Until now. The covers of two esteemed New York magazines have announced an end to all that sexual repression. First, The New York Times Magazine does a cover story on educated, successful women who want to get off the fast track to raise their own children. Why? Not patriarchy, not lack of good child care, but because, well, many women like caring for their babies. Corporate jobs can be a bore, and babies have a way of making their own opinions of day care known that go straight to the hearts of many mothers.
The top two administrators at Princeton University are now women, and one of them muses that she sort of hoped that the ambitious would marry nurturers without regard to gender. But it hasn't worked out that way. Ambitious women marry ambitious men. Why? Because ambitious women are sexually attracted to ambitious men, not nurturers.
"Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty?" purred Lorelie Lee. "It isn't everything, but my goodness, it certainly helps." Or if not rich, a brilliant intellectual, or an aspiring artist, or at minimum a big, strong fireman who rescues people from death.
Such is the heretofore unspeakable sexual truth now blaring from the cover of New York magazine. "Power Wives: What Happens to Marriage When SHE Brings Home the Bacon?"
It's not pretty. We are not talking here about co-breadwinner families, but marriages where women make so much more than their husbands that the husbands basically give up on the breadwinning thing. The result is some pretty unhappy wives.
The first thing to go is sex. Anna, whose marriage had once been "very sexual," was blunt about the consequences for her. "Sex is not a problem for him. It was a problem for me. When someone seems like a child, it's not that attractive." It doesn't help that the less men do in the workplace, the less they do around the house, too. (Yes, there is research on this: Full-time employed husbands do more housework than unemployed men.)
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.