TLC's Submissive Wives: The Most Sexist Show On Television?

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The first time we watched the clip for TLC’s new show, Submissive Wives’ Guide to Marriage, we kept waiting for the wink. The show — which takes an inside look at the marriages of three couples, all of whom are striving for male domination in the home — seems like it should be an edgy farce in which the wives eventually reject the needy whims of their husbands and start a bright female-empowered future together somewhere far beyond the marriage bed.

We should have known better. TLC has built its television empire on exploiting America’s obsessive fascination with otherness, from differently abled people to chubby baby pageant queens. There is no “aha moment" built into these gawk-factor-driven series, and Submissive Wives’ doesn’t break that mold. Two sets of spouses appear to be luxuriating in the edict that a woman’s role is to serve her husband, sexually and in every other way imaginable; a third is struggling, and seeks the expertise of their like-minded friends to set their marriage on the right path. It's as gross as you might think.

During a special two-hour inaugural episode Sunday night, successful submissive wife Tara offers some words of wisdom to Kristin, who seems really uncomfortable about discussing her sex life with someone who isn’t actually involved in it. Tara asks Kristin when she last filled the “love bank” —a week, two weeks, a month? “She needs to be having hot sex with her man,” Tara tells the camera. “That means making sure that his love tank is full… When the love tank’s empty, I got a grumpy man.”

How does one fill a love tank? Dirty talk, “hoochie mama” apparel, and playing a game of grab ass in the kitchen are all fair game. But, this isn't about Kristin seeking pleasure. “It doesn’t matter the way she feels, she has to do it anyway,” Tara says in total seriousness. “Suck it up and do it anyway.”

No, Tara is not a sex therapist or an actual therapist, although we're sure she'd be open to playing one in the bedroom — and go ahead girl, get your role-play on with your partner! That's your choice, and we're so glad you have one. But, just so everyone is clear: TLC is peddling sexist trash straight into your Sunday nights, and offering a look at women whose lives revolve entirely around the men they married. Yes, you should be enraged — we certainly are. When one woman tells another that her sexual satisfaction doesn't matter and that her body is just a receptor for someone else's orgasm on national television, it sounds like more of a CNN investigation into spousal abuse than entertainment. And yet, here we are.