Need Versus Want

Reader and commenter DJ recently left the following comment in my Questions and Suggestions page:

I’ve been reading and interacting for a while on your blog and one thing I realized isn’t clear in your posts. It often seems like you and others on this page would rather have a wife because they need you your [as] a meal ticket as opposed to they want to be with you. Bear with me on this[,] often there is talk about the good old days when women had limited options, at the same time there is complaining about a lack of sexual enthusiasm in women [with] “duty sex” and how that is hurtful. So I would like your take on this seeming inconsistency.

I have a small amount of free time with which to respond to his inquiry, so here is my hastily written reply. As always, I begin with by noting that I can only speak for myself. Other men around these parts will likely have different opinions on the matter.

From what I can tell, the main question that DJ is asking me is this:

Would you prefer your wife to feel like she needs you, out of material necessity, or would you prefer a wife who wants to be with you, out of sexual desire?

Now, if I had to chose between the two, and could only choose one of the two, then I would definitely choose the latter. If I was to marry, I would want my wife to want me- that is, to be sexually attracted to me.  As a number of bloggers have explained for years, especially Rollo, the female “attraction” (not my use of the term) for a man’s resources is no guarantee that a woman will want him sexually. Marrying a woman who fits the former category is risky- there is no guarantee that she won’t freeze me out, and then what? In the present environment I would have no recourse for a frigid wife. In fact, since she would be a net resource drain on me, I would be worse for marrying her.

Ideally, if I had to choose one thing that I was certain would bind a wife to me, it would be Christian marriage vows and all they encompass. If I could be assured of that, then I (and I suspect many other men) would feel far more secure. Sexual desire, after all, can be a fleeting thing. And as I just mentioned, material necessity is no guarantee of sexual desire.

[Ok, so I sort of lied before. I will claim to speak for others besides myself.]

When men around these parts talk about limiting female options, it is important to understand that we are not talking about some alternative system or method of getting women to desire us. It doesn’t work that way, and we know it. Rather, what we are discussing are possible methods to keep wives bound to their husbands. It is all about ties, really. And no, not the kind you wear.

If a woman feels like she needs a man’s material resources (meal ticket), then that need ties her to that man. If a woman feels sexually drawn to a man, and wants to sleep with him, that ties her to that man. If a woman is married to a man, and the law says she cannot simply leave him for another, that ties her to that man.

What we are advocating is a system where as many different social conventions, laws and other means tie wives to their husbands, as is possible. The more that binds a woman to her husband, the more secure the marriage is likely to be. This won’t necessarily affect her sexual desire for her husband, but it will protect him from divorce or abandonment. All things considered, this is better than nothing. Coupled with a restoration of “standing consent” to the legal system, and men will be much more secure in their marriages. Of course that means more “duty sex”, but from what I hear from many husbands duty sex is better than none at all. And many times what starts as duty sex will morph into enjoyment on her part.

So again, its not like we want one of these things over the others. We want both, and more besides. Women are moral agents, but they, like men, respond to incentives. And the more that is in place which encourages them to stay with their husbands, and to act as proper wives, the better. Of course, the same logic would apply to husbands as well. The overall goal is to incentive marriage, and incentive staying in marriage and upholding your vows, and to discourage the opposite.

Update: A few points of clarification.

1) I wouldn’t want a woman to be my wife only because she needs me to survive. I would want her to want to be with me. I suspect that neither of us would enjoy a marriage based only on material need. Nor would I even deserve a wife if I could only have one by forcing her to choose that path to survival

2) I am not looking for a wife simply to have an outlet for my sex drive. I want a great deal more, and am looking for a great deal more, in any woman I consider as a potential wife. Ideally, I would like someone I could have deep conversations with. Someone that I could relate to. Someone whose company I enjoy throughout the day, not simply when we are alone in the bedroom.

3) Lastly, I wanted to address this comment left by DJ:

It was more because I got the sense that the general feeling is if they don’t need me they will leave.

