Melissa Gorga responds to book criticisms about marital rape, poop, chauvenism and more in lengthy Bravo blog post

Melissa Gorga book Love Italian Style The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage

Melissa Gorga’s book Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage came out a couple of weeks ago and The Real Housewives of New Jersey star is coming under fire for numerous controversial passages in the book that seem to advocate marital rape and promote sexism and gender stereotypes. Melissa took to her Bravo blog today to respond to the criticisms at length.

Melissa’s responses are mostly directed at this article from, a feminist-oriented pop culture blog that is part of the Gawker network of sites. Here are quotes from the Jezebel article (which, to be honest, was mostly quotes from the book with smdh asides in between), the excerpts from the book quoted in the Jezebel article (indented), and Melissa Gorga’s responses from her blog post today:

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Men, I know you think your woman isn’t the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says “no,” turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated.

Women don’t realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want.

Jezebel: That is rape and it is insane that it got past the publisher.

Melissa: Regarding the quote in the book about Joe saying every woman wants to have her hair pulled and clothes ripped off sometimes: First if all, it’s not meant to read literally. Joe would be in serious trouble if he tore my clothes! His point is that women like feeling taken — within the trust and safety of a mutually respectful relationship. Fans of Fifty Shades of Grey can attest that there’s a difference between racy and “rapey.” When Joe and I talk about dominance and submission, it’s racy. It’s about a man being a man, a woman being a woman, a man taking charge and a woman letting it happen — consensually! There are times I play hard to get, and Joe knows those signals. But when I am not in the mood, Joe doesn’t force me to do ANYTHING. In the Jezebel article, the reporter failed to quote another line from the book when Joe says, “She’s not in mood to have sex? How about a three-minute massage instead? Men need to be touched. Skin on skin. A kiss, a hug, a massage. That’s enough on some nights.” Or when Joe wrote “My wife is my life. I live to make her happy. I like it when she tells me what she wants.”

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Jezebel: Under a section titled, “YOU CAN DO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING FOR TEN MINUTES,” Melissa writes:

Even when I’m exhausted and not really in the mood, if it means a lot to Joe that we connect physically, I’ll say, “I’m not so into it tonight, but let’s go.”

If it’s a hard “no,” I try to be nice about it. Don’t swat him away, or say with a tone, “Leave me alone!” Eventually he will leave you alone at more than you wish he would.

Melissa: When I refuse my husband, I do it nicely. I don’t slap his hand and say, “Get away from me.” The article took me to task for this. How can anyone find fault in showing kindness? I just don’t get it. I should make my husband feel like a pervert for wanting me? What purpose would that serve? Hey, I’m a nice person. I say “no” with kindness. Ladies, you won’t go to your grave wishing you’d humiliated your husband more often. I never regret being kind, to anyone, at any time, especially my husband.

Accusing Joe and I of promoting marital rape diminishes the real terror and violence of a forcible act of sexual violence. Women who are prisoners of their husband’s violence have no escape from physical and psychological trauma. Playing hard to get is NOT domestic abuse. If any women reading this are in a nightmare situation, go to for help.

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Jezebel: It’s kind of sad how she’s seemingly his sex slave.

Happy guys let more go. Issues get brushed off. Quickies count. Say what you want, but it’s the truth.

[A] woman needs to keep herself in shape. She has to be seductive. She must be willing to try new things for her husband’s pleasure and her own. And, most important, she has to be available for sex.

There’s real passionate sex and maintenance sex. You need them both for a healthy marriage. Maintenance sex keeps the wheels greased, the lines of communication open, and the fights to a minimum.

Melissa: To the point that, in a marriage, sometimes you have sex because your partner wants to, even if you’re not so into it: I defy anyone in a long-term relationship, man or woman, to say that they’ve never done it for their partner’s sake once in a while. It’s called compromise and compassion for the person you love and trust most in the world. There is nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with admitting it. I also made the point that, if you’re not so into it initially, you might change your mind a few minutes later, and wind up glad you said, “Okay, let’s go.”

Melissa Gorga's husband Joe Gorga showing off candy underwear

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Jezebel: In the book she often repeats the secret to a happy marriage is “about respect.” But it’s clear to anyone reading it that she’s truly confused about what that means or how to get it. It would all be funny if it weren’t so damn sad.

I used to want to hold onto my independence, even after we got married. I didn’t want to need anyone, not even Joe. Now, I know that it’s arrogant to think you don’t need anyone. Need is only a four-letter word if you don’t accept it as another one. F-A-C-T.

Melissa: About my saying that I need my husband: You bet I need him, and he needs me. I’m proud of that! Our family is our world. We turn to each other for support, love, and affection. We depend on each other to raise our kids, run our home, and pay the bills. Again, I defy any couple in a happy marriage to say they don’t need their spouse. If independence is a matter of principle for women, then why get married at all? Saying “I don’t need anyone” might make some women feel happy, secure, and superior. Not me. I love being married and depending on Joe, just as he loves being married and depending on me. Our need for each other doubles our joy and halves our pain. It’s how we share our lives.

