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July 27, 2022

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I partially agreed with #1. I got to 6-7 before I bailed on whatever that was.

Sex can be a standalone thing. Personally, I think it's a component of intimacy. Mostly, I think it's none of my damn business what anyone else thinks about it - so long as they don't push it on anyone else.

[Looking directly at you, SCOTUS.]

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so long as they don't push it on anyone else

See also #11

To clarify, it can be a component, but it is not a requirement.

See also #11

Yeah, no. I'm dumb enough already.

This isn't threading the needle, and I'm not saying I disagree with all (or even most) of it, but it reminds me powerfully of being expected to sit at the feet of charismatic men holding forth on what the world is, or sex is, or what women's sexual experience is or more usually, should be. Boy I'm glad those days are over.

(This may be very unfair on George Leonard. I'm just giving you my first reaction!)

It is rather pompous, isn't it? In a style that I came to dislike, as time passed, in a lot of what came out of the Whole Earth world. But let me not get sidetracked to *that* topic.

Reading behind the tone, though, I think Leonard's points can trigger a lot of interesting thought trains. Particularly, I've always loved the punch line, and have found it relevant to a lot of what I've seen of people's stories, and the love affairs and scrapes they (we) get into.

The juxtaposition of all the abstract pontification with the punch line reminds me of the juxtaposition in this delightful little clip (hat tip BJ, i can't remember whose post). Kinda like Obama's anger interpreter.

Ok, I went back and read that dreadful mess & I guess I’m too benighted to get the insight there, but by my reading it has all the depth of a “Live, Laugh, Love” chalkboard in HomeGoods.

I remember that sort of manifesto from the health food stores and metaphysical bookshops that dotted Santa Fé in the early/mid '90s, but all that was inflected through being at a small campus on the outskirts of town with a large and vocal LGBTQ+ contingent and a whole lot of us punks who were their allies. The AIDS crisis really added a sharper edge to the counterculture. We had more of an Act Up orientation.

Visibility is becoming a necessity again. It's becoming an act of survival, both for the people who are under attack and for those of us who are their allies. Maybe moreso for the allies because we are not in the same danger as our LGBTQ+ friends and family just for being ourselves in public. It's back to the same fight that I remember from the late '90s when the skinheads came for the gay punks of color. It's time to stand up to the push and make them think twice about how much this will cost.

So I'm not worried about any fuzzy New Age sheen. I'll put up with all manner of bullshit to be seen and counted and reckoned with.

Battle song from the '90s: Jane's Addiction - No One's Leaving

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnrkbVlN7xw

Trying to flesh out why I posted George Leonard:

1.

Sick puppies. So full of hate and disdain for women.

People will fuck.

The juxtaposition of these thoughts was what prompted me to dig out the Leonard piece.

A variation that links them: People want to fuck -- but oftentimes can't find someone willing to join them. The strength of the need and the difficulty or impossibility (for some people) of finding someone to help fill it can be a volatile circumstance.

2.

Roe is related to sex. The misogyny is obviously related to sex. Attitudes about LGBTQ+ people are almost totally about sex, if you dig a millimeter below the surface. There are sex-related aspects of racism. We even link guns to sex with words like "ammosexuals," and the framing of guns as compensation for certain relevant body parts being small, or the fear of their being small.

And yet, in a culture awash in sex (certainly compared to when I was young!), how often does it get talked about seriously? (Which, in George Leonard's defense, I think is what he was in part trying to do.)

All of that (to me) relates to what nous said in his 7:51. The closet they want to rebuild won't be just for gay people, it will also be for public affirmation that sex exists and might even be a good thing.

Visibility is becoming a necessity again.

Apologies if I'm missing the point, but I think visibility is the problem. Things were all well and good when the gays knew their place and kept to the shadows. Like the blacks. And the women.

The insane backlash we see is precisely because it has become obvious to a bunch of knuckle-dragging white guys that they have to stand on an increasingly even footing (still not even remotely true) as the rest of a multicultural society which used to hold them in high privilege. This is not revelatory. But their feelings of marginalization, however misguided, are distilling to an increasingly unstable compound.

*****

Upvote for Jane's Addiction.

Ok, before I get called out on it, yes, "distilling [...] compound" is just awful. But my brain is shot and I can't words good today.

The insane backlash we see is precisely because it has become obvious to a bunch of knuckle-dragging white guys that they have to stand on an increasingly even footing (still not even remotely true) as the rest of a multicultural society which used to hold them in high privilege.

I think the critical bit is that they are massively insecure, and don't think they can compete. The only reason to get upset about women/blacks/gays/etc./etc. is if you believe that they are better than you are. So you have to force them into an inferior position.

