The average male loses his virginity at 16.9, and the average female will lose hers at 17.4 years old. It’s thought that willingness and impulsiveness to have sex at an earlier age is inherited. About 1 in every 10 married adults sleep alone; that’s 12% of married couples. About 75% of men orgasm during sex, but only 29% of women do. The average woman between the age of 20-59 will have 4 sex partners throughout her life, whereas the average male of the same age group will have 7 sex partners. Why are these stats interesting? Why is our culture so interested in sex? Why does sex overpower and dominate everything that we’re fed each day? Sex is interesting, yes, but aren’t there more important things to be constantly obsessing about?
He Says: Sex Is Overrated
Sex is overrated. Yea, I said it. Shocking right? Someone in this culture, let alone a young male, saying sex is overrated. Well, it’s out there now and I can’t take it back. Don’t get me wrong, sex is fantastic. I love everything about it. It is one of the best parts of a romantic relationship. Cynics out there will likely say that I think sex is overrated because I’m clearly doing something wrong. Marriage cynics will say it’s because I’m in a monogamous relationship. I would like to reiterate, sex is absolutely wonderful. (And I’ll leave the judging of my performance to my better half). I simply think it has become overrated. To be sure, sex is a superstar in many of its forms, but like any superstar, it can become over valued. Take Tony Romo for example. He is a superstar in the NFL and an excellent QB. Somewhere along the line, though, he has become overrated. Fans and reporters seem to think that Romo is a top tier quarterback in the NFL. He is very good, but the perception of how good of a QB he is far surpasses his actual ability and the value he brings to the Cowboys. Sex is like Tony Romo.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I did not come up with this notion on my own. Raquel Welch actually said it on Oprah a number of months ago. As my wife was watching, I overheard Ms. Welch, a former sex icon, conjecture that she believes sex is overrated in our culture. It was rather stunning to hear her remark, but after I mulled over her observation, I realized I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment. Sex has become an overrated superstar. I’m not sure when this happened. I would venture a guess that it might have been sometime well after the sexual revolution. Maybe the late ‘80s or early ’90s. But I’m really not sure. I am sure, however, that the hype has reached unobtainable heights. Somewhere along the line our culture began to demand sex in everything. A movie couldn’t be a blockbuster hit without sex. Television episodes demand racy scenes. (Just look at the recent Britney Spears episode of the “wholesome” Fox show Glee). Magazines, billboards, advertisements, news, senate hearings, Cap’N Crunch; they all require sexual overtones in order to obtain viewers and customers. (Well, maybe I exaggerate a little bit). It seems the perceived value has surpassed its actual value.
Now before you think I am trying to position myself as some sort of twenty-something male Mother Theresa, I am not. I am as much at fault for the advancement of the reputation of sex as the next person. I enjoyed the suggestive, risqué dance numbers in the aforementioned Glee episode just like the writers thought I might. So I am not aiming to chastise. Besides, this entire cycle was probably another necessary step in our culture’s centuries long extrication from our original Puritan roots. Sex, in my opinion, should not be taboo. There should be discussion between couples on how to better understand each other in sex. There should be open discussion in society about the benefits of sex, the destruction pornography can heave onto a relationship, and the boundaries to which sexual intimacy should or should not adhere. Discussion is good. My issue is not that sex has entered the daily discussion, because it should. Hell, it’s in many of our daily thoughts as it is. No, my issue is the position (no pun intended) sex is taking in the daily context of our culture. Not to be redundant, but it has become overrated.
