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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Has there been a seismic generational sexual ethos shift?

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Author Topic: Has there been a seismic generational sexual ethos shift?
Heather
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I'd love to talk with some of you about an article written by Erica Jong that showed up on the New York Times today, because she voices some things I've been feeling/thinking about lately, too. I'm very curious about your take on what she's saying.

Setting aside the fact that she seems to only be talking about women and sex as if men are the only people to have it with, anyone want to chat about this?

It's here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/10/opinion/sunday/10sex.html?_r=1

And here are a few choice quotes in it:

quote:
People always ask me what happened to sex since “Fear of Flying.” While editing an anthology of women’s sexual writing called “Sugar in My Bowl” last year, I was fascinated to see, among younger women, a nostalgia for ’50s-era attitudes toward sexuality. The older writers in my anthology are raunchier than the younger writers. The younger writers are obsessed with motherhood and monogamy.

It makes sense. Daughters always want to be different from their mothers. If their mothers discovered free sex, then they want to rediscover monogamy. My daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, who is in her mid-30s, wrote an essay called “They Had Sex So I Didn’t Have To.” Her friend Julie Klam wrote “Let’s Not Talk About Sex.” The novelist Elisa Albert said: “Sex is overexposed. It needs to take a vacation, turn off its phone, get off the grid.” Meg Wolitzer, author of “The Uncoupling,” a fictional retelling of “Lysistrata,” described “a kind of background chatter about women losing interest in sex.” Min Jin Lee, a contributor to the anthology, suggested that “for cosmopolitan singles, sex with intimacy appears to be neither the norm nor the objective.”

Generalizing about cultural trends is tricky, but everywhere there are signs that sex has lost its frisson of freedom. Is sex less piquant when it is not forbidden? Sex itself may not be dead, but it seems sexual passion is on life support.

quote:
Just as the watchword of my generation was freedom, that of my daughter’s generation seems to be control. Is this just the predictable swing of the pendulum or a new passion for order in an ever more chaotic world? A little of both. We idealized open marriage; our daughters are back to idealizing monogamy. We were unable to extinguish the lust for propriety.
quote:
Physical pleasure binds two people together and lets them endure the inevitable pains and losses of being human. When sex becomes boring, something deeper is usually the problem — resentment or envy or lack of honesty. So I worry about the sudden craze for Lysistrata’s solution. Why reject honey for vinegar? Don’t we all deserve sugar in our bowls?
And in case any of you aren't familiar with who Erica Jong is, I'd say the important thing to know in regard to this is that Jong is the author of "Fear of Flying", penned in 1973, and was incredibly controversial, though wildly popular, at the time.

[ 07-10-2011, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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atm1
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It's an interesting piece, though I did find the middle paragraph of your first quote sort of funny in the context of my own life. By what I know of my mother's dating life, my own dating life has been strikingly similar. The main difference seems to be that I've cohabitated for longer with my partner than she did with my dad (but that follows the rise of cohabitation in general). While it's also true that I plan on having kids at a younger age than my mom did, I think this is in large part because of our choices of careers.

I many of women in my social circle (generally women in their 20's) have settled into long-term monogamous relationships. While many do talk of openly really enjoying sex, that sex almost always happens in the context of a relationship. I don't know of any women who have a "nostalgia ’50s-era attitudes toward sexuality," however. They appreciate not being judge for premarital sex and aren't ashamed of having multiple partners in the past. Very few want to be stay at home parents.

I do know that I can point to one thing that clearly happened between the 70s and today that had an effect on society attitudes towards sex: AIDS. I'm surprised that she didn't address that anywhere in her piece.

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Heather
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(atm1: HIV/AIDS certainly is something major that I'd agree, changed a lot of people's attitudes about and approaches to sexuality -- though more like between the mid-80s and today than the 70s. Or, if you're talking about heterosexual people feeling it in a real way as something that could impact them, more like between the 90s and today. However, when it comes to Erica Jog, my sense is it probably didn't have that big of an impact on hers, and wasn't so huge in her mind/life because of her age. My sense is that by the time HIV came around, she was winding her own sex life down a bit.

