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As any politician who has been caught in flagrante delecto can tell you, sex is often primarily about power. In fact, it’s not any secret that (especially for men) sex is often more about power and ego as opposed to the healthier motivations of love, procreation, and mutual enjoyment. In fundyland, the exercise of sex-as-power gets even more complicated than the simple a urge to dominate, since even having sexual desires is seen as an inherent moral flaw.
A fundy man having taken unto himself a helpmeet is faced with a dilemma. On the one hand he is told that he is to be the absolute and final authority in his home and rule it with an iron hand. On the other, his wife can rob him of that power simply by refusing his amorous advances. The situation is even worse for an unmarried fundy man who is at the same time tremendously tempted by vague notion of sexual satisfaction while at the same time being repulsed by the idea of women in general as being the deep ditches and narrow pits that will lead him to his destruction.
In the end, it’s fundamentalist women who suffer most from this paradox. They are told both that they are vile temptresses whose bodies only exist to tempt men and that they are also responsible to perform their marital duties (note: if it’s a ‘duty’ you’re doing it wrong) as the only way to keep their man on the straight and narrow. In short the message is to be eternally afraid of her own sexuality but always ready at the drop of a hat to actually have sex.
Some men in fundyland, however, fare only marginally better. The most alpha males may simply take what they want without regard for anyone’s enjoyment but their own. But the more thoughtful and kindhearted fundy man (yes, they do exist) who has been taught a lifetime of fear of the eternal temptress that is womankind simply has no idea how to deal with his own conflicted feelings of guilt and desire — much less the confusion of his partner over the mixed messages he’s sending out. It’s the perfect recipe for a whole lot of loneliness.
Happy are the people who put the power plays of fundyland behind them and understand that love has no shame — and that it’s all a lot more fun when everyone gets a chance to be on top.