This sentiment is sparked by the fear that many men have that they will be abandoned by their wives. That they will be divorced, have their assets seized, their children taken from them and their lives ruined. Given the hideously high divorce rate right now, as well as the fact that women initiate most divorces, this is not an unfounded fear. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that they would grasp for any means available to protect themselves from that fate. Since things like “wanting to be with someone” are ephemeral- you can always change your opinion about someone, after all- it only makes sense for them to support means that would work irrespective of what a woman might feel at one particular point in time.

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36 Comments

Filed under Attraction, Marriage, Men, Moral Agency, Red Pill, Sex, Women

36 responses to “Need Versus Want

  1. So you’re okay with your wife being completely miserable so long as you get meals and sex?

    [DG: I let this through to serve as a good example of how important critical reading skills are. And because it amused me.]

  2. A Visitor

    “If I could be assured of that, then I (and I suspect many other men) would feel far more secure.”

    I, for one, will back you up on that statement DG.

    “We want both, and more besides.”

    That’s what women and society, writ large, do no understand. We try to play the game as best we can yet we’ve heard all the horror stories about men getting into what they thought was a sure thing and it turns out it’s not. Worse yet, it may morph into a nightmare (and no, I’m not just talking about sex).

    My personal view is that marriage, as it exists in America today (I’ve been to other countries and perceive it may be different to an extent), is really a case of where a man’s trust in God is really put to the test. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way towards the Almighty either.

    Finally lol @ DG’s commentary on the first comment.

  3. A Visitor

    Perhaps a better way of saying it is a case of where a man’s trust in God is really proven.

  4. I’m going to give Karen’s comment more attention than it deserves to answer the obvious question it presents, and address the subtext.

    So you’re okay with your wife being completely miserable so long as you get meals and sex?

    No. No, I’m not. I don’t want my wife to be completely miserable. I rather suspect that if she was miserable, I would feel miserable, if only because I would only marry a woman I cared about. I also believe that the old adage of “miserable wife, miserable marriage” is true. Only I don’t subscribe to the usual notions of how to fix that.

    The subtext of Karen’s comment, I suspect, is that she is really questioning the suggestion of limiting female choice as a means of improving marriage.

    Despite the trollish nature of her comment, there is a valid inquiry here, and if I get time at some point I will address it.

  5. Everyone’s choices are limited when marriage is strongly supported within a community. For that matter, they are limited when marriage isn’t strongly supported. But nobody looks at it from that angle when complaining about the problems of traditional marriage in the past. The question is which set of limits is more oriented towards social good and that question answers itself.

  6. Have you checked out karnjo’s blog? It’s as pathetic as her post here.

  7. Mrs. C

    I think one of women’s biggest fears in marriage is that they will be treated in a cold and loveless manner by their husband. It’s this fear that drives comments like karenjo12’s. No one wants to be in a marriage in which they are simply used and treated badly. This goes for men as well as women.

    I also think that one of men’s biggest fears is to be abandoned by their wife. We all know deep down that either of these scenarios would be a living hell.

    Ideally, we all want to be in a marriage in which each partner cares deeply about the other and when feelings wax and wane as they do for all, then we want to know that the vows we spoke will really mean something and no one will be abandoning anyone. We also want our laws and government to support all this in a way that encourages marriage rather than individual desires.

    Donal, I’m glad you are going to address this further. As ill-put as her question is, I think it really speaks to that underlying fear many women have.

  8. I’m still not sure what the overall point is….
    do people want to get married just for the idea of being married?
    Do people want enforced companionship?
    Do people want financial obligations?

    That part’s still not clear to me, because I don’t think, out of all those that desire marriage, that they all desire the same thing for the same reasons. And then you have to factor in age.
    What would a 20 year old want out of marriage as opposed to someone 40 years contemplating getting married for the first time?

  9. “So you’re okay with your wife being completely miserable so long as you get meals and sex?”

    Firstly, there really is no better example than this comment to prove RT’s theory that men love romantically while women love opportunistically.

