rate of unwanted pregnancies are both higher in those areas. That’s not acceptable. I also think that making birth control available to everyone, and very affordable, is just as important. You can’t abort what was never conceived. And for women who choose to abort for financial reasons, who would otherwise keep the baby, social support programs are a must. There are so many reasons why women have abortions; just banning abortion won’t help them. I care about there being fewer aborted babies, of course, but I also care very much about the women too and the circumstances that caused the pregnancy to be unwanted in the first place.

      • purr

        There are so many reasons why women have abortions; just banning
        abortion won’t help them. I care about there being fewer aborted babies,
        of course, but I also care very much about the women too and the
        circumstances that caused the pregnancy to be unwanted in the first
        place.

        Not wanting to be pregnant for a start. You know, those pesky health reasons.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Like I said, there are many reasons women have for seeking abortions, which is why I think that just banning it would not help.

      • purr

        Do you consider abortion to be murder?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Good, you’re a logical pro-life person at least :) I disagree, heartily, on whether abortion is a moral wrong or not, but we agree on what must be done to reduce the abortion rate (it’s definitely not an ideal situation) and can work together on that. So long as you are in favor of keeping abortion legal, your personal views on whether it is immoral or not are irrelevant to getting things done on a policy level, and an interesting philosophical discussion to have over wine and cookies.

      • Lyric

        Ah, see, I think of this as a conservative pro-choice position and have absolutely no problem with it. Especially the bit with making birth control available to everyone, which is my number one choice for reducing the number of abortions.

      • Chalkdust

        That all makes sense, and I’m glad that you’ve thought through the most effective ways to prevent abortion. It is unfortunate that the correct name for people like you, “pro-life”, has been coopted by people who apparently think that criminalizing abortion is more important than actually reducing the abortion rate.

        You say below that “I do not believe life begins when the egg is fertilized.” I’m guessing that you mean that you don’t believe that the organism is a person when the egg is fertilized, where “person” means “thingy that has rights that other persons ought to respect”. (Sorry to be so pedantic but I have gotten into some very annoying terminology arguments before.) May I ask when you do believe that the zygote/embryo/fetus becomes a person? Or if you meant something different, can you explain what you meant and when you think “life” begins?

        I would like to comment on the harm abortion bans do, above and beyond the fact that they are simply ineffective. First, it is apparently really hard to write an effective “life/health of the mother” exception–anti-choice legislators tend to be so afraid of exceptions being misused that they make it really hard to get a life (or health) exception, and so some women die because the exception is not worded broadly enough. (Savita Halappanavar may be the most famous example, but there are others.) Second, criminalizing abortion often just means that women go on to get abortions from doctors who don’t care about the law. This is why pro-choicers think Gosnell is an argument that we are right–if his victims had had a safe, sanitary, legal alternative, they wouldn’t have gone to him! Third, criminalizing abortion hurts all pregnant women, even ones with planned and wanted pregnancies. (Basically, if abortion is illegal then you have to investigate all miscarriages for evidence that they were deliberately induced by their mothers, and if someone is pregnant when she doesn’t want to be then you can’t assume that she has her baby-to-be’s best interests at heart.) This may not seem important to you compared to the number of z/e/fs that die in elective abortion, but it is important compared to, as you point out, the very limited good an abortion ban can achieve.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I don’t like to put it in terms of “personhood”; it’s such an ephemeral concept, has so many legal trappings, and means different things to different people. I do think, though, that once the embryo’s heart begins to beat, it is enough to be considered a life, and the fact that it has human DNA and is growing human body parts is enough to make it a human life.

        If we found an equally small and not-yet-developed organism on another planet that had a pulse, scientists would be falling all over themselves with glee that they had discovered life on that planet. For that matter, if they discover even a single-cell organism, even that would be enough to declare that life had been discovered. I don’t see why it should be any different if the beating-heart organism in question resides in a uterus instead. At that point, life seems obvious to me. It takes time for the embryo to develop the same physical characteristics that the rest of the human race has, granted, and they are not yet what they will be at the end of pregnancy. But at the very least it is demonstrably alive at that point. Heart tones are one of the things they use during first-trimester ultrasounds to determine whether a woman has miscarried or not. Past a certain point in pregnancy, no heartbeat means that the embryo is dead…if it’s dead when the heart stops, it is only logical to say that it is alive when the heart is beating.

        As far as rights go, there is only one right that a fetus or embryo could ever have, and that is the right to remain alive until they have a chance at surviving outside the womb (that age is slowly getting lower, which I think is really exciting!). There are no other rights they could possibly have, just that one. Everyone deserves the right to remain alive until they decide that they want to die (or until nature reclaims them…).

        ” it is apparently really hard to write an effective “life/health of the mother” exception–anti-choice legislators tend to be so afraid of exceptions being misused that they make it really hard to get a life (or health) exception, and so some women die because the exception is not worded broadly enough.”

        Yup. Not only is it not always easy to prove, but there are conditions which are so time-sensitive (like an ectopic pregnancy) that you really have no time to gather evidence and present a case, nor should you have to.

        I used to think that banning all but medically needed abortions was the way to go, you know. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’d never work, for these reasons and more. “Ban all abortion!” is something people say in reaction to their horror and disgust at the number of babies who are aborted, but it is often said without thinking through the ramifications. That’s what happened to me, and when I started really thinking about it I realized that it isn’t the right answer, not by a long shot. It would create more problems than it would solve.

        “This may not seem important to you compared to the number of z/e/fs that die in elective abortion, ”

        No no, it’s really important. Miscarriage is incredibly common; I don’t know exact figures, but I would estimate that miscarriage is at least as common as abortion, probably more so. They say that most women will have at least one miscarriage at some point during their fertile years. I’ve had several myself, and also a full-term stillbirth. Being dragged through an investigation on top of all that would be heartless. And they can’t always find a cause for the loss, either. And if they can, then what? Jail time? Fines? For having problems with your body that you didn’t know about and weren’t treating? For taking a necessary medication when you didn’t know you were pregnant? How do you prevent that – mandatory pregnancy tests every month, perhaps? Yeah, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Like I said, better to find ways to prevent the pregnancy from ever happening in the first place.

      • purr

        I don’t like to put it in terms of “personhood”; it’s such an ephemeral
        concept, has so many legal trappings, and means different things to
        different people. I do think, though, that once the embryo’s heart
        begins to beat, it is enough to be considered a life, and the fact that
        it has human DNA and is growing human body parts is enough to make it a
        human life

        But you have though. You are just using ‘human life’ and ‘human being’ as synonyms for person.

      • Lyric

        I don’t like to put it in terms of “personhood”; it’s such an ephemeral
        concept, has so many legal trappings, and means different things to
        different people.

        Then we’re at an impasse again, because I think that coming up with a decent, inclusive definition of personhood is going to be one of the big issues of this century, if not this period of history in general.

        Full and emphatic agreement on the nightmare of investigating miscarriages. The whole idea is simultaneously cruel and stupifyingly impractical.

      • purr

        Then we’re at an impasse again, because I think that coming up with a decent, inclusive definition of personhood is going to be one of the big issues of this century, if not this period of history in general.

        She is trying to have her cake and eat it too. She doesn’t want to use ‘person’ or suggest it be given the same rights as a ‘person’ because it’s confusing, it’s legal, its ephemeral etc etc.

        However, she thinks it’s morally wrong to kill it, because it is a ‘human being’, a human being…just like the pregnant person. So, if it is a human being just like the pregnant person, and if it should have the same rights as the pregnant person…then shouldn’t that make it a *person*?

        I mean, we wouldn’t force people to gestate an eagle, if the technology existed. And we wouldn’t force people to gestate extra kidneys, even if it meant that lives would be saved.

        So clearly, she is just using ‘human being’ as a synonym for person. Because only a *person* could have equal rights to another *person*.

      • Lyric

        If we found an equally small and not-yet-developed organism on another
        planet that had a pulse, scientists would be falling all over themselves
        with glee that they had discovered life on that planet. For that
        matter, if they discover even a single-cell organism, even that would be
        enough to declare that life had been discovered.

        Life, yes, and you’re quite right that scientists would be over the moon (insert own space exploration joke here). But it wouldn’t be sapient life. We wouldn’t be asking it if it believed in God or what it thought about the nature of the universe. In fact, we’d probably destroy more than a few of those single-celled organisms in the process of finding out about them, and I don’t think anyone would bat an eye.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Organ donation involves two people too; the donor and the donee. The donee will die without the new organ. Yet I’ve never heard of anyone even proposing that all people should be subject to involuntary organ ‘donations’ in order to save the lives of others.

        Except for women, of course. They apparently can be legally mandated to perform organ donations to a fetus, even if they don’t want to. And not just organs- blood, sugar, calcium, and other nutrients are also required, and the woman isn’t allowed to withdraw them because it’ll “kill someone”. My response is, so what? You kill someone every day you hold on to your kidneys, you don’t donate blood, you don’t donate bone marrow, you don’t donate a liver lobe. If you don’t want your body to nourish another, no one should be able to force you. Not even someone already feeding off of you. Consent is an ongoing thing with an ongoing donation, and can be revoked at any time, or it isn’t consent.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        The difference is that the person in the local hospital dying for want of a kidney is not someone who exists because of a choice you made. Unless you were raped – and I want to make that part very very clear! this discussion is not about women who did not consent to the sex act that caused them to become pregnant! – the fetus that is growing inside of you exists because you took a risk. You consented to an act that you knew could result in pregnancy. You did it anyway, and you got pregnant. Surprise. That’s what happens when you take on risk: occasionally, the consequences were not what you wanted. We take risks all the time in life. Having a risk result in an event which you did not want to experience does not justify killing another human being. Forcing you to donate your kidney against your will is not the same thing.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        So what’s your point? That women should be punished for having consensual sex by being forced to gestate a pregnancy to term? Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy, and equating the two means that you are, in fact, wanting to punish women for having consensual sex no matter what your words above claimed. If abortion is immoral killing, the fact of a rape or not is irrelevant- the embryo/fetus isn’t different because of how it was created. The only way to be pro-choice in the case of rape and anti-choice in the case of consensual sex is if you think consensual sex is somehow deserving of punishment.

        To analogize: people go skiing sometimes, and they break their legs sometimes. Consent to skiing isn’t consent to a broken leg, though, even though it is a known risk. Your argument is that we shouldn’t treat the broken leg because the person knew the risk when they went skiing and thus “deserves” to bear the consequences of a permanent limp and permanent pain from unset bones.

        Pregnancy is exactly the same thing as organ donation. Pregnancy is a long-term donation of uterus, blood sugar, calcium, oxygen, and other nutrients which can ethically be terminated at any time. To force this donation to continue is exactly the same as forcing someone to donate a kidney against their will, except that pregnancy is more deadly and has more complications than kidney donation.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        My point is not that women should be punished for consensual sex. For goodness’ sake, I don’t give a darn how many or what kind of partners other women have – I don’t know what I can tell you to convince you of that though.

        My point is that not wanting to be pregnant is not a good enough reason to justify killing another human. You can spin it into some kind of misogyny or “anti sex” crap if that’s what you want to do, but that is not the case. Pregnancy involves two people, and because I’ve had several pregnancies I understand fully how hard and inconvenient it can be. I get that. It is still morally indefensible to kill another human – especially one that it utterly defenseless and blameless – because you just don’t want him/her around. Your rights to your body should not extend to the killing of another body. Killing which is *not* in any way equal to having someone die for want of an organ which you could donate…that person will die because of circumstances beyond your control, but an abortion happens because you make it happen. You deliberately cause that death, which would otherwise not happen.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And, see, you are wrong. It is absolutely morally indefensible to force someone to go through the potential risks of pregnancy and labor just to save another’s life. That is slavery. It is literally stealing the body of a woman from herself for the use of another person. Killing is immoral, but slavery is, quite frankly, worse. We don’t force anyone to risk life and limb to save anyone else … except pregnant women, who apparently no longer control their bodies. This is absurd, sick, and yes, misogynist. Bodily autonomy absolutely trumps the right to life of another for every person, including pregnant women. They are people too.

