Sex and the City/Current Singles Books/Avg sex life - 1/6/02

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Mon Jan 7 13:58:10 EST 2002


subject: Sex and the City/Current Singles Books/Avg sex life - 1/6/02

from: Smart Marriages

Is it any wonder?......


'Sex and the City' grows up

Neal Justin Star Tribune staff writer

Star Tribune 
Jan 4 2002

I've discovered a surefire way to have a bar argument with a woman. Mind
you, I've never had a problem in this department before, but never have I
found a more efficient approach than this three-step formula:

1) Approach female.

2) Trash "Sex and the City."

3) Take cover.

Since the show debuted on HBO in 1998, it has been embraced by mature,
professional, single women, hungry for someone, anyone, who resembles them
on TV. Apparently, the brittle-minded Murphy Brown and the brittle-boned
Jessica Fletcher of "Murder, She Wrote" just weren't cutting it.

Finally, here were four successful, powerful women with a healthy thirst for
sour-apple martinis and hunky men, not necessarily in that order. This alone
made it a TV milestone. At least, that's what the "Sex and the City" fan
will tell you.

Me? I've always felt the show was teetering on soft-core porn. In the first
three seasons, creator Darren Star -- the same guy who brought you "Melrose
Place" -- was intent on putting his foxy foursome through the kind of sexual
conversations and predicaments that would make the women of "Three's
Company" blush. Anal sex, videotaped sex, threesomes, foot fetishes, peeping
Toms, well-endowed men, under-endowed men, vibrators, bisexuality -- you
name it, the gals tried it. And their careers? Their families? Their
thoughts on, oh, world affairs? Save it for the Lifetime network.

All this was accomplished with clever dialogue, beautiful photography and
absolutely no chance of running into Ron Jeremy. That made it sophisticated.
This made "Sex and the City" the winner of best comedy series at the 2001
Emmy awards. What's next? An award for the equally ridiculous "Ally McBeal"?
Oh, wait. That already happened.

So when HBO programmed six new episodes of "Sex and the City," starting
Sunday, I previewed all of them, notebook in hand, ready to amass more
evidence to support my case. Yes, I duly noted that Carrie (Sarah Jessica
Parker) made six to eight costume changes per episode. Yes, the
morning-after conversation at the diner is still as raunchy at it would be
at Larry Flynt's mansion.

But something was different.

These four women are now facing bigger problems than how to land the perfect
Friday-night date, and sex is no longer something titillating to gossip
about at happy hour. It's real, which means it can be painful and joyful in
ways that it never was before. In other words, "Sex and the City" has
finally grown up.

I won't give away too many plot twists (that would guarantee some bar
fights), but here's a thumbnail sketch:

Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has found that her storybook marriage has some
unpredictable chapters, including her difficulty getting pregnant. The
couple's slow breakup is marked with some surprisingly painful moments, like
when Charlotte's husband (Kyle MacLachlan), desperately searching for a
sense of humor, brings home a toy baby. Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is pregnant
and fearful that being a mother will keep her off the fast track, both at
work and at play. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) has moved in with her
boyfriend (John Corbett), and while they're engaged and living together, she
finds herself panicking every time the subject of marriage pops up. And what
about Samantha (Kim Cattrall), the female John Holmes? Well, she's actually
thinking about settling down with her boss!

Don't worry. "Sex and the City" hasn't turned into "The Waltons." There is
still plenty of sexual play to be had. Samantha gives her boyfriend a
threesome for his birthday; Miranda discovers she is incredibly horny during
her pregnancy; and Carrie's dreamboat, Mr. Big (the wonderful Chris Noth),
comes around again.

