The New York Times wants everyone to know that the Soviet Union was just a better place for women than America is today. They received free childcare, the wage gap was reduced, and they had the best sex in the world — as long as they didn’t starve to death or get sent to die in a work camp.
Kristen Ghodsee, a professor of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that women in the USSR had privileges that western women did not have, specifically free education, maternity leave, child care, and great sex.
Of course, when they were done with all that great free education, they didn’t have the freedom to pursue their desired career. Like virtually everyone else, they would end up on the bread lines.
Still, Ghodsee said that a 1990 study comparing the sex lives of East and West Germans found that those who had been living under the USSR orgasmed twice as much as those who had been living in the Western democracies.
“Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework,” Ghodsee wrote. “In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.”
A pair of older German women who lived under the USSR exalted how wonderful it was for women because they could put their child in daycare, stay at home, and get frisky with their husbands.
“Although gender wage disparities and labor segregation persisted, and although the Communists never fully reformed domestic patriarchy, Communist women enjoyed a degree of self-sufficiency that few Western women could have imagined,” she continued. “Eastern bloc women did not need to marry, or have sex, for money. The socialist state met their basic needs and countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and East Germany committed extra resources to support single mothers, divorcées and widows.”
Ghodsee is correct that there was ample opportunity in her romanticized version of the Soviet Union because everyone was equally poor. However, the average American male lived seven years longer than the average Soviet male, and women in the U.S. outlived women in the USSR by five years. According to the United Nations, GDP per capita in the USSR was just a mere $2,684, which is almost 10 times as less as the US at $22,716.
As far as the nonsensical study on sex, Ghodsee should commission a newly updated study. There are unemployed people in America who collect benefits and don’t have the burden of a job, how much satisfying sex are they having? The professor or the university she works for could also look at North and South Koreans, one nation country is dancing to “Gangnam Style” while the other is perfecting the bowl haircut. Which one has more sex?
While multiple studies have confirmed that Republicans have sex more often than Democrats and are more adventurous, Ghodsee’s article isn’t really about bumping naughties. It’s about romanticizing an evil empire that killed tens-of-millions of people and oppressed hundreds-of-millions more.