This morning, I listened to a recording of Frank Sinatra singing All the Way. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it. I was immediately flooded with the romantic memories of listening to this song as I drove in a car with my boyfriend on a balmy, moonlit Miami night. At that time, I felt adventurous, a deliciously just a bit out of control been but it was within understood boundaries that were rarely crossed. My sexual life was a balancing act of exercising self-determination while hearing my mother’s stark irritating, but unforgettable warnings, in my head
The title of the song, All the Way, was also a euphemism for avoiding the starker implications of sexual intimacy so long warned about to “nice girls.” Only among close friends at college, would we talk skittishly about going all the way with a boyfriend. Usually a long term boyfriend. Remember this was before the pill liberated young people from the concerns of an unwanted pregnancy. Sexual liberation for women was just a few short years away but it might as well have been a century away because the double standard and the risks involved in going all the way were intense and required a devil may care attitude that few of us could sustain without ingesting large amounts of alcohol.
Few young women I knew in college engaged in casual sex, particularly if marriage wasn’t waiting around the corner. I’m sure fewer still engaged in sex with more than one partner. Looking back, it all seems so prudish now by today’s standards. So undercover as well. The idea of a hook-up? Unimaginable.
Yesterday I read an article about the current importance of mutual consent on campuses in sexual relationships. Really?? Young men and women actually discuss such things now? Remarkable. Sensible too. How times have changed.