and proper that they should have what their hormones seemed to be calling for--sex. But emotionally satisfying sexual pleasure did not always
come easily to them. They might be sexually inept; they might not be
good-looking or suave; they might not be able to manage the intricate
negotiations of modern sex. Or they might have entirely too many sexual
choices for their own youthful good.As many commentators have noted, however, the dilemmas of the new
sexual orthodoxy for women went well beyond these male psychic problems. Women had to work harder than men to ignore certain realities that
the orthodoxy itself did not account for. One was that they were far more
often the objects of sexual abuse and violence than men were. Another
was that early intercourse was more painful for them than it was for men--
and that, in intercourse, real sexual pleasure often came more slowly. And
a third was that pregnancy and abortion were experiences that belonged
to their bodies, not to men's and the traumas that were part of these experiences were almost always more severe for women. Finally, women who
were no longer adolescents might discover in their thirties and forties
that, as an ethic of personal choice rather than of necessity and commitment, the new sexual orthodoxy had left them with dependent children
and an absent spouse, with drastically reduced sexual prospects of their
own, and with inferior occupations and much higher poverty levels than
those of equivalently educated men of the same age (see Ehrenreich 1983).The young women who wrote these papers were not in this real world
of sexual adulthood yet, however. Nor did they spend much time trying
to think ahead toward it. By and large, like their mostly male sexual partners, they lived in the present. And for the most part, like the men, they
found the sexual present to be good and fun and exciting and, ideally,
laced with pleasure.
|The most common
question about this part of my research has been, What impact is
AIDS having on the adolescent
sexual mentalities and behaviors
outlined in this chapter and the
next? Curiously, according to my
research, not much. As indicated
below, most heterosexual Rutgers
students were not thinking about
this issue with any intensity in 1986 and early 1987, when this research was conducted. Not that
the AIDS threat was unknown dur|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Coming of Age in New Jersey:College and American Culture.
Contributors: Michael Moffatt - Author.
Publisher: Rutgers University Press.
Place of publication: New Brunswick.
Publication year: 1989.
Page number: 231.
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