Where all my loose ladies at?

An Esquire author announces a sexual state of emergency: Women aren't giving it up.

Published May 8, 2009 9:00PM (EDT)

Missing persons alert: Slutty women have disappeared, last seen circa the "Sex and the City" era. The suspected loose lady-napper: Feminism. The evidence: Well, there isn't really any evidence, per se, but author Stephen Marche has a strong hunch that women are closing their legs now that feminism has won them some real-world power. In an article for Esquire, he declares this nothing short of a "disaster for men."

You might ask: Wasn't it just yesterday that feminist or post-feminist or post-post-feminist females were supposedly slutting it up to the detriment of civil society? That women's looseness was being blamed for limp dicks, "Darwinist dating," male pigs and a return of medieval masculinity? Well, despite the article's headline -- "Where have all the loose women gone?" -- it seems Marche isn't talking about all women, but rather smart women. "Brilliant, funny, and powerful women are retreating from sex as never before," he writes. (Leaving, what, only stupid sluts?)

The only woman he successfully uses to illustrate this thesis isn't a real woman at all -- she's a TV character: "30 Rock's" Liz Lemon, played by Tina Fey. "The most complicated and intelligent woman in television comedy barely ever has sex," he writes. Not only that, but her low libido is one of the show's "running gags." Uh, 1.) It's a TV sitcom that uses parody for laughs, and 2.) Some women do in fact have low sex drives -- so do some men.

He then turns to Liz's workplace friend, Jenna Maroney, whose "attempts to 'use her sexuality' ritualistically end in disaster." If there is any message here, it's that a woman ultimately succeeds if she uses her smarts and fails if she relies on her sexuality. That doesn't mean successful women aren't having sex, just that they aren't using their sexuality to get by. If a guy finds that a boner-kill, it's no wonder he isn't getting laid.

Marche goes on to observe that Whitney Port (also, arguably a fictional character) is shown on "The City" going home with a guy, but "that's all the titillation we get." I guess having sex doesn't count if it isn't advertised and the general public isn't allowed to watch? Then, there's Lily Allen, who "is colder and less hopeful" than she once was and "rhapsodizes [in a new song] about a man who 'treats me with respect' but 'never make[s] me scream." In the song, she complains about a boyfriend who takes, but doesn't give in bed. I don't get it -- does demanding pleasure from sex really make a woman somehow less sexual?

There's actually a good observation here, buried under all the bro-isms: Women can feel pressured to choose a public face that's either serious or sexual. But that doesn't mean they aren't having sex in their private lives. It makes me wonder whether the call for "loose" ladies isn't a plea for sex partners, but rather women who are willing to publicly perform according to dudely desires.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

MORE FROM Tracy Clark-Flory

Related Topics ------------------------------------------