Dawn Eden explains women

And does a wonderful job explaining why the pro-“chastity,” anti-choice crowd is so thoroughly misogynist, seeing men as actors and women as passive objects:

We [women] are vessels and we seek to be filled.

She’s concise, I’ll give her that.

The Sixties generation thought everything should be free. But only a few decades later the hippies were selling water at rock festivals for $5 a bottle. But for me the price of “free love” was even higher.

There are a few themes to every piece of writing by Dawn: Blaming the 60s generation for their “free love,” universalizing her experience and assuming that her beliefs and preferences apply to all women everywhere, and pointing to Sex and the City as a modern incarnation of all of our social ills.

What Dawn conveniently ignores is the fact that pre-marital sex has always existed, and that rates of premarital sex have remained fairly stable in this country since the 1950s, the decade of abstinence-fetishism. Major difference between the 1950s and now: If women were found out to be having sex, or if they became pregnant, they were punished a whole lot harder for it. Which seems to be the goal that Dawn et al are striving for.

I sacrificed what should have been the best years of my life for the black lie of free love. All the sex I ever had — and I had more than my fair share — far from bringing me the lasting relationship I sought, only made marriage a more distant prospect.

As opposed to the 95% of married women who had sex before they were married. Clearly, fucking destroyed their prospects for getting hitched.

I am 37, and like millions of other girls, was born into a world which encouraged young women to explore their sexuality.

Horror of horrors. It would be better to go the route of yesteryear, or borrow practices from other sexually repressive cultures: Keep girls nice and ignorant about sex, marry them off as soon as they can get pregnant, have their husbands rape them on their wedding nights, and hang the bloody bedsheets from the window to prove that she was “pure.” Who needs this “exploration of sexuality” nonsense anyway? All a girl needs to know is how to lay back, spread ’em, and think about her wifely duties.

Whatever Greer and her ilk might say I’ve tried their philosophy — that a woman can shag like a man — and it doesn’t work. We’re not built like that. Women are built for bonding.

Except for the women who it does work for. But they’re certainly just suffering from false consciousness (who knew Dawn was a closet Marxist?)

Women aren’t “built” for bonding any more than men are — which is to say, many of us seem to be, since pair-bonding is a pretty common experience throughout human history. But certainly not all of us are “built” that way. What is completely unheard of throughout human history is a society in which no one had sex until it was ordained by a religious or governmental authority. Or a society in which everyone had one and only one partner for their entire lives. So either we’re talking about how we seem to be naturally “built,” or we’re talking about how Dawn would like everyone to be. Those aren’t the same things.

We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.

I’m pretty confident that there are some women out there who have had sex without being certain that they were loved, and thoroughly enjoyed it. And didn’t walk away feeling empty. But those women could come out in herds and the Dawn Edens of the world would ignore them, choosing instead to argue that their own experiences must hold true for everyone.

That said, there are plenty of women who do feel that sex is best when we’re loved. That’s a perfectly respectable belief. But why a wedding ring is the only thing that proves “love” is beyond me. I honestly question if a man can truly love a woman — as an equal and as a partner — if he believes that sex is dirty and soils her, unless he’s the one doing it, and only after he’s paid for it. I honestly question if a woman can truly love a man, or enjoy sex, if she believes that her own body is inherently sinful, and that men are selfish beasts who have to be roped into marriage, otherwise they’ll leave you — and that sex is a gift she bestows upon him, for his pleasure, in exchange for money, security and social status.

This is why the talk of “saving my virginity” makes me thoroughly uncomfortable. Love and partnership shouldn’t be about an exchange of commodoties — her body for his commitment and support. That view strikes me as thoroughly cynical, ugly and sad (not to mention misogynist and misandrist at the same time). I don’t want my partner’s decision to commit to me to be based on his access to sex. I don’t want to frame sex as something I’m “giving” to him, or submitting to, or trading for things he’s reluctant to give up. I don’t want my value as a person to center around the state of my hymen, or be in a relationship where sex is shameful, male-centered, and something that must be controlled (at least in women).

Our culture — both in the media via programmes such as Sex and the City and in everyday interactions — relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy.

There’s the requisite Sex and the City nod. Is lust a way station on the road to love? Sure, sometimes. Sometimes not. Apparently for Dawn it wasn’t. But, call me crazy, I’ll bet there are more than a few people out there who lusted after their partners before marrying them.

The misguided, hedonistic philosophy which urges young women into this kind of behaviour harms both men and women; but it is particularly damaging to women, as it pressures them to subvert their deepest emotional desires. The champions of the sexual revolution are cynical. They know in their tin hearts that casual sex doesn’t make women happy. That’s why they feel the need continually to promote it.

Glad that Dawn knows the deepest emotional desires of all women. After all, she is one, right? So she must know how all of deeply, secretly feel.

I suppose I’m one of those tin-hearted sexually liberated gals, but I’m not sure I’ve ever heard casual sex promoted as a universal good in the same way that abstinence before marriage is. That seems to be the fundamental difference — sexually active, unmarried women may say “My sex life is great” or “I feel no need to wait for marriage” or “Have you heard about this new form of birth control?” or “This is what I like sexually — if you’re sexually active, maybe you’d like it to,” but I’ve never heard a woman claim that sex before marriage is the best thing for all women, or that because they like having sex before they’re married that all women must secretly desire it. They don’t make blanket statements about what does and does not make women happy when it comes to our sexual lives. They know that women are diverse people, with varying values and desires and bodies and experiences, and that when it comes to something as fundamental and as complicated as sex, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option. The pro-chastity folks, on the other hand, don’t put chastity out there as one option among many, which may be better for some women. No, they claim it to be the only moral answer, something that everyone will benefit from. They claim that pre-marital sex is always damaging. They claim to know what every single woman, everywhere, desires — and if she says she doesn’t desire it, she’s fooling herself.

How can you argue with that?

Reading articles like these always makes me sad. How jaded — or out of touch, or misanthropic — does one have to be to view sex, women and men the way that the virginity-fetishists do? All I know is that if I ever foolishly dated a guy who thought my virtue as a person was located in my lady-parts, he wouldn’t be allowed to touch me with a ten-foot pole (not that my objections would likely mean very much to a dude who thinks that women are property purchased in marriage, but a girl can dream. And he probably wouldn’t want to come near soiled little me anyway).

The rest of the article is worth reading, because it does a pretty good job of illustrating the various issues which led Dawn to the place she is now. I don’t doubt that Dawn is happier with her life today than she was ten years ago, and I think that’s wonderful. I even think it’s wonderful that she’s willing to share her experience and her story with others. What I don’t think is so wonderful is her idea that everyone is exactly like her. Or that those of us who have sex for pleasure, regardless of our marital status, all view sex like she did, or that we use sex the way that she did.

I’m certainly not the only person who takes issue with Dawn’s article. Some Brits aren’t too thrilled with it either:

Now she has become a heroine for the creepy ‘chastity’ movement in America, whereupon young girls sport silver rings as a sign they haven’t been ‘soiled’ yet. Lovely. Let’s not give young girls information on how to deal with sex, let’s just make them petrified of it, and of losing their ‘purity’ – you know, kind of MySpace meets the Dark Ages.

Indeed.


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85 comments for “Dawn Eden explains women

  1. Mnemosyne
    January 14, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    The more I read from Dawn, the sadder I become for her. It’s one thing to go, “Hm, sleeping around really isn’t working for me” and quite another to go, “Sleeping around didn’t work for me, so therefore, it’s not right for anyone. Ever. In all of recorded history.”

