Okay, the blog MORE is subtitled “For Women of Style and Substance,” so I know I’m wading into deep uncharted water, being neither of those things. But the title that popped up at the bottom of a Huffington Post article caught my attention. “Marry Again, Nine Reasons Women Choose Not To.” I’m thinking, all right, let’s check this out, compare notes, see what “she” thinks.
Even the bullet pointed 9 Reasons clearly represent the author’s perspective. Here they are.
- As we age, women are winding up while men are winding down.
- Living Apart Can Be Better Than Living Together.
- Instead of one relationship, post-divorce dating may include many.
- You look better than ever and have more options.
- You’ve matured.
- Divorced women get time off from their kids – a true luxury.
- You may not want sex all the time.
- You don’t have to discuss your relationship ad nauseam.
- You’re a realist.
While it might be an interesting exercise to parse all of these for their fair and unbalanced perspective, but that’s not what struck me. I’m happy for a women’s magazine to champion and encourage women, post-divorce, to believe in themselves and their positive future. That is a critical part of the healing and evolution that comes with such a huge life change. No issues there.
But the section that hit me in the gut or lower, was the section “You may not want sex all the time.”
See, even before we dig into the juicy tidbits of the sex section, we can see from the bullet point that we’re dealing with some issues right up front.
- Men are stereotyped as the “always pawing, always asking” sexual tyrants.
- The hyperbole doesn’t serve the message either, you know women can also desire sex.
- Recent studies suggest that women desire sex as much as men, but the cultural norms have shamed their sexual expression into something deviant. (see “slut shaming”)
- Sex is about much more than sex. Physical closeness and the turning away from each other if often much more damaging than any frequency issues.
Okay, so let’s see what our tour guide can illuminate about sex, from her vantage point.
There are only two four-letter words that are offensive to most men – “don’t” and “stop”—unless they’re used together. After enough sex to last a lifetime, some women are happy to put that self-imposed obligation behind them. Occasional sex—vs. the required two times a week—actually can be more heated and satisfying. Absence can make the heart grow fonder of many things. You now can have sex when you want it, whenever that is.
Wow, that’s a very loaded set of assumptions. Again, I’m all about writer’s license and using extreme perspectives to make a point, but this is much deeper. I sense in the first sentence a lot of unresolved anger in the author. And the phrase “enough sex to last a lifetime” really stuck in my head. I couldn’t not respond. I mean, WTF? (Literally.)
Is there such a thing? Do you (women or men) suddenly reach a point in their lives where they’ve simply had all they need? Really? I’m hoping that point is far off in the distance for me, but maybe I’m unique. I’m confused by the rest of the sentence, “self-imposed obligation behind them.” Seems like it’s not “self-imposed at all. It’s about a Relationship (capital r). Even the word obligation carries with it generations of shame and separation between the needs and desires of men and women.
Can I stop now?
“vs. the required two times a week.” Um, yeah, who’s requiring this exactly? I’ve heard that some women actually have sexual desires and inclinations themselves. And sure, all kinds of things go into making sex “more heated and satisfying,” but I don’t think it’s the frequency.
The coupe de grace is the final sentence. Ah the full-empowered, beautiful, sexy woman. “You now can have sex when you want it, whenever that is.” I guess that’s more true for women than men. A hot woman, in a nightclub or at a singles meet-up is likely to be the one in control of if she’s going to be having sex that night or not. The married woman should also have the same rights. But again, if you’re talking about sex with a partner, or even a close and caring long-term partner, you’re going to have to negotiate a little. I didn’t turn down my wife’s sexual advances very often, but it did happen.
Perhaps she’s thinking of pleasuring herself in this example. In that case, she’s right on. We, men and women, are both capable of having “sex” when you want it. But if it’s part of a relationship, there needs to be some balance.
This article had very little balance. Given the readership and angry writer’s perspective, I’m sorry that this same stereotype is being supported and reported by a magazine claiming “Women of Style and Substance.” I would hope they are a bit more evolved about what men are like, and even more importantly, their own sexual appetites and hangups. That’s the language of sex within a relationship. It’s sex with another person. If it’s “required two times a week” it sounds a lot more like doing the dishes or vacuuming the living room.
The Off Parent
Reference: Marry Again, Nine Reasons Women Choose Not To – MORE
back to On Dating Again
- Unadulterated Love: What Is Joyful Sex?
- Reversing the Flow: Putting Women in Charge of Courtship
- Big 5 Relationship Questions to Answer Before You Start Dating Again
- She Came On Like a Freight Train – The Woman Who Says “Yes”
image: salsa, iangbl, creative commons usage
I used to worry about frequency of sex in my marriage. Then I got divorced. And now I worry about sex at all, with someone other than myself. Well, to be honest, I don’t worry, but I do go without for long periods of time. I hear that I could go out seeking sex and probably be fairly successful. I hear that women are into casual sex at our age and now-divorced status. That’s what I hear.
