Anne Lamott wrote a hilarious account of a year she spent on Match.com. A veteran of the online dating site, myself, I enjoyed her well-wrought description of her dates and some of the anecdotes brought back amusing memories.
But, here’s what else 58-year-old Lamott wrote:
In four-fifths of (marriages ), the men want to have sex way more often than the women do. I would say almost none of the women would care if they ever got laid again, even when they are in good marriages. They do it because the man wants to. They do it because it makes the men like them more, and feel close for a while, but mostly women love it because they get to check it off their to-do lists. It means they get a pass for a week or two, or a month. It is not on the women’s bucket lists. I’m sorry to have to tell you this.
I just don’t believe this for a minute. It’s not true of me and it’s not true of my friends. You think I’m out of touch? Read this, from a friend of mine on Sunday:
…is she kidding? It does make one wonder though if WE are the minority, especially at our age? Is this really the reality of most women? I hope to God (or Jesus, it IS Easter) that I never feel that way.
And really, I’m not so sure it’s true of Annie, because later on, she writes this:
We had chemistry, laughed a lot, sent lots of emails. But we didn’t touch. I thought, in my mature and/or delusional way, that this would come, but it didn’t. I made a few practice casual touches, but he didn’t respond.
…But then I got it, that my horrible friends were right, and he didn’t feel physical with me. I felt teary and surprised. I wrote to him, with my email voice high in my throat, saying that maybe it wasn’t going to happen, and maybe we should take a break while I went out of town.
Predictably, this relationship ends… for lack of physical attraction.
So, here’s my burning question:
If sex wasn’t that important to her, why was it important that her mate be physically attracted? If all she really sought was a companion, then it shouldn’t make a difference, right?
Ah, the inconsistency of it all.
Then again, a man’s physical attraction is perhaps a way a woman measures her worth to him, even if it she has no interest in actually being physical.
It’s very complicated.
But because Lamott is a writer, and a good one, and a visible one, I can’t let some of her statements stand unchallenged.
First, I absolutely care about getting laid and so do most all of my middle-aged and qualified-for-Social-Security friends, some of whom have such robust sex lives that it would make you blush at minimum and in at least one or two cases, shock you. Oh, how I wish I could share, but I won’t. You’ll just have to trust me.
One of them only recently threw out some of her bedroom attire and accoutrements for fear her grown kids would find them if something happened to her. (My point is “so what, you’re already dead…”)
Do not ever doubt the sexual imagination of those of us in our 50s, 60s and yes, even 70s and that many, many of us enjoy sex in all its manifestations. Grandpa really does still do Grandma and Grandma still does enjoy it.
Second, it seems that no essay about sex today can conclude without at least a passing comment about men and their use of Internet porn. Lamott is no different, and holds out the implicit promise of a future essay on this that riveting topic.
It may come as a shock to Lamott and these women, but men (and women) have been enjoying pornography for a long time and the evidence of this is that cave painting porn has been found. The internet is simply another medium. Cave, magazines, videos, internet: a progression of porn media. Nothing new here, folks. Step away.
|Doggy-style, cave drawing, Brazil, 2,000 to 25,000 yrs ago
And unless use of pornography replaces human interaction, I just don’t see a problem. In fact, it can be additive, and even give a couple so many fun ideas that it might take a lifetime to explore them all.
Oh, and Anne? If, as you say, you’ve “spent 1,736 hours of your life waiting for a man to finish and pretending it felt good,” well, you’ve just not been with the right men. So sorry to hear it.
I must confess: I resent this continuing depiction of women as girding their loins, gritting their teeth and bearing the onslaught of the male sex drive. And while it’s true that the whole process is a little more challenging after mid-life, I maintain that a hot and healthy sex life is a way important part of any relationship at any age. And many, many of us see it that way.
Does this bother anyone else? Do you agree with me? or with Anne?