    Oddly, the only people I’ve ever heard who go as far as the pro-chastity people to insist that their way is the best and right way for every person in the world are the pro-polyamory people. Obviously, I don’t mean the people who are just going through their everyday polyamorous lives. I mean the people who insist that those of us who don’t feel that polyamory is right for us are just repressed, unnatural, etc. and that the world would be a better place if we just did the same as them.

    Interesting that the same attitude comes out on the exact opposite sides of the spectrum.

  2. January 14, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Haha, you’ve got a point, mnemosyne.

  3. January 15, 2007 at 12:01 am

    This is just Dawn trying to convince herself that Dawn is right.

    She can’t be secure in her choices unless she assumes that they work for every other bloody person in the world.

  4. ako
    January 15, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Does anyone get the impression that Dawn Eden would be really, really happy in the world described in the Handmaiden’s Tale, provided she got the right kind of role?

    She talks like she’d want to be a respectable blue-veiled Wife, but I think she’d be far happier as an Aunt.

  5. zuzu
    January 15, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I am 37, and like millions of other girls, was born into a world which encouraged young women to explore their sexuality.

    Well, A) If’n you’re 37, you ain’t a “girl” anymore.

    But B) Sure, you lost out on the free-love generation and got to grow up in the age of AIDS, like I did. I know that I’ve mentioned here that I’ve dated men who’d never thought they ever needed to wear a condom before me, and they were of a generation just before mine (and Dawn’s) where you didnt’ worry about that stuff. I do suspect Dawn got started earlier than I did, so that she got a taste of that free-lovin’ thing before the reality of HIV hit home.

  6. January 15, 2007 at 12:46 am

    This is a concise, eloquent, and logically elegant demolition of everything Dawn stands for. Bravo, Jill!

    What’s sad is that it’s not just women like Dawn, projecting their own frustrating sex lives, and patriarchal men, desperate to recover the power they’ve lost since the Second Wave, who are the virginity fetishists. These people have shoved their rhetoric down the throats of children for the past twenty years, and I’ve heard more than a few, otherwise very intelligent, college students regurgitating it.

  7. Deanna
    January 15, 2007 at 12:50 am

    What? She’s 37? Then why is she blaming the 60’s generation for anything? Shouldn’t she be pissed off at the 80’s and 90’s instead?

  8. ako
    January 15, 2007 at 12:57 am

    All the sex I ever had — and I had more than my fair share — far from bringing me the lasting relationship I sought, only made marriage a more distant prospect.

    And the sad thing is, she’s so completely overshot the real lesson of this that she’s missed it entirely. Having the kind of sex you want doesn’t actually mean just having whatever sex is offered and seems like a good idea at the time. I imagine there were a lot of guys back then talking up her giving them the sex they wanted as her being sexually liberated. But if having promiscuous sex is making you feel bad about yourself, and you only really want to sleep with someone in a a loving relationship involving promises about the future, the sexually liberated thing is to stop and wait. Because it’s your freedom, and you’re free to say no. And it makes perfect sense to decide not to have the kind of sex that’s inconsistent with what you want out of sex.

    And you can do this without all that authoritarian nonsense about how all women are really like you deep down, and they need to stop trusting what they think and start trusting your proclamations about the Nature of Womanhood. Unless, of course, your goal is to be an Aunt and get to decide who’s a proper Wife, a naughty Handmaiden, an irredemable Jezebel, or an Unwoman.

  9. prairielily
    January 15, 2007 at 2:21 am

    Hey, I’ve felt empty after sex. It happened when I was feeling empty BEFORE sex and realised that not only did it NOT make me feel better, but I didn’t even really like the guy all that much.

    Clearly, that was my own internal issue, and everyone else is free to work out what works for them. I’m only 22, but Dawn Eden could learn from me; I don’t project my own issues on everyone else.

  10. Medicine Man
    January 15, 2007 at 4:09 am

    @Mnemosyne

    I have a pet theory about that, Mnemosyne. I figure every living person has a finite amount of “give a crap” in them. Most normal people spread their pathos (or “give a crap”) around between all of the things in life that matter to them. The people who are deviant fanatics tend to pile all of their “gac” onto the one thing that dominates their attention and then obsess about it. The lack of attention these people pay to the variety life, the things outside of their obsession, makes them ignorant of all nuances and fills them with false confidence. Kind of a stupid theory, but it seems to fit the behavior of a typical fundy shovelhead.

    I’m not really that familiar with Dawn Eden, but even lacking foreknowledge of her work, it only takes a quick scan to find clear reason to disregard her. She’s haloing so completely, that she’s claiming to speak for 3 billion people — and she’s speaking in completely banal generalities to boot. Let me tell you, if all women were really like Dawn says they are, I’d be homosexual tomorrow.

  11. January 15, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Gosh, the more Dawn Eden I read (and I only read it on Femblogs) the more pathetic she seems. As in Pathos, not as in scorn.

    She justs wants someone to fall in love with her. Has NO ONE ever fallen in love with her, ever? I didn’t get hitched until I was 37, because I wanted for me and my intended to be in love with each other, you know, at the same time. But there had been many times before that where I had been in love with disinterested guys, and times when men had been in love with ME, and I didn’t reciprocate. (Doesn’t Dawn know any Engineers? HAR HAR HAR low blow, sorry about that)

    She just wants to be loved so badly, she is like that weird shape-shifting creature on Star Trek TNG who wails “LLOOOVVEEEEE MMEEEEEE!!!!!!!!” at Picard as he runs for his LIFE back to the ship.

    Dawn SERIOUSLY needs some THERAPY! She is obviously self-sabotaging in some way, because her fear of never being loved is so overwhelming.

  12. Thlayli
    January 15, 2007 at 6:10 am

    Shorter Dawn Eden: I am the cosmos.

  13. Em
    January 15, 2007 at 6:15 am

    She really bought the Catholic Dogma Farm. Lock, stock, and barrel. I read what she writes and this just leaps out at me.

  14. Em
    January 15, 2007 at 8:41 am

    If Dawn were gay, we’d be reading her ex-gay testomonies. Every word she puts to paper reeks of the unexamined life.

  15. Julie
    January 15, 2007 at 8:58 am

    I actually know a couple who waited until they were married and will tell you that they don’t know why, because it was not at all everything it was cracked up to be.
    I didn’t wait until I was married, but I did have premarital sex and it didn’t leave me feeling empty or used. I did end up married to him, but we weren’t in love when we first started dating. It was a good friendship that gradually blossomed into love and somewhere along the way became sexual. I personally don’t know if I could ever have truly casual sex, like a one night stand or something, but I know plenty of people who do and are fine with it because they aren’t looking for their soulmate, they are just having fun.

  16. evil fizz
    January 15, 2007 at 9:15 am

    We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.

    Dear Dawn Eden: learn to distinguish between the first person singular and the first person plural.

  17. January 15, 2007 at 9:25 am

    We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.

    That might be true for some people; I was never a big fan of meaningless sex, and always believed physical intimacy was better in a real relationship. And if you’re only relating to people on a facile level, then yes, you’ll find yourself a bit empty and wanting if you desire something more.

    But that’s a human, not a female, condition, and it presupposes that there is nothing that can fill that space but a member of the opposite sex, and that the space needs to be filled at the earliest opportunity by any particular person with the proper genitalia who happens to wander by.

    Someone needs to teach Dawn Latin, because she does not grasp the meaning of the phrase De gustibus non disputandum est.

  18. January 15, 2007 at 9:26 am

    People like Dawn see “exploring your sexuality” as some sort of monolithic experience, like a Rumspringa. It’s not. “Exploring” is merely a metaphor, but a useful one.