But I agree, it's a strange and rather large omission, even though I don't think that it had the same effect on everyone. For sure, for some people it did have a chilling effect, while for others, it did not. I know some younger folks kind of have this sense of en masse panic and a massive, sudden change in everyone's sex lives when HIV showed up on the scene, but I think that a) it wasn't the way it so often seems and b) that was much more prevalent in the gay community than outside it.)

[ 07-10-2011, 11:46 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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eryn_smiles
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"Our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality. With children in your bed, is there any space for sexual passion? The question lingers in the air, unanswered."

What does she mean here? I would have thought women are childbearing later and having less children currently. And what on earth does breastfeeding on demand have to do with your body "belonging" to your (male) mate?

"Does this mean there are no sexual taboos left? Not really. Sex between older people is the new unmentionable, the thing that makes our kids yell, “Ewww — gross!” You won’t find many movies or TV shows about 70-year-olds falling in love, though they may be doing it in real life."

I don't agree with this part either. Was it really previously talked about and now unmentionable. I think with our aging population it's something we talk about more and more.

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Heather
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I think what she is saying, eryn, is that she feels, or her experience has been, that maternity/parenting is in conflict with sexuality and a sex life, and that she suspects this has something to do with what she is observing.

In terms of the second statement, I do think it's fair to say that the presentation of sex and sexuality as something that is primarily about younger people -- the intersection of sex culture and youth culture, in other words -- has certainly amped itself up over the last couple of decades.

IMO, the pity in bringing that up the way she did to me is not addressing at all how that impacts younger people and can exert external sexual pressures that can really make it tougher to identify the kind of internal sexual desires she is being nostalgic about. However, I think that conversation is much more one that your generation has, which I don't think she's privy to, than one hers does, mine does, or her daughter's does (who I think is a bit younger than I am).

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Jill2000Plus
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I spent all my teenage years wanting to have some fun casual sex, I love my boyfriend and I wouldn't cheat on him, but I wish we got to have more sex (we don't see each other that often, and I think he doesn't feel like he has enough privacy for phone/cybersex), I wish I masturbated more often than I currently do, and I kind of wish me and my boyfriend had an open relationship so that we could both have partnered sex when we can't see each other, but he wants to be monogamous so I'm sticking with that because I want to stay with him. I think it's a little unfair to say that women have now decided that sex is boring and not worth bothering with, and I think that she's kind of making it out to be all about women when actually there are still a lot of guys out there who don't know or care enough to be enjoyable sexual partners. And I know plenty of women who are definitely not looking to be mothers at the moment. I guess I'm a little atypical, but I'm currently trying to write a porn graphic novel, and if that isn't raunchy I don't know what is. Is she talking about porn or cybersex when she says that thing about being sterile and electronic? Plus, if women are having sex via webcam because it doesn't carry a pregnancy or STI risk, then why is that a bad thing? And doesn't it contradict what she's saying about women being obsessed with motherhood?

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Heather
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Thought it might be of interest to add a piece from her daughter (who is in her thirties) here for some counterpoint: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/05/30/molly_jong_fast_excerpt/index.html

Here's a few paragraphs from that piece:

quote:
The truth is my mother and I grew up in different worlds. My mom was born in 1942, in the middle of World War II. My mother grew up in a world where no one talked about sex. Where sex was secretive and sex was racy. She grew up in a world where sex meant marriage. Where women waited to kiss a boy until they were going steady. My mother grew up in a world where a woman couldn’t eat dinner alone in a restaurant, lest she look like a prostitute. She came of age in a universe without easily available birth control, without abortion, without options. My mother wore poodle skirts and twins sets, and had a black-and-white TV. She never witnessed a young Britney Spears pulsating in a bikini musing on her virginity (or lack of).

My nymphomaniacal grandparents were perhaps not typical of their generation, and we cannot discount the effect that my nymphomaniacal grandparents must have had on her.

