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August 23, 2005

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» Maybe I am weird... from In Search Of Utopia
From Ezra: As for all this talk over guys getting freaked out by the delivery room view of their partner's suddenly giant, bloody vagina, I don't quite see the problem. If you're the sort of guy who thinks this'll haunt... [Read More]

» So, You Married a Man With a Virgin/Whore Complex from Feministe
Belle says it so I don't have to. Title credit: Scott Lemieux, whose last name has far too many vowels in a row.... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» Put on that teddy and high heels and strut around for me, stud from Pandagon
I didn't want to wade into the "are men who leave their wives alone to give birth total assholes or what" debate. It's obvious to me that the answer is yes. Also, men who feel free to knock women up,... [Read More]

» They Don't Like to Watch from No Tickling!
Some men are turned off by watching their wives give birth. Here it is in apologetic psychoanalytic terms (with the shrink/columnist more richly deserving of the term “asshole” than anyone else under discussion), and here it is in the boy’s [Read More]

» Find Me Sexy, PIG! from Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
I'm a bit late to this party, but what the heck? I'm always willing to needlessly offend. The gist of the linked post is that men who have trouble becoming sexually attracted to their wives after they've witnessed the wife... [Read More]

» Find Me Sexy, PIG! from Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
I'm a bit late to this party, but what the heck? I'm always willing to needlessly offend. The gist of the linked post is that men who have trouble becoming sexually attracted to their wives after they've witnessed the wife... [Read More]

» Find Me Sexy, PIG! from Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
I'm a bit late to this party, but what the heck? I'm always willing to needlessly offend. The gist of the linked post is that men who have trouble becoming sexually attracted to their wives after they've witnessed the wife... [Read More]

» Find Me Sexy, PIG! from Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0
I'm a bit late to this party, but what the heck? I'm always willing to needlessly offend. The gist of the linked post is that men who have trouble becoming sexually attracted to their wives after they've witnessed the wife... [Read More]

Comments

Sammy

Didn't anyone realize that this is what you get for wanting all men to be sensative new age spiritual individuals? As though men should be tough when it's convinient for you, but sensative what that suits you better.

Dave J.

Hey, here's a crazy thought--why not have the men IN the room with the woman (providing emotional and moral support and yada yada yada) but position him up at her head so he doesn't have to actually see the upclose details of what's happening? What the hell has this world come to that a guy who confesses that he finds the thought of a nine pound bloody baby slowly emerging from his wife's enlarged vagina less than appetizing is condemned for all eternity? Goddam. I asked my wife if she wanted me in the room while she gave birth, and she said "Yeah, up by my head, giving me support. You don't have to watch it come out, though--I don't want to see that, so why should you have to?" Bless her for her wisdom, I say.

Meanwhile, it's also funny that while my generation's fathers were generally away from the hospital entirely (in a bar, at work, on the golf course, wherever), my fellow future-fathers are not only expected to be in the delivery room, but are apparently expected to kneel down inches away from the event itself, microscope in hand and microcassette recorder at the ready, so they can record the minutae of their opinions and feelings for posterity. It is my prayer that my childrens' generation can find some sort of happy medium.

father of two

Wow, real life really scares a lot of men, doesn't it?

It's all "Oh, I'm sensitive and seeing my wife's body do what it is designed to do changes my childish sexualization of her body." Wow, turn in the pair that you have, because you don't deserve them. And quit sniveling.

My God, if you can't be with the mother of your children during birth, if you leave when the going gets rough, if you are too "sensitive" to even watch something painful,not to mention experience it, well, just what kind of fathers are you going to be? Do you have the spine to do everything to protect your loved ones if you can't even watch them during birth? Are you going to run and hide again to avoid having your delicate sensitivities bruised when your wife or child breaks a leg, or God forbid, something worse? I guess I am wondering if such a person is truly equipped to take on the responsibilities of being a parent as opposed to a sperm donor.

Furthermore, if watching a female body do what it is designed to do turns you off sexually, you probably need to ask yourself if you are actually even attracted to females.

whatever

"Furthermore, if watching a female body do what it is designed to do turns you off sexually, you probably need to ask yourself if you are actually even attracted to females."

I'm sure my wife does not have to accept with lusty acclaim the sight of every function my body is "designed to do" to prove her heterosexuality. Is the test for me different, Mr. Gender Sensitivity?

Imagine if a bunch of men on this board were telling women what male bodily functions should and should not turn them on.

"Stop trying to control MY sexuality, oppressor!"...etc.

But apparently women (and their gender-sensitivity male chorus) feel perfectly entitled to tell men what should and should not affect male desire. I'll make you ladies (and male chorus) a deal: I won't tell you what sights, sounds, smells and bodily functions should make a man desirable to a woman. And you, in turn, will shut your yobs about what should turn men on, okay?

Doctor Slack

Wow, real life really scares a lot of men, doesn't it?

"Real life" involves being able to encounter human nature in its diversity, warts and all, without throwing a tantrum -- and, just maybe, with the attitude of a problem-solver instead of a preening moralist. If you lack this ability, maybe you're not really in a position to be casting aspersions on others as potential parenting material based on a minor sexual foible.

