How Everyone Got So Lonely by Z. Heller (Article Discusses Incels, Sexism, Being Single By Circumstance, other topics)

How Everyone Got So Lonely by Z. Heller (Article Discusses Incels, Sexism, Being Single By Circumstance, other topics)

(Link): How Everyone Got So Lonely

Excerpts:

The recent decline in rates of sexual activity has been attributed variously to sexism, neoliberalism, and women’s increased economic independence. How fair are those claims—and will we be saved by the advent of the sex robot?

By Zoë Heller
April 4, 2022

[The article opens by going over all the information I’ve been posting to this blog the last several years: more and more Americans (and people in other nations as well) are remaining virgins or celibate, and some are opting out of dating and marriage.
Some are doing so out of choice – with some they may want to have sex and/marry but are still single or celibate due to circumstance.]

… The chief driver of this so-called “sex drought” is not, as one might expect, the aging of the American population but the ever more abstemious habits of the young. Since the nineteen-nineties, the proportion of American high-school students who are virgins has risen from forty-five per cent to sixty per cent.  …

[The article covers many of the explanations various studies and authors have been citing to explain the lack of sexual activity, especially among the young – everything from more people in their 20s and 30s living at home with their parents, to porn, to video games.]

… For the British economist Noreena Hertz, the decline in sex is best understood as both a symptom and a cause of a much wider “loneliness epidemic.”

In her book “The Lonely Century” (Currency), she describes “a world that’s pulling apart,” in which soaring rates of social isolation threaten not only our physical and mental health but the health of our democracies.

She cites many factors …  but she believes that the deepest roots of our current crisis lie in the neoliberal revolution of the nineteen-eighties and the ruthless free-market principles championed by Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, et al.

In giving license to greed and selfishness, she writes, neoliberalism fundamentally reshaped not just economic relationships “but also our relationships with each other.”

… Many books about the atrophy of our associational ties and the perils of social isolation have been published in recent years, but we continue to underestimate the problem of loneliness, according to Hertz, because we define loneliness too narrowly.

Properly understood, loneliness is a “personal, societal, economic, and political” condition—not just “feeling bereft of love, company, or intimacy” but also “feeling unsupported and uncared for by our fellow citizens, our employers, our community, our government.”  [The author of this wonders if it’s accurate to conflate the book author’s understanding of loneliness with sexlessness.]

…. In “The Lonely Hunter” (Dial), Aimée Lutkin, a writer in her thirties, wrestles with the question of how “chosen” her single life has been.  …

By the end of the year, she hadn’t found a lasting relationship, but she had gone on many dates, had some sex, and even fallen (unrequitedly) in love for a time, so one might reasonably conclude that the cure for her loneliness had in fact been in her gift all along.

She largely rejects this notion, however.

To insist that any determined individual can overcome loneliness if she tries hard enough is to ignore the social conditions that make loneliness so common, Lutkin writes.

In her case, there were strong economic reasons that she focussed on work rather than on love for many years; she also pursued people who didn’t return her affections.

And some significant part of her loneliness came not from being single but from living in a world that regards a romantic partner as the sine qua non of happy adulthood.

Ironically, she suggests, celebrating single women as avatars of modern female empowerment has made things harder, not easier, for lonely women, by encouraging the view that their unhappiness is of their own making—the price they pay for putting their careers first, or being too choosy.

She notes that the plight of lonely, sexless men tends to inspire more public concern and compassion than that of women. The term “incel” was invented by a woman hoping to commiserate with other unhappily celibate women, but it didn’t get much traction until it was appropriated by men and became a byword for sexual rage.

This, Lutkin believes, reflects a conservative conviction that men have a right to sex.

… What’s more, young male sexlessness, unlike the female variety, correlates with unemployment and low income. Men’s greater tendency to violence also probably creates greater public awareness. (Female incels, however grumpy they get, do not generally express their dissatisfaction by shooting up malls.)

Nevertheless, Lutkin is surely right that women’s authority over their sexual and romantic fates is not as complete as the popular imagination would have it.

Asked to explain why one out of four single American women hasn’t had a sex partner for two or more years (and more than one in ten haven’t had a sex partner for five or more years), researchers have cited women’s aversion to the “roughness” that has become a standard feature of contemporary, porn-inflected sex.

