Congratulations to Erica Jong, who recently proved herself to be the prototypical elderly person out of touch with the “kids today” with her opinion piece published by the New York Times this past Sunday.
In a nutshell, the Fear of Flying author proclaims “sexual passion” seems to be on “life support”. Mostly, from what I can gather because young women are interested in monogamy over open marriages.
But her hardest hit falls on those “natural parenting” types.
“Better to give up men and sleep with one’s children. Better to wear one’s baby in a man-distancing sling and breast-feed at all hours so your mate knows your breasts don’t belong to him. Our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality. With children in your bed, is there any space for sexual passion? The question lingers in the air, unanswered.”
Let the question(s) discontinue lingering.
If you can’t figure out somewhere else to have sex beside the bed your child is asleep in then you have much bigger issues than your love life in play – for example, your poor problem solving skills.
With children in the bed, the potential for passion is raised. Jong asks, “Is sex less piquant when it is not forbidden?” and I believe there is a grain of truth in this. Having kids in your bed means sneaking around your house, to find other places to be intimate. It means seizing the moment when you have an opportunity to get busy. You can’t have sex in your bed – but thankfully there are plenty of other rooms available.
Also, have you ever heard of a guest bedroom? Don’t worry I’m sure they change the sheets before you visit.
Reasonable men are not threatened by breastfeeding, therefore it doesn’t generally interfere in the romantic relationship they have with the mother of their children. If it does, I daresay there are deeper concerns there.
If a man believes that a woman’s breasts belong to him, he has no business being with a woman. No person has the right to anyone else’s anatomy (*cough* feminism fail *cough*).
As for one’s chest being occupied at “all hours”, breastfeeding is not a 24 hour job. After the first few months, a nursing mother suddenly may find themselves with ample chunks of time where there is no baby eating and they can do what they wish with their breasts. Whether they be engaged in foreplay or used to paint abstract art.
The questions Ms. Jong proposes inspired an inquiry of my own: when a man wears a sling does it become a “woman-distancing sling”? Speaking from personal experience I can say seeing my child snuggled up on my husband’s chest for the first time as we walked around our neighborhood, I had never felt closer to him.
Further, the statement “Our current orgy of multiple maternity does indeed leave little room for sexuality” implies the antiquated idea that pregnant women are void of sexuality. Obviously, Ms. Jong has failed to notice the rise in popularity of maternity lingere.
This attitude does shed some light on the open marriage policy she touts in the piece, if you’re going to be chaste and celibate for nearly a year, having other people sleep with your husband has a certain logic.
Co-sleeping, baby wearing and breastfeeding are personal choices, so is whether or not to have sex. If a couple isn’t doing the horizontal mambo and they are using the former personal choices to explain this, it should be seen for what it is: an excuse. Attached parenting does not equal a stop in showing your partner affection, sexual or otherwise.
Women can be devoted and attached mothers during the day and smoking, hot stiletto-wearing sirens in the night. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, be clean and dirty simultaneously. We are multifaceted human beings who have more than one side to our personality.
Sexual stereotypes are no prettier when they come from celebrated feminist authors.
(Ms. Jong says some interesting things unrelated to this blog. You can read the entire opinion piece for yourself at The New York Times)