But sexual games no longer are driving the show. It's possible that the
writers ran out of sexual positions. Or maybe both the characters, and the
actors playing them, want to move on. The best scenes in these upcoming
episodes involve Carrie facing a financial crunch and starting a freelance
job at Vogue, where she proceeds to get torn apart by her boss (Candice
Bergen) and then winds up getting drunk in the office. It's a shining moment
for Parker, one that involves no dirty words. And episode 6, in which Mr.
Big makes a shocking announcement, might just be the show's finest hour. And
it's not sexy; it's romantic, a term I thought I never would use to describe
"Sex and the City."

I'd like to think that, ultimately, the creative minds behind the show
decided to make a more ambitious show. It's possible that early on, they
were convinced that the only way to sell a show about strong, single women
was with lots and lots of sex. Now that it's an established hit, they can
take on deeper, more mature issues that make these women more dimensional,
more compelling and, yes, sexier.

Whatever the case, this is finally a show I can recommend. That means I'll
have to come up with a whole new way to pick a fight.

That reminds me: "Ally McBeal" really stinks...

##################
MR AVERAGE SLEEPS WITH 13 WOMEN:
http://www.ananova.com/entertainment/story/sm_488427.html?menu=entertainment
.latestheadlines

Mr Average sleeps with 13 women
Sunday 6th January 2002

The average UK man has slept with 13 women.

A sex survey based on 11,000 people has also found most people have sex once
a week.

The pub is said to be the best place to meet a lover.

The full results of the survey will be revealed in a new BBC2 series Sex
Life, which starts on Sunday at 10pm.

A BBC spokesman told the News of the World: "One of the key findings is a
marked increase in sexual partners for woman due to later marriage and a
higher divorce rate."

While 80% of women think one night stands are wrong, only 60% of men believe
so.
################

ATLANTIC MONTHLY REVIEW OF MODERN DATING BOOKS:
I don't have permission to share this full article with you, but will start
you out. 
To read this full article online and see the list of books discussed go to:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0963177109/theatlanticmonthA/

The Atlantic Monthly | January 2002

BOOKS & CRITICS BOOKS

Mr. Goodbar Redux

Illusions. Affectation. Lies. This is the insidious and incapacitating
legacy of modern dating books

by Cristina Nehring

.....

yndon McGill wanted to know how people fell in love. So he decided, he
confides in The Mating Game (1992), "to take a field trip to a farm and
observe the animals." He was soon witnessing the copulation of a cow and a
bull. "Coupling continued for a few minutes," he reports, "and then, without
warning, the cow suddenly pulled away and ran to the opposite side of the
corral ... I recalled how our family dog had behaved similarly." McGill's
conclusion? To keep a man's interest, a woman must rise abruptly after sex
and leave the room, the city, or even the country. It rekindles the man's
desire. As McGill explains with a flourish, it's "just like taking a bone
away from a dog." Such is the state of contemporary dating research in
America.

If The Mating Game is a particularly unfortunate example of the
proliferating genre of dating-advice books, it is not very different in
substance from its companions. Its advice to women is that of the New York
Times best seller The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of
Mr. Right (1995), by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider: Make him miss you! Be
mean to him so he'll be nice to you! It is the wisdom of John Gray's
stunningly successful Mars and Venus series: Man is the pursuer. Make him
pursue you. Although perfunctory contempt for such books is taken for
granted among America's intelligentsia, guilty fascination with them is
equally evident. Dating books are like traffic accidents: everybody says
they're awful, and everybody sneaks a look at them.

Little is easier than poking fun at most of these seduction manuals‹at their
cartoonish view of human nature, their bulleted lists of proven ploys, their
quadruple exclamation points, and their sometimes bludgeoningly repetitive
self-promotion ("You're not doing The Rules! ... You have to do The Rules!
We suggest you try The Rules for six months before doing anything else. You
can't do The Rules and something else ... Just do The Rules!"). Nothing is
easier than laughing at their gimmicks. Dilate your pupils, says How to Make
Anyone Fall in Love With You (1996), by Leil Lowndes: the "copulatory gaze
plays a big role in lovemaking." "Massage your neck with one hand," says
Date Like a Man (2000), by Myreah Moore and Jodie Gould. "It has the effect
of raising the breast ... which is erotic." Go to the bathroom in a
restaurant, says Gray's Mars and Venus on a Date (1997): it gives men the
chance to see you. "Read the obituaries," says How to Meet the Rich: For
Business, Friendship, or Romance (1999), by Ginie Sayles.

