Thursday, May 11, 2006
So, Salon also has a problem with the Post's limp reporting.
Rebecca Traister writes:
"Perhaps (and I realize this is pie-in-the-sky thinking here) the leveling of the sexual marketplace Stepp writes about, in which women and men enjoy and pursue sex with comparable vigor, could be good for both sexes. First, it could deflate some of the frequently unearned but long-held stereotypes about guys who'll have sex with anything that moves, who consider each conquest a notch on their bedpost, who are more turned on by the pursuit than by the physical pleasure of union. Perhaps, if sex with women is something that they didn't have to finagle and tease and chase their way into, if it was just a fun activity that two people who liked each other chose to engage in and that often felt really great, everyone would have a better time."
Well, that actually sounds really boring. But, I see her point. The WaPo article has no better solution...
"It all falls into the John Tierney school of thought that says that all these overachieving college girls are going to end up single. All the libidinous ones are going to go sexless as well. Why don't we just buckle up our chastity belts and give those boys something to focus on unlocking already? Because lord knows, our eager, aroused bodies are totally harshing their hard-ons!"
Again, I'm not sure why people can't write articles defending young women without going into full-tilt passive-aggressive freakout mode. The Post article is massively stupid, but is it really attempting to market chastity belts? I just see it as being dopey, poorly thought through lifestyle reporting. Not a reactionary attack on women.
So, what do we know?
1) Young men, especially macho young men can't get it up.
2) The Washington Post says this is because women are too horny and available.
3) Salon says "nuh-uh".
How about this (and I realize this is also pie-in-the-sky thinking)... young people are already having plenty of sex as a "fun activity", without any repression. The sexual revolution has been won! The squares lost, baby! The Post and Salon are both wrong- the zipless fuck is already the norm for young people. The levelling of the sexual marketplace is a fait accompli.
And yet... they still have hang-ups. Not about sex, but about emotional vulnerability. They stick to one-night stands and fuck-buddies because they don't really know how to trust other people. Maybe Mom and Dad got divorced (which, frankly, is fucking devastating for a child), or maybe Mom and Dad just hate each other, and they've been innoculated with an ultra-competitive mindset in which other people are there for whatever you can get out of them.
I went back to school at age 26 and was shocked by how emotionless these kids were. What I saw at my university wasn't a fear of any sexual freedom. Zipless fucks, anonymous encounters, threesomes, foursomes, you name it- they were game. But, my classmates in university were terrified of caring about each other. I knew nobody who was looking for a relationship, and the couples I knew all wanted out. I think the most depressing thing I heard in four years was when I asked a friend if she was ever going to find herself a mate, and she replied "I have no time for a relationship! I'm 19- I have to think about my career!"
Maybe I was just lucky. I always had sex with feminists when I was a kid. They had their issues, but none of them saw sex as something that I gave them, or that I performed for their benefit. It wasn't divided into "my job" and "your job". It was something that we did together, usually while smoking pot and watching cartoons. If I couldn't get it up, we took a nap. It wasn't this sort of compulsive, joyless, desperate "hook-up" bullshit. It wasn't like a job interview for a corporation consisting of the opposite sex. It wasn't so emotionless and selfish and stupid.
I mean, I don't think the problem isn't that so many young people can't get it up. And it certainly isn't that they're sexually repressed by the patriarchy. It's that they can't really love other people. And that doesn't seem to worry Salon or the Post very much.
Posted by Rufus at 8:46 AM