Stephen Fry apologizes, sort of

The British author is sorry people took such offense to his remarks about women not liking sex

Published November 5, 2010 2:25PM (EDT)

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry has broken his silence to humbly apologize for his suggestion that women don't like sex. At least that's the impression you might get from the British press coverage of a blog post he published late yesterday -- but, in context, he seems to be saying, "I'm sorry that you're so stupid." He writes: 

I had fondly imagined that in a free and open society one might be allowed to play with such ideas in a reasonable spirit of debate, but it seems not. It seems that such a conversation was offensive, ignorant, arrogant … god knows what else. Ill-judged it most certainly was.

You have to admire his, yes, arrogance. I also share his hope that such things can be talked about in the "reasonable spirit of debate" -- but it seems disingenuous to say that his half-baked and utterly unoriginal remarks were meant to inspire anything other than some easy laughs. Which is fine, really! It's just that I've come to expect more from the usually razor-sharp Fry. It seems that he has entirely missed the point of why his tossed-off remarks were bothersome. He says:

I know that women enjoy sex. If women also say (and I'm in no position to agree or disagree with them) that they have as equally insistent and urgent libidos as men then I have no doubt that must be true also. It is perhaps sad to think that they are as pathetically in the grip of a base and humiliating need to get their rocks off as men are, but if that is the case then that is the case and god knows I'm no expert on the subject and have no right either to confirm or deny the proposition.

The issue isn't that he suggested that women on the whole enjoy casual sex less than men, which can be reasonably argued. As I wrote earlier this week, "The real problem with Fry's comments is that he appears to qualify a person's interest in sex in terms of their interest in shtupping strangers. Per the usual, sex is defined in men's (supposed) terms: Real sex, sexy sex, is sex of the uncommitted wham-bam variety." He appeared to discount female sexuality wholesale.

Ultimately, Fry says he was using "comic exaggeration." As I said earlier, that's fine! It's just ... that joke bombed, dude.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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