A Heart-To-Tart Talk
--Not A History Buff
Notches aren't the half of it. Girls from junior high to college are taking a chain saw to conventional morality and "the double standard," doing their aggressive best to out-boy the boys in scoring emotionally Lysoled, take-a-number sex. The morning after a hookup-athon, they sit around with friends, musing, "What's-his-name was ENORMOUS!" All the ways they might have rebelled -- like listening to Eminem and dressing like teen hoochies -- have been coopted by so many suburban moms that the final frontier of shock value has become demoting sex to an after-school hobby like tennis. Eventually, no matter whose arm a girl's on, she can't pass a bag boy at the supermarket without blurting out, "Oh yeah...you had that crazy tattoo!"
Supposedly, this trend marks the end of Western civilization, at least according to the finger-wagging abstinence nannies (clearly a highly persuasive form of sex education). Sociologist after sociologist squawks to the press that the hookup girls will be "irreparably emotionally damaged!" -- conveniently forgetting all the sexual frolickers who made it out of the roaring '20s and free-love '60s without their heads and the earth simultaneously imploding. And, of all the ironies, even the editor of British Cosmo has her hanky out, boohooing the advent of all this "soul-less McSex" (as if the magazine's been all about growing healthier philodendrons all these years).
But, maybe, just maybe, it's...just a phase. Maybe, when these girls weary of playing sexual revolutionary, they'll zip up their pants and look for emotional connection. Evidently, "been there, done him (done him, too)" got kind of old for your girlfriend. She, however, remains 20: short on identity beyond bragging rights to more hookups than the average cable repairman, and under the impression that sexual sophistication plays out like post-traumatic stress disorder (only she got to have the sex, and you're forced to relive it).
Where you go wrong is thinking sex is special. It isn't. Monkeys have it, and not because somebody gave them flowers and expensive jewelry. But consider this: while your girlfriend was the antithesis of selective about the men she slept with (apparently, not only sowing her wild oats, but a soybean crop equivalent to that of mainland China's), she appears quite picky about the man she relationships with. Make an effort to identify and appreciate any merits she might have beyond her proficiency as a sexual acrobat. Explain that the problem isn't so much that she "got it" in the past, but that she flaunts it in the present (tacky, tacky!), yanking your attention away from your relationship. Plainly put, what you don't know won't make you hurl.
Copyright ©2004, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.