“Stomach full, penis empty.”
This, apparently, is the golden rule for a happy marriage. According to Niecy Nash anyway; an actress in the US who has written a book on relationships called ‘It’s Hard To Fight Naked’.
In other words, keep your husband’s stomach full, and his penis regularly serviced and you’ll live happily every after, ladies.
Both parts of this equation would indicate that Nash’s entire philosophy for a happy marriage is based around the woman keeping the man happy. Because obviously, all men are that simple and all women are that insignificant. Men’s needs consist of blow jobs and food, and women’s needs consists of… Lol jokes – women don’t have needs; they’re just lucky to have a man.
But the saddest part of the above philosophy (despite the confusion around the penis being emptied and not the balls), is that I wasn’t even surprised when I read it. Because when it comes to marriage, and long-term relationship advice in general, it’s often just accepted that the pressure to keep things going is naturally placed on the woman. It often feels like, that just by turning up and agreeing to be monogamous, the man should be considered a ‘gem’; a ‘keeper’ whom the lucky woman must do everything in her power to hold on to.
Thus we end up with ‘Stomach full, penis empty.’
That phrase embodies everything I hate about modern relationship advice.
First of all, without a ‘Stomach full, clit satisfied’ alternative (amazing t-shirt/bumper sticker idea btw), it’s a one-sided and sad message to send women.
But it’s also so offensive in the way it reduces men and women into two broad, simple groups. Not all men want to be “fed and drained” as Nash so eloquently put it to Playboy. And not all women want to be feeding and draining (I can’t imagine I would enjoy a relationship that required daily cooking and catching sperm in my mouth).
Some couples may absolutely be into that arrangement, which is fine. But that’s also the point: Relationship advice based on one set of specific rules is always doomed to fail, because everyone is different and everyone expects and needs different things.
Life lessons found in books like ‘The Rules’ and ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ and ‘If You’re Desperate Enough To Buy This Book Then Nobody’s Ever Going To Love You’ all assume that women are desperate to hold onto a man and that men are finite resources who women need extensive training in how to wrangle.
I’m in love with the man I’ll probably marry (if he’ll have me – please see any of my posts on farting), and I’m bombarded daily with messages from society about how I can keep him. Cook this meal. Do this crazy sex thing. Don’t pressure him with phone calls. Don’t be too open about how you feel. Make sure he’s satisfied in bed but don’t let things get boring. Don’t ever let him know that you poo. Don’t talk about marriage (too late, my bad).
Now, when I originally sat down to write this piece, I was exhausted with all the ‘How to keep your man happy’ relationship advice, and I basically just wanted to say something along the lines of: FUCK THAT. LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE SEX THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP THE LADIES HAPPY etc etc etc.
But then I realised that would be just as one-sided and ultimately as unhelpful, as this ‘Stomach Full, Penis Empty’ business. Relationships need to work both ways – there’s not one simple trick or rule that’s going to keep you together. Why does it have to be ‘a BJ a day keeps the divorce attorney away’, or ‘happy wife, happy life’? Why can’t it just be ‘love and respect each other’s needs equally’?
I expect my partner to text me when he’s coming home late, and he expects me to rub his belly on the couch when he’s sleepy. That may make many of you want to vom, but it works for us – and I would never assume that it would work for anyone else. That’s why I’m not releasing a book called “Rubbing His Belly On The Couch: The Secret To A Perfect Marriage.”
Everyone is individual, and everyone needs to decide what they do and don’t expect from a partner. Everyone needs to decide how they would like to be treated. Everyone needs to decide what they want their relationship to look like and what kind of connection they want with their partner.
Dating books are bullshit. Rules about marriage are bullshit. Men aren’t that simple and women aren’t that desperate. Just do what feels right for you, and don’t ever compromise on how you expect to be treated.
Everyone needs to find someone whose expectations match with their own.
That’s it. (I think I just solved love.)
For more profound advice from a young woman who clearly knows everything, like Rosie Waterland on Facebook right here. (Also – she posts lots of fart memes.)
If you haven’t already (who are you?), check out Rosie Recaps: The Bachelor-