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Disappointment in the Land of Eros: Is There a Design Flaw?
Every day we are bombarded with sex. It comes at us in movies and TV shows, billboards and the Internet, suggestively clad people on the street, and magazine covers in the supermarket check-out counter assaulting us with headlines like "Ten Ways to Drive Him Wild!" The message is not subtle: everyone out there is having great sex, and if you aren't, well, poor you.
Even if we could block out this onslaught of sexual messages, hormones are coursing through our bodies, and most people-especially adolescents and young adults-are biologically driven to have sexual thoughts with some regularity. John Finley, the late Harvard professor and housemaster, used to joke that the mission of the university was to reduce the amount of time students spend thinking about sex from 85 percent of each day to 55 percent.
Yet for all this ambient sexuality and pressure to join the wonderful sexual party, there are occasional reports from the front lines that things may not be as rosy as we are led to believe:
--In 1985, Ann Landers asked the female readers of her advice column how they felt about making love. She was flooded with more than one hundred thousand letters, with 72 percent of the writers saying they'd much rather be doing something other than having sex. One woman wrote that she found sex with her husband "disgusting and unhygienic," but still loved him and enjoyed their life together.