What’s Wrong With Sexual Quid Pro Quo?

Clearly we don’t agree on sex or who’s mopping up afterwards.

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Courtesy of Dreamstime

If a mop makes you horny, then you’re married to the wrong guy.” Thomas Seager’s “sexy lady”

“Grown men perform chores without expecting favors,” Thomas Seager wrote in my comment section, adding a PhD, which puts him in better standing than me. I can’t even find my degree — or my divorce papers. It hardly matters.

That’s the great thing about social media. You don’t need credentials. You ask a question, be funny about it, and either people agree with you, or they want to stick your head in a watermelon.

I’d written a post called “What Makes Women Horny?” The question mark is a big giveaway. I don’t know what makes women horny. I’ve never known. Throughout my marriage, I was as helpful as a guy can be. I cleaned, my wife broke things. I got a lot of sex for picking up broken stuff. I guess it was sexual quid pro quo. Then again, I’m a clean freak.

I’ve always loved unconditionally. I got that from my dog.

Does that make me a grown man, though? Or, subconsciously, was I expecting sexual quid pro quo like an adolescent expects a cookie? Another reader, Donna Pinkston, pointed out that “the feeling of being truly loved unconditionally by her man will, in turn, make her horny.”

I wish I could say that clears things up. I’ve always loved unconditionally. I got that from my dog. Not that it impressed the women in my life, since I tend to slobber a lot. Unconditional love can get pretty, well, doggish.

Growing up, my dog never asked for treats. If I gave her one, she was truly happy. But she would have rolled over for nothing. Once she got a treat, she started rolling all over the place. My parents thought she was epileptic.

Have women planted the idea of sexual quid pro quo in their men’s minds? And is it the man’s fault if he cleans the kitchen expecting sex afterwards?

Which brings up an interesting question: Is sexual quid pro quo a created thing? Do women consciously or subconsciously use sex to get chores done?

If they do, this is called conditioning, something scientists do with lab rats.They’ll go through some pretty complicated mazes for food. Most men will go through pretty complicated mazes for sex, too. Usually it’s stuff they didn’t pick up in the first place. How they still get sex is anybody’s guess.

Let’s think about this in more detail: Have women planted the idea of sexual quid pro quo in their men’s minds? And is it the man’s fault if he cleans the kitchen expecting sex afterwards? What about the guy who says he gets sex without doing anything? Is he inconsiderate, or just a bad lab rat?

Another reader, Van G, felt that keeping score with chores or sex creates a bigger problem. “If I’m calculating what I gain, then it’s no longer organic for me. Just to see her smile is what I hope to gain.” I know he got a treat for that. Don’t tell me he didn’t get a treat for that.

From the overall comments I got, I was able to detect a certain train of logic from both sexes. Women reject the notion that they’re using sex as a ploy. To them, her man’s attempts at cleaning shows caring and consideration. Some women tingle, some go for the joy stick. It’s a romantic notion.

Dogs never feel manipulated — except when you claim you’ve got a treat and you don’t. Then they’re just plain morose.

Men, on the other hand, broke into two groups, those claiming they’re just being considerate, and those who won’t be manipulated. Here’s the difference between men and dogs. Dogs never feel manipulated — except when you claim you’ve got a treat and you don’t. Then they’re just plain morose. You don’t promise something to a dog and not deliver.

The romantic notion of sexual quid pro quo is obviously quite different from the manipulative one. For many women, it’s just a love exchange based on gratitude — and possibly a huge credit card bill. A man who helps around the house is a good man, and no woman wants to think she doesn’t have a good man. That’s why we have cleaning ladies.

This brings me back to Thomas Seager’s girlfriend who had some curt words for women who get turned on by men doing housework. “If a mop makes you horny, then you’re married to the wrong guy,” she said, reading my article over Thomas’s shoulder. She must have jabbed him a few times, because he piped up with: “LADIES, YOU KNOW WHAT’S SEXIER THAN A HUSBOY DOING CHORES? A MAN TO WHOM YOU’RE ALREADY ATTRACTED.”

Wow, now we’re calling these guys husboys. I’d never heard the term before. I even looked it up and, yes, the urban dictionary describes them as a “male spouse who’s into childish activities; semi-submissive.” That doesn’t sound like me at all. I’m not semi-submissive. Like I said, I’m a clean freak.

Men who have to “make a deal” tend to think in terms of the deal.

“The idea that men performing chores is sexy to women is dangerous garbage,” Thomas went on, no doubt watching his girlfriend head for the bedroom. As he explained, men who have to “make a deal” tend to think in terms of the deal.

If I understand him correctly, true horniness has to come from a deeper, more organic place. Mops are for cleaning, not getting women off (although it’s possible, but you should leave it to professionals — like janitors).

This left some women dumbstruck. Who the hell’s suggesting mops make women horny? Well, that brings in Elle Beau, who started all this a few weeks ago, telling me: “You’d be surprised how horny it makes most women to find that the kitchen has been cleaned up without asking.”

“I wasn’t saying the actual cleaning is sexy,” she explained when I quoted her. “It means I have more energy and bandwidth for playtime, and it means I feel cared about and like we are working together as a team.”

Well, fruit, ain’t waffles, unless fruit is — okay, I get it.

So it’s really about bandwidth. With cleaning out of the way, schedules are clear, the night is young. “When a woman is taken care of by this authentic, caring husband of hers,” Donna Pinkston agreed, “this will, in turn, produce much fruit.” Well, fruit ain’t waffles, unless fruit is — okay, I get it.

Does this mean “caring, authentic husbands” get more nooky than men like David Van Meerten, who still contends he gets “dome and waffles without lifting a finger”? David attempted to clarify, saying he’s busy doing manly things, like changing his wife’s oil. I can only hope he means her car. If his girlfriend is a robot, I can see why he doesn’t lift a finger. That’s what robots are for — and cleaning ladies. Maybe the cleaning lady’s a robot.

I don’t know what to think at this point. On one hand, it appears consideration is key. On the other, David’s the only one getting waffles. Are authentic, caring husbands getting waffles? Is a mop just a mop?

“Oh, look, another man talking about what women like or dislike…so many mistakes.”

Or is Joyce Arruda correct responding to my post with: “Oh, look, another man talking about what women like or dislike…so many mistakes.” I’ve asked her for clarification, but she’s being strangely aloof. Without her, I’m left with this nagging thought: Should I be a waffle-eater, a husboy, or stick to satire?

I think I should stick to satire. The rest confuses the hell out of me. I think of my dog, rolling around on the carpet, looking forward to a treat. She had it all figured out. Dogs know quid pro quo. I wonder if men and women do?

I need to talk to the dog again.

I have nothing against marriage. I wonder what marriage has against me.

Robert Cormack is a novelist, journalist and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores (coming out in paperback soon).

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I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

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