Erica Jong: Fear of Landing

 

by Renata Singer

Quote Erica Jong

Erica Jong has made it a trifecta.

There was Fear of Flying in 1973. Remember the zipless fuck, a phrase that liberated many young women from the idea that sex had to be tied to a meaningful RELATIONSHIP. Everyone I knew read Fear of Flying.   It was well written, laugh out loud funny and HOT. What’s not to like?

Sibylesque Strong Wind

Fear of Fifty, a memoir, came out in 1994. I didn’t read it because of the lukewarm reviews and not being that interested in Erica Jong’s life. I remember interviews where Jong talked about turning 50 and no longer “feeling a babe” and how men’s eyes didn’t swivel her way any more when she entered the room. The mean-spirited Renata thought, “well darls, join the club.”

Hot off the press is Jong’s Fear of Dying – a novel about an aging actress – she’s 60 – Vanessa Wonderman, with dying parents, a husband who can’t get an erection and a daughter about to have her first baby. Vanessa goes to the website zipless.com looking for sexual partners.

In an interview with Linda Wertheimer on NPR, Jong says she wanted to write about sex and old age. “I thought it was essential to do it, because sex follows us throughout our lives. The need for touch, the need for connection, that never goes away. But the forms of it change. As people age, touch is more important, erections are less important. And I think somebody needs to write about that.”

Jong has not lost her sense of mission and that’s a good thing. But what’s the next title going to be: Fear of Purgatory?

……………………………………………………………………………………. Renata SingerRenata Singer is a writer, community activist and educator who divides her time between Melbourne and New York. She co-founded Fitted for Work after working with Bottomless Closet in New York. Among Renata’s publications are The Front of the Family, True Stories from the Land of Divorce and Goodbye and Hello. Her most recent book “Older and Bolder” is reviewed on this blog here.

Photo Source: pinterest, MUP Website.

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Slut or She-Stud: What older women can tell younger women about sex

by Kerry Cue

Sibylesque Oscar Wilde quote

My generation invented sex. Cue: Hysterical laughter. We, Baby Boomers, grew up in an age of censured innocence. In 1950s TV shows parents slept in separate beds and film sex cut from a chaste kiss to an orgasmic metaphor of fireworks, ship foghorn hoot or, as in the Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr kiss in From Here to Eternity, pounding surf. So we didn’t invent sex. We were just very surprised to discover sex existed.

We were the generation, however, who pushed sex into the public arena. We argued about it. We made it political. And we’ve been arguing about it for 50 years. So we should be able to pass on some advice to younger women. Shouldn’t we?

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Of course, each generation thinks they’ve invented sex. And each generation seems shocked at the ‘outrageous’ sexual behaviour of the next generation. I’ve heard a feminist mother describe her daughter as a ‘slut’. But surely this is what feminists wanted, young girls to take control of and enjoy their own sex lives?

One recent story that amplified the generation gulf on attitudes to sex was: Magaluf girl video: Teen who performed sex acts on 24 men ‘thought she would win holiday (The Mirror, 2 JUL 2014) A teenage British girl who was captured on video performing sex acts on 24 men in Magaluf thought she would win “a holiday” — but instead won a £4 cocktail.
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One million Brits visit Mallorca each year with Magaluf being the focus of a booze culture with organized pub crawls, pub riots and sex on the streets. (Magaluf’s debauched reputation looks set to stay despite pledge to crack down, The Guardian, 11 JUL 2014)

The teen girl at the centre of this controversy licked the penises of 24 men. Hysterical comment erupted. Disgusting. When’s the next flight? It’s her choice. (Feminist response 1) Misogynistic abuse.( Feminist response 2) It’s a class issue. (Lower classes can have the values they want) Public decency issue (Magaluf should clean up it’s act) Privacy issue (The girl did not consent to the filming of the youtube clip)

So we still get hot under the collar when we talk about sex. So lets view this issue in a different context. Our culture is concerned with self-harm among young people via drugs, alcohol, fast cars, dieting and cigarettes. This was an act of self-harm through sex. The drunken teen will potentially harm her health (from 24 germ riddled penises), her self-esteem (she was duped) and her future prospects (Once out there this act cannot be undone).

Our generation was fortunate that smart phones were not filming our sex life booboos. Later generations are not so fortunate.  And we have to urge them to take care and minimize self-harm via sex. We must remind ourselves that name calling serves no purpose.

Meanwhile, another article, Libidos, vibrators and men, oh my! This is what your ageing sex drive looks like, (RUTH SPENCER, The Guardian,26 March 2014) celebrates Gloria Steinem’s 80th birthday declaration that a dwindling libido makes a woman’s mind ‘free for all kinds of great things’. Older women cannot be wise about all things, but we have a clearer picture of our younger selves. Here are some comments on the above article by older women, which could inform younger women about sex if only they would listen:

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Picture Source: Lucilleball.com

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Welcome

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We cannot let others define aging for us.

….We must, as we have done before,

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…………….redefine this stage for ourselves.

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What the media doesn’t tell you!

Frankly, my dear, they’re over you!

the-tibertine-sibylIf you have found little of interest in the lifestyle pages across all media platforms, there is a reason. After 54-years of age we are of no interest to Marketing. Apparently, we are ‘too set in our ways’. So, apart from some tragic and cheap ads spruiking pre-paid funerals and incontinence pads, we do not attract the advertising dollar. Therefore editors of magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs aimed at women couldn’t care less about our issues.

There are lots of ads for dubious anti-aging and slimming products, much like the 1950s ads (below) but with their own Facebook Page. But the anti-wrinkle creams and slimming products do not target us. They are aimed at 40, 30 and even 20 year olds. They have more to fear from aging and being overweight than us.50s chin strap We’ve already had to face certain realities. Besides, we’ve been applying goops for 40+ years and we must have tried scores of diets with little success!!! We’ll look at the real science ( and not the ‘radiessence’ or ‘luminosity’) of face creams and rubbish diets later.

But there are many issues such as health, sex and self-perception that change after 54 years of age and that we want to discuss. If you are looking at retirement and your daughter wants the BIG wedding, do you have to pay for it? What if you are divorced? What if it’s her 2nd wedding?

How do you deal with a neurotic daughter-in-law? Or a control-freak son-in-law? Or vice-versa?

Cole Swimsuit Ad 1953 And we wanted those curves!

Cole Swimsuit Ad 1953
And we wanted those curves!

Are you prepared to look after grandchildren one day a week? Two days? How would you react if your daughter handed you a spread sheet scheduling every minute of that one day?

If you didn’t have children, are you now being swamped by the 2nd wave of child-centric conversations as your friends become grandparents?

Moreover, how did any of us even produce children with the hilariously vague ‘sex education‘ we received in the 60s or 70s?

We, The Sibyls, are smart, vibrant and interesting women. It is the intention of this blog to reinvent aging. We’re doing this for ourselves. Welcome.

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The Sex Life of Rabbits

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Human reproduction is essentially the same as the rabbit…..dark red quote 2

Year 9 Text, Pursuit of Science, Lugg & Rowney, CHESHIRE (1965)

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Yes! You should know about the birds and the bees ………………and, um, rabbits

Sex education was excruciatingly vague for most of us. Here is the total sum of information I received from Kyneton High School in rural Australia  in 1965. I turned 13 that year. That was it. Yes! We stormed  into the world armed with the knowledge of the sex lives of rabbits.

But, at least, we knew multiple births were rare.

Year 9 Science Reproduction

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