Let me present to two examples of what I mean from very recent pop culture news. The first is the recent reports involving my beloved Vikings and their mercenary quarterback. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last week, I am sure you have heard about Brett Favre’s alleged sext messages involving his little gun-slinger. This has dominated the coverage of sports-related news agencies, as well as the mainstream media. And it should. It’s Brett Favre. He has nearly every passer-related NFL record, good and bad, and he tends to transcend the sport itself. I mean, this is the same guy that I loathed while he played for the Vikings’ rival in his early years, yet my own mother would always say, “You gotta admire him, though, right? I like him.” He passed the mom test for crying out loud! (Although I’m not sure what my mother’s thoughts would be today. See number 18 on this list to see what the mom test is). This incident should be news. Yet, the dialogue has rarely gone beyond the obvious. Outside of a well-written article by Jason Whitlock, where is the discussion of sexual harassment in a male-dominated corporation? Outside of a few random musings, where is the larger discussion on the implications this may uncover about our culture? I understand that Brett Favre is paid to play a game and most of the coverage will be directed towards what effect this incident will have on that game. I also understand that we may have become numb to these incidents due to their frequency, including the somewhat similar escapade we saw from Tiger Woods, (or should I say sexcapade). But the entirety of the Brett Favre discussion has become surface-level, rudimentary, and rather boring.
The second example I am also sure you are aware of, unless, again, you have been living under a rock. For those of you that don’t know, Duke graduate Karen Owen created a 41-page PowerPoint “Senior Honors Thesis” called An Education Beyond the Classroom: Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics, which described 13 athletes she slept with during her years at Duke (including full names and images). Or, as it’s more commonly known, the F**K List. This story has now gone viral. I find this story fascinating. Not because of the details of the story itself, however, although they are tawdry and shallowly compelling. Instead, I find the larger implications this incident has on our culture in general extremely impinging. Yet, the majority of discussion on this incident has all been surface-level. There’s little discussion on how men have been objectifying women in this manner for years, (take Tucker Max for example). There is no dialogue on the state of University life and how, while few people express there experiences via PowerPoint, a large number of college-goers have had similar conversations with friends and acquaintances about sexual “conquests.” Again, like the Favre saga, the examination we have collectively supervised on this incident has become rather insipid.
Maybe my issue is less with the inflated stature sex has garnered in our culture and more with our inability to have meaningful discussions about not only sex, but most everything that goes on in our society. In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, everyone is trying to keep up with the latest and greatest. We have become a society of gossipers and have drifted away from a society of thinkers. Everyone talks about what they just heard, but no one thinks about what it actually means. Maybe this has always been the way it is, though. In eras past, people gossiped about their neighbor or the town drunk. Now, in this age of information, Brett Favre is our neighbor; Karen Owen is our town drunk. So we simply gossip and judge like we always have, just on a mass-scale. I don’t have an answer. And I certainly am not free from accountability here. I regularly lack serious thought and frequently add to the prestige of the overhyped superstar that is sex. Maybe I shouldn’t though. Maybe we should direct a more serious dialogue about sex and not simply relay the latest scandal.
I’m just going to say it.
I’m sick and tired of hearing about sex. In fact, I’m a little annoyed at myself that my husband and I came to the consensus that sex is this week’s topic, simply because the topic has been a complete and utter annoyance to me for the last six months. Between Mark Sanford’s affair, Tiger Wood’s multiple mistresses, Bishop Eddie Long’s sexual misconduct, the Duke student’s Powerpoint, and a personal friend revealing she just slept with a married man, I’m so over it.
I don’t care who you slept with. I don’t care how you slept with them. I don’t care if you’re ashamed. I don’t care if it was the best decision you ever made.
Blame it on the Sexual Revolution that hippies threw our way in the 1960’s. Blame it on addiction. Blame it on abandonment issues. Blame it on the 10 shots you downed last night at the bar.
Because when it comes down to it, who’s sleeping with who is much less important to me than the war drawing to a close. It’s not as relevant as what we’re going to do to get ourselves out of this recession. And it sure is much less interesting than hearing about the new baby our friends just brought into the world by way of their healthy, happy relationship.
I don’t think it’s too much to want the media to refrain from intrusive and shallow stories. I also don’t think it’s too much to hope friends will respect themselves and the relationships they are a part of. At the end of the day, I’m all for free love. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be everyone’s business.
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Good discussion. Whitlock’s article was on the money–he usually is.