I grew up in a world that was just the opposite. I grew up in a culture obsessed with sex. My childhood was punctuated by salacious New York Post headlines. As a girl I remember watching the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings on CNN. I was sitting in my mom’s bedroom, playing with stickers and asking her what a "pube" was.

The 1980s in New York City were a time of contradictions -- a time of limousines riding by homeless people, a time of the richest and the poorest as neighbors, living side by side, stealing from the other. The city was boiling with rage, with fear, with crime, and with sex. Sex was everywhere -- from sex crimes like the Central Park Jogger case to Donald Trump’s divorce from Ivana, to sex clubs like the Vault. Back then pornography was on basic cable (it was on channel J). Sex was everywhere.

Sex was piped into our lives through the media. The library was popular because it housed "Tiger Eyes," which was the dirtiest of the Judy Blume oeuvre. From books to TV, my teenagehood was hugely influenced by the musings of Aaron Spelling with his "Beverly Hills 90210"and "Melrose Place." I watched reruns of "Three’s Company" -- which was filled with innuendo and sexual hijinks that would have been considered pornographic when my mother was a girl. No matter how unsexy a show was, it seemed they always dedicated at least one or two episodes to teen pregnancy or STDs or date rape or some other "sex"-related theme. There was the usual media schizophrenia about sex, but whether it was promoted or profane the topic was still very much in the forefront.



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atm1
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I totally get what you're saying about AIDS being largely a change that happened in the late 80s and 90s. I also tend to forget that there was definitely a different discussion about AIDS where I grew up (outside of SF) than in many other parts of the country.

The piece by her daughter resonated a lot with me--just replace Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski and update some of the TV references.

Now I do think that there is a certain complacency around abortion rights (which certainly aren't in danger for upper class women, but ARE restricted for poor women in rural areas), but on the whole, I do think that many of her generation's (and mine, too) attitudes come from not having to fight for the same things earlier generations had to.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Really Interesting piece, I think I agree with where it's coming from.

I find it weird how invisible the unsexuality of modern culture is. Like guys I know, who to me are pretty typical of a more modern masculinity, rather than 'sexualising women' seem to spend their time moralising, telling me what's wrong with Lady Gaga is that she is commercial and sells her sexual appeal for money, they think her music videos are too sexy and intended to be sexy, but they say they don't find it sexy themselves but somehow 'know' that it is what it must be for her fans, completely blind to my thought that it isn't even intended to BE sexual but more to mock 'sexual' also some of her main audiences are straight girls & women and the gay community. I think a lot of guys see their modern moral worth as being defined by their not being interested in sex. If I talk about wanting sex or being attracted to someone it's like "as a feminist" (which they see me as) that isn't what I should say.

It was cool for me to read Camille Paglia (Lady Gaga and the Death of Sex) ranting about how Lady Gaga is unsexy, because I agreed... Sometimes I like her for it, for fighting sexual gaze with overload, existing unattainably in no guise for more than a split second before another instantaneous costume change. But I think now I find it really aggressive... saying "I'm up here, you're down there, so love me like a god, not a lover. and buy my mp3s and pay me with your attention" and somehow guys get to feel they've risen above the monster of their sexual urges, whereas really gaga is purposefully trying not to appeal them in that way at all and maybe not even trying to appeal to them in any other way either.

I think Britney Spears is a cool thing to have been mentioned, because she went from that vulnerable sexual availability visuals person to being pretty much hated or pitied by any thing I've read about her since. She went out of fashion so quickly, and her actual young sexual appeal was so meticulous-designed and exactly project managed with her that it kind of had to mark the end of that, I think. Even britney spears can't attain that now.

I think maybe sex doesn't sell any more, but ironic imitations of sex sell fine. Lynx (aka axe) commercials have remained sexist but seem to have got more and more ridiculous and ironic.

I never realised the intention of Samantha's breast cancer in Sex and the City as a kind of punishment for her sexuality... it's really sad to think of her that way, but it can also make her a bit of a martyr for that sexual passion. She is so my favourite character, and I wished none of the other characters were there. Maybe there is something inspiring about the one that gets the breast cancer and "dies for our [prudish] sins".

