The Commoditization of Female Sex
Elizabeth Debold, Ed.D, senior editor of EnlightenNext magazine and a senior teacher of Evolutionary Enlightenment, brings together her experience as a pioneering researcher with a profound understanding of consciousness and cultural development. She is an author, internationally renowned gender researcher, and cultural commentator. Her bestselling book, Mother Daughter Revolution: From Good Girls to Great Women, was heralded by Gloria Steinem and Carol Gilligan as “the book women have been waiting for.” Elizabeth received her doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University, where she was a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development. Elizabeth has been sought as an expert on girls, women, and the evolution of gender roles by major media outlets in the US and abroad and has lectured in the US, Canada, and Europe. She has made multiple appearances on Oprah, Good Morning America, and NPR, and was featured in a major Lifetime documentary on girls’ development. She has also consulted to numerous films and television programs, as well as to foundations, nonprofit educational organizations, corporate law firms, and businesses. Elizabeth has taught at Harvard University, the New School for Social Research, and the Graduate Institute, where she was the academic director of the Master of Arts program in Conscious Evolution. Her work has appeared in academic publications, popular media, and international anthologies as well as in EnlightenNext magazine. Since 1996, Elizabeth has studied with spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen, founder of EnlightenNext, where she teaches and develops programming on the evolution of gender and the next women’s liberation. She is under contract for a new book, tentatively titled The Evolution of Love: Men, Women, and the Possibility of Transformation.
Question: When it comes to women, what has sex become?
Elizabeth Debold: I think recreational sex has been something that's been around for quite some time and certainly has been exploded into popular culture with the '60's generation. Sex has become more and more commoditized. I read an article recently about prostitution being a new, like lucrative life choice for young women. I think the new Freakonomics book was mentioning that.
Women's sexuality-- everybody knows that, all you have to do is look around you, you know, and you can see that. What's fascinating is in this context where women are very much sexualized and commoditized in the marketplace, that young women are remarkably percentage wise non-orgasmic. And I find that absolutely fascinating. That the same young women who are strutting their stuff and acting super confident in relationship to their sexuality, are often not having or experiencing pleasure in sex, at least not at the orgasm level. And I think that that shows that there's a real disjunct between what it is that young women want and need in order to be really, stay really connected with themselves, and sort of where the culture has been going.
So will there be some kind of push back in relation to that? I don't know. But I think that women need to start having a conversation about this and I think young women need to start having a conversation about this.
Recorded on November 2, 2009
Recreational intercourse isn’t anything new. But wouldn’t you think that today’s women are more in touch with their wants and desires in the bedroom? Gender expert Elizabeth Debold begs to differ.
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