Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution

By Paula Kamen | Go to book overview

2. Portrait of a Generation: Male and Female
Sex Patterns Converge

My fiancé and I have had sex before, but now he wants to wait until we're
married to do it again. This seems unfair. How should I handle it?

—G. F., 27, in “Sex Q&A” column, Mademoiselle, June 1998

I think every woman should have at least two lovers. If she doesn't,
something is wrong. Men do it all the time.

—Aisha, on Jerry Springer, exploring the theme of “girlfriends who cheat,”

October 8, 1997

“In college, before I had a boyfriend, I was what you would say promiscuous,” said Shelly, 24, a Miami high school teacher with a soft Georgia accent. “I would have more casual relationships. Like I didn't want a boyfriend and I had a couple of different guys for two and a half years that I hung out with. And neither one of us wanted a commitment or anything.” Like the other women that I interviewed, Shelly has had a sex life that is far from traditionally female. Actually, it is better described as traditionally male. As men have done more freely through history, Shelly formed sexual relationships on a variety of levels, from casual to committed, separating sex from love. “I never really thought about it until I started dating my boyfriend,” said Shelly, “and he would always bring it up… . But even though he would always try to make me feel guilty about it, I never felt guilty about it… . I'm glad that I did it. I definitely think that people should have sex before they get married. I think it's unrealistic—if that's supposed to be such a big aspect of a relationship, then it needs to be experienced before you get married. If you're not sexually happy with the person you're married to, then you've got a problem.”

Shelly and her friends Janine and Tammy, also high school teachers of the same age, are not ashamed of their unwed sex lives, for they know they

-40-

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