Stephen Fry, the brilliant — and gay — British comedic actor and writer has triggered a backlash by telling the British gay magazine Attitude that he feels sorry for straight guys since women don't like shagging as much as gay guys do.
"If women liked sex as much as men, there would be straight cruising areas in the way there are gay cruising areas,” he is reported to have told an interviewer. “Women would go and hang around in churchyards thinking: 'God, I've got to get my f****** rocks off'…. It doesn't happen. Why? Because the only women you can have sex with like that wish to be paid for it.”
Some notable feminists took his comments very, very seriously and accused Fry of saying women don’t like sex when, in fact, women quite enjoy slutty behavior, thanks very much.
“Women have other ways to get our thrills,” the Guardian quoted writer and feminist Rosie Boycott saying. “We can go and get them in bars or clubs. Having said which, we probably also do it in parks sometimes too.”
Germaine Greer, quoted in The Daily Telegraph, tempered that somewhat with “it’s true that women really don’t want to hang around toilets hoping that someone will come along and play with their bits.”
Gay or not, Fry is a man, with straight-guy pals, no doubt (like “House” star Hugh Laurie), and if he has been paying attention to conversations, he will have heard some variation of “why-don’t-women-like-sex-as-much-as-guys-like-sex” hundreds of times. This is what straight men say. We don’t really think it’s true; we know women like sex. We just sometimes wish more women liked it as indiscriminately as many us like it. But that’s a more complicated conversation and Fry was clearly being funny and glib.
The fact that Twitter lit up with so many condemnations of Fry that he disabled his account — signing off with "Bye Bye" — tells us just how touchy some people can be.
Or maybe it tells us how good a comedian Fry really is that he can start a joke and let other people provide the punch line.
Brian Alexander is the author of the book now in paperback.