the closing of the american thighs

9/23/07

Man, you have to hand it to the Baby Boomers: they always get what they want. They wanted rock’n’roll, they got it; they wanted free love; they took it; they wanted money, the government, and the same music playing for 45 years, and they got all of that too.

When they turned batshit, bizarrely conservative and started dreaming of apocalypse (as Neil Howe and Bill Strauss said they would), they got their cohort George W. Bush to be president. The Boomers have been so powerful they erased an entire generation from ever being President: assuming John McCain isn’t elected, the Silents (born 1925-1941) will be the first generation to be skipped in American history.

But back to them being batshit: one of the most egregious things Boomers ever did was to spend the late ’60s trying every drug and sexual position imaginable, then growing up to be the most draconian, joy-prohibiting, litigious, rule-mongering administrators since Prohibition. If you want to see the embodiment of No Fun, look at your average college chancellor born in the early 1950s – they make Neidermeyer from “Animal House” look spontaneous.

neidermeyer.gif

And I’m not being metaphorical, like “they got to have sex, and we grew up under the specter of AIDS” kind of thing, I mean they actually made laws to curb fun as we knew it. Personally, it was legal for me to drink alcohol in college from May 26 to September 15, 1986. Then the law changed, and there was no grandfather clause – in other words, I could order woo-woos and Toasted Almonds all summer long, but by September, I was forbidden to do so for TWO YEARS.

This was the beginning of the end of Fun™ in college, even if we didn’t know it at the time. By 2003, as I complained earlier in this blog’s history, sororities were refusing to come to fraternities that had alcohol, which is a little like going to Egypt as long as you don’t look at the Pyramids.

Now the other shoe has dropped; as predicted, kids are barely having sex in college anymore. Tests done internally by universities and confirmed by Zogby show that, in the words of an average graduate, “Either I missed out or everyone else in college isn’t having sex at all.” Take the science in all this for what it’s worth, but it’s no surprise to me that the one place left in America where anything goes – college – has fallen victim to the I-don’t-really-feel-like-it school of life experience.

These kids are by-and-large unaffected by religious dogma, and all studies show that abstinence programs don’t have any psychological effect. They are predominantly middle-class with easy access to the Pill or any other procedure, and they are almost all between the ages of 18 and 23 and at the peak of their, shall we say… total hotness. What the hell is wrong?

I’m no social anthropologist, I only play one on these pages. Perhaps kids’ lives have become so virtual through the internet, gaming, Facebook, porn, or even what Allan Bloom called the “hymns to the joys of onanism” playing on Walkmen (today replaced by iPods) that there is no longer the pressing need to actually deal with the real, physical world. In fact, perhaps now, physical reality is by definition totally disappointing.

When we look at a site like Facebook (which I’m on – come be my friend!), you’ll see college women like my niece with 457 “friends,” and think “what an amazing social network!” But what if Facebook isn’t an enabler at all – what if its illusion of intimacy and interconnectivity purposely keeps people apart? If so, Baby Boomers, normally a technophobic, computer-mistrusting bunch, have got to be pleasantly surprised.

What else could be taking sexual intercourse out of college?

– Perhaps the drinking age and the latter-day Volstead Act currently enforced in college towns finally had its desired effect, and the social lubrication necessary to get two people together is now non-existent.

– Perhaps the drinking laws have made a “speakeasy” out of certain dorm rooms, leading students to take five shots of Jägermeister at the beginning of the evening, effectively erasing the slow buzz of a casual evening out with the girls, and replacing it with a season-ending barf at 8:30pm.

– Perhaps every fetish known to man has a site on the internet, leading guys to get their ya-yas out with, to paraphrase Woody Allen, “sex with somebody they love” – i.e., themselves. With such fantasies at their disposal, maybe most guys have masturbated themselves out of the market.

– The intense sexual politics of the early ’90s clearly put date rape and institutionalized misogyny in sharp relief, but perhaps it had another effect: guys think of the whole thing as entirely too much bother, and are increasingly opting for the effortlessly casual mingling of their male buddies.

– Likewise, perhaps women are so sick of the emotional retardation of their perpetually-confused, non-committal, vaguely-adolescent suitors that they have instead opted for a long-distance relationship with that guy who goes to Dartmouth they met over, yes, Facebook.

