clit.jpgWhy can we counsel women to have children in their twenties but not counsel them on how to have an orgasm?

I went to listen to Debora Spar, author of “Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection” and president of women’s college Barnard, at the Free Library of Philadelphia Thursday, and I realized she’s just another woman trying to tell young women what to do based on traditional notions of what work-life should or shouldn’t be.

That’s not a bad thing mind you, but her advice is something I would never want my daughter to hear. Actually, both young and old woman should probably stay away.

She pretty much suggested women should have children in their twenties because the fertility clock is ticking. No mention of whether you should meet the right mate first. And she made a point of letting all the over 50 gals in the room know that they’re not respected unless they look 20 something until they’re 80.

To be fair, she wasn’t saying she felt these things, but she blamed big bad society as the culprit.

The one story she shared that got me shaking my head most, was one about a meeting she had with a group of young women. Turns out all these women were having sex with tons of partners; a sign of how over sexualized society has become, she claimed. She was struck by the fact that none of the girls in the group had had orgasms during these encounters.

To that, she said, she wasn’t going to show them how to have an orgasm because that was “way above or below my pay grade,” she quipped. Laughter filled the room, but the absurdity of the comment got me thinking: You’ll advise young women to have babies but you won’t advise them on how to have an orgasm?

That would actually be useful information that would indeed help them on their journey through life.

What was even more disconcerting was her statement that high level jobs like hers were just too big and demanding to be work-life friendly. Things like job sharing, she declared, were for blue collar, clerical and entry level jobs. With one broad brush she relegated a host of careers and professions to the work-life trash heap.

Why even ask for changes in the workplace if you deem your job just too important to be done any other way?

But this mentality is what keeps the work world from changing. We need to demand more flexibility, even in those “big” jobs.

Spar may want to do a bit more research on job-sharing because it turns out jobs beyond the entry level can, and are often done this way.

In a story I wrote for, I interviewed two top Ford female engineers who were job sharing and making it work.

the-julies-1.jpgSend a text message to either Julie Levine or Julie Rocco’s cell phone, and both phones will buzz simultaneously. Levine (left), 40, and Julie Rocco, 38, were both established engineers and managers at Ford Motor Company before they became moms. Together, they broached the idea of doing a job-share arrangement, even though it wasn’t common at their level. Together, they are responsible for overseeing the Ford Explorer product program. The keep each other up to date nightly via conference call, and both work in the office on Wednesdays so they can connect with each other and their team. “We’re both aspiring women who want to keep moving up,” said Levine.

We have to stop listening to these authors as the be all and end all on topics of work and family. It’s great that Spar is offering a somewhat different view on the subject than leaning-in maven Sheryl Sandberg, but we have to focus on what works for us as individuals. Everyone’s work-life reality is different depending on your job, your personal situation, your economic situation, etc. And that can change from life stage to life stage, and even day to day.

The only thing we should agree on as a group is that women have to start demanding what they think will work for them in the workplace.

Spar was right about one thing, women don’t have to be wonder women, but they also shouldn’t rush to have babies because some book author tells them time is running out on a good life. The time may be better spent asking someone who’ll be helpful how to masturbate.

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