Sammy

In response to Dave J's comment

"Furthermore, if watching a female body do what it is designed to do turns you off sexually, you probably need to ask yourself if you are actually even attracted to females."

If I'm turned off watching a woman go to the bathroom, does that make me gay?

dsquared

I liked dsquared and all, but he went and tried to compare such people to racists, dude. Not on.

I think I was making this point in order to demonstrate the fallacy of someone else's claim that sexual preferences couldn't be the proper object of criticism. But even if I wasn't, I prefer to stick to my first and best line of argument which is: suck it up, you get called far worse in the delivery room.

I simply don't accept that people who act like this aren't the proper object of ridicule. Yes even the guy being "treated for depression" if he is trying to claim that his condition was caused by the disturbing sight of childbirth. If your libido is broken so easily, it is a simple statement of fact to say that your libido wasn't up to much in the first place. And as I said on the Crooked Timber thread, one doesn't have to be Robert Bly to think that there is some place in the world for the Homeric virtues, and refusing to step up to the plate when called because you're scared doesn't display many of them. I mean seriously, would you want to be stuck in a foxhole with someone who couldn't face the thought of childbirth?

Look, what's ridicule for if not cases like this? Why do we have an expression in the language "stop being such a big pussy" if it isn't to be used in paradigm cases like this?

djw

Look, what's ridicule for if not cases like this? Why do we have an expression in the language "stop being such a big pussy" if it isn't to be used in paradigm cases like this?

This is why dsquared is one of my favorite bloggers. This is precisely the kind of perspective we need.

I've had emotional responses that richly deserved mockery. I may not have realized that in real time, but that doesn't make it any less true. We're all assholes some of the time, and we all deserve to be mocked occasionally. This extraordinary defensiveness about comically oversized reaction is, frankly, embarrassing.

Leo

This is stupid. If we're assholes for not wanting to witness something gross (and not do not try to tell me that childbirth is a beautiful thing, because you are not actually seeing what we're seeing down there) then you are a bunch of bitches for demanding us to see it or ELSE. It's ok to be there, hold the hand, support you, but to demand that I pair up with the doctor down there so I can see what's going on begs the question of what your motives really are? A good wife who loves her husband would try to understand. A bitch would not take no for an answer.

dsquared

Hmmmm, if you're using the nickname "Leo", you have to face the consequence that someone is going to point out that it is the Latin name for a large member of the order Felidae, or to put it colloquially, a big pussy.

been there, done that

So this conversation has degenerated a tad, but I have to agree with Belle: if seeing the culmination of a process you were involved in starting grosses you out to where you no longer feel your partner to be desirable, that's wrong.

As for the notion of drapes shielding fathers from the view of Mom's innards, I can assure you it's a gesture in some cases: our second child was an ill-advised VBAC and a ruptured uterus was the result. I can still see the OB trying to put everything back in and hear the suction as they kept the bleeding under control. There was a stretch of time when I didn't know if I was bringing *anyone* home. And some guy claims to be grossed out at a natural birth? I would have loved to have seen that, but I'm just glad things worked as well as it did. My big-headed kids didn't even want to crown, let alone come out the usual way.

No sympathy coming from me, I'm afraid.

Doctor Slack

Look, what's ridicule for if not cases like this?

Hey, if you don't mind looking even more clueless than the targets of your ridicule, go ahead and have at it. But don't have any illusions; anyone naive enough to be genuinely offended by the quirks of someone else's libido, as though such things were somehow news or the moral equivalent of cowardice or pederasty, is simply not looking at all clever. I don't like to watch people I normally enjoy making fools of themselves; I prefer to be laughing with them rather than at them.

dsquared

anyone naive enough to be genuinely offended

Not me guv; I think it's hilarious that they're a bunch of pussies.

In any case, being unable to cope with a woman's vagina isn't "the moral equivalent" of cowardice; it's cowardice, if the term is to have any meaning at all.

Doctor Slack

Oh, a f'rinstance:

one doesn't have to be Robert Bly to think that there is some place in the world for the Homeric virtues . . . would you want to be stuck in a foxhole with someone who couldn't face the thought of childbirth?

"The Homeric virtues"? "Stuck in a foxhole"? You do realize this rather calls to mind generations of men who, in fact, practised the "Homeric virtues" and actually were "stuck in foxholes" and yet wouldn't have gone within ten yards of the delivery room, right? You've got to have better aim with your ridicule than this if you're going to do it, man.

dsquared

But if they'd been asked to, they would have. And they wouldn't have whined about it either.

Doctor Slack

But if they'd been asked to, they would have.

Good thing you can speak for them so confidently!

justpassingby

Happened upon this board quite by accident yesterday.

This 'dsquared' fellow is pretty amusing, but not in the way he thinks. Choice quotes worthy of pointing at and laughing:

"I mean seriously, would you want to be stuck in a foxhole with someone who couldn't face the thought of childbirth?"

I know a Marine commando who may or may not have been interested in being in the room when his children were born. But he was too busy slitting throats with a Ka-Bar knife in the Middle East. If he says no to his wife's invite for the next child, would you like to call him names and insult him over the phone? Since enduring deadly combat for your nation and watching your wife give birth clearly require equal amounts of courage, you would be entitled to do so. Right?

