I know the "angel" well in my own life. She shows up when I least expect it and generally makes me second guess myself and feel guilty. If I was appropriately assertive, I worried that I had been selfish and overbearing. If I said no, I agonized over whether I should have said yes. The "angel" is like a specter that won't die no matter how many times you try to kill the wimpy bitch. Think Friday the 13th with wings here. Literary icon Virginia Woolf knew this all to well when she wrote of her own battles with the angel in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays:
She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was draught, she sat in it -- in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others...In the sexual arena, she takes an especially weird form nowadays. She's the part of you that agrees to do what you r-e-a-l-l-y don't want to in bed. She may wear platform shoes, garter belts, and look the part of the whore, but really she's a Madonna in disguise. She's still a good girl because she's doing it all for someone else's benefit. Usually a man's.
The angel is above all a good sport.
She will suck dick with the best of them, facials -- no problem. She's always up for sex -- even though she really isn't all that into it. Her orgasm? Oh, that's not that important. It's the journey not the destination right? She starves and stuffs herself into skintight minis and hobbles around in six inch platforms to prove she's sexy -- but she doesn't know where her clit or her orgasm is.
One of the biggest problems about our current notion of female sexuality is that, too much of the time, it's all a charade. It's about giving the illusion of sexiness instead of owning your sexuality. Most of the research I have looked at over the last few years has confirmed what most of us know. Women agree to sex we don't want and perform sexual acts that leave us cold so we don't piss off our partners and look uncool. We want more than anything to look "normal". Whatever the hell that means.
I recently came across a thread on a sex advice forum that epitomizes that dilemma The woman was 41- years-old and had just started dating a man that she liked. She found it easier and more pleasurable to orgasm with a vibrator, but she had brought this up with her new love, and he didn't "want to be a third party". So, she wanted to know how to orgasm without her toy, even though this was difficult for her.
Let's pretend for a moment that this is a guy talking about Viagra. Somehow, I can't imagine a man who needed Viagra to get an erection would be asking how he could get along without it. And most women wouldn't ask or expect him to. There wouldn't be any question.
So, you are probably thinking to yourself: "vibrators aren't the same as Viagra". Point taken. But the simple fact is that some women are unable to orgasm without them at all and that is why they were initially invented, as a "labor saving device", according to historian Rachel Maines, the author of The Technology of Orgasm. Women are far more variable than men in their sexual response patterns. While indirect clitoral stimulation does it for some women, a jackhammer of a vibe, on full blast, is the only thing that gets others off.
Orgasm is an uncontrollable response that is largely the product of the autonomic nervous system. Most of us don't have a say in what level of stimulation is needed to make those nerves fire. What works, works. And simply put, it is far easier for a guy to change his idiotic notion of "third parties" than it is for our 41-year-old poster to change what may be a biologically based sexual response pattern. But, odds on, she's going to cave. So, her sex life will suffer, until she realizes that her partner is either ignorant or a selfish dickhead. By then, she may have wasted years.
And then there is the issue of doing what you hate -- a surprisingly common element of sex for many women. According to Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, the authors of Premarital Sex in America, women often engage in sex acts that they don't like, often at the urging of porn-loving boyfriends. Regnerus and Uecker found that anal sex was disliked by all but a minority of women, and yet over 45% of females who reported disliking the act “somewhat” expected that they would do it again at some point in time. Furthermore, about 10% who really hated it said they would take it up the ol' bunghole again.
My advice to these women would be rather than resentfully perform an act you loathe follow the wisdom of Virginia Wolf and take a chainsaw to that angel from hell:
I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self-defence. Had I not killed her she would have killed me.
She would have indeed. But the evil wuss doesn't die easily. As Wolf noted:
For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must--to put it bluntly--tell lies if they are to succeed. Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the inkpot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. She was always creeping back when I thought I had despatched her.
Most women have to contend with years of gender conditioning, less social power, and an economic reality that we continue to make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. Naturally, under these conditions it's harder to tell the truth and easier to lie. It is far easier to take it up the old poop chute and stumble around in high heels than tell a truth that may end a relationship that you value. Particularly, when that loss affects your economic and social well-being.
The truth is, as long as emotional dependency, economic inequality, and romantic love are wrapped up in a tight little box, we won't be walking anywhere angels fear to tread.