Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On Perspective About Relationships, Gambles, and Boundaries

Dr. Laura's third hour from yesterday (March 12, 2013) was especially notable to me for a couple of reasons. She tore into a caller (and many women) for fornicating and shacking up. She said she doesn't understand what is wrong with them for, in my words, having sex for free.

Now, I do agree with her that the best thing to do, especially for a woman, if one wants sex and/or wants to be married to is save sex for marriage. That's the ideal, that's what is morally correct as far as I can discern. But Dr. Laura is speaking from the perspective of a 66 year-old woman, long married, successful, confident, assured of who she is, and dealing with calls from women who have gripes or problems.

Nobody is going to call her up and say, "Uh, yeah, I just wanted to tell you that I used to have a lot of sex outside of marriage, and now I'm married and life is great now. I never got pregnant before I was married, I never got an STD. I have no complaints or regrets. I just wanted to call and tell you that." Those people do exist, but they're not going to bother to call, they wouldn't get cleared to be put on the air if they did, and so they're never going to get to say that on her show.

Also, perspective is so much different for a 20-something or 30-something woman who is not even sure if she does want to get married, and/or whether or not she wants kids, or wants to climb the corporate ladder; a woman who is not married, but gets horny and lonely, who is far from certain what the future holds. Dr. Laura knows that, barring (God forbid) someone's death, she's going to wake up tomorrow next to her husband, and if she wants sex with him, she can have it. She has a son. She has a career. The women calling her aren't in that position. They may be with men who they want to be with for the rest of their lives, who are good citizens, doing well in their careers, who want the same things out of life she does... and expect sex to be a regular part of a dating/couple relationship and will not stick around if it isn't. (I haven't forgotten what is like to get advice from happily married men who were getting sex on a regular basis when I was inexperienced, lonely and worried I'd never have a good, lasting relationship... it's a little like being told "you're time will come... someday" from a guy who is stuffing himself with an all-he-can-eat meal of his favorite foods while you're standing here desperately hungry.)

I touched a bit on these topics in this previous posting.

Subsequent to a few calls like that, Dr. Laura got a call from a woman who was with a man for a year and a half. He has a lower sex drive than hers; very low, from the sound of it. Everything else about the relationship was great, according to the caller. Dr. Laura asked her if she wanted to spend the rest of her life without sexual intimacy and that the caller knew he was like that for a year and a half.

Wait... how was the caller supposed to find that out when they were first dating, since Dr. Laura (like many other marriage-and-family-minded commentators) says they're supposed to save sex for marriage, and definitely not hop into bed right away?

Anyway, after a year and a half it was clear.

The problem with Dr. Laura's question, though, is that it assumes the woman definitely will find satisfying sexual intimacy with another man, who will also have the other necessary qualities, if she leaves the relationship she's in now. There is no guarantee of that. Now, if Dr. Laura had gone on to say ..."because you'll drive him crazy if you stay with him, because you will continue to make an issue of his lack of drive"... then I might agree. But that wasn't addressed. It was all about the needs of the caller. The sad truth is, the caller may never find anyone better for her. On the optimistic side, she may indeed find a much better match.

If she doesn't, though, she'll never be put through on the air to say "I wish I would have stayed with that guy you told me to dump."

Remember, the only reason I can nitpick like this is because I think Dr. Laura is, for the most part, awesome and I listen to every minute of her show, read her books, and read the stuff on her website. May she continue for decades.

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