signup now
Sex: A Very Oral Report
  • December 11, 2013 : 15:12
  • comments

From the bedroom to the boardroom, the past 60 years have seen many a win for women. The pill gave us control over our own reproduction in 1960, and in 1973 Roe v. Wade did more of the same. Women have broken ground in politics, business, literature and art, giving new voice to female desires. There have also been back steps and sidesteps, missteps and mistakes. For a closer look at the modern female, we tracked down a dozen influential women, from artists to intellectuals, to discuss what we’ve gained and lost. Some spoke in their homes over glasses of petite sirah and boxes of Chinese takeout; others in Manhattan cafés over bowls of oatmeal. All helped provide a frank and honest look at the current state of our sexual lives.

Cindy Gallop

Writer, advertising consultant, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn.com

The older I get, the hornier I get. People ask me why I date younger men, and it’s very straightforward: I like having sex. I like having a lot of sex. I’m all about lots of stamina and short recovery periods, which men my own age, sadly, are not going to deliver. And in a context in which I’m focused on my work and my ventures, I’m not looking for a relationship. I don’t feel I’m necessarily a relationship person, to be perfectly frank. I don’t think I’m a monogamous person.

Every time I say publicly that I date younger men, I feel I’m striking a blow for all womankind. But I’m also public about it not because I’m saying I think everyone should do what I do, but because to me it’s a matter of a much bigger point, which is that I believe everyone should be free to decide the relationship model that works for them. Which may, by the way, be different at different points in your life.

I’m very open about the fact that I date younger men casually and recreationally. I date a lot of them; I keep the pipeline refreshed constantly. But I have one key criterion: They have to be very nice people. I have a good radar for very nice people. As a result, I date only utterly lovely young men, and I date them in an atmosphere of mutual trust, respect, affection and liking. Some of my so-called casual relationships go on longer than most people’s committed ones.

The great thing about older woman–younger man is that I can have all the chiseled cheekbones, bulging biceps and six-pack abs I want. And I enjoy all that, obviously. But at the same time, I’m just looking for what I find attractive about this person. They don’t have to be conventionally good-looking; they may be quirky, they may be interesting. I might really love their forearms. It drives a completely different assessment, which is much truer, to just see a person for who they are and see how you respond to that. In 11 or 12 years of online dating, I have never had a bad first date; my filtering sensors are very, very good. I’ve met men I did not feel attracted to and ended it. But I’ve never had a bad first date. One of the most paralyzing dynamics, in life and in business, is fear of what other people will think. And we absolutely apply that in a dating context as well. There is an external-facing dimension to how we assess our dates—and I don’t have any of that. I would love people to think differently about how they look at whom they date, in a similar way.

Natasha Leggero

Stand-up comic, actress

One guy I work with, I won’t say his name, he’s on television and he makes a lot of money. He was making fun of me for having an assistant. I said, “Well, I just want someone to go to Rite Aid and the post office. Who picks up your dry cleaning and buys the dog food?” He was like, “I have a wife.” And I was like, “Yeah, I’d like a wife too.” And he said, “Well, she doesn’t work. She’s in charge of running the household and raising the family.” And then he goes, “Sometimes I’ll walk down the hallway and throw something on the floor, just so she knows the division of labor.”

Men are keeping tabs. It is kind of a fucked situation that we’re in, because all women are working. We have aspirations, and we don’t have time to pick up full-time after a man. I do have a lot of thoughts about this. I think it would be nice if women could have wives. I was trying to think lately of someone who has everything. Like, if there are any female stand-up comedians who have a touring schedule, an acting career and a family. There really isn’t one. There was Phyllis Diller. She had those things. She had a TV show, a family and a stand-up tour. There are a lot of men like that. There aren’t really any female touring comedians who have children, whereas there are tons of males, because they all have wives. It does make it hard for women to have everything.