    Secondly, this also proves that women see marriage as a lifelong committment from her husband to entertain her — feed her emotions and tingles — as without which, she will turn to trashy female porn such as the 50 Shades and Downtown Abbey to satisfy her.

    Thirdly, a Christian husband is to follow Paul’s teaching in Eph 22, i.e., to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Love, from a biblical standpoint on marriage (as a covenant), is more than emotions. For the husband, it is also committment, self-sacrifice and loads of practising husbandry for the rest of his life.

    Fourthly, the husband is not responsible for his wife’s choice of emotions (or reactions to a particular incident(s)). It does not mean that he doesn’t love her; it’s just that he should never place her and her emotions on the pedestal.

  10. mdavid

    I also think that one of men’s biggest fears is to be abandoned by their wife.

    Never had this experience. Fear? Or is it hope…? :-).

    redpill, I’m still not sure what the overall point is….

    Look at it from an evolutionary POV. Every person was a child once, and monogamy is the most successful method by which to raise children. Hence, 80%+ of people will wish to have close companionship with a member of the opposite sex, and be part of a family. This is merely cold logic. We were born for family, genetically.

    So the point is merely the desire for a good life. Most people have this desire. And it’s a fine life if the couple is traditional and moral. I do agree at least 80% of modern American marriages suck, & the majority of American men would do well to avoid marriage. Being single can be an ok life too if done right.

  11. Mrs C:

    “No one wants to be in a marriage in which they are simply used and treated badly.”

    In this day and age, perceptions about being “treated badly” differ. I’m thinking along the lines of the word a considerable number of women misuse.

    “.. biggest fears is to be abandoned by their wife.”

    If you delve deeper into the… well… Manosphere, abandonment merely is the tippest tip of the gargantuan iceberg.

    “… the underlying fear that women have.”

    Pray tell why the fear? The entire contemporary rules of the land are tipped heavily in the women’s favour. Simply by pressing a button (figuratively speaking), women can destroy their marriages and their husband’s life forever. She gets to keep the house, their kids, and among others, draw down a certain sum from her ex-husband’s income. And if she chose her spouse well and allowed her parents to be part of their courtship, she only has to fall on her faith in Him to quell those fears.

  12. Karen, in case you are still reading, you are free to clarify or expand on your previous comment. As a general rule, I don’t mind those who disagree with me commenting, so long as they are respectful, and civil to other commenters and myself.

    @ The Unreal Woman

    Everyone’s choices are limited when marriage is strongly supported within a community. For that matter, they are limited when marriage isn’t strongly supported. But nobody looks at it from that angle when complaining about the problems of traditional marriage in the past. The question is which set of limits is more oriented towards social good and that question answers itself.

    That was an excellent comment that deserved repetition.

    @ Mrs. C.

    I think one of women’s biggest fears in marriage is that they will be treated in a cold and loveless manner by their husband. It’s this fear that drives comments like karenjo12’s.

    Assuming this is what drives Karen’s thinking, it is a logical and understandable reaction.

    I also think that one of men’s biggest fears is to be abandoned by their wife.

    I’m not sure if that is it, exactly. For men who don’t see anything wrong with divorce and/or remarriage, it isn’t so much abandonment as the theft of children and equity, I would think. For myself and others who view marriage as for life, then that view makes more sense.

    Hopefully I will be able to get to that post in a somewhat timely manner.

    @ RPSMF

    I’m still not sure what your question is about, so I will hold off on replying for now.

    @ choking

    Firstly, there really is no better example than this comment to prove RT’s theory that men love romantically while women love opportunistically.

    I wasn’t with you at first, but I think I am now. Assuming that you are viewing this as projection, at least. Otherwise I don’t follow.

    Oh, and keep in mind that fear is mostly an irrational thing. So don’t expect most women to rationally evaluate the present landscape and conclude that things are tilted their way.

    @ mdavid

    Your sense of humor is, as always, darker than a black hole.

