“The most legendary tally sheet appeared in Newsweek. ‘If You’re a Single Woman, Here Are Your Chances of Getting Married,’ the headline on Newsweek’s June 2, 1986 cover helpfully announced… The Newsweek story declared that single women ‘are more likely to be killed by a terrorist’ than marry.Â Maybe Newsweek was only trying to be metaphorical, but the terrorist line got repeated with somber literalness in many women’s magazines, talk shows, and advice books. ‘Do you know that… forty-year-olds are more likely to be killed by a terrorist than find a husband?’ gasped the press release that came with Tracy Cabot’s How to Make a Man Fall in Love with You.” – “Backlash,” by Susan Faludi
The above quote is now infamous.
Most of us remember it clearly, along with the stark reality it seemed to deliver.
Of course, if you’ve been reading my columns over the years you undoubtedly know that I never believed it.
Having given advice, life coached, as well as cajoled women in lectures about relationships, marriage, and the politics of sex, I have dealt with every known challenge to modern women and women’s issues across a wide spectrum. All of us are endeavoring to live lives of exuberant satisfaction.Â The number one concern remains the ability to manifest a marriage, while remaining true to our individual and independent, erotic, self sufficiently competent selves.
Of course, there are select women who have come to me through my life coaching that insist they want “traditional marriage,” but cannot find such a beast today.Â This is because even the traditional is now modern, because we simply cannot experience life through a prism of the past, unless, of course, you are housed in a devoutly religious structure, which is less and less the case.
The fact that the conservative
cliterati continue to espouse the era of “post-feminism” doesn’t help modern women, because feminism is a living, breathing, ever evolving reality, whether they (or you) like it or not.Â Otherwise, you wouldn’t have the reality of single life superseding married life for both sexes.
In fact, more and more women are choosing the single life.Â No wonder! To create a modern marriage that respects a woman’s independence, sexual drive, and individual soul urgings is incredibly difficult.Â The amount of communication it takes is gargantuan.Â Who’s got the energy for such ad nauseam verbal volleyball?
The reason it is so time and energy consuming to construct and keep a marriage in the modern era is that men haven’t changed all that much since liberation gave women the option to pack up their toys (and money) and leave for greener, or at least quieter and calmer, pastures.Â
Men have always had the choice in life to craft
the exact experience they want, so in order for them to appreciate the true
earthquake conditions in which a woman traverses the modern era, we must
explain it to them in great, minute detail, then be prepared to reiterate
our position over and over again until it becomes appreciated and ingrained,
though not always understood by our mate.
This is why it is, quite emphatically, the biggest surprise of my entire
adult life to find myself married this Christmas.
If you don’t believe me, you could ask my family, or my closest friends,
and they would tell you the same.Â Nothing comes as more of a bolt
from the wild blue yonder.Â The saying “never say never” seems particularly
apt, but then I never did say “never,” just that it was highly unlikely,
for the simple fact that I really and truly didn’t have a desire to ever get married.
However, my not wanting to be married was something that people completely
disbelieved, which included my new husband, at first.Â It was unfathomable
to him and many others that my not wanting to get married wasn’t really
some camouflage for really wanting to get married, though I was afraid to
admit it to myself, let alone others.
I was a single woman protecting myself from hurt.
Then there was that “fact” that being over 40 meant that it was more likely
I would be “killed by a terrorist,” which must have made me skeptical, pushing
me to the inevitable conclusion that commitment and connubial bliss would
never be an available cup of tea.Â This left me with the only choice:
give up on ever finding a mate to marry.
There was also the unspoken, yet often whispered, obvious:Â being
a FEMINIST meant that no man would have me because I was really, down deep,
angry at men, which gave me an edge no one could live with, let alone love,
not to mention the fact that all women know is true about the opposite sex.
ALL MEN ARE THREATENED BY STRONG WOMEN.
