Surprised Columnist Gets 100,000 Replies : Dear Ann: Tenderness Beats ‘the Act’

Associated Press

Tenderness and touching go a long way--in fact, they’re better than going all the way, according to a sampling of American women conducted by advice columnist Ann Landers.

Three weeks ago, Landers asked her readers if they would be content to forget “the act” if they were cuddled and treated tenderly.

More than 100,000 people, nearly all of them American women, responded--and 72% declared themselves willing to forgo intercourse for affection, she said.


Landers said she was surprised at the overwhelming response to her unscientific survey, but less so by the results.

“The importance of sex is overrated,” Landers said in a telephone interview. “Women want affection. They want to feel valued. Apparently, having sex alone doesn’t give them the feeling they’re valued.”

As for men, she added, too many “are using sex as a physical release and it has no more emotional significance than a sneeze.”

“There’s a tremendous lack of communication,” Landers said. “It’s troublesome.”

What was most “astonishing,” Landers said, was that 40% of the women who said they didn’t need the sex act were under 40.

The survey was initiated when Landers published a letter from a reader responding to a man who wanted a penile implant because he said his inability to complete the sex act with the woman he loved was driving him crazy.

The woman wrote that she’d bet if 100 women were asked how they felt about intercourse, 98 would prefer tenderness.


Landers then posed the question to her readers.