        As for punishing women for sex- you are. You are saying that because a woman had sex, she is now forced to host a parasite she doesn’t want for nine months, no matter if she doesn’t want to, or can’t handle it, or it puts her health at risk, or she’ll have to drop out of school, or she’ll lose her job, or she’ll lose her house, or her current kids will starve, or she’ll be tied to her abusive significant other, or her medicines aren’t good for a fetus, or whatever other reason. You’re saying that her life, her dreams, her desires, are all irrelevant and she must now become a walking life-support system for another person against her will and without her consent. I don’t know how to convince you of the fact that this is simply an unacceptable way to treat any person- people are not objects, they are not incubators. Women are people, and they always get to control who uses their body, when, and how.

        Your rights to your body always include killing someone violating it. Deadly force is considered an appropriate response to someone trying to rape you or rob you. Hell, it’s considered an appropriate response to someone breaking into your house, even if they never threaten your person! Why is deadly force not an appropriate response to something parasitically feeding off of you, attacking you by elevating your blood sugar, raising your blood pressure, and suppressing your immune system?

      • purr

        I get that. It is still morally indefensible to kill another human –
        especially one that it utterly defenseless and blameless – because you
        just don’t want him/her around

        Intent is immaterial. The fetus is infringing on the woman’s rights, and this is the only thing that matters. Guilt or innocence is completely immaterial. The woman has the right to defend her health and her life.

        And cute weasel words btw. “Just don’t want him/her around”. You say you’re not engaging in slut shaming, but here you are, suggesting that women selfishly 1) have sex 2) kill babies because they are ‘inconvenienced’

        You deliberately cause that death, which would otherwise not happen.

        If you are the only donor for someone, and you unhook them from your body, you are deliberately causing that death. And that person has no more right to your body than a fetus.

        Sometimes there is only one donor, and as has been explained to you, in McFall vs. Shimp, the right to bodily autonomy outweighs the right to life.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        The person dying from kidney failure was dying before you entered the picture. You didn’t cause them to get sick. However, in the case of an abortion, you directly intervene and intentionally cause the death. It’s the difference between someone dying of natural causes and someone dying at the hand of another person. Both are dead, yes, but everything else is different.

      • purr

        We don’t force people who injure others in accidents to donate blood, bone marrow or organs.

        However, in the case of an abortion, you directly intervene and intentionally cause the death.

        The point of an abortion is not to kill the fetus. It is to end the pregnancy. It isn’t the woman’s fault that the embryo cannot survive outside the uterus.

        The person dying from kidney failure was dying before you entered the picture. You didn’t cause them to get sick

        The pregnant woman didn’t ’cause’ the pregnancy either. Fertilization is an automatic process, the woman has no control over whether or not the egg is fertilized.

        Heck, by your logic, pregnancy should be outlawed, because by getting pregnant, the woman is *putting a baby in harm’s way*.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        The whole point of an abortion IS to kill the fetus! The fetus *is* the pregnancy. You are pregnant *with the fetus*. That’s what an abortion is: killing the embryo or the fetus. That’s what it does. That’s what they are removing from the uterus. Not “a pregnancy”.

        And you’re right, it isn’t the woman’s fault that it can’t survive outside the uterus. That’s simple biology. But because she chose the abortion that caused it to be removed from the uterus, she *is* directly responsible for its death. She chose it.

        The pregnant woman didn’t “cause” the pregnancy in the sense that she deliberately made it happen. Even when a person seeks IVF or some other medically-assisted form of conception, you still can’t always make it happen deliberately. But if she chose to engage in the sex which resulted in conception, knowing that it was a possibility, she has some responsibility for the pregnancy. “My body, my choice” does not happen in a vacuum – it comes with responsibility for the outcomes of what you choose to do with your body. As it should.

        “Heck, by your logic, pregnancy should be outlawed, because by getting pregnant, the woman is *putting a baby in harm’s way*.”

        Only if she’s pro-choice.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        No. The point of an abortion is to end the pregnancy. Killing the embryo or fetus is an unfortunate side effect of not-being-pregnant-anymore. But really, it’s the bloating, weight gain, nausea, suppressed immune system, risk of pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, risk of gestational diabetes, risk of heart attack or stroke, risk of hyperemesis gravidarum, risk of back injury, risk of organ prolapse, risk of vagino-rectal fistula, risk of pelvic floor damage, risk of infection, risk of hemmorrhage, and risk of death that a woman wants to be rid of. Oh, also the risk of dropping out of school, losing one’s job, etc.

        If there was a way to transfer the fetus or embryo to another womb or an artificial womb, the vast majority of women would take it. The goal isn’t to kill, the goal is to end the pregnancy. Killing is just a regrettable side effect.

      • Shayna

        If there was a way to transfer the fetus or embryo to another womb or an artificial womb, the vast majority of women would take it.

        Ah, Star Trek medicine. I look forward to the day :)

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        The fetus is the pregnancy. The pregnancy is not weight gain, nausea, etc. The pregnancy is the new human life that’s growing. Those other things are side effects (some very rare, I should add) of growing a new human life, and many of them can be eliminated or managed with proper prenatal care. They are not what is being eliminated. Nobody aborts because of nausea (although there are a small percentage of abortions that are done for maternal or fetal health reasons) – they abort because of the child. They don’t want it. Stop trying to paint this as something it is not. ‘Regrettable side effect’? Please.

      • Shayna

        Nobody aborts because of nausea Look up hyperemesis gravidarum. Seriously do it. I’ll make it easy for you – http://lmgtfy.com/?q=hyperemesis+gravidarum

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Hyperemesis gravidarum is not “nausea”. I know what it is; I’ve had friends who had to go through it.

      • Shayna

        That’s exactly what it is. It’s morning sickness (aka nausea) amped up to 11. It can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, hospitalization, & even death – which you claim to already know.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        I want to upvote this a million times just for “amped up to 11”.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Morning sickness isn’t always just nausea, and hyperemesis gravidarum is not just nausea either – it’s severe vomiting that can be life-threatening. When I said “nobody aborts because of nausea”, I was referring to actual nausea…just feeling sick to your stomach, which is not the same thing as hyperemesis gravidarum.

      • Shayna

        What exactly do you think severe, uncontrollable nausea would cause? Perhaps….severe, uncontrollable vomiting?

        If you want to make a distinction between levels of nausea (and their effects), fine, but make it clear you’re doing that.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I thought I was talking to adults who would understand that “nausea” and “hyperemesis gravidarum” are two different things, and would be able to figure out that if I wrote “nausea” I meant simply that.

      • Shayna

        Except they aren’t two different things, that is my point. One is a much more severe version of the same thing.

        Condemning nausea as unimportant marginalizes women who have been through hyperemesis gravidarum, unless you make it absolutely clear you don’t mean them. Even then, you are probably still being triggering – it comes across as a kind of double speak. How are they supposed to know if their pain & nausea meets your precious standards? Or if you will just continue to dismiss their experience, like so many others have already done?

        Why is it so frikkin hard to have compassion for what these women are going through instead of hating on them for their choices? It’s not a fun thing to do, it’s not a la-di-dah for anyone…why can’t we just focus on doing what is necessary (medically & socially) to decrease abortion without making it a hate & shame parade?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        They are two different things. You can have morning sickness, even really unpleasant morning sickness, and still not have hyperemesis gravidarum.

        “Condemning nausea as unimportant marginalizes women who have been through hyperemesis gravidarum, unless you make it absolutely clear you don’t mean them. Even then, you are probably still being triggering – it comes across as a kind of double speak. How are they supposed to know if their pain & nausea meets your precious standards? Or if you will just continue to dismiss their experience, like so many others have already done?”

        I think you are making a huge big deal out of nothing. You are making this incredibly personal when it was never meant to be, and you are ripping me a new one for no good reason. All this talk of “condemning” and “triggering” and “dismissing”…over *one word* without adding a caveat that did not seem necessary…yikes.

        “without making it a hate & shame parade?”

        You’re the only one making this into a hate and shame parade. I’ve never seen anyone so determined to be offended…you’re trying very hard.

      • purr

        http://www.helpher.org/mothers/hyperemesis-or-morning-sickness/

        “Women often ask if they have hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) or just a bad case of morning sickness. Early in pregnancy, it may be difficult to know because HG develops over time “Sometimes a bad case of morning sickness will progress to HG due to ineffective or inadequate care. Delaying treatment is far too common to avoid any risks to the mother and child.”

        http://www.helpher.org/blog/the-differences-between-morning-sickness-and-hyperemesis-gravidarum/

        If you read the comments, you will find that it’s not always easy to tell, and that many women are accused of ‘exaggerating’ the effects of morning sickness.

        “I feel much better to know that their is an organization out there specifically for HG. People think I’m exaggerating my morning sickness and no one seems to understand how severe my HG is”

        “Finally, finally, I can know that I really was NOT exaggerating my condition during my 3 pregnancies. Some around me would not believe that I was really “that bad off.”

      • Shayna

        That is a difference in degree, not a difference in substance.

        Yep, cuz acting like other people’s problems don’t exist is totally not a big deal, and I should just get over it. LOL

        Not thinking about needing a caveat is kind of my point. Not thinking about what other people may be going/have gone through is a problem when you arguing about things that will affect them.

        You are assuming it affects me personally. That is a big assumption to make with no evidence to support it. In fact, I have never been pregnant (thank you BC), so no abortion or HG for me. I’m not even particularly offended, it’s not like you’re being rude or anything, just….maybe careless would be the right word.

        In the mean time, “I’ve never seen anyone so determined to be offended…you’re trying very hard.” is a derailing tactic. Not cool.

      • Lyric

        Ooh, this is a problem, though—because I can’t be the only woman out there who underplays her symptoms (of anything) and worries about whether they’re severe enough to “count.” I seriously considered doing the same with regards to my labor pains. (Fortunately, I recognized them as distinct from the fairly agonizing pelvic bone pain I’d been having up until that point. Also fortunately, my husband was on hand that particular morning, because if it had happened in the middle of the day, I might have hesitated to call him at work and tried to drive myself.)

      • purr

        1.2 million women a year in the USA are permanently disabled as a result of pregnancy.

        It is not up to YOU to decide how much risk someone should take, let alone judge WHY a woman deserves an abortion or not.

        Just who do you think are?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        To be fair, she’s arguing that abortion is immoral, not that it should be illegal. In fact, she’s stated that she specifically thinks banning abortion isn’t a solution. So this is more in the nature of a philosophical debate in my eyes- practically and politically speaking, she’s on our side.

      • purr

        Yeah, I read that. It’s still slut-shaming, however;(

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Yeah, it is that. Also a denigration of women’s very humanity in her insistence that controlling our very own bodies isn’t something we should get to do.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        She’s not on “our side” — she’s advocating reproductive slavery!

      • Lyric

        But not through the legal system, which is the bit that really matters to me.

      • purr

        Yep, that’s the most important.

        I think wmdkitty is getting at the fact that it’s difficult not to feel offended in the face of all the old pro-life talking points and slut shaming.

        I mean, it’s just like myintx, only fancier, and without the legal threat.

        ‘Unborn baby’ ‘selfish woman tossing unborn babies aside like trash’ – all the same rhetoric is in use.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Don’t care, slavery is slavery, and I refuse to give that person even partial credit.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Well, sort of. She’s advocating reproductive slavery as a moral option, but not as a policy she wants to see espoused. I’m a little confused how she gets there, but on a purely pragmatic level she is on our side.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        So…it’s okay for you to advocate actually killing another human because it’s “just a regrettable side effect”, and it’s okay for women to have literally the power of life and death over the unborn, but if I object to it all of a sudden it’s “who the fuck do you think you are” “you don’t get to decide these things”? Do you not see the contradiction inherent in your two statements?

