by Kerry Cue
Following numerous workplace sex scandals (including allegations of rape) and women’s protest marches, consent has become a major issue in Australia today. Consent will be introduced as a mandatory lesson in Victorian schools (ABC, 22 MAR, 2021). As a result, this article, posted in 2014, is now more relevant than ever.
My generation invented sex. Cue: Hysterical laughter. We, Baby Boomers, grew up in an age of censured innocence. In the 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?
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. ’
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:
Picture Source: Lucilleball.com