A white guy who actually believed the bigotry he spouts wouldn't worry about the competition.

nous can speak for himself, but I took his point to be that we can't take our right to be visible for granted, we have to keep asserting it all the more when the knuckle-draggers threaten it.

And in this case, by "we" I mean LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

Which was probably obvious from context, but is worth saying explicitly as well.

we can't take our right to be visible for granted, we have to keep asserting it all the more when the knuckle-draggers threaten it.

It's worth noting that gay rights really took off when a critical mass of gays came out of the closet. Visibility made a difference.

I took his point to be that we can't take our right to be visible for granted

That was my takeaway as well, but the “again” part clouded it a bit. And it’s a point well-heeded. Remember when Obama was President and racism was dead and we didn’t need the Voting Rights Act anymore?

Speaking of misogyny -- remembering the brief discussion of J.D.Vance earlier, I'm wondering who Gaetz thinks his audience is.... Maybe he overestimates the percentage of the population made up of woman-hating knuckle-draggers.

And speaking of Vance, maybe I was wrong about his lust to win a Senate race.

A white guy who actually believed the bigotry he spouts wouldn't worry about the competition.

Well… yes and no. I don’t think you get bigotry without some underlying insecurity, so I don’t know that that person exists.

My "again" was in the context of the AIDS crisis. Stonewall had its own energy, but what I remember about my LGBTQ+ friends in the '90s was the refusal to die - silent, unseen, and unmemorialized - in the shadows.

It was the era when Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl (despite being straight) spent the cold close for SNL snogging, just to stick it to the homophobic frat boys who were going to be watching (and SNL working to keep them off-camera and reshooting because gay kisses did not happen on network TV - don't ask, don't tell).

So that "again" is the acknowledgement that we may again be at the point where gender and sexual preference are going to kill people. But this time the disease is going to be people, not a virus.

I don't think there was ever a time when people weren't one of the diseases.

This feels like a quibble, but I think it's important not to forget it.

So that "again" is the acknowledgement that we may again be at the point where gender and sexual preference are going to kill people.

Understood. Dobbs has made it quite clear that 50+% of the population needs to be visible. It’s insane. I spent most of the 90s in NYC in the graphic design world. Homosexuality was about as remarkable as blue pants. 30 years later and it’s not hyperbole to say that Gilead is a possible future. I can’t get my head around it.

Now that I think about it, blue pants were rather remarkable. Because they were designers. Everyone wore black.

Whatever. My point still stands! ;-)

I don’t think you get bigotry without some underlying insecurity, so I don’t know that that person exists.

That was kind of the point I was aiming at. You only spout bigotry because, deep down, you believe the opposite. Otherwise, no motive to spout off on how inferior they are; bigotry is, as much as anything, an attempt to convince the bigot himself.

Now that I think about it, blue pants were rather remarkable. Because they were designers. Everyone wore black.

That would likely have been the IT staff in blue jeans. ;-)

bigotry is, as much as anything, an attempt to convince the bigot himself.

Agreed. Akin to the projection seen from those corners. Gaetz and that mall troll from Alabama? Must be the Dems who are groomers & pedophiles.

That would likely have been the IT staff in blue jeans.

I have been found out!

I have been found out!

Probably because of how many IT folks there are here. We can recognize the traditional ethnic garb.

Sex is so fraught

This has been stuck in my mind and I can't sleep, so...

I think that's too vague. Sex as a biological imperative? Sex in a relationship? Sex between a sex worker and a client? Is going to a strip club a form of sex? Pornography?

I think sex as an aspect of intimacy is the opposite of fraught, at least ideally. Or even in a FWB situation, assuming everyone's on the same page.

I'd argue that sex is fraught only when it's unhealthy. Maybe that's tautological. Painting broadly, unhealthy attitudes toward sex seem to be inextricably entwined with religion, and to my mind it's all born from the same insecure tree. The obsession with virgins. The burka... Dude, if seeing a little ankle gets you all rapey, maybe the person who needs to not be in public is you.

One of my exes was an attorney in NYC. Her firm had a lot of Hasidic clients. She couldn't shake hands because she might be "unclean". Sorry, but that's fucked up. I can't imagine what sex looks like to someone with that world view.

Sex work is illegal because... what again? Same reason I can't buy beer between 4AM and 8AM on Sunday*. Not my thing, but I don't think it should be illegal. Frankly, I think the pros (if you'll excuse the pun) outweigh the cons.

I dunno. Sex between mature adults may be awkward, but it's informed consent. I think it's better to say that immaturity, or arrested development, is fraught. And that's not just a problem of sex.