      • purr

        As long as the fetus resides inside the woman’s body without her consent it is infringing on her rights and as a result of this it has forfeited it’s right to life.

        but if I object to it all of a sudden it’s “who the fuck do you think you are” “you don’t get to decide these things”?

        You think a woman should be subservient to a fetus. You think that *you* know better than a pregnant woman. You think you can get on your high horse and judge whether or not women are *deserving* of an abortion.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        And you think that a fetus has forfeited its right to live simply by existing, when it had no say in the matter whatsoever. You think that the unborn are not human, not worthy of life, and deserve nothing more than to be treated like objects to be cast aside like trash if they are unwanted. You advocate women treating their own unborn children in the same manner in which women have historically been treated: like property. And you feel that women everywhere deserve the right to decide whether or not their unborn children are deserving of life…talk about a high horse.

      • purr

        And you think that a fetus has forfeited its right to live simply by existing, when it had no say in the matter whatsoever

        The fetus does not have a right to life and it does not have the right to use another persons’ body without consent.

        You think that the unborn are not human, not worthy of life,.

        ZEF’s are human, and they are alive, they just don’t aren’t people. They are potential people. And even if they were people, they woudln’t have the right to use another person’s body as life support. Why should a fetus have a right that no born person has. You, as a parent, are not even legally obligated to give blood, organs and bone marrow to your born children. And by your logic, you should be , since you *created* them.

        and deserve nothing more than to be treated like objects to be cast aside like trash if they are unwanted

        And you think women deserve nothing more than to be treated like reproductive objects, mere walking incubators, subservient to the sacred sperm and the sacred fetus.

        You advocate women treating their own unborn children in the same manner in which women have historically been treated: like property

        Seeing as how it’s the ZEF that benefits from useage of the woman’s body, and not the other way around, I would say that it is more accurate to state that the fetus is enslaving the woman – the woman is not enslaving the fetus.

        And really, I wish fiona was here, she would haul out her pro-life BINGO card, or maybe a shot of tequila, to celebrate the fact that you finally compared abortion to slavery.

        Can’t wait until you bring out the holocaust card.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        If that other human is using my body without my consent, FUCK YEAH, I HAVE THE RIGHT TO KILL IT!

        You only get to choose FOR YOURSELF.

        NOT FOR ME.

      • fiona64

        You do not understand the difference between an embryo and a born, sapient, sentient *person* (who has actual rights), do you?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Those are mostly common side effects of pregnancy, actually. And some of them are rare, but none of them are very rare. I didn’t mention the very rare ones. People often abort because they don’t want to be pregnant, not because they harbor any animosity toward the fetus or the idea of a new baby. They just don’t want it in their body, killing their dudes, er, I mean, leeching off their nutrients. It is the pregnancy itself that is the problem; the fetus, if transferable, would be transferred, so it’s obvious that the death of the fetus isn’t the goal.

        Also keep in mind that a fetus will always suppress the immune system, raise blood pressure, and raise blood sugar. It is genetically programmed to leech as many nutrients from the woman as it can, with no care to her survival or well-being. If a woman doesn’t want to host it, I see no reason she should be forced to.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It isn’t just wanting to avoid the side effects of pregnancy – it’s that they also do not want to have to raise the child once it’s born. If you look up reasons given for abortion, the most common reasons are not maternal health, but other concerns that will only be an issue after the child is born. They don’t want the child. The pregnancy isn’t the big deal for a lot of women – it’s the motherhood that follows.

      • purr

        If it was the motherhood they wanted to avoid, and pregnancy was all hunky dory, they would give the kid, once it’s born, up for adoption.

        You are assuming *selfishness* where there is none.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        It’s both, really. My views may be skewed by the fairly high number of female-sexed (their genders vary) people on this board who definitely see the pregnancy itself as the problem- they are body dysmorphic, or have health issues, or just generally do not want to be pregnant more than they don’t want kids. A few have expressed interest in adopting- they want children but are not willing to be pregnant.

        And yes, many women also don’t want to be mothers. That seems, to me, to also be a damned good reason to abort before there’s actually a person who can think and feel pain: nonexistence is better than bad existence. Not being willing to be pregnant, for any reason or none at all, is enough reason to stop being pregnant. It’s the exact same as any reason or none at all is enough reason to not have sex/stop having sex. Consent, personhood, bodily autonomy- these all play into the abortion debate. It’s why rape and slavery keep coming up- those are the closest analogies for one person using another person’s body against their will and without their consent. Personhood is less relevant, truthfully, but still matters for determining what exactly it is that dies- whether a fetus is a person or not doesn’t change that abortion is both moral and ethical, but it does change how people think about the whole issue, so it’s still somewhat important.

      • fiona64

        Since women are not required to reveal the reason they want an abortion, those numbers are skewed. However, if you do want to look at those numbers, you will see that somewhere in the vicinity of two-thirds of women *already had two or more children at home.” I think that women know how many children they want, don’t you?

      • purr

        It is the pregnancy itself that is the problem; the fetus, if
        transferable, would be transferred, so it’s obvious that the death of
        the fetus isn’t the goal.

        I’ve been thinking about this. It ties in with the ‘indirect vs. direct killing’ problem.

        And the issue is, there really is *no* analogy that can 100% perfectly mirror pregnancy. Pregnancy is unique.

        If you injured a person in a car accident, and you were the *only* match for them, and the *only* way they could be nursed back to health was for them to live inside your body for 9 months, would it be *direct murder* for you to remove them from your body?

        You put them in that position. They can only survive by living inside your body. This is a ‘biological weakness’ that they have. Because they have this specific biological weakness, does it then make you a murderer if you deny them appropriate ‘care’, which would essentially mean, unrestricted use of your body for 9 months?

        In fact, I would go so far as to say that a stronger case could be made for nursing the person you injured back to life, vs. not aborting a pregnancy. The person you injured is a PERSON. The fetus is only a potential person. Also, you *took something* from the person by injuring them. By creating a fetus, you have not taken anything from it. It doesn’t yet exist as a person. It is only potential. And denying it the right to be ‘fully realized’ is not the same as taking away the life/liberty etc of a fully realized person.

        I have been reading http://books.google.ca/books?id=sLh4oBgJEtEC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=direct+vs+indirect+killing+and+abortion&source=bl&ots=7HMRP2yoAC&sig=mIkMVydd2hhYBe4rQfZSyo3Zjck&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OUtIUr3aAcWkyAHzuYBg&ved=0CH8Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=direct%20vs%20indirect%20killing%20and%20abortion&f=false today and it’s hurting my head!

      • fiona64

        Those other things are side effects (some very rare, I should add) of
        growing a new human life, and many of them can be eliminated or managed
        with proper prenatal care.

        I had hyperemesis gravidarum … a potentially fatal complication … for the entire duration of my pregnancy. That’s not rare; it’s one of the most common complications. Ditto pre-eclampsia and eclampsia. Ditto gestational diabetes (which may be come permanent and can cause blindness … likewise permanent). Ditto pubic symphysis diastasis … which *is* permanent.

        You don’t get to decide how much risk anyone other than yourself is to assume.

        Nobody aborts because of nausea (although there are a small percentage
        of abortions that are done for maternal or fetal health reasons)

        Hyperemesis gravidarum is not mere nausea.

      • purr

        The whole point of an abortion IS to kill the fetus!

        Fetii are not being targeted because they are fetii. You are behaving as if pro-choice women cruelly rub their hands together and chant ‘kill fetus kill fetus’. It just happens that the *only* way to end a pregnancy is by removing the cause of that pregnancy. That’s just the way it is.

        But if she chose to engage in the sex which resulted in conception, knowing that it was a possibility, she has some responsibility for the pregnancy. “My body, my choice” does not happen in a vacuum – it comes with responsibility for the outcomes of what you choose to do with your body. As it should.

        As has been repeatedly explained to you, consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. No more than consent to any activity is consent to an injury from that activity. And, if you injure someone while driving your car, and they need a kidney, and you are the *only* match, the courts still can’t, and won’t, force you to give up your kidney to save a life. EVEN IF you were the cause of the other person’s injuries.

        The right to life does not trump the right to bodily autonomy.

        The fetus forfeited it’s right to life the moment it started infringing on the woman’s bodily autonomy.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        There is no personal responsibility in your argument, and because of that I am having a rather hard time respecting it. You make it sound like all of this just happens to the woman, and she has no agency, no control, she’s just a victim of circumstances beyond her control. Not very feminist, if you ask me.

      • purr

        People make mistakes. Even a tubal ligation can fail. No form of birth control is foolproof.

        And abortion *is* taking personal responsibility. Bringing a child into the world that one is not ready for, or that one cannot feed/clothe/house or love is immoral, in my opinion.

        And adoption is not always an option. I would rather abort a pregnancy than risk bringing a child into the world and giving it up for adoption. Some adoptions work out, some don’t. I wouldn’t want to impose suffering on a child. I also wouldn’t want to create a child and spend my life resenting it.

        Taking responsibility can mean having an abortion rather than remaining tied to an abusive man for 18 years. It can mean caring about the children you have *now*, instead of putting your life and health at risk for what is merely a *potential* child. Taking responsibility can mean putting motherhood off until you are good and truly ready.

        Every child should be wanted and loved in my opinion. Humans are not animals. We can decide IF and WHEN we get pregnant.*

        *speaking of animals, in times of stress, animals will often spontaneously abort the pregnancy, reabsorb the fetus, and in some cases, eat their offspring.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        “personal responsibility” == “that filthy slut should have kept her legs closed”

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Wow, I can’t believe you actually just called women filthy sluts for having sex. That’s disgusting. Thus far, you are the only one in this debate who has put a value judgment on women having sex. I have not – I suspect that’s what you were getting at, trying to put those vile words in my mouth, but if you actually read what I wrote you will find that nowhere have I vilified women or judged women for having sex.

        It’s a shame that we cannot even manage to have a discussion about something as basic as personal responsibility without it taking such a nosedive. Are you seriously suggesting that women are so without agency that we are not even responsible for determining our own sex lives? When I have sex it is my choice. I am responsible for making my own choices where my sex life is concerned. That’s the basis for every consensual sexual relationship: both parties have responsibility for their actions. Responsibility isn’t a negative thing; it’s a positive thing. It simply means that you call the shots where a thing is concerned. Responsibility is one of those things that parents encourage in their children…when I tell my kids to take responsibility for their rooms/toys/new shoes, it isn’t a judgment, but an encouragement to be independent and mature.

      • purr

        It’s a shame that we cannot even manage to have a discussion about
        something as basic as personal responsibility without it taking such a
        nosedive

        “responsibility’ is a dog whistle for ‘filthy slut’. Especially when it is used in terms of ‘you had sex, knowing you could get pregnant, and because sex cannot be separated from procreation, you must do the adult thing and have the kid’.

        Are you seriously suggesting that women are so without agency that we are not even responsible for determining our own sex lives?

        Which is why a woman can do the responsible thing and use contraception. And when contraception fails, get an abortion. And if she is young and stupid and makes a mistake and has unprotected sex, she can also have an abortion.

        Choosing not to bring a life into the world when one is not ready IS taking responsibility for one’s actions.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It’s a shame that enough douchebags have co-opted “responsibility” and now use it to mean “filthy slut”. Growing up, responsibility was always presented to me as something to aspire to, a mark of maturity, not a sneaky way to judge and condemn people.

        “Choosing not to bring a life into the world when one is not ready IS taking responsibility for one’s actions.”

        I agree. But I think the time to make that choice is before conception happens, before your choice will result in a death. We have so many effective forms of birth control available these days, methods that are almost 100% effective when used correctly. If people 1) are properly educated about correct usage and 2) have ready access to all forms of contraception, there will be far fewer “oops my birth control failed” pregnancies. I place a large portion of blame for this on certain public schools and their stupid, ridiculous “abstinence only” sex ed classes. They create so much of this problem by leaving kids high and dry, ignorant of the very things that could prevent these things from ever becoming a problem.

