But that assumption would be false. Feminism can improve the quality of heterosexual relationships, according to Laurie Rudman and Julie Phelan, from Rutgers University in the USA. They've published a study (The Interpersonal Power of Feminism: Is feminism good for romantic relationships?) that shows that we have unflattering stereotypes of feminists, that depict feminists as unattractive and sexually unappealing.
But are feminists ugly and sexually unattractive? Are they horrible sex partners and wives? False, their study concludes.
Most people believe that feminists can't be romantic, but Rudman and Phelan have discovered this to be false. They carried out a laboratory survey of 242 American undergraduates and an online survey including 289 older adults, and determined that couples with feminists are more likely to have had longer relationships and greater life experience. They looked at men's and women's perception of their own feminism and its link to relationship health, measured by a combination of overall relationship quality, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability and sexual satisfaction.
They also found that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier heterosexual relationships for women. Men with feminist partners have more stable relationships and better sex lives. According to the results feminism does not predict poor romantic results, but in fact actually boosts the amount of "spark" in the relationship and adds to healthier and more romantic results.
The two authors also tested whether feminist stereotypical beliefs were valid and asked participants a series of questions to determine whether feminists really are more likely to report themselves as being single, lesbian, or sexually unattractive, compared with non-feminist women. Instead Rudman and Phelan found no support for this hypothesis amongst their study participants. In fact, feminist women were more likely to be in a romantic heterosexual relationship than non-feminist women. The authors concluded that feminist stereotypes are wildly inaccurate, and that the stereotypes are unfounded.In other words the idea that feminists would make poor lovers is just plain a lie.
So what is the real truth? Misogynists have been spreading these lies for years, spreading it as a combination of urban myths and hearsay.
Your wife dumped you for her lesbian lover and got married in Canada? Don't get angry. She was probably a lesbian long before she married you and only married you to have kids (or keep up appearances).
Think feminists are ugly or sexually unappealing? Think twice. Take a look at Gloria Steinem (former Playboy Bunny and feminist activist) and Dorothy Pitman Hughes (renowned black feminist). Pretty hot looking I think.
And think the authors of this study are probably ugly too? Wrong. I checked them out. One hot redhead and one sexy brunette.
Think your girlfriend has too much self-respect to marry you? Maybe she's just not interested in marriage just yet.
Women have dedicated years of writing in magazines in trying to understand men and what men want in their sex lives, but how much writing is dedicated to helping men actually understand women? Comparatively little.
But I'm willing to bet there are lots of men out there who would be interested in getting the inside scoop for what women really find romantic.