I'm under the impression that really there is a complication to the whole debacle and talking about "generations" homogeneously. There are people, like molly yong, resisting what they find to be excessive sexuality while that excessive sexuality must have been produced by other people of a similar generation. A lot of people I know find a real ideal in the more fun sexuality of the past. Erica is in fact talking about her 30 year old daughter, not 20 year olds for whom she is an example.

Also as for tv shows not depicting the sexuality of older people, Six Feet Under definitely did some really good stuff covering the subject of identity and sexuality of older generations in their 60s and 70s. But also I think it talks more about intergenerational things... it's so so cool.

I watched "don't look now" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYICwstBwnM recently and the sex scene in it is amazing, I think it's the best sex scene I've seen in any movie ever, it's incredibly hot, and realistic... the scene comes after a series of shots of routine stuff of the couple hanging out naked in a hotel, drawing, bathing, talking about their body weight, brushing their teeth together, teasing each other a little, then the sex it's itself is cut together with shots of them getting dressed again, putting sexual stuff right in the context of the everyday stuff, which of course makes it even more hot. That was 1973 and I really couldn't see something made that way now...

But also, I don't think things ever "go back", things are always new, I think really the free-love sex wasn't the same as the sex that the uptight generations before it stopped having, and as society has changed free-love generation sex may have seemed to have gone. I don't think it'll come back, but something new sexy might do. I think motherhood is something that has a value and which has been kind of displaced for a while and people are trying to work out what to do with that... it's unfortunate that a pro-life right-wing, Sarah Palin type thing is what has begun to allow for it in a way that arguably other left-wing stuff hasn't but I think that must probably change somehow, and some sort of feminist pro-sex motherhood needs to sneak it's way into the mainstream.

God that was a few hours of thinking - better post this somewhere else to get my time's-worth!

[ 07-10-2011, 07:11 PM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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Jill2000Plus
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Jacob, I thought what you wrote was interesting, but as someone who suffers from constant intrusive thoughts, many of which are focused on how bad and selfish I am for intending to have an abortion if I ever get pregnant and not wanting to be a mother for reasons which include not wanting to give up my free time, it can be kind of a kick in the teeth when people talk about motherhood having been displaced, because I find it very hard to stop feeling guilty about not wanting to be a parent/pregnant. As a broader point, as (I think) you were saying, generational attitudes are not homogenous.

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Angus
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quote:
Just as the watchword of my generation was freedom, that of my daughter’s generation seems to be control.
I think this is true, or at least true-ish, but I think she's interpreting it wrong.

The watchword today isn't "freedom" because people mostly HAVE freedom. The stigma attached to non-marital sexual expression has declined dramatically in the last couple of generations. But the fight for "control" is still ongoing.

I would be shocked to learn that there's less non-marital sex happening now than at the height of the sexual revolution. In fact, I strongly suspect -- though I can't find reliable stats -- that there's more. But another thing there's much more of is feminism, and more feminism means more attention to women's choices, and women's ability to make those choices in an un-coerced way.

In the late sixties and the seventies, women's obligation to be non-sexual was replaced in many quarters with an obligation to be sexual -- the threat of being seen as "hung up" or "frigid" was used as a weapon by many men to pressure women into doing things they weren't comfortable with. One of the things that's happened in the intervening years is that we've gotten far more tuned in to that kind of pressure, and are naming it for what it is far more often.

I haven't read Jong's daughter's essay, but its title -- "They Had Sex So I Didn’t Have To" -- strikes me as reflecting this shift. Nobody should "have to" have sex, but saying "I don't have to" isn't at all the same as saying "I don't want to" or "I'm not going to."

When I was a kid, we drank frozen orange juice all the time. When we got to have fresh orange juice from a carton, it was a big deal. Now my fridge is always stocked with carton juice, so it's much less exciting for my kids. Sometimes they even turn it down in favor of something else, which I never would have done.

But that doesn't mean they like fresh orange juice less than I did, or that they're drinking less of it. Just the opposite -- it means that it's been normalized.