      • purr

        Agreed about the abstinence only being a failure. Agreed that proper sex ed and proper access to contraception is great.

        However, even with correct useage, tubal ligations, and vasectomies, pregnancies will *still* occur. You can’t say that someone was ‘irresponsible’ because they took every precaution and it failed.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I would not say someone is irresponsible if they took every precaution and it still failed, no.

      • purr

        But if they are using contraception, it is because they do not want to get pregnant.

        And if that contraception fails, and they use abortion as a backup, do they immediately become irresponsible?

        Why does *responsibility* have to be strictly associated with *must gestate the pregnancy for 9 months*.

        People can be responsible by choosing to give life, or by choosing to have an abortion. Neither is superior to the other.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        “Why does *responsibility* have to be strictly associated with *must gestate the pregnancy for 9 months*.”

        Sometimes, when you’re an adult, you have to do really hard things because it’s the right thing to do. Because even though you tried to prevent it and you didn’t want it, it is still a living human being, and not wanting it doesn’t make killing it acceptable.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        …but if you do not believe it has the same rights as a human because it’s not even close to the same level of sentience and doesn’t even have the capacity to know it is being aborted, why is abortion not doing the hard and responsible thing?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        First off, they are human. That isn’t a matter of belief; it’s just a fact. Second, they can’t have the same rights that the rest of us have because of where they reside, but there is one right they can be granted, and that is the right to remain alive.

      • purr

        1) skin cells are human

        2) my skin cells don’t have the right to remain alive

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        A skin cell is not comparable to an embryo.

      • purr

        It is alive and has human DNA.

        Those are the criteria you have presented for what makes a ‘human being’.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        A fetus does have the right to remain alive. It just doesn’t have the right to remain alive inside my body. As soon as we can keep it alive outside my body, then we’ll talk about whether abortion without transfer is immoral or not. Until then, it can keep its own self alive (or die) without access to my blood and nutrients and organs.

        A right to life doesn’t mean that right trumps all other rights. We, as a society, have rightly decided that bodily autonomy does in fact trump life. We don’t force people to donate organs because of that. We do respect DNRs because of that. We don’t force people to jump into a river or go into a burning building to save someone because of that. We don’t even force a corpse to donate organs, preferring to respect the autonomy of the now-dead person over the lives of people who could really use those organs. The only time, the only time, anyone ever argues that life trumps bodily autonomy is when it comes to women and fetuses. Why do you think that is?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        >Why do you think that is?

        Because when a person is dying for lack of a donor organ, you didn’t cause them to be sick in the first place – their health problem happened on its own and nobody else caused it. Because a person who signs a DNR decided that on their own. Because assuming there is no foul play involved, a person who doesn’t jump in a river or go into a burning building didn’t cause the people who need rescuing to be in that situation in the first place. An abortion differs from all of those things, because in the case of an abortion you are deliberately ending the life of another human, rather than watching someone die from something that had nothing to do with you. It’s the difference between dying of natural causes and dying because someone poisoned you. It is not the same thing.

      • purr

        Well, what if you do poison someone through irresponsibility.

        And they need use of your body for 9 months in order to repair theirs. Your body will provide them with fresh blood transfusions, and your liver, kidney’s etc will do all of the work that their damaged body cannot.

        Should you be obligated to sustain their life, biologically?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        It’s still death either way. And it’s still enslaving the body to do something the person in the body doesn’t want to do. This direct/indirect thing doesn’t make any sense to me- if the result is death either way, and you think death is the very worstest thing ever, you should be perfectly willing and eager to trample over all other rights in all circumstances to prevent as much death as can possibly be prevented. But you’re not. And even then, abortion is indirect death- the fetus/embryo is removed and then dies. The abortion doesn’t kill the embryo. It just can’t live on its own without direct bodily support. A person who needs a kidney can’t live on hir own without direct bodily support either. What is the difference?

        You keep saying that a woman did the deed that made the pregnancy, so she’s stuck with it. Basically, you’re saying the punishment for sex should be an unwanted pregnancy, and if the woman doesn’t want that, that’s just too bad. That’s frightening, that you think sex should lead to the complete loss of bodily autonomy for some of the people who partake in it.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        You mean the right to use a woman’s body without her consent, and putting her at risk of illness, injury and/or death.

      • purr

        Because even though you tried to prevent it and you didn’t want it, it is still a living human being

        It’s a living human organism, not a human *being*. As I keep reminding you, please stop conflating ‘human’ with ‘human being’. Human being is a synonym for person – no matter how much you want to pretend it isn’t.

        Sometimes, when you’re an adult, you have to do really hard things because it’s the right thing to do

        We don’t force people to do ‘really hard things because it’s the right thing to do’, *especially* if that means we are infringing on their liberty and bodily autonomy.

        If you don’t want to raise a child, you can do the hard thing and give it up for adoption. If you don’t want to be pregnant, and have your body stolen from you for 9 months, the right thing to do is to get an abortion.

        You are moralizing. Again.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        So, gestational slavery….

      • Anat

        Well, we disagree that being alive and having human DNA automatically grants you the right to exist, let alone exist in someone else’s body.

      • Anat

        Eh, how much of a precaution is good enough for you?

        Are you going to say that if one uses a method of contraception which is 95% safe (which translates to 1 unwanted pregnancy in 20 years of use) that’s not responsible?

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        All of this is absolutely true. And I agree with you that reducing the abortion rate by decreasing the number of unwanted pregnancies would be a very good thing.

        But! Almost 100% is not 100%, and mistakes do happen (my parents, generally very responsible, point to my youngest sister as evidence that birth control in the drawer doesn’t actually work very well). If my parents, then in their 30s and married for 10 years, could be overcome by hormones, what makes you think a teenager will always make the right choices in the face of stronger hormone surges and less life experience? At any rate, let’s pretend our hypothetical person has always used birth control correctly, and they are one of the unlucky 0.1% who got pregnant anyways. That’ll happen to one out of 1000 sexually active, fertile women using this method, after all. This woman has been responsible. She’s done her due diligence. And she’s still pregnant with an unwanted pregnancy. Does she “deserve” access to an abortion? What about a person who forgot once, and that once was the time she got pregnant? Does she “deserve” an abortion? We will never get the need for abortion to zero, and shaming women for daring to be sexually active is not a valid response to them becoming pregnant when they don’t want to. Neither is rationing out abortion only to women who meet some arbitrary standard of “deserving” it.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Nobody is shaming anyone for having sex.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        No? But this is my impression of you to a woman seeking an abortion:

        You had sex! Without (adequate) protection! How could you? Now look at you, you irresponsible brat, look at what you’ve done. You should feel ashamed of yourself. You need to step up and and take responsibility for your actions- that means you have to gestate a parasite for nine months in your body and then, probably, be saddled with a child. That’ll teach you to have consensual sex! What? Your birth control failed? That’s not an excuse! Why did you have sex at all, when you know birth control can fail? You should know better.

        And that, that is shaming a person for having sex.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Wow, you got all that hateful bullshit from the things I’ve said thus far? Unbelievable. Don’t you *dare* sit there and spout this crap and then say you’re just doing an impression of me.

      • purr

        When you say that someone has to take ‘responsibility for their actions’ you are in effect implying that they did something wrong.

        You don’t say ‘you got a good mark on our test today, you better take responsibility for your actions, kiddo’

        So yes, feminerd is correct, and you are engaging in slut-shaming.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Yes. I did get “all that hateful bullshit” (which is indeed both hateful and bullshit) from what you’ve said. You have said women who have consensual sex have to “take responsibility” and gestate whether they will or no. You have said that birth control failures are not an excuse. When you say those things, my impression is what women hear, because it is the subtext of those statements. It’s ugly, mean, hateful, and rude, but dressing it up in prettier words doesn’t change it one bit.

        Would you like to answer the questions posed? Which women, if any, of the hypothetical women I proposed “deserve” access to abortion?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        No, I don’t think I would like to continue this discussion. If we cannot even have a discussion about personal responsibility without you accusing me of hatred of women, without others accusing me of “slut shaming”, then I’m finished, because it would appear that people have surrendered the use of their reasoning in favour of blind adherence to their ideology instead, and any further discussion is pointless. Once the conversation has been derailed by accusations, it’s over.

      • purr

        So now your fee-fees are hurt because you got some pushback?

        You can’t just say something offensive and expect people to not be offended.

        And now you’re tone trolling. What an easy way out.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        No reason to be condescending. I’m finished discussing it because we are no longer having a discussion – it’s just descended into endless accusations of slut shaming (which is a load of crap, and not true), and you guys don’t seem to be able to actually read what I write without reading your own ideology into it. I’ve explained myself clearly, and I’m finished arguing with people who want to redefine my words. I’m spending more time correcting your misconceptions about what I write than I am spending discussing the actual topic at hand, and it’s just a waste of time.

        I figured this is the tack you would take, though.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Are my statements of what you said inaccurate? Have I misread your arguments about responsibility and excuses and birth control? You have said women who have consensual sex have to “take responsibility” and gestate whether they will or no. You have said that birth control failures are not an excuse. Putting your arguments in plain words just exposes the ugly ideas in them, ideas that you were likely unaware of. Subtext can be like that.

        If only some women deserve abortions, why is that? What separates them from the women who don’t deserve abortions in your mind? If the answer is consensual sex, then yes, you have some ugly societal ideas about women and sex that need to come out into the light of day to be examined and hopefully disinfected.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Yes, your statements are inaccurate, as I have told you already. And yes, you have misread my arguments. You seem to have it in your head that even saying that people are responsible for their choices, for what they do with their bodies, and for the results of those choices, be they wanted or unwanted results, amounts to “slut shaming”, which is ridiculous. I put no value judgments on sex whatsoever; you are the one who filled in the blank and decided I think women who have sex are sluts who should be punished. But I was never the one who said that.

        I said that abortion kills a human being, and I said that killing another human is not something we should do without a good reason. After birth, it is not permitted to take a life because you can’t or won’t care for it; to me, doing that before birth is equally indefensible. After birth, it *is* permitted to kill in self-defense; before birth, doing so is equally justified, such as having an abortion because you have cancer and need chemo, or being diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy, or some other situation in which the woman faces death. How the baby was conceived is not the issue at all – the fact that it is a living human is what I cannot brush aside. You are used to dealing with pro-lifers who really are anti-woman and anti-sex, and I get it – they are ugly, sexist monsters who really do want to see women treated like property. They are, unfortunately, so common that they are the basis on which many pro-choice people form their opinions of the pro-life side. But that is not who I am, nor is it what I think. I am as disgusted by their hate as you are. I simply cannot set aside the humanity of the unborn; they deserve to live too.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I think you don’t understand the self-defense aspects of abortion. Over 1 million women a year are permanently injured by pregnancy in the US alone. Over 30,000 nearly die, incurring vast hospital bills and often permanent damage to their bodies. About 600-700 per year die from pregnancy and labor. A fetus releases hormones that suppress the immune system (making women vulnerable to many diseases they would normally fight off), raise blood sugar (to pre-diabetic levels, that’s why gestational diabetes is a fairly common complication), and raise blood pressure (to what are considered borderline unsafe levels in non-pregnant people, which is why pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are fairly common complications). A fetus leeches nutrients as well- women have been known to go blind (vitamin A deficiency), lose teeth (calcium deficiency), and get osteoporosis (also calcium deficiency) because of their pregnancies.

        No one deserves to live by doing that to another unwilling person. And you have said that how an embryo was conceived matters- you have said rape is a legitimate reason to get an abortion but birth control failure is not. What is that, if not a value judgment that a proper punishment for consensual sex is unwanted pregnancy?