*Ok, look, occasionally I go fishing and we leave early and there are no stores in the Atlantic Ocean so you have to shop befo- don't judge me!

*****

Also, Levis and a button-down are the song of my people!

The classic study on homophobic insecurity:

https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0021-843X.105.3.440

The authors investigated the role of homosexual arousal in exclusively heterosexual men who admitted negative affect toward homosexual individuals. Participants consisted of a group of homophobic men (n = 35 ) and a group of nonhomophobic men (n = 29); they were assigned to groups on the basis of their scores on the Index of Homophobia (W. W. Hudson & W. A. Ricketts, 1980). The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. They also completed an Aggression Questionnaire (A. H. Buss & M. Perry, 1992). Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. The groups did not differ in aggression. Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

My brother had a best friend in high school who came out to him several years later, only to be met with anxiety and rejection from my brother. I suspect this study sheds some light on that.

Male homosexual porn has never done anything for me. That might have made it easier for me to get over the tremendous amount of homophobic hazing baked into popular culture in the 80s. I didn't live in fear of having my secret shame found out because I had no secret to hide.

The late 80s/early 90s was also when I ended up reading Starhawk's The Spiral Dance and started really thinking about feminism as a thing men should practice. The rest was all just trying to live up to the standards of fairness and empathy that I found I had fallen short of.

Long, slow trip, that.

I'd argue that sex is fraught only when it's unhealthy. Maybe that's tautological. Painting broadly, unhealthy attitudes toward sex seem to be inextricably entwined with religion, and to my mind it's all born from the same insecure tree.

About a decade ago, when the whole issue of consent on campuses became a big public dialogue, one of my mentors from my undergrad years started to get twitchy.

He was a feminist, and a full-on screaming lefty, but he could not imagine, having grown up in the 70s, what an adventurous sexual relationship could look like if all engaged were up front about their desire and what they actually wanted. He railed about how that took all the mystery and excitement out of the pursuit and rendered everything so vanilla and inevitable.

By this point, though, I had made friends with some people who were BDSM professionals who were far more kinky and adventurous than my mentor ever would be. My mentor was just a dude that watched too many tough guy films and identified a bit too much, and never quite managed to shed the hold it had on his imaginary whatever his gender ethics might be. Meanwhile, the BDSM people just nodded through the whole consent conversation, having long ago realized that it was the only way to make their lifestyle safe and sustainable.

All of that seems pretty fraught to me, and not much of it of a religious nature.

Levis and a button-down are the song of my people!

Spoken like someone who's been looking thru my wardrobe.

"Pursuit", I think, gives the game away. I find it difficult to reconcile that notion with feminism. Is it possible there's more at work to be found there?

Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.

I haven't had a chance to read the study. But I wonder about a couple of things. First, what was the age range of the participants? And, related, what was the culture they were raised in? A relatively young American grew up in a culture which was moving rapidly towards acceptance. Someone a couple of decades older had a very different upbringing. (And that's before we get to non-American cultures.**)

Second, how was that "association" manifested? That is, did they see this association consistently? Or above chance, but not drastically? Or what?

Third, how did the authors define and determine homophobia? Behavioral history? Self-classification? Some kind of test (validated how?)?

Why do I care? I find that I personally am a reflection of the culture I grew up in. Which is to say, two men kissing makes me twitchy. And just the thought of gay sex makes my skin crawl. Which, it seems to me, ranks pretty clearly as homophobia.

On the other hand, I know intellectually that it's an irrational, emotional reaction -- albeit one which I simply can't shake. So I try not to manifest that reaction. In fact, I was endorsing the idea of gay marriage in the late 1980s, which was definitely ahead of the curve. So, how would the authors categorize me in their study?

I guess what I'm saying is that the whole question isn't really as much a simple binary as it tends to be portrayed. And I think trying to change how people feel about the subject is less productive than trying to change their behavior. Also what is considered socially acceptable behavior, which can shift attitudes in future generations.

** Psychology: the study of the minds of American (and European) college undergraduates.

And I think trying to change how people feel about the subject is less productive than trying to change their behavior.

I must say, I completely agree with this. Despite having zero problem, psychological or otherwise, with any aspect of gay sex, I use the example of racism. You can't eradicate prejudiced thought or feelings at all easily, but if you eradicate prejudiced behaviour (including speech) I believe it is more likely that prejudiced thought and feelings will be (mostly?) gone in a generation or two.

Pete, above:

Sex is so fraught

This has been stuck in my mind and I can't sleep, so...

