Remember when sex was a basic human need and even a desire? Those days are long gone, according to Meg Wolitzer of The New York Times:
One night at a gathering at an apartment in New York City, a woman blithely announced, "I would pay someone to have sex with my husband." There were snorts and yips of laughter. I believe one woman even clapped. "What did they mean?" I asked my friend. " ‘Here's to no sex with our husbands ever again?' ‘Here's to the end of sex?'"
Ah, the old "take my husband and have sex with him...please" routine. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a group of women laughing about what a chore it is to sleep with their spouse (well, I can but it's less than once, which I suppose is still a number).
Suddenly, being touched by one's husband or partner could seem so ... last year. I began to imagine that a kind of sex-themed Andromeda Strain had fallen upon the post-30s female population of Earth, causing them to turn away from men. But no, said another friend; sexual disengagement was an equal-opportunity employer when it came to gender, not to mention age. She pointed me to a recent article in The New York Observer that featured young hipsters who leave parties at dawn uncoupled but sated; and another one in New York magazine about guys who've been gorging on Internet pornography suddenly finding that they no longer have much appetite for the nonvirtual.
You mean to tell me that "young hipsters" are leaving parties without a partner and they're completely OKAY WITH THIS??? Well, you know what that means. Sex is totally passe now:
While some noes are event-specific and others are more of a general position, loss of interest in sex has become, paradoxically, a hot topic. Though no may now be more co-ed than ever, and may have a particularly contemporary, techno-sheen to it, I don't think the situation is radically different from how it ever was. Once, women were told they had to say no; then they were told they had to say yes. And now women (and men, too) are allowed to think about the implications of yes or no, and talk about them in ironic, defensive voices, or else more thoughtfully. But perhaps the hardest part of all this has to do with aging. As you get older, you do tend to live more narrowly, and that can be sad.
Gender equality and consent? Good. The notion that everyone saying "That sounds boring" to sex because they're getting "older" and living "more narrowly" is the newest, techno-sheenyest trend around? Probably not good.
So women and men are going home alone, opting out of having sex, etc., we get it. But what exactly are they choosing instead? Facebook and Wikipedia?
Oh. I didn't think that would actually be the right answer, but it is:
"There are just so many seductions - Facebook! Wikipedia! Pornography! "Far From the Madding Crowd"! Love! Pepperidge Farm! Hulu! Curriculum Night! Art! - and we are human, and mortal, and inevitably we have to choose."
If nothing else —at least according to Wolitzer— women are no longer the only ones who are cartoonishly "choosing" cookies and Hulu over sex with a real, live human being. In essence, Men are the new Cathy.
The Sex Drive, Idling in Neutral [NYTimes]