Tag Archives: sex

More on the Sluttiness Question

Tracey Emin Says Everything Best

Ada, I read your post first thing this morning and these lines about your personal 90s sluttiness really made me want to cheer:

But as far as whoring around? I wish now that I’d done it MORE. For me sex was tied up with adventure.

Your words reminded me of this poem, “Drowning in Flowers,” by Rita Dove, I’ve loved since college, which gets at one of the major reasons that girls have sex that no one ever talks about: CURIOSITY.

So I was thinking about that, and my own lack of regret for my own 90s sluttiness, when I was looking at Marisa’s Tumblr and saw that she reblogged Lesley’s dating advice column. And it struck me that we should stop telling girls to not have sex, since sex doesn’t seem to be the real problem. Instead, we should tell them to follow Lesley’s advice, which is:

Let’s do what we want and go for what we want, and if it doesn’t work out, let’s promise ourselves we won’t take it for personal. Most of the time rejection is protection.

Totally, right?! I was thinking about how this is basically the ultimate truth of dating life, and we should just tell this to as many teenage girls as we can, as I started clicking on links to some of Lesley’s other dating advice columns. And I came to one in which she admits:

For me, I cannot have casual sex. I can lie to myself and think “Whatever! Who cares?” but before you know it, I’m shame spiraling in fetal posish, and newsflash: I CARE.

And my celebration ended.

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The Sluttiness Question

"Slutty Hermione." I found this by image-searching "sluttiness question."

Kara, I totally thought your posts made total sense and were great! And I agree that this is worth talking about:

Do you regret being slutty in the 90s? Just kidding! I know you don’t. Wait, maybe not kidding. Whether or not we–and other 90swomen–regret the kinds of experiences that Flanagan seems to think we do or we should actually seems like a good subject.

I regret a lot of things in my life, but only a few have anything to do with sex. When it comes to ’90s sluttiness, for example, sometimes I slept with a guy who a friend really wanted, which was a shitty thing to do.

If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have been so cavalier about those particular guys. (In one instance, my friend was doubly mad at me because I not only slept with the guy first, I also neglected to mention to her that he was terrible in bed. She had to find out on her own. Total ’90s sisterhood fail!)

But as far as whoring around? I wish now that I’d done it MORE. For me sex was tied up with adventure. I read a lot. I walked around the city. I traveled. Being enthusiastic about sex for me was part of being enthusiastic about new experiences of every kind. Not to be all Elizabeth Taylor-style dramatic, but having sex was about living LIFE.  Continue reading

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Now Let’s Talk About Abstinence

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID_N7rv-iN8So, Ada, I’m not done talking about sex! When I was writing about Flanagan’s piece, I started thinking about a recent article by Jessica Grose, with whom—disclaimer—we are both friendly. In an article entitled “Sex-Positive Women Reconsider Abstinence.” Jessica chalks some of twenty-something women’s new interest in not having sex to their cycling through sexual rebellion and regret more quickly than past generations, partly thanks to their sex lives being publicly chronicled via the internet.

I think this emphasis on abstinence is concerning. I think girls not having sex in high school or college or whenever it is that they don’t want to is totally cool. For all my early and intense sexual experimentation, I didn’t actually have sex until college (for a variety of reasons—including that I was afraid that I was totally sure I was going to get pregnant and totally sure that I would never get out of my shitty town). But I hate the idea of abstinence being A Thing, something girls declare about themselves a la “I’m abstinent!” Deciding whether or not to have sex seems like it should be more of a fluid, case-by-case, moment-by-moment thing, and not something that gets bound up in an identity or even a politics. Because that was another thing we talked about today: how damaging the 90s identity politics witch hunts could be.

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Let’s Talk About Sex

So, Ada, we had a great interview today with Dr. Elizabeth Keenan, who is working on a book about 90s nostalgia. One of our favorite topics! We ended up talking a lot about sex. One of our other favorite topics!