I’m not that way. I’m cut from a monogamous cloth. It’s how I’m wired. It’s what I want. And every opportunity, since my divorce, for casual sex, I’ve dabbled, but ultimately turned it down. I don’t want FWB. I don’t want a one-night stand. (I did that a couple times in college. No thanks.) I don’t want to cruise online dating sites for hookups. Or Ashley Madison for married folks who want to cheat. Gross. That’s not me. And that’s not my idea of love and sex and what I want from a relationship.
So how much are most people having sex?
You might be surprised to know the average sex counts for dating couples and married couples differs substantially. Or you might not be surprised by that, you might assume that sex will cool after you get married. But what about divorced adults, often with kids, how often are those cute women on OK Cupid getting laid? What’s their frequency if they were unbridled by societally imposed limits? I need to ask my friend and OK Cupid serial dater what her experience has been. But she’s not looking for sex, exactly. She wants a relationship. She wants long-term. She wants “what’s next” to be something that lasts.
I don’t know if that’s the normal single divorced attitude either. I’ve met a friend of hers who seems to be more bent towards screwing while it’s good and looking for what’s next when it gets tiresome. Maybe she’s experiencing a pent up unmet needs hangover from her previous marriage.
I remember meeting a recently divorced woman at a singles party arranged by a mutual friend who was happy to tell me within minutes of our introduction that she had never been fully satisfied sexual by a man. And certainly since her divorce, she had not be able to find an adequate lover who was capable of keeping up with her in bed. She was insatiable, she said. Obsessive and a bit gross, was my read, but any way, she formed at least a portion of the single and divorced female demographic. So the answer is, all kinds of women, all kinds of needs, all different amounts of sex.
But often for women, sex is not the objective. And for some men (breaking the stereotype here) are also looking for something beyond the frequent and satisfactory orgasm.
But when you first get divorced you’re sure the time is ripe for ripping up the sheets with as many women as possible. And it didn’t’ happen for me. Not that I didn’t go out on some Match.com and OKCupid dates while I was still tragically hurt from my divorce. And not that there weren’t any potentially willing partners, if I wanted to play act the dance to get them into bed. But I didn’t. I still don’t.
I tell most women, early on in the dating process, if the relationship does not have long-term potential then I’m not that interested. Sex with someone, anyone, is not very much more fulfilling than porn and my own left hand. So I don’t look for this type of sexual gratification as an initial part of my dating process. And I’m pretty clear on my dating profiles that I’m not looking to hook up or jump in the sack. (And research on OK Cupid also shows that men putting those vibes out AT ALL, get very low response rates. Very low. So keep your libido in your pants, at least in your profile and opening communications with a woman.)
And there have been a few women who contacted me first, with some sort of “hey your cute” proposition. And the two that I did go meet were really a bit more into it than I was. I simply did not care to proceed, even with a hot woman in a bikini who was downing gold margaritas, to the play that could’ve led to sex. Nope. That wasn’t attractive to me in the least.
So how much sex is everyone having out there? Is there some research we can turn to for answers? If you look at the scholarly approach to data you get this report: Sexual Frequency Decline from Midlife to Later Life – Journals of Gerontology. And that’s really the demographic I’m interested in. (Millennials, who are probably not reading a divorce and single-parenting blog will have to go elsewhere for their data.)
Here’s the summary: “For women, change in the proportion widowed is a significant factor in sexual frequency decline, as is change in the association between happiness and sexual frequency. Among men, both poorer physical health at older ages and a decrease in its association with frequency are significant factors in the decline. A change in the association between happiness and frequency is also a significant factor for men. Reverse causality may explain the happiness–frequency findings for both men and women.”
Okay, but that doesn’t really help us parse our men and women and married vs divorced. For that I went to The Kinsey Institute: sex frequency by age and marital status chart.
First the men:
And then the women:
Okay, so to take my age and desired trajectory (I’m being a bit silly here) let’s see what this data can tell us about the best relationship configuration for having frequent sex on into the sunset years.
Partnered seems to be the winner. Married comes in a close second and the poor single 70+ dude, no matter how fit and virile he is, looks like he’s alone a lot.
Seems pretty simple, but hey, good to know.
The Off Parent
- Good Sex: Getting It Together About Getting In On
- Sex: Men vs. Women… Wait, That’s the Wrong Approach
- 5 Wonderful and Unexpected Benefits of Being a Serial Monogamist
- In Defense of Dalliance
- Sex is Fun: Should You Settle for Apathetic Sex?
image: Italy – 1948: what would you like to do, dennis jarvis, creative commons usage