Students on sex

Peggy Orenstein was interviewed on NPR by Terry Gross. Orenstein said that she was worried about hook-up culture because she has a 13 year old daughter. It turned out that she was concerned whether girls were having enough orgasms, with hook-up culture being focused on male pleasure. She says to girls, “You wouldn’t find it acceptable if you got cups of water for your boyfriend but he never got one for you would you?”

The phrase ‘tone-deaf’ comes to mind.

One of my female students commented that teens start with hook-up culture and then often slowly come to decide that it’s not as fun as it seems and that they then begin to look for more long-term (i.e., longer than 20 minutes) relationships.

I commented that what she was describing was a child beginning with utter cynicism and then working her way up to sentimental engagement. I’m not sure this is actually a possible emotional trajectory. I can imagine a period of cynicism, but if things begin this way…

I said that the dynamic I was familiar with was beginning with naïve hopes and aspirations. “If only the admired person looked at me in the same way. Wow. They do! Yippee!” Then a period of infatuation and a hope and desire to be with the person forever, only to have one’s heart broken and being dumped in the space of two months. Chastened, one then tries to limit one’s hopes to a more realistic level, and so on.

37 thoughts on “Students on sex

  1. Pingback: Students on sex – CHRIST THE MORNING STAR

  2. It turned out that she was concerned whether girls were having enough orgasms, …

    Maybe someday people will wise up to the fact that it isn’t just men (*) who are pushing the libertine smash-up of Western societies.

    Our great-grandfathers of the Victorian Era decided to put women on a pedestal and pretend that women are ethereal beings without sin and that all the sin of the human race is to be found amongst us beastly men. And women are *still* punishing us for that.

    (*) or, in my opinion, not even primarily men

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  5. The thing is, after a woman rides the cock carousel, she’s not fit as a long-term mate. The other thing is, they all ride the cock carousel these days.

    • I don’t accept that all women “ride the cock carousel” (lovely image!) these days, but I get where you’re coming from. And on that note I find it more interesting (to say nothing of demoralizing) that modern men find this behavior in women acceptable, to the point that they will marry these whores! This is a sickness all around!

      • There are lots of terrible women out there these days, but you can still find good women, particularly in churches.

  6. The stupidest part is that sex in itself is not even pleasurable. Everyone can test this: rubbing genitals without having any sort of a vivid imagination or porn at hand does nothing. It all happens in the mind.

    What exactly happens in the mind has a wide range, there are many possible turn-ons, but things like love, loyalty, trust, emotional connection, emotional intimacy are one of those.

    And the thing is that this works especially for women, because getting ones body penetrated by another person is always something that can easily make one feel vulnerable – I mean, when I am at the dentist and his hand is in my mouth plugging a teeth I don’t feel particularly macho, right? There are lots of dimensions of sexual pleasure that a woman can only feel if she really trusts her partner and really gives over herself to him, if she surrenders without any reservations, fully trusting and confiding. Which suggests traditional marriage, especially for women who haven’t been desensitized by giving themselves over to untrustworthy partners again and again and thus developed a thick emotional armor, can bring a lot of pleasure to a woman.

    I think this is also at the root of the typical story of women falling in love with bad boys. I think it is all about surrender turning women on, it is just that there are two completely different kinds of surrender. The surrender to the bad boy is basically forced by intimidation, well, half-forced, in the sense that it feels actually sexy so it is not coerced, but it is precisely the possibility of coercion that makes it pleasurable and consented to. The surrender to the traditional husband is coming from trust and confidence.

    • @ TheDividualist – Yes. I tell my students that doing anything at all without one’s emotions engaged is not even fun – even playing video games (presumably, since I don’t play them.) Having sex with someone you don’t particularly like or care about sounds awful.

    • TheDividualist:

      I think this is also at the root of the typical story of women falling in love with bad boys. I think it is all about surrender turning women on, it is just that there are two completely different kinds of surrender.

      More than two, I’d suggest.