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Heather
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Angus (and others, especially our readers):

quote:
The stigma attached to non-marital sexual expression has declined dramatically in the last couple of generations.
Do you think that's true for young people particularly? I ask because looking through my own lens of being in my teens and twenties in the 80s and 90s, it looks, to me, like that stigma has increased, rather than declined.

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Angus
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Heather, I think you're probably right that the stigma now is higher than in the eighties and nineties, but if you go back to the fifties and sixties the situation reverses, and dramatically. If I were to try to chart it, in other words, I'd start from a really high point in the fifties, with an accelerating drop over the course of the sixties and seventies, and then a rebound in the last twenty years or so. But even after that rebound, we're still a lot lower than we started.

Jong was born in 1942, which means she turned 25 in 1967. Young people today may be growing up in a more stifling culture than you and I did, but it's a far more open environment than the one she came up through.

It's also important to define terms, too. We think of the sixties as a period of sexual liberation, but in a lot of communities, that wasn't the case at all. When we're comparing now and the past, we need to be clear on whether we're comparing working-class Catholics in Indianapolis, or students at the University of Texas, or what.

And beyond THAT, there's the question of which sexual acts are stigmatized. That chart might look very different if we tracked it for same-sex activity vs. heterosexual making out vs. PIV intercourse and so on.

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TonicTwelve
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In my experience it feels like there are two crowds, those who are 'cool' and have frequent sexual activity, hookups etc both in and out of relationships (or at least portray themselves as doing so) and those who are 'pure' who have decided at this point to abstain from sex until marriage, who are frequently Christian or otherwise religious. I think there's pressure to fit into one of those groups, either to go out and have lots of sex or to not have sex at all. There is stigma from both sides to each other, the cool group think the pure group are 'frigid' and boring, the pure group think the cool group are disrespecting themselves and God or something along those lines. If you're not willing to put yourself in either box then you can cop it from both sides. And if you are out LGBTQ then chances of fitting in either group are slim to none. I'm not sure if this is how it is for other people but that's how it feels to me in the last few years.

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~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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TonicTwelve: As is probably obvious, what you're describing is a socio-sexual dynamic/culture VERY similar to that of the 50s here in the US, something I keep noticing myself.

Sometimes I feel like helping our users over the last, say, ten years, feels a lot more like helping the teenagers my parents were than the teenagers myself and my peers were.

What you're describing sounds very much like my impression of how things are socially for this generation around sex (and I'm kind of floored at how much you were able to summarize so fully in one paragraph! I need to start taking writing lessons from you).

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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atm1
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quote:
In my experience it feels like there are two crowds, those who are 'cool' and have frequent sexual activity, hookups etc both in and out of relationships (or at least portray themselves as doing so) and those who are 'pure' who have decided at this point to abstain from sex until marriage, who are frequently Christian or otherwise religious.
I do think, however, that this varies hugely among social groups. Speaking from my own experience (white, college educated, always been in liberal locations/studied at a liberal college, friends in early/mid 20s, from the US), most people I know really don't fall into those categories. A sizable minority engage in quite a bit of casual sex, but that is definitely a minority. I know only a couple people who are set on abstaining until marriage.

The VAST majority have plenty of sex outside of marriage, but inside relationships (of varying lengths). That said, nearly everyone I know has had a hook up or two, even if they're people who tend to be settled into relationships most of the time. So, I'd say 80+% of people I know DO NOT fall into the categories of "have lots of casual sex" or "wait until marriage." The vast majority also have a "do what works for you, even if it's totally different from my life style" attitude.

I do think that these patterns are really related to issues of class, education, region, race, etc. I think that this is a point that Jong misses--that there is no one "normal" experience of sexuality. I'd say what I see among my peers is very typical of white, middle and upper class, college educated, urban dwelling young people. That doesn't mean it's typical for another demographic group, and certainly doesn't mean it's what "most" young people experience as "normal." This makes it particularly delicate to talk about broad trends--I think you'll find that while acceptance of premarital sex hasn't decreased in my demographic, you might find that it has in others. (Similarly, there was a NYTimes piece a bit ago about how acceptance of divorce in my demographic has gone down. I believe that one, too).

