Jul 032014

Writing about rape culture is aggravating. When anyone uses the word ‘rape’ to describe the consequences of certain beliefs and ways of being, there is always push back. Why? It’s icky. It exposes the dark under belly of our society. It reminds us that our assumption of safety is a veil of ignorance. It reminds us that evil is lurking around the corner. It reminds us that the bad people are walking around and look just like us. They do not have a dastardly mustache or wear a shirt proclaiming their nefarious nature. Rape culture is alive and well because society is too immature and scared to believe that it exists.

annette kellerman 150x150 Whats Rape Anyway?

I imagine the first time Annette Kellerman donned her bathing suit that covered her from neck to foot leaving only her arms exposed, the shock to the community was palpable. Her arrest for indecency was not just a signal to women that they were responsible for men’s wicked thoughts but that they needed to fear the consequences of a man and his machinations. The mode of dress for women has long been the subject of rape discussions. Is a mini-skirt or plunging cleavage an invitation to sex? Is wearing form-fitting clothes a form of solicitation to every lecher in the vicinity to ogle and cat-call their appreciation?

As a society we abhor this behavior of men but with the caveat that they are behaving in a normal manner and just reacting to the stimuli provided to them by these women who are dressing inappropriately. Regardless of the behavior, men are excused for their beastly ways because they are only men. The sexual urge in a man, according to societal beliefs, is only reined in by a slight veneer of propriety. The slightest provocation can unleash them onto an unsuspecting populous. The problem with this belief is that it is not true. Most men can easily control their urges. Most men are complete gentlemen and respect women. The reason we, as a society, excuse the behavior is that age-old Jimmy Carter nugget of “sinning in the heart”.

Men are ashamed of the thoughts and fantasies that have resided in the recesses of their mind. If they have sinned in their heart, what would it have taken to make these thoughts reality? Excusing sexual assault and harassment is based on this belief that rape is a part of life. It is inevitable. What these men refuse to see is that they can stop themselves. What these men and women fail to realize is that our societal permissiveness to this behavior is why it continues.

Where do we draw the line? The following is societal understanding of rape.

Can an adult rape a child? Depends on the age or how old she looks and as long as he doesn’t hurt her.

Can a man have sex with a woman who is unconscious or incapacitated? What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Can a woman change her mind when having sex with a man? No. She is just being a tease.

Is date rape a real assault? If she decided to stop fooling around after his point of no return then she should just be quiet. She asked for it.

Can a man rape a prostitute? Isn’t that what they are paid for?

Can a husband rape his wife? See prostitute.

Jun 302014

The conversation for feminists has changed recently from equality to one of educating society on the meaning of ‘rape culture’. This discussion is vital, also, for the creation and maintenance of a healthy relationship. Whether you believe it or not, marital rape is very common. The root causes for this behavior are so embedded in our culture and religions that separating right from wrong is tangled in beliefs and concepts of morality. This week we will try to separate the wheat from the chaff and what is healthy versus the dysfunction of some beliefs.

steubenville 150x150 The Institution Of Rape

Before we jump into the topic, we need to have full disclosure- we are feminists. There is much written for and against this moniker. We simply believe that everyone should be equal and, due to our patriarchal society, women have historically been relegated to a second class citizen role. There have been advances and there have been successes, however, we are not equal until we are all equal. To that end, we need to address some of the issues that keep the status quo like judging a woman by the length of her skirt or using phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘men have needs’.

Rape culture refers to these types of beliefs. If we believe that a woman’s mode of dress can be an invitation to rape or that a man’s need for sex somehow is uncontrollable, that is part of the intricate belief system at the root of rape culture. If we continue the double standard between boys and girls regarding sex, like boys need to sew their wild oats and girls need to attend purity balls and commit their virginity to their dates that happens to be their Fathers then rape culture will continue. If we make rape a political topic where one side uses terms like ‘coveted status’ when referring to rape victims and that pregnancy as a result of rape is a gift from God, then we will continue to support rape.

This topic was inspired by a quote from the matriarch of Duggar family, famous for having enough kids to play baseball with two teams and relief pitcher. She gave her daughter the following advice:  “And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.’”

That is her advice, be “joyfully available for him”. Smile, lay there, and be there for him.

Look, we here at CoupleDumb have much to say and not all of it nice but this expectation within a marriage is not healthy. All marriages are not created equally and if we are to play the odds we know that some men can be assholes and the expectation of availability whenever he wants will be abused.