If the gimmicks range from bizarre to morbid, the contradictions among‹and
within‹these books go from insidious to incapacitating. Never let a man know
you're interested, says The Rules. Rent a billboard and trumpet your love
("'Bill Thomas, what are you waiting for? Give me a call so I can show you
why we are made for each other! Love, Ginnie'"), says Date Like a Man.
Postpone sex, say The Rules, Mars and Venus, and Dating Secrets of the Ten
Commandments (2000), by Shmuley Boteach. "Men are businessmen," Boteach
writes: if they're getting sex without a ring, they won't produce the ring.
Unless they happen to be millionaires. "Sex usually begins soon with the
rich," declares How to Meet the Rich. "Do you really think someone will
marry you because he just has to have sex with you?" Ginie Sayles also
provides my favorite contradiction of all‹coming, as it does, from a book
that suggests (among other gambits) that you invent an out-of-town job and
fake a move far away to provoke a proposal: Don't play games. "If you play
games, you have to be prepared to have someone play them with you."

In fact, no matter how deceitful these books urge you to be, a common
denominator among them‹and probably a key to American self-image in our
moment in history‹is that they also urge you to be "true to yourself"; they
all tout "self-esteem," not merely as the highest of virtues in general but
also as the source and end of their instructions in particular. Thus The
Rules tells you that to suppress the urge to call your boyfriend constitutes
"self-esteem"; its competitor, The Real Rules (1997), by Barbara De Angelis,
says that "Old Rules" like these "sabotage your self-esteem," and intones
that real self-esteem consists precisely in making that call. No matter what
game they advocate, they want self-esteem on their team. Self-esteem is to
popular psychology what God is to fundamentalism‹the banner under which you
fight, no matter for what desperate or cruel thing you are fighting.

s a genre these books draw astonishing numbers of readers. Many of these
doubtless consider themselves ironic and atypical; but ironic audiences are
often the most faithful of all. Nor are they motivated, as one might
suppose, mainly by curiosity about all matters erotic. In fact, the
assumption in all this literature is that its audience is not
pleasure-seeking but desperate; not confident, adventuresome, and looking
for tips on how to have a good time, but frightened and looking for hints on
how to avoid disaster‹how to avoid further time as a single girl. Because,
yes, 95 percent of these books are written to women. When men do the
writing, they present themselves as avuncular advisers to panicking
girls‹the few good wolves helping the sheep.

And so on......it's a long piece, click on link to read the full article.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0963177109/theatlanticmonthA/

#############
SINGLE IN JAPAN: 

Japan: People in 30s ill-prepared to wed

Yoshimi Nagamine Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

"I would like to get married, provided I can find the right person," the
34-year-old analyst said. Yoshio, who works at a leading research institute
lives in Tokyo and makes about 10 million yen a year.

With a higher-than-average income for his age, he does not see financial
concerns as a problem in his road to marriage.

He has one condition, however, on which he will brook no compromise when it
comes to selecting a mate. Since his long working hours keeps him away from
home until after midnight most weekdays, he said she would have to "grin and
bear it." Having a wife and children waiting for him in miserable loneliness
would be nothing but a burden, he said.

Yoshio has been a bachelor for a long time, making him capable of taking
care of himself at home. "Because I am getting older, I am losing the energy
to look for the right match the way I used to," he said. Since reaching the
milestone of his 30th birthday, he has felt reluctant about attending
"go-kon" mixers between groups of men and women, which can serve as an
occasion to meet new people.

