• Tue, Jul 12 2011

Why The Sexless Trend Is So Trendy

Why is being sexless so trendy? Oh, let’s blame Samantha.

Wait. Well, first, let’s pull back and look at what this trend even is. Erica Jong just penned this piece entitled “Is Sex Passe?” which seems to follow up on the Observer’s “Sexless and the City” piece. The Observer blamed the rise of facebook and the fact that we live in public n the fact that young people are no longer terribly interested in sex, Erica Jong claims that young women place more emphasis on monogamy and motherhood.

So!

Is this even a real trend? Well, I don’t entirely know. Have you had sex recently? Like in the past… year? Was it okay? Kind of fun? With noises and stuff? Okay, well, I guess sex still exists and people still have it.

But look, I really belive the answer here comes down, as it so often does, to the fact that we like to be shocked by everyone else’s sexual habits. And this is how we get to the part where Samantha swept in and fucked up everything for everyone, by having all the interesting sex.

Oh, sure, you could say that a lot of sexual territory already got trammeled by the feminists of the 1970′s. Look at things we associate with that age! Being swingers! Key parties! It was Erica Jong herself who said in Fear of Flying that women fantasized about a “zipless fuck” where you’d, say, just have wordless sex with a stranger in a train bathroom. Which actually sounds terribly awkward, but let’s overlook that, and just say that the 1970′s were a kooky time when shocking your parents was worth any amount of uncomfortably bouncy standing up train sex.

Then years passed and people got more unconventional. Candace Bushnell wrote the Sex in the City column, where sexy people just did all kinds of sexy things. Namely, they went to sex clubs and had a lot of sex with people they were not terribly nice to. Baby, they did not do it like they were friends. They kind of did it as though they disliked one another intensely.

And then Sex and the City the TV show came along, which seemed infinitely nicer than the column, and basically just meant that everyone did everything, and nice girls were having sex with rabbits and Samantha – well, Samantha was off swinging from a chandelier while fornicating. Who even knows what Samantha was doing. It was weird, that’s what it was. And it all seemed terribly normal.

In fact, it came to seem so normal, that by Sex and the City 2, the only way left for Samantha to shock anyone was to get fingerbanged in public in a Muslim country. Getting fingerbanged in a New York restaurant, would, I suppose, have seemed positively quaint. And even that didn’t shock viewers. That shocked only the Muslims in the movie, and there was some sort of point about how every woman has right right to get fingered in full view of highly religious people if she wants to.

Oh. This was a movie we, young people, took our grandmothers to. Even they were not shocked.

And I think that might have been the time that the younger generation collectively lifted up their hands and said “we have no sexual ways left of shocking people. We’re done. Everything is now acceptable.”

But if everything is now acceptable the only way we can have fun judging people’s sex lives – and judging people’s sex lives is fun! – is to talk about how little they’re doing it. It would not be shocking if, say, you found out your neighbors were furries. Or perhaps it would, because furries are interesting, but it would be interesting in say, the way that discovering someone only ate monochromatic food would be interesting. You would pause, consider it for a second, think “huh” and then go on with your day.

Not doing it, well, that seems infinitely more interesting. That, in the current climate, seems weird and kind of subversive. Saying that you were shocked – shocked! – when Samantha got finerbanged in front of Muslims is a more rebellious and interesting thing to say in this day and age than that you want to have sex in a train.

And young people always want to do the vaguely rebellious, society odd thing. That’s just kids being kids.

And all the while, normal people are still probably have normal sex normally, just the way they always have. But it’s always been boring to say that.

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  • Jamie Peck

    Sexlessness has been a trend in indie rock since its inception. Or at least, seeming sexless. Ironically enough, in order to get laid I had to cover up my boobs and stop being so flirty with everyone. Then, bam, dicks in my face from all angles. Young people are so stupid.

    • DebMoore

      Loved your comment, agree 100%!

  • Colleen

    Well, young people may not be having sex (and whatever your persuasion, do what you like, just play safe), but as a woman in her mid-30s, sex is on my mind more often than a teenaged boy, and I demand as much as possible from my man.
    No one told me my sexual prime was going to be THIS sexual.

  • Jamie Rice

    LOL @ “Then, bam, dicks in my face from all angles. “

  • MM

    I don’t think the “sexless trend” is all that based in reality. Maybe the people I hang out with just aren’t hip enough, but people in their early 20s are still getting plenty laid, or at least trying to.

    It’s true that sex is not as shocking anymore, but complaining about that is like complaining that you don’t want marijuana to be legalized because you won’t feel as edgy smoking up. If you really enjoy something you should want to do it no matter how many people you piss off.

    • Magda

      If I could like this (because as a 20something I am helplessly obsessed with Facebook, and thus an asexual being) then I would. I think you made the point that I wanted to much more quickly. Good job! =) I should have read all of your comment before posting mine. Now I feel dumb.

  • Magda

    The article in the Observer is strictly focused on New York, and the other piece doesn’t mention any particular geographical area, but as a 20-something gal from LA maybe I can generalize and say, “Maybe this is just one of those strange East Coast things?” Seems to me people over here still care a great deal about shacking up, and not for a long term commitment.

    Maybe this whole lean towards the maternal could have to do with the high amount of media coverage that teen pregnancy is now given, Juno, Teen Mom/16 & Pregnant, Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears? It seems that more young people are becoming parents at a younger age, so maybe that covers that correlation?

    I can’t speak for my geographical location, let alone my entire generation, but sex for me has never been about rebelling or making a statement. Me abstaining from sex because my mother didn’t would be kind of like me refusing to drink white Zinfandel because its my moms favorite wine. It just doesnt make sense to me. If I enjoy it, then why the fuck not? By that same token, if you don’t enjoy it, then feel free to abstain.

    I think that the “free love” movement just made us FREE to LOVE or not to.

  • Renae

    I’ve been celibate for 2 years as of next month, but to me it’s not a statement so much as not having had a boyfriend in almost 4 years.

    I tried the NSA/FWB twice after my split and I did not enjoy myself either time, that I am only comfortable enough to enjoy sex when I am in a committed relationship with someone I can trust.

    That said, I do miss sex, but I’m not going to go out and just have sex with anyone. I’m far too busy between working and going to school full time to really even have a relationship anyways. Maybe after I’m done with college!

  • Eve

    Did you meant to say “having sex like rabbits”? ‘Cause you said “having sex with rabbits,” which is not a trend I am aware of. I am, however, aware of sex with ducks…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXPcBI4CJc8

    • Sara

      haha! they meant the pink, sparkly, battery operated kind of Rabbit

  • Christina

    I haven’t had sex in a year and a half. I had no idea I was being trendy, I just thought I was unfuckable and men didn’t like me.

  • Paul

    Didn’t know I was a trend setter, the wife and I have been married 40 plus and approx 30 years being sexless. After the first 10 years or so of marriage I found my wife very boring, a prude, and uninteresting. I also wasn’t
    into sex that much, I just didn’t get a whole lot out of it. It was to much work for what I got in return. So I just told her I was finnished with sex with her or anyone else. Man she got upset and still is today, she said that she had needs and wanted the taken care of. I suggested to find som one or some thing else to take care of her needs. The wife said that she wanted kids , but I wasn’t going to get involved.