How the Feminist Movement has Ruined Our Sex Lives & What We Can do to Fix It. ~ Xanet Pailet

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The feminist movement has turned women into men.

I just came back from a very powerful talk by Debora Spar, the President of Barnard College in New York City, who was speaking about her new book “Wonder Women: Sex , Power and the Quest for Perfection.”

Since I am working through releasing myself from the Wonder Women Syndrome, I have not yet read her book. Her personal story however resonated very strongly with me. It also illuminated why there is so much struggle in our relationships and sex lives.

The feminist movement has turned women into men—and here’s how.

What Debora so masterfully conveyed was the historical perspective of how the Wonder Woman syndrome came about. In a nutshell, by the time girls born in the 60s and 70s become young women, we could check the following off the list:

>> Reproductive rights secured (although post-Hobby Lobby it’s unclear whose going to pay for it)
>> Civil rights battle completed (though the war may never be won)
>> Vietnam War behind us
>> Women acceptances to colleges and graduate school skyrocketing
>> Women in the workplace in large numbers

And we did this without having to sign a petition, march on Washington, or burn our bras.

We were told by our mothers, and it was reinforced in 1970’s popular media such as “Charlie’s Angels”, and Ms. Magazine, that we were just as capable as men and could be whatever we aspired to be.

The legacy of the feminist movement is that women could have it all—a professional career, a husband, children, two cats and a dog—and keep our shit together.

But as I listened to Debora speak, I had another realization.

What the feminist movement, perhaps unwittingly did, was to turn women into men.

In my own life, I was pressured to either go to law school or medical school. I chose the one that sucked the blood out of me. I bought into the masculine notion that success and happiness was defined by how much money I made, how big my house was, and how high I could climb in the organizational ladder. I made it all the way up to CEO, all while raising two young children and keeping the family together.

Along the way I was also taught that emotions are bad and displaying them is a weakness. I learned that screwing other people, in order to get ahead in the world, was not only accepted, it was expected.

Business came before pleasure, including spending time with my children.

Most significantly, I wore the pants in the family.

The buck stopped with me.

And therein lies the reason why our sex lives are so screwed up.

As I rose in the business world and became more powerful and more successful, I completely lost touch with my feminine sexual energy. The loving, nurturing, “mother energy” was alive and well. But the sexy Goddess who can surrender into passion and orgasm? Non-existent.

In the business world, I was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, that force was also alive and well in the bedroom.

Here’s the frustrating thing: I didn’t want to be the male presence in the room, the one who always instigated sex and called all the shots in my marriage.

I simply never learned how to be otherwise.

I wish this was just the plight of the too few in numbers powerful businesswomen. But in fact, many relationships suffer because women are simply holding too much masculine energy and have forgotten, or perhaps never even learned, how to tap into their feminine side.

The results of this have been far reaching. I truly believe that one of the reasons behind the 50% divorce rate in my generation is due to the shift of power dynamics in male/female relationships. Men are showing up at my doorstep completely emasculated and disempowered. Women are showing up with no libido and frustrated that their sex life is non-existent.

Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this problem.

Awareness is a huge step in the right direction. Embodiment through movement and dance can be a powerful opening and also very challenging. At first I was surprised at how many of my female clients struggled with any type of sexy dance exercise, until I remembered how long it took me to feel comfortable out on the dance floor.

Connecting with ourselves sexually through a mindful masturbation practice, Tantra or women’s sexuality class can help women work through some of the shame issues that haunt us.

Unlike women who grew up in the era of Woodstock, free sex and love was not part of our mantra.

Ultimately, the best thing that we can do is not to perpetuate this in future generations. Instead we need to help our daughters celebrate their feminine side, encourage our sons to be comfortable and proud of being a man, and rid ourselves, once and for all, of the “Wonder Women” syndrome.


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Xanet Pailet

Xanet Pailet is a former lawyer turned sex and intimacy coach, author and speaker living in the Bay Area. She is passionate about helping women tap into their creativity and power by connecting with their own sexual energy. She is thrilled that instead of having to write about boring legal things she can now use her creativity to write about juicy, sexy things. Her first book, “Living an Orgasmic Life” will be out sometime in early 2015, even if it means a trip to Bali to finish it. Read her weekly sex advice blog, “The Pleasure Page” and connect with her here.