    Sexuality is a bit like the Louisiana Purchase. Dawn got hired to go explore it with Louis and Clark. Upon crossing the Mississippi River, Dawn should have said, “Alright, I see it, and I don’t like it,” then gone back to her comfortable home, and maybe occasionally brought her husband across the river for a picnic lunch. When he asked, she would probably tell him that it was her first time across the river.

    Instead, she stuck with the expedition for the entire trip, hating most of it. She hated the camping, she hated cooking over a fire, she hated the hiking through untouched forests. She got home, declared that it was horrible, nobody should ever again explore, and blamed Thomas Jefferson for her terrible experience.

    K

  19. January 15, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Shorter Dawn Eden: Because fucking the drummer for White Lion while ripped on coke was ultimately an unsatisfying experience, nobody should ever fuck out of wedlock ever again.

  20. anna
    January 15, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Not to negate the rest of what you’ve said, Jill, but I think some women do think chastity is never the way to go, and that if you’re not having sex it must be because you’re ugly or damaged and nobody wants you, or you’re repressed and frigid. That’s what I sometimes get anyway, when I tell people I’m still-“Still?!”-a virgin. It could be because they think I’m the Dawn Eden type and they’re being defensive, I don’t know. Anyway I suggest everyone just do what makes them happy.

  21. N.
    January 15, 2007 at 10:19 am

    “I may be 37,” I concluded, “but in husband-seeking years, I’m only 22.”

    That she believes this, perhaps, is the saddest thing of all. There’s a train of psychological thought that goes something to the effect of people remaining psychologically at the age when something traumatic happened in their lives, and, for Dawn, it’s obvious that her dating life was psychologically traumatic.

    But she’s not 22, and she’s most especially not 22 in “husband-seeking years”, because the kind of men who want the kind of women Dawn is suggesting we all be are looking for actual 22 year-olds, not 37 year-olds. The kind of man Dawn is hoping to attract wants a young woman who wants to have children and stay home with them and be a good little wife and mother, and Dawn has completely missed her opportunity to be that. She’s too old, she’s too self-centered, and she’s too attention-needy. Good Catholic boys/men don’t marry that, which she oughta know by now, given all the supposed research she’s put into the subject.

  22. January 15, 2007 at 11:00 am

    I’m just still trying to figure our how Dawn manages to get herself so much press for the fact that she’s not getting any.

  23. ako
    January 15, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Hey, I’ve felt empty after sex. It happened when I was feeling empty BEFORE sex and realised that not only did it NOT make me feel better, but I didn’t even really like the guy all that much.

    Clearly, that was my own internal issue, and everyone else is free to work out what works for them.

    With these words, you have proven yourself vastly wiser than Dawn Eden.

    Not to negate the rest of what you’ve said, Jill, but I think some women do think chastity is never the way to go, and that if you’re not having sex it must be because you’re ugly or damaged and nobody wants you, or you’re repressed and frigid.

    This is part of the reason I think it’s sad that Dawn Eden went so completely off the rails with this. If someone was out there, relatively publically adressing how controlling your sexuality on your own terms and not having sex aren’t exactly incompatible, and how you can decide not to have sex without swearing yourself to some ideological vision of What Womanhood Should Be, that would be a good thing.

    But this sort of thing just reinforces the divide. Dawn Eden’s advocacy for chastity is actively connecting it to her husband-hungry fanaticism that feels the right to dictate everyone else’s life for them. Which is really unfair on the women who don’t want to have sex at this point in their lives because it’s not right for them, but don’t feel the need to run other people’s lives.

  24. Chicklet
    January 15, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I’m pretty confident that there are some women out there who have had sex without being certain that they were loved, and thoroughly enjoyed it. And didn’t walk away feeling empty. But those women could come out in herds and the Dawn Edens of the world would ignore them, choosing instead to argue that their own experiences must hold true for everyone.

    Or the Dawn Edens of the world would dismiss them as desperate sluts just like Dawn Eden used to be, tricked by Free Love and Sarah Jessica Parker into being empty vessels who only need to be filled with The Right Dick (after the wedding, natch), then The Right Dick’s baybee. That’s why Dawn Eden must continue her endless navel-lint gazing, to save those poor, deluded sluts!

  25. Medicine Man
    January 15, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    I’m just still trying to figure our how Dawn manages to get herself so much press for the fact that she’s not getting any.

    Because she fascinates a certain segment of the population that thrives on filling “empty vessels” with the dogma of their choosing. You know the types — the folks who would far rather worship baby Jesus than the adult Jesus or who will meddle ceaselessly in the life of a woman in a vegitative state.

  26. January 15, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Is her fifteen minutes over yet?

    I found her reference to Pamela Des Barres extra pathetic.

    I read the supergroupie memoir, I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres, envying her ability to drink in everything that was desirable about rockers — their good looks, wit, creativity and fame — without seeming to lose any part of herself in her (extraordinarily numerous) dalliances with them.

    I’m sorry, Dawn. The fact you weren’t able to “emulate” her as well as you wanted to has more to do with your own issues than women not being able to “do” casual sex.

    I wrote a couple of paragraphs about my sexual history, but then I realized that’s not what this is about.

    This is about a confused woman who is seeking to project her own problems onto an entire gender.

    No sale.

  27. Mnemosyne
    January 15, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I didn’t get hitched until I was 37, because I wanted for me and my intended to be in love with each other, you know, at the same time.

    Hey, me too! We got married on the sixth anniversary of our first date. My mom is still very impressed that I managed to hook a younger man (my now-husband is two years younger than I am).

    In retrospect, I probably should have had more casual sex, because I’m still working through my Roman Catholic girlhood issues and I probably could have gotten through them a lot faster if I’d been able to put sexual attraction (bad! bad!) and romantic attachment (good! especially when the guy was uninterested and there was no risk of sex!) together a little sooner. But, hey, life works out that way sometimes, and I don’t truly regret anything.

  28. Frumious B
    January 15, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    anna #20:

    many of those women probably internalize what ako #8 said: “guys talking up her giving them the sex they wanted as her being sexually liberated.” being a virgin b/c it’s what you want is just as liberated as sleeping around b/c it’s what you want.

  29. January 15, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve never heard a woman claim that sex before marriage is the best thing for all women, or that because they like having sex before they’re married that all women must secretly desire it.

    I wouldn’t say that all women secretly desire it, but I will go so far as to say that absent social pressures to wait until marriage, I doubt that anyone would. The statistic that 95% of people have premarital sex confirms this

  30. January 15, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    The more I read from Dawn, the sadder I become for her.

    All snark aside**, me too. She’s alone and single and terrified that she will never find a man who really loves her, and she’s convinced herself that it’s all her fault because she slept around as a young woman*, and now it’s too late. So she does public penance by writing about how wrong, wrong she was.

    She can’t accept that it’s just her and that she, Dawn, has somehow missed the man boat. It would be too painful to look at women in their 20s, having all that free love without missing a beat, and thinking “They’re going to get married and settle down someday”. (Which most of them probably will.) She has to persuade herself that they, too, are going to end up middle-aged with marriage prospects dwindling fast.

    *More than one poster has questioned her claim to be 37. At least one person a while back said that she was the same age as Dawn back when Dawn’s last name was still Goldberg, and she sure ain’t 37. And a 37-year-old wouldn’t have been fucking around in the 70s, much less the 60s.

    **OK, not ALL snark. This is definitely a case of MIJYD– Maybe It’s Just You, Dear–applicable to idiots who are convinced that their own personal tragedies are cautionary tales for the entire species.

