We decided to investigate. We scoured local fire departments, pizza delivery joints and bars frequented by wild packs of traveling pharmaceutical sales reps, to see if they shared similar experiences. Everywhere we went the story was the same: Bored housewives suffering the pangs of withdrawal from a marriage that’s lost its luster start calling random men to their home in order to make life more interesting, i.e., more sexual.
Our sources on the police force say it’s a fairly recent phenomenon, occurring pretty much over the past ten years. A recent study commissioned by The Independent Women’s Forum and conducted by the Institute for American Values helps explain the trend. According to the study, the modern woman predominantly engages in two types of relationships: “sexual intimacy with no hope for commitment” or an intense almost immediate commitment “without first getting emotionally acquainted.” Either way, bodies are colliding without the hard emotional work of actually getting to know someone. Or, as the study put it: “women [have] few opportunities to explore the marriage worthiness of a variety of men before settling into a long-term commitment with one of them.”
The result: disappointed housewives whose thwarted marriage ambitions slowly build into something akin to sex rage. Since the sexual revolution, this brand of promiscuity has been glamorized for its symbolic value: women breaking free from gender roles that once enmeshed them, etc. The popular culture is replete with images that equate sexual promiscuity with freedom and liberation. Shows popular with women, like Sex and the City, depict the travails of four women as they work, hang out, and generally pounce on young men with the not-so-subtle élan of a hunter/gatherer. As well as the soap, Desperate Housewives, where the secret lives of housewives in suburbia aren’t always what they seem. The major implication: The modern woman is not an object to be subdued and prodded; she is in command, and quite capable of initiating sex with predatorial ease.
And so one day the bored housewife decides to let life imitate art. She slithers down the steps wearing a silk negligee to pay the pizza delivery boy. But is this fulfilling? One of the great ironies of the sexual liberation movement is that in seeking to free women from repressive social customs, it also encouraged them to go about things as a young, male would. It seems that real sexual liberation won’t happen until society develops new social customs that allow young women to place enough value on their own emotional needs, so that they feel comfortable waiting for Mr. Right, instead of Mr. Right now.
But then again, I am old-fashioned. So, I’m curious as to what you think. Send me your thoughts. Email me at arightside at aol.com and let me know if placing fake calls to police officers is a sign of sexual liberation, or a sad sign that the feminist movement has betrayed women by encouraging them to go about things as a male would. I will print your responses in a follow up column.