American And Sexless: And This Is A Good Thing?

sexless ted rall
Written by Ted Rall

When did being sexless become a good thing? Here’s Ted Rall on the strange new cultural meme about no sex being something worth striving for.

ted rall interview with bernie sanders ted rall talks to bernie sandersaNewDomain — Sex didn’t used to be bad. 

I remember when sex was celebrated — and when the lack of sex was nothing anyone bragged about.

If you had told me in 1978 when I was 15 and my homeroom teacher’s son lived on a commune in Tennessee with a rotating sleep schedule (“If it’s Tuesday, I must be spending the night in Stacy’s four-poster on the second floor”) that in the 21stcentury Americans would be more prudish, I would have called you names. Yet that’s exactly where we are.

Take gays. In the 1970s, gay people scandalized straight America with The Village People, gay pride parades and crazy bathhouse sex. Now gay people wear Brooks Brothers and enlist in the military.

And now, on the straight side of the orientation ledger, intellectual elites go on and on and on about how not having sex is a Really Good Thing. That discourages those of us who like sex from having any, or keeping silent about it when we do, which no doubt fails to set the slutty example that might counterbalance the New Asexuality.

Do not doubt what I am saying. This is how far things have gone: the LGBT community has gone, within the last few years, to LGBTQ (“questioning”) to LGBTQA (“asexual”).

There is even an Asexual Movement dedicated to informing the public and defending the interests of those in the asexual lifestyle.

I reserve the right to change my mind about this, but at this writing I find the idea of asexuals needing a place in the spectrum of sexual orientation silly.

Asexuals, by definition, have no sexual orientation. From a sexual perspective they do not have a “lifestyle.” They are to sex as I am to football fandom — null quantities. An asexual person no more needs a place in a discussion about sexuality than I need a football jersey that declares me a non-fan of any football team.

Asexuals and malsexuals (my term for people who dislike sex) currently rule the cultural roost in the nation’s high-end media outlets.

Scarcely a week passes without an influential site posting/publishing/whatever-we’re-calling-it-now a piece about sex gone terribly wrong. My favorite recent example is from an article in Salon titled, “How anal sex ruined my relationship,” in which a woman consents to butt sex, the guy breaks up with her anyway — because once you agree to do something you secretly didn’t want to do but didn’t tell your partner in order to maximize resentment points, he is supposed to fall hopelessly in love with you and propose marriage.

Also in Salon:

’I have never turned heads’: What it’s like when you’re not the object of desire,” about a woman who claims to have made peace with the fact that her younger, prettier husband never initiates sex because she’s older and uglier.

Don’t forget XOJane’s “I Shared My Girlfriend With Her Husband and It Really Sucked.” As a self-described “monogamist lesbian,” did she think there was a chance of a different outcome?

And (in Salon, again, where some editor clearly hates sex): “How I cured my ‘sexual dysfunction’ without a pill.” (Tag line: “I hated sex, but I didn’t need ‘pink Viagra.’ I needed to understand intercourse — and my own body — much better.”)

“I had coitus without complaint. It felt like being punched on the inside, as if there was acid on my partner’s member because of the burning,” the writer shares. Yay.

Then there’s Neil Strauss, working both sides of the dollar-a-word sex-writer racket. (Disclosure: Ideological double-dippers, like Clinton hater-lover David Brock and Democrat hater-lover Arianna Huffington, are peeves.) A few years back, Strauss scored a bestseller with The Game, a transparently ridiculous advice book telling guys they could get laid, mainly by being mean to women. Now he says he’s a reformed sex addict and feels really, really awful about all the orgies he used to attend.

In the new book: The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, Strauss describes cheating on all his girlfriends. Message: monogamy and fatherhood rule! It’s hip to be square.

This week it’s The New York Times, whose “Modern Love” column is widely read, in part because it is awful to an epic Tom Friedman-esque level. Ali Rachel Pearl is a woman in her 20s who is on Tinder and never has sex.

Why does Pearl not have sex? She does not say. She does not even guess. The hottest clue is the fact that she is not willing to drive from Los Angeles to Long Beach because it is “too far to drive for sex.” Ali, if you’re reading this, 45 minutes is not too far to drive for sex, especially when you haven’t had any for two years.

This makes me think that she does not really want to have sex. Probably this is because she had her heart broken by a dude, and she is in her 20s, and she sounds depressed. She teases and is teased: “There is a man I sometimes love, a writer and lead singer in a hard-core punk band, who constantly declares, ‘I don’t have sex,’ and ‘I don’t do love,’ in the same moment that he sways closer to my face, nearly but not quite giving one of us the opportunity to make a move.” That is all.

It isn’t much.

Yet Times readers love her essay. “Haunting and sad”! one commenter says. Another: “Thank you for this refreshing article and reminding me know that there are many of us out there.” These are typical. So is the practical advice: “The writer’s priorities seem well placed: Pursue the Ph.D., not the hookup.” I wasn’t aware that you had to abstain in order to earn a doctorate.

No! Life without zest is no life at all. There is no zest without sex. The new sexlessness is a plague masquerading as a movement.

Ali, what you are experiencing is not normal or OK, much less to be celebrated. See a therapist.

What would really be refreshing would be a piece about how awesome sex is. Especially sex of the wild, kinky, outré variety. In which everyone involved has a great time, no one gets hurt, and no STDs are transmitted.

This happens zillions of times a day, and you’d never know it from reading The New York Times or Salon.

But no editor wants that.

For aNewDomain and the new Skewed News, I’m Ted Rall.

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