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Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

CBS13 Sacremento in covering the Larry Craig gay sex scandal actually roleplays how to solicit gay sex in a public bathroom.  Hilarious.  God bless local news. 

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Roll Call reported yesterday that another Republican politician was arrested for lewd behavior in a public bathroom.

Seriously, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS as of late?

I mean this completely un-snarkily. But this summer alone, we’ve had Larry Craig’s grabby hands under bathroom stalls, David Vitter’s diaper shenanigans, Michael Flory’s rape conviction, the chairman of the Young Republicans sexually assaulting a sleeping man, Bob Allen’s public restroom escapades, and possibly others. This summer alone!

It always brings me back to this kid in the no-sex-before-marriage-no-masturbation-grown-30-year-old-men-must-share-bedrooms-so-they-don’t-do-these-things-cult-like-religious-group back home, who took to masturbating in grocery store parking lots. Hating non-procreative sex doesn’t stop people from having non-procreative sex, not even the most rabid hateful proponents of all those who would do otherwise. It just leads to sad, sad things like offering someone $20 to suck your cock in the public restroom stall.

The RNC should really start psychologically screening all candidates. It’s bad when you’ve had a summer full of more and kinkier sex scandals from politicians than from young hollywood.

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Definitely not safe for work. 

But there’s a web-site called moanmyip.com.  Basically you click on the link and the web-site displays facts about your hostname, your system, and other various computer geeky information. 

What separates this web-site from the rest, though, is that a sexy female voice starts to moan out your IP address, as if the mere mention of your address triggers an orgasm.  It’s funny and embarrassing at the same time. 

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Old People Have Sex!!!

I find it a little bit funny that this is being treated as such a revelation.  One of the major findings of the study is that healthy old people have sex while ill old people don’t.  Hmmm. 

Anyway, I’m not sure if anyone knew this either but Mom and Dad do it too. 

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… but luckily, Mike Adams wants to help you clear up that nasty case of emotional crabs. He’s a criminal justice professor, after all. Which means he’s, like, totally qualified to talk to college students about sexual health. How does that make him qualified? … Um, why are you asking such tough questions? Have you, too, been brainwashed by the women’s studies professors teacing blow-job techniques and the dish of condoms in the dining hall salad bar? Obiously, you were. Otherwise, you might even be questioning what the picture accompanying the article has to do with college campuses.
Bowl of Condoms in Bar in India
A bartender arranges packets of free condoms in a bowl at India's first 'Condom Bar' in Chandigarh May 26, 2007. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA)

You see, it’s because bowls of free condoms are much like terrorists. You might think condoms in India to not affect the hymens of our daughters here at home, but let me assure you that bowls of free condoms anywhere in the world make the whole world that much less safe for wingnuttery.

You can click the link above, and read Adams’ whole column. But I highly recommend just reading Kyso’s fabulous take on it here.

Adams: If you are gay and engaging in anal sex, it is unlikely that you will ever see the words “anal sex” listed among the risk factors for contracting AIDS in any campus publication anywhere. Nor is it likely that you will ever hear these words mentioned by any professor discussing such risk factors in a relevant lecture.”

Kyso: To be fair, you do actually have to open the publications and read what’s inside of them rather than just imagining what might be inside of them.

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We all know there are men out there who don’t think women are much good for anything other than being available for sex whenever and however they want it. Roissy in DC takes this one step further and says women aren’t even good for that — at least, not as good as inanimate objects.

It makes you wonder about some people’s sex lives.

The basis of Roissy’s New Theory of Life, Dating and the Future of Male/Female Interactions as We Know It is that, with the increasing technological advances in sex robots (“she’ll move her limbs and gyrate during sex as well as talk dirty and respond to commands,” Roissy explains), men will actually no longer have any need for real live women. Given the choice between a sexbot designed to look like a supermodel or a real live “average-looking” woman, men will, in aggregate, choose the former, Roissy predicts.

His predictions are surprisingly (embarrassingly?) detailed, with sub-predictions for different castes of human beings, as he sees it. The basic premise is that unattractive women will be forced out of the dating/mating pool as unattractive and less-than-perfect men have sex exclusively with their sexbots; averagely attractive women will have to become more subservient to men in and out of bed just to be able to snag one away from his sexbot; and beautiful women will harem-style date the “alpha” males, who are the only ones who won’t rely on sexbots. All in all, this will lead to more polygamy, adultery, and male power.

