Compared with the new purity, the self-conscious paralysis, the self-regarding ambivalence, Updike’s notion of sex as an “imaginative quest” has a certain vanished grandeur. The fluidity of Updike’s Tarbox, with its boozy volleyball games and adulterous couples copulating al fresco, has disappeared into the Starbucks lattes and minivans of our current suburbs, and our towns and cities are more solid, our marriages safer; we have landed upon a more conservative time. Why, then, should we be bothered by our literary lions’ continuing obsession with sex? Why should it threaten our insistent modern cynicism, our stern belief that sex is no cure for what David Foster Wallace called “ontological despair”? Why don’t we look at these older writers, who want to defeat death with sex, with the same fondness as we do the inventors of the first, failed airplanes, who stood on the tarmac with their unwieldy, impossible machines, and looked up at the sky?via
You should read the whole thing -- she's, of course, more literal and subtle than my headline would imply. But she manages to slice up Eggers and Foer with an elegant stiletto.
In DFW's case, his incomprehension of Tarbox could be a result of the anti-depressives he was taking. A common, well-documented side effect is impotence and loss of interest in sex. I dont' know what the other guys' excuses are, although she offers up some plausible ideas.