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anonymous Mar 7, 2015 8:59am

As a woman trying to negotiate dating in 2015, I find that men expect me to be emotionally detached. For some reason, the definition of 'fun' has become associated with nsa and fwb. I haven't found any man threatened by my success or how much (or little for that matter) money I have in comparison to them, but every man I have dated over the last 5 years has been extremely threatened by the idea of being 'trapped' in a loving relationship.

anonymous Jul 23, 2014 3:21am

"Men want to be accepted for who THEY are as well. They don't want to be made to feel inferior or emasculated. THEY want to be able to be in their feminine energy as well as their masculine. They want to be honored for their wholeness, their entirety. "

Men just want an easy life. We want simple rules as to how you want us to be. You tell us what you want, and we will be that for a quiet life. The problem is that women dont seem to know what they want men to be. It used to be that we were what we were. Then you brought in feminism, changed the rules, and we all became sensitive metrosexuals. Then you got tired of that and chose men who were dicks because you didnt like being treated as equals, so men became a little more dickish. The latest incarnation is that confused men end up trying to be dicks and then we get told that there is a rape culture with privilieged men. And you dont want men whining about this either.

Just tell us what you want. Write it up on a chalkboard somewhere so we can memorize it. You want to be equals? You want males to be dominant? You want women to be dominant? You want to be approached by men? You want not to be approached by men? You want men to look at your body and find you attractive and make remarks? You want us not to? You want us to be nice? You want us to be not nice? You want us to ask every time "May I do X? May I do Y?' You want us to take the initiative? Just make up your minds. Thats all men want. We are tired playing games.

anonymous Jul 23, 2014 3:11am

There is another issue also present.
Due to the recent increase in grads from gender courses in college, we now have a bunch of ladies telling men that if we ask a woman out, we are imposing our male privilege on them, and that no means no, and that asking why is tantamount to rape, and that men who claim they are nice, not rapists are part of the problem and perpetiuating the rape culture.
While this might be fine and dandy for the victim sisterhood, it really makes me think twice and three times before going up and talking to a woman these days. The phrase "is it really worth it" springs to mind. More and more, I'm thinking not. You're tired of male priviliege? Fine. You make all the first moves and I'll be the one to cry harassment if I dont like the way you look. BTW, I'm not a rapist. I'm a nice guy. Yes. The kind you all detest because I dare to discuss this awful new dynamic in the dating scene.

anonymous Jul 21, 2014 12:39pm
The Office Pulse survey reported that 56 percent of working women assume responsibility for cooking at home, compared to only 29 percent of working men—and 62 percent take care of the laundry compared to only 31 percent of the men. The survey found similarly large discrepancies between women and men when it came to cleaning and grocery shopping.

Further, a survey by the National Parenting Association (NPA) revealed that 50 percent of married working women are primarily responsible for meal preparation, compared to only 9 percent of their partners; and that 51 percent take time off from work to care for a sick child, again compared to just 9 percent of partners. The NPA survey also revealed that married career women devote an average of 11 hours a week to managing and executing household chores and responsibilities, which constitutes 61 percent of the total time spent on these chores in their homes. In short, while women's roles in the workforce have grown considerably over time, their responsibilities inside the home have shifted far less. Other studies have found that the same holds true for child care: Working mothers do the bulk of it.

Making matters worse is the fact that women also tend to worry more than men about the well-being of their families. According to the Center for Work-Life Policy, women are more likely to see a direct connection between time they spend at work and negative effects on their families—more junk food, more time in front of the TV, less parental supervision. But men tend to blame external factors—the media, bad peer groups, "society"—for troubles at home.

These multiple, often conflicting roles leave many women feeling as if they're performing a colossal daily juggling act and it's taking a toll on their happiness. The Office Pulse survey found that women are more likely than men to experience stress, headaches, muscle tension, weight gain, and depression. A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association discovered that not only do women feel more stress than men over finances and the economy, they're also more likely to experience stress-related symptoms like headaches, irritability, and depression.

anonymous Jul 20, 2014 9:25am

What a great article! I totally agree. When you say feminism, I interpreted it as feminism UP UNTIL NOW. Which I think is totally true and your description is spot on. We were given the distinct message that it's okay for women to have equal (well, sorta) rights as long as we acted like men. In so many instances in 2014, society still believes that masculinity is superior to femininity. While Sonicsuns portrays what so many of us want – equality, honored and respected for being *themselves* – it's just not the way it is right now. Just look at Sheryl Sandberg – she is perpetuating the idea that women need to be masculine and choose their work over their families in order to be successful (oversimplification I know). The truth is that I see this in almost every woman I know. I see myself in the super woman syndrome and have been working to back myself out so I can enjoy an intimate and connected relationship with my husband and model that for my 2 boys.

We have been so grateful to have attained pseudo equal rights that we got duped – we didn't know what we didn't know. We didn't know what to ask for except "equality." The nuance was that we wanted to be accepted and made equal based on who we are as human beings NOT based on our gender, not to ignore our gender because it is a part of us, but to look beyond it. It's what we all want.