What do you think? We want to know? How realistic is this idea?

Jun 252014

Click Here to help.

Is the Ability to Make Meaning Correlated to Marital Satisfaction Experiment 300x165 Help With Lees Research

21 years ago, I was working on my Ph.D. in Psychology. I needed to complete a handful of courses before I was able to begin my dissertation. Then, something amazing happened, we adopted our daughter. Because of her needs, I took a leave of absence from my program and never returned. I know now like I knew then that I had made the right choice. However, the desire to complete my goal of earning a Ph.D. was always lingering in the back of my mind.

When Jeannie went to college a few years ago, that nagging thought started getting louder. I waited for Paul to finish up his MBA before mentioning that I wanted to get my Ph.D. before I turned 50. Paul, being the perfect husband, supported this idea and encouraged me to start looking at programs. I started school 18 months ago and just passed my comprehensive exams. Yes, in 18 months I have taken all of my course-work and written countless papers and I am ready to embark on my dissertation.

Before I jump into what my study will be about, I will share with you a little realization that I had recently. Back in undergraduate days, we were required to do a study for our research class. Even though I was in a group, I pretty much decided what we would study because that’s how I have always rolled. We studied the effects of semantic processing versus rote on memory. The experiment was simple; the subjects were read a list of words and then asked to write down what they recalled. One group was told to repeat the word several times (rote) after hearing it and the other group was told attach a meaning to the word (semantic processing). The results showed that semantic processing was a better way of remembering things. So what does this have to do with my dissertation?

My dissertation will be on marital satisfaction and what are the protective factors to make a marriage work. To that end, I hypothesize that making meaning is a tool that marriages use to survive and thrive the ups and downs of life. Making meaning is a term coined by Viktor Frankl that refers to making sense of senseless things that happen in life like loss or tragedy. People who make meaning experience more happiness and are better equipped to deal with what life flings their way. Making meaning and semantic processing are closely related. Both involve making connections. So, 30 years later, I am still studying the same thing!!

We launched a crowd-funding campaign to help with the expenses of my experiment. All donors will receive a special mention in my dissertation and we also occasionally give some great gifts for those who donate the most on any given day.

Here is how you can help:

You can post/share this campaign with your Facebook and Twitter folk. Here is a sample of what you can post.


Hi Family and Friends! My good friend Lee Reyes-Fournier, from CoupleDumb.com, is working on her Dissertation and is crowd-funding to help with the expense of the experiment. She is studying risk factors for marital dissatisfaction. Specifically, she is looking at whether making meaning, which is looking for the silver lining, is related to marital satisfaction. She needs our help so please donate anything you can and if not, share with your networks. Everyone who donates will receive a special mention in the forward of her dissertation. https://experiment.com/projects/is-the-ability-to-make-meaning-correlated-to-marital-satisfaction


Our friend from @CoupleDumb is crowd-funding to help with her expenses for her dissertation. Please help with a donation or RT http://bit.ly/Thci7m

Check back with CoupleDumb on Facebook for daily mentions and possible gifts for the largest donations.

Thank you in advance!

Jun 122014

Masturbation: The most fun you can have alone. Watch any youth romp style movie with a Jay and Silent Bob type of character in it and you know that masturbation goes with male adolescents like hand goes with… Well, you know what hand goes with.

masturbation3 300x300 Masturbation and Men

Yet when you do a scholarly search on masturbation, you will find the words ‘sex guilt’ right next to it. Masturbation in men is one of the most joked about, guilt-ridden, double-edged acts of the sexual spectrum. Let’s look at the typical sitcom generated belief system revolving around male masturbation. If the door is closed to your adolescent son’s bedroom, the obvious possibility is that he is spanking the monkey.

For guys, culture has decided that masturbation is normal but disgusting, kind of like pooping. Everyone poops but it is still gross. Like women, historically male masturbation was considered unhealthy. Unlike women, men had the issue of spontaneous erections and nocturnal emission. Now a days, we know that both of these are normal and healthy. As a matter of fact, the lack of spontaneous erections are a sign of male impotency.

From the Victorian Era through the early 1900’s, they had readily available devices to stop a man from masturbating or achieving an erection without it being for the purpose of baby making. Some of these devices included a ring with sharp teeth that would bite into the tip of the penis if it became engorged, the process of becoming erect. After the advent of electricity in the home, they created a machine that delivered an electric shock if the penis became erect.