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Heather
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(TonicTwelve: the more I sit with what you wrote, the larger discussion I'd love to see about it. Might you be okay with my reporting your post to our blog and opening that up for discussion outside the original topic here?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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What bothers me about the piece is that it completely lacks nuance. Jong talks about the experiences of four people she happens to know as if those experiences were true for an entire generation.

And not only is she making broad generalizations about my generation, but also that of my mother. I honestly don't think I personally know any women of my mother's generation who identified as feminist and/or had lots of liberated sex.

So what all of this prove is that, then as now, various different people hold various different opinions about sex.

[ 07-11-2011, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: September ]

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Johanna
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Heather
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Want to inject something else into this, based on some of the reactions: do some people feel that Jong is engaging in some sexual/sexuality shaming here?

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Karybu
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quote:
Originally posted by September:
What bothers me about the piece is that it completely lacks nuance. Jong talks about the experiences of four people she happens to know as if those experiences were true for an entire generation.

And not only is she making broad generalizations about my generation, but also that of my mother. I honestly don't think I know any women of my mother's generation who identified as feminist and/or had lots of crazy, liberated sex.

So what all of this prove is that, then as now, various different people hold various different opinions about sex.

Agreed. My mother (who's only a few years younger than Jong) definitely doesn't fit the description of Jong's generation of women, in any way. The generalizations in this piece are really problematic.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Heather
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Just one thing on those comment, Karyn and Joey: while it's not complete, nor has been evaluated or published yet, the study I have been doing on people's experiences with casual sex, which spans from respondents as young as 18 and as old as 90, has around 7K in completed surveys now.

And the last time I looked, statistically based on that survey (which is a statistically significant sample), there is a lot of data/answers that suggest that people over 40 HAVE had more casual sex than those under 25 (and not just in the years of life those under 25 haven't had the chance to live yet). This isn't the only data on that by any means, but I do think it's sound to consider that it's possible (and I'd even say likely), that between this generation and those of Jong's and younger (let's say, stopping at people right now under 30) we are seeing different social patterns when it comes to casual sex.

If anyone is curious, one book I really like about specifically American sexual history (which is what Jong is talking about, and not saying she's right or wrong in her generalizations, just that I do think they have some merit based on larger social patterns that have been documented less anecdotally than she's doing in the piece) is "Intimate Matters" which spans around 100 years. It's huge, but it's written in a really engaging way, so despite a lot of dense data, I think it's very readable. "From Front Porch to Back Seat" is another goodie when it comes to US sexual history around these issues.

[ 07-11-2011, 12:04 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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Just to add a little more data to think about, these couple paragraphs in "American Sexual Behavior: Trends, Socio-Demographic Differences, and Risk Behavior" (Tom W. Smith, National Opinion research Center, University of Chicago/National Science Foundation, 2006) sum up the social trends I'm talking about (and which I think do reflect a truth per what Jong is saying, whether or not she's right about the whys):

quote:
Premarital sexual intercourse became increasingly common over the last century (Table 1A, see also Hopkins, 1998 and Whitbeck, Simons, and Goldberg, 1996; Joyner and Laumann, 2001). This increase was not merely the result of the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s. The change was underway for decades prior to the 1960s and has continued since then. Rates among men were moderately high even from the beginning (61% of men born before 1910 report having had sexual intercourse before marriage) and climbed steadily. Women had low rates of premarital intercourse to begin with (only 12% of those born before 1910 had pre-marital sexual intercourse), but their rates grew more rapidly than those of men and the gap between men and women has narrowed over time. By the 1980s (roughly the 1965-1970 birth cohort) women had almost as much sexual experience as men prior to marriage (in 1988 of those 15-19 60% of men and 51.5% of women had engaged in premarital sex). This increase in premarital sexual experience is confirmed by community studies (Wyatt, Peter, and Guthrie, 1988 and Trocki, 1992) and longitudinal panels (Udry, Bauman, and Morris, 1975).