In one recent study, around twenty-one per cent of female respondents reported that they had been choked during sex with men; around thirty-two per cent had experienced a man ejaculating on their faces; and thirty-four per cent had experienced “aggressive fellatio.”

If, as Stephanie Coontz suggests, women feel freer these days to decline such encounters, that is of course a welcome development, but it’s hard to construe the liberty of choosing between celibacy and sexual strangulation as a feminist triumph.
— end —

The article then goes on with one woman author whose criticisms of the “Me Too” movement are not ones I agree with, then it moves on to mentioning the views of authors who believe that at some point that sex robots will be seen as normal.

I do appreciate the discussion in the article that not all women are single by choice. Not all women are single because they placed career above marriage hopes. As one gets older, and spare time becomes sparser, it becomes more difficult to meet peers.

Dating apps and dating sites are not guarantees of getting a compatible mate for single, hetero women, either, because a lot of selfish, abusive, or weird single men populate them.


Related:

(Link): Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? America is in a Sex Recession –  by K. Jullian – via The Atlantic

(Link): Why Sex-Positive Feminism is Falling Out of Fashion

(Link):  Otherhood – An overlooked demographic – the Childless and Childfree Women and Singles Especially Women Who Had Hoped to Marry and Have Kids But Never Met Mr. Right (links)

(Link):  The Best Age To Marry Is When You Meet The Right Person

(Link): Consider The Source: Christians Who Give Singles Dating Advice Also Regularly Coach Wives to Stay in Abusive Marriages

(Link): Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

(Link): NY Times Says Robot Marriage Becoming Mainstream; Pastor Believes Church Partly to Blame by B. Showalter

(Link): Experts Predict Human-Robot Marriage Will Be Legal by 2050 by O. Goldhill

(Link): Sex Robots Are Being Made to Look Like Customers’ Dead Wives

(Link): Sex Robots Would Give Us Only What we think We Want, and Not What We Truly Desire by R. Pelling

(Link): How the ‘Solo’ Movement is Rewriting Misconceptions of ‘Sad, Lonely’ Single Life

(Link): Secret Service Warns of  Domestic Terror Threat from Incels (Involuntary Celibates)

(Link):  Chris Harper Mercer (Oregon Gunman) Angry Over Being Single and A Virgin

(Link): Bitter, Frustrated 22 Year Old Male Virgin and Member of Men’s Rights / PUA Groups Kills Several Women Because He Couldn’t Get Dates – what an entitled sexist doof

(Link): Lonely Woman Wonders How to Make Friends (letter to Ask Amy)

(Link):  Inside Secret World of Incels Who Turn To Murder Because They’ve Never Had Sex by J. Lavender

(Link): Who Are “Incels”? Behind the Misogynistic Ideology That Inspired The Toronto Suspect

(Link):  Supporting Singles and How Churches Can Help Singles Get Married – Lessons from Match-Making by B. Lea

(Link):  Actually We Don’t Owe You Sex, and We Never Will by M. Donegan

(Link): The Fragile Male Ego That Can’t Function Without Constant Sexual Validation by S. Ashley

(Link): I Bought Your Drinks, So You Owe Me Sex – Why Do Some Men Believe Dating is a Transaction? by S. Gallagher

(Link):  Japan’s Prisons Are a Haven for Elderly Women (Many of Whome Are Married Yet Very Lonely)

(Link):  You Will Be Ignored After Your Spouse Dies

(Link): Man Who Lost His Wife Puts Sign in Window Asking for Friends: ‘It’s My Last Resort’

(Link):  When Adult Virginity and Adult Celibacy Are Viewed As Inconvenient or As Impediments

(Link):  Craigslist confessional: I’m in my 40s, never married, and a virgin—but I’m happy by Abigail

(Link): The Biggest Threat To Middle-Aged Men: Loneliness

(Link): Response to the Alex Parker Piece ‘Feminist Rages Against GirlPal ‘Galentine’s Day,’ Says No Women Are Lonely, Praises Group Vomiting’

(Link): Married to the Job: How a Long-Hours Working Culture Keeps People Single and Lonely by S. Jaffee

(Link): Should Churches Aid (In) Matchmaking For Lonely Singles? by John Stonestreet

(Link): The Bible Says Christians are to Help Other Christians First (not sex trafficked people, not orphans in Africa, not homeless crack addicts, etc)

(Link):  Online Dating Lowers Self- Esteem and Increases Depression, (2018) Studies Say

