Thursday, October 4, 2012

For Allen West, Non-Negotiable Sex Acts are Acceptable in Marriage


'Allen West' photo (c) 2011, Gage Skidmore - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/


Gossip Extra claims to have gotten their hands on a private letter that Allen West sent to his wife during his tour as an Army lieutenant colonel in Iraq in 2003. 
He humbly tells her that, although he doesn’t compare physically to the male models of the movie Soul Food, he will always do his best to always be “a clean cut, healthy and affectionate man!”

At other times, the Christian conservative tea party candidate – who’s running for a district that stretches along the coast from Palm Beach Gardens to Fort Pierce – gets a little more, shall we say, daring!

The congressman proceeds tells his wife he expects certain intimate acts upon his return that will be “the standard and it is non-negotiable.”

He tells her: “From now on, you will wear two-piece swim suits when on vacations.”

Then: “Angela, I need to know, are you committed to being my porn star?

“I do not want to hear ‘no’ or ‘we’ll see about that.’ I want my fantasies to be with you. God has authorized you and you only as my partner for intimacy and that is what I want.”

And he signs off: “Get ready!” [source]
First, let me say that even publication of part of this letter is a violation of privacy.  I don't know how Gossip Extra got their hands on the letter, or even if the letter is authentic but clearly, West did not mean for this communication to become public.

It's sweet that he promises his wife to stay in shape and clean cut for her, but the idea that marriage to him means continual consent to his sexual desires is beyond problematic, because it implies that Mrs.West does will not have the right to say no to his demands.  It is further a problem that he believes that he has the right to dictate her dress.


His demands suggest that he views his wife not as a partner but property which can be used for his gratification.  This is not the basis for an equal relationship and in fact sets the background for marital rape.  There was a time when marital rape was not even considered a crime because a wife was deemed her husbands property and this letter heavily implies that this is something West continues to believe. There should never be a time in a woman's life where she rescinds the right to say no, or ownership of her body.

Sex is something that should be an ongoing negotiation between partners.  Just because one person consents to a particular act one day, does not mean that they are comfortable doing it the next.  Good sex is about getting to know your partner, trusting your partner and sharing.  It is most certainly not about ordering them to do an act which they may be uncomfortable with for your sexual gratification.

I cannot help but to wonder how West would have felt, being on the receiving end of such a letter from his wife  For men like West, sex is a woman's obligation in a marriage.  I think that this attitude highlights one of the largest problems with the traditional patriarchal family. Republicans like West have long decried the downturn of the so-called traditional family but attitudes like this are exactly why straight women are looking for alternative ways to couple and raise their children. It does not benefit a woman to enter into a relationship where her personhood is denied.

The West's are still married and so clearly his wife has no problem with this arrangement and I respect her right to choose, but just because a woman agrees to an oppressive relationship doesn't mean that it's positive.  West has tried to set himself up as a role model and if this is the kind of relationship he intend to model as positive for women it' fair to say that he intends to lead us backward not forward.