Sexbots are a very real threat to the established order because men’s sexuality is so visually driven. The entire market structure of dating will shift seismically in the direction of men becoming choosier and less willing to please and women becoming looser and more willing to please.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s the perfect Nice Guy® fantasy, priceless in its equal mix of misogyny, insecurity, and entitlement (for a definitive rundown of the Nice Guy® phenomenon, see here). Yeah, yeah, well who needs all you real women when I can have sex with my Jessica Alba robot? Guess you’re all gonna hafta start putting out more and stop demanding treatment as an actual human being, aren’t ya now?

So let’s even just put aside for a moment here the fact that Roissy and his commenters seem to think that real live women are pretty much obsolete (except for making babies, as a few insightful commenters point out). Moving on to the “And People Say Feminists Hate Men” category … dear god, what kind of low expectations of the male species does it take to posit that a good portion of men, given the choice between sex/love/companionship with a fellow human and an inanimate object, would choose the inanimate object? Roissy Inc. seem to feel that no men actually have the capacity to feel emotions, care about people, desire love, etc. Real men are, in fact, only concerned with finding the prettiest possible thing, living or not, to stick their penises in. I mean, non-batshit-crazy guys, don’t you take offense to that? I’m offended, just on behalf of all the guys I know.

Of course, I take more offense to on behalf of women, who I’m pretty sure would be okay even if the whole futuristic sexbot scenario did play out. I mean, Roissy seems to believe that in a world where men showed no interest in sleeping with them, women would continue to be so desperate to snag a man that they’d either convert to polygamy en masse or revert back to an idealized 1950s style of submission. Sheesh. It’s as if Roissy’s never heard of lesbians.

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McClatchy Newspapers has a “Wounded Warriors” blog, which is basically a collection of reports about veteran issues.  It’s a great resource for stories which, in my mind, are essential to understanding the Iraq War.  And it is also how I came across this commentary, “Pervasive wound of war,” from the Washington Times. 

The commentary is about a hundred blog years old, which means it was posted a few days ago, but it has lingered with me since I read it.  In particular, the part (pointed out by the Wounded Warriors blog) about females in the military. 

The problem [of PTSD] becomes even more complex in the context of women serving in the military. In their combat roles, service women in Iraq are subject to both violence from the war and assault from fellow service members or superiors. According to a 2003 study, about one-third of female veterans visiting the Veterans Administration for health care reported having been subject to rape or attempted rape during their military service.

The combination of sexual assault with the psychological trauma from combat known to contribute to PTSD in military personnel has created an environment in which an estimated 20 percent of servicewomen will develop this condition — 4 times the rate in the civilian population and more than double the rate of PTSD in male soldiers (about 8 percent).

Yet despite these alarmingly high rates of PTSD, the unique needs of servicewomen have not been adequately addressed. This lack of attention is significant given the recognition over the last decade of the inequities in women’s health research and care and the importance of focusing on sex differences.

The prevalence of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in the military disturbs the hell out of me but it does not shock me.  My five years in the army only served to confirm that men and women have completely different experiences while they serve.  While attending one of the many classes on how to be aware of and prevent sexual harassment made mandatory by the military, one of the instructors told us that over half of all female servicemembers experience some level of sexual harassment.  Over half. 

(more…)

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It seems DC-dating-scene blogger Roosh V has written an entire book telling men how to get laid, titled “Bang: the average man’s modern guide to getting laid.”

In my humble opinion, anyone who needs an entire book telling them how to get laid is actually never going to get laid. Ever. Anyone who even has the first inclination to pick up this book (for anything other than mocking purposes) WILL NEVER ACTUALLY HAVE SEX.

Please — can we stop perpetuating the myth that there is some secret set of rules, some intricate game, or whatever, that men need to use to trick women into having sex with them? That’s really needlessly complicated and deviant, kids. You want to know how to get laid?

1. Talk to people of the opposite sex (be they friends, co-workers, people you meet in a bar, whatever), AND
2. Don’t be a complete dickhead who’s only thinking about how to trick them into sleeping with you while doing it.

The sex will follow. Really. Do you think that advice seems too simplistic? Yeah, well, it’s a hell of a lot better than this:

“The next common question girls ask is, “How old are you?” Your answer to this question will be, “Guess!” Constantly giving straight answers sucks energy out of male-female interactions. Again, be the mysterious and shady character that she always has to work to get stuff out of.

You will run into girls who respond to “Guess” with something like “I don’t want to play games and guess.” This translates to, “I want you to answer me in the way that I desire.” Not only do these types of girls want their needs served first, but in a way that they dictate.”

