Too much, for too long

Carolyn Moynihan
11 Jul 2011
Reproduced with Permission

Writer Erica Jong, one of the flag-bearers of the sexual revolution, wonders, in the New York Times, why her daughter's generation is not interested in sex. Sexual passion, that is. "Fear Of Flying" stuff, perhaps, though I have never read her famous women's lib tract.

She first discovered the shocking news about lust, it appears, while editing "an anthology of women's sexual writing" (yawn) last year. The younger writers displayed "a nostalgia for '50s-era attitudes towards sexuality" and were "obsessed with motherhood and monogamy."

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.

It would be too bad -- wouldn't it? -- if passion were subordinated to monogamy and motherhood. What a betrayal of the revolution, etc etc. And yet, that's the model of relationship that educated, savvy young women are embracing today. Who prefers to have four marriages, one child and 22 books (all, apparently, on the same subject)?

Oddly enough, the Times published Ms Jong's op-ed a week after New York state passed its same-sex marriage law.

Different though we are, men and women were designed to be allies, to fill out each other's limitations, to raise children together and give them different models of adulthood. We have often botched attempts to do this, but there is valor in trying to get it right, to heal the world and the rift between the sexes, to pursue the healing of home and by extension the healing of the earth.

Sexual complementarity? Now that is old fashioned, and Ms Jong should be the first to understand that. The birth control, abortion and unbridled passion that she champions make the sexual identity of the partner irrelevant; they are just a collection of interchangeable body parts.

Wake up, Erica, and write the real story about women and sex before you die.