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She saw many men, then none

Updated: July 4, 2013 6:47AM



Nancy was one of the first baby boomers. She came of age during the sexual revolution, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the youth-quake and women’s lib. The times they were a-changin’.

But when she was a young teenager, sex was still something to whisper about. “We were a little foggy on the concept and we got our information from each other or from books like ‘The Stork Didn’t Bring You,’ left on our nightstands by our embarrassed mothers. Our fathers were determined to protect our virginity and punish us if we lost it. I never heard the word abortion until I was in college.

“Gays were still queer, and not in a positive sense. The idea of a girl being gay was bizarre. We were unclear about exactly what men and women did together; what someone did with a person of the same sex was unimaginable.”

Nancy wasn’t allowed to date when she was 13, but that didn’t stop her from having boyfriends. “We made out, necking and petting until the frustration was intense.” She lost her virginity when she was 22.

“And when I did, I embraced sex with enthusiasm. I never married and the men in my life numbered around 20 (plus one woman) and included white, black, Hispanic, older, younger, married and single. I’ve since discovered that my number is higher than most. Talking with younger women, I found most of them had sex with the men they married and maybe one other.”

She had one relationship that lasted 20 years, “mostly through inertia.” There were one-nighters and short-term affairs. “I learned that, contrary to what I’d been taught, sex could be quite enjoyable without being in love. Sex with strangers (but not strange men) could be satisfactory and even revelatory. I never lied to or cheated on any of these men. Any lies I told were to myself.”

Nancy once had an affair with her best friend’s boyfriend. “Even then, I didn’t lie to her. The subject never came up. I doubt she ever found out because we remained very close friends until her early death. Of course, if there is any afterlife, she knows. I can’t say I’m proud of that affair, but I wouldn’t change it.”

After the promiscuity —“if that’s what it was”— in Nancy’s 30s and early 40s there was a period of about 15 years of celibacy. “It wasn’t exactly a conscious decision. I just lost interest and quit looking. Perhaps I just shut down that available vibe. I didn’t like men as a group very much and didn’t want to deal with their baggage.”

It was during that time that Nancy started therapy and decided to leave her successful career in finance. “I knew if I didn’t make a drastic change, I’d either bomb the bank or murder my boss.” She went to graduate school, and then began an entirely different career.

“During this period, my motto was ‘No man is better than (just) any man.’ Something of a sea change, one might say.”

Next: Nancy’s dry spell is over.

Are you a baby boomer who went through the sexual revolution? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com.



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