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Jezebel: [Joes’] thoughts on childcare:

I don’t feed babies, or change the diapers. My father never wiped my ass, and I don’t wipe my babies’ either.

Jezebel: The icing on the misogyny cake:

When gender roles are confused, sexual roles are, too. If he’s at the sink and then changing diapers, then who throws down in the bed? In our marriage, Joe is always the man, doing masculine things. I’m the woman, and I do the female things, including housework.

Melissa: Regarding our parenting style, how Joe said he doesn’t change diapers. The article pulled out one sentence, but failed to include the entire passage. Here it is, in full: “Some guys change one diaper or give a baby one bottle, and declare themselves Super Dad. They hand the baby back to Mommy, and then go to the garage to putter around or sneak off to their office to look at porn. I don’t feed babies, or change the diapers. My father never wiped my ass, and I don’t either. But, I get on the floor and play with my kids for hours.” This is what I mean when I say that the quotes were taken out of context. And guess what? My kids are out of diapers. They’re done with bottles. But Joe still runs around with the kids, and plays with them for hours.

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Jezebel: Melissa also recommends that you learn how to cook really really well, wear makeup everyday, shave your legs, watch your figure and go to the Burger King around the corner if you have to poop.

Girls don’t poop. Me, never have. Never will. It just doesn’t happen. Or, that’s what Joe thinks! We’ve been married for nine years, and he has never once seen or smelled my business. How have I pulled this off? I don’t do it when he’s around or awake. In an emergency, I have my ways of pooping so he won’t hear, smell, or see. It’s a challenge.

Melissa: Another thing: Of course, I poop in my own house! I just don’t let Joe see me do it. I keep that business to myself. You wouldn’t let a man see you poop on the first date, right? That’s my point. Keep the mystery alive in a marriage. Date your husband.

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Melissa Gorga feeding Joe Gorga chicken

Jezebel: Here is what Melissa tells herself (and her readers) about compromising yourself as a woman in order to please your man.

The routine of making dinner and keeping a clean house is how I stay grounded. It keeps me humble.

Someone might look at Joe and think, “Chauvinist pig.” He sounds like one sometimes! They might look at me and think, “Throwback.” The way I see it, Joe is cleaning up messes at work all day long—things you can’t wipe up with a sponge. That’s his job. It’s my job to clean up spilled milk. I just do it. There is simply no point to arguing about something that requires all of five seconds of my time and next to zero energy.

Melissa: Finally, to the issue that I’m a throwback housewife: I concur. I am a “housewife.” I’m also a Housewife. I cook and clean; I’m on TV, am a recording artist, and now a published author. I treat my husband like a king; he treats me like a queen; I wrote a book about it. I’m an unapologetic traditional wifey, and that makes me happy. So does singing, writing, and meeting fans. I do find it ironic that some viewers of the show say that Joe is my puppet, and then criticize my book and say that he’s a control freak rapist. The truth is: he’s a passionate, red-blooded man who loves and respects me, just as I love and respect him.

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Jezebel: A “Joement” on equality:

To be on the same level, everyone has to get off the high horse. I don’t care if the woman makes more money than the man, if he’s a janitor and she’s the president. After a fourteen-hour workday, if a man comes home and there’s no dinner on the table, and his wife is on the phone, watching TV, or on the computer ignoring him, he won’t feel respected.

Melissa: In our marriage, we do whatever we can to make each other happy, and we succeed. If it makes my husband happy to have a hot meal on the table when he comes home from work, I cook for him. I love to cook. It’s not such a giant sacrifice. And if it makes me happy to sing and record music, he builds a studio for me in the basement. He also supports me to no end, tells me he loves me and that I am beautiful every single day, and has my back no matter what. That being said, if he’s unhappy with something I’ve said or done, he tells me. And vice versa. We correct each other. Our marriage is a two-way street.

Jezebel: If you haven’t caught on yet, this guy is a total f***ing a**hole. But wait, there’s more!

If he gets one ounce of flack from me, he flips a switch and goes off. I know it’s not really about me, so I don’t get riled up. I supposed I could get angry back him for getting the bulk end of his problems. But then again, that’s what a spouse is for. You get to release your stress on someone you trust, who you know won’t hold it against you. He’ like to yell at a colleague, client, or employee. But he yells at me and doesn’t screw up a business deal. I can take it.

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Melissa Gorga’s full Bravo blog entry, which includes commentary on the finale episode.

The original Jezebel article about Melissa Gorga’s book.

Melissa Gorga’s book Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage on amazon (Kindle version link)

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