Are Straight Women All Doomed to Orgasm-less Lives Like Sophia in Shortbus?…

Lincoln Center fountain

Last night was so beautiful! Imagine, 60-degree evening temperatures in New York in November! The world’s not all bad…

I ended up without plans, so decided to go to the opera, forgetting that the Met Opera is not the NYCBallet or the ABT, where there are nearly always last-minute Family Circle (that’s poor-people nosebleed section) tickets available. Also didn’t realize that last night was Anthony Minghella’s new production of Madame Butterfly, so not only were there no below-$250 seats available, there were no seats available at all. I waited in the cancellation line anyway, but to no avail. Ended up spending a lovely evening, though, soaking up the gentle misty breeze by sitting on the edge of the plaza fountain people-watching.

But, while in line, I couldn’t help but become quite engrossed in a conversation taking place behind me. Two women in their mid-forties, whose friends were outside trying to buy tickets directly from patrons while they waited in the official cancellation line, struck up a conversation with each other. One asked the other where she bought her boots, yadda yadda, then they exchanged questions of who they were there with — both were with female friends — and soon the conversation turned to men. Neither had ever been married, and neither had a boyfriend, though both were looking. Both were high-level executives with several advanced degrees. Both had been on umpteenth dates recently — had tried Eharmony, Jdate,, you name it — and were appalled at what they’d met. Not that the men they’d met were lying cheating deadbeat loser date-rapists or any such thing; just that they were horrendously under-sophisticated, under-accomplished, witless bores.

Today I finally got around to seeing the movie Shortbus. The film focuses on the sexual aspect of relationships, and centers around a group of twenty- to thirty-something New Yorkers and their various problems. I thought some of the dialog was witty (although at the beginning seemed a bit writerly), and the character I found most compelling was a gay man from a backwater town who’d turned to hustling in his younger years because it was the only way he knew how to express his sexuality — a situation that involved a lot of abuse and eventually resulted in adult inability to be physically close with his partner. Anyway, the main female character — Sophia — I found rather sadly funny. Her problem was that she couldn’t have an orgasm. I’m actually not sure what explanation the screenwriters ended up giving for this — the character mentioned something about having strict parents during a therapy session with a dominatrix. But I thought it was so damn obvious — she couldn’t have an orgasm because her husband was a pathetic loser. He wasn’t a bad person at all — he was a nice, and rather cute guy — just boring as hell and nowhere near a match for her accomplishments. Cute doesn’t cut it these days…

I’ve tried some of those dating services those Met women were talking about and found the same thing they did, the same thing Sophia was left with. And I don’t think it’s the Helen Fielding / Nick Hornby dilemma we’re facing at this point: I don’t think most of them are noncommittal cheaters. Many of the guys I dated weren’t scared of commitment, it was more that they were ready to settle down as long as that meant moving to some boring suburban town where they could spend as little time in the office as possible and come home every night to the TV and DVD player. I swear, several men listed TiVo and Netflix in their “Five Things I Can’t Live Without” lists. They didn’t have interesting jobs, they weren’t impassioned about their careers, they just didn’t seem interested in really doing something with their lives, in really being someone. Most of them had less education than I did and less career and educational achievements. I think for most women, like for Sophia in the movie, it’s hard if not impossible to feel sexual passion for a man they don’t feel passion for in general. And who can feel passion for these guys?


  1. We need to talk about this blog! U should hold a girls roundtable on this and we can all discuss!

  2. nice perspective. thanks for sharing.

  3. Lots of universities offer alumni dating services, you might want to look into that.

    Just a suggestion – and I love your blog!

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