      • purr

        Actually, she said that abortion in the case of rape is immoral, however…

        She has *sympathy* for victims of rape, because they didn’t choose to create the ‘human being’ inside them…

      • zoey

        Why, exactly, do they “deserve to live”?

      • Shayna

        “You are used to dealing with pro-lifers who really are anti-woman and anti-sex, and I get it – they are ugly, sexist monsters who really do want to see women treated like property. – But that is not who I am, nor is it what I think.

        I am glad you are not that type. but when we compare you to that type (say myintx for a mild example, or Norm Donnan) and you are making many of the same arguments, what are we to think? How are we to know you don’t believe in the subtext, when you are using the same ‘dog whistle’ terms that they do? Are we supposed to take your word for it, and ignore how similar you sound?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I clarified what I meant. If you’re going to ignore that in favour of your own ideas of what I meant, that’s it.

      • purr

        I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and be charitable.

        I will try to approach it from your perspective.

        You realy really love babies. You love the *potential* that exists in the z/e/f. It upsets you to think of a ‘human being’ being deprived of that potential to lead a fulfilling life someday.

        You view sacrifice, perhaps even suffering, as something noble. *Especially* if it is in the service of bringing a new life into the world.

        Am I on the right track so far?

        The only issue is, as others have noted, the subtext is pretty much identical to what we hear from the very worst of the pro-lifers. And, as Feminerd pointed out, if you are so concerned about life, then why does it only appear to be fetal life? Why not show equal concern for all life – including the patient who might need your bone marrow.

      • Shayna

        But you kept saying the same things…you keep going on about personal responsibility, after you were told how that phrase is deliberately used to harm.

        On another part of this thread you dismissed the nausea suffered by pregnant women, & when you were told by jejune & I how that argument is used against women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG from now on), what was your response? Did you back down or apologize or even acknowledge the point at all? No, you went with: that’s not what I meant & wow, you’re easily offended.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

      • Veiled_In_Dance

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

      • Veiled_In_Dance

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        *Snortle* Okay, that’s a good one.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

      • purr

        You know what responsibility is?

        It is waiting for the right time to have a child.

        It is spacing your births – so both mother and child can have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

        It is having a child when you can afford to give it the most love, care and attention possible.

        It is giving a child the quality of life it *deserves*

        Responsibility is most emphatically *not* just letting biology run it’s course.

        That isn’t responsibility. That is acting like a mindless, breeding animal.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        I didn’t call anyone a filthy slut. I just pointed out what is really meant by “personal responsibility”.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        No. You are the only one that I’ve seen who used the words “filthy slut”. I didn’t and nobody else did, either. If that’s what you think “personal responsibility” means, then you have some major issues. And if you think any of what I said could be interpreted as “you filthy slut”, you need to learn how to read words and not just project your own ideas onto other people’s statements.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        Defenseless and blameless or not, it does not have a right to use my body without my explicit and ongoing consent. Consent that I have a right to withdraw at any point, for any reason.

        You are advocating gestational slavery.

      • Olive Markus

        I hope you remember every single thing you just said the next time you or a family member requires emergency care over a risk you “consented to.” Going to bleed to death because you were in a car accident? Too bad. Suck it up. You consented to the activity that led you there.

        If you can’t extend your logic to all circumstances it isn’t logic at all.

      • Olive Markus

        I would also like to ask you: what is the difference between a zygote conceived through consensual sex and a zygote conceived during rape?

        Be careful how you answer. My guess is that it will be nothing but pure misogyny.

      • purr

        She is telling me that I am intellectually dishonest for ‘misrepresenting’ her argument and accusing her of asserting that a zygote is a homunculus, however….

        She did say this:

        “an unborn human being at the starting line of the process is just as human as an old person at the end of her life.”

        ::shrug::

      • Olive Markus

        Hahaha! But only if conceived through sexual consent, right? If conceived by rape it is nothing…

        Remind you of anyone…?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        There is no difference whatsoever between a pregnancy resulting from rape and one resulting from consent. My point was that, unless you are a rape victim, you are pregnant because of something you did which you probably knew could result in pregnancy, and that not wanting to be pregnant isn’t a good enough reason for killing.

        My point was not that it’s okay to have an abortion when you are pregnant via rape, although reading back what I wrote I can see why I might have given that impression.

      • Olive Markus

        Would you argue that a woman is donating her entire body to the fertilized egg when she is pregnant? Or is it growing entirely on its own?

        And why do you feel that a woman’s body belongs to others, but not to herself?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        You don’t get to decide what is a “good enough” reason for anyone other than yourself.

        Violation of my body is more than enough reason to abort. Why? Because I do not now, and never will, consent to being used as a life-support system for a parasite.

      • Shayna

        So, let me get this straight:
        ~Forcing a woman to be pregnant when she did not choose to have sex = not OK
        ~Forcing a woman to be pregnant when she chose to have sex = OK

        How does that attitude not involve punishing women for having sex?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Nope, you didn’t get that straight.

        Nobody is “forcing a woman to be pregnant” if she consented to the sex in the first place. She is pregnant because of something she did. It isn’t a bad thing. it isn’t a punishment. It’s just life making new life. But don’t try to tell us that somehow it’s “forced pregnancy” unless she was forced to have sex. If she wasn’t, then it isn’t. If she was raped, you’d have a leg to stand on. If you are curious about my position, though – everyone needs over-the-counter access to Plan B. And I mean everyone. That way women who were raped have a means to spare themselves the horror of carrying a pregnancy which began in such a terrible way. I don’t agree with people who say that birth contro/plan B/things that prevent implantation = abortion, because that’s nonsense. It isn’t the same thing; you aren’t pregnant until implantation happens, and you cannot abort a pregnancy that doesn’t exist.

        I hope that cleared things up.

        Your post begs a question, though: if it is “forced pregnancy” to make a woman have a child she doesn’t want, what do you call it when women force a man to pay child support for a child he didn’t want? He consented to sex, but not pregnancy, and he should get to withdraw consent during pregnancy like a woman. Obviously he can’t just make the woman have an abortion, but what about his rights to self-determination? Why does he have to be “enslaved” to the child but the woman does not? Are women more important than men as well as unborn children, too?

      • purr

        Nobody is “forcing a woman to be pregnant” if she consented to the sex
        in the first place. She is pregnant because of something she did. It
        isn’t a bad thing. it isn’t a punishment. It’s just life making new
        life.

        It’s a punishment if the woman does not want to be pregnant.

        And you would be forcing the woman to *remain* pregnant. Also, as has been explained, consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy aaaand, consent at any time can be withdrawn. Just because the egg has implanted on the uterine wall does NOT give it the right to continue using a woman’s body against her will.

        If you are curious about my position, though – everyone needs over-the-counter access to Plan B. And I mean everyone. That way women who were raped have a means to spare themselves the horror of carrying a
        pregnancy which began in such a terrible way

        If the woman has already ovulated it’ll be too late. Plan B is not foolproof.

        what do you call it when women force a man to pay child support for a child he didn’t want?

        OH great, MRA talking points. I will point out that the man is not forced to 1) pay for the pregnancy or the birth 2) does not bear the *physical* risks or resulting disabilities and/or death that result from the pregnancy.
        A man isn’t going to lose his job because he is vomiting every day. A man is not going to get fired because he has to take bathroom breaks every 10 minutes. A man is not going to get permanent diabetes, go blind, or wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

        You cannot compare the physical risks of pregnancy to a man’s wallet. Also, you are forgetting one thing. If the man has to pay for the child for the next 18 years. SO DOES THE WOMAN.

      • Shayna

        If she wants an abortion, and you don’t want to let her have one…that is exactly forcing a woman to be pregnant.

        ” It isn’t a bad thing. it isn’t a punishment.” Unless it kills her, maims her, disables her, renders her infertile, gets her fired or kicked out of school, causes her partner to leave her, ties her to her abuser, or sends her & her kids over the line into abject poverty…otherwise, not bad at all.

        As far as birth control, sex ed, & social programs go, I agree. To see why we share a lot of the same views, but I come down firmly on the pro-choice side, take a look at my comment here – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/04/the-real-message-of-the-kermit-gosnell-story.html#comment-877509529

        As for the child support argument, I feel jejune’s post below covers that quite well.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        If I’m pregnant and a) do not wish to be pregnant; and b) not “allowed” to terminate said pregnancy, that is, 100%, forced pregnancy.

        That remains true whether I was raped or had consensual sex.

        What you are advocating is the slavery of pregnant women.

      • Anat

        Most acts of sex do not lead to pregnancy. Most acts of sex do not involve the wish for pregnancy. Claiming that consent to pregnancy equals consent to carry a pregnancy to term is as like claiming that crossing a street is consenting to being run over or that willingly getting into a car (whether as driver or passenger) is consent to being in a road accident.

        People often need to deal with undesirable consequences of acts they took on willingly. Their original consent is not carried over to the consequences and plays no role in determining whether hey should be allowed to take steps to undo said undesirable outcome.

        But even a woman who got pregnant intentionally should have the right to change her mind. Because it is her body.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        When you drive a car you are consenting to the risk. You know you could get hurt and you do it anyway.

        When you have sex you are consenting to the risk. You know you can get pregnant and you do it anyway.

        Life is not without risk. We are entitled to make our choices and determine which risks to take. Not wanting to deal with the natural result of our choices does not justify taking a life. Babies aren’t like car accidents or other horrible accidents – they are human beings.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        No, I’m not consenting to the risks. If I were consenting to the risks, I wouldn’t be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver if they injured me. Consent means I’m telling the other drivers, “yeah, go ahead and hit me, it’s okay. I won’t sue you.”

        Your analogy is dead on arrival.

      • zoey

        Babies are human beings. z/e/f are not. they are simply human.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        And when a risk does come true- when there’s a car accident or a skiing accident or an accidental pregnancy- we treat it appropriately. We don’t say, “Oh well, you took the risk, you deserve the consequences. Have fun bleeding to death/limping and having pain your whole life/having an unwanted child, it’s all your fault because you took on a minuscule risk, so you consented to all the consequences”.

        We stop the bleeding. We set the leg. We perform the abortion. We don’t punish the individual who took the risk.

        And, semantically, babies are born. Before birth, it is a blastocyst or a zygote or an embryo or a fetus. No one wants to kill babies- that’s infanticide, and as far as I know no one here thinks that is moral or ethical (well, Anat might not find it immoral under some circumstances, as her spectrum of personhood is more flexible than many and incorporates many features infants don’t yet have). At any rate, use proper terminology, please.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        If it would prevent the slow and painful death of the infant, particularly if the infant has a fatal condition, it’s a mercy-kill, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

        I consider it immoral to force suffering in the name of “life”.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        That’s called a DNR order.

      • purr

        Life is not without risk

        And we don’t force people to take risks. We don’t force people to put themselves in harm’s way in order to benefit others.

        Pregnancy is inherently risky, and only the pregnant person can decide how much risk they want to subject themselves too.

        If a woman doesn’t want to deal with morning sickness it’s her call.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Why does a rape “baby” deserve life any less than “baby” conceived with the fully willingness of the woman involved? What’s the biological difference between them; why does one deserve “life” and the other not? I thought this was a about the baby, isn’t it?

      • purr

        Yeah, she is totally pro-birth control and sex ed.

        Gotta give her credit for that, even though the rape exception is kinda non-sensical.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Yeah, I found that out further down.

        For the curious, the part of my comment I deleted was attacking the typical pro-life position of “no birth control, no sex ed, no abortion”. To her credit, the first two are not applicable.

      • Olive Markus

        “I thought this was a about the baby, isn’t it?

