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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A depressing state of affairs

Yesterday afternoon at about the same time I came across two very different posts on sex:

On one side, Siggy's Romantic Illusions And The Higher Self, where he explains,
With real intimacy comes a real oneness and singularity that transcends the biological imperative. With that real intimacy that transcends the biological drives, we find our higher selves. We find ways to communicate in ways outside the physical expression. We come to understand that the most powerful expressions of intimacy are outside the physical realm.

For many people, that kind of intimacy, outside the physical and biological boundaries are the real sexual attractants. Some people find their sexual attractions on a 'soullular' plane. They experience the same physical sensations and the same attractions as everyone else. For them however, the genesis of those feelings are found in the higher self and in the higher self of the other. They yearn for sexual expression, but they yearn for that in conjunction with an intimacy that is found outside the purely physical intimacies. They want a spiritual component to their union and will be satisfied with nothing less.
Siggy is talking about a higher self, real intimacy, a more perfect union.

On the other side and a generation younger, the winning essay of the Modern Love: The College Essay Contest, titled Want to Be My Boyfriend? Please Define, a thoroughly depressing account of the hook-up scene among college students.

The young woman who wrote it, Marguerite Fields, states,
I think what I have been seeking in some form from all of these men is permanence.

Sometimes I don't like them, or am scared of them, and a lot of times I'm just bored by them. But my fear or dislike or boredom never seems to diminish my underlying desire for a guy to stay, or at least to say he is going to stay, for a very long time.
She is not alone: the contest brought about hundreds of entries from college students on "their ambivalence about the no-strings-attached sexual opportunism of the hookup culture."

A young woman in college, having sexual encounters with dozens of men who are little more than strangers to her, yearns for a guy to at least say he is going to stay.

I find that extremely depressing: She wants not love,
not intimacy,
(and forget about a spiritual component to a union - that hasn't even crossed anyone's mind).

Just permanence.

How sad.

UPDATE
Porretto: Sex: The Sequel
Intercourse doesn't really make two bodies into one; except in pathological cases, the two separate soon afterward. But the interpenetration of bodies cannot be divorced from the equally urgent desire for an interpenetration of minds and souls. When we cheapen sex down to a mere satisfaction of physical desire, or worse, a slaking of need, we undermine the foundation for love. If deprived of love for long enough, we lose the capacity to love ourselves.

The "hookup culture" strains to deny these truths. But like a few others known better to our forebears than to us of 2008, they are self-evident -- and self-demonstrating. There isn't a voluptuary in the world who can escape the consequences.
The Anchoress: Progressively lonely and longing
Truly, it is an idea almost as old as civilization - monogamy, family, the unit, which blends two families and then extends out. Given the determined effort of the know-it-all boomers to "deconstruct" all of the worthless and bourgeois establishment norms that went before them - marriage and family were emphatically "out" and "repressive" - it is not surprising to see a generation unable to process the idea of commitment to anything other than "whatever there is today."
Go read every word of both posts.

And don't miss (via Neoneocon) Kay S. Hymowitz's Sex and Its Discontents, on how the "revolution" got started.

UPDATE
Obie's Sister takes a look at The Hook-Up Generation

UPDATE, Monday May 12
"Casual, careless, lighthearted and fun."

(h/t Jody)
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16 Comments:

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Shane said...

I thought there was no difference between men and women? I thought that casual sex was about liberation from the puritan and patriarchal manacles that inhibit women from enjoying true freedom?

The old joke about men and commitment is inspired by the recognition that men, often, see sex as an act, not a promise. If some women continue to believe that liberation means acting more like men, you'll get no argument from men.

Remember - it's not that men want to have sex a thousand times with a woman, it's that they want to have sex with a thousand different women. It's our nature. It is women that teach men to respect the act, and respect the woman they make love to. It might be the most important duty a woman has - to tame men. Can one do that assuming the libertine sexual values of a man? No...

 
At 10:10 AM, Blogger Pat Patterson said...

Dawn Eden's The Thrill Of The Chaste covers much the same ground though in her book happiness comes mainly, not only as a psychological result, in the fulfilling of God's, for lack of a more suitable word, suggestion.

 
At 10:20 AM, OpenID lauriekendrick said...

Lo that sexual opportunism is only limited to our days of collegiate matriculation.

Alas, it is not.

It happens to well meaningm, trusting crones, too...some who really should know better, but fall victim to "maybe..just maybe he'll like me". Old habits are hard to break.

I was moved by Siggy's post. I want what he writes about. In fact, I'd love to think that the man who represents the perfect fit is out there. My search for a saucer to my cup has resulted in some distrous tea ceremonies.