– Perhaps rampant anti-depressant use among college kids has resulted in a backwards tipping point for their collective libido.

– Or perhaps my own priapic, Lotharian past is poisoning my rationale, and today’s college students simply don’t place the same value on sexual and romantic experimentation that I did.

If that’s the case, then Baby Boomers, your job is practically done. Your students have nothing to defend themselves but flaccid swords made of purest irony. They say the bees are all dying; all that is left are the birds.

0 thoughts on “the closing of the american thighs

  1. Anne D.

    Ummm. I’m smack in the middle of the Baby Boom generation, and your post doesn’t describe me, or my friends and relatives, at all. Still a social liberal here. I could equally make generalizations about all the frat boys I knew turning into the kind of people you describe (conservative, hawkish, judgmental, Bushies, etc.) and there is some truth to it, but like all generalizations, it falls apart on closer examination. Just sayin.
    In my view the turning point of the sexual revolution (and yes, we did enjoy it very much, thanks!) was the advent of AIDS. Seriously. Once sex became equated in the popular imagination with potential death, the party was pretty much over.
    I work at a university, and what I hear from the students today is that there aren’t so many long-term “boyfriend-girlfriend” relations with attendant intimacy. There seem to be more casual relationships and lots of “hook-ups” thanks to drinking/partying, but nowadays condoms are pretty universally used, again thanks to AIDS.
    OK, just my two cents’ worth. Maybe with inflation it’s worth more. Heh.

    Reply
  2. The other Lee

    This is sad sad news indeed. But there is hope… I joined Facebook yesterday and added you to my network/friends or whatever that is called.
    – the other Lee

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  3. mec

    To say that the newly frigid campus atmosphere is an example of the Boomers getting their way seems a hair reductionist. No one disputes that the Boomers have controlled the culture disproportionately–actually, pretty proportionately when you think about it–over the last 50 years. But surely the millennials, a pretty large group in their own right, have their own reasons for not having sex that have nothing to do with their parents. I know xtcian made a lot of hay back in the day out of viewing the world through the prism of generation. Age is, of course, just one factor among many that make up a person’s identity, and usually it finishes well behind those old standbys gender, race, and class–and truthfully, probably a whole bunch of other shit– in determining how one views his or her world.

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  4. cullen

    Conjugal college sex b/w spouses still lives on, atleast for the some of the those of us lucky enough to have originally sealed our deals up on THe BlueBerry Thrill (for a good example of a higher education).
    Dealing with children in the vicinity is just like the old roomies being formerly subjected to carnal sexcapades–worn out kiddos sleeping = passed out suitemates.
    I’m sure the resident “I-T” couple would concur. Funny subject.

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  5. Bozoette Mary

    Ouch! Wow, I had no idea I sucked so bad. Anyway, what Anne D said applies to me, too. I had my share of sexual adventures in college, but I was miserable most of the time. For me, free love wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and it turned out not to be free at all.

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  6. Claudia

    I’m highly, highly suspicious of any statistics that indicate that college kids aren’t having sex. I graduated from college a mere eight years ago and, while I’m admittedly quite tame, it seemed like most people around me were screwing like bunnies.
    Even assuming college kids today aren’t getting it on so much, I really don’t see a problem with that. I completely subscribe to the theory that “There’s a time and a place for everything, and it’s called college,” but I think that includes the freedom to act like a grownup if one so desires. Perhaps kids today grow up a little faster, perhaps having seen the emotional fallout of free love from previous generations, or perhaps having experienced it themselves–in high school–and making more self-protective decisions in their college years.

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  7. Lucas in college

    “- Perhaps the drinking laws have made a “speakeasy” out of certain dorm rooms, leading students to take five shots of Jägermeister at the beginning of the evening, effectively erasing the slow buzz of a casual evening out with the girls, and replacing it with a season-ending barf at 8:30pm.”
    “- The intense sexual politics of the early ’90s clearly put date rape and institutionalized misogyny in sharp relief, but perhaps it had another effect: guys think of the whole thing as entirely too much bother, and are increasingly opting for the effortlessly casual mingling of their male buddies.
    – Likewise, perhaps women are so sick of the emotional retardation of their perpetually-confused, non-committal, vaguely-adolescent suitors that they have instead opted for a long-distance relationship with that guy who goes to Dartmouth they met over, yes, Facebook”
    Those are the reasons as I observe them here at Earlham.

