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Oct 26 2005

Korean Sexologists: Women Lie

Great news! Korea has an Institute for Sexology! And, like all institutes for sexology, they’ve conducted a popular boys vs. girls study!

"It found that a mere 4.4 percent of women thought sex was important in marriage, compared with 77 percent of men — almost as many as the 74.8 percent of women who said it was unimportant. A substantial 20.2 percent said maybe it mattered (compared to 14 percent of men), but only 2 percent of married men said sex did not matter. When asked if prostitutes are needed to satisfy men’s sexual needs, 20.4 percent of women and 61 percent of men agreed."

That’s right! Men and women disagree about sex in Korea, too!

What particularly chaps the Twisty hide about this study is that it declines to accept as valid the non-sex-crazed views of the women respondents. Apparently most of the women who said they were content with their sex life also claimed to be content with the overall quality of their marriage, causing the Korean sexperts to leap to this flawed and patriarchocentric conclusion: that contentment with one’s sex life = getting laid. Whereas I would suggest that contentment might as easily be achieved by not having to put out for some asshole husband who’d rather be out whoring.

38 comments

  1. marsha

    “Whereas I would suggest that contentment might as easily be achieved by not having to put out for some asshole husband who’d rather be out whoring.”

    HAHHAHHAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

  2. Mandos

    “What particularly chaps the Twisty hide about this study is that it declines to accept as valid the non-sex-crazed views of the women respondents.”

    I didn’t read it that way. The previous paragraphs only referred to whether women thought it was *important* to have sex in a marriage, ie whether marital harmony and sexual satisfaction were related. Most women said no. It didn’t refer to sexual satisfaction or actual quantity/quality of sex, etc, etc. The later paragraph (the one you’re objecting to) referred to whether they were satisfied with their sex lives.

    What would annoy *me* about this article (if I thought these surveys were sufficiently interesting to be annoyed about them…) is the fact that it never defined what it meant to be satisfied with sex. That women think that sexual satisfaction and marital happiness is unrelated has no bearing on that women who are satisfied with their marriages are satisfied with their sex lives.

    In other words, the article says little about quantity of sex, which is the root of Twisty’s complaint. But it confuses correlation and causation by omitting that crucial piece of data. Which always chaps *my* hide.

  3. Mandos

    I await the inevitable “Mandos Mandos Mandos”. :)

  4. Twisty

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos.

    In a patriarchy, “satisfied with one’s sex life” always means “has a lot of sex.” It never, ever means “content to have little or no sex.”

  5. Mandos

    I disagree partly. Patriarchy clearly often assumes that women are “frigid” and hence satisfied by less sex than horn-dog men. Does it not?

    And still doesn’t validate what appears to be your interpretation, because it means that the article wasn’t assuming that their views were invalid.

    Your apparent interpretation would only be correct if the article established a relationship between womens views on the need for sex with the actual reality of sex in marriage, regardless of patriarchal assumptions about the quantity. It never did. It merely said that though women didn’t think sex was important, there was a correlation. It would have tipped over into your interpretation if it had said that women’s marital satisfaction was caused by sexual satisfaction—particularly given patriarchy’s frequent frigidity accusation.

    So it stopped short with a bad statistical assumption.

  6. Mandos

    “It would have tipped over into your interpretation if it had said that women’s marital satisfaction was caused by sexual satisfaction—particularly given patriarchy’s frequent frigidity accusation.”

    Actually I take this back. It would have fallen under your interpretation if it had actually bothered to connect views on the *importance* of sex in marriage with the relationship between quantity of sex and actual satisfaction. Instead it said something like,

    “Despite the fact that some children don’t like fresh fruit, children who eat fruit report more frequent trips to the playground.”

    That’s what annoys me about articles like this. I hate statistics.

  7. MsKate

    I’d be interested to know something about the culture – such as “are nice women expected to frankly converse about a sensitive subject to interviewers in a conservative culture”. A little context here could go a long way. It could also be that these women really do like sex, but nice ladies don’t say so or don’t say it is important to a marriage.

  8. Twisty

    I concur that the article is vague on the particulars you mention. I also concur that the myth of the frigid female occurs with no small frequency in American culture. But I cannot make the same assumption about Korean culture, as I am but a Norteamericana who knows little of Korean matters.

    What I’m saying is that this study accounts for an apparent disparity in its results by assuming that the women are prevaricating or are, at the very least, being disingenuous. If half of your respondents are lying, what good is your study?

