Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Generational Divide

I interrupt my series of questions for Dr. Laura with examples from yesterday's show that might explain some of the questions in the series.

The Call of the Day yesterday was from the first hour:

Shane (caller, female): I'm calling about a dating situation. I've been seeing someone for a little over a month. I've developed feelings for him. I'm definitely not ready to be a relationship him, because I don't trust him enough to have sex with him yet. I find myself-

Laura [Interrupting]: Shane, stop. You're not even ashamed of what you just said.


Shane: What do you mean?

Laura: You're in an era where screwing means nothing. Soon as I get comfortable and trust him I'm gonna screw him. And then if we break up, I'll go with somebody else and then I'll feel comfortable and I'll screw him. "I have feelings. I barely know the guy. In fact I don't know the guy, but until I know the guy a little better I'm not gonna become a warm place for him to put it." Whatever happened to modesty and valuing your sexuality to make it actually lovemaking, and not entertainment?"

Here’s where I play Devil’s advocate and ask what is wrong with entertainment? It isn't like Shane is avoiding marriage or leaving behind a husband to go get some "entertainment". What a lot of people see is that Shane can either have fun or not have fun. Why turn down the fun? They see it like this: Yes, I hope to find a gourmet restaurant for my dining needs and be a loyal customer, and while I'm on my journey there, I'm going to eat at various places, even fast food places.

Shane: No that is actually what-

Laura [Interrupting]: Your whole generation has become pigs.

Shane: I a hundred percent agree but that's not where I'm coming from. I actually don't want to have sex with him unless I know he's someone special.

Laura: That's gonna take about a year and a half. Not months. Not weeks!

Shane: I was actually going to ask you that question. How long should you wait to have sex in a new relationship?

Laura: When you figure he's a total keeper because he's gotten down on one knee and said "I wanna lay my life down for you." If not, then go to a whorehouse and get paid for it. But just to screw guys because you're going with them for a while is to be an unpaid whore. And I know sex is everywhere, so you young women don't get it, but you use yourselves up, and the guys get pleasure without paying for it, and they're not interested in laying down their lives for you. So what the hell are you doing?

What is meant by "use yourselves up"? Women are not bottles of mustard. It's not like she has a set number of times she an have sex and for every time she has sex now, she’s reducing the number of times she can have sex later.

The phrase "guys get pleasure without paying it" implies that either men should pay for sex and/or that women doesn’t enjoy sex unless it is within marriage. But many women do.

Shane: No I agree with you.

Laura: So at this point in dating you should say to him "I don't intend to be sexually intimate until I know I'm settling down with a guy."

Shane: I like that.

Laura: Then you can watch him leave, or think "Gosh, this girl's not a pig. Her vagina hasn't been filled with 25 other guys. Wow."

Shane: I like that.

[Dr. Laura talks about an old movie.]

Laura: Men’s thinking has never changed. Men will always want to screw you. Why not? It feels good! That doesn't mean they want to lay down their lives for you.

I find it interesting that both marriage strikers and marriage promoters agree that for a man, getting married means laying down his life.

Shane: I don't want to be intimate with someone who don't, you know-

Laura: Puts a ring on your finger, and a date on the calendar.

Shane: I agree.

Laura: And that's the reward he has to earn. He has to earn you, not just be around long enough with you getting horny about him. And buying the [imitates ditzy girl] "awww" sweet talk that gets him into your pants.

Shane: I agree. Thank you.

Laura: Dignity is important and the man who marries you wants to know you're not overly used.

Like so many other people. Dr. Laura talks about men having to earn women or something from women, but never talks about women having to earn men or something from men. Meanwhile, even though men are expected to propose marriage, it is usually the woman who pushes the issue. There are a lot of men out there who are married not because they really wanted to marry, because they didn't want to lose their girlfriend and they thought they would lose her if they didn't marry her. They proposed to her, buying time, and then she started immediately planning "her" special day, setting a date, etc., and then he figured he'd go along with it. Not very romantic, but it is reality for more than few cases.

Then 23 minutes into the 3rd hour there was another call.

Diana: I'm calling because I'm having issues with my boyfriend and our sex life. And-

Laura [Interrupting]: How old are you?

Diana: 20, and he's 21.

Laura: Why are you having a sex life?

Diana: Um, because-

Laura [Interrupting]: How many other guys have you had a sex life with?

Diana: I don't really think that matters.

Laura: Yeah it does.

Diana: 1

Laura: So this is only the second guy you've ever had sex with.

Diana: Yes.

