Sex in the 70’s – Celebrating Her 60th and Looking Back… And Forward

Speaking about the paranormal and coincidences that defy explanations: I , Lorenzo, rarely watch morning television but one day after I turned it on to The Today Show there immediately appeared on the screen a longtime friend of the family.  She, accompanied by about a baker’s dozen of her all- girl’s college classmates, was being interviewed on her 60th birthday. The ladies were dressed in pink tee shirts, carrying pink roses and wearing pink tiaras. They were bubbling and effervescent, which pleased me.

I called to congratulate her and, you guessed it; the subject of college women and sex of her day versus today’s came up. During the conversation she mentioned that many of her classmates have daughters in their early to mid-20’s and much of the conversation during her birthday celebration focused on them.   It dawned on me that this presented a wonderful opportunity to interview her regarding her days in college versus today’s. She is, by the way, one of those insightful types with a keen eye for seeing life’s patterns and remains calm and objective about it. She’s also up to date regarding the current sexual scene.  For this reason I asked her to join G and me in our discussions. She chose to write under the pen name of Endorfina.

The following is Endorfina’s brief written remembrances:

Once upon a time, way back in 1970, it was considered a virtue to graduate from high school as a virgin. Times were rapidly changing when I entered my freshman year at small liberal arts, all female college.  I quickly made what would come to be life-long friends with a rat pack of about a dozen girls.  One thing we all shared, and still do, is a great sense of humor and camaraderie. I am pretty sure we also were all virgins as we embarked upon our college adventure.

Some of us had long-term boyfriends from high school but we still graduated with our virginity intact, nonetheless.  The fear of pregnancy and a bad reputation were compelling.  The term slut was often used for girls who openly engaged in sex during that time.

The sexual landscape had changed by the time we entered college. Our freshman orientation included a mandatory sex education seminar that was very graphic, so much so that one of my new friends fainted and had to be helped out of the session.  She was, and still is, a devout Irish Catholic. She is now the proud mother of four children in their twenties.

The birth control pill was just becoming readily available to students, which greatly diminished the fear of pregnancy.  At first, only a few of us nervously decided to cross over the bridge, venture beyond virginity and get a prescription for the pill.  My girlfriend and I were one of the first pioneers to make back-to-back appointments for a gynecological exam.  It was a pretty traumatic and dramatic event for us. She made me go first. The rest of our friends waited back in the dorm to hear a full report.  Most of us had never been to a gynecologist, whereas today I know mothers take their high school daughters to their local ones to get prophylactic prescriptions for the pill in case they take the plunge. Our mothers would have had a heart attack!

To be perfectly honest, in my case, I wish I had waited.  Losing my virginity with my boyfriend took less than two minutes, and I was left wondering if that’s all there is to sex. (Let me quickly add, I was wrong!) A few others confirmed the brevity of their experience. By the time we all graduated from college, there were few, if any, virgins left. No one became pregnant and no one was ready to marry. Everyone wanted to pursue careers.  Most of us eventually married, some happily ever after.  Out of our tight-knit group 5 are still enjoying their first husbands, 3 are widows, 5 are divorced and 1 is single.  One widow remarried and sadly lost her second husband a year ago. She is a resilient lady with a positive attitude and is back in the dating world with a new boyfriend she met in 5th grade!  Two of the divorced women remarried for the second time and another recently for the third time.  All, believe it or not, remain romantic about love!

We still get together on a regular basis to laugh, cry, celebrate birthdays, mourn losses of parents and spouses and share our philosophies of life.  They surprised me on my 60th and made a pilgrimage to N.Y. by trains, cars and planes from as far away as California.  We partied all night and rallied the next morning to walk to Rockefeller Center for the Today Show. The weatherman, curious about laughing ladies all in pink shirts and tiaras, interviewed us on the live program.  Later the same year, we all flew to San Diego for a three day party with a friend who hosted her own fabulous 60th at La Costa.  Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast just as we started partying on the West Coast! Wearing our tiaras, plastic or crystal, has now become our favorite tradition.  We have dubbed my sister an honorary member of The Group and presented her with a crystal tiara.

At last count, I believe we have 33 children among us ranging in age from 22 to 30.  This number does not include stepchildren. My friends and I have survived the roller coaster of rearing teenagers and welcomed the light at the end of the tunnel when they were handed their college degrees.  When our own kids were in high school, sex was commonplace.  Virginity was no longer a virtue, but a liability. Virgins are now in the minority and some girls are even socially ostracized for their celibate status. In college I am told the girls are even more aggressive than the guys.  Hooking-up seems to be a competitive sport with no regrets, even if a girl has a boyfriend ‘on the side’ or at a distance away.  Relationships rarely last and change as fast as a Facebook post or a Tweet from an Iphone.

I wonder if marriage and a family are still in this generation’s dreams for the future. I know many worry and fear they will choose the wrong partner given the high rate of divorce.  I believe prenups are now signed by many couples who just live together and don’t marry! I hope the former First Lady of France has one!

I think back to my parents’ generation where almost all women were virgins before they married and probably most of the men too.  I know there are certain movements to bring back pre-marital celibacy, but I doubt that it will happen.

In Lena Dunham’s hit HBO show, Girls, one of the twenty-something friends was considered a nerdy freak because she was still a virgin.  She was desperate to lose her virginity but couldn’t find a guy who was willing to take on the responsibility of that risky baggage.  There have been several movies with this theme, including Easy A, which is about a virgin who fakes promiscuity in order to raise her social status in school.

I am told casual sex is now starting in Middle School.  In New York they are considering handing out condoms to 12 year olds.  What a scary thought!

Although my friends and I no longer worry about pregnancy or birth control at our age, we do worry about the future of our children and grandchildren. We will be attending our 40th college reunion this year and look forward to more laughter and, yes, lively discussions about sex and the past, present and future!

I like Lorenzo’s quote “Sex is like fire. It can warm up your house or burn it down”.   It is true for any age and here’s an example. We had a wonderful once a year weekend tradition at my college called “Happy Pappy Weekend”.  Our dads were invited to wine, dine, dance and have fun with their daughters. When the school went co-ed in our senior year the new “Chummy Mummys” were invited to celebrate the weekend with their sons and our Happy Pappies.  Not surprisingly, one of my friend’s Happy Pappy disappeared with a Chummy Mummy overnight.  All hell broke loose in the morning search for the missing duo.  The Mummy got too chummy and the Pappy was very Happy! I think that was the school’s last Happy Pappy Weekend.

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La Costa, California : Celebrating 60 with friends from the 70’s

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My Happy Pappy and Me: Age 20 in 1972

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