I was watching the Simpsons tonight and as usual they summed up a cultural issue with more truth and brevity than Shakespeare himself. Marge and her two sisters were watching TV and Patty and Selma announce that "Nookie in New York" is about to be on BHO. "It's about four single women behaving like gay men." Patty and Selma, claim to love the show because "that is so like our lives!"
One of the startling revelations in "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" is the revelation that promiscuous women who are happy, like those depicted on "Nookie in New York" (or as we all know it "Sex in the City") almost don't exist, statistically:
"Seventy-one percent of teenage girls report being in love with their last sexual partner but only 45 percent of boys do. And teen girls are far less likely than boys to report being happy with their sexual experiences and far more likely to report that they wished they had waited longer to have sex. On the other hand, married women report that marital sex is the best they ever had, and far more regularly than men they say the sex is better two years after marriage than it was on the honeymoon.
The picture doesn't get prettier for more mature singles. The Samanthas of the world are few. According to the research of Syracuse University anthropologist John Townsend, the most sexually experienced single women, while still believing that casual sex is fine, find that their feelings will not cooperate. They feel used, hurt and demeaned after sleeping with men uninterested in relationships. Many of the most sexually active men, on the other hand, regularly engage in pleasurable sex with women they barely know and sometimes don't even like.
The real world of thirty-something, single women bounces from books like How to Heal the Heart By Hating to those with advice about How Not To Stay Single. In 1999, 29 percent of 35-to-44-year-old females were unmarried; in 1960 fewer than 13 percent were. These facts are best explained by men enjoying unencumbered sex while hoping that a more appealing and equally willing woman may be right around the corner.
Too often, in today's culture, women stroll off to the playground of casual sex only to be hurt. They conclude, wrongly, that they are too sensitive to enjoy what their favorite female TV characters seem to love. Rather,the feeling that casual sex makes them unhappy is too common among women to be idiosyncratic. It's a normal, healthy reaction to a bad idea. To get what they want most -- a committed, loving relationship and good sex -- women should start by saying, "No."
I guess Patty and Selma are closer to the truth than "Sex in the City" There are indeed promiscuous women, but apparently precious few are happy about it. I guess that reality is too hard hitting for BHO. That's why the Simpsons will go on and on. Sometimes it takes a cartoon to show the real world.
And the part about gay men is right on the money. I don't have time to go into it right now but I've said it before and I'll say it again: I as a heterosexual man have far more in common with a homosexual man than with a woman. Because men and women are different. I take that seriously. As Billy Crystal said to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally : "Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place." If it weren't for women providing a brake to the runaway male libido, men would have sex all the time. There is sex in the city but it doesn't look like the TV show would have us believe.
I love the Simpsons.