John Roughan: Lousy lovers let the side down

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Many men would not enjoy sex with a comatose woman who had no interest. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Many men would not enjoy sex with a comatose woman who had no interest. Photo / Herald on Sunday

As one "red blooded male" to another, let's see if I can persuade Andy Haden, Murray Deaker, Garth George, Michael Laws and possibly many others of my gender why it is fairly reprehensible to have sex with a comatose woman.

Even a comatose woman who has been coming on to you all night.

It would be good to leave Robin Brooke out of this, he has suffered enough humiliation and, to his credit, hasn't tried to justify himself. Those who have come to his defence have done him no favours. Their argument has been that (a) it may not have happened as two women describe it - "sometimes the cheque bounces" says Haden, another case of "slapper's remorse" says Laws - or (b) if it did happen the women had only themselves to blame.

"It's an equal society now. Some of these girls are targeting rugby players and targeting sportsmen and they do so at their peril," said Haden to Deaker who thinks the press have made too much of that comment.

Look, fellas, we have no way of comprehending the "groupie" thing - it appears to be a purely female phenomenon, you don't hear of young men setting their sights on a woman for no other reason than her fame.

But I am fairly confident of one thing: whatever motivates these girls they probably expect the experience to be mutually enjoyable.

Women are like that. They probably cannot imagine that anybody would enjoy sex unless it was for mutual pleasure. There appears to be not much call for male prostitutes, you don't hear of female rapists.

I'm sure many men could not enjoy it either. Contrary to the early feminist accusation, we are not all potential rapists. This is not a moral assertion, it is a physical fact.

The engine dies if the woman loses interest, let alone falls asleep.

Obviously not all are wired that way. Haden and Laws, for example, appear to have no difficulty imagining that a man would take advantage of a woman who had gone willingly to bed with him and became insensate.

They call him red-blooded, I call him a lousy lover.

Nobody has called him a criminal. Haden, Laws and their like damn the media for embarrassing a man who has not been accused of a crime. They think it grossly unfair that the woman - a "slapper" in the language of Laws' selective liberalism - can take her story to the press and be given anonymity while the man's name is dragged through the mud.

The criminal law is not the benchmark of all behaviour. A courtroom is a particularly poor forum for useful discussion of sexual standards, as the trial of Clint Rickards and his cohorts was the last to prove.

Lousy, selfish, sexually incompetent clods do not deserve to be convicted of a crime unless they have used force of one sort or another, but it is right for women to expose subcriminal abuse and the harm it can do. As a male, I struggle to imagine what it is like to be sexually mistreated. To wake up and find your body being used for animal gratification by someone of the opposite sex - how bad could it be?

Well, with an effort I can imagine how bad. You have been invaded in the most personal way possible. Your rights have counted for nothing, you have been considered unworthy of ordinary human respect. And the worst of it is, you feel guilty.

Because you came here and went willingly to bed with the brute, he has made you feel partly to blame for what has been done to you. Sexual mistreatment has a cruel, unique capacity to shame the innocent.

That is the reason sex crimes are the only ones that automatically suppress the identity of victims in court. For the same reason, no decent newspaper would name a woman who complains of sexual abuse that may not be criminal but carries the same unfair stigma for her.

Vexatious complaints happen no doubt, and courts have to allow for the possibility. But when someone is prepared to tell the story of her humiliation to a newspaper it is almost certain to be true.

It is 40 years since a liberated women's magazine Cosmopolitan spread the news women were equipped to enjoy sex and had a right to equal satisfaction in bed as well as everywhere else. For some of us barely out of adolescence this news was timely and extremely challenging. By now I would have thought it had penetrated the hardest of rugby heads.

Brooke let the side down badly. It is embarrassing any of us are still sexual neanderthals and disturbing any would defend what he did.

It's a wonder sometimes that women can bear us.

- NZ Herald

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