We are so schizophrenic when it comes to sexuality.
Now, I know that half of you have already stopped reading — because you have firm and fixed ideas, and the other half are wondering just where this gray-haired woman of a certain age is going with this. So let me tell you.
Almost anytime I go on my iPad and am searching information, I get an ad first. I know that we all run up against this, but internet is free because they get to trap us into ads. OK, I get it.
But here is what I don’t get: Viagra ads run all over the place. They are now touting a single-pill use, in a small packet. The ad shows an overnight bag being magically packed by itself with loafers, shirts, and a single-use Viagra. Now you can have sex on the go! And I say, if you need the help, you can get it.
What I do not get is the anti-contraception ire that is everywhere. Just who are these guys using the Viagra with, if not with a woman or girl? And they would be wise to be sure that these gals have contraception, unless they are “of a certain age,” in which case they will need other things.
We have an emotional and psychological split over sexuality for men and women. This is no news flash — ask any woman or girl. But we increasingly want to codify it into law.
I know that there is a rush to defund Planned Parenthood, although not all locations perform abortion and the percentage of that work is small compared to the health services they perform for women and girls (those who are sexually able to be active but under the age of majority).
We have a desire for “active” males but angelic or pristine women. Does that not seem a paradox to you? While boys and men are meant to get out there and “perform” at all ages, with whom might they do this if all girls and women are to be chaste?
I will be absolutely honest and tell you that I was well into my 20s before I became sexually active. I look back and see a time in the 1960s when young men and women were finding their ways sexually at a rate that was uncomfortable for me and my upbringing.
I don’t regret it, exactly, but wish it had not been so much out of fear but more out of choice. That said, the number of men I fell in love with enough to share my entire self would hardly qualify me for public stoning, trust me.
But let’s go back to the public messaging: Men should be ready at all times, eager and active as we strip away safety nets for girls and women. You rarely see contraceptive ads for women and girls because there is the sense — I am guessing — that the word “slut” might come to mind.
Women should have no such desires. And if they do, apparently pregnancy is the punishment they deserve — a sort of rain of shame and hell for being so loose. But with whom are they so loose? Men. Men who can get condoms in a pack in the men’s room or Viagra on the go. My mind is going into tilt!
I do think we oversexualize boys and girls far too early in our culture, and we continue that on with the parading of low-cut dresses on CSI, short skirts on Fox and women in tight clothes to announce a Presidents Day car deal. We cannot decide if we want to feed the dragon of desire or punish the girls we train to think a size DD is more important than a high GPA.
Planned Parenthood needs to be funded for all the health services they provide women and girls who may or may not be sexually active but who wish to plan how their lives go when as the Viagra and Cialis say, “the moment is right.” If men have Viagra-on-the-go or have tests for STDs women should have a way to remain informed and protected. We cannot continue to shift a mutual responsibility onto only half of the equation.
Men who need Viagra should be able to get it. Women who need contraception and health care regarding sexual activities should get it. Otherwise, the tyranny of a false belief that men are uncontrollably moved by sex while women must remain in a sexual fortress goes on.
It is a sad form of schizophrenia. Fantasy versus Fortress. Not a good plan
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.