On that tip, I finally forced myself to read the Caitlin Flanagan article that neither of us could initially bear. It’s mainly about the dangers of today’s hookup culture, a subject that has really already been covered ad nauseam.  One of my problems with this piece is that much of it is based on adult paranoia, rather than what is really going on with teenagers. (This is something I wrote about for you once, back when Oprah was losing her mind over so-called “rainbow parties.”)

My even bigger problem with the piece is that Flanagan assumes that teenage girls don’t really experience sexual desire. Instead, they are natural romantics who have been “forced into a sexual knowingness.” She also says that: “Unlike the girls of my era, who looked forward to sex, not as a physical pleasure (although it would—eventually—become that for most of us), but as a way of becoming ever closer to our boyfriends, these girls are preparing themselves for acts and experiences that are frightening, embarrassing, uncomfortable at best, painful at worst. These girls aren’t embracing sex, all evidence to the contrary. They’re terrified of it.”

To all of this I say: speak for yourself, lady.

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90swomen G-Chat Taylor Swift

So, Ada, the other night was a FAIRYTALE (sorry–so feeling it right now!) when we got to see Taylor Swift in concert. And not just in concert! In concert on Long Island for the Fearless Tour.

We didn’t sit together, but it didn’t matter, because we spent the evening texting. Yours say things like: “I’m so happy for all these girls whose first concert it is” and “She should have cuter boys in her band.” (Srsly, Taylor. Work on that, please.)

Anyway, Taylor’s two-hour performance was amazing and even better was watching girls in sparkles and pink tutus screaming and singing along and waving their glowsticks. Pure joy. But let’s get to the analyzing.

Ada: feminism is alive and well. taylor swift is angry. girls today are awesome.

Kara: taylor swift is pissed! and you might not know it from just listening to her music on the radio. but the whole show was, as i think neal said, a revenge fantasy.

Ada: and he said it’s the best way to get revenge. by being smart and successful. and having friends. and making art.

Kara: she had that part where she is like “there are 2 kinds of love: fairy tale love and real love and real love doesn’t always turn out so well.” DARK.

OMG!!!

Ada: totally! she is LEVELING with those eight year olds. listen kid. life kind of sucks. and boys kind of suck. don’t let them get away with anything. THEY SHOULDN’T DO BAD THINGS.

Kara: i had always thought the music was all romeo and juliet. but its kinda like: romeo and juliet die in the end.

Ada: i think this may be 2010: don’t let anyone get away with anything. don’t put up with it. no wallowing. just fuck them, move on. we are post-wallow.

Kara: we are definitely post-wallow. even beyonce. with “why dont you love me?” is still, like, “dude, im awesome, whats your prob?”

Ada: “be a dick to me? go for it. i will humiliate you in front of TEN MILLION tweens and their moms.”

Kara: also, at the same time as post-wallow, neal was like “this is like alanis’ ‘jagged little pill,'” which i get too. confrontational.

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Some Thoughts on Cool Points

From PhotoBucket

Kara, thanks so much for posting that photo from EMP and for the link to those people talking about the panel. And good questions! 

I never felt like a cool girl in the 90s. Mainly, I was just trying to have adventures and make out with guys I had crushes on. And I had a lot of crushes.  I spent my free time making a lot of mix tapes and reading a lot of books.

Yes, I found a BK fanzine when I was a teenager, but I didn’t find a CD until much, much later.

Meanwhile, Neal scored every single bit of radical feminist, experimental, Kill Rock Stars music that existed, even though he lived in the woods of East Texas. Learning that gave me a lot more respect for the Sam Goody outlets in the Piney Woods and made me think I was pretty lazy in my culture-questing. Continue reading

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Brad Will. R.I.P., 90s Man

During a lull at work today, I found myself googling exes for fun, like ya do.  I never expect to actually find anything.

But today I learned that a guy I had a thing with back in 1994, Brad Will, was shot a couple of years ago in Mexico. There is even a photo of his murdered body online.

Probably no one exemplifies the progressive 90s man more than Brad, who played music and wrote poety and exuded a combination of hubris and honor, sentimentality and  recklessness.

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