Now more than ever, the thinking woman and the career-driven woman and the woman with ambition, she has to find a partner. Now women need someone who’s only going to help and add to their lives. If that’s not going to happen, they break up. I have friends in their 30s who are freaking out about having a baby. Meanwhile, men who are in their 30s are barely ready for pet ownership. They’re having their 39th birthday parties at Disneyland. These are the men we’re supposed to be procreating with?

Jane Pratt

Editor of xoJane.com, founder of Sassy and Jane magazines

I remember with Sassy we were the first magazine to give teenage girls information on birth control and STD prevention, and we also wrote about gay teenagers, which was considered so controversial at the time that we lost our 15 biggest advertisers. Then we were taken off about half the newsstands we had been on. It seems like things have moved in a pretty progressive direction in terms of giving that kind of information to young women. In the just over two years that xoJane has been around, we’ve done 187 articles on abortion. That shows how much we are still fighting the abortion-rights battle, that it would still be such a big topic. Whereas, some of those other things—obviously gay rights are still a huge issue, but we’ve come such a long way.

To me, there are always new frontiers. One of the things I feel I am addressing a lot more these days is issues of gender, gender as a fluid concept. It’s becoming more and more a part of the way I produce the website and the media that I produce for women. Even to the point that, when I talk about xoJane being a website for women 18 to 34 or 18 to 49, it feels really old-fashioned to me to say it’s for women. What makes it for women, as opposed to just for people? I don’t know if people identify themselves in that way as much as they used to. In terms of the way we write and talk about sex with women, a lot of times you could read the article without gender pronouns and not know whether it was for a man or a woman because it’s so much about getting what you want sexually and what works for you.

Now it’s more acceptable to be open about just wanting to hook up or be casual and not want a relationship. I never wanted to get married, was never interested in it. Recently I’ve found that more women just love being single and don’t have any interest in that either. I think it is important for women to hear from other women that it is an option. It is an option to not be monogamous with one person for the rest of your life. There are huge industries built around being married and coupling off. It’s the same with women who don’t want kids. There’s not really a voice out there. For me, as someone who didn’t want to get married, I almost felt as though I was missing some chip or gene or something that makes women see a bride and then want to be a bride.

Erica Jong

Author of more than 20 books, including Fear of Flying and Seducing the Demon

What is fascinating to me is that there’s a nutty minority that wants to take back all the rights of women. A woman who can’t control her own fertility can’t control anything about her life. It’s the bedrock of women’s freedom. These guys who are passing crazy laws about sticking sonogram wands up women’s vaginas know the laws will be overturned. They’re taking a stand for the benefit of the fringe minority that votes in midterm elections. The majority doesn’t agree with them, so what we’re seeing is democracy being perverted for the sake of a well-organized fringe. It’s interesting to watch, and distressing. If you go back in time, Hitler didn’t have a majority when he came to Munich. He did not have a majority, but a very well-organized minority can come to power in a democracy. Watching it happen is truly amazing.

One thing you can see is that fascists always want to keep women barefoot and pregnant. And what is it about? It’s about fear of women, fear of women’s immense physical power—the power to give birth—and if they can’t stop it, they want to control it. Women are mysterious objects. Women control the means of reproduction, and it’s necessary to keep them in the power of men.

It’s so irrational and crazy, because every UN report on the status of women has shown that wherever you educate women, wherever you give women birth control, the whole society goes up economically in just a few generations. But if you keep women from education and from birth control, the whole society becomes impoverished. So what they’re basically doing is something that’s good for no one. It’s such a primal desire and so completely illogical. It’s interesting to me that here we are, nearly 100 years after the women’s vote, going through this again. It’s just mind-boggling.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
read more: lifestyle, Sex and Dating, sex, relationships, sex advice, issue january 2014

1 comments

  • Robert
    Robert
    @Natasha Leggero, you have to hire an assistant because women who say they want a supportive man who would do the role of homemaker are liars. Whenever they meet a man with this personality they consider him weak and listless. No matter what they say about this they want the bloodthirsty go-getter pillager guy. That's why women have assistants and men have wives.
Advertisement