Not everybody in the suburbs is into sex toy parties, strip tease aerobics, or even fooling around. It’s not like every third person you see walking through the Westchester Mall is a hot-to-trot, pill-popping sex maniac. Even if the total number of Westchester, NY, residents with infidelity on the brain is close to the national average, the vast majority of us are not cheating on our partners. Even fewer of us are swinging or looking for cheap thrills perched on a bar stool ogling a stripper.
Consider B, married to D (his second wife) for 15 years. They have two kids, a beagle, and a hamster named Cubby, all living in a center-hall colonial in southeastern Westchester. He and his wife live what they say is a perfectly happy life that includes completely satisfactory sex with each other and only with each other. Their friends, they say, do too.
“People like to talk about all this stuff, but it’s not going on in my neighborhood,” B observes. “I don’t know a single person who’s cheating on their wife or husband. Never been to a key party or know anybody who has.” He then adds, “I also don’t like to talk about my relationship with my wife, but I can assure you that we’re quite happy in that department. Maybe we’re boring, but I believe most people are just like us.”Dr. Robert Filewich, director of The Center for Behavior Therapy in White Plains, NY, says B is probably right.
“On average, people here have good healthy sex.”Most other experts agree. In a national survey of over 650 married couples, approximately two-thirds of the husbands and wives reported a "a great deal" (or more) sexual satisfaction in their marriage. Similarly, the majority (over 80 percent) of married or cohabiting respondents in another study stated that they were "extremely" or "very" physically and emotionally satisfied by sexual activity with their partner.
So how much fooling around do people do in Westchester? I did a completely unscientific check of one of the most popular hook-up services, the online Personals on Craigslist, and found that we don’t seem to be as active as other places. During the random week I tallied, there were 600 listings seeking “Casual Encounters” in the Westchester section of the Craigslist Personals. Long Island had more than twice as many (1,450), but that is fairly comparable on a per capita basis. Raleigh, NC, a metro area with about the same number of people as Westchester, had 1,650 “Casual Encounters” listings while Sacramento had a whopping 2,700. Maybe it’s a New York suburbs thing. Or maybe it’s because, as Dr. Wayne Gersh said, “Most adults here do not choose to have indiscriminate sex.”
Statistically speaking, Westchester is a little more monogamous than the rest of the nation, at least according to 2006 Census Bureau projections. 51.4% of us over the age of 15 are married, versus 50.4% in the entire US. Significant (at least to me) is that 9.8% of Westchester residents are currently divorced or separated, whereas 12.8% of the nation as a whole falls into the marriage-on-the-rocks category. The balance is either widowed or never married.
Read more about Suburban Sex in this seven-part series.
Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo