Created By: callsignecho on February 26, 2010
Troped

All Women Are Prudes

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Trope
Hijacked! Formerly "Women don't have a sex drive"

24 Hour Launch Notice
Lie back and think of it.

You know what really grinds my gears? This Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan with all those little outfits, jumping around there on stage, half-naked with your little outfits. Ya know? You're a... You're out there jumping around and I'm just sitting here with my beer. So, what am I supposed to do? What you want? You know, are we gonna go out? Is that what you're trying to - why why are you leaping around there, throwing those things all up in my, over there in my face? What do you want, Lindsay? Tell me what you want? Well, I'll tell you what you want, you want nothing. You want nothing. All right? Because we all know that no woman anywhere wants to have sex with anyone, and to titillate us with any thoughts otherwise is - is just bogus.

Peter Griffin, Family Guy


In fiction land, sex is something women just give to men to shut them up for a while. Women don't enjoy sex, they don't desire it. If a woman is shown to enjoy sex, it means she's an, ahem, easy pick. It's sometimes implied that a desireable woman shouldn't want sex (see My Girl Is Not a Slut).

The corollary to this trope is that men are not prudes: see I'm a Man, I Can't Help It, A Man Is Not a Virgin, Chivalrous Pervert, and the er...Staff Counterpart--All Men Are Perverts.

However, men as a group do have a modicum of logic, because for every occurance of this trope there exists the parody or subversion of it somewhere else (even in the same story).

Aversions are very common as well; just check out My Girl Is a Slut, Good Bad Girl, Naughty Nuns, Night Nurse. Also the fact that the original Lysistrata Gambit was such an Epic Fail tells us this trope is Newer Than They Think.

Examples:

Film
  • The subject of a hilarious joke in the movie Annie Hall, where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are both shown talking to their therapists. Woody complains that they almost never have sex: "Only three or four times a week." Annie complains that they constantly have sex, "Three or four times a week."
  • Sets off the plot of the film Extract, though the marriage depicted there has more problems than incompatible sex drives.
  • Played with in, of all things, MST3K Z-list fodder Hobgoblins with the hero's girlfriend, seemingly a living example of this trope until the wish-granting beasties of the title reveal that his girl is an aspiring slut..

Live Action Tv
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Xander says that everything makes 15-year-old boys think of sex when asked by his then-girlfriend. Interestingly, Buffy subverted this trope with vigor.
  • Used as the plot of an episode of Rules of Engagement, in which the male leads all bet on which of them -- the married man, the guy with a live-in girlfriend, and the single guy -- can score within 24 hours. Both the married guy and the single guy run into this trope.
  • This was a big part of what broke up J.D. and one of his girlfriends in a season of Scrubs; he wanted sex, she wanted to wait seemingly indefinitely.
    • Also, Dr. Kelso uses everyone's belief in this trope as part of a ruse involving the one night of the year his wife lets him seep with her. His wife has nothing to do with it.
  • Used in an episode of Two and a Half Men, "Kinda Like Necrophilia," with a gorgeous woman who is...less than enthusiastic in bed. Also less than animate.
  • Frequently used on the American version of Men Behaving Badly to drive various plotlines.
  • Kind of lampshaded in Frasier's famous line, "How can men possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want!" ...Apparently implying that it isn't what women want.
  • Inverted in Chester 5000 XYV. Priscilla certainly has a sex drive, and her husband builds her a robot because he can't keep up with her.
  • Averted in the BBC show Chef! where Janice is very interested in sex and the fact that Gareth is usually too tired is a sore point in their marriage.
Community Feedback Replies: 67
  • August 4, 2009
    Ajardoor
    One of many Double Standards. One wonders why we have so many standards when they all seem to be so stupid.
  • August 4, 2009
    adam_grif
    On The Big Bang Theory, Leslie Winkle hooks up with Leonard. When he asks when they would be doing it again, she mentions that she probably won't be needing anything until new years.
  • August 4, 2009
    Saintheart
  • August 4, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    "Lie back and think of England." is an Urban Legend.
  • August 4, 2009
    BrainSewage
  • August 6, 2009
    Pata Hikari
    Bump?

    You know, I'm actually really surprised this isn't already a page.
  • August 6, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    In NCIS, Abby is shocked and disgusted that one of the guys has a boot Fetish. All her quirks, and odd thoughts of sex are just not one of them.
  • August 6, 2009
    Lee M
    Kind of lampshaded in Frasier's famous line, "How can men possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want!" ...Apparently implying that it isn't what women want.
  • August 6, 2009
    Sackett
    It may be an urban legend, but Lie Back And Think Of England makes for a perfect trope title.
  • August 6, 2009
    Kaybor
    Aren't shows about horny women becoming more common these days? Sex And The City and so on?
  • August 6, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    "It may be an urban legend, but Lie Back And Think Of England makes for a perfect trope title."

    Not necessarily. It seems specific to the wedding night.
  • August 6, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    Also, it only refers to English women.
  • August 7, 2009
    Gammon
  • August 7, 2009
    missmishi
    On Scrubs, none of the women are shown to want sex frequently except for Jordan
  • August 7, 2009
    RazDaz
  • August 17, 2009
    Lurkerbunny
    Bump. This trope pisses me off so much that I want to see it launched just to list the aversions.
  • August 17, 2009
    Chabal 2
    Used a lot in Dave Barry's columns. And a recent Cracked article put it best: "Men don't have anything women want. Women, on the other hand, have vaginas." I agree with Lie Back And Think Of England, best title possible.
  • August 18, 2009
    Shrikesnest
    @Kabor: There's a tremendous difference between enjoying sex and being a nymphomaniac. In most fictional marriages, the men want sex and the women don't, ever.

    It's true that this trope is getting played straight less and less, but it was definitely widespread in fiction of the 80s and 90s, and is still pretty prevalent today.

    Now, it should be noted that there are definite differences in the sex drives of most women and most men, but clearly this trope exaggerates the hell out of them.
  • August 18, 2009
    DracMonster
    Good Girls Dont

    it's become a somewhat common nickname for this

    although I'd vote for the Lie Back one too

    Wait, All Women Are Prudes meshes nicely with All Men Are Perverts, though.
  • August 18, 2009
    Narvi
    I blame the Victorians.
  • August 18, 2009
    Made of Meat
    Inverted in Chester 5000 XYV. Priscilla certainly has a sex drive, and her husband builds her a robot because he can't keep up with her.
  • August 18, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    Adding a vote for All Women Are Prudes. The other titles tend to imply things that aren't necessarily relevant.
  • August 18, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    All Women Are Prudes for me too. It covers the whole scope.
  • August 18, 2009
    Nate the Great
    As a member of FORKS I must vote for Lie Back And Think Of England.
  • August 18, 2009
    DracMonster
    Thank to the magic of redirects, there's no reason we cant have both, they're both really good titles.
  • August 18, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    Lie Back And Think Of England implies something more specific. That's about sexual intercourse specifically, this is about sexual drive in general.
  • August 18, 2009
    johnnye
    ^^Wut? So, women have a sex drive, they just don't want to have sex? Riight.

    Vote for LBATOE for main title, All Women Are Prudes redirect. And I seriously hope whoever said "it only applies to English women" was kidding...

    One aversion I've really can't wait to see on TV that I know has happened IRL is the Sex Withholding Gambit Backfire - it turns out she actually can't hold out as long as him. Only ever seen it in fiction as a dumb suggestion intended to be inherently funny...

    Are we counting as aversions any time where a woman has an actual desire to have sex, or only instances where they have more sex drive than their partner?
  • August 18, 2009
    MikeArrow
    How would this relate to My Girl Is Not A Slut?
  • August 18, 2009
    DragonQuestZ
    "Wut? So, women have a sex drive, they just don't want to have sex?"

    No. You're confusing my statement. I meant that LBATOE is a Sub Trope of this, not a separate thing. It implies that because All Women Are Prudes, they need advice about lovemaking that fits their prudish nature.
  • August 18, 2009
    foxley
  • August 18, 2009
    random surfer
    One aversion I've really can't wait to see on TV that I know has happened IRL is the Sex Withholding Gambit Backfire - it turns out she actually can't hold out as long as him.

    I think that happened in Family Guy.

    There was also the Seinfeld episode "The Contest" where Elaine and the boys had a bet to see who could remain Master of their Domain, If You Know What I Mean. She had to put in $150 to the others $100 each because the men claim that it is harder for men to not do it. She's the second one to fail to "Master" her "domain."
  • August 19, 2009
    Chabal 2
    I believe the above aversion is the Lysistrata Gambit.
  • August 19, 2009
    Kilyle
    I'd go with All Women Are Prudes, if the above choices are all that's available. But I think we should be able to come up with better titles, really.

    Also, go back a few centuries and you get quite the opposite impression: Women are sex-a-holics, while men have the fortitude to keep it in check. Odd how that goes.

    I never understood the Al Bundy inversion: How could the guy not want sex? It's not like his wife was bad-looking.
  • August 19, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV
    One subversion of this is Good Bad Girl.
  • August 19, 2009
    Sir Psycho Sexy
  • August 19, 2009
    SAMAS
    Part of me likes Lie Back And Think Of England. While it may refer to a certain moment, that moment is steeped in this trope.

    On the other hand, All Women Are Prudes matches All Men Are Perverts, which of course is the whole point of this trope.

  • August 19, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    All Women Are Prudes. Symmetry is key here.
  • December 30, 2009
    LickyLindsay
    Bumpity bump bump bump
  • December 30, 2009
    Shrikesnest
    Okay, so do we have any actual examples and not just aversions?
  • December 30, 2009
    callsignecho
    All Women Are Prudes is defintely the best. Contrast All Women Are Lustful.

    @Kilyle: He did want sex, just not with his wife. Which is also common enough to be trope-worthy. Hmm...
  • December 30, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This is one of those really frustrating ones where it's sooooo common but I just can't think of any examples... ugh!

    (possibly related to A Man Is Not A Virgin, though, yes?)
  • December 30, 2009
    Ronka87
    This is the implicit message in every work that features a Lysistrata Gambit, because naturally women don't have sex for pleasure; they only do it to keep their men in line. An Aesop!

    Also related to Im A Man I Cant Help It.
  • December 30, 2009
    LickyLindsay
    Well there is at least one example given above: Everybody Loves Raymond.

    Thirding (or whatever) All Women Are Prudes.
  • December 30, 2009
    SMARTALIENQT
  • December 30, 2009
    Amazingly Enough
    And I seriously hope whoever said "it only applies to English women" was kidding...

    I said that the phrase "Lie back and think of England" only refers to English women. The name excludes women from other countries, as it's a phrase used in England and not anywhere else. It doesn't describe an American or Japanese woman's attitude toward sex, because obviously they wouldn't be thinking of England.