I would like to think with all my heart--that my current relationship is the proverbial "one". He makes life feel like it's more engulfed in a tea cozy than a a perfectly matched set of bone china. That's a good thing. It's far from perfect, but at this stage of my life, it's perfect for me. I like the feeling of feeling safe and secure and in a sense, insulated.

Maybe this time I lucked out, but I lived a previous life of getting it wrong and not just a little wrong...egregiously wrong.

I wasn't all that different from the contest winner about which you posted, Fausta. I too went looking for the thing I'd never find, because at 19, 20 and 21, I really had no idea what I was looking for. While sex wasn't always a part of the equation, I can say that I loved like a Chinese Laundry.

"Pick a number"

"Now serving..."

How incredibly horrible, hollow and empty.

Sadly, I'm not sure I knew what I wanted at 45 either.

But time has helped. I can narrow things down now and become myopic about who and what I can allow in to my emotional realm.

Thank God for maturity.

If I knew I had to relive my 20's or even my early 30's again, I swear to God, I'd be forced to rewrite "The Bell Jar"!!!!!!

Best,
LK

 
At 11:07 AM, Anonymous neoneocon said...

Coincidentally, Kay Hymowitz has a relevant essay in City Journal (scroll down a bit if you follow the link) entitled "Sex and its Discontents," that discusses some ancient historical origins (1968!!) of the issue.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

Dear Fausta, I was going to leave this as a comment...before it passed 500 words. Anyway, thanks for the stimulus to a most satisfying rant.

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger Gerard said...

"On our second date we watched coverage of the Iowa caucus, and later, after listening to jazz at his apartment, he crawled onto his bed, leaned against the headboard and said he didn’t burn artificial light after dark. I sighed and edged into bed next to him."

Ah, the fool, the fool. She'll be a fool until the day she isn't.

So sad, really, so very, very, sad.

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous GM Roper said...

One more unforseen consequence of the sexual revolution. Not just sad but a look into the emptiness of those seeking permanence via sex.

Everytime I read something like this, I love my wife even more.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger Alfonzo said...

Hey, that was fun. Make me a sandwich.

Hey ladies! We're DOGS! You just have to know what kind of dog your involving yourself with.

The dog that will hump you, and then pee on you,

or the dog that is protective and loyal.

Fellas! It's HARD! The MALE thing to do is to hit it and quit it.

However, the MAN thing to do is to say I do to her, before you do it to her, Know what I'm sayin'!

Holding out till marriage doesn't come without it's problems,

but I have a pretty good feeling that if people would do that, we wouldn't be finding ourselves reading about, or seeing so many movies about, or T.V. shows or songs about "depressing state of affairs"

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger KarenO said...

The feelings conveyed in the essay are a testament to the sad lack of emotional maturity in a growing number of young adults. This is the continuing legacy of the socialist agenda that convinced women of the 60's to "throw off the shackles" of traditional marriage. While most did not find much satisfaction in marching off to an extra 8 or 10 hours of work each day, their anger at the male-dominated world drove them on. Too tired to cook, family dinners went by the wayside--along with communication and marriages. Eventually, exhausted and lonely, and still believing it was excitement and romance they missed, these women began to take on "temporary" adult company for themselves--and a new "daddy" for their kids on an all too regular basis. Focusing on the demands of new relationships, and less on the lives and welfare of their children, the "It's my turn" attitude eroded the family values they had once brought to marriage.
Child custody and visitation rights became the new weapon of choice for the embittered, but "free", woman. Meanwhile, the husbands they had alienated from their children, and neutered in the courtrooms of America, were finding the strength to start over--often with younger, less scary, and more admiring women.
Many wives, not choosing actual exit from marriage, were now working outside the home. Emboldened by a salary of their own, they began berating husbands for "not doing their share". It wasn't long till those men began to pine for the youthful happiness displayed by those men who had moved on.
While parents struggled for power, kids were left to fend for themselves, emotionally and socially. They began to look for guidance elsewhere and teachers became the steadiest and most convenient force in their lives. Teachers were in their lives more hours a day than both parents, combined. Academia, now a stronghold of the new socialists, began stepping further and further into the lives of our children. They freely promoted views of equality and sameness. They systematically began to beat the spines, if not the hormones, out of the children we left them to raise.
Nature is not easily destroyed. The will to be unique, the need for security, and desire to demonstrate these traits runs deep in the human soul. While taught to deny their natural tendencies and confused about their role in society, our children have resorted to extreme emotion, eating disorders, body mutilation, and self-medication as a means of holding on to what is instinctual--the power to have personal control. Is it any wonder they crave, yet reject, normalcy. Why are we astonished at their inability to have healthy relationships or the need to act out their confused dramas and on sidewalks, and bedrooms, of our cities. ~Karen

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Fausta said...

