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Mind the generation sex gap

My best friend celebrated her 25th birthday this weekend. She has recently crossed over from the land of singletons and is blissfully walking around Cape Town with hearts in her eyes.

For her birthday, the new beau took her on a couple's getaway, which of course she was very excited about.

However, she seemed to be in the minority when it came to that feeling.

Before she departed for her romantic getaway, she received an unapologetic text from a family member who made a sarcastic remark about her decision to go away alone with her new boyfriend.

The text went something along the lines of… "Oh, you're going away for your birthday? My, my how times have changed... In our day our mothers would have told us no, especially if we were going with our boyfriends".

When she told me about, I was responded, "But it's 2014."

Then I realised that it's 2014 but my partner of three years and I are still required to sleep in separate bedrooms whenever our parents are around.

Even though we live together.

Even though we've been together for the longest time.

Even though they gave us their blessing to live together.

Even though it's 2014!

On reflection I realised that the common denominator in these two situations is sex.

On the whole people seem open to narrowing the continued generation gap between our elders and ourselves. Until the topic of sex comes up.

Then, suddenly everyone sits there staring at one another, mouths shut and eyes big, judging every single move we make.

But why?

Most of my generation has been taught to have sex in loving committed relationships with people who respect us. We have an education so are not dependent on our partners, we're comfortable in our sexuality and we're young.

So, allow us to be great. Right?

Wrong.

I've come to realise there are some things that will forever stir the pot between the generations.

And sex is clearly one of those things.

Some within the older generations are content to gloss over the realities in life; they know what situation they prefer and they stick to it, even if it means pissing on someone else's parade (or happiness).

Of course I am aware that certain situations are different and that dissimilar circumstances mean the generation before us will be conservative about certain things, such as sex.

But as a 24-year-old woman, who lives in a society that has (in theory) long since left behind months of courting with chaperones and arranged marriages for women, what about me?

What about my friend who wants to have a romantic rendezvous without being judged?

Is it possible to bridge the gap between the generation before us without being seen as 'too liberal' or 'loose'?

Can we find a common ground that allows us to be open about our sexuality without worrying about a comment from someone who just doesn't think it's right?

Or will the more traditional interpretation of morality and family values still hold sway for some time to come?

Tamsin Wort is a member of the EWN online team in Cape Town. Follow her on Twitter: @TamsinShawn

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