Dr. Laura should have asked what she meant by "sex". For some women, they don’t count it unless it was intercourse with an orgasm, in-town, without being drunk, with someone they know or were steady with, in a bed. One night stands aren't counted, vacation flings aren't counted, etc.

Laura: You think you're going to marry him and be with him for 40 years?

Diana: [Pause] Well I plan to. It'd be nice.

Laura: You think he's the guy you're going to spend the next 40 years with.

Diana: Well I can't say because I'm relatively young, but-

Laura [Interrupting]: Right, So you're screwin' at least 2 guys so far that you know you're probably not going to spend the rest of your life with, so I'm wondering how many guys you think you're gonna have sex with before we get to the guy who's going to spend the rest of his life for you. Just wondering.

Diana: Well I don't know, that's kind of my business. I don't really think it matters, because-

Laura [Interrupting]: I know you're 20 and you don't know that it matters, but at 30, when you've screwed 15 guys, and you feel like-

Diana [Interrupting]: What's wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with that, you know?

Laura: I'm the wrong person for you to talk to.

Diana: Okay then-

Laura: Talk to somebody, call up somebody else who thinks it's okay that you screw your way through life and how that's going to make you feel-

Diana [Interrupting]: I'm not screwing my way through life-

Laura [Talking over the interruption]: Excuse me, excuse me. You just said there's nothing wrong with it. And I'm trying to tell you-

Diana [Interrupting]: There's nothing wrong with- you're being manipulative.

Laura: No, I'm not being mani-

Diana [Interrupting]: I called for a different issue-

Laura [Talking over the interruption]: I'm not going to help you with your issue because our frame of references are too far apart. So anything I have to offer you would not be useful to you.


Diana: Of course.

Laura: You need to talk to somebody who thinks more like you. Seriously. You're wasting your time with me. Seriously. That's our younger generation.

Here, Dr. Laura misses a golden opportunity to explain exactly what is wrong with fornication. I’ve heard her cite studies that women are less likely to enjoy casual sex than men, and of course there’s the risks of pregnancy and STDs, but plenty of women do enjoy sex in these contexts and never get pregnant or an STD. I’ve also heard Dr. Laura tell a high school girl that now all of his friends know she’s had sex with him, but many women and girls these days meet that with “And…?” They don’t care if everyone knows they’re having sex. They do not have a concept that fornication is shameful. This isn’t the 1950s. It isn’t shamed anymore. It is expected.

I think there was another call yesterday when Dr. Laura asked a woman who has having sex after nine months
"Did you ever date someone for nine months before? And that didn't last, did it?"

Again, the response is… "So what?" They think that it was enjoyable while it lasted. The pleasure of the sex didn't retroactively disappear because the relationship ended. If the caller shouldn't have sex after nine months because that relationship end, what does that mean? That if someone was in a 2-year relationship that ended, they should wait 2 years and a month? "Until they're married" is nice, but marriages end, too. If one needs no reason to divorce and can do so without the spouse wanting a divorce, is marriage really a commitment?

Perhaps the problem is Dr. Laura is invoking traditional morality that was informed, ultimately, by religious Scriptures and traditions, but she doesn't want to cite theology or sectarian authority?

These calls, like others, give the impressions that women don't or aren't supposed to enjoy sex, that men should be charged money for sex, or what fornication is somehow a man "using" a woman but not a woman using a man (or that it doesn't matter if a man is used).

What if a woman never wants to get married? Can Dr. Laura make the case to her that she should avoid sex entirely? To keep sex special for other people?

Yes, there are men who want a virgin, or will not marry a woman who has had "too many" lovers. What concerns some men, other than STDs, is that she’ll be bored with sex because she’s "done it all" before. However, would these women want to marry a guy like that anyway?

Dr. Laura needs to make a compelling argument that casual or boyfriend/girlfriend sex is worse than doing nothing – that it damages people. I believe it can damage people emotionally and spiritually. Ultimately, my view of sexuality finds its foundations in the Christian Bible.

PS: Dr. Laura came back later in the broadcast (which I just heard in the podcast) and said she was struggling  to figure out who to explain things to a 20 year-old who hasn't been given the moral framework, who thinks it doesn't matter how many guys she's had sex with by the time she's 30, that it won't have an impact on her sense of self,  "the dignity and specialness of love, commitment, and sex... wow, gone..." But what the 20 year-old would likely say is that someone's sense of self would only be hurt because of others trying to shame them for enjoying sex. She might also say either that (somewhat) casual sex does not mean that committed sex isn't special, or deny that she was without a commitment and without dignity.

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