Sexual Intimacy by Andrew Greeley

By Andrew Greeley

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But she was neither so naive nor so unimaginative as to have any doubt about the mes­ sage she was sending, and he received it. An aspect of the relationship that could have enhanced its variety and play­ fulness was in fact doing just the opposite and making it even more routine and dull. Does it matter to a man what the color of a few ounces of tricot and spandex found beneath his wife's dress is? What difference does it make whether all her bras and panties are white or a mixture of mint, peach, apricot, poppy, coral, etc.?

The solution to the conflict between the two lies not in abolishing one or the other but in determining-with the assistance of social conventions-that under some circumstances it is per­ fectly appropriate to undress in the presence of others while in other circumstances it is not appropriate at all. The precise nature of the conventions which regulate veil­ ing and unveiling may change and may at given times be either unduly rigid or unduly lax, but the point is that the conventions themselves make it possible to reach agree­ ment on how to combine these two urges.

In its most rigid form. some of the modern conventional wisdom says, "If you trade spouses occasionally or sleep around before you marry. " But neither the simplicism of the mass media nor the simplicism of a narrow behaviorist approach to human activity will deal adequately with the complexity of human sexuality. The legalism of the past and the simplicism of the pres­ ent have one important thing in common . They both as­ sume that the problems of sexuality can be solved in terms of who you sleep with and what particular organs are combined in what ways.

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