Ahh, yes. Stay away from girls who would rather have a conversation with you in a bar rather than act like one of those amusement-park-guess-your-name-age-and-weight-game hosts. Sage.

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Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon comments on the passive aggressive nature of Cary Tennis’s advice/response to this letter

Basically, a women writes in to complain about her catch of a boyfriend who has a habit of oogling other women when she’s around. 

Cary Tennis warns the letter-writer not to get too nagging by trying to discipline him or resentful by ignoring it.  The best course of action in his opinion is to join in the fun of checking out chicks. 

To be honest, as a man, I’m having a hard time understanding what the hell Cary is getting at here. 

However he responds, the fact is that you are attempting to cross over into his realm. He may want to deny you entrance. But he may also feel a tingle of excitement, as though you had suggested an activity you read about in the Kama Sutra.

And what the hell does this mean? 

Checking out chicks with your boyfriend is tricky, however. You may want to discuss it with your girlfriends to determine if it is allowed under the terms of your membership in the sisterhood. It may not be.

I just feel there’s a psychology here beyond my comprehension. 

And here’s my answer and advice to that letter-writer.  It’s about respect.  Your respect for you and his respect for you.  It means different things to different people and you don’t have to agree with everyone else on this issue.  But you and your boyfriend should be on the same page.  Talk to him.

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Oh goodness. Wingnut outrage over this in 3 … 2 … 1 ….

Nevermind that this is actually a very good thing. It means Plan B is making a difference. It means more women are probably preventing unwanted pregnancies, preventing abortions, etc. But you know it’s gonna be all, “See? See?!? Women are having more sex because of Plan B! More unprotected sex! Teens are having more sex! Lesbian gangs and teen birth-control cults!” OR “Dumb sluts think they actually have a right to choose whether they get pregnant! The horror!” OR the perennial

“This is very concerning,” said Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council, which is among several groups suing the FDA to reverse the decision. “We think this is putting women’s health at risk.”

{By the by, if anyone tries to argue that access to contraception increases teen sex rates, or that more access to contraception is not needed, point them to this}

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Submitted without (much) comment:

Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti both have excellent proof that men’s magazine Details actually doesn’t want men or women to have sex with each other again ever. There is no other explanation for why it would run an article that makes men as a whole seem so patently awful, nor attempt to fill their heads with such horrible, horrible advice about dealing with the opposite sex. Please click on at least one of these links if you haven’t yet if only to see the article’s accompanying photo.

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what happened to PT-141?

Justin last week was so excited about an article he’d read that he had to call me and leave me a voicemail telling me to check my email immediately when I got home so I could then read the article, which he’d emailed me, and we could discuss.

And, I must admit, it was quite the article – an analysis of a new aphrodisiac drug, PT-141, administered via nasal spray and said to appeal to both males and females, to work better than Viagra or anything else on the market, and to illicit INSTANT DESIRE in those who took it. Sexual soma, if you will. And it was in Phase 3 trials! I don’t know much about the pharmaceutical process, but that sounds imminent. Yes, the news in this article would have been quite remarkable – had it not been from 2005.

Somehow, its 2005-ness had slipped Justin’s attention, and nearly mine too (there’s no date on the article). I was all set to write a post about it when I realized it wasn’t current. I very nearly said, ahh, oh well, who cares about that then; obviously nothing came of the drug if this article is two years old and nobody’s hyped it up since then. It was probably just a minor blip on the pharmaceutical radar. New York Magazine is the kind of magazine that would pick something like this up and make it seem bigger than it was.

But then I decided to google around a bit. It seems PT-141 was quite the hot news item circa 2002-2005. Or, at least, it received some buzz. And there are about 8 million google side-bar ads promoting it. So, you know … what happened? Why haven’t we heard anything since then?

I mean, I find the whole business creepy, but that’s neither here nor there. I want to be ready for when shooting aphrodisiacs up your nostrils becomes as de riguer as throwing back a few beers before a potential sexual escapade. I want to know exactly when and how much outrage this is going to provoke in the religious right. I want to know how the political divide on this is going to fall. We all know that Viagra is a brilliant pharmaceutical breakthrough because if benefits old men but Plan B is a sign of the wanton disintegration of our society because it gives women more options — how will a pill that can potentially increase sexual desire in men and women be received? Will we all be subjected to fundies’ heads exploding as they try to justify various uses and not others? If there are going to be heads exploding and libidos raging, I want to be prepared. (more…)

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CDC sex survey results released last week, but I just noticed today. As one commenter at Pandagon pointed out, “it seems that all (these surveys) do is make people either feel like sluts, or like unfuckable goobs.” The median number of lifetime (hetero)sexual partners was seven for men and four for women. As is always the case with these sorts of things, there’s a flurry of commentary over whether the discrepency in the male/female numbers is accurate or more based on desirability bias (men more likely to up their reported number, women more likely to decrease it). On a personally anecdotal note, I generally know of little difference in number of sexual partners between my male and female friends. But I don’t find the 3-partner median difference too incredible either. Amanda Marcotte points out a survey that found the number of admitted partners went up for women and down for men when respondents thought they were strapped to a lie detector test. I’d be interested to see results based on age cohorts. The CDC study lumps together everyone 20-59 years old.

(I found a link to the actual report earlier and now I can’t find it, not even on the CDC Web site. Anyone got the link?)

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Sometimes when my favorite feminist bloggers point out that a lot of anti-abortion concern for the sanctity of the fetus is really just hatred of women and sex, other people get a little touchy. They like to accuse people making this point of being hysterical and overreacting, or dismiss them as angry man-haters looking for any excuse to blame any possible thing on misogyny, or wanton whores who just want “abortions on demand.” Which is why I think it’s good to point out, at every possible instance, the cases when the anti-choicers slip up and make it their real feelings so blatantly obvious.

Neil the Ethical Werewolf does just this, in a post referring to something that is kind of old, I know, but I had missed up to this point. Apparently, in March, Missouri “pro-lifers” had a chance to possibly reduce the number of abortions potentially taking place in the state. The legislature was voting on whether to resume state spending on birth control for low-income women. Now, one can obviously make a valid case that this isn’t the state’s prerogative, that there’s no reason for tax-payer money to be going to contraceptive spending. I tend to think that that’s a fine position as long as the state isn’t spending any money on any elective healthcare for low-income residents, but if there are state-sponsored programs covering a whole slew of other less-than-life-threatening conditions and procedures and medications, you might as well throw birth-control into the mix.

But regardless, the legislature’s stated reasons for not reinstating state spending on contraception have nothing to do with taxpayer money and such. No, the Missouri legislature is, of course, primarily concerned with low-income floozies getting away with fucking without the proper god-intended consequences.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – An attempt to resume state spending on birth control got shot down Wednesday by House members who argued it would have amounted to an endorsement of promiscuous lifestyles. “If you hand out contraception to single women, we’re saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that,” Phillips, R-Kansas City, said in an interview.

Neil notes,

The fact that birth control pills would actually avert abortions is insignificant to them.  What do a few fetal lives matter when you’re trying to stop women from having sex before marriage?  There are some other bad reasons why one might oppose funding for birth control — doctrinaire libertarianism, or an extremely short-sighted focus on budget-cutting — but these motivations aren’t especially strong among anti-abortion activists.  I’m left with no choice but to take Susan Phillips at her word. 

Where I’m confused, too, is … since when are all low-income people, people on public health assistance, single? What about the married low-income people who are trying to, you know, be responsible about their family planning so as not to have a whole slew of kids they can’t pay for who will all end up needing even more state-sponsored health assistance? From an economic standpoint, isn’t the relatively low cost of providing birth control to women on public assistance a whole lot cheaper than having to pay to care for all the children these women can’t afford and might be giving birth to without contraception?

Anyways, as per usual, right-wing commenters entirely fail to grasp the point.

No one owes anyone an abortion. If they want one, it’s lawful…knock yourselves out. No one owes anyone birth control drugs. If they want them, they are lawful…there ya’ go. This is truly a ridiculous argument that women are suppressed because someone doesn’t foot the bill for their needs. Needs that are not life threatening unless you are the fetus. Needs that can be avoided through behavior or a $1 condom. It’s the same ol’ liberal “You owe me” meme.

No one owes anyone an abortion? Sure. But who’s even talking about abortions here? Why are right-wingers so obsessed with abortions??? All Neil said was that birth control, you know, can possibly reduce abortions. No one’s really saying anyone owes anyone birth control, per se, either. All they’re saying is that, in a debate about whether birth control should be provided, morality should not be brought into it.

This isn’t a matter of whether legislators think single women (or poor women in general) shouldn’t be having sex, because that is not a matter of law. A judge trying a criminal case might think that the defendant is evil or bad or morally deficient, but he/she can’t just say that when making a ruling, he/she has to decide as a matter of law. You don’t read court opinions that say “In the matter of the People v. So-and-So, we find so-and-so guilty of the crime of murder because we think he is a bad person.” Similarly, it’d be nice if legislators did what they were supposed to and made decisions based on law, instead of their personal moral opinions on other people’s sex lives.

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Apparently a study announced by researchers at Johns Hopkins last week found evidence that oral sex leads to increased chances of getting throat cancer.

If you and your girlfriend have had more than five oral-sex partners in your lives … you are both 250 percent more likely to develop throat cancer than some sad asshole who’s never had oral sex. “Researchers believe,” reports New Scientist, “[that] oral sex may transmit human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus implicated in the majority of cervical cancers,” and the virus lodges in the throat, where it can cause cancer. Study subjects infected with HPV were 32 times more likely to develop throat cancer; folks who tested positive for one highly aggressive strain of the virus, HPV-16, were 58 times more likely to develop throat cancer. Smoking, previously believed to be the culprit behind most throat cancers, only triples a person’s risk.

While this will probably be heralded by at least a few ultra-religous wingnuts as evidence that, see, missionary procreative sex is the only god-sanctioned non-throat-cancer-giving way to do it, Savage points out that the news that men can get cancer from HPV is probably the best thing that can happen as far as the HPV vaccine is concerned:

There’s a vaccine that offers 100 percent protection against the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer in women and, it now appears, throat cancer in men and women. Religious conservatives believe that the HPV vaccine undermines abstinence education by making sex less risky. Never mind that numerous studies have shown that abstinence education does not work, HPV vaccine or no HPV vaccine. The right would rather see 4,000 American women die of cervical cancer every year than call off the idiotic, ineffective fraud that is abstinence education. And up to now the mainstream media have refrained from calling the right’s opposition to the HPV vaccine what it is—delusional, psychotic, homicidal—because up to now only women’s lives were at stake.

That’s about to change. Here’s the headline from my morning paper: “HPV Factors in Throat Cancer: Study Could Shift Debate About Vaccine.” You bet it will. Up to now, the HPV vaccine—which, again, has proven 100 percent effective against the cancer-causing strains of the virus—could merely prevent 10,000 cases of cervical cancer in American women every year, along with 4,000 deaths. But now the debate could shift—it will shift, it already has shifted—because it’s no longer “just” the lives of 4,000 American women that are on the line, but the sex lives of 150 million American men.

“If men got pregnant,” goes the bumper sticker, “abortion would be a sacrament.” Now that straight men can get cancer from eating pussy, the HPV vaccine is going to go from controversial to sacramental faster than you can say, “Suck my dick.”

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This is perhaps the most bizarre thing I have read in a while: prostitution insurance / health insurance allegory (am I right on the allegory thing here? my 7th-grade lit class is failing me).

Unfortunately, shifting the costs of prostitution insurance to taxpayers was fiscally impossible. Prosticare, the government’s popular insurance program for the elderly, was projected to run into deficits of tens of trillions of dollars in another 50 years. Forestalling such a bankruptcy was going to require drastic cuts in future benefits. Trying to expand Prosticare to cover everyone would have forced such cuts to take place today, and no politician wanted to risk a confrontation with senior citizens. So although politicians talked a lot about universal single-payer prostitution coverage, they never seriously proposed enacting it.

I get the gist here, but, uh, sometimes people really need, like life-or-death need, health care, whereas they don’t life-or-death need sex. Plus, while I suppose the argument could be made for the better “care” you’d get from a prostitute, you can still get that kind of care elsewhere. But you can’t exactly hit up a singles bar all, “Hey baby, I’m really in need of open heart surgery,” and get the same kind of results you would at a hospital, no?

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People are going to begin to get the idea that I’m obsessed with Laura Sessions Stepp. I’m not, I swear. It’s just that damn woman keeps coming up everywhere i go. Yesterday, she snuck up on me in a conversation I was having in the computer lab up at school. A classmate is writing her thesis on social norms on college campuses, and she was raving about a great interview she’d had with a writer from the washington post about college students and sex. “Oh, that’s great,” I said. “Who was it?”

Why, Laura Sessions Stepp, of course.

“She wrote this really interesting book called ‘Unhooked,'” my classmate said. “Have you heard of it?”

“Yes,” I replied, then quickly got re-engrossed in the excel spreadsheet on my computer. I had neither the inclination nor the heart to get into a debate about Unhooked with this well-meaning classmate who was basking in her post-Stepp-interview glow. But, alas, the conversation continued without me. Others had joined in, and now the classmate was detailing her interview, espousing the Unhooked party line with much zeal.