(Link): Dear Therapist: It’s Hard to Accept Being Single by L. Gottlieb

(Link):  To the Christians (especially married ones) Who Like to Instruct Single Christian Adults They Should Only Marry Other Christians, Listen Up (Re: Equally Yoked Rule)

(Link): Christians: Please Stop Telling Singles that Their Singleness is “For God’s Glory” /  Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay

(Link): It Goes In Cycles: Push For “Early Marriage” Makes the Rounds AGAIN Lately, Because of Marriage-Idolater, Singleness Shaming Brad Wilcox (Feb 2022)

(Link):  Learning to See Your Single Neighbor by H. Stallcup

(Link): Decent Secular Relationship Advice: How to Pick Your Life Partner

(Link): Gender Complementarian Advice to Single Women Who Desire Marriage Will Keep Them Single Forever / Re: Choosing A Spiritual Leader

(Link): A Case Against Early Marriage by Ashley Moore (editorial)

(Link):  Awful Early-Marriage Promoting Editorial, ‘The Future of Christian Marriage,’ from The Christian Post that Actually Cites Deviant Mark Regnerus (December 2020)

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link):  Married Female Christian Blogger Whose Mate Hunting Criteria is Guaranteed to Keep Marriage Minded Single Christian Men Single Perpetually

(Link): Southern Baptist Al Mohler Intimates That Childless And Childfree Adults Are  Not Human (2019) – and He Thinks This is a Good and Biblical Worldview

(Link):  Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?

(Link): What Christians Really Think About the Church’s Relationship Advice by Anna Broadway

(Link):  The One Thing Evangelical Leaders Don’t Want Christians to Know about Mixed-Faith Marriages (two links). by C. Cassidy

(Link):  I’m a Christian Married to an Atheist — Here’s How We Make It Work by S. Allen

(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear

(Link): ‘Why Are You Single’ Lists That Do Not Pathologize Singles by Bella DePaulo

(Link): And They Like to Caution Single Women About Being “Too Picky” Check this nauseatingly too picky list by a single 39 year old man who will die single

(Link):  Never-Married Adult Man Named Stephen Asks Christian Host Why God Has Not Answered His 3-Decades Long Prayers To Send Him A Wife

(Link):  Getting Married Is Not an Accomplishment by N. Brooke

(Link): Marriage-Pushing Zealot Wilcox Suggests that Being Single is Immoral: National Review Article

(Link): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas

(Link): People Who Get Divorced Are More Likely To Die Early Than Those …  Who Never Got Married In the First Place, Study Shows

(Link): I’m Not Pining for a Long-Lost Love. I’m Single by Circumstance by S. Reed

(Link):  The Cruel, Capricious God of Naive Christians, Concerning Singleness and Marriage – If Only You Had Waited Five More Minutes!

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

(Link): Christians: Please Stop Telling Singles that Their Singleness is “For God’s Glory” /  Owen Strachan’s “Being Single To Bring God Glory” Essay

(Link): Really, It’s Okay To Be Single – In order to protect marriage, we should be careful not to denigrate singleness – by Peter Chin

(Link): Pedophiles Seeking Christian Wives in Churches – Another Reason to be Leery of the “Equally Yoked” Idea and Reconsider Church as a Place to Meet Singles

(Link): Why Are Marriage Rates Down? Study Blames Lack Of ‘Economically-Attractive’ Men

(Link):   Settling Vs Being Lonely (letter to advice columnist)

(Link):  The Loneliness of American Society

(Link):   Why is it So Hard For Women to Make New Friends? by G. Kovanis

(Link):  Why Being Single Sucks: What No One Wants to Talk About, by B. Smith

(Link):  How Sorry Do We Feel for the Lonesome Single Bachelors of New York? by T. Moore (never married men in their 40s talk about being tired of being single)

(Link):  Asking Too Much Of Marriage – Married People are Lonely

(Link):   Married Woman Says She’s Lonely Because Her Husband Works All The Time

(Link):   When You’re Married and Lonely by J. Slattery

(Link): What’s Wrong With PreMarital Sex, Cohabitation and Watching Porn? Apologist Sean McDowell Answers – Critique: Some Christians Marketing Sexual Abstinence as “Purity in Jesus”

(Link): Why Aren’t Millennials Having Sex Anymore? via Relevant Magazine

(Link):   More Than 40 Per Cent of Japan’s Adult Singles are Virgins, Says Study

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