Holding out till marriage doesn't come without it's problems,
but I have a pretty good feeling that if people would do that, we wouldn't be finding ourselves reading about, or seeing so many movies about, or T.V. shows or songs about "depressing state of affairs


Yes indeed.

 
At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

Being a farmer is a useful job - you produce something that people need, you know your work is important and you get to spend a lot of time outdoors. It's also pretty disgusting work, and it's dangerous. In the good old days, most men were farmers. But our modern society doesn't need all men to be farmers. Most men would rather have other careers.

The same goes for the job of being a housewife. In the good old days, most women made careers out of the job of taking care of their family and their house - they knew that they were doing something useful, and they knew the work had to be done. Housekeeping is also disgusting work, and it's very boring. Expecting all women to be housewives, like expecting all men to be farmers, would waste the many talents that women have.

Random, empty and emotionless hookups aren't good for anyone, but the 'old' ways weren't all that great either. We're still slowly adjusting to the many societal changes that came with longer lifespans, birth control and efficient farming techniques.

I don't think the problems can be solved by expecting women to live in the past, not allowing us to experiment and expecting us to 'tame' men. Tame your own selves. We have more other things to do with our time.

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Red River said...

My guess is that this Mary ( talking about us farmers ) never had a little lamb.

Yes, farming is tough work, but it makes you one tough SOB, unlike the majority of Americans who complain when their Latte' is too cold.

The same goes for having a family and a strong marriage. It does not mean you cannot have fun, but like Farming, it becomes a higher calling whose priorities rise above one's own hurts or desires.

Any parent who has sat up all night with a sick child while that parent was also sick knows how the story goes.

Someone has to change the diaper full of doo-doo, do the laundry, clean, cook, etc. Its a dirty, sometimes disgusting job, but its made so much easier when you don't crap all over yourself in the process of developing your inner snob.

When the Marys of the world see us farmers and proud dads strut on by, most men getting out or our way, our own sons and daughters able to beat the living snot out of Marys neglected brats, then, when she turns 35, she will learn to appreciate Manhood. But we will not see her or the other Marys - rather we will see an embittered, alcohol-drenched, flighty, flaky, lost soul who is not worth the time to talk to.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous colagirl said...

This is a pretty depressing essay, all right. It's pretty clear that the author has no idea what she wants and also not a lot of self-respect--of course, neither do some of the men she writes about (cf. her friend Steven who says he doesn't care if his longterm girlfriend cheats on him as long as he gets to spend time with her?) There's an old saying that this brings to mind: "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out." Obviously this young woman has failed the second half of that aphorism.


Everytime I read something like this, I love my wife even more.


I completely understand this. Every time *I* read something like this it makes me even more grateful for my wonderful husband.

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

red river, I'm a mom who has raised two grown kids. My daughter, a bio major, wants to spend her summer working on a farm.

My son, a flight instructor, sees farms as emergency landing spots, and that would be the only reason he'd visit one. My husband, who also flies, feels the same way.

My grandmothers both left Ireland because they hated rural life. My grandfather turned down land he inherited to live in New York City. I heard endless stories about the horrors of life on a farm (including stories of hostile geese). But, my daughter is an individual who has the right to make her own decisions, so she'll spend her vacation on a farm.

But, due to her grandparents' efforts and the wonders of science, progress and modern civilization, she doesn't have to spend her vacation on a farm.

Some individuals think that marriage and family is wonderful, some think that life in the city is great, and some like to live their lives surrounded by friends but not family and some want to live on a deserted island. Marriage and family aren't for everyone. The single life isn't for everyone either. Some leftists think that the world would be a better place if everyone agreed that the state should take care of children, and families weren't necessary. Some family values conservatives think that the world would be a better place if everyone were bound by family ties and standard relationships.

Some men believe that all women should think similar things. Some women believe that all men should think similar things. All ignore the fact that we're individuals with different goals.

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

KarenO that your post was the saddest post ever.

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous michaelyi said...

Shane and Alfonzo talk glibly about men but they're only revealing something ugly about themselves -- and nobody else.

What KarenO had to say was very illuminating. It's not men who are the big audience for Sex and the City and its copycats on the boob tube. It's not men who are the ones calling their marriages quits 80% of the time (91% if feminist Shere Hite is to be believed), almost always for lightweight pseudo-reasons such as "I want to find myself." Nor did men invent feminism. Women did.

And only women will be able to give up those behaviors. Men can't make women do it. Men can, however, withhold themselves from permanent relationships with those of the sex who are drunk with power in the divorce courts. Maybe Miss Marguerite Fields hasn't done anything herself to deserve the situation she laments yet as parochial school nuns once scolded when administering a collective punishment, "It only takes a few to ruin it for everybody."

 

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