  31. anna
    January 15, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    I don’t see why Dawn couldn’t find someone who loved her if she got some therapy and got over her issues. Do you really think that she has “somehow missed the man boat” for good?

  32. January 15, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I really think that Dawn is terrified that she is too old and has too much of a past to get married. She’s also put herself into a religious and cultural system that denigrates older and non-virginal women as partners. (I definitely wasn’t suggesting that older woman = unmarriageable.)

  33. trillian
    January 15, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    I kinda hate myself for saying this, but some part of me can’t help but feel like poor Dawn would chill out a lot if she would just get laid already.

  34. Em
    January 15, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Anna, Catholics don’t go to therapy. They go talk to their priests. It’s not really the same….

  35. Bitter Scribe
    January 15, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    She’s gotten more mileage out of not having sex than any woman since the Virgin Mary.

  36. bekabot
    January 15, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Our culture…relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy.

    In the past I’ve wondered aloud, so to speak, how sincere Dawn Eden’s stated intention of getting married actually is. My position was that, since Dawn Eden is a woman not destitute of attractions, and as most men aren’t so unattainably difficult to please–if she truly were intently focussed on getting hitched, then hitched she would be. (BTW, Zuzu says that she agrees with me about this, or that I agree with her.) But this “brittle facade…incapable of real intimacy” routine of Dawn’s makes me wonder. Here’s the thing: women are usually expected to be more empathic than men. Women are usually thought to be more capable of forming and maintaining emotional connections than men are, and (therefore?) women are expected, most of the time, to perform the emotional labor involved in any relationship which includes people of more than one sex. And I don’t quarrel with the supposition that women are on the whole more adept at performing such tasks than are men. Could be true. (What I don’t like is that fact that, even though emotional work is real work, and even thought things tend to fall apart when it remains unattended to, it’s not recognized as real work, and it’s unpaid. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue.)

    But still…there are lots of women who are not very empathic. There are lots of women who flat-out aren’t very skilled at forming and maintaining emotional connections, even though as women, that’s unofficially their job. Now it’s no secret, or at least I assume it’s not, that just bumping around with a guy for the duration of a long weekend is a lot less emotionally demanding, and is a good deal less of an empathic drain, than marrying him and staying married to him as long as ye both shall live. So what does the woman who’s got the relationship mojo for the 3-day weekend, but not for the thirty-year marriage, do? Well, in practice, she takes what she can get: she accepts the three-day weekend as a wonderful present from the Great Disco Ball Up In The Sky, but she forgoes the marriage, because she knows that she hasn’t got what it takes to sustain a partnership which lasts for thirty years. Does she ever feel pangs of regret over passing up the deal she knows she didn’t have the emotional resources honestly to make? Well, yeah, sure. But then, a woman’s gotta know her limitations. There’s no sense in buying stuff you can’t pay for. There’s no sense in entering into an understanding you can’t see through. Anyone with any sense knows that.

    According to her own testimony, Dawn Eden, when she was younger, deployed her resources exactly as woman who knew that she was good for the brief-encounter duration but not for the long-relationship haul would have been expected to. She accepted short-term liasions but declined long-term involvements…for Pete’s sake, she even singled out drummers in bands as her partners in joy–and it can’t have been because she imagined that they’d make great husband-and-father material. Nope; it was quite the contrary, IMO; Dawn Eden singled out drummers in bands because she knew they wouldn’t stick around forever, that after a little while they’d get out of her space, ease on down the road, leave her alone with her thoughts, and let her catch her breath.

    So far, so good. So why does Dawn Eden profess such overwhelming remorse at everything she’s done and been thus far? After all, in real-world terms, her life hasn’t worked out so terribly badly for her. She’s still fairly young, she’s good-looking, she’s got enough money, she’s got a better-than-average professional resume, and even if she’s messed up her own romantic life (and that’s debatable) she hasn’t messed up anyone else’s, at least not that we’ve heard. So what is her problem?

    Her problem (again IMO) is that she’s afraid of being perceived as unfeminine. Those who read her own story of her own erotic past and who are not utterly insensitive to the information contained between its lines can’t help but perceive that she acted as she did because she wanted to avoid, not invite, close entanglements. And that if she did that, it was probably because she realized that she didn’t have the stomach (or whatever) for the close entanglements, and consequently wisely chose to behave herself in such a way that they did not eventuate. But, but, but but but but but!!! That’s so calculating. Feminine women aren’t calculating; feminine women are ruled by the moon and the tides.

    If Dawn Eden had succumbed to a grand passion, ruined her own life, ruined a bunch of other people’s lives, lost a lot of money, her self-respect, a custody battle, what you will, to a man…then at least she would have participated in what she sees as the universal female destiny. She would have been visibly ruled by passion. The Recording Angel would have inscribed her life on the Emotive side of the Everlasting Ledger. She would have been more thoroughly defined by her biological capacities than she has been. She might have been miserable, and she might have made a good many other people miserable as well, but so what? Nobody would have been able to deny her the title of Real Girl, because, as we all know, “women is losers”, and the Dawn Eden who might in that case have existed, a Dawn Eden who declined to think things out ahead of time, calculate likelihoods, and assess probabilities, could have retained her femininity intact.

    And that, of course, is worth any sacrifice.

  37. bekabot
    January 15, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Our culture…relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy.

    In the past I’ve wondered aloud, so to speak, how sincere Dawn Eden’s stated intention of getting married actually is. My position was that, since Dawn Eden is a woman not destitute of attractions, and as most men aren’t so unattainably difficult to please–if she truly were intently focussed on getting hitched, then hitched she would be. (BTW, Zuzu says that she agrees with me about this, or that I agree with her.) But this “brittle facade…incapable of real intimacy” routine of Dawn’s makes me wonder. Here’s the thing: women are usually expected to be more empathic than men. Women are usually thought to be more capable of forming and maintaining emotional connections than men are, and (therefore?) women are expected, most of the time, to perform the emotional labor involved in any relationship which includes people of more than one sex. And I don’t quarrel with the supposition that women are on the whole more adept at performing such tasks than are men. Could be true. (What I don’t like is that fact that, even though emotional work is real work, and even thought things tend to fall apart when it remains unattended to, it’s not recognized as real work, and it’s unpaid. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue.)

    But still…there are lots of women who are not very empathic. There are lots of women who flat-out aren’t very skilled at forming and maintaining emotional connections, even though as women, that’s unofficially their job. Now it’s no secret, or at least I assume it’s not, that just bumping around with a guy for the duration of a long weekend is a lot less emotionally demanding, and is a good deal less of an empathic drain, than marrying him and staying married to him as long as ye both shall live. So what does the woman who’s got the relationship mojo for the 3-day weekend, but not for the thirty-year marriage, do? Well, in practice, she takes what she can get: she accepts the three-day weekend as a wonderful present from the Great Disco Ball Up In The Sky, but she forgoes the marriage, because she knows that she hasn’t got what it takes to sustain a partnership which lasts for thirty years. Does she ever feel pangs of regret over passing up the deal she knows she didn’t have the emotional resources honestly to make? Well, yeah, sure. But then, a woman’s gotta know her limitations. There’s no sense in buying stuff you can’t pay for. There’s no sense in entering into an understanding you can’t see through. Anyone with any sense knows that.