The satisfaction I have always felt from being single was soul deep, resonating
with my entire being and way of life.Â Besides, I’d never found a man
who was interested in honoring my independence and my passion for
my life’s mission, within the parameters of a long-term committed relationship,
let alone marriage.Â There is also another undeniable fact.
Marriage, in the old and outdated, twentieth century
terms, was very, very, VERY unappealing to me.
And, I always knew that if I were to ever get
married, which I completely ignored as a real and viable possibility, I
would have to construct the union, brick by brick, with a man of extraordinary
confidence, strength, and supernatural forbearance for my insatiable rebel
But when lightning struck, it made the “Sex and the City” part of me, which
exists in varying degrees in most modern women,Â the Carrie-Samantha-Miranda-Charlotte
part of the collective feminine soul,Â re-evaluate my life.
One of the most interesting experiences evolving out of my new “union”
is that I am truly putting my own philosophies to the test, including the
one main theme of many of my relationship writings, which is that the strongest
and most natural mate for a modern feminist is an equally strong, testosterone
filled, macho man; one who also has balanced parts of the emotional and
feminine to make up the total package of his rock solidly secure, though
naturally infallible, nature.
“A â€˜relationship’ is not to be confused with a union.Â It is an
ongoing argument between two stubbornly sovereign selves about the possibility
of a union.” – TheNewRepublic.com, Who is Carrie Bradshaw Really Dating?Â Relationshipism”
by Lee Siegel
Mr. Siegel, who wrote the above referenced article, doesn’t make a lot
of sense in this piece, but this particular line really struck me as incredible
prescient and relevant, as are the characters in “Sex and the City” to most
every single woman.
I have been single my entire adult life.
Oh, there was that period in my early twenties when I was technically married,
though I moved out after only three months because of insanity too tricky
(according to my attorney) to elucidate in print.Â And, actually, I
attempted to have the marriage annulled, but it was very difficult
and time consuming to do so in Missouri at that time, so I opted for the
quickest route out, which was divorce.Â Still, a hasty, three month,
in-and-out experience, does not qualify as a marriage, especially since
there are a couple of decades to separate the former with my recent nuptials.
Anyway, if you read the article posted on TheNewRepublic.com,
you will see that Mr. Siegel gets a whole lot more wrong than right, which
leads me to ask:Â Does this man know anything about womenâ€”modern women?
“How many women, after years of dating creeps, would call off a relationship
with a nice ophthalmologist because he doesn’t always give them an orgasm?Â
How many women have an orgasm just about every time they have sex
with a man, a miraculous dispensation with which Carrie and her friends
have been blessed?”
“Who is Carrie Bradshaw Really Dating?Â Relationshipism”
by Lee Siegel
I am one of
those women who would absolutely, positively dump even a nice millionaire
if he and I couldn’t communicate well enough to make orgasm(s) a living
reality of our erotic life together.Â That Mr. Siegel uses such language
as, “he doesn’t always give (my emphasis) them an orgasm,” proves
just how incredibly ignorant this “contributing editor at TNR” is
about women, relationships, and even men, for that matter.
Is it any wonder why women have so much trouble with men, with guys like
Mr. Siegel permitted to write this drivel for the masses?
Modern women are responsible for our own orgasms,
for God’s sake.Â I thought we’d at least gotten that across in the
last forty-plus years!Â A man doesn’t “give” a woman an orgasm.Â
Together we create the incredible physical culmination of sheer,
erotic pleasure that must inevitably explode in waves of pure, sublime physical
What an idiot.Â (I wonder if he’s married?)
As to the question he raised about how many women are blessed with the
“miraculous dispensation” of having an orgasm “just about” every time with
a man.Â I’d say, the majority of women I’ve met, talked to and traded
emails with over my many years in the business of covering liberation, sex,
relationships, and the politics of sex, consider orgasms with their man a major priority.
The fact the The National Review is encouraging such half-wits to
write about sex
and women, let alone dissect “Sex and the City” is laughable and
ludicrous, not to mention irresponsible.