        EXACTLY.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It doesn’t, and I never said it did. All I said was that unless you were raped, you are pregnant as a result of a choice you made, and not wanting to be pregnant doesn’t excuse abortion. I think that people conceived via rape deserve to live just as much as anyone else. I have a lot more sympathy for a woman who aborts because she was raped than I do for one who aborts because she just doesn’t want to be a mother; however, the end result is the same. It’s one of the reasons why I really think that Plan B needs to be available over-the-counter – so that women who are raped (or any woman who simply does not want to be pregnant!!) have a way to prevent themselves from ever needing an abortion in the first place. Plan B keeps you from getting pregnant (I do not believe life begins when the egg is fertilized, and I don’t believe that birth control methods which prevent implantation = abortion, because you cannot abort a pregnancy that has not happened).

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        I have a lot more sympathy for a woman

        And again, you’re talking about the woman. I’m not. I’m talking about the “baby”. If this were truly about “the baby”, the wants and needs of the woman would not even factor into the equation. Whether she was raped or willingly had sex, the end result is the same: you’re forcing her to carry a baby she doesn’t want, and really, that doesn’t matter when you’re talking about “the baby”.

        Yet, you keeping bringing it back to her. Why?

        Riddle me: who’s more important, the woman who “willingly” conceived because she had consensual sex or the she conceived? One has to be more important than the other; they both can’t occupy the same body and be given the same preferential treatment over it.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Both the mother and the baby matter. Why does one have to be more important than the other? BOTH CAN LIVE. They can both occupy the same body; that’s how you got here, and how I got here, and how every human who ever lived got here.

      • purr

        . Why does one have to be more important than the other?

        You are the one who thinks that the fetus should be more important than the woman. That it should have more of a right to her body than she has, for starters.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        So what? If I hadn’t gotten here, I wouldn’t know it. If my parents had had sex 5 minutes later, I wouldn’t be here and another person would. Should I mourn the potential person who never came to be because I exist? Potential is not actuality- we talk about what is, not what will be, or we’d all treat each other like walking corpses since we will all inevitably become dead.

        And no, woman and fetus don’t “both occupy the same body”. The woman is the body, while the fetus occupies her body. It may do so only so long as she allows it to. The difference between rape and sex is consent; the difference between wanted and unwanted pregnancy is consent. A valid response to rape is deadly force. A valid response to unwanted pregnancy is deadly force. If I only got here because my mother was forced to carry me, I would rather not be here, thanks. However, I know I was wanted, and that makes me happy. I know I was wanted.

        Do you know how much it sucks to be unwanted? I watched some people I know go through that, and you know what? They knew they’d fucked up their mothers’ lives, and many did wish they’d never been born. They bore the guilt of their existence every day of their lives. No one should ever be unwanted, and a combination of contraception, social safety nets, and abortion ensures that. Abortion is a necessary component, though.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        No, it doesn’t work like that. Someone has control over that body. Who is it?

      • purr

        I do not believe life begins when the egg is fertilized

        Is that why you said this earlier: “an unborn human being at the starting line of the process is just as human as an old person at the end of her life.”

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        I do not believe life begins when the egg is fertilized,

        Which is good, because it doesn’t. Life existed before the egg was fertilized. The egg and the sperm were both alive.

        I bring this up because the question is not about when life begins. If you’re alive today, there’s a long line connecting you all the way back to the first lifeforms on Earth, possibly during the Hadean era. That line has not been broken once (because you are alive).

        The question is this: “When does human life begin”, and for that, you’ll need to define what a “human being” is – a term that, traditionally, has been a moving target.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        You still want to make women slaves to our uteri. A fetus does not “deserve” to live, and it certainly doesn’t have the right to use my body.

      • Fred

        You demean the concept of person-hood when you try to give it to an insensate bump of flesh.

      • purr

        Because it is a criticism of Norm, who values women only for their use as objects to:

        1) sexually please him

        2) give birth

        And it sets women up for failure, because it puts them in a position of a) being obligated to act as a sex toy for the man and b) if the woman gets pregnant, its *her fault* for spreading her legs

        Norm is big on the woman taking ‘personal responsibility’ for engaging in consensual sex, while simultaneously holding the opinion that a woman must drop whatever she is doing and be sex slave to the man she is with.

        Do you see the problem with that kind of thinking?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I do, of course; but I don’t think that this is the same as the issue of abortion/pro-life. Expecting a woman to essentially be a “sex slave” for her husband is not the same as thinking that it’s wrong to kill an unborn human being. Apples and oranges.

      • purr

        In Norm’s case, the two are related. Which is why I pointed it out.

        He holds the view that women must ‘put out’ and then calls them sluts when they do.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        True. Did he call them sluts? I must have missed that gem!

      • purr

        A woman I met on another messageboard a few months ago had an interesting tale to tell.

        Her mom was a 1950s housewife. She was, for all intents and purposes, the property of her husband. The mom was raped – twice – by her husband. At that time, marital rape, or even, sexual coercion within marriage, was not considered to be a crime. It was a wife’s DUTY to always be sexually available for her husband.

        Anyways, the mother was raped, twice, and she gave birth to two children SHE DID NOT WANT. She resented them, and she made their lives a living hell. Heaped all manner of abuse on them. The kids are extremely messed up to this day. And according to people such as Norm, the mother would have been in the wrong to have aborted the forced pregnancy because she ‘consented’ to sex. Yeah, she ‘consented’ to it because she was his property. And because, back in those days, the common wisdom held that wives were the sexual property of their husbands. That getting married = consent to sex, therefore, rape within marriage did not exist.

        And THIS is why abortion rights and the right not to be a sex slave are intimately connected.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        It’s very similar. A woman’s consent is not as important as the other entity/person who wants to use her body. Her right to autonomy, her self-determination, her self-ownership, those END the second they become inconvenient to another entity. People who gladly strip women of their human rights to freedom and sovereignty also tend to view women as sexual vending machines. Did you know that abusive relationships often feature sabotage of a woman’s birth control, or refusal to let her take/use birth control? Did you ever draw the connection in your mind between countries/states with oppressive abortion laws (which do not ever, in any way, link to lowered abortion rates) and their equally oppressive anti-woman laws? Did you ever wonder why “pro-life” leaders also tend to speak against no-fault divorce (which was a major win for women’s rights) and reliable, effective contraception access and use? Did you ever wonder why “just don’t have sex” is the major go-to non-solution for forced-birthers who get confronted with the reality of unwanted pregnancy?

        I’m surprised I have to spell this out for anybody. Anybody who genuinely thinks that the forced-birth agenda has anything to do with actual babies is only deluded. It is about rolling back women’s rights to bodily consent and self-ownership so they’ll fall back into their onetime subordinate position to men; that’s all it’s ever been about.

        Also: obligatory perhaps, but abortion is not killing an unborn human being, so I guess we’re all in the clear. The manipulative and deliberate misuse of terms like “kill,” “life,” and “unborn human being” is a big part of why the forced-birther position is invalid.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Wow, what a lot of claptrap all in one place.

        Also: yes, abortion does kill. Have you been pregnant? I have. I began bleeding at 8 weeks and they thought I was miscarrying. The next morning I went in for an ultrasound, and to my everlasting delight the baby – sorry, “whatever” – was still alive. Do you know how they were able to determine that it was alive? It had a beating heart which we could all clearly see on the monitor, and it was moving its arms and legs quite visibly. In contrast, I have also seen what a dead fetus looks like on an ultrasound because we’ve been there too. There is no movement. There is no heartbeat, just utter stillness. I should not have to spell out this obvious fact but it appears I must: there is a difference between an alive embryo/fetus and a dead one. Anyone with eyes can see it. The living ones move around and have hearts that you can watch beating. The dead ones look just like other dead bodies. And abortion causes the living embryo/fetus to die. That’s what killing is. Even a child can grasp this concept. It does not matter if you think it’s all b.s. made-up hokum – it is real, they are alive, and there is an insurmountable pile of evidence which proves this to be true. Again, unless you have reputable science showing that they aren’t alive and aren’t human.

        And what makes them become alive and human, then, if they aren’t until birth? Are vaginas magic? Oh wait, it can’t be, what about c-section babies? And why can they be human and alive at 23 weeks if they are born that early, when they would be considered non-human non-life if they were still in the womb? Your position is the one which makes no sense. You are advocating a fairy tale that doesn’t exist anywhere except in your mind. You don’t get to redefine science, reality, or facts to suit your ideology or your agenda. You can ignore science, you can be royally pissed off because the science in front of you does not support your position or makes it painfully hard for you to continue holding your belief, but all of that is irrelevant. Facts are facts. And it is a fact that 1) the unborn are human, 2) the unborn are alive unless and until something happens to interrupt that process, and 3) abortion causes the death of an embryo/fetus that was alive when the procedure started. These are basic facts. Do what you want with them, but they stand regardless.

      • purr

        It had a beating heart which we could all clearly see on the monitor, and it was moving its arms and legs quite visibly.

        A clinically braindead corpse with a functional brainstem also has a beating heart.

        Just as death is usually defined by the cessation of brain activity, so the start of life can be defined as the start of a recognisable (EEG) pattern from the fetus. This is usually twenty four to twenty seven weeks after conception.

        The point of using neurological factors rather than other signs such as a heartbeat is that this is a much more useful indicator from the point of view of science. A heart beats using mostly involuntary muscle movements so is really little different from any other spontaneous motion or metabolic processes. A heartbeat means relatively
        little in real terms, although it is more dramatic from an emotive point of view.

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=when-does-consciousness-arise

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        An embryo is not considered a corpse or clinically braindead.

      • purr

        A brain-dead person with a functioning heart/lungs/brain stem will still show electrical activity in the brain, but they won’t show the particular “brainwaves” that are characteristic of the higher cortical functions of cognition. So the whole EEG isn’t “flat”, just the part of the EEG profile that shows a thinking person is using that brain tissue.

        (A better description would be the more scientific exactitude of “clinical significant electrical brain activity” to avoid confusion.)

        At this point no “person” with sentience or awareness is present in the body, and it is legal to discontinue life support, and harvest organs for transplant, as without a functioning brain the body is just a collection of tissue.

        People who are diagnosed as clinically brain dead are routinely disconnected from life support and used to provide the organs for transplantations (no murder charges have ever been filled for this and none ever will be) A fetus does not have the bilaterally synchronous EEG patterns in the cortical area of the brain to be considered alive until 26-30 weeks of gestation, exactly like those who are diagnosed as clinically brain dead by physicians.

        People who are considered clinically brain-dead, have brainwaves (and sometimes even a beating heart), just not in the part of the brain that means that they are still alive. At this point doctors can start organ harvesting or turn off life support, no murder charges have ever, or will ever be been filed.

        A fetus younger then 26-30 weeks does not have all the brain structure (cortex) or the synapse, neurons etc in place to show more brain activity then a person who is clinically brain dead, as measured with the same machine (EEG) The heart might beat, but nobody is home.

        No embryo or fetus has ever been found to have “brain
        waves,” before 26-30 weeks gestation, although extensive EEG studies have been done on premature babies.

        In fact a fetus does not have a functional cortex before
        20-24 weeks gestation, no neurons, dendrites, and axons, with synapses between them are physically present. (Pretty hard to show activity in a structure that is not even present yet)

        Since these requirements are not present in the human cortex before 20-24 weeks of gestation, it is not possible to record the clinical significant electrical brain activity indicative of any form sentience and awareness prior to 20-24 weeks. (at that point the cerebral cortex can display some small intermittent non synchronous activity (“stutter”) This is not surprising since it is pretty hard to show activity in a brain structure that is not even present yet.

        Functional maturity of the cerebral cortex is suggested by fetal and neonatal EEG patterns, bilaterally synchronous EEG are ONLY seen at a minimum of 26 to 29 weeks gestation.

        Studies used are;
        -Hamlin,H. (1964), “Life or Death by EEG,”Journal of the American
        Medical Association, October 12,113
        -J. Goldenring, “Development of the Fetal Brain,” New England Jour. of Med., Aug. 26, 1982, p. 564
        -K.J.S. Anand, a leading researcher on pain in newborns, and P.R. Hickey, published in NEJM

        So until the fetus has the same level of clinical brain activity (first seen at 26-29 weeks gestation, well after abortion becomes unavailable) as the woman in question, it is very dishonest (to say the least) to award the fetus more human rights than the woman.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        That’s because it hasn’t even become human enough to achieve beating heart cadaver (not corpse) status yet.