"In any case, being unable to cope with a woman's vagina isn't 'the moral equivalent' of cowardice; it's cowardice, if the term is to have any meaning at all."

Yeah, it takes a real man to go into the delivery room. I've done it twice with my wife and it is far, far, far from something that I would consider brave or difficult for a man to attend.

I am really sure my two times in the delivery room isn't worth comparing to the experiences of some guy who, say, went through the 101st fighting at Bastogne. If you disagree, please, show up at your local Order of the Purple Heart meeting and brag about how you could endure your wife's delivery. They'll think you are a swell guy. I'm sure they'll make you an honorary member for your courage.

dsquared

Is this a straw Marine? Is it not a bit dangerous for him in the fictitious wars, what with being made out of straw and all? Does he fight against straw enemies? Because he's your mate, and you certainly do.

For the record, yep. If UFC Champion Chuck Lidell were to run scared of his wife's vagina, then he would be a big soppy mardy Jessie for doing so and I would say it to his face. "Don't be such a pussy, Chuck", I would say.

Doctor Slack

This 'dsquared' fellow is pretty amusing, but not in the way he thinks.

FWIW, he's usually sharper than this.

Jim Treacher

How come my wife refused to be in the room during my open-heart surgery? It was the culmination of a process she was involved in starting: I wouldn't have been there if not for her cooking.

Jim Treacher

How come my wife refused to be in the room during my open-heart surgery? It was the culmination of a process she was involved in starting: I wouldn't have been there if not for her cooking.

Jim Treacher

Sorry, it didn't show up the first time. But now it's twice as funny, right? Ahem.

Jim Treacher

Sorry, didn't show up the first time. But now it's twice as funny, right? Ahem.

Erin

I think the issue is not whether men can handle the gore - it's whether a woman needs to take time & energy during one of the most difficult times of her life to think, "Wow. I'd better protect Hubby from anything unpleasant, like my vagina performing its natural function, lest he suddenly find himself unable to get it up when he realizes that I am not, in fact, a Real Doll." It's not the sqeamishness; it's the (mis)placing of the responsibility for the squeamishness. You knew she had one of those when you knocked her up, right (assuming you weren't a product of abstinence-only education). No one's saying you've got to be there with a catcher's mitt, but if you get all prima donnaish in the middle of labor about your potential future erections, you won't get a lot of sympathy around here, I'd imaging.

Also, I really hope that all of these people who are comparing childbirth to taking a dump aren't actually parents. That's like when people tell women to breastfeed in a restroom instead of in public because they find the non-sexual breast icky - please, is that where you'd want your baby to have lunch? Is that where you have lunch?

father of two

Erin, well said. I think this thread proves that women are the stronger sex, hands down. I have never heard so many grown men run away screaming like children at the thought of watching something, not enduring it themselves, watching it. Apparently women in labor need to hold the father's hand and protect him from life's "scary" sights, you know, lest he lose his sexual attraction to her. Maybe "doctor" slack can form a doula-like group for the father - someone to stand with him and cover his eyes for the scary parts and check to make sure his balls haven't withdrawn into his torso and tell him its okay to be a wuss.

Mitchell

Okay. Read the article in Slate, read your, um, polite, warm, thoughtful, comments above, your followup post, and a good chunk of the comments.

I'm not one of the squemish guys- I was with the wife when she gave birth to my son.

Emotions are strange things. We aren't always in control of them. Some women feel unattractive before or after childbirth. Some lose their attraction to their husbands. Is it their fault?

Now, let me explain something about many guys. Guys solve problems, they fix things. They do their best to make things better for their wives (and children). How well they perceive themselves as doing these things is intimately tied to their vision of their own self-worth.

It turns out that, apparently, some few guys who DID THEIR JOB AND WERE WITH THEIR WIVES DURING CHILDBORTH, had some trouble with the event after the fact.

Now. I will bet you a lot of money that these guys were not sitting there going:

"Gee, this is gross, I think I'll stop finding my wife sexually attractive."

I would imagine that these guys saw someone they loved in pain, blood all over her, and they felt completely helpless and powerless. They couldn't make things better.

None of these guys were saying they didn't love their wives any more. They were struggling with themselves and the desire they felt for their wives. I don't believe it had anything to do with the wives being "un-sexy" during childbirth. In other words, it wasn't the woman's fault. It is a case of some guys trying to deal with something that they aren't in control of.

But apparently, they deserve scorn and contempt.

Belle, the total assholes are the guys who LEAVE their wives (and children). The assholes ABANDON their children.

And I hate to say this, but your comparison of a woman who gets grossed out because her man is leaking fluids at both ends due to illness is ridiculous.

Congratulations on being a feminist. You have certainly liberated your anger. Looks like your contempt for the male of the species is out in the open, too. Your "non-total asshole" husband must be one happy guy.

Michael

The basic issue is that a lot of people are uncomfortable with fundamental human issues, and they spend their lives trying to build a castle on the ground: one in which uncomfortable biological facts are hidden.

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