Not Tonight, Honey, My Patriarchy Hurts

headache womenAmong the lies women have to tell in order to save themselves from harm, saying “I have a headache” as a way to decline a man’s sexual advances just became even more suspect. This month, a study was published which showed that, of a group of migraine sufferers who had “sex” during an episode, about sixty percent experienced pain relief. For a third, the pain worsened. But that doesn’t stop the ‘no more excuses, ladies!’ headlines about the report.

In the coverage of the study, there is no differentiating “had an orgasm” from “had sex”, and I would presume the study doesn’t make a distinction either. Also fuzzy is what “sex” means here (hint: almost certainly PIV). In any case, the point to it is that women are apparently no longer allowed to have this reason — true or not — in their “don’t touch me, dude-whom-I’m-sexually-involved-with” arsenal. One could say the same for men who use this as an excuse, but the effects of these study results are not equal. Women aren’t going to be the ones using this information to back their male partners into a corner and pressure them into sex. Rather, it is men who will continue saying, even just “teasingly”, that their dicks will cure their wives of headaches.

Ah, yes. Healing dick powers – clear your skin, sleep better, look younger. I can’t help but recall the I Love Lucy Vitameatavegemin episode in which Lucy does a TV commercial for a ‘health supplement’ which is essentially a liqueur of some kind, plus some vitamins. “Yes, with Vitameatavegemin, you can spoon your way to health.” Yes, with PIV you can fuck your way to health. Unless you get an infection. Or a disease. Or it just feels bad. Or you are constantly stressed by the possibility of being pregnant. Or you actually do become pregnant. And, hey, woops maybe you get gestational diabetes, maybe you’re bed ridden for months, maybe you get an obstetric fistula, or maybe you die. (And it’s a cruel coincidence that a side effect of hormonal birth control happens to include, wouldn’t you guess it, headaches and migraines!)

But headache or not, it’s clear: women aren’t allowed to just say no. A ‘no’ and only a ‘no’, not a qualified lie of a ‘no’. Females have to be up for any PIV that comes their way… even if you feel sick to your stomach and any movement makes you feel ill, and you just want to be very still in a very dark room. Nope, the peen will heal you. Just lay back and think of your health.


In writing this, I found an opening line to a news piece from a few years ago, which seriously says this:

Scientists believe there may be a valid reason why some women make excuses at times for not wanting to make love to their husbands.

Well, thanks, science. I’m so glad it’s been proven that women have (may have, sorry) authentic reasons for not wanting sex.* How about we get a study going on the myriad ways women are conned into sex by men rather than how women are forced to make polite, ego-guarding excuses to simply refuse sex? Right, right: lying in order to make a woman comply with your sexual demands is fine, it’s just when she lies to get out of fucking you that it’s a problem.

And now I have a headache. But I’m just going to take a nap later and maybe put a warm compress over my eyes. What a headache prude.


[*The study the article refers to essentially says that some women are just messed up because their brain cells didn’t react as they should when shown pornography. These women were referred to as having ‘low libido’.]

  1. smash said:

    Great post, Lishra. We can clearly see the rape culture inherent in these studies.

    “Why won’t you put out for MEEE my peen is majikal!” say scientists. Women don’t get to have bodily integrity even if we are sick.

    I was talking with some women the other day about how some men actually feel proud if the women they PIV are in pain or are sore after the episode. It’s clear that in most cases PIV is about men dominating women, and god forbid we find an excuse to avoid this.

  2. Hecuba said:

    This is what male sexual autonomy means – mens’ pseudo sex right to females, irrespective of whether or not the woman is in a sexual relationship with the man. Women however do not have sexual autonomy but are expected – nay ordered by men to be sexually available to the man as and when he demands!

    Imagine if it was men who were the ones constantly being told ‘you must be sexually available for your wife/female partner whenever she demands/wishes?’ But in reality men do decline to engage in sexual activity when they don’t want to and they do not commonly say ‘I have a headache.’ Rather they ignore their female partner’s attempt at initiating sexual contact; they pretend not to understand what she wants or they accuse her of being ‘over sexed!’ Men are never ‘over sexed’ but women have no sexual rights other than to be mens’ disposable sexual service stations!

    Any man who enacts what he believes to be his male (pseudo) sex right to the female body is enacting rape – no ifs no buts it is rape. Women were not put on this planet to be mens’ disposable sexual service stations or to be mens’ masturbatory objects. Men have never spontaneously combusted from lack of regular sexual access to the female body – despite mens;’ claims they ‘will suffer blue balls if their dicks aren’t serviced!’

    If a man is feeling sexually aroused he has the solution to hand – yes he can use his hands to sexually satisfy himself but that according to male supremacist illogic is ‘not real sex because the penis does not come into contact with the female body!’

    It has taken centuries for marital rape to be recognised for what it is, which is violation of a woman’s right to own her body and sexuality rather than to be a man’s sexual property. Yet still men collectively continue to enact their misogynistic belief it is men’s sacrosanct right to have sexual access to women’s bodies as and when they demand. This is what it means for women living in our Male Supremacist system. The male supremacist belief that ‘sex’ is ‘sex’ only if and when the penis is thrusting inside the woman’s body and this now includes mandatory penis in female anus, if the man wishes because the penis is being sexually serviced and that is supposedly ‘real sex!’

    Not surprising then that men continue to define ‘real rape’ from a very narrow perspective wherein ‘real rape’ supposedly means a man gaining sexual access to another man’s female sexual property!

  3. lishra said:

    Reblogged this on Lishra and commented:

    My new Liberation Collective post

  4. Lindsay said:

    The study the article refers to essentially says that some women are messed up because their brain cells didn’t react as they should when shown pornography. These women were referred to as having ‘low libido’.

    This makes me ashamed on behalf of all Science. 😐

    (Also, how *were* they supposed to be reacting? Exactly like men? I may need to go find this study and laugh at it now …)

  5. Mwah'l said:

    I love the idea of a study that shows all the ways men coerce women into sex. I recently got a “you’ve neber had thee orgasmz” myself. Thankfully I’m deep enough in radfem and semantic analyzation (especially of ambiguous relative words without physical referents) to have dismissed it at as an attack right off the bat and thickened up my guard accordingly. But when I think of all those excuses you said (the removal of pimples!!!) and remember my self 5-7 years ago believing that shit, I wonder if a list of all the tag lines of patriarchy would’ve done me some good…maybe a hash tag then? #ways men coerce into PIV

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