    According to her own testimony, Dawn Eden, when she was younger, deployed her resources exactly as woman who knew that she was good for the brief-encounter duration but not for the long-relationship haul would have been expected to. She accepted short-term liasions but declined long-term involvements…for Pete’s sake, she even singled out drummers in bands as her partners in joy–and it can’t have been because she imagined that they’d make great husband-and-father material. Nope; it was quite the contrary, IMO; Dawn Eden singled out drummers in bands because she knew they wouldn’t stick around forever, that after a little while they’d get out of her space, ease on down the road, leave her alone with her thoughts, and let her catch her breath.

    So far, so good. So why does Dawn Eden profess such overwhelming remorse at everything she’s done and been thus far? After all, in real-world terms, her life hasn’t worked out so terribly badly for her. She’s still fairly young, she’s good-looking, she’s got enough money, she’s got a better-than-average professional resume, and even if she’s messed up her own romantic life (and that’s debatable) she hasn’t messed up anyone else’s, at least not that we’ve heard. So what is her problem?

    Her problem (again IMO) is that she’s afraid of being perceived as unfeminine. Those who read her own story of her own erotic past and who are not utterly insensitive to the information contained between its lines can’t help but perceive that she acted as she did because she wanted to avoid, not invite, close entanglements. And that if she did that, it was probably because she realized that she didn’t have the stomach (or whatever) for the close entanglements, and consequently wisely chose to behave herself in such a way that they did not eventuate. But, but, but but but but but!!! That’s so calculating. Feminine women aren’t calculating; feminine women are ruled by the moon and the tides.

    If Dawn Eden had succumbed to a grand passion, ruined her own life, ruined a bunch of other people’s lives, lost a lot of money, her self-respect, a custody battle, what you will, to a man…then at least she would have participated in what she sees as the universal female destiny. She would have been visibly ruled by passion. The Recording Angel would have inscribed her life on the Emotive side of the Everlasting Ledger. She would have been more thoroughly defined by her biological capacities than she has been. She might have been miserable, and she might have made a good many other people miserable as well, but so what? Nobody would have been able to deny her the title of Real Girl, because, as we all know, “women is losers”, and the Dawn Eden who might in that case have existed, a Dawn Eden who declined to think things out ahead of time, calculate likelihoods, and assess probabilities, could have retained her femininity intact.

    And that, of course, would be worth any sacrifice.

  38. bekabot
    January 15, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    …sorry about the double post (problems here at Command Central)…
    [sheepish grin]

  39. January 15, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Good point, bekabot. Add to her admitted horror of being a mother and you have to wonder how much she actually wants marriage, as opposed to wanting to want marriage.

  40. Sniper
    January 15, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    In the past I’ve wondered aloud, so to speak, how sincere Dawn Eden’s stated intention of getting married actually is.

    True! Dawn reminds me of an old supervisor of mine – a brittle, stressed-out person who drove me nuts. I didn’t like her but when she decided she wanted to get married she went out there with a checklist (I shit you not), found someone who met her requirements and married the dude, all within a year. I don’t think getting married is all that hard if that’s the end result you’re looking for. I speak of marriage alone, not a good relationship or a partnership of equals – that might take more time. Aren’t there a whole bunch of Christian online dating sites? Doesn’t Dawn have any friends who know single guys? It’s been a while but when I was single friends were always trying to set me up, damn them.

    Perhaps her one true love is her loneliness – the drama of her own story.

  41. Neil C.
    January 15, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    More than one poster has questioned her claim to be 37. At least one person a while back said that she was the same age as Dawn back when Dawn’s last name was still Goldberg, and she sure ain’t 37. And a 37-year-old wouldn’t have been fucking around in the 70s, much less the 60s.>>>>

    That age is true. I was a senior at NYU when she was a freshman, so she’s three or four years younger than me, and I’m 41.

  42. January 15, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    Either she’s lying about her age, or she’s lying about the 1960s and 1970s, i.e. her knowledge of “free love” comes from reading about it rather than experimenting with it. Nobody called it “free love” when Dawn was old enough to be banging drummers.

  43. gaia
    January 15, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    Age 37 means she graduated HS in 1987 or 1988 and was born in 1969-1970. If she was having sex in the 70s then we’re looking at some serious exploitation. Now, I know there were girls in my gradeschool “doing it”, but no one ever thought they were healthy and anything short of abused.

    I had sex before I was married. When it did leave me empty it was because, as someone else said, I was already empty. Even having been married for 11 years, sex still sometimes leaves me feeling empty. Sex will not fill you, you have to do that yourself.

    I am not an empty vessel waiting for someone to fill me. I fill myself and surround myself with people who don’t deplete me (well, other than these 2 kids I have).

  44. January 15, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Sex will not fill you, you have to do that yourself.

    You may not have seen Dawn’s bewailling the empty, pointless existence of Amanda’s (now-ex) boyfriend’s sperm, which slid into a lonely abyss of death after failing to fertilize Amanda’s eggs. I am not exaggerating.

  45. January 16, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Bekabot:

    In the past I’ve wondered aloud, so to speak, how sincere Dawn Eden’s stated intention of getting married actually is…

    Not to mention, if she’s so convinced that her sexual past renders her unmarriageable, why doesn’t she, oh I don’t know, not tell the entire world about the vast quantities of superficial, hedonistic, anonymous sex she had when she was younger? Seems to me that if you believe that your sexual past is preventing you from attaining your only goal in life – to be a wife – you’d probably keep quieter about it, nu?

  46. January 16, 2007 at 12:01 am

    That post was the most awesome thing that ever happened to me. When I read it, he was home and I read it out loud to him. He didn’t quite understand why it was so awesome, which no doubt is a factor in understanding why he’s an EX-boyfriend.

  47. ako
    January 16, 2007 at 12:10 am

    I found her reference to Pamela Des Barres extra pathetic.

    I read the supergroupie memoir, I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres, envying her ability to drink in everything that was desirable about rockers — their good looks, wit, creativity and fame — without seeming to lose any part of herself in her (extraordinarily numerous) dalliances with them.

    I’m sorry, Dawn. The fact you weren’t able to “emulate” her as well as you wanted to has more to do with your own issues than women not being able to “do” casual sex.

    So let me get this straight. When Dawn was young, she read a book by some woman talking about how wonderful a certain approach to sex was. Dawn tried to emulate the book, and it didn’t work out for her.

    So now she’s writing up a book not only talking about how wonderful a certain approach to sex is, but telling every woman out there that this is perfect for them, too, and they should all follow her edicts on a correct sexuality? Because this will prevent them from making the mistakes she made when she thought someone else’s idea of how to approach sex was how she needed to live her life?

    The only way this could get more ironic would be if some woman discovered Dawn’t idea of how to approach sex wasn’t right for her, and took it one more step up the authoritarian ladder from “banging the band is a great way to live” through “true Christian chastity is the only way to be happy in life,” all the way out to “polyandry is absolutely perfect, and every woman should be forced to have nine husbands for her own good.”

  48. Mnemosyne
    January 16, 2007 at 1:59 am

    ako, I am interested in this “nine husbands” scheme that you speak of. Tell me more. ;-)

  49. Em
    January 16, 2007 at 8:27 am

    In the past I’ve wondered aloud, so to speak, how sincere Dawn Eden’s stated intention of getting married actually is…

    She’s publically self-flagellating hoping for some man to take pity on her b/c she’d rather be a public martyr than admit that she kinda sorta wants to be alone and just go be a nun.

  50. pmoney
    January 16, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Dawn is a fucking moron. Why does she keep arguing that I (as a woman) don’t ACTUALLY enjoy fucking? Guess what, Dawn? I did and do. All that meaningless sex I had in my 20’s? It’s really not complicated. I just LIKE. COCK. I don’t know why that is so unfathomable to her!

