Monday, July 23, 2007
“What does talking have to do with sex?!” Dr. Drew Pinsky’s mockery of a stereotypical male response to the female predilection for intimate conversation was met by a swell of blithe laughter from the audience at the Independent Women’s Forum‘s (IWF) Annual Campus Sex and Dating Conference on Capitol Hill on July 16.
Pinsky’s popular philosophy holds that talking actually has a lot to do with sex. Dr. Drew was on hand to speak to a co-ed group of more than 50 interns about college and a healthy sex life. Pinsky, who has partly made his professional career by answering young people’s questions about the finer points of romance on the hit radio show Loveline, which was also an MTV show for a few years, was in familiar territory engaging this summer’s beltway collegiate cohort in a discussion about their own views and issues concerning love, sex, and everything in between.
Pinsky, who has more than 20 years of experience observing the college dating scene, discussed his observations. College romance these days, Pinsky maintains, seems to offer a meager three options: the overly hasty “joined-at-the-hip” scenario, “friends with benefits”–an arrangement that he says “like communism looks good on paper but usually doesn’t pan out when enacted in real human terms,” and the ambiguous “hook up.”
Mention of this last term provoked an anonymous audience member to shout: “Define that!” Pinsky responded that it doesn’t have a definition. “The only common factor in the hook-up seems to be that there’s no relationship involved, and it always occurs while intoxicated,” Pinsky offered. He noted that the ambiguity of the term is one of its assets–many young people use it to refer to anything from kissing to sexual intercourse. This observation led into an analysis of the varying reasons that both guys and girls find it necessary to consume consciousness-altering substances to engage in this behavior.
“If hooking up is so great, why do you have to get loaded to do it?” Pinsky asked. The consensus at the IWF lunch was that for a guy, getting drunk is a way of bolstering confidence so he can go after what he really wants (sex), and not feel responsible the next morning. For a woman, getting drunk is a means to “numb” her instincts, to “medicate” herself so that she can do what her emotions are telling her not to.
Amidst the general portrayal of men as sex-craving, intimacy-incapable heathens, and women as self-unaware, emotion-laden pushovers, Pinsky didn’t mention that many men look to marriage as an important foreseeable life goal as well, or that men can experience the same “hurt” and “confusion” which stereotypically personifies the female response to hooking up. Nor was there a nuanced approach to female sexuality. The idea that some women might actually know themselves well enough to be able to judge what’s good for them and act accordingly–even the ability to enjoy casual sex–received little discussion.