Rules for Perpetuating Gender-Based Sexual Essay

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Instead of liberating women from the unjustified and prejudicial sexual double standard, the suggestions offered in connection with securing marriage proposals actually do the exact opposite by encouraging women to play into preconceived stereotypes and attitudes that ensure their continued social and sexual inequality.

Conversely, according to contemporary psychologists with formal training in human relations and psychosexual development, redressing the social and sexual inequality still faced by women in modern society requires a diametrically opposite approach to understanding the fundamental basis of moral judgment. Specifically, it requires recognizing the illusory, illogical, and unfair assumptions that are responsible for generating completely different sets of rules and behavioral expectations based on gender

(Branden, 1999; 91, 98, 111). Instead of encouraging women to continue conforming their behavior to traditional expectations imposed by invalid presumptions of "acceptable" female social and sexual conduct, the more sound advice would be to critically evaluate the worth of prospective male mates who still subscribe to them.

Nowhere in the philosophy espoused by Fein & Schneider throughout their work is any indication that believing in antiquated sexual stereotypes and nonsensical values on the part of males lessens their desirability as prospective partners for long-term commitment. In fact, their advice is flawed on several different levels. First, even if

delaying the onset of sexual relations within relationships does succeed in prolonging the "honeymoon" phase of the relationship (Fein & Schneider, 72-73) and even increase the determination of the man to establish an exclusive relationship leading to marriage, the ultimate result is counterproductive. That is because the reciprocal aspect of the honeymoon period neglected from their analysis is that the truest measure of a man's genuine feelings about a woman very often only begin to become evident after consummation (Branden, 1999; 132-133). Therefore, if anything, the goal of the woman to be to discover a man's genuine level of interest by allowing sexual relations to develop naturally.

Second, the authors never suggest that perhaps a man's subscribing to the profoundly unfair traditional sexual inequality in sexual mores is a character flaw that should factor into his worthiness as a potential marital partner. Certainly, most men do maintain conflicted moral values that cause them to doubt the moral character of women who express themselves sexually as freely as men are encouraged to in society.

However, there are undoubtedly also men of much higher moral character and intellectual integrity (Branden, 1999; 47, 133) who would respect a woman for rejecting unfounded sexual mores. The much more sound advice to women would be to limit their choice of prospective male suitors to those not encumbered by rigid, unexamined adherence to illogical and unfair social mores.

In principle, no man who accepts the ridiculous premise that a person's gender ought to determine the moral character of their behavior should be considered a viable prospect for a meaningful relationship by any woman who does not happen to share that same point-of-view. However, the mere fact that Fein & Schneider must preach that women resist some of their own urges is ample evidence that their advice is intended for women who actually reject the validity of the gender-based sexual double standard.

In effect, their advice is that women abandon their independent view of the underlying moral issues and that they seek to secure marriage proposals from prospective partners who do not share their fundamental beliefs and "world view." Unfortunately,

this is the antithesis of the suggestions from trained psychologists according to whom a shared world view and a similar perspective of fundamental moral issues and beliefs is one of the most crucial determinants of long-term compatibility after the honeymoon period of relationships end (Branden 1999, 197-201). Therefore, if the goal is to secure a marriage proposal from the highest quality individual who is most compatible at the deepest level of meaningful values and thought, perhaps the single best rule of all is simply to avoid any of the suggestions offered in the Rules.


Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of Love. New York: Vintage (1995).

Baker, Robert, and Elliston, Frederick. Philosophy & Sex. Buffalo: Prometheus (1998).

Branden, Nathaniel. The Psychology of Romantic Love. New York: Bantam (1999).

Fein, Ellen, and Schneider, Sherrie. All the Rules: Time Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right. New York: Grand Central Publishing (2007).

Margulis, Lynn, and Sagan, Dorion. Mystery Dance: On the Evolution of Human

Sexuality. New York: Summit (1999).

Zuk, Marlene Sexual Selection: What We…[continue]


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