There is certainly some intelligence and sense about the nature of Bettina Arndt’s column on Wicked Wives (The Weekend Australian, 27-28/2). But let me strongly suggest she has failed to recognise and discuss one of the most significant factors in the issues involved in female fidelity – the nature of sexual repression. Sadly, it is still inherent in our society today and not just for married women.
While some women may be embarking on a search for their sexual selves (how many centuries has it taken them?) by and large female sexuality is still a subject engendering a disdainful reproach; an issue still shrouded in past traditions when nice girls simply didn’t indulge.
I would contend that not much has changed. The fact that women are still denying their sexual experience to their husbands as mentioned in her article only supports that contention. If the men are threatened – why are they?
The truth is that women and sex are still perceived as contradictions in terms – even for those women who are single. We are still condemned as sluts if we dare “sow our wild oats” as some men do, and not just by men. Women say it about other women, too. Sleeping around for a female is simply taboo.
Moreover, there still lingers the notion that sex on its own, without love or an emotional commitment is not appropriate for women. As females, men have historically duped into believing we are so different from them that we can only enjoy sex in a meaningful relationship. And may I say, fools that we are, we have believed them.
It’s only a cunning ploy to keep us in one bed all our lives – with the man we love, supposedly.
Until our society lifts the veil of contempt for female sexuality off its surface, headlines like Wicked Wives will continue to flourish. I don’t recall ever reading that about men. May it be “Doing good AND feeling good” in the not too distant future: for all women in the bedroom!