I think that's too vague. Sex as a biological imperative? Sex in a relationship? Sex between a sex worker and a client? Is going to a strip club a form of sex? Pornography?

I think sex as an aspect of intimacy is the opposite of fraught, at least ideally. Or even in a FWB situation, assuming everyone's on the same page.

I'd argue that sex is fraught only when it's unhealthy.

First: it's a blog post, not a Ph.D. dissertation.

But secondly: I stand by my summarizing statement. Sure, sex is fraught except when it isn't, and especially if you confine what you're talking about to an activity between two people who find it fun and satisfying and don't have hang-ups about it.

But my listing of major issues of the day (Roe, LGBTQ+ rights and visibility, even guns and racism, and let's not forget contraceptives and interracial marriage as possible items on the SCOTUS table) was meant to flesh out what I meant by my briefer statement.

Major bodies of law are built around the urge to control, regulate, proscribe, encourage, and define sex and things relating to sex. Many religious traditions, as you (Pete) recognize, are obsessed with sex. Wars have been fought over who gets to mate with (and let's face it, own) whom. If the misogyny that drives the current lunacy around abortion isn't partly about sex, and especially about controlling women's sexuality (BUT HELLO, NOT MEN'S, NO, NEVER MEN'S), what else is it about?

nous @12:56 am -- glad you mentioned Starhawk. I have drifted away from what I learned from her, partly because I don't think I've ever lived up to the challenge.

But I have been thinking often lately of The Fifth Sacred Thing. I won't go into it here, because 1) it's off the present topic; and 2) the part that I'm thinking about involves spoilers. I might just have to rereread it, though.

wj: And just the thought of gay sex makes my skin crawl. Which, it seems to me, ranks pretty clearly as homophobia.

If what you mean is that the thought of having sex with another guy is unpleasant, I'm not sure that's homophobia. The thought of having sex with anyone at all that I don't want to have sex with is unpleasant to me (and surely to a lot of people?), and I don't think that's any kind of phobia.

If that's not what you're talking about, if instead you're talking about "gay sex" as some particular sexual practice that grosses you out, then whether it's homophobia or not, I would respond that there's no such thing. All sorts of pairings and combinations of people do all sorts of things with their various body parts....

In the abstract, I find the idea of having sex with another man very interesting. Who would know better what to do with me than another guy? I've just never met a guy I wanted to anything like that with. Only women... lots and lots of women. (That I've wanted to with, of course. Not with whom I've actually gotten to. I'm no Lothario!)

Janie, ha! You went there! But delicately....I had considered it, and decided not to risk it.

The thing is, does the increased normalcy of e.g. heterosexual anal sex change the ik factor for straight men? I ask, because in my experience that is the main kind of sex straight men really associate with gay male sex. Perhaps because "penetration" is the thing most men in our society have been socialised into thinking their sexuality is about. On the other hand, maybe I am talking about attitudes of a previous generation (my informants, wj etc).

I think there's also the issue of identification. What I mean is, can you observe (or think about) an activity, without imagining yourself in it or doing it? So most men have no problem (understatement!) thinking about lesbian sex because they see themselves as observers. Whereas perhaps they can't see any form of gay male sex (or in wj's case even men kissing) without automatically visualising themselves as an actual participant. It would be interesting to get wj's views on this, if he was willing to comment.

if instead you're talking about "gay sex" as some particular sexual practice that grosses you out, then whether it's homophobia or not, I would respond that there's no such thing. All sorts of pairings and combinations of people do all sorts of things with their various body parts...

Actually, no. There are all kinds of things that some people do (probably not a comprehensive collection) where my reaction is more a baffled "why would anyone want to do that???" But it doesn't particularly bother me that they do.

Sort of like I don't get groups above two. I know several cases of folks in a ménage à trois, some of which have lasted for decades. As long as they're all happy, not a problem. (On the other hand, pretty much every case I've encountered of groups of 4 or more have broken apart in under 2 years, with bad feelings all around. Maybe it could work, but I've never observed it doing so.)

But gay sex? There I have a reaction as noted.

Thanks for the reply, wj.

So most men have no problem (understatement!) thinking about lesbian sex because they see themselves as observers.

Nope. There are two desirable people getting off. It almost doesn't matter what's getting them off, but the fact that there are (at least) two of them and they're both (all) desirable is that much better. Also, too, there's the fantasy that you're going to get to join in the fun with more them, all worked up as they already are. (Or maybe that's just me, though I doubt it.)

It would be interesting to get wj's views on this, if he was willing to comment.

