Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture

By Michael Moffatt | Go to book overview
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.
Further Comments
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-

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Coming of Age in New Jersey: College and American Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface xv
  • One / Orientation 1
  • Further Comments 20
  • Two / "What College is Really Like" 25
  • Further Comments 62
  • Three / a Year on Hasbrouck Fourth 71
  • Further Comments 125
  • Four / Race and Individualism 141
  • Further Comments 168
  • Five / Sex 181
  • Further Comments 231
  • Six / Sex in College 247
  • Further Comments 266
  • Seven / the Life of the Mind 271
  • Further Comments 310
  • Appendix One on Method 327
  • Appendix Two on Typicality 331
  • Further Comments 336
  • References Cited 341
  • Index 347
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