  13. ” Need” doesn’t have to be a material need. It can be “need” in the sense of being unfulfilled without a husband. Many modern women treat having a husband (or boyfriend) as an optional want, rather than a need. I.e., they’ll get married if they “meet the right guy”, but, being strong independent women, they will be content with never marrying. In this case, the value of the husband greatly diminishes, as he is now icing on the cake that is her life, rather than the bread and butter of her life.

  14. @donalgraeme

    Thanks.

    “I wasn’t with you at first, but I think I am now. Assuming that you are viewing this as projection, at least. Otherwise I don’t follow.”

    Your assumption is correct.

    “Oh, and keep in mind that fear is mostly an irrational thing. So don’t expect most women to rationally evaluate the present landscape and conclude that things are tilted their way.

    I wasn’t expecting it, which is why I attempted to lay it down so that it is (hopefully) clearer.

  15. Mrs. C

    @mdavid
    “80%+ of people will wish to have close companionship with a member of the opposite sex, and be part of a family. This is merely cold logic. We were born for family, genetically.”

    Nailed it….Exactly….only I would add spiritually made for family as well.

    @choking
    “In this day and age, perceptions about being “treated badly” differ. I’m thinking along the lines of the word a considerable number of women misuse.”

    Yes, your right. Some women’s idea of being treated badly is nothing more than not getting their own way all the time, which is ridiculous. As I’m using the phrase “treated badly”, It’s a fear of being with someone who is self-absorbed, gruff, not showing much care and affection. I’m not talking about putting her feelings on a pedestal but I am talking about an overall lack of care and concern.

    “Pray tell why the fear? The entire contemporary rules of the land are tipped heavily in the women’s favour.”

    Yes, that will lessen the fear considerably for someone who views marriage as something you stay in only as long as you’re happy. But even so, most people going in, hope it’s going to last and hope to have a deep and abiding companionship and commitment to one another. We all want that, traditional or not. For those who want to go the traditional route and realize they can’t break their vows, once spoken, there is more at stake.

  16. mdavid

    C, I would add spiritually made for family as well.

    You are correct. I only avoid talking about the soul in mixed company because a) there is so much disagreement about it (the particulars, post-Reformation and its very existence, post-Enlightenment), and b) it’s not needed to prove the point…even a low-IQ materialist can comprehend the evolutionary imperative. Since nature/evolution/reason are God’s creation, nothing in them ever contradicts the spiritual.

  17. DJ

    DG thanks for answering my question.

  18. Mrs. C’s summary is exactly what I was thinking. Your writing gives the impression that you don’t enjoy the company of women very much, and you appear to me to think women are completely alien and incapable of sharing any of your interests or having any interests or thoughts that you would want to share. (I could of course be wrong about this.) I think that it would be unbearable to live with someone who didn’t enjoy talking to me.

    I’ve been married since 1987, and while it certainly hasn’t always been a party, the fact that my husband and I like the mostly the same activities smooths over the bad stuff. I have never doubted that he respected my intellect and taste and I have always respected his. You, and the entire manosphere, appear to miss that point. No one marries “men” or “women;” you marry a specific person. You should like her more than you love her, because affection based on shared humor or taste will keep you married better than anything else.

  19. @RPSMF “What would a 20 year old want out of marriage as opposed to someone 40 years contemplating getting married for the first time?”

    What they want is more similar than you might think. At least in my experience.

    @KarenJo12

    If Donal didn’t like women I think he’d be upset that his comment threads tend to be full of them.

    [DG: Oh, don’t worry, I am quite upset. I just don’t show it, and let it stew inside instead. 😉 ]

    Good point about having similar interests, but no one is arguing against that here.

  20. @ Karen

    Mrs. C’s summary is exactly what I was thinking. Your writing gives the impression that you don’t enjoy the company of women very much, and you appear to me to think women are completely alien and incapable of sharing any of your interests or having any interests or thoughts that you would want to share. (I could of course be wrong about this.) I think that it would be unbearable to live with someone who didn’t enjoy talking to me.