“She interviewed all these college women about their hookups and the sex they were having, and she found it was making all of them really, really unhappy,” the classmate was explaining to the computer lab, as she proceeded to go on about how maybe there should be more efforts on college campuses to tell girls they don’t have to have sex because maybe “hooking up” really does make young women unhappy.

Well of course it does! Sex makes a lot of people — women and men! — unhappy. Relationships in general make people unhappy. People get confused and hurt and rejected all the time; it’s a big mess all around and, dear god, especially in college. It’s also great fun, too. Which is why people keep having relationships and having sex, even if they do get hurt sometimes. It seems silly to me to take the premise that sometimes women get hurt in sexual relationships to the extension that they should therefore forego sexual relationships.

But what’s even stranger about the conclusions drawn by Step and the book and people advocating the book — and I should point out now that I haven’t actually read the book, so fault me for that if you will, but I feel like I’ve read and hear endlessly about the book — is that they point to what seems like the obvious and exact opposite of the right solutions.

The women interviewed in the book lament that “hooking up” isn’t leading to a relationship. They are hurt because they hooked up with someone and that person never called. They are hurt because they hooked up with someone then the person didn’t fall in love with them. They are hurt because they had a “friends with benefits” situation that contained no benefits they saw worthwhile. So Stepp and the advocates of this book will point to how sadly over-sexed our culture has become and how the evil feminists made women think they could just have sex like this and then be okay but they are not okay so what we need is less sex and less feminism.

What seems like the obvious conclusion to me (and a lot of other people who have blogged about this; I know I’m just regurgitating what’s been said time and again and better by others, but allow me my own unhooked-rant-time, okay?) about all this is that what it really means is we need more feminism and more sex. Or at least more openness about sex.

Because all the problems women in this book are having when it comes to sex come not from having sex per se, but from having sex for the wrong reasons. They are having sex when the don’t want to with people the don’t want to because they feel like it’s what they should be doing, or they are having sex with the expectations that it will land them a boyfriend or a relationship or prestige or love. They are using sex in order to try and get some sort of other benefit from it, and then getting upset when that other benefit doesn’t materialize.

It seems like what we should really be teaching young women, then, is not ‘you should not have sex because it will make you miserable,’ but ‘you should not have sex independent of your own wants and desires.’ (if it was 1995, I would type the word ‘duh!” after that sentence. Maybe even ‘no doy’). You should not have sex as a means to an end. You should have sex because you want to have sex. And if you do not want to, that’s okay. And if you do want to, that’s okay too.

Because another issue in this book seems to be guilt. From the clips and quotes I’ve read, a lot of these women seem to be expressing a lot of guilt for having casual sex, or a lot of shame from outside parties, which leads them to think they need to be in a relationship to have sex. This is another unfortunate byproduct of a culture that is not open about sex, and exactly the sort of thing we should be discouraging. Young women would probably be a lot more capable of enjoying sex for its own merits (and on their own terms) if they didn’t feel guilt and shame — from the outside world, and internalized from the messages they get all around them. The reason young women Stepp interviewed feel guilty and miserable about “hooking up” is because they and the world around them have not come to terms with female sexuality outside of using it to entice love or marriage or fraternity pins or whatever.

Stepp’s theory that “hooking up” in college and high school is entirely destructive is questionable in its own right, but even if we give this the benefit of the doubt and say that it is destructive — that it really is making hoards of women unhappy — then it seems the answer should be to figure out why it is making them unhappy and how we can change this, not just tell them to stop doing it.

Boomers these days …

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Last Tuesday, I posted about an article in the Washington Post on college students and the HPV vaccine. The article was written by everyone’s favorite kids-these-days (or, really, girls these days) hand-wringer, Laura Sessions Stepp. I started off the post intending to make the point that sometimes I think reporters on teens and young adults deliberately set out to make our generation as ridiculous as possible, but by the end of my post, I’d pretty much just joined in the snarking on those quoted for making statements like these:

There will always be something else out there, some other disease discovered, or a drug that doesn’t work anymore,” (Mallory) Kirsh says. “We’re always hearing about STDs becoming more prevalent. This is the time of our lives when we’re supposed to be carefree. Now there’s always some danger hovering above.”

Male partners are one reason protection is not more common, says GWU senior Adrian Tworecke from her perch in a wing chair at the Sigma Kappa sorority. “They’ll ask if you’re on birth control, and if you are, they’ll say they’re not going to use a condom.” And if a woman brings up the fact that a man can be infected with HPV and pass the virus to her?

“You’re going to offend him,” (Sierra) Strattner says. Or, senior Mallory Kirsh says, “He’ll say, ‘Do I look like someone who would have an STI?’ It’s so hard. It makes it look like you don’t trust him.”