  9. Mandos

    I would be very unsurprised if the frigidity assumption also held in Korea. I mean, the first part of the study practically screams that they believed that the frigidity assumption holds. Mskate gives a possible reason for why it can be read that way. Certainly I know that South Asian women, at least of a certain generation, would not want to talk about or admit to having sex.

    “What I’m saying is that this study accounts for an apparent disparity in its results by assuming that the women are prevaricating or are, at the very least, being disingenuous. If half of your respondents are lying, what good is your study?”

    With the “what good is your study”, I’d say you are completely correct, given the article, which is a summary of some much larger work that’s probably only available in Korean. The article SUXX0Rz and if it’s a reasonable summary so does the study—at least its logic and conclusions.

    My point otherwise is that you can’t conclude that they are saying that the female respondents are being disingenuous. The could also just as well be saying that the women are themselves simply unaware of this relationship). At best you can say that they think that the result is counterintuitive, even though there’s no actual logical connection ever established—and the counterintuitive interpretation comes from the article-writer, not the institute, as far as we know.

    The article is just bad.

  10. picomoo

    ‘I would be very unsurprised if the frigidity assumption also held in Korea. I mean, the first part of the study practically screams that they believed that the frigidity assumption holds.’

    It seems that this could also point to a society where a woman’s wishes simply don’t matter. So the assumption is that women don’t need sex just like they don’t need to sit down with their husband when he eats, but should stand behind him and serve the food.

  11. Sara

    Just curious: Did any of the miniskirted traffic-signal hotties participate in this study?

    Oh, right. Wrong Korea. Same Patriarchy, though. Funny, that.

    Too bad Susie Bright didn’t conduct this survey. I suspect it would have been more probing — and conclusive.

  12. Tony Patti

    I’ve always thought of myself as a sex-positive kind of guy, and I think that’s where I’ve been misled by my own desires and fantasies. I thought it was important to woman that I provide them, if they wanted me to, with a good sex life. The theory was sound, but the execution has been tenuous at best and often self-serving.

    After trying over and over again with a few different women, in and out of love, I’ve come to realize that men aren’t taught what women may want or need in a good sexual relationship, and that women seem to be far less concerned about the actual sex act, as a discrete part of the whole, once the relationship has yielded the desired fruits of love and companionship.

    In a patriarchy so many men are unable to love a woman that they are unlikely to satisfy them sexually, being incapable of seeing beyond the idea of orgasms and couplings per month. Women seem to misinterpret the sexual issue and think of it as a loving, caring bond rather than the number of squirts per month their men manage to direct into them. So how can research ever manage to compare and contrast an inhuman and male-centric view of sexual mechanics with a woman’s far more holistic view?

  13. PrissyNot

    WHAT are we talking about? None of this makes sense. Women like sex (no matter how they get it, from themselves, from other women, from men) just as much as men do. Women, however, don’t particularly count the “number of squirts” directed their way, by whomever. The article didn’t actually SAY anything, it just recounted statistics accumulated in a very weirdly worded “study.” Let’s move on, shall we?

  14. Chris Clarke

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos.

    You keep saying that. But isn’t essentialism arguably one of the underlying foundations of the patriarchy? I think it’s ceding crucial rhetorical ground to stipulate that men are hardwired differently, with different operating systems, than women – because men’s operating systems are defined as the norm, and thus women’s operating systems are by definition sub-par.

    In other words, dwelling on “Mandos, Mandos, Mandos” all the time inevitably denigrates the corresponding WomanDos, which in turn inevitably spurs increased sales of both Barbies and clitoridectomy supplies. Just say Nodos!

  15. MsKate

    There is also an implicit “virgin/whore” syndrome going on in the views about prostitution. I strongly suspect these guys may be conditioned to expect their wives to be non-sexual by nature and thus pure and virtuous, and their whores to be nasty little thangs. I wonder this because of an interview I read in one of those trashy women mags at the dentist. Joe Blow banker was regularly availing himself of the services of call girls and getting his rocks off, yet seemed to put his wife on a pedestal all the same. He talked about how his whores would do wild stuff with him that his wife would not be interested in (not terribly kinky here … like blow jobs and eating pussy!). When the interviewer asked him about why he didn’t ask his wife for what he liked he said NO WAY – he didn’t want the mother of his kids to be such a slut!

    That’s what I read into the stats: you want your wife to be a good mother and virtuous woman. The rest is what you get out of your whore. The women are playing the game both to please the men and because Patriarchy doesn’t give them a damn lot of options otherwise … from liking sex and still being a virtuous wife to having other paths to prosperity other than being the virtuous wife who relies on whores to do the dirty work just as she hires other sorts of servants to take care of that which is distasteful.