    You are not the first woman to make this observation. Others have said much the same thing, including those who agreed with me on a great deal. The phrase “cold-hearted tyrant” has been used on occasion.

    For the record, I don’t hate women. I rather like the presence of feminine women, actually. It is both amusing and reassuring at the same time. However, I will admit to having a very cold, detached writing style. The word “anti-septic” seems not entirely inappropriate. I’ve always had it, probably as a result of my INTJ nature. So I understand why you have gotten that impression. I should probably write a brief post on this tomorrow, if only to have something to reference in the future.

    @ DJ

    You’re welcome. Did I answer it to a satisfactory degree?

  21. @ Donal

    For the record, I don’t hate women. I rather like the presence of feminine women, actually. It is both amusing and reassuring at the same time. However, I will admit to having a very cold, detached writing style. The word “anti-septic” seems not entirely inappropriate. I’ve always had it, probably as a result of my INTJ nature. So I understand why you have gotten that impression. I should probably write a brief post on this tomorrow, if only to have something to reference in the future.

    You’ve already written on it.

    The manosphere is for men, and men tend to talk to each other rather harshly compared to their interaction with women.

    It only so happens on the Internet women stumble across it and then complain about it.

  22. Feather Blade

    The manosphere is for men, and men tend to talk to each other rather harshly compared to their interaction with women.

    Heh. Relevant quote from Chesterton here: http://baylyblog.com/blog/2014/09/nicknames-and-woman

  23. Mrs. C

    @FeatherBlade

    I’m a huge Chesterton fan. Thanks for sharing that. I got a good laugh out of that one!

  24. And so we get another prime example of a woman coming into a man’s space, using her “superior” sensitivities to determine what the author’s “really” all about, and then accuse the author of things that’ve never crossed his mind.

    Karen – I do hope you treat your husband with more respect than you’ve shown Donal, because if you’re the same at home as you’ve been here, you’re husband’s been living in a world of disrespectful hurt for years.

  25. Feminine But Not Feminist

    @ Karen

    Your writing gives the impression that you don’t enjoy the company of women very much, and you appear to me to think women are completely alien and incapable of sharing any of your interests or having any interests or thoughts that you would want to share. (I could of course be wrong about this.) I think that it would be unbearable to live with someone who didn’t enjoy talking to me.

    What the others have said about this being a male space and that men speak more harshly with each other than they do with women applies. This is a blog written by a man, mainly for men, and us women are merely welcome guests. A man once told me that it’s a lot like puppies ~ puppies romp, bite, wrestle, basically fight. They’re not being mean to each other, but rather, it’s how they bond. And I’m sure nobody would think a puppy is evil for doing so. Having said that, I’ve never gotten the impression that Donal is what you think he is, and I’ve been reading his blog/threads faithfully for almost a year now. He always came across as being very serious, but not cold. Or maybe I’m just good at seeing past his supposed coldness to see the warmth beyond it, who knows. Plus, if you read other manosphere-related blogs, you’ll see far harsher talk to/about women than you see here.

  26. Feminine But Not Feminist

    @ Karen

    I should also mention that the reason I started reading this blog is because Donal himself invited me, a woman, over in the thread of another blog. See, he doesn’t dislike the company of women, nor is he uninterested in talking to us.

  27. DJ

    @ DG for the most part yes, but what I meant was less sexual and more an enjoyment of the other persons company. Like you would want to be wanted , enjoyed and appreciated , instead of they need you to survive so they stay. I didn’t mean it to be an either or question. It was more because I got the sense that the general feeling is if they don’t need me they will leave. In my short experience being needed seems to lead to being taken for granted, being wanted rarely so. I think my question may not have been clear enough. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

  28. @KarenJo12

    “You should like her more than you love her, because affection based on shared humor or taste will keep you married better than anything else.”

    Fixing it for you:

    ” You should like her more than you love her, because affection based on shared humor or taste your vows before God will keep you married better than anything else.”

    Read the Bible. Or better, ask your husband to wash you in His Word.