    Dawn is like those wackos who try to convince gays they aren’t really gay. No, son, you don’t like cock, you just THINK you do! No one actually LIKES cock! WTF? Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe Dawn is a closet lesbian. ? I kinda hope so… b/c she damn sure doesn’t seem to enjoy sex (with men) for sex’s sake. That is so sad and creepy.

    Every time I read ANYTHING about her I feel so gross and dirty! And yet? I’m like a moth to a flame with these posts! Can’t. Stop. Reading them!

  51. Sniper
    January 16, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    No, son, you don’t like cock, you just THINK you do! No one actually LIKES cock!

    Hee! But you’re right. This is just another example of the right-wing assuming that men are so repulsive and animalistic that nobody sane would want anything to do with them – unless they’re getting something concrete in return.

  52. January 16, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    You may not have seen Dawn’s bewailling the empty, pointless existence of Amanda’s (now-ex) boyfriend’s sperm, which slid into a lonely abyss of death after failing to fertilize Amanda’s eggs. I am not exaggerating.

    Yep. That post is one of those things you read once and can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try. I’m a big fan of Amanda’s vagina – I mean, who isn’t? – but that post of Dawn’s was so creepy it bordered on psychotic.

  53. Livin in Cin
    January 16, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Jill –

    so, have you ever regretted having sex? seems tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all might fit in here somewhere, maybe Dawn “loved” a lot and lost everytime?

    Maybe she figured out that as long as you’re gonna drop your panties and bang away, guys are going to take advantage of that, being the pigs that we are.

    Maybe she figured out that the marrying type of guy she wants is not the guy that wants to sleep with you after the second date, that guy obviously doesn’t love you, he just wants cheap sex, and he obviously doesn’t respect you – likely doesn’t respect himself either – so why would he marry you???

    sex-love-lust is a powerful emotion and one not all that well addressed or handled by either side of the “abstain-screw away” debate. But just because you may favor screwing away does not mean you can mock the beliefs of those who favor abstaining until marriage – especially with all the STDs going around nowadays.

  54. January 16, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    But just because you may favor screwing away does not mean you can mock the beliefs of those who favor abstaining until marriage

    With quotes like “we are vessels waiting to be filled,” oh yes she can. And…bang away? Seriously?

  55. zuzu
    January 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Do read the posts before commenting.

  56. January 16, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    But just because you may favor screwing away does not mean you can mock the beliefs of those who favor abstaining until marriage – especially with all the STDs going around nowadays.

    I don’t mock the beliefs of those who favor abstaining before marriage. If people want to abstain until marriage, I support that. What I dislike is the view that because one person believes that abstaining for marriage is best for them, that it’s best for everyone, and that their experiences are universal.

    Or, as Zuzu said, read the post. Ain’t brain surgery.

  57. piny
    January 16, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    especially with all the STDs going around nowadays.

    Hee! Right, because they didn’t have those back when crinolines were au courant.

    Maybe she figured out that the marrying type of guy she wants is not the guy that wants to sleep with you after the second date, that guy obviously doesn’t love you, he just wants cheap sex, and he obviously doesn’t respect you – likely doesn’t respect himself either – so why would he marry you???

    I would be far, far more worried about getting romantically involved with someone who put any price on intimacy at all. It’s not a perk or a lure.

  58. Alicia
    January 16, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Maybe she figured out that the marrying type of guy she wants is not the guy that wants to sleep with you after the second date, that guy obviously doesn’t love you, he just wants cheap sex, and he obviously doesn’t respect you – likely doesn’t respect himself either – so why would he marry you???

    god this makes me grind my teeth.

    so, god forbid a lady wants to just have some cheap sex? it’s perfectly ok to NOT want that but ahhh, sometimes, women have urges too. it’s crazy. i certainly didn’t want to marry all the guys i fucked.

    i was free with my favors, and i still managed to marry someone who loves and respects me, even if we started out having dirty, filthy premaritial nookie.

    the great thing about casual sex? if it turns out to be lousy, it’s alot easier to just not see the guy again, than to worry about hurting his feelings.

  59. ellenbrenna
    January 16, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    Dawn does not regret the sex. She lavishes language on describing it.

    Dawn regrets that the sex did not get her every last little thing in the world she ever wanted. She expected that she could leverage it for some other purpose.

    If you do not find sex satisfying or you think it violates your moral code then don’t do it but please do not presume to think your code or your issues define the limits of my personal satisfaction and happiness.

  60. Julie
    January 16, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    Well, Living in Cin… I had sex with my husband on our first date and we’ve now been married for 5 years, so there goes that theory. Thanks for trying though.

  61. Norah
    January 16, 2007 at 8:02 pm

    Count me among the dissatisfied daughters of the sexual revolution, a new counterculture of women who are realising that casual sex is a con and are choosing to remain chaste instead.

    Casual sex is not a con…but I would argue that Dawn was not having casual sex. It isn’t casual if you’re secretly hoping that one of those anonymous drummers will magically transform into a soulmate, via the awesome power of nookie. She’s 37(ish) and has yet to figure out that fucking a guy will not make him like you more than he already does.

    And hello, did I see a Dawn-bot up there?

    Maybe she figured out that the marrying type of guy she wants is not the guy that wants to sleep with you after the second date, that guy obviously doesn’t love you, he just wants cheap sex, and he obviously doesn’t respect you – likely doesn’t respect himself either – so why would he marry you???

    You’re so right. My now-husband waited till the third date to sleep with me. So he totally respects me! Of course, I wanted to do it on the second date but he thought we should wait…does that mean I don’t respect him? Damn, and hereI thought it was love, but it’s just cheap, cheap dirty sex! *sob*

  62. gaia
    January 16, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Eh, my husband and I had sex before our first date. We’d only known each other a week.

    We’ve been together for 13.5 years (if you count from when we first had sex and don’t worry about when we first dated) and married for 11.5 years.

    So, I’m thinking sex is a nonstarter when it comes to respect and commitment.

  63. January 17, 2007 at 12:00 am

    She’s 37(ish) and has yet to figure out that fucking a guy will not make him like you more than he already does.

    I don’t know about that; I think that fucking a guy often does make him like you more than he already does – at least if he was inclined to like you already. It just doesn’t do so in a really reliable way. So you may wind up with heartbreak if you fuck lots of guys in the hopes that they will really, really, really like you (especially if you didn’t spend enough time checking up front as to how much they really seemed to like you).

  64. Phoenician in a time of Romans
    January 17, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Shorter Dawn Eden: I am the cosmos.

    Don’t be silly, zuzu – that would be blasphemy.

    She merely thinks the cosmos revolves around the space where her hymen used to be.

  65. Mnemosyne
    January 17, 2007 at 12:29 am

    I don’t know about that; I think that fucking a guy often does make him like you more than he already does – at least if he was inclined to like you already. It just doesn’t do so in a really reliable way.

    Weren’t we all supposed to learn as teenagers that having sex with a boy in the hope that he’d like us better was a bad idea? I think I got propagandized on that point many, many times through filmstrips, health class, and After-School Specials, and I am exactly Dawn’s age. How did she miss all of that?

  66. January 17, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Weren’t we all supposed to learn as teenagers that having sex with a boy in the hope that he’d like us better was a bad idea? I think I got propagandized on that point many, many times through filmstrips, health class, and After-School Specials, and I am exactly Dawn’s age. How did she miss all of that?