        Now, it is alive. There’s no doubt about that. But it has the same amount of brain activity as a beating heart cadaver, so it’s awfully hard to say it’s fully alive, either.

      • Lyric

        I just wanted to point out that many pro-choice people have been pregnant. Me, I’m a mother of twins, which means that I went through lots of ultrasounds. And not only am I still pro-choice, I think I may be slightly more so. I hadn’t realized, on an experiential level, what a grueling physical challenge pregnancy is. Making a person pregnant without their consent is sort of like putting them in heavy athletic training against their will, with absolutely no way to stop, no pay, and usually the need to stay employed as well.

        As far as I’m concerned, the only possible measure of a person is cognition. “Human” is irrelevant. A sapient robot from Betelgeuse is more important than the brain-dead-but-heart-still-beating body of a beloved family member, as far as I’m concerned, and I apply the same reasoning to abortion.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        By your logic, you are more important than your newborn or your kids, because adults have far more cognition than either a baby or a child. You matter more and they matter less. You are more of a person, more human, more valuable, more deserving of life. Their humanity? Irrelevant.

        This also means that you are more human than mentally disabled people too. Hm.

      • purr

        The capacity for cognition is what matters. A cat has more cognition than an embryo. And, imo, that cat is worth more. The cat can experience life, the cat can suffer. A jellybean sized embryo (61% of abortions occur before 9 weeks) has less cognition than my pet kitty. And my kitty is way the fuck more valuable than an insensate embryo.

      • Lyric

        No. It isn’t a matter of being cognitively advanced, it’s a matter of whether an entity is sapient at all. IQ sixty or IQ one hundred sixty, that’s irrelevant.

        (Note: IQ is a fairly flawed measure of intelligence and while you can get a fair amount of information out of a detailed examination of the subtests, you have to know what you’re looking for. An IQ of a hundred and sixty would be so many standard deviations above the mean that there are very few individuals to compare it to, so what it actually means in terms of aptitude is “. . . well, we think they have a lot of it.” But in the absence of a better system of measurement . . . *shrug*)

        I should also mention up front that I have a tendency to react poorly to insinuations that I don’t love my children. I’d rather you didn’t take the conversation there.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        I said nothing about love. You equate cognition with humanity and value; I simply pointed out the flaws in your argument, namely, that it would mean you are more human and more valuable than your kids because you are far more cognitively advanced. Clearly you don’t agree with your own logic.

      • Lyric

        No, you didn’t say anything about love, but I’ve been burned on that particular argument before, so I decided to jump the gun. Glad you’re not going there.

        And, as I said in the comment you’re replying to, I never said anything about demanding advanced thought from anyone. Just sapience.

        Which, admittedly, may be somewhat more difficult to identify than a lot of other science fiction writers think (or, more likely, they skip that bit for plot). But I’m fairly sure it doesn’t occur in any entity with the brain waves of a legally brain-dead corpse. Which is what a fetus has, up until the last bit.

      • purr

        No, she is equating the capacity for sentience and sapience with value.

        As I already explained, in great detail, a clinically braindead corpse with a functioning body and brainstem will be buried, or have its organs harvested. A fetus, prior to viability, has the same EEG reading as a clinically braindead corpse.

        “Personhood’ or ‘human beingness’ resides in the *mind*, not in the heart, not in the brainstem, and not in the DNA.

        As a side note, the posters here will kindly remind you that you think a pregnant woman should have fewer rights to her body than a corpse. Because if you want to take the corpse’s organs, you gotta have permisision first. You seem to think that a fetus has an inalienable right to a woman’s body – regardless of how it got there.

      • fiona64

        I always love posts that say “by your logic,” and then put up an asinine and illogical straw man.

        It may be another drinking/BINGO game thing, eh?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ WMDKitty — Survivor

        We get it. You want women to be subject to reproductive slavery.

      • fiona64

        What is with the constant assumption by anti-choicers that pro-choice people have no children? I have a 27-year-old son … and had a pregnancy that was so horrific due to hyperemesis gravidarum that I will *not* go through it again. Period. I have a 20-year-old tubal ligation, and if it fails there will be an abortion so fast that your head will spin right off.

      • purr

        Oh, and the fact that you are a woman is meaningless.

        There are hardcore Islamist women who write books, just like the one mentioned here, about how it’s a woman’s job to submit to her husband, beatings and all.

        You CAN be a woman and be misogynist.

      • Olive Markus

        If you believe that a woman’s body was only put on this earth to be used and owned by others whenever they feel like using it, re: a man, a fetus, religious orders or the state, you are a misogynist. Women make the most vicious misogynists in my personal experience as they are protecting a lifetime of beliefs about their own purpose and life choices.

    • Lyric

      Norm, I’m sorry. If I’d realized you didn’t have working hands, I swear I would never have upvoted any of the posts that made fun of your spelling.

      • Hilary

        L.O.L. It’s his punctuation I can’t get over. My spelling isn’t always great, but at least I’m not too lazy to hit the space bar.

      • Squire Bramble

        Yes, poor Norm just outed himself as a member of a sexual minority. I can’t remember the exact figures offhand, but it’s only around 2- 5% of American men and 8 – 10% of American women who have never received oral sex; and that doesn’t take into consideration all the other forms of non-PIV sexual stimulus – manual, frottage, etc.

        Though he has admitted that his wife is required to wipe his shitty bottom daily, that can’t be much of a turn-on, poor thing.

      • Norm Donnan

        ha,I do and theyve had plenty of work but masterbation is like you talking to a friend while sex is like talking to your husband.Good sex is like a deep and intermate conversation,it binds and builds your relationship.

      • Lyric

        I would say that masturbation is like masturbation. Or don’t you think that women ever do that?

        I agree with you that good, mutually enjoyed sex is like nothing else. But this particular excerpt isn’t talking about good, mutually enjoyed sex. Very, very far from it.

        Not wanting to have sex is not inconsiderate. It’s just . . . not wanting to have sex. And not wanting to have a conversation isn’t inconsiderate, either. Sometimes, you just don’t want to talk. Nobody should actually need an excuse for either, beyond “I’m not really up for it right now.”

      • Norm Donnan

        This is true except I know men whose wives havent let their husbands have sex for months,sleeping in the same bed aswell.To me,this is abuse,not just inconsiderate.

        Im not saying women should be “treadmills” as one twit put it ,just considerate.

      • purr

        Yet you don’t think women should have the same right to bodily autonomy as men?

        Again, colour me unsurprised.

        Your views are extremely misogynist.

      • Lyric

        Then you’ve never experienced abuse. Which is good, don’t get me wrong, but it also means you don’t really know what you’re talking about when it comes to abuse.

        Look, I agree that if a couple goes without sex for months, with no explanation, because one person doesn’t want it*, then there’s something wrong which badly needs to be talked out. But if you think that I was abusive for telling my husband that we couldn’t have sex while I healed up from a Cesarian section, well, I’m not just going to laugh at you, I’m going to tell him so he can laugh at you.**

        *Leaving aside situations where both partners have such low sex drives that a month’s dry spell is normal for them.

        **Actually, I probably won’t, because he would probably go into full-on “Someone is being mean to my wife,” mode. But you know what I mean. He does not feel abused. Hell, I even asked.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Yeah, apparently some people don’t see that there are situations and times when no sex is normal, and can be agreed upon by both people.

      • Norm Donnan

        No Im not at all talking about the examples you gave or any medical reasons at all,just pure and simple,”I dont find you attractive anymore” type reasons.

      • Lyric

        Sticking with a partner that you don’t find attractive any more is good for absolutely nobody, but I wouldn’t call it abuse.

        Besides, if I had a drastic and unexplained drop in sexual desire, I’d suspect a medical problem first. Depression will do that. So, IIRC, will thyroid issues. People usually don’t just stop having sex for no reason.

      • fiona64

        Depression will do that. So, IIRC, will thyroid issues.

        Absolutely true … and the latter is often confused with the former, which results in meds being given that further befoul the waters where sex drive is concerned. Get a full workup, including TSH testing, if this is happening to you.

        /public service announcement re: thyroid issues.

      • Anat

        No, this is not abuse. Nobody owes you sex ever.

        It would be time for conversation, maybe counseling, maybe divorce. But if she had sex with you when she didn’t want to, you would be a rapist.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Oh, okay, so the problem is that you think that men are owed sex at any point. No wonder you have to fight to get sex in your marriage. You treat women like sex vending machines, so it’s not surprising that they don’t want to give you what you want.

        And as Lyric and others have pointed out, not getting sex ≠ abuse. It’s not even remotely like abuse. You want something from another human being and that other person doesn’t want to give it to you. She has the right of consent. You have no right to demand or expect someone else to give you anything. Abuse is, well, totally the opposite of someone not giving you sex upon demand.

      • Norm Donnan

        Where did the notion of sex on demand come from?

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Wherever the notion of rape came from, since they’re the same thing buddy boy.

      • Olive Markus

        If you believe it is her job to give you sex regardless of what’s going on, then you believe she is nothing more than inanimate sex toy. An object to be used by you for your pleasure, her feelings and body be damned.

        Notice how similar this belief is to forcing a woman to give birth against her will?

        Who cares if a woman is going through turmoil and her body feels broken. God only put these women on earth to pleasure you and incubate fetii!

    • Veiled_In_Dance

      90% of it TO YOU is stress relief. You don’t speak for all men. For a lot of men, it is not about power or control but it’s also not about stress relief: it’s about an intimate connection with someone they love.

      You speak of it as if women owe it to their husbands out of courtesy and consideration, and that’s bunk. You also make it sound like sex isn’t something women want or need, and that’s bunk too.

      • Norm Donnan

        Oh dear,do you really believe that ?Men listen to their wife woe’s and worries out of courtesy and smile politly ,thats life.Oh and I never said women dont desire sex either.

      • onamission5

        Well that comment was condescending as fuck.

        Mine listens because he considers me a person and cares about what is happening in my life. And also because he’s not a caveman. It’s called active listening, you should try it, it helps a lot when you need to see other gendered humans as if they were really people with feelings and perspectives of some importance.

      • Norm Donnan

        ditto

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Way to miss the point.

      • Trollface McGee

        Men are all insensitive clods? That’s life? Why are you such a misandrist?

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Believe? “Believe” is for things that you don’t know to be true. So no, I don’t “believe” it – I know it. Men aren’t all as cold and inconsiderate as you are. Men aren’t emotionless sex robots. They’re people. Sure, some guys listen to their wives only out of courtesy and to avoid a fight, and I feel sorry for their wives (and yours, to be honest, if you have one). But if a man loves his wife, he will listen to her woes and worries because he loves her and wants to be there for her and help her if he can. That’s what marriage is about. It’s the same for a woman – if she truly loves her husband she will care about his problems and feelings and she will want to be there for him and help him. It isn’t just about having someone to warm your bed at night. You cannot expect your wife to meet your physical needs enthusiastically if you aren’t meeting her emotional needs sincerely. Faking interest in her as a person and pretending to care about her problems is a really crappy way to treat the woman you claim to love.

      • Norm Donnan

        Sounds like your still dating to me.What you say is true and all good but rather idealistic.After a long day no one can enthusiastically and sincerely really want to hear all the mundane details about what the woman in the shop said or how you felt about the new hair shampoo you just tried,you do your best but tend to switch off a bit.It’s like saying when your husband is feeling horny for the third time today and you fake your enthusiasm is a really crappy way to treat him,well its understandable actually.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        You know, you talk an awful lot about meaningless things for someone who’s accusing women of talking about meaningless things.

      • purr

        That is what makes Norm so irresistible to women.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        I know. Blind hypocrisy and projection are so sexy.

