Janice Shaw Crouse

According to the popular television personality and psychologist, Dr. Phil —­ who wades through the intimate details of his guests’ as well as his professional clients’ lives — there is an epidemic of “sexless marriages” these days.  His observations coincide with recent articles in popular magazines like Time and Newsweek and in more upscale journals like The Atlantic, Salon, Psychology Today and First Things.  In the midst of a sex-saturated culture, overflowing with dramatic images of the female anatomy, a new phenomenon has developed: men losing interest in sex.

Even the prolific political columnist, Mark Steyn has weighed in, asking, “Do you notice anything shriveling?”  In his essay, he reports that the lack of sexual enthusiasm has even extended to the Netherlands, a place known for sexual permissiveness.  Now, according to the ANP news agency, “the Dutch now derive more pleasure from going to the bathroom than from sex.”  So much for “free” love.

Clearly, something is weird when everybody’s talking about it and nobody’s doing it.  Could it be that sex has become just another item to periodically check off on the “to do” lists of too-busy couples? 

Earlier this summer, I reported on a fascinating study.  Two Wharton economists analyzed what they called “declining female happiness,” using 35 years of data collected by the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Their startling finding: none of the recent societal trends benefitting women has increased their happiness.  In fact, the opposite has happened.  Throughout the industrialized world, women’s happiness has declined in absolute terms and in comparison to men’s happiness. 

Mary Eberstadt, in her October 2009 First Things article, “What Does Woman Want? The War Between the Sexless,” gives her explanation for so much unhappiness troubling today’s driven women.

Perhaps some of the modern misery of which so many women today authentically speak is springing not from a sexual desert but from a sexual flood — a torrent of poisonous imagery, beginning even in childhood, that has engulfed women and men, only to beach them eventually somewhere alone and apart, far from the reach of one another.

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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