However, Mr. Siegel does manage to hit the nail on the head in two sentences
(proving, yet again, that even a broken clock is right twice a day–see
Over the years and years I was single, the subject I became incredibly
knowledgeable about was serial monogamy.Â This was my life where relationships were concerned.Â
I’ve had several serious, monogamous long-term partnerships, which were
designed for two individuals on separate paths, cohabitating in a very separate
manner, because the future was never at issue, nor a topic of conversation.Â
Basically, I told every man with whom I became “serious” that marriage was
out of the question and that living together was my only interest.Â
If he wanted something else, then we should shake hands, just date and have
fun, by also living in separate quarters.
Then lightning struck and the “holy instant” I’d lived my life through
became a dialogue about “forever,” challenging the very notion and philosophy
about my life and the way I had chosen to live.
As you can guess, one of the most important things
discussed by my new husband and myself in the short time we dated before
we wed was sex.Â Because I believe sex is just as important
as friendship in modern partnership.Â I even covered this philosophy
in one of my radio shows this past fall.
“Sex is the religion of a marriage.Â It is its contemplation, its
ritual, its prayer, and its communion.”
By Thomas Moore
The modern era makes it impossible for two people to stay united unless
they have a firm understanding and appreciation for the impact of sexual
satisfaction in a marriage.Â That means the man must be present amidst
the woman’s confusing biology, not to mention her whirling dervish emotional
life, willing to work at the sublime pinnacle of pleasure, which is her
orgasm(s), on a continual basis.Â (Yes, Mr. Siegel, women expect and
deserve orgasms every time we get naked with our man.)Â To that
end, a man doesn’t “give” a woman her pleasure, but listens to her desires
and wants, willing to provide the vehicle, both physical and emotional,
by which she arrives at what should be an ever present erotic tsunami.
This is where the woman becomes the primary catalyst
for her own bliss.
A woman must be energetically engaged in her own happiness, satisfaction,
and erotic fulfillment to the point where she endeavors to explain, teach,
and even show her husband the way through to her erotic contentedness.Â
A man usually cannot get there without a woman’s directions, nor should
he be expected to guess his way through our complicated physical labyrinth.
However, many women are often guilty of becoming
simply emotional and intellectual partners, forgetting that through our
liberation we have gained new responsibilities to ourselves and our mate,
which are exclusively sexual, especially if we expect long-term commitment
to also deliver monogamy and fidelity.
In turn, the woman must encourage, not simply “allow,” the man to express
and act out his most audacious fantasies and desires, being fully present
amidst his sexual proclivities.Â We must also be brave and liberated
enough to be excited and inspired, not intimidated, by his curiosity, or
sexual voyeurism. Sex to men is about emotional and intellectual connection,
but it most certainly is primarily about the physical.Â To that end,
women must understand that sometimes sex will be just and simply sex, service
sex, as I say, which can lead to enjoyment on both partner’s parts, if the
woman will allow such emotional and romantic, not to mention physical abandonment,
even when the bells and whistles of romance are missing (on occasion).
Modern women not only desire fully sexual lives within a union like marriage,
but the partnership absolutely, positively and emphatically cannot last
for long without the admittance that the honest discussions, arguments,
and challenges that inevitably evolve out of maintaining erotic equilibrium
in a marriage actually keep love alive and enflamed.
Mr. Siegel’s statement that “â€˜relationship’ isn’t a union, but is an argument
between two stubbornly sovereign selves about the possibility of a union,”
is absolutely correct.
Serial monogamy (myself excluded because I wasn’t looking for marriage),
for the most part, is about seeing if forever is a possibility between the
two people involved.Â Most women, however mistakenly, go into living
together in the hopes that commitment is around the corner, if not sooner,
then eventually.Â But living together is about two individuals keeping
their own turf separate, seeing just what the other person will take when
it comes to personal freedoms.Â If you choose not to talk about something
you don’t have to because there is not a real imperative, according to the
doctrine of serial monogamy, which is, “We’re living together as long as
it’s fun, works for us both, and we’re happy.”