    In fairness, there were (and are) seriously mixed messages on that. That isn’t Dawn’s fault, and internalizing a different message from some of the rest of us shouldn’t be taken as a sign of anything other than that. The virgin/whore dichotomy is still a real social issue, and different women internalize different aspects of it.

    Also, I think she always knew that having sex with a guy didn’t make him love you. Her problem was there was a disconnect between what she really wanted and what she knew would happen. I think she also had some guilt over wanting what she really wanted. She finally embraced what she really wanted, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is that she insists that every woman wants the same thing, and if they say otherwise, they’re just fooling themselves.

    Well that and the whole “women are vessels waiting to be filled” thing. I think that if she ever does get married, she’ll be surprised to learn that it likely won’t fulfill her the way she’s expecting. And then what will she do?

    I have to be honest that I have some sympathy for Dawn (although not her insistence that all women are exactly like her), because, up to a point, we have similar backgrounds. I’m about 5 years older than her, but I think we were brought up in somewhat similar ways. I discovered at a younger age than she did that casual sex just isn’t right for me, because I feel far too emotionally wrecked afterwards. So I stopped having sex outside of relationships. One of the big differences is that I simply never assumed that’s “because I was wired differently than men.” I attribute that to my having seriously internalized gender roles about sex and love (although interestingly not nearly as much about other life aspects). It’s always seemed to me that if women weren’t brought up with those mixed messages drummed into their heads, we’d be far less fucked up about sexuality (I also believe this to be true of men), and this is a large part of what led me to feminism in the first place.

    Also at the age of nearly 43 and never been married, I can tell you that I do really want to get married. It isn’t a primary and over-riding goal in my life, but it is real. The reasons it hasn’t happened yet are complex, but they don’t boil down to “I don’t really want to be married.” I spent some time figuring out what they were, as best I could, and worked on them so I’m at the point where I have a very good prospect of being married soon. So I’m not sure what Dawn wants or doesn’t want, but it’s possible that it’s much more complicated.

  67. N.
    January 17, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Oh, ya…my husband and I went to St. John together for a week for our third “date” and had tons of sex. We’ve been married 21 years, 4 months and 3 days, and happily so — kids are grown and away at school/living abroad, and we’re having as much or more sex now than we did then, so Dawn’s theory is not exactly a universal experience.

    I think Dawn is being dishonest when she claims that what she was looking for during her groupie years was marriage. I think she’s just adopting the language of her newfound religion, and is using “marriage” as a euphamism for “love and approval”. I don’t think for one minute that Dawn, in either her teens or twenties, ever truly wanted to be married. I don’t think she wants to be married now, actually. People who want to be married tend to get married, no matter what their past sexual history is. It’s not really as hard as she makes it out to be. One gets the impression that Jesus Christ himself could propose to her and she’d find some reason to turn him down because the notion of someone else stealing the spotlight for even a second is really what Dawn fears the most.

  68. Jody Tresidder
    January 17, 2007 at 9:55 am

    I loved Lesley’s thoughtful reply:
    In fairness, there were (and are) seriously mixed messages on that. That isn’t Dawn’s fault, and internalizing a different message from some of the rest of us shouldn’t be taken as a sign of anything other than that. The virgin/whore dichotomy is still a real social issue, and different women internalize different aspects of it…”

    I think the sex/marriage thing is probably all about good timing.

    Get promiscuous with the right guy, basically.
    (Advice from a lucky, happily married feminist broad – 20 years so far…)

  69. January 17, 2007 at 11:16 am

    I discovered at a younger age than she did that casual sex just isn’t right for me, because I feel far too emotionally wrecked afterwards. So I stopped having sex outside of relationships. One of the big differences is that I simply never assumed that’s “because I was wired differently than men.” I attribute that to my having seriously internalized gender roles about sex and love (although interestingly not nearly as much about other life aspects).

    I also figured out, while still in college, that casual sex wasn’t right for me. But I’m not sure I’d exactlly describe the reason either as “because I was wired differently than men” or as “having seriously internalized gender roles about sex and love.” Those might both be part of the reason (I expect we have some degree of biological difference, even if it’s heavily entangled with culture, and I know none of us entirely escaped internalized gender roles). But mainly the way I frame it to myself is that I have a perfectly natural human desire for pair-bonding with my sex, the same as lots of women, and, if our culture would admit it, lots of men too.

  70. pmoney
    January 17, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Weren’t we all supposed to learn as teenagers that having sex with a boy in the hope that he’d like us better was a bad idea?

    AMEN!

    I’m sorry, I hope I’m not beating a dead horse, but whenever this kind of thing comes up, I have an intense gut-reaction of ANGER about something I don’t hear a lot of people addressing. I dunno… maybe my point is unimportant(?), but here ya go:

    I absolutely resent the assumption that women are TOTALLY INCAPABLE of A) enjoying sex for its own sake B) having simple expectations of sexual encounters (i.e. to get off) C) not giving a fuck. Why is it that men are the only ones who are LOGICAL and REALISTIC and SELF-ACTUALIZED enough to just enjoy sex? Why do some people routinely proclaim that my every move is motivated (whether I realize it or not!) by some overwhelming need to get married? It’s so outrageously insulting.

    I am a complex human being, capable of both complex and superficial relationships with other people. I do not need or want to make a soulful love-connection with every guy I ever took to bed and I’m STUNNED that there are people who claim that this is not true. Real, grown-up people who honestly believe that SOMEHOW, men are smart enough, savvy enough and stable enough to separate sex from love (virtually NO ONE EVER disputes this!)… But I AM NOT, b/c I am a hysterical, overly-emotional, clingy, needy-ass WOMAN. And women only want to be filled. With semen. (Oops, not with semen, with LOVE! The semen is a disgusting hardship we begrudgingly endure to get to the love. Like the whores we are…Because sex is simply a commodity we exchange for “LOVE!” ARGH!!!#(&!$^)

    I’m sorry if I’m taking this someplace wierd (?), but I honestly don’t see these claims as anything but an out-right attack on my maturity and intelligence. I’m not saying it’s “mature and smart” to have casusal sex; I’m saying intelligent people can compartmentalize and separate the two. Many people like to combine the two (like cake and ice cream!)…maybe women like to combine them more often than men do. ? But that’s a choice. It’s not a biological deficiency on the part of women.

    But then I guess this is also why women can’t understand “hard stuff” like, you know, math and science! They can’t put all those crazy lady-emotions aside long enough to look objectively through a microscope. And all those biologists know down deep that lady-dogs and lady-cats only mate because they want love. Those silly vaginas render them SO emotionally needy!

  71. jo
    January 17, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    i love what youre say pmoney, I think what we need is good, satisfying sex. I think its sick that women would emotionally blackmail men that they sleep with, with the “Now i’ve slept with you, you must love me forever and ever, cos i’m just an incapable, pathetic and weak little girl!!’
    That is so just playing the patriarchal capitalist game.

  72. pmoney
    January 17, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks, jo! :) I don’t want to come off as like, shaming women who like relationship-sex (I’m getting married and am all about fidelity w/my husband, so it’s not like I’m against monogamy or anything!), but GOOD GRIEF! I’ll be frank in saying that I get very SHOCKED and upset to hear women OPENLY treat sex with their bfriends/husbands like a FAVOR. ?!?! I have seriously, honestly, NEVER thought of sex like a favor I’m doing someone else. (in general, I don’t mean every specific act…AHEM)

    To paraphrase Alley Sheedy from Breakfast Club, “I don’t screw to get respect.” ;)

  73. January 17, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    I’ll be frank in saying that I get very SHOCKED and upset to hear women OPENLY treat sex with their bfriends/husbands like a FAVOR.