    I don't have a huge problem with it, though, just felt like I needed to point that out.
  • December 30, 2009
    Omar Karindu
    • The subject of a hilarious joke in the movie Annie Hall, where Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are both shown talking to their therapists. Woody complains that they almost never have sex: "Only three or four times a week." Annie complains that they constantly have sex, "Three or four times a week."
    • Sets off the plot of the film Extract, though the marriage depicted there has more problems than incompatible sex drives.
    • Lampshaded in an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which Xander says that everything makes 15-year-old boys think of sex when asked by his then-girlfriend. Interestingly, Buffy subverted this trope with vigor.
    • Used as the plot of an episode of Rules of Engagement, in which the male leads all bet on which of them -- the married man, the guy with a live-in girlfriend, and the single guy -- can score within 24 hours. Both the married guy and the single guy run into this trope.
    • This was a big part of what broke up J.D. and one of his girlfriends in a season of Scrubs; he wanted sex, she wanted to wait seemingly indefinitely.
      • Also, Dr. Kelso uses everyone's belief in this trope as part of a ruse involving the one night of the year his wife lets him seep with her. His wife has nothing to do with it.
    • Played with in, of all things, MST 3 K Z-list fodder Hobgoblins with the hero's girlfriend, seemingly a living example of this trope until the wish-granting beasties of the title reveal that his girl is an aspiring slut..
    • Used in an episode of Two And A Half Men, "Kinda Like Necrophilia," with a gorgeous woman who is...less than enthusiastic in bed. Also less than animate.
    • Frequently used on the American version of Men Behaving Badly to drive various plotlines.

  • December 31, 2009
    Idler2.0
    Subverted brilliantly in How I Met Your Mother: The men are at a tailor's talking about the fact that Ted's girlfriend Victoria might be moving to Germany. Marshall urges Ted not to attempt a long-distance relationship, saying "long distance was invented by women. All talking and no sex? Kill me now". Later on, we see the women shopping for a wedding dress, and Lily (Marshall's fiancee) urges Victoria not to attempt a long-distance relationship, saying "all talking and no sex? Kill me now." In fact, if the episode where Marshall has been devoting a lot of time to work is anything to go by, it might be Lily who has the higher sex drive of the two.
  • January 23, 2010
    callsignecho
    This seems to have been abandoned. Is it rude to take it over and launch it?
  • January 23, 2010
    girlyboy
    Guidelines say it ain't rude if the person who proposed it hasn't posted in a while, I guess...

    BTW, the historical inversion of this trope that Kilyle refers to above is All Women Are Lustful. As that trope's page notes, it is a mostly forgotten trope nowadays. That page also notes that "today, the usual representation of women as Closer To Earth flat-out negates most attempts since sex drives, let alone sexual depravity, are considered incompatible with high moral standards." So perhaps this proposed trope can be a sub-trope of Closer To Earth?

    It definitely should be a trope though, as it is very common, and even if it is a part of the whole "Closer-To-Earthiness," it's still a distinct and important element in its own right, in a lot of fiction. All Women Are Lustful should be mentioned in the trope description, though.

    As an example, Two And A Half Men occasionally has this, though it occasionally averts it; Charlie, the main character, is a poster boy for All Men Are Perverts, and generally the women he beds are shown to have high sex drives as well. However, it's interesting to note that once he gets a steady girlfriend, this trope suddenly appears: She will punish him by withholding sex, showing that she has no problem with abstinence, but he can't handle it. One episode particularly lampshades this; the couple argues; the girlfriend wants to make up and have sex, but Charlie says he's not in the mood; she accepts this, but warns him not to "rub up against her" during the night. (Cut to later: The girlfriend seems sound asleep, Charlie wakes up and looks at her; she suddenly says, "don't even think about it.") At the end of the episode, the situation is reversed; Charlie wants sex, his girlfriend says she's not in the mood, and Charlie says, "Okay, but don't rub up against me in the middle of the night." Cut to 20 minutes later: "... Okay, I was bluffing. Feel free to rub up." "Oh, rub yourself." Beat. "... Could you watch?"

    Anywho, I also vote for All Women Are Prudes as the title.
  • January 23, 2010
    Stranger
    Can someone please explain the "Lie back and think of England" thing? I mean the vague implication is clear from the subject and context, but I've seriously never heard the phrase before.
  • January 23, 2010
    random surfer
  • January 23, 2010
    PataHikari
    "This seems to have been abandoned. Is it rude to take it over and launch it?"

    It just didn't get enough examples and it kind of died on me. :( Nice to see it back!
  • February 1, 2010
    girlyboy
    Bump?
  • February 1, 2010
    Alrune
    Hmmm, somehow I think of a title more along the lines of All Women Are Frigid.