      More generally, masculine dominance and feminine submission are despised by polite society in liberal polities. But because masculine dominance and feminine submission are precisely what young women are attracted to sexually, they don’t disappear: they just manifest themselves sociopathically.

  7. The sexual revolution has been a string of disasters from the start, but the only response has been to demand a “patch” for the latest disaster. People are dying of diseases, families are collapsing and destroying their children, and now young men are treating their sex partners like hookers. In each case the demand is that we solve the local problem so the great, grim, grinding behemoth can continue on its way. I was just reading a missive from a new Office on campus that has no purpose other than enabling hook-up culture by attempting to curb its more unpleasant aspects. It might as well be called the Office of the Associate Provost for Hook-up Management.

  8. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this belief that women often have difficulty enjoying sex, or that sex is something they put up with because they’re lonely and just looking for affection, is a modern thing. I always get the impression from ancient and medieval sources that they assumed women experience lust similarly to men and presumably get something similar out of the act.

    I don’t doubt, by the way, that men are getting more orgasms out of hook ups than women, just as we undoubtedly get more orgasms out of marital relations, but is this anybody’s fault? A little while ago, I was doing some reading about female sexual arousal, and it’s a whole different world from men’s. Much more fragile–any discomfort or anxiety, it seems, can derail it. I read somewhere that it is even common for a woman to fail to bring herself to orgasm by masturbation. No man’s selfishness could be at fault for this. Incidentally, even the sexologists seem to be realizing what a monster they’ve made with their obsession with female orgasm. Women stress out over it and lose whatever it was they used to enjoy about sex.

      • You are not wrong, but very correct. The ancients and medievals well understood what modern conservatives don’t: female hypergamy.

        Let’s see: ‘hypergamy’ is “the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class”, which has next to nothing to do with whether women have libidos comparable to men’s.

      • Ilion:

        the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class

        That isn’t what alt-right netizens mean by the term though. What they mean is a tendency for a women to (all other things equal) sexually surrender to the most dominant man she can find. Men are less picky (goes the theory), and will sleep with many different women of varied attractiveness when given the opportunity.

        When human sexuality goes feral and monogamy is widely abandoned, this results in 80% of the women sleeping with 20% of the men (where those aren’t actually precise numbers — they just illustrate the ‘sexual marketplace’ imbalance). Most women think that men have many more sexual partners than they do — because the men they are sleeping with actually do have many more sexual partners than they do. Sexually ‘starving’ men are invisible, but make up the majority of men. Women can for the most part get all the sex they want and can marry easily enough — but they have trouble marrying a man they find attractive. The overlap between men she finds attractive and men who will marry her is small to nonexistent. Plenty of ‘high value’ men will sleep with her, but only ‘lower value’ men will marry her. And because she has lots of experience sleeping with ‘high value’ men (because men are not picky and will happily keep a harem of women of varying degrees of attractiveness), she can never marry happily and is on a perpetual vain quest to find the perfect man who will sex her up hotly and marry her. As she ages her prospects get worse, not better.

        Whatever one thinks of the theory – and I am just explaining it, not endorsing it – it isn’t really responsive to hit them with a dictionary definition of hypergamy. Call it something else if you like — feral femininity might be a better term, for example. And it is certainly true that modern people think that men are pretty much always sexually feral and that women are much more intrinsically morally good — despite the evidence of history, their lying eyes, divorce statistics, etc.

      • Re: Zippy – That’s pretty interesting. On a related note, I think that many young men imagine that the end of monogamy would mean more sexual fulfillment, whereas monogamy is actually what is stopping very rich, high status men from having harems, leaving other men without a wife or sexual partner.

      • Richard Cocks:
        What is happening is a bit more subtle, according to the theory, since it takes place over the lifetimes of people as they age in the “sexual marketplace”. Because female desperation grows with age, sexually starved “beta” men don’t do without forever. When women finally “settle down” to marry – because their sexual market power diminishes with age – these “beta” men who spend decades sexually starving end up marrying “alpha widows” in their thirties and forties with high partner counts and little or no capacity to bond. This is sarcastically referred to as “alpha f***s, beta bucks”. Frequently these “alpha widows” end up divorcing their unsatisfactory beta provider husbands and become cat ladies, while their beta husbands trade for someone younger (but still an alpha widow).