        Hell, I’m a nominally straight guy and it’s turning me on. Which, according to Norm, means he owes me sex. Somehow I don’t think he’d want to go through with it.

      • purr

        lolololoing irl

      • Norm Donnan

        Whats that???you say something,huh

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Não compreendo que língua falas; tentas inglés falas. É difícil não. Você deveria preocupas mulher falando não e começar de teu comunicando pensamentos com gramática melhor, porque a problema é lá.

        Desculpo o pobre português, estou fluente não.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Argh, my Spanish only got me ~85% of the way there! I’m pretty sure I got the gist of it, but there’s a couple words I don’t know what they mean.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        :)

        It’s not Spanish, it’s Portuguese. They look really, really similar, though. I was going to try English, but Norm has made it clear he doesn’t understand that, so I wanted to go with something else, instead.

      • (((J_Enigma32)))

        Huh. Disqus ate my reply.

        You probably got a solid gist of it in Spanish, because that’s how close the two languages are (probably a stronger gist if you know Galician), but it’s actually Portuguese :)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh I know lol. That’s why I only got most of it. Should have made it more clear that I was perfectly aware it wasn’t Spanish. I’m actually nearly fluent in Spanish comprehension (my speaking is quite a bit shakier).

        And no, I’m most familiar with Mexican Spanish. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Galician Spanish outside of a few times on a tape in high school, mixed in with a bunch of other Spanish accents from around the world.

      • Lyric

        You know, I realize that you figure you’re just being entertainingly puerile. (We’ll have to agree to disagree about the entertainment value. :) ) But the whole stereotype of women not saying anything important has been used to dismiss women who are trying to warn people that there’s something wrong. As a married man who presumably loves his wife despite your habit of “playfully” belittling her conversation habits, this should concern you. A lot.

        Also, you may want to check with your wife and see if she thinks your ideas about her conversation are funny. The result may surprise you.

      • Norm Donnan

        Oh please dont be ridiculous.Why would i bother saying anything other than be dismissive of an arrogant comment.I start my comments with trying to explain how (some) men generally view most sex and as usual no positive feed back from open minded freethinking adults just juvenile remarks from dicks like him so really dont add to them please.My wife follows my comments and laughs and gives as much as she gets and totally agrees with my view of sex.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh dear no. My husband and I do like to talk about the mundane details of our lives. We talk about the funny things and sad things and random thoughts we ran across. We read ArsTechnica and squee about how we live in the future, or look at it funny when it talks about how two photons can be attracted to each other and become heavier which is super weird because photons don’t have mass. We discuss the news- what stupidity has the GOP come up with today, what’s the situation in Syria, what’s going on with Iran, oh hell no Russia did what?, and so forth. We talk about D&D or Netrunner or Magic: The Gathering or Final Fantasy or League of Legends or whatever game(s) we’re playing right now.

        And if either of us is horny and the other isn’t, we just don’t have sex. Because that’s what you do with someone you love- you consider their feelings and don’t, ya know, treat them like a sex toy. The unrequited horniness is what the actual sex toys are for.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        My mother used to insist that I would never find a husband if I kept being all nerdy during dates. She shut up when she met my husband and found out he made me look like an ignoramus.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Heh. My parents not only never said anything bad against nerds ever (they met at MIT, for crying out loud!), they expected us to be smart and educated and marry smart, educated men (or women, when that came up as a possibility).

        Case in point of nerdiness- my husband and I just spent, oh, an hour or so talking about chemical reactions at close to absolute zero and in plasma states (well, cooling off from plasma) and how you get really weird molecules or molecules that just shouldn’t form without catalysts, because of how electron shells behave. He said that the stuff at absolute zero was weirder, while I insisted that it was equally weird, just in different ways.

        P.S. Neither of us is a chemist, we just read about it in various places- NY Times, ArsTechnica, or similar popular science articles. So we’re both approaching it from a place of some knowledge, but nothing super specialized.

      • Norm Donnan

        So your in a normal relationship,good,so am I.

      • zoey

        your is the possessive form of ‘you’. You’re is a contraction, standing for YOU ARE. You are (You’re) far too old to need this lesson.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Really? You just said you didn’t give one solitary damn about your wife’s day and the mundane details therein. You also said it’s perfectly normal to want sex three times per day (it’s not abnormal, per se, but it’s definitely not standard either) and that your wife is obligated to fake enthusiasm for you.

        I call that neither a normal nor a healthy relationship.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        It doesn’t sound normal to me – normally, people care about the little details of their partner’s life rather than just pretending so they can get some nookie. If you have to fake it, that should be a big red flag.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Yeah, well, whatever. I think I know what’s going on here – I married a decent man who respects me and cares even about the mundane stuff, like I do about him. Maybe that’s too much to expect from you but it’s not from him.

      • Ella Warnock

        Norm’s no doubt itching to get ahold of your man and tell him HE’S DOING IT ALL WRONG! If she doesn’t feel like a piece of shite at the end of an evening with you (mate), then you are abusing your man card! Grow a pair already and put that little filly in her place. Jebus, must he do EVERYTHING for you people? Nobody’s got the proper appreciation for martyrdom these days. It’s a damn crying shame.

      • fiona64

        Don’t mind Norm; he tends toward the neandertal at best.

      • Veiled_In_Dance

        Oh, Norm is wonderful! I’ve quite enjoyed his remarks. lol

      • Lucreza Borgia

        On what planet do you live on where that is typical conversation between partners? Oh…wait…I think I know!

      • Lyric

        I was thinking that. Typical conversation between me and my husband involves things like, “So, if you wanted to run a mecha vs. kaiju game in D&D . . .”

      • Shayna

        I think Shadowrun would be a better choice, but a D20 system could certainly work.

      • Lyric

        I was thinking of trying a fantasy setting, though, with the mecha as lost technology/magic. Dunno if we still have our Shadowrun books; every now and then, my husband decides that our RPG section needs pruning. (Which is entirely alien to my perspective—I rarely sell off a book that isn’t a duplicate copy—but whatever.)

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Have you heard of the Traveller system? Specifically, Mongoose Traveller- the original is … not so good. It’s a pretty flexible system in a lot of ways, and character creation is super fun. It’s a d6 system.

        The Warhammer 40k RPG might also work as a system; it’s all percentile based, and it has extensive sections about giant fighting robots and giant badass demons that should be pretty easily transferable to mecha/kaiju.

        It could be done in classic D&D, but I think it would be very hard. D&D is not so great for mechanical things.

      • Lyric

        My husband keeps talking about using True 20 or Savage Worlds. I’ve mostly concentrated on inventing world-building details, since I don’t get into the mechanics half as much as he does. The trouble is that we also have to choose a system that our prospective gaming group relates well to, and our gaming group . . . can be an interesting mix of personalities.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Heh. Good luck and let us know how it works out!

      • Lyric

        Thanks, will do!

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        A friend also suggested looking into specifically mech-oriented systems, like MechWarrior and BattleTech. I’ve never played them, but the difference between a mech and a kaiju is a good reskinning, so that might work too.

      • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

        Wow, I feel terrible for any woman who has to spend hard time around you. Do you seriously think that’s how a healthy relationship works?

    • angharad

      Because no woman ever used sex as stress relief or fell asleep directly afterwards.

      • Norm Donnan

        Please do,feel free,you wont hear your man complain.

      • purr

        So you’re the kind of person who will demand sex, then accuse the woman of being a slut if she gets pregnant and doesn’t want to have the baby.

        Why am I not surprised?

      • Lucreza Borgia

        Actually, my husband would complain. He sometimes likes to talk and cuddle. I’m the one who wants to roll over and go to sleep.

    • Trollface McGee

      Those wimminz, they just yap, yap yap all day while eating their birth-control flavoured yoghurt on the way to their mani/pedi/abortion.
      Not like manly men who stand around pounding their chests all day at the office where they go to fight each other all day to prove who is the mightiest manly man – then they go home and need their sex battery recharged so they don’t turn gay.
      Stupid stereotypes are stupid.

    • Anat

      As usual, you overgeneralize. How about stopping that?

      Personally, if it were up to me, I could go days without talking. At work I sometimes go entire days without saying more than ‘hi’ and ‘see you tomorrow’. Not because I have to, not because I don’t like the people around me, but because I can. At home it is my husband who wants me to hear about his day. I’m the one who has to be prompted. (If I have a stressful day I read more blogs.)

    • (((J_Enigma32)))

      And yet, scientific studies have shown that MEN tend to talk just as much as, if not more than, women do:

      http://www.livescience.com/7420-men-talk-women.html

      http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11762186

      And I’ll thank you not to speak for me, as a man. Just because you’re an insensitive jackass doesn’t mean I am.

    • Lucreza Borgia

      Your sex-life must be very boring if you view it as mere relief and the female you are having sex with as some elaborate masturbation device.

  • Ribbons Undone

    Dear Micah,
    You don’t love your wife. Not really. The reason I say this is because if you really DID love her, you would not see her as a thing to be used when you have the urge. If you REALLY loved her you would see her as a complete person. She is not only your wife. She is a daughter to her mother and father. She is a granddaughter. She might be a niece to someone. She is a mother. I will instruct you to read and meditate on 1 Corinthians 13. I will also instruct you to get your head out of your ass and stop pestering your wife for sex.

  • Trollface McGee

    Ugh. This section.. just sick and infuriating. Way to go Debi, you’ve made sex unsexy.

    “But his most pressing drive is to be a successful lover. Making his wife feel glorious when he touches her is the ultimate test of his manhood—the very measure of the man”
    If you’re hurting her, you’re a crappy lover. If you think that sex is something you’re owed, you’re a crappy lover. If you demand sex from someone who doesn’t want it, you’re a crappy lover and potentially a rapist.

    But seriously.. is she saying that sex is man’s highest calling? Really?

  • Rebecca Horne

    Is there something out of context that clarifies that the “healed down there” refers to childbirth? My first interpretation was that she was sore from the last time they’d had sex. Which…yanno…isn’t much better, and might be worse.

    • Alice

      I was thinking something like a UTI or yeast infection.

  • Mitch

    It’s hard to think of where to begin… The idea that a wife should be little more than a “pleasure vessel” for me to validate my manhood really gets me angry. It’s a twisted way of thinking that severely inhibits the potential development of women.

  • j.lup

    Hey Micah: Why don’t you make arrangements for your wife to have a couple hours off from housework and childcare, go someplace quiet together, massage her feet and her back and let her have a nap, then rouse her with kisses and caresses all over her body (avoiding the still-healing genitals or being extra-delicate with them) and try to give her pleasure with something other than your god-given penis…and if you do, she might no longer regard your body and that penis as an instrument of pain and coercion and give it some loving attention with her hands and mouth. And yes, if don’t require every episode of sexual intimacy to involve coitus, you’ll probably find yourself have a lot more sexual intimacy.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy
      • j.lup

        Yep. This bit about believing it would be better just to ‘discreetly cheat’ says it all: “I think she would prefer that approach over a frank discussion about open marriage, which would hurt and offend her with its brazenness.” What that statement really means is, “I would prefer that approach over a frank discussion about open marriage, (open on my end only) which would hurt and offend her and she’d never agree to it, so I want you to tell me it’s okay to cheat on my wife”

      • Jolie

        So, he wouldn’t even consider an open marriage unless it was open on his end only. This sounds very toxic.

      • j.lup

        That’s an assumption on my part, but I think a fairly safe assumption. He’s clearly labouring under the belief that his wife has no interest in sex, period, not simply that she doesn’t have any interest in him. I think there are a lot of women who lose sexual interest in their husbands, and in an attempt to spare their feelings, pull an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ defense, claiming loss of all sexual desire.

  • purr

    That irresistible charm again.

    Norm, you horndog you.

  • (((J_Enigma32)))

    Maybe you could cite them studies, huh? You know, like I did?