Wow. Are college women out there really so vapid and desperate for male attention at any cost? Maybe not …

“Just so you know the quotes used in the article were taken out of context,” Adrian Tworecke commented here. “Ms Stepp took things that were said and twisted them for the sake of writing an article people would want to read. Your post makes it seem as though our generation is ignorant to the whole HPV siuation and we are not.”

“I was also interviewed for this article,” wrote Mallory Kirsh, “and my quotes were vastly taken out of context. What Stepp also failed to mention was that this past summer I interned at a major pharmaceutical company researching HPV and working on a soon to be launched vaccine. I was lead to believe she wanted to interview me because of my knowledge on HPV, but instead I was portrayed as an ignorant and promiscuous college students, both of which I am not.”

And, via e-mail, Strattner weighs in: “After talking to my friends and reading the washington post comments page (a HUGE mistake) I became really upset. I felt that even though my comments were correct they were taken out of context. Also, they were comments I made in the context of talking with my girlfriends that were actually generalizations about college students that i am around. I said things that were in relation to something else which unfortunately was not conveyed in the article. Also, a lot of what we discussed was missing, especially our more thought out and articulated concerns regarding the vaccine. The article came across as a bunch of vapid shallow sorority girls who dont want HPV to interfere with their sex life. This could not be further from the truth. While I don’t really fault Laura Sessions Stepp, I am disappointed that she portrayed our weaknesses instead of our strengths.”

I just thought this was interesting. Obviously, reporters have angles on stories all the time, and you can’t include all context and all angles in all stories. Strattner points out that the women interviewed were trying to relay how some people they knew felt about sex and STDs, so its not as if the observations were completely unrepresentative.

“I think the article accurately represented how college students feel, and if that worries people then its obviously a bigger issue,” she said.

But what’s a shame is that the article made it seem as if these particular girls were the ones that felt and acted in this way, and that’s not really fair to them.

Tworecke noted that it’s been difficult for them dealing with “the backlash from our friends and family about the mis-quotes in the article.”

And maybe I’m just being biased, but I think that articles about young people generally tend to take this angle as opposed to the “hey, young people do know and care about some stuff!” angle. Which makes sense, I suppose, since ignorance is more inherently newsworthy than knowledge. I mean, considering the nature of news and news production and all that, it’s not hard to see why this angle is appealing. But while it would seem irresponsible not to include this narrative, it’s irresponsible not to include the other side as well. And knowing Stepp’s previous work, it sort of makes it seem just all the more egregious that she only went with the young-women-are-getting-hurt-because-they’re-too-pressured-by-nasty-college-boys angle, and didn’t present the other side of the story.

This wasn’t an editorial piece she was writing; this was a health feature. And it feels like Stepp was using a health feature to advance her girls-are-fragile-flowers-who-are-hurt-by-feminism,-sex,-and-today’s-“hookup”-culture agenda.

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Oh, wow. Sometimes that’s all there is to say about things like this, a Concerned Women for America op-ed penned by Janice Shaw Crouse, a senior fellow at CWA who was also a Bush-appointed delegate to the 2003 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and “is not hoping to join the ranks of the women who are only indispensable to their boss at work.”

When I saw her, as she headed to work on the train early one morning, her hair was still damp and she looked slightly worn and only half awake. Nonetheless, she was quite beautiful. Not beautiful in the dewy, fresh-faced way she probably looked when she arrived in Washington a few years earlier, but very attractive all the same. In spite of her still hard-body figure and smart, slightly provocative clothes, there was a hint of vulnerability in her body language – a certain tentativeness. She was obviously “with” the young man she sat beside, but there was something missing. And it was not just the wedding rings that neither of them was wearing. It was something else.

There was, for instance, a notable absence of any of the little instinctive non-verbal gestures of connectedness on his part that two people in love can’t help but exude. There were no hints of affection or any warmth toward her coming from him. Certainly nothing you would mistake for tenderness. From the looks of him, you might have guessed that they were strangers. And in many respects, they probably are.

She, however, was another matter. Several times, she seemed about to reach out and touch his arm, but she didn’t. She didn’t seem confident about doing so, even though they were pretty obviously “friends with benefits,” as they call it these days. They looked to be about 30, though it was hard to be certain. What they obviously were not was anything like we were at that age: married and so madly in love with each other we couldn’t stop making contact and being together. Watching them exit the train, it was pathetic to see him stride off leaving her to catch up and come along side . . . but not touch. Can’t act possessive, you know. Don’t want to scare him off.