      • it isn’t really responsive to hit them with a dictionary definition of hypergamy

        Right, what hypergamy means in this context is the desire of women to only mate with men of very high attractiveness. The men are in a higher “class” than them in this sense. It presumes that women very much want to have sexual relations with such men.

      • Zippy:That isn’t what alt-right netizens mean by the term though.

        Yes, I know that they are intentionally misusing the term; they are intentionally conflating two very different things.

        Look at this exchange —

        Melampus the Seer:The ancients and medievals well understood what modern conservatives don’t: female hypergamy.

        Ilíon:Let’s see: ‘hypergamy’ is “the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class”, which has next to nothing to do with whether women have libidos comparable to men’s.

        Melampus the Seer:But does have a lot to do with ” ancient and medieval sources” about female lust which is oriented towards hypergamy unlike men’s.

        Any comparison of male and female libidos must account for final causes.

        So, I give him the information that one of the key terms of his pout (*) does not really refer to what he thinks it does … and he engages in circular reasoning to assert that “it does, too!”

        I must wonder, how can one be a “Seer” when one refuses to open one’s eyes?

        Zippy:What they mean is a tendency for a women to (all other things equal) sexually surrender to the most dominant man she can find. Men are less picky (goes the theory), and will sleep with many different women of varied attractiveness when given the opportunity.

        Yes, I know what they mean — actually, what they mean is both things at once. By meaning both things at once — by intentionally conflating two very different things — they can then conflate two very different results:
        1) they themselves have nothing to offer a woman seeking marriage (it being human nature (**) for women to “marry up”);
        2) when women *do* engage in the predatory meat-market mode that they themselves wish to emply with respect to women, they themselves *still* have nothing to offer; for, after all, most men are “average”, just as most women are.

        (*) pout: In the end, the “Game” people, whom Zippy is equating with “alt-right netizens”, are doing nothing more than throwing a public fit because the so-called Sexual Revolution is not delivering on its promises. So, they’re come up with “Game”, which is essentially a Cargo Cult: “do this and the pussy will fall into your lap.

        (**) There are thought to have been a few societies, such as the Natchez (see under “Descent system”), in which social custom over-rode the natural tendency of women to “marry up”.

      • Ilion:

        FWIW I have been quite critical of Game myself, to much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Like Marxism I think there is some truth in the critique, whereas the prescriptive side is a mishmash of materialist nonsense, placebo effects, self-congratulation, and other hocus pocus.

        And again, it is fine to point out that they are misusing or appropriating the term “hypergamy” — and “game”, for that matter. But what really matters is the meaning behind the rhetoric, where the metal meets the meat.

        You are right that the modern beta losers and bottom-feeding cads who constitute the bulk of the Game culture have very little to offer women qua masculine virtue, just as their carousel-riding future wives have little to offer them qua feminine virtue. In a very real sense they deserve each other. But Dalrock does have a point:
        https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/why-am-i-so-much-better-than-other-men/

      • Right, what hypergamy means in this context is the desire of women to only mate with men of very high attractiveness.

        Mate? Now you’re misusing *that* word.

        This little digression isn’t about mating any more than the “Gamer” cargo cultists are whining about a lack of mating opportunities.

        The word you want starts with “f”

      • Don’t be a pedant. Words can have more than one meaning. This seems like a perfectly legitimate extension of meaning.

      • There is always some word policeman who doesn’t understand how language works.

      • Game both accurately describes mating behaviour as far as it goes and works quite well to attract women. The real objections to it are that it is most often taught in the context of pursuing fornication, and that its narrow focus can tempt one to a reductionistic view of human relationships, much as the narrow focus of science can tempt one to a reductionistic view of reality.