Unfortunately, that’s how many modern people go in to a marriage.
The reason I decided to marry is because the individual I met moved me
to the core of my being from the day we met.
Lightning struck, but that’s only part of this story.
As I’ve said over and over again, men
aren’t that complicated.Â But modern men, because they are challenged
to embrace every power a woman now has, appreciating a woman’s intelligence,
her beauty, as well as her financial and sexual prowess, deserve more credit
than we women usually offer them.Â
Most men have always wanted one thing from their lady fair, and that is
that she is happy.Â Today, that’s a tall order because women
tend to be very fussy about what being happy means to them, if they
even bother to invest time to truly find the answer, which always resides
within themselves, not in finding something on the outside to soothe their
seemingly insatiable appetite for unhappiness.Â Because if a woman
is unhappy in her single life, married life is unlikely to change that sad
The man I met embraced, respected, and completely
appreciated my ideas about life, spirituality, sexuality, even my career
mission, with understanding of my idiosyncracies coming gradually, but one
thing was non-negotiable for him.Â Nothing but marriage would do, though
he was willing to wait until I was fully ready, because in his mind if you
love someone completely and fully, the only way of honoring that person
is to join in a committed union to one another, which goes way beyond living
It was marriage or bust.
In the end, I knew that an ultimatum would one day come due.
It wasn’t my feelings or love that made me doubt marriage, it was, as I
told him, there was no evidence whatsoever that I could do this, but there
was something more important affecting me.
My life, at least in recent memory, has always been constructed around
the “holy instant.”Â Right now is all we really have, which meant to
me that if we take care of the current moment, the rest of our lives will
unfold in beautiful harmony and synchronicity, though peace is forever a
moving mark.Â (Check out Dr. Wayne Dyer, who writes much more eloquently
than I about the “holy instant.”)Â The “forever” of marriage was a
concept, though I’ve written about the construct of relationship and marriage,
which for me seemed so completely and utterly foreign to consider.
But I always trust and live by my instincts,
which were telling me to jump into the deep end of this pool, head first,
Looking into his eyes I saw love, trust, and above all else, faith.Â
Faith that what we were experiencing was so profound as to warrant taking
Risking it all, heart, mind, body and soul, I plunged.
There was a moment when my life changed forever.Â When we looked into
each other’s eyes and I knew this man was going to teach me more about love
and life than all the years I’ve researched and written about politics,
sex, and relationships combined.
It was the moment when a real life Carrie Bradshawâ€”Samantha
Jonesâ€”Miranda Hobbesâ€”and even Charlotte, came face to face with the true
grace and gift of life that is rarely placed right on your doorstep.Â
(My new husband walked in to turn on my gas, and ended up igniting my life.)Â
When nervous ambivalence about marriage, sexual nymphomania, pragmatism,
and romanticism collided.Â A moment when you are simply inspired to
trust your angels and venture forth, saying yes to something that feels
so inalterably right, even when your mind has had no desire, nor no personal
frame of reference, only the intellectual, for what you’re about to choose.
Thus begins the greatest adventure of my life, which is even more profound
because I never, ever wanted to be married.Â But even in the first
days of my new marriage, I have already found doors that open into new mysteries
leading far beyond “relationshipism” and the “ongoing argument between sovereign
selves about the possibility of union.”
I remain a fiercely independent, sovereign self (and yes, I will be taking
his name, though in the hyphenated, feminist version, while my professional
name will remain untouched), only now I find myself fully present in a deliciously
erotic and committed union called marriage, with a testosterone driven,
macho man with a deeper emotional well than I knew existed in the opposite
It promises to be a wild ride, for my husband as well as myself.Â
For as I and others who know me have told him on more than one occasion,
“You are a very brave man.”Â Because it takes a very brave man
to tackle marriage with a feminist, but when lightning strikes, sometimes
you just have to say “I Do.”