Why The Sex Diaries are a BOBS

Oh dear, and I didn't want to think about it at all. More and more salacious details of the affairs of former NSW Health Minister John Della Bosca have been revealed in the Daily Telegraph. (No wait, that headline refers to something else. Two affairs! I can barely find energy for one engagement. Anyway, according to blogger Sam de Brito, it was never about the sex; Della Bosca just wanted to be wanted. Maybe he's one of the poor dears whining their penises off in The Sex Diaries.

I'm a few months late here, but I recently read Bettina Arndt's tome of marital woe, in which ordinary Australian couples relate how differing sex drives are damaging their relationships. Or as Ardnt puts it, "different libidos [are] creating a generation of men who were "miserable, angry and really disappointed" that their need for sex was "being totally disregarded in their relationship". Man after man in this book complains that they don't get all the sex they would like.

A need? A NEED?!? Not from the men I know, but there's an underlying assumption from the men in this book that they somehow require or are entitled to sex. No. You need food, water and sleep. You don't NEED sex any more that you need a new DVD player. And if you do, the answer is attached to your wrist.

Arndt doesn't take this into account. Nor does she look at why all these women are rejecting their husbands' advances, or what can be done to fix any related relationship problems. Instead, she blames it all on the "fragile female libido". Solution? In order to meet their husbands' "needs", women should have sex even when they're not in the mood, to make their men happy.

Well this has generated the expected amount of controversy, which Ardnt has dealt with by twisting the debate along ideological lines. With Miranda Devine on her side, Ardnt accuses those who oppose the idea of being "feminists", apparently of the old man-hating, hairy legged variety. There's no justification for women denying sex (according to Devine, women and men do about the same amount of work per week - I'm just an amateur but that seems way off to me). But heed this: "Arndt is not suggesting women have sex against their will, but to heed new research that shows they may still enjoy sex even if they didn't crave it in the first place." Last time I checked, doing something you didn't want to do, for whatever reason, is against your will (that's why you get paid to go to work when you'd rather sleep in). These women are advocating marital rape.

The whining from the men in question has to be read to be believed. I wonder if Belinda Neal - as unpleasant as she apparently is - had to listen to twenty years of such plaints from John. But the real issue here is these women of the right, who come out swinging on the side of some fairly unpleasant men. They must need something to write about; they surely haven't come up with a workable solution everyone can live with.