I was recently dismayed by a piece of advice given from one businesswoman to another. At marieforleo.com, an entrepreneur sought advice on how to get mental and emotional support from her husband as she worked to grow her new business. In short, she was told the solution was to verbally appreciate her husband more, to "tell him he's your hero", and to orally appreciate her husband more... if you know what I mean.
As a woman, you know that there are certain things you can do to blow (her emphasis, not mine) his mind. You have to make it your job (raised eyebrow) to blow his mind. And if you haven't been blowing his mind that much lately I can pretty much guarantee that the lack of mind blowing (nudge, nudge) is definitely a factor contributing to your husband not being 100 per cent supportive of your business. So do something about it.
- Marie Forleo, Marieforleo.com
She goes on to play a clip from Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing. Lest you think I've misinterpreted the video, I suggest you watch it yourself, particularly the part at the 3:15 mark. The message couldn't be more obvious.
The advice is delivered in cute and quirky way, but it's impossible to miss the message. We're supposed to patronize our men, tell them they're our heroes, and then follow up with sexual favours? Ouch.
A colleague of mine who is a wife and mother received this same advice when launching her own business. Between her business life and her family life, she was juggling a lot of balls (ahem!) and trying to figure out how to keep them all in the air. To her horror, a female acquaintance advised her that a well-timed blowjob four times a week would ensure cooperation.
Ladies, we have got to stop dispensing this type of advice to each other. Sex as currency is not the way to go.
Marie Forleo, profiled by Forbes and hailed by Oprah Winfrey as "one of the up-and-coming thought leaders from the next generation," is a major force of nature in the business world. Her wide reach paired with the fact that I admire her personally (most of the time) is what has me so disheartened with her advice. To my surprise, I appear to be in the minority.
Only a handful of Forleo's followers expressed disagreement with this approach. Many commented on how funny it was (true, the gal has charisma), or outright endorsed it with comments like "Make them feel like they come to the rescue in your life and regularly give their willy some attention, and you have a happy man!" and "Sex and food can fix anything!" Ugh. Is this really where we stand in our relationships in 2013?
Don't get me wrong. I'm no prude. For goodness sake, have fun in the bedroom! Sexual chemistry is incredibly important in a relationship (trust me, I've been in a relationship without it), but there's a world of difference between a mutually satisfying sex life and using sex acts as power play. Have sex because you want to, not as an effort to manipulate your partner. Sure, sex with an agenda might get you what you want in the short term, but it's not a part of a healthy relationship.
It's the sex-as-currency thing that bothers me. This goes for both men and women, by the way. But let's face it; the "use sex as power" advice is typically dispensed to women, much in the same way that "use money as power" advice is typically dispensed to men. Both ways of thinking are outright manipulative.
My man is incredibly supportive of my business. We also have a flourishing relationship on all levels (I will leave it at that, lest my poor mother and father read this and have a heart attack), without manipulation playing into it. Manipulating your partner with sex or anything else actually gets in the way of real intimacy.
To her credit, Forleo's third piece of advice is to "get and stay on the same page" by articulating your business vision, seeking feedback, and responding to it. I would dispense that advice myself. Yet something may have been missed here.
The entrepreneur in question stated that she works full time, goes to school online, teaches fitness classes, and has two children. My own response might have raised the issue of the division of domestic labour. Many women continue to bear a disproportionate majority of household and child-raising responsibilities compared to their men. It's entirely possible that this was a non-issue for this particular individual, but it's something that most of women I know struggle with.
Ladies, let's be careful with the advice we dispense to each other. Advising hero worship and sex with an agenda sends a very different message than telling women that appreciation and sexual intimacy are important, which they absolutely are. Let's keep women in the 21st century, on an even keel with our men rather than on our knees.
Published at Aspire.