Even when he does go to such parties, he cannot help looking at the women he
meets first in terms of whether they have any potential as a wife.
"Therefore, I won't even talk to them unless I really think there's already
a chance," he said. "I may be becoming timid."

A survey conducted in autumn showed that more than 40 percent of men aged
between 30 and 34 are single. In Tokyo alone, 54 percent of men in that age
group are unmarried, the first time they have been a majority in the
survey's history. Makoto Ato, director of the National Institute of
Population and Social Security Research, said, "This tendency will probably
continue for a while."

According to the institute's 1997 survey, the wives in about 12 percent of
couples who had been married for up to four years were already pregnant on
their wedding day. An increasing number of couples do not decide to get
married without a strong motive to do so, as in the phenomenon of
"dekichatta kekkon" (Oops-I-am-pregnant marriage).

Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that men deny the value of
marriage. According to a survey conducted by OMMG, an Osaka-based
match-making service, 72 percent of single men aged from 25 to 34 said they
would like to get married someday.

Despite their stated hope to tie the knot with somebody someday, increasing
numbers of men remain single even after the age 30.

One frequently cited factor behind this tendency is changes in women's
lives, such as the growth of their economic capabilities.

But we cannot overlook men who are reluctant to make decisions.

"I have no idea why people get married," said Kenji, 35. The company
employee living in Kanagawa Prefecture has a 26-year-old girlfriend he met
at a tennis school. He has gone out with her for four years. They routinely
visit each other's place after work and eat a dinner that she cooks.

"I want to marry her someday, maybe when I get to be about 40," he said. But
they have not discussed marriage directly.

Kenji has a variety of hobbies such as tennis and sailing and prefers
spending weekends with friends rather than with family at home. There is no
reason to hurry into marriage. He also feels vaguely concerned whether he
could support a family on his salary of about 4 million yen a year.

Their parents, who know about the couple's relationship, have not pressured
them into marriage, Kenji said.

The idea that you are a perfect adult only after getting married and
starting a family is already out of date. The lingering economic recession
also leaves serious financial worries for singles who may want to commit to
someone and start a new life.

Under the circumstances, there are women who hesitate to pressure men into
marriage.

Mariko, 33, has been disappointed in her 34-year-old boyfriend. They are
coworkers who have dated for five years. Whenever they exchange presents,
she experiences mild anticipation that he might propose to her. But, "He did
not say anything at my birthday this year either," Mariko said.

"I want to ask him if he intends to marry me, but I am afraid that would put
an end to our relationship," she said.

Mariko has slipped hints about marriage into their conversations. "But he
said he could not look at things over the long term and avoided the
subject," she said.

Mariko takes pride in herself and her career, working in a system that gives
equal opportunity to men and women. "I cannot help acting like, 'I'm not
that cheap woman who pressures a man into marriage,'" she said. "But to tell
you the truth, I am full of worries that if I lose him, I may not have
another chance of getting married."

Women who take pride in careers equal to those of men apparently hesitate to
ask men to marry them.

"Decision-making and communication skills may be deteriorating among those
in their 30s compared with their elders," said Akihiko Nishiyama, a director
at Tokyo Gas Urban Life Research Institute, who analyzes contemporary people
in their 30s.

According to Nishiyama, when the thirtysomethings had to make decisions on
schools and jobs, they had standardized tests and employment information
services to guide them in making a final decision. But they are not used to
making fully independent decisions regarding their own futures, he said,
which suggests that both men and women are shying away from the momentous
decision of marriage.

An increasing number of people cannot see anything that connects them with
others and seem to have become resigned to being "single after all."

European nations and the United States have implemented social policies that
serve couples who are not officially married. France, for instance, gives
unmarried households tax and social welfare treatment equivalent to those of
married couples.

As the "single after all" tendency becomes prevalent in Japan, the
government may as well consider social support for a unit that does not
follow the conventional form of marriage.




Copyright 2002 The Yomiuri Shimbun

 
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