Relationships

Generation XXX

The sex stories I've heard from my friends lately are nothing short of stunning

I remember the first time someone came out to me as gay. I was a freshman in college, and while I knew the guy was gay (it was hard to miss; he had, for example, a poster that read "Butch Handbag," which featured a muscle-bound man carrying a pink purse), I still didn't know how to react when he sat me down and told me. I wanted to be supportive and didn't want to act like it was a total surprise. In the end, my only reaction was, "OK." I've always regretted that.

Something as simple as someone declaring his homosexuality would be nothing to me today. I'd handle it with finesse. Because while I am the very definition of vanilla—middle-aged, middle-class, from the Midwest—the sex stories I've heard from my friends lately are nothing short of stunning.

In the past two years, I've learned that two straight guys I know, just regular Joes, love to dress in women's clothing. One of them told me wearing women's things is really very sensual.

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My nerdy band-camp-in-high-school friend, who's gloriously happy with her husband? Regularly sleeps with other women—with her husband's full encouragement. Oh, and she sleeps with men, too, and her husband loves it. She rushes home and tells him all about it.

On the flip side, I have several sets of friends who are in sexless relationships, and they're completely happy that way. Sex is off the table, and the bed, and it works for everyone involved. These folks have gone years with no sex.

Another old friend just told me about his open marriage, and wondered if I wanted to engage in a little extramarital activity.

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I also found out a bunch of couples I used to hang out with in Seattle all switch partners when they're together. And the pairing off isn't always heterosexual. How'd I miss out on that fun?

The point is, I'm not Anais Nin or Courtney Love or some artist living in an opium den. I'm a 50-year-old woman in a professional job with college-educated friends. So it's not like the people I know are so exotic. And yet, no one seems to be having traditional sex anymore.

At this point, I'd be more shocked to hear that someone is in a monogamous hetero relationship having run-of-the-mill sex.

What's happening to us? Is it Internet porn? Are we feeling freer as the world becomes more tolerant? Or is it that people enter an experimental stage when they hit 50, and they just never talked about it before?

I read somewhere that my generation is having more sex than millennials, which, just between you and me, tickles me to death. And not in a kinky way. Did we Gen Xers decide the sex we've been having for the last 30 years could be better, so we decided to mix things up?

Apparently, we've become Gen XXX, and I'm a little miffed that nobody told me.

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