    What do you think their marriages must be like if sex with their husbands doesn’t make them have a great time or feel loving towards their spouses?

  74. ako
    January 17, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    What do you think their marriages must be like if sex with their husbands doesn’t make them have a great time or feel loving towards their spouses?

    “Lie back and think of England,” is probably the best summation.

  75. Anon
    January 19, 2007 at 9:47 am

    There is a surfeit of attributions to Dawn in these comments that are not actually based upon anything Dawn ever said. They are based upon what Jill said Dawn thinks. The majority of you seem to be criticizing some phantom that you imagine Dawn to be. I suggest more rigor if you want to be taken seriously. (Unless you are simply trying to join that primitive male element that gathers around the fire, beats his drum, and riles up the troups with incoherent bellows.)

  76. N.
    January 19, 2007 at 11:11 am

    What Ms. Eden “thinks” is made abundantly clear any time the woman can get her hands on an audience, and is posted on her blog on a daily basis.

    There is nothing complicated or even interesting about Dawn Eden. She’s a typical aging groupie, used up, no longer wanted for her body, and not quite so very desirable as wife material by the current group she’s chosen to charm and woo in her never-ending quest for attention. It’s not even that unusual that she’s blaming everyone and everything from a fictional television character to some vague, nebulous set of attitudes she personally bought into back in the day for her current state of unhappy singlehood.

    Until she takes some responsibility for her own lack of forethought and her own lack of self-discipline, nothing in this world or outside of it will ever be enough to fill the emptiness she feels.

    She needs to grow up, admit that she fucked up and made a lot of really shitty choices, and that she and she alone is responsible for where she is now. Then, maybe, she’ll begin to feel whole.

    As for attributing a whole lotta bullshit that’s not based on anything but what a single person thinks…please. Dawn’s based an entire blog and an entire book on doing exactly that. Her ridiculous generalizations and assumptions about other people’s lives would be laughable if she wasn’t such a truly sad, unhappy person.

    It’s sorry that she’s unmarried, unwanted, and lonely. Not my fault, not the fault of HBO productions, not the fault of the liberal media, not Jill’s fault, not the fault of the cheesey, dumbass guys she wasted her time on….ain’t nobody’s fault but her own.

  77. Anon
    January 19, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    N.,

    Your unbridled ad hominem and lack of addressing anything Dawn ever intended to say makes my point incredibly well. It is from a very frequent reading of her blog that I can say quite confidently that she is tremendously misrepresented here. (In some ways it is so obvious, I have to wonder if it isn’t intentional, which certainly doesn’t reflect well on things here.) Keep banging that drum.

  78. January 19, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    She’s a typical aging groupie, used up, no longer wanted for her body

    Hello, John Derbyshire! Is Jennifer Aniston “used up” as well? Could you maybe critique Dawn Eden’s views without suggesting that a woman loses all her appeal as soon as she gets on the far side of her thirties?

  79. Emily
    January 19, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    What you conveniently ignore in this post, Jill, is the fact that of the 95% of women who have sex before marriage in the U.S., half end up unhappy and divorced, many more than once. Ten years ago in 1997, 50% of first marriages in the U.S. ended in divorce, along with 60% of remarriages. (Source: http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS.shtml.) And those statistics only risen every year since then. Sure, premarital sex has been around forever, but it’s never been as widely accepted and even promoted as it is now. Coincidentally, divorce rates have never been higher.

    Arguing against chastity by claiming, “Plenty of women who’ve lost their virginity do end up getting married!” you fail to consider how many of those marriages fail. Premarital or extramarital sex isn’t wrong because sex is bad—precisely the opposite! Sex is about love and pleasure (Dawn makes this point very clearly in her book, The Thrill of the Chaste), but we live in a mixed-up world that talks too often about the mechanics of sex while ignoring its meaning.

    Jill is making a very common mistake, really. “Your ‘truth’ can’t possibly be right for everyone!” she shrieks at Dawn. “My lifestyle—and that of plenty of other women like me who are ‘happy’ having casual sex proves you wrong.” And suddenly, she’s imposed a moral distinction that turns her house-of-cards argument into a shoddy pile of scrap paper. Jill protests that Dawn can’t possibly know anything about other women, then presents an alternate perspective: her own personal, thoroughly individualistic view of woman and her desires, which she obviously believes applies to “some [other] women out there.” Jill, I thought we couldn’t apply our personal experiences to our assessment of other women! I read your post in its entirety, but I cannot accept your arguments—by your own logic.

  80. L.
    January 19, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Emily, I don`t think Jill WAS applying her pesonal experiences to ALL other woman — I think she was simply applying it, quite aptly, to herself and women like her, to make the point that what Dawn says doesn`t apply to her case (or, for that matter, to mine).

  81. evil fizz
    January 19, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Arguing against chastity by claiming, “Plenty of women who’ve lost their virginity do end up getting married!” you fail to consider how many of those marriages fail.

    Wait, where in the statistics do we see a breakdown of divorces among couples who had premarital sex and those who didn’t?

  82. N.
    January 19, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Mmmm…and Dawn has never made an ad hominem attack, nor made assumptions or sweeping generalizations….nah….never

    Grow up.

    And, yeah. Used up. Screaming as loudly as you can at the top of your lungs to anyone and everyone that you banged more musicians than anyone you know is pretty much admitting that you were a little sleaze. Used up applies, but only because of how Dawn herself has spoken of her sexual past. Dawn has made similar comments about women SHE doesn’t agree with herself. So get off it already.

    If Dawn “intends” to say something, she should say it. So far, all I’ve ever seen her do is express bitter regret about a past she blames everyone and everything but herself for, and then make huge generalizations about all women and their relationships based on her very personal, very unhappy experiences.

    There is a huge difference between Dawn saying all women everywhere want exactly what she is now claiming she wanted all along and Jill refuting Dawn’s assertion by using her own and other women’s experiences to prove her point. Jill isn’t the one claiming that all women everywhere want to live as Jill does. Dawn’s the one doing that.

    Seems like the only personal experiences that matter are Dawn’s, and the only person who is allowed to “teach from experience” is Dawn. No one else’s experiences count, no one else is allowed to use their experiences as an example, etc. So we’re right back to Dawn believing she’s the center of the universe again.

    And Dawn is just loving every minute of this. Any kind of attention at all is what Dawn really wants, believe me.

  83. January 19, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    She’s also put herself into a religious and cultural system that denigrates older and non-virginal women as partners. (I definitely wasn’t suggesting that older woman = unmarriageable.)

    This just proves that you don’t have a clue what her religious and cultural system is all about.

  84. January 19, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    And hello, did I see a Dawn-bot up there?

    How dare they desecrate the purity of this holy echo chamber with an alternate viewpoint!

  85. Anon
    January 19, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    N. continues to make the point. N. not only continues with the ad hominem, but tries to justify it with the excuse: “She does it, too!”

    It is hardly worth this hateful disdain just because someone has recognized a universally applicable truth. Either they are right, and exploring that universal truth will be beneficial, or they are wrong, and you can work to refute it, or you don’t have to worry about it. But the fact that someone would assert a universal moral or truth shouldn’t cause such scorn. After all, the honorable Martin Luther King asserted many universal morals and truths. It requires an application of universal morals to assert that you should never whip African slaves.

    This objection to the application of morality and truth is puzzling. It is puzzling in Jill’s rejection of it, but it is more puzzling that it would provoke such vituperative hate.

    I am growing up every day, N., but thanks for the encouragement. I hope in your growth you can get beyond this hate.

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