    Reply
  8. Samson

    So, you are a proponent of sex – in college. what about high school? middle school?
    I believe “sex” is for marriage. yep – just marriage. Let me ask you this – sex for these college students – does it make their lives less complicated or more complicated? does it promote or demote their self esteem? how does a woman feel after she’s given up her body to a man who no longer cares to see her again.
    You are a proponent of sexual exploration in college. So that means, you desire Lucy to have multiple sex partners. Do you want her to have a reputation as a “fun” girl to be with?
    I’m guilty of having had multiple sex partners prior to marriage. It was “fun” for the moment but it gave me no joy in life. Joy is more fulfilling than “fun”.
    My wife and i have a four month old daughter. We pray that she will find a Godly man to be her husband. A man who is faithful before marriage is a man who will be faithful in marriage.

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  9. Ian

    Samson, not only am I a proponent of sex in college, I think it can be *damaging* if you don’t. My research all points to one thing: you had better get your ya-yas out when you’re not responsible for a marriage and children, or else you’ll most likely get your ya-yas out WHILE you have a marriage and children, at the wild detriment of both.
    Your “Godly” comment speaks volumes (as well as asking me if it’s okay to have sex in middle school) so I doubt we’ll see eye-to-eye on this one. However, I’d propose that you are capable of your current situation precisely because you did what you did when you were younger.

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  10. Samson

    Ian,
    I regret having had sex prior to marriage. My research says that the more sex partners you’ve had prior to marriage, then the more difficult it will be for you to settle on one person.
    I’ve got many friends, both they and their spouses were virgins prior to marriage – they have top 10% marriages today. Also, a good friend of mine runs “bravehearts”, a ministry to help expose college students to the dangers of pornography and sexual addiction – his objective facts are frightening.
    C.S. Lewis – “virtue – even attempted virtue, brings light: indulgence brings fog”.

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  11. Ian

    Samson, one thing we can agree on – porn addiction (as well as love addiction) are serious, debilitating hurdles on the way to anything real. I think there was a time when porn had its purpose and was reasonably hard to acquire, and thus an equilibrium was achieved. The internet has pretty much destroyed that equilibrium.

    Reply
  12. Samson

    Ian,
    I see only one purpose for pornogaphy and that is to make money from the explotation and degradation of men and women. It has become a $10 billion annual business for the underwold in the U.S. alone. Can you see any other purpose?
    There is no “safety margin” to watching pornography of any kind. The medical and scientific profession have monitored men’s brains as they watch pornography and there is conclusive evidence that significant chemical reactions occur during the process. I believe it’s dorphomines that are heavily produced. In no time, people (particularly men) are quickly addicted. Pornography is the crack cocaine of not only the internet but of any visual medium. It’s like hanging meat in front of a dog – it forever teases but will never satisify.
    Ian – did you really “learn” anything in your pre-marriage sexual exploits? If so, specifically what? – as it relates to you becoming a better lover in your marriage. Do you really believe your daughter will “learn” from sexual exploits?
    And in reference to your statement – “getting your ‘ya-yas’ out before you get married”. Did your sexual exploits ever satisfy you? Did you ever one day say – “there…i am satisfied, I’m now ready for a life-long manogimous marriage”. It’s just like alcohol, drugs, power, prestige – none of them will ever satisfy. That is why they are all addictive. Put another way – if they did eventually did satisfy, then at some point one would stop. Do you really believe your daughter (or anybody else for that matter) will at some point reach a cathardic state by “getting her ya-ya’s out”?
    The ramifications for sexual realations outside marriage are endless: baggage carried to marragie, social disease, terminal disease, unwelcome children, abortion, wrecked marriages, broken hearts, shame, guilt, remorse, confusion, loneliness and despair to name a few.
    I regret having lost my virgintiy prior to marriage. Regret is “knowing the truth too late”. Our depraved culture encourages “sexual freedom” – encourages it and mocks virginity. Sexual promiscuity as a good thing is a lie. Sexual purity will always be countercultural but it is the truth. If you want less pain, more joy and more fulfillment in this life, then strive to live a sexually pure life.

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