Sexual Dodgeball Games Played By Middle Class Women Who Grew Up In The 40s 50s And Early 60s

For many middle class women who grew up in the first half of the twentieth century, the unwritten rule of society (often as a result of a puritanical church and controlling men) was that nice girls weren’t suppose to enjoy sex: only whores enjoyed the nasty.

Sex, it was implied, was only for women to use as leverage for attaining from men the things that they really needed — marriage, children, protection and of course attention. More than anything in the world women love attention.

The end result was that even when women derived a great deal of physical pleasure from sex, the intense psychological guilt it produced made it something to be limited at best. I mean what decent lady wanted to be known as a whore for God’s sake.?

For such women the term going to bed definitely did not mean sex. Indeed, they jumped in bed in the evening to go to sleep, and they jumped out of bed in the morning because they had work to do. The idea that they were excited to go to bed for sexual pleasure, perhaps only happened on those rare occasions when they were a bit tipsy.

However, by the middle1960s, with the advent of the pill, the fading influence of the church and moderating sexual attitudes in general, many women became as sexually liberated as most men. Women abandoned their game of sexual dodge ball and joined in on the fun. And thus, the ideal women switched from being the cute, perky young lady type as played in the movies by the actress Daris Day, in which she was very good at gaining the attention of men while at the same time being the “nice” young lady that was just as good at cleverly deflecting their physical advances — this in contrast to the playful young ladies in the TV sitcom of a few years back, “The Big Bang Theory,” who had no qualms whatsoever about expressing their natural sexual desires.

Nothing to date has explored the sexual hangups of ladies of the last century more than the funny, sad, tender and insightful “Hulu” original movie, “Good luck to you Leo Grande,” starring that great English actress Emma Thompson. In this quirky offering, Ms. Thompson plays a late middle-aged lady who knows that she has missed out on something basic in her life — sexual pleasure. So she boldly, but with extreme difficulty, sets out to discover that missing part of her life by contracting to have sex with a young man who turns out to employ his sex worker profession with smooth, tender insightfulness. In short the lady somehow happily gains her objective. I’m sure, to the delight of most viewers.

Unfortunately, today, there is a gaggle of controlling, evangelically inspired, Republican politicians (mostly power hungry men) working hard to turn back the clock by wishing to snuff out a women’s right to determine how they may use their own bodies, a travesty of the worst kind that not only punishes women but undercuts the lives of rational, fun loving men as well.

Believe me the 1950s weren’t as great as some might want to make them out to be.

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Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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James M. Ridgway, Jr.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!