Love, freedom, confusion

But, according to a book by a doctor and self-declared feminist, such women are also more “confused, conflicted and uncertain” about what they want from sex and relationships than their mothers or grandmothers.

“They have trouble letting down their guard, difficulty being vulnerable and expressing their needs, and, despite their professed desire for satisfying sex and relationships, they put a great deal of energy into protecting themselves from getting hurt,” says Dr Leslie Bell, a psychotherapist who specialises in treating young women. She is the author of Hard to Get, published this month.

She says the lives of these women, unencumbered by marriage, motherhood and their attendant responsibilities and limitations, may look free and easy. “Digging under the surface of this life, however, the freedom characterising young women’s lives is paradoxical. While have tremendous opportunities to be independent and to pursue their education, careers and sexual and personal development, they receive little guidance in how to navigate the desires, vulnerabilities and internal conflicts that accompany these freedoms. “These young women didn’t feel empowered or like they live on top of the world,” says Bell. “Instead, they feel adrift and lost by the paradox of sexual freedom.”

Are we surprised freedom comes with confusion? Being free to choose is always more confusing than being told what to do. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t appreciate freedom of choice, and going back to some medieval set of sexual morals doesn’t work (trust me, I’ve tried.)

In my mind, we should cherish this freedom and give everyone else time to catch up with the fact that women can in fact take an active part in their love lives without being considered ‘forward.’


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