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Fox News’s “Sexpert” – Not My Kind of Advice

May 13, 2008

Today is the first time I’ve checked out the FOXSexpert column, so every other piece Yvonne Fulbright has ever written may be utter brilliance. However, I was less than enthused about some of the messaging in her current piece, “10 Sex Mistakes Women Make.”

The advice isn’t all bad (in my not-so-humble opinion), but I have trouble reconciling women being advised to “Strive to stay trim and look your best, and apparently effortlessly at that” while being told in another bullet point, “Big or small, short or tall, what men find a turn-on more than anything is how a woman carries herself — her confidence. If you’re not owning your body, if you’re not embracing your figure and sexual nature, you fail to flaunt one of your biggest assets — you.”

So, embrace your body, but continue to strive to look “better.” Also, you should keep your efforts hidden, because nobody likes to find out about all the artifice and privilege that goes into being conventionally pretty.

She also mentions that you should never talk about “about shaving, your period, your last bowel movement, etc.” while calling these things nothing “to be ashamed of.” So, uh, how many things do you keep completely hidden, even from your own partner, that you’re not ashamed of in some way? Everybody poops. No, you don’t have to talk about it all the time, but I prefer to simply not be with someone who thinks that my bodily functions are nonexistent or disgusting. I am mammal, watch me grow hair.

Fulbright further suggests that women be accepting of pornography, advising that “instead of seeing his Playboy or Penthouse as a threat, see it as an enhancement — possibly even one you can share.” That may work for some women, but Fulbright’s advice is essentially to ignore things your partner does that make you uncomfortable – without even touching the notion that many women may find such images offensive, objectifying or degrading. I find this somewhat contrary to advice in other sections on not being afraid to communicate your needs, and the advise to avoid making your partner uncomfortable with anything you do (like acknowledging that you may one day have a menstrual cycle or a bowel movement).

Finally, one section of the piece cautions against become too much of a “mommy,” reminding the mothers in the audience to “see yourself as a hot mama, switching on your Marilyn Monroe persona the second you get your lover alone.” Of course, maybe you never had a “Marilyn Monroe persona,” even before motherhood. Maybe you’re not into cultivating entirely separate personas for yourself, preferring to be your real self all of the time. Or, maybe you’re too damn tired to put on an act “the second you get your lover alone.” And yet, another bit of advice in the piece reminds you not to “use sex manipulatively.” Ahem.

With contradictory advice like this, is it any wonder many women have trouble resolving the conflicting messages about sex in our society?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2008 10:36 am

    Oy. That is truly atrocious. The whole thing sounds like it comes right out of the 1950’s…I’m not sure when society will notice that women are people, just like everybody else, and don’t all have to fit some sort of mold. Good deconstruction of this article.

  2. May 13, 2008 10:53 am

    I definitely don’t want to meet the men she’s coaching us not to lose. Apparently this is a man:
    -with a conventional, unchanging aesthetic of beauty
    -and equally conventional tastes in sex play (dirty talk = spanking? Yawn.)
    -that apparently isn’t getting a response out of me “in the sack”
    -but expects me to work to keep him sexually interested
    -and not show that I am working.
    -or pooping. But whatever.

    Who is this dude? Not the guy I’m seeing…

    I’m especially skeezed by the pornography comment, too. I’m actually pro-pornography and have written as much on several occasions, but it is wrong to suggest that porn is unproblematic, normal dude fun. Correction: porn can be appealing to men and women; some porn is not appealing to women because it is degrading; and yeah, we’re going to have a conversation about that porn so we know why I find it problematic. And so you don’t pull any bad porn tricks on me on the assumption that they’re good sex strategies.

  3. naomidagenbloom permalink
    May 13, 2008 12:43 pm

    okay, i looked at it. when will she get to that retro-advice of a naked woman wrapped in saran wrap as she greets her man at the door? think that was in a popular anti-feminist book from the 1970s.

    with the awful phyllis schafly receiving an honorary doctorate at washington university this week and the fake funeral this weekend by the anti-choice zealots in tennessee, the view ahead for feminism is not promising.

    by the way, reading blogs has been an eye-opener about tennessee, a southern state i’d not had much sense of previously. i guess that’s a good thing–being more aware of the source of the opposition.

  4. May 13, 2008 3:58 pm

    What if my husband is really into poop porn?

    That article gets a great big “gimme a break” from me.

  5. May 13, 2008 4:45 pm

    Jen, then I guess you’re SoL.😉

  6. May 13, 2008 7:36 pm

    Typical crazy making. Women get criticized no matter what they do….

  7. May 14, 2008 9:23 am

    Naomi, as one born and raised in Tennessee, there is definitely plenty work to be done here – and there are definitely some awesome people trying to do that work. We’re not as monolithic as people would believe, thankfully.

  8. May 14, 2008 1:40 pm

    I like to think that there aren’t nearly as many men who would be charmed by a woman following all this advice as there used to be.

  9. May 14, 2008 1:46 pm

    nm, I certainly hope that’s the case.

  10. Deirdre permalink
    January 19, 2009 8:22 pm

    This article is spot on and the reason why Fulbright is getting such harsh reactions is because the truth hurts. She’s just being real and honest. And let’s not forget that women who are “big” can still be trim, as we see in work out videos like “The Biggest Loser.” Get a life instead of trashing the experts. It only makes you look foolish.

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