Another day, another inexplicably imbalanced inequality

I'm fascinated by the idea that bad sex can be considered rape. But after watching the video Glenn Reynolds linked in which Ann Althouse discusses the subject, I find myself worrying not so much about whether bad sex is rape (I don't think it ever is), but whether there is a double bad-sex-as-rape standard. 

It seems that in every case I've read about where there was bad sex, only women are heard to complain of being victims of the bad sex "rape!" This makes no sense, because as we all know, it takes two people (at least) to have sex, and bad sex can happen to anyone.

Think I'm being facetious?

Anyone who thinks men are not bad sex victims should think again. How many men have been heard to say "She was a lousy lay?" Sure, lots of women have said the same thing about men, but we are all human beings, and all of us who have sex -- men, women, straight, gay, whatever -- must face up to the possibility that a given sexual encounter might turn out not to be as enjoyable as we might have liked.

I don't know what the official statistics are (as I don't have Kinsey's Satanic Sex Bible on hand), but I thought to use the next best scientific tool available, which is Google.

To my astonishment, the phrase "He was a lousy lay" and "She was a lousy lay" each drew 20,000 hits.

If those figures are correct, then bad sex can strike anyone, without regard to sex! (I guess I might mean gender with the latter sex.)

Now, you might argue that men are more likely to complain about bad sex on the Internet (I should say "complain on the Internet about bad sex"), but I don't think any reasonable person would argue that men are not regularly subjected to bad sex.

So where are the cases in which male bad sex victims have lodged rape charges? Before we reach the question of whether bad sex victims can make a rape complaint, I think it might be worth looking into why the men aren't coming forward. Simple logic dictates that if both sexes are equally likely to become bad sex victims, then if bad sex is rape, male bad sex victims are just as likely to have been raped as female bad sex victims.

Something has to explain what looks like a systematic issue of underreporting.

I suspect that there is some sort of sexist double standard at work.

posted by Eric on 02.03.11 at 09:39 AM


Sigh. "Bad sex"? Does not compute. My view of sex is the one Pratchett expounds (no, I don't learn what to think from him. He just says it so much better than I can.) To paraphrase: sex is like food. You might read cookbooks and watch shows about gourmet cooking but, day to day, and normal life, you're just happy if you can have an egg and tomato sandwich. And if it's doen the way you like it, so much the better. :)

IMHO bad sex is still better than no sex. Or to quote Heinlein "Too much alone isn't good."

Sarah   ·  February 3, 2011 11:10 AM

Sarah, I've always used a similar analogy... "Sex is like pizza--sometimes it ain't very good, but it's still pizza."

John S.   ·  February 3, 2011 11:20 AM

I think the problem is lack of commitment on the part of guys. I think about 20 minutes of commitment (including foreplay) should be long enough.

And don't forget there are no quality control standards. Which brings up the question: how many standard deviations are allowed in a given encounter? And how about non-standard deviations? Do you have to sign a form and pay a fee for those?

M. Simon   ·  February 3, 2011 11:34 AM

This whole topic is strange to me. It's as if sex is solely some sort of game or happenstance, rather than part of a relationship. Sex is one part -- and a very good and important part -- of my nearly 30 years of marriage, but the idea that it's somehow about how 'good' it is . . . is very strange.

CBI   ·  February 3, 2011 12:41 PM

"I suspect that there is some sort of sexist double standard at work."

I suspect you are right.

Umm... and M. Simon: "And how about non-standard deviations? Do you have to sign a form and pay a fee for those?
Probably. :P

Kathy Kinsley   ·  February 3, 2011 7:23 PM

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