  29. @ DJ

    Ah, I see. So it was just “wanted” in a general sense, and not a sexual one.

    Well, that doesn’t really change the overall thrust of my response. Being wanted is better than feeling needed, at least in terms of enjoyment. However, being wanted is more ephemeral and less certain than being needed. Given this, many men might opt for that certainty over a better overall experience that is less certain.

    In my short experience being needed seems to lead to being taken for granted, being wanted rarely so.

    Well, if all that someone wants is to feel needed, I would not be surprised for that person to take the other for granted. Its a cold, uncaring person who doesn’t feel like being wanted as well.

    Forgive if I have been wrong about this, but I’ve been operating under the impression that you are male. Am I mistaken?

  30. @ Deep Strength

    Thanks. I forgot about that post. Still will do one tomorrow though to answer a few other questions that have come up.

    @ Feather Blade

    Ah, yes, Chesterton. Nobody else quite like him.

    @ ANO

    I didn’t think Karen was all that disrespectful. Certainly compared to what I sometimes get. She did misunderstand me, but I wasn’t picking up malice. At least, nothing overt.

    @ FBNF

    Thanks for the support.

  31. @Donal – you’re being generous. I can agree her comment wasn’t coming from a place of malice, it was coming from somewhere else – but rather than express her concern in a reasonable manner, she pretty well accused you of all the things in her initial “question.”

  32. Got to thinking again on this:

    I think one of women’s biggest fears in marriage is that they will be treated in a cold and loveless manner by their husband. It’s this fear that drives comments like karenjo12’s. No one wants to be in a marriage in which they are simply used and treated badly. This goes for men as well as women.

    I also think that one of men’s biggest fears is to be abandoned by their wife. We all know deep down that either of these scenarios would be a living hell.

    I think that men and women are alike in that both “fear” a loveless marriage. But for women that fear of a loveless marriage is a fear of a lack of emotional intimacy, whereas for men it is a fear of a lack of sexual intimacy. At least in terms of primary, overriding fear.

  33. Mrs. C

    @DG

    I wonder if it doesn’t just boil down to lack of emotional intimacy for both only their primary way of achieving that is different. For men, aside from the physical, don’t they feel the most emotionally connected through sexual intimacy? I think this is why men, no matter how well their wife cares for their home, cooks good meals, and makes thoughtful gestures, he can still feel distant if the sexual intimacy isn’t there.

    For women, they primarily achieve this more through intimate conversation, thoughtful gestures, concern shown for their well-being and sexual intimacy stems from that.

    It seems to me that the emotional intimacy in a relationship is like a circle. She lovingly provides the sexual intimacy he needs. This makes him feel closer to her and he’s more likely to notice and care for her needs. This caring for her feeds her emotional needs and therefore she’s more open to the sexual relationship and around it goes.

  34. Feminine But Not Feminist

    @ Donal

    Thanks for the support.

    You’re welcome 🙂

    I think that men and women are alike in that both “fear” a loveless marriage. But for women that fear of a loveless marriage is a fear of a lack of emotional intimacy, whereas for men it is a fear of a lack of sexual intimacy. At least in terms of primary, overriding fear.

    I think so too. Though for some people, emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy are largely one in the same. Or at least, they overlap so much that they’re basically super-glued together.

    @ SirNemesis

    ” Need” doesn’t have to be a material need. It can be “need” in the sense of being unfulfilled without a husband.

    Yes, absolutely! One can be working to get her material needs met, but still very much need a man of her own for other reasons.

  35. I retract my last comment, in part because it contradicts some of what I have written before, and because I’m less certain of it now. Although I will leave it up for the moment. More refinement is needed there, and that will have to wait. Intimacy is a subject I’ve written on before, see here:
    https://donalgraeme.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/what-is-intimacy/

    However, that was almost a year ago and I should take it up again at some point.

    [Update: That does not mean, of course, that others cannot continue to comment here. Only that my particular line of inquiry is closed.]

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