What I believe is that this is just how it rolls. Progress doesn't happen in one moment, it happens over many many years, decades, centuries. It's not so bleak. Men want to be accepted for who THEY are as well. They don't want to be made to feel inferior or emasculated. THEY want to be able to be in their feminine energy as well as their masculine. They want to be honored for their wholeness, their entirety.

So rather than be discouraged, I believe it's time to celebrate the awareness that we have not yet realized the full potential of authentic feminism. We all want the same thing, but we have encountered some unanticipated outcomes of the first couple feminist movements 🙂 It's now time to pivot, to ask for what we REALLY want, what will complete the feminist movement. But this time, we need to think from the point of view of what's best for ALL of us, not just fight for women's rights at the expense of men, or men holding onto their rights at the expense of women. Rather, let's open this dialogue between both genders and get real. We all just want to be loved and accepted exactly as we are.

This is an exciting time and I am so glad to be part of the realization of what feminism REALLY means. I hope there is a day when the word feminism is no longer used except, in history books, because we move so far beyond that there is a new and beautiful word to describe where we have evolved to.

Thanks for the post!

And that we are all having great sex with each other too! 🙂

anonymous Jul 18, 2014 8:24am

I'm afraid you've got it wrong.

Feminism per se didn't mess up your sex drive. What messed up your sex drive was the pressure and stress that you faced in life, along with your habit of suppressing your own emotions and feminine feelings.

Feminism teaches that woman are equal to men. Therefore, if a woman enjoys something "masculine" (such as being a CEO), she should have the freedom to pursue that without sexist forces holding her back. Similarly, if a man enjoys something "feminine" (such as being a homemaker), he should have that freedom to do that as well.

You seem to be relying on a corrupted version of feminism, which states that masculinity is superior to femininity, and all women must be masculine. I suppose that some people have the impression that this is what feminism is all about, but that's not really the case. True feminism is about equality, and the freedom to pursue your passions. Thus, if you find that you enjoy being feminine in bed, feminism supports that idea! Do whatever makes you happy. That includes the right to be masculine in the boardroom and feminine in the bedroom. We're allowed to mix-and-match ideas as much as we please.

The solution to the problem is not that women must be feminine and men must be masculine. The solution is that everyone should be *themselves*. In fact, even the concepts of "feminine" and "masculine" are too simplistic. We should all put aside these weird social categories and expectations, and simply do whatever truly brings happiness to the world. You didn't enjoy being masculine in the bedroom, but some other woman really *do* enjoy it. You all need the freedom to be yourselves. People shouldn't hold each other back out of irrational impulses. ("Women must be feminine" is just like "Women must be masculine". Neither statement allows for individuality.)

"Feminism" is only at fault here if you use a corrupted version of the concept. In the final analysis, true feminism isn't the problem.

    anonymous Jul 25, 2014 8:15am

    Such a perfect summation of what true feminism and sexual equality is, and how the concept of feminism is so often corrupted! Thanks for this!

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 8:41pm

I would argue that reproductive rights are far from secure. In the past decade, Roe vs. Wade has slowly been chipped away. Look at the legislation passed-in many states such as my current state of VA and my home state of NC, abortion clinics are at risk of being closed thanks to new laws.

It's 2014 and some are still opposed to birth control.

Feminism didn't turn women into men or if it did, then why still the fight over equal pay for equal work?

    anonymous Jul 18, 2014 10:59am

    I think you two are largely talking about different things. She only mentioned reproductive rights briefly. Her claim that "feminism turned women into men" is mainly based on the idea that women have been over-encouraged to act in a masculine way. She's not really talking about legal equality or equal pay for equal work.

    (Incidentally, I've heard that it's actually quite hard to measure the work/pay ratio, since you have to find pairs of people who really are doing the same work at the same speed with the same quality working for the same company etc. before you can be reasonably sure that their pay discrepancy is directly the result of sexism.)

    anonymous Mar 29, 2015 8:39pm

    There's a difference between abortion and actual birth control. Birth control is just a preventative for you to avoid pregnancy on the first place, such as the pill or condoms. Abortion is a terminated pregnancy, and in my opinion, the murder of the unborn.

    The fact that you make people like me sound like we are keeping society from "progressing" is disgusting, and I would never want to be friends with someone like you, a person who advocates for murdering unborn babies. I'm in support of people having birth control, but I don't support the murdering of the unborn. Have you ever seen the kinds of horrors that happen inside of an abortion clinic? Have you ever witnessed those unborn babies actually breathing outside of the womb, struggling to breathe and stay alive? It just amzes me that you support something like this.

    By the way, the wage gap is a myth, all bullshit. The feminists took numbers and skewed them to fit their agenda. I suggest you actually research the wage gap myth yourself; the feminists lied to you. There are plenty of occupations where the woman is making much more than her male counterpart, like modeling. The feminists created lies and repeated them again and again so they could make more followers who were blind as sheep.