  16. Mandos

    “WomanDos”

    Alas, this would only work if “Mandos” came from “Man”. But it’s actually a Tolkien reference and as such in an invented language.

  17. Anonymous

    I would like to, shocking though the some may find this, commend Mandos’ excellent logician-ing. Seriously. You analyzed the heck outta that whole mess.

  18. Lil

    Tony, I think your points are by and large right on (though clearly, many women in this country have embraced the patriarchal model for sexuality, and don’t view sex “holistically”). I can’t imagine that sex could possibly be genuinely enjoyable for most women — or more than superficially enjoyable for men — in a society in which women have status as inferior to men. Though there are no doubt many problems with this survey, the most fundamental problem is that what is considered “sex” is whether the man squirts into the woman’s body. Any other aspect or mode of “sex” is extraneous, not necessary for yes/no answers to a sex survey. If the survey defined sex as an event in marriage where the husband sexually and emotionally satisfied his wife in their carnal engagement with one another, I’ll bet it would find that only 4.4% or fewer married couples in Korea (and probably many other countries, like the U.S.) actually have sex.

  19. chinatown

    What the world needs is just to accept that everyone likes sex. Men and women alike. And sex needs to be enjoyable for both partners. When I say sex i’m not talking about the asshole who pumps in his wife for five minutes and the rolls over and goes to sleep. That’s not sex, that’s just using another person to masturbate.
    The world would be a better place if people were having mutually satisfying sex, and more frequently too. It’s true that couples with happy sex lives generally have happy marriages. So yay sex and down with anything that would spoil it.

    note to self, religion, freaky

  20. Anonymous

    here is a fantastic web-site that I have found

    http://www.clitical.com

  21. chinatown

    “In a patriarchy, “satisfied with one’s sex life” always means “has a lot of sex.” It never, ever means “content to have little or no sex.”"

    In a relationship people need to have a happy sex life i.e. their sex drives need to be compatible. What’s wrong with having lots and lots of sex. Sex is great. Why wouldn’t we want to have it all the time. And a healthy sex life is just one aspect of a healthy marriage.

    An interesting fact. There was a study done on the sex drives of men and women i.e. how they cycle. Men, it was found, were on a five day cycle while women were on a ten day cycle.

  22. mythago

    In a patriarchy, “satisfied with one’s sex life” always means “has a lot of sex.”

    Also, “satisfaction” means frequency, not quality.

  23. The Fat Lady Sings

    You have to take the country in question into consideration as well. I had the opportunity to spend some time in Korea about 20 years back. Now I’ll admit – my data may be a bit out of date – but I don’t think it will have changed all that much in the particulars.

    Korea was very like Japan (though they won’t admit it) in its attitudes regarding women and sex. On one hand – there is a conservative veneer – kind of like the proverbial three-piece suit. Underneath all that bottled-up high-necked repression – violence tinged sadomasochistic sex is the subject of most porno – all geared toward male fantasies. Women are usually depicted in the sex mags as wearing the ropes rather than wielding them.

    Now, I really couldn’t speculate how this might affect that survey – but I would hazard a guess the MEN who conducted it read their own interpretations into the women’s answers.

  24. Kyra

    “77 percent of men — almost as many as the 74.8 percent of women.”

    77 is almost as many as 74.8? Something’s wrong here.

  25. chinatown

    remember, BDSM goes all ways. fem-dom, fem-sub, male-dom, male-sub. Everyone has the opportunity to wear the ropes ::grin::

  26. Mandos

    Thank you anonymous praiser!

  27. TeenageCatgirl

    I personally think mutual respect is far, far more important and more conducive to a good relationship than shagging five times a night.
    I also think BDSM is a dodgy thing in any supposedly egalitarian relationship. If there are no power struggles, why would the thought of one dominating the other even occur?

  28. Twisty

    Chinatown, your assertion seems to be that frequent sex is necessary for human health. This assertion is incorrect. In a society where male dominance is fetishized, sex is pretty unhealthy for at least half the participants.

    Also, a radical feminist analysis of BDSM finds that, though the fashions are amusing, the practice is sexist and conservative and deeply patriarchal. Whatever bangs your box, though.

  29. Joolya

    How can only 4.4% of Korean women think sex is important in a marriage? I think they are not telling the truth. Either that or Korean men are crap in bed.

  30. peacebug

    damn – here’s a loop I’m out of: no clue what BDSM stands for – help?