Then in the early 1990s the century-long increase in the level of premarital and adolescent sexual activity reached a peak and then declined for the first time in decades (Table 1A and Abma et al., 2004; Abma and Sonenstein, 2000; Averett, Rees, and Argys, 2002; Bachrach, 1998; Besharov and Gardiner, 1997; DuBois and Silverthorn, 2005; Stossel, 1997; Peipert, et al., 1997; Singh and Darroch, 1999). The decrease appears to be somewhat greater for males than females, but both genders show a leveling-off and then some reversal.



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Jacob at Scarleteen
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quote:
Originally posted by Jill2000Plus:
Jacob, I thought what you wrote was interesting, but as someone who suffers from constant intrusive thoughts, many of which are focused on how bad and selfish I am for intending to have an abortion if I ever get pregnant and not wanting to be a mother for reasons which include not wanting to give up my free time, it can be kind of a kick in the teeth when people talk about motherhood having been displaced, because I find it very hard to stop feeling guilty about not wanting to be a parent/pregnant. As a broader point, as (I think) you were saying, generational attitudes are not homogenous.

Eek sorry Jill... no way should you feel guilty, I don't mean that motherhood in terms of actually having babies. But more like the concept of our relationship to the potential for it... I don't mean that it's "missing" from individual people's lives but more that its' role, that it already plays in all of our lives, beit with our own "mothers" biological or otherwise, in whatever sense, feels, at least to me, a bit hard to find in my politics sometimes, and the culture we're speaking about... Sorry if it came out wrong there, but wow I'm definitely not saying there aren't enough baby-havers! And I totally am in support of any choice someone (especially you right now) makes about their own life, body and sexuality. I'm sorry for wording it in a way, I wish I could have said it better.

[ 07-11-2011, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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TonicTwelve
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Heather: Sure, go ahead with the blog post! You know I really had no idea about the way society viewed sex in the 1950s, I was just describing off the top of my head how it felt as a teen now. But a quick internet search has shown that it really was very similar, which actually surprises me alot.

atm1: I understand what you are saying and I certainly don't think what I said could be applied to every situation or demographic. I've only experienced high school and not college/university or life after that. Having not experienced it I can't know if this is true, but it feels to me like there is a big difference in attitudes between high school and beyond high school. When you're in high school there is a lot of pressure to fit into a box on a whole range of things, not just sex. When you spend around 7 hours a day, 5 days a week with the same small number of people, it's hard to get away from this pressure, especially now we have social networking where you can always be contacted and where what you do and say to others is constantly on display.

There comes a point where the extent that you are lying about and hiding your personality and identity in order to fit in feels worse than the social stigma you open yourself up to when you take the leap and decide to stop hiding that. I think when you leave school, your social circle generally opens up a lot more, there is more diversity so it's easier to find your own little social niche. I think too that people are usually more secure in their identities and perceptions of themselves that they don't feel the need to push them on others so much. Again, I can't know for certain if this is true seeing as I'm still in high school and haven't been to uni.

Wow I think I went a bit off topic there!

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~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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(Fantastic, thanks! I'll get something going on this tomorrow and post the link back.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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Here's the link to that blog entry: http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/heather_corinna/2011/07/12/living_in_a_world_of_prudes_sluts_and_nobodies_at_all

Thanks again, Caitlin! And by all means, would love to hear from people over there. Sometimes discussions in blog entry comments can present a different mix than we see here at the boards, and they also tend to get more seen by people who aren't regular Scarleteen readers.

I look forward to the discussion!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
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TonicTwelve
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Having a fangirl moment as I realised that I have been quoted in a Scarleteen blog post! You're so welcome!

--------------------
~~Caitlin

"Oh baby I said,
It's all in our hands,
Got to learn to respect,
What we don't understand,
We are fortunate ones,
Fortunate ones, I swear."


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Heather
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Seriously, it was just such a choice quite, and such a fantastically eloquent summation of a dynamic we hear people talk about all the time. And, as is obvious from the post, that people have experienced for a long time before now.

Thanks for letting me riff off of it! [Smile] I hope you'll take part in the conversation there.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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