      • We’ve discussed hypergamy and game extensively at my place, and I am reluctant to reignite that discussion of only because it has become so tedious. But for those who did not participate and may not be aware, I would summarize it like this:

        Game both accurately describes … and works quite well …

        Considering both claims separately:

        The descriptive theory has some truth and interesting insights in it. I have compared it to, for example, Meyers-Briggs: it is interesting and at least somewhat truth-bearing as long as it isn’t taken too seriously or categorically. In practice though Internet nerds tend to take it as categorical.

        Game as prescription of behavior is one of those concepts that is either a) nonspecific, uninteresting, and banally true if you accept the nominalist fiat of the speaker; or b) specific, interesting, false, and morally abhorrent. An example of the former would be the claim “feminism by definition is just treating women like human beings and not like chattel.” An example of the latter might be a claim like “theft is a morally neutral tool which you can use if you want to improve your financial condition”.

      • The objections to game are usually that vague and collapse immediately once specifics are brought up. Yes, Virginia, women really do find certain behaviours more attractive and these can be learned.

        For example, knowing how to tease a women properly will make women more attracted to you. It really does work and there is absolutely nothing morally objectionable about it.

      • @ The Man Who Was… – it would only be morally objectionable if you were consciously manipulating women with the intention of using them as a life-size masturbation device i.e., their humanity being incidental. I once had a student who insisted that he needed to use women in this way because his life was stressful – what with all the courses he was taking, being on the swim team and running the school newspaper. He was at minimum a narcissist [egocentric jerk] and possibly a sociopath – not just based on that.

      • Game is the male equivalent of female slutty behavior. Like their female counterparts, effeminate male “gamer” sluts are always making excuses for themselves. As with slutty behavior, pornography, and many other things there is a ‘line drawing’ problem or pseudo-problem.

        But in general game defenders are just like slutty women, rationalizing their rising hemlines.

      • Right, Richard, there is nothing wrong in itself with consciously doing things that women find attractive. Sheesh, you’d think trying to be attractive to women was inherently wrong in itself.

        People want to war over the term game, fine they can war over the term. However, “consciously doing things that women find attractive” is a real thing.

        I’d also note that the behaviours that women find attractive overlap with, but are not identical with male leadership and general masculinity. You can be much more straightforward with other males, you can focus on the task at hand rather than focussing on emotions etc. Which is why there are men who are highly respected by other men, but have trouble attracting and dealing with women.

    • As far as I can tell, the women in my family (on both sides) never got the memo that they were not supposed to “experience lust similarly to men and presumably get something similar out of the act.”

    • @ Bonald – in Greek myth, Tiresias was transformed into a woman for seven years and got punished by Hera for saying that women enjoy sex more than men – being the only person able to judge.

    • which has next to nothing to do with whether women have libidos comparable to men’s

      But does have a lot to do with ” ancient and medieval sources” about female lust which is oriented towards hypergamy unlike men’s.

      Any comparison of male and female libidos must account for final causes.

    • There’s also the strategy of constructing the most tendentious definition possible and treating that as the essence of game. But that strategy can be used against anything.

  9. Don’t be a pedant. Words can have more than one meaning. This seems like a perfectly legitimate extension of meaning.

    Oh, indeed: “[opposite-of-word]” is an excellent extension of “[word]”

    There is always some word policeman who doesn’t understand how language works.

    There is always some Humpty-Dumpty who doesn’t give a damn about how language works.

  10. Hookup culture has been greatly exaggerated. Your student has provided a genuine insight – most people don’t keep it up for very long and most college students don’t “hookup” nearly as frequently as worried conservatives wish they did.

    http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/13/the-truth-about-college-hookups/

    To my mind, the bigger problem is the loss of the erotic impulse in the West. Over-satiation, especially with artificial stimuli, and a cheapening of all things intimate leads invariably to this:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex

    Which is worse than any “hookup culture”. Much, much worse.

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