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?

Sibylesque Sex Toy

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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