60th: Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.
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23 October 2004
Got your attention, didn't I?
I came across this bit in a recent entry of Occasional Muse:
Kathleen is obviously much younger than I...and grew up in a different environment.
I remember reading "Marjorie Morningstar" when I was in my teens. I loved that book. I read it over and over again. And I still remember vividly the big "sex scene," when Marjorie and Noel finally find themselves in the right mood and Noel says something like "now this isn't really what grownups do, is it?" or words to that effect and the two of them end up in bed. I remember the scene where...oh what is the quote...something about how at first it was beautiful and then it turned ugly, and ugly discoveries or something like that and then it was all over and he tells her it will get better.
Sex in the puritanical 50s.
My first boyfriend (and only boyfriend for 3 years) was Bill, whom I met when I was 13, and he 16. It might never have turned into the boyfriend-girlfriend relationship that it ultimately did if he hadn't had the accident. He and his father had a collision with another car in a busy intersection in San Francisco and they both ended up in the hospital, Bill in one hospital, Charlie in another. I had only met Bill a few weeks before and his aunt, who was our neighbor, suggested I go visit him in the hospital.
That first visit ended when they took him out of bed and off to x-ray, giving me a clear view up his short hospital gown as they wheeled him out of his hospital room. Where do you aim your eyes when a strange guy's scrotum is staring you square in the face?
By the time Bill got out of the hospital, we had become good friends and began dating. He probably had other girls he dated too, but he was the only guy I dated all through the first three years of high school (since I went to an all-girls' school, I didn't encounter males much). We did the casual necking thing but nothing below the neck--ever. I was a good catholic girl and terrified of any kind of physical encounter.
I grew up in an era where you were a "bad" girl if you kissed on the first date.
I remember the time I told him I loved him and he asked me to "prove it," and I truly didn't have a clue what he meant. It was years and years later before I finally heard that phrase and realized what he was talking about.
I still remember when he broke up with me. I was such an innocent that it was years later that I realize he was calling it off because I wouldn't "put out" for him.
When I read now that kids feel oral sex is a casual thing, that it ranks up there with kissing--that kissing is even more intimate than oral sex, and that a girl doesn't necessarily even LIKE a guy to give him oral sex, it boggles my mind. It certainly is a different world.
I dated one guy after Bill. We had a grand total of one date. He wanted to kiss me and it terrified me because I didn't really like him much.
Then came Randy, who was gay (though he never admitted it) and thus no threat to my virtue.
In college there was Dick, briefly, who didn't really like me in that way. There was Bob, who was also gay. and there was the big football player I agreed to go on a hayride with, which I'm sure he has told his buddies for the rest of his life was his worst disaster date. He expected a lot more than I did and by the time of the hayride I'd heard so many stories about him that I was terrified of him and spent the entire night trying to get away from him. (I ruined Char's date that night too by trying to hook up with her and her date as protection!)
I was so convinced that sex was something to be saved for marriage and so convinced that all my friends felt the same way that I truly believed two nice Catholic people of the opposite sex could spend the night together in the same bed and just...sleep.
I was incredibly naive.
When a friend had a "premature baby" that weighed over 7 lbs, born 2 months early, it was an incredible, shocked "a-ha!" moment, realizing that maybe two people of the opposite sex really had done more than just sleep together in that bed.
Perhaps "naive" doesn't begin to describe what I was like in those days.
I certainly didn't "just have sex if I wanted to" before I started officially "dating."
It's hard to define how I feel about sex for young people these days. On the one hand, I like the idea that people know more about sex and that it is not the taboo subject that is whispered about behind closed doors, nor is it something to be feared as the "great unknown."
On the other hand, it bothers me that young people feel pressured to enter into intimate relationships before they are mature enough to handle the consequences.
It bothers me that with sexual diseases running rampant that there is such a casual attitude about very intimate interactions between people.
Think of that lovely little ad for a herpes medication, where the lovely actress talks about how wonderful it is and that she hasn't had a herpes outbreak in "nearly a year" and then she and her handsome young escort go waltzing across a lovely veranda.
It's herpes, people. An incurable sexually transmitted disease. We see her dancing with a partner, smiling into his eyes all because this medication allowed her to be symptom free for months at a time. I remember when herpes was a hugely embarrassing, tragic condition. People with herpes were "unclean."
Cases of AIDS are on the rise again, as people forget that this is also an incurable disease which in my lifetime has killed off millions of people, some of them close friends of mine.
I am certainly no longer a prude. The notion of sexual relations between consenting adults, married or not, does not bother me. I have been known, in my time, to support my own children in their intimate relationships, married or not.
But I'd sure like to feel I lived in an era where people knew what they were doing, knew what the risks were, knew what the precautions were, and gave some thought about the relationships they were starting, not "just having sex if we wanted."
I don't think I will ever feel that oral sex is a casual thing that is less intimate than kissing. It saddens me that it seems that for some, the question today is not whether or not to kiss on the first date, but the expectation is that a date comes with some sort of sexual encounter at the conclusion.
That notion, for me, cheapens something which can be beautiful when the time is right, and with that special person. It also cheats the participants out of the whole courtship routine, learning to love a person first, and then learning how to express that love after all the other conditions were in place.
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For those who believe that Bush is the anti-abortion president, please read this.
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