It was never easy. Dating, having sex with a new flame, figuring out the protocols. Now there’s a new reason for being happy you’re old: you’ve figured out sexual navigation. Not like the kids. They’re all screwed up. In Frank Bruni’s latest column, The Bleaker Sex, he says,
Young women are trying to feel the whole liberation thing by having the same meaningless, indiscriminate sex as men have always had.
Bruni quotes Ms. Lena Dunham, director of a new HBO series called Girls:
…modern cultural cues exhort her and her female peers to approach sex in an ostensibly “empowered” way that she couldn’t quite manage. “I heard so many of my friends saying, ‘Why can’t I have sex and feel nothing?’ It was amazing: that this was the new goal.”
This is why we burned our bras? Okay, nobody ever really burned bras – that’s an urban legend – but I was hoping that Women’s Lib was about being true to yourself, not imitating men.
But to my point, and I did have one: Thank God I’m no longer young, and embroiled in the sexual turmoil of dating and all that follows. If you’re ever tempted to feel bad about being old, consider this: apparently, the abundance of high-def pornography is tricking the brains of young men into preferring their online “relationships” with porn stars over that of their girlfriends. A 41-year old lawyer, single, describes the shift:
I don’t like to believe that porn is replacing anything I have with my girlfriend,” he says, “but she asked me recently why she always has to be the one to initiate things. And she was right; I guess I’ve been fading from her. It’s like all that time with these porn stars was subduing any physical desire for my girlfriend. And, in some weird way, my emotional need for her, too.
Imagine being a young woman, intrigued by a new man, and finding out the first time in the sack that he’s overcooked rigatoni, and then your girl buddies tell you that it’s happening to them too.
It turns out that being twenty or thirty-something, with taut, smooth skin and thick hair isn’t enough. Now young women are expected to compete with porn stars.
Here’s what you’re up against, according to Bruni:
…the buffet of fetishistic porn available twenty-four-seven has made age-old sexual practices seem unexciting. Insufficient, somehow.
Every now and then you see a letter in the advice columns written by a lonely wife whose husband comes home from work and spends the evening in front of his computer screen, checking stocks. (That’s probably code for “pants around socks.”) He’s addicted to porn, the wife laments. How do you compete with that? In my day, porn was found in magazines, and later, the adult section of the video store. Men were happy just to have someone to go to bed with. Now they expect – well, I can’t say it. This isn’t that kind of column.
However, in researching this issue I learned that there are real men out there, guys who are sophisticated enough to know the difference between a real woman and the screen version. (I also bookmarked this website – it’s geared toward young men, so for me it’s like spying on the other side. Fun!)
So here’s my question: have you heard of this new preference of young men for digital girlfriends as opposed to the living, breathing, real thing? Do you think it’s just young men, or is it Boomers, too? What do you think?