  31. Joolya

    mskate, you always say such clever things! :)

  32. Tony Patti

    A lot of patriarchal sexual behavior comes from a sense of male pride in satisfying a woman. But the odd thing is that the prominent ideas of how to satisfy a woman, coming, at times, from confused and eager-to-please vicitimized women themselves, are basically fetishized gestures of male dominance.

    And the most pervasive of these ideas that signify satisfaction is the frequency of sexual acts. For many years I felt like in order to preserve my ability to perform sexually in a way that I assumed would satisy a woman I had to maintain a certain state of readiness and be able to respond whenever an opportunity was presented by a woman I loved.

    One would assume that if you were performing this sexual act to the satisfaction of the woman that she would want to do it again and again, and you could measure your own sexual worth by the frequency. But, once again, it’s easy for the feminist to see how terribly male-centric the whole thing can be, and the male feminist might even note that it’s actually a burden to aspire to such frequency.

    Men should seek to liberate themselves from the insecurities that lead to wishing for frequent and essentially shallow sex when it’s not called for by the woman. The responsibility lies in the methods and emotional excitement of seduction and female arousal, which can be accomplished by simple, natural means such as love and admiration, touch and attention to mood.

    Now if someone is ready to slap me for being so pedantic and serious, I certainly deserve it. I do have this increasing suspicion that liberation from the Patriarchy would be a huge boon to men. It’s not a point of view that I would expect the female feminists to care about, but would be a concurrent result of patriarchal overthrow, and I hope of some tangential interest to us all.

  33. chinatown

    What I said actually was that a healthy sex life is a sign of a healthy relationship. Also that a couple’s sexual drives need to be compatible.

    Notice that I say healthy sex life, that means where both partners are satisfied with it.

    Also I fail to see how, in a subculture where anyone can find and do whatever suits them, that it can be “sexist and conservative”. Some people get their kicks doing weird shit. Some people like rough sex just like some people like to rock climb.

  34. Twisty

    Chinatown, everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that men want to have sex all the time, and women only want to have sex some of the time, which means that in heterosexual relationships, “sex drives” cannot be “compatible,” if by “compatible” you mean “equal.”

    Left to their own devices, homosexual men have the most frequent sex, and lesbian women have the least.

    Which is why I advocate that men who want to fuck all the time should simply hook up with other men who want to fuck all the time, and leave the poor girls out of it.

    The feminist argument against BDSM as a liberating practice focuses on its fetishization of dominance and submission, which are the cornerstones of patriarchy.

    Some feminists are against patriarchy on accounta it results in vast human suffering.

  35. clew

    There’s an essay–in, I think, Willful Virgin–on how blinkered the usual measurements of “how much sex” are. My books are packed, so this post is a foggy-memory recap, sorry;

    The author was in a lesbian relationship that would, she understood, have been categorized as low-sex; they only had sex once or twice a month. But each occasion took several hours. Like, four hours a go, or a full weekend day if they could. Apparently Studies Say that the average length of het intercourse is five minutes or so, so by *time* equivalents they were having at least eighty average-het-sex events a month.

    (and avoiding switching and setup costs and other problems associated with what I must call the Missing Man Month problem.)

  36. Chris Clarke

    everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that men want to have sex all the time, and women only want to have sex some of the time,

    Cool. I am a woman. All those reactionary guys were right!

  37. BitingBeaver

    Oh! Looks like Chinatown followed one of the links from my blog, The Den. I’m sure that Twisty and her gracious and most enlightened readers will explain to him the intricasies of The Patriarchy in a very thorough manner.

    Good luck Chinatown *wickedgrin*

  38. Joolya

    “Chinatown, everything I’ve read on the subject suggests that men want to have sex all the time, and women only want to have sex some of the time, which means that in heterosexual relationships, “sex drives” cannot be “compatible,” if by “compatible” you mean “equal.”"

    I don’t know that that’s true. Or at least, there might be a higher percentage of guys who want to have sex a LOT than women who want the same, and vice versa for not wanting tons of sex. Maybe I am “weird” but I am a female who has a very high sex drive. I have met men who are not/would not be compatible with me sexually because they’re happy with less than I am. I have also had periods during relationships where one or the other partner was too stressed out to want to have sex a lot. Mostly this was a problem for the men rather than me.

    I think it’s possible to find a match sexually! I blame the patriarchy for assuming that men are all studs and women have to be talked into it. If I act as sex-crazed as I am – or especially used to be – the patriarchy would call me all sorts of horrible names!

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