You know me, I love a good uproar on the internetz, and I know that YOU love it when I throw in my two cents at least two weeks two late – just to let the dust settle a little bit. Just kidding, I live under a rock and I only today got around to reading Erica Jong’s New York Times Op-Ed about how the “new generation of women” are just just not that into having sex.
I immediately balked: First of all, am I in this “new generation”? What exactly constitutes this alleged generation? Secondly, do I not like having sex? WHAT?! How is it even possible that this article was written? Third of all, has this woman never met a teenage girl?
And then I reeled it in. Truth: I am a twenty-six year old who is engaged to the most wonderful person ever. Truth: I have had plenty of sex with plenty of people. Enough to know that I don’t need to go around banging whomever I please anymore, and am not all that sad about it. Truth: I just think that monogamy is the most complex, interesting, and compelling thing since sliced bread. I certainly don’t think that there is anything easy or simplistic about deciding to be faithful to someone for the rest of your life.
I started early, too early. Looking back, I wish that at the time I would have thought that I was worth waiting for. I wish that I would have just chosen to skip over the first handful of people that I let lie and tell me that I was beautiful and that they would call me. However, I don’t regret having made those choices, because it gives me a really good grasp on what it feels like to be young and reckless, and make choices because you feel so badly about yourself you are willing to give yourself away to anyone who asks.
I find it fascinating that in an era where sex is EVERYWHERE, that Jong’s op-ed asserts that women are choosing instead to focus on monogamy and motherhood. I also find it mildly offensive that these choices are being deemed unfeminist, sterile, or controlled. I find it interesting because, as someone who grew up in the middle of this unclear and wide-spanning “generation,” I find that when you see naked bodies plastered all over the internet, billboards, and with sex being sold everywhere – it’s just not that exotic anymore.
I find it fascinating that I can name the number of people that I know who are in loving, healthy, long-standing relationships on two hands.
People who are in it for the long-haul, who really love one another and are willing to do anything to make it work? Totally exotic. People who find a way to bring their fantasies and sexual appetites INTO their relationships, and create sex-positive environments for themselves with loads of intimate conversation and experimentation? WOAH. I love that. Parents who are raising a seriously awesome, grounded, and well educated new generation? I have the utmost respect for that.
When I look around at my “generation” I see lot of diversity in regards to sexuality and lifestyle choices. I admit that I see a lot of people who are choosing to marry young. I know some who have already gotten divorced and are heading in for round two. As a child of divorce, I know that some relationships are beyond saving – and that is not the end of the world. However, when I dig deep and look in my heart, I find that I am inclined towards these old-fashioned relationships values. I am not inclined towards these values because they put me back in the kitchen, bare-foot and pregnant, but because I really believe that relationships can last and can be worth fighting for.
However, I don’t believe that marriage or children or monogamy or whatever it is that “we” are seemingly doing wrong means sacrificing your sex life for security. Isn’t it possible to have a sex life and be in a monogamous relationship?
- New York Times, Is Sex Passe?
- Jezebel, Younger Generation Totally Over Sex, Proclaims Someone In Older Generation
- Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, You Are Not Your Sex Drive: The Problem With Jong
- The Nation, No, Erica Jong, Sex is Not Passe