It is a common tune in the history of our culture that women have control over sex and if they cannot control themselves then a man needs to intervene, whereas a man has no control over his sex parts and will put his penis anywhere that he can if given the slightest opportunity. Neither of these is true but the underlying theme still permeates our beliefs about sex, especially masturbation.

There was an interesting study that came out recently that looked at our beliefs around sex and masturbation. It was a meta-analysis of sex beliefs over the last 15 years. It showed that men and women’s ideas about sex are basically the same. This surprised us. Men and women have the same basic beliefs about sex, how often, what is good or bad sex, and what is sexy. The place where they differ is in their beliefs on masturbation. There are a larger percentage of women that think that masturbation is bad and, by bad, we mean anything from sinful to hedonistic to yucky.

This is where men have it all over women (yes, the pun was intended). Men think that it is yucky also but that it is necessary. Everyone knows that an adolescent boy is going to whack off. Yes, we even have a hundred or so names for the act. Thanks to this, we know about our sexual response. We know what we like. We know the sensitivity, or lack of sensitivity, on every square millimeter of that flesh. Unlike women, who are trying to engage their brains and find the sweet spot, men are using this knowledge to disengage the brain and just stimulate enough to keep things going without climaxing.

So let’s recap. Masturbation has bad PR. Masturbation is good for women to understand their body’s so that they can achieve orgasm. Masturbation is good for men to understand how not to achieve orgasm too quickly. And most importantly, masturbation feels good.

Remember what they say about idle hands. Give your hands something to do.

Jun 102014

Women talk. We talk explicitly. If you don’t know this then you are probably male. We tend to get vague when we discuss masturbation. Sure, we may share a review of a vibrator or a lube that you have enjoyed but we never talk about how we enjoy solo sex. What we know statistically is that women do not masturbate as much as men. Men are expected to masturbate while women are still considered asexual until coitus. Women know this to not be the facts but we will not set the record straight.
women masturbation 300x300 Women and Masturbation

The history behind female masturbation is both bizarre and telling of societal attitudes of women being sexual without a man.

– Women were thought to suffer insomnia and hysteria due to external stimulation of the sexual organs.

– The invention of the chastity belt was not only to limit coitus but also genital touching.

– Signs of sexual enjoyment even with your husband was considered wrong and blamed on the clitoris.

– Clitorectomies were performed to control women’s hysteria.

– Sylvester Graham and Caleb Jackson invented the graham cracker and hydropathic therapy, cold baths, showers, etc, to curb masturbation.

– Freud saw female masturbation childish and that as soon as a woman has experience with a real penis it should/would stop.

– John Harvey Kellogg not only performed gruesome surgeries on men and women to stop them from masturbating, he also encouraged yogurt enemas and vegetarianism to promote healthy living and avoid the heinous act.

Even today, with all the political rhetoric, the same themes continue. The issue of choice versus religious ideals is not just a question of abortion but also a revisiting of an age old debate, is a woman allowed to be sexually mature without a man? Is a woman allowed to make choices about her sexual organs or are they the domain of man? Allowing a woman to choose what happens to her body is tantamount to allowing a woman to orgasm sans a phallus. Even though most of us have no issues with men and their penis, the ability to masturbate ultimately makes a penis obsolete for the purposes of sexual release. That would definitely put a crimp on controlling women.

The disparity of woman masturbation versus male does not end in frequency. Women masturbate in a million different ways. Some of them are:

– Hand to genital stimulation

– Vibrator

– Straddling a pillow (humping- providing friction to the clitoris)

– Water – shower massage

– Force of thought

– Crossing legs and tightening the leg muscles thus creating pressure on the clitoris

Each woman has their own way of doing it and become proficient at reaching orgasm quickly which is a tremendous aid when they have sex with a partner.

Men historically believed that the only way a woman could orgasm is if a phallus was introduced to the vagina. When they realized that the clitoris was the heart of the female orgasm, the nub was demonized and given a mind of its own; projection of how men envisioned their own members caused women more grief than anything else.

While men are expected to masturbate starting in early adolescence and throughout their life, women have only recently gained some respect in the field of masturbation. However, masturbation for women must only occur when they are adults and only because they are not with a man. The advent of the sex industry and the innovations in sex toys has only opened up the discussion on female masturbation which can only result in positive things for women. In the end, anything that promotes sexual satisfaction in either sex is a positive thing for society; happy people make happy couples which make happy communities and a happy world. And, ultimately, isn’t that the point of all of this?