Oh, geez. That “like we were at that age” is telling. Kids these days! With their “hookup culture” and “friends with benefits!” Because, certainly, prior to recent years, no woman over 30 ever had a casual sexual relationship, and ever single person 30-and-above was married and in love.

And besides, Crouse sure does make an awful lot out of watching two people on the metro, which seems sort of presumptuous and slightly preposterous. Maybe the couple is very much in love, but they were just in a fight that morning, or tired, or preoccupied thinking about their day ahead. Maybe they just think it’s tacky to show PDA on the metro. Public fondling and being all kissy-face on the train isn’t generally the surest indicator of lasting love.

But no — for Crouse, there is surely another reason why this young couple isn’t making out up and down the orange line — because they are brazen careerist harpies who thought they could come to DC fresh out of college and make a name for themselves and wait to think about marriage and kids years down the line. This, Crouse points out to us, if patently false. Their “biological clocks” are ticking, and they must now “dull the senses” with alcohol to forget about the torment of their barren wombs and diamond-ring-less orgasms. Oh, the horror! She begins to look at the “talented, experienced and respected” professional women around her and see that they are actually just sad, pathetic hags who are lacking in “the big romance that girls dream about.”

Via Kerry Howley at Reason:

Dammit! My girlhood dreams of marrying Scott Baio in a Strawberry Shortcake and/or My Little Pony-themed beach wedding are doomed. Never mind the, you know, data, which shows that high-earning women are as or more likely to marry than their low-income counterparts. I think we can all agree that math class is tough.

It’s a good thing Crouse is here to warn all us sweet young things about the error of our ways. I will be sure to publicly declare my affection for those sitting next to me on metro rides from now on, lest we all end up “talented, experienced and respected” but sans magical my-little-pony weddings.

P.S. Crouse also has the ability to read minds. The girl on the train?

She can feel the lack of commitment of the young man sitting beside her, and she doesn’t know how to break through. The sex, great as she tries to make it, isn’t working for her like she’s seen on the screen. He isn’t bonding with her. She can sense it. But she doesn’t want to face it. She is in emotional limbo, trapped with nothing left with which to close the deal.

Man, if only she’d used her vagina as a bargaining chip! Then she’d have unrealistic, movie-screen sex all the time!

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I’m just going to aggregate some of the more obnoxious, civil-liberties infringing, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me laws passed/upheld/introduced this week:

Ocean City, Md. approved a resolution putting a moratorium on “sexually explicit stores,” including adult arcades, adult bookstores, adult video stores, “adult cabarets,” adult motels, adult movie theaters, adult theaters, escort agency’s, “seminude model studios” or sexual encounter centers.

Nevermind the fact that I don’t even know what an “adult arcade” or a “sexual encounter center” are, the law seems ridiculously broad. Adult “cabarets” probably refer to strip clubs, but the fact that they refer to adult “cabarets” and “adult theaters” (separate from movie theaters) means that this probably could probably apply to any sort of theatrical performance deemed too sexually explicit. And semi-nude model studios? Of the variety that are used for art classes? I was a nude art-model in college a time or two, and there is nothing “sexually explicit” about figure-drawing classes (damn hard to stay still for that long, though). Not that the resolution wouldn’t be unjustifiable enough if it was just banning porn palaces and strip joints, but the fact that they’re trying to take it that step farther into the realm of art and theater just makes it especially frightening.

Meanwhile, Abilene, Texas, puts a man in jail on an “outstanding smoking warrant” — smoking cigarettes, that is (via To the People). And, the Missouri legislature is considering a bill that would make baking soda a behind-the-counter commodity because it can be used to make crack cocaine. Radley Balko at Reason brings the snark:

Unlike Pete Guither (hat tip), I actually think drug policy reformers should embrace this bill. In fact, I think they should urge the Missouri legislature to pass it. Better yet, let’s pressure Armand Hammer to stop its shameless crack profiteering, and put out a substitute baking soda that can’t be used by crack pushers. It needn’t be effective as a baking additive. In fact, it can be completely useless. The only important thing is that it can’t be turned into crack.

And commenters keep it going:

Why don’t we make people register whenever they buy a frying pan (which can be used to cook crack)? A stove? How about just logging onto a system to request permission to use the stove?

And, really, people who are making and smoking and selling crack — already an illegal substance — are they really gonna be deterred by having to come up with baking-soda-buying aliases or patsies? Nevermind that the law is paternalistic … it also just doesn’t make any damn sense.

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