    Because there is the assumption that women dislike sex and don't derive any pleasure from it. What do you think?
  • February 2, 2010
    girlyboy
    That might work but seems a bit broader, since 'frigid', aside from the sexual meaning, can also mean someone who is unemotional or unfeeling... But even women who are not "cold" emotionally, and actually care deeply about Male Love Interest, are often portrayed as having simply no interest in sex. But on the other hand, it's a nicer title because it's shorter and more attention-catchy.
  • February 2, 2010
    Alrune
    Of course but the trope is about what you just said: women don't enjoy sex.

    It's not they have a Moral Guardian stance about is, as implied with the word "prude", it's rather about the fact they don't find it pleasurable, as in they don't experience a real climax from it, and actually only do it to please males.

    I don't know what word fits but "prude" implies that they have moral compunctions about sex and it's not what this trope is about.
  • February 2, 2010
    Chabal2
    I still think Lie Back And Think Of England is the best name (two stereotypes in one!).
    • Roald Dahl wrote a short story involving a guy sleeping with his neighbor's sexy wife while the neighbor does the same with the hero's less-than-enthusiastic-in-bed wife - without either woman finding out about the switch. The following morning, the hero finds his wife deliriously in love with him, as she confesses that up to then, she'd forced herself to have relations in order to have children, but hated every minute of it. Epic burn doesn't begin to describe it...
  • February 2, 2010
    Kriegsmesser
    "American or Japanese women wouldn't have this attitude." ...I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer.

    I like Lie Back And Think Of England, but if the SPOONS win out (you bastards), my vote is for All Women Are Asexual. Sexually, there's no interest. It doesn't say anything about personality, or the ability to care, just that sex isn't their thing.
  • February 2, 2010
    girlyboy
    I change my vote! + 1 for All Women Are Asexual.
  • February 2, 2010
    Alrune
    I third the All Women Are Asexual title. Seems the most descriptive..
  • February 2, 2010
    GoatBoy
    You know what really grinds my gears? This Lindsay Lohan. Lindsay Lohan with all those little outfits, jumping around there on stage, half-naked with your little outfits. Ya know? You're a... You're out there jumping around and I'm just sitting here with my beer. So, what am I supposed to do? What you want? You know, are we gonna go out? Is that what you're trying to - why why are you leaping around there, throwing those things all up in my, over there in my face? What do you want, Lindsay? Tell me what you want? Well, I'll tell you what you want, you want nothing. You want nothing. All right? Because we all know that no woman anywhere wants to have sex with anyone, and to titillate us with any thoughts otherwise is - is just bogus.
    -- Peter Griffin, Family Guy
  • February 2, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    I can't reccomend LBATOE beacuse that has a connection to doing ones duty for husband and country. its from a different age. +1 All Women Are Prudes
  • February 22, 2010
    karstovich
    Lie Back An Think Of England really captures the spirit of it, though. Think of it not as "doing duty for husband and country" but as "think of something else:" a Frenchwoman could be thinking of a vacation there, right? (OK, maybe an American).

    Additionally, the original Lysistrata averts this; the title character has constant problems keeping the women from having *ahem* unforeseen encounters with the enemy.
  • February 23, 2010
    karstovich
    Also, YKTTW is not a vote! Launcher, I urge you to call it Lie Back And Think Of England! Though I wouldn't want you do actually do that, of course; that would be disrespectful and hardly enjoyable in any case.
  • February 23, 2010
    Meems
  • February 24, 2010
    RiotingSoul
    Inverted in Real Life

    French King Louis XVI on multiple occasions rejected Marie Antoinette's attempts to conceive an heir. Though he did so only because he had a physical condition that made it painful to have an erection...
  • February 24, 2010
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    Related Tropes:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qgbpu01d3gunpzbpdir1czo3