I'm not at all sure I understand the question. That said, I don't think it's about picturing myself personally involved. Vaguely more like observation (but then, observation generally does nothing for me). However, even separate from observation (and I'm pretty sure I'm not even imagining everything that goes on), the very idea bothers me. As I say, a reflection of the culture I grew up in (specifically mid-20th century, semi-rural trending suburban, Northern Californis).

hsh: I'm no Lothario either (or whatever the female version is), but having come to adulthood at a time when, as my Irish girlfriend put it, "everyone was supposed to sleep with everyone else, and did," I have a bit more experience than I might otherwise have had -- and it has been with both men and women.

From that vantage point I would say, a bit cheekily, that your theory is quite sound. Who would know better what to do with me than another woman?

Then again, though sex was at the center of my rebellion against my upbringing (puritanical Catholicism with a strain of Baptist thrown in, not to mention that I grew up in the straitlaced fifties), being human, I brought my upbringing with me, and it took a long time for the effects to wear off, if indeed they ever completely did.

So to repeat: I do think women know what pleases other women more readily than men do. (And likely men with men, similarly.) But I also think that's a vast, unfair, and pre-judging generalization. We're all individuals with our own particular histories, which also shape our experience. And part of the fun of sex is learning how to please each other. It doesn't matter where you start, you just head on down the road and eventually you'll get somewhere. :-)

Nope.

You're quite right of course hsh! I should have said "observers, and with any luck participants".

(or whatever the female version is)

Lotharia. Duh... ;^)

wj, you understood enough to answer my question, so thank you!

sex is so fraught

But totally fascinating. Even when the urge itself diminishes, the endless questions around and about it continue to hold interest.

But totally fascinating.

Agreed.

And that's without even mentioning how fascinating relationships are in their own right....

Lotharia. Duh... ;^)

Duly appreciated. :-)

In answer to wj's questions about the study I linked to earlier - the study had mostly caucasian men between the ages of 18 and 31 with no reported homosexual experiences who probably lived in and around Athens, GA. The study had the subjects fill out a Kinsey homosexual/heterosexual scale questionnaire, an index of homophobia questionnaire, and an aggression questionnaire, before sitting them down to watch some gay porn and measuring their physiological responses.

For the purposes of the study, homophobia was looked at as negative personal affective response to gay individuals, not negative intellectual responses to homosexuality (homonegativism).

Most of your questions arising from the study strike me as being outside the scope of what was being studied. What the study showed was that among their subjects, the ones who self reported as homophobic were more physically aroused by the gay porn than were those who self-reported as non-homophobic. And while they talk about what this might mean within various psychological models, it's about responses, not causes.

As far as the lesbian porn question goes, I respond strongly to the representation of female sexual arousal. It's not a participation fantasy or an observation fantasy, it's just a straight up response to the women's sexual enjoyment unobstructed by boring male physiology.

First: it's a blog post, not a Ph.D. dissertation.

Well, whose fault is that?
;-)

I do think the major issues you cite are ultimately about preserving or reestablishing privilege and control - over everything, sex included. But it also seems part of a larger phenomenon that includes revisionist history and book banning and a general dumbing down of education if not outright derision towards it. I can't tell if it's just another wave or cycle of reactionary "conservatism" or if there's something different about this strain. But it feels like it's all of a piece. Have the people advocating for this considered what society might look like if they get what they want? Or do they actually want a dystopian nightmare that they assume they'll be in charge of, or at least outside of?

I don't recall there being an incel movement when I was growing up. Obviously, those people existed, but not in any noticeable way I was aware of. I suspect social media and dating apps like Tinder have raised the temperature for those who feel marginalized. The sense of entitlement is different, especially as it sours into a violent supremacist subculture. The idea that someone deserves a sexual partner as a birthright is just nuts. And terrifying.

nous, thanks for the input.

The idea that someone deserves a sexual partner as a birthright is just nuts. And terrifying.

Pete, I'm not clear where you are going with this. If you mean the idea that someone deserves a particular sexual partner, regardless of that other person's preferences, then I completely agree.

But if you are saying that it is terrifying to suggest that there should be someone, somewhere, for everyone, I can't see that. Anyone may be unsuccessful in finding said partner (depending, I suppose, on how picky they are, and how generally desirable). But that's a different issue.

No, no. To every sock a match! Everyone deserves to be happy and if that involves a partner, great!

But I’ve had the misfortune of coming across some incel stuff on Reddit & elsewhere and some of them really believe that if they have the right car and the right clothes, etc, women should just submit to them. It’s very disturbing.

some of them really believe that if they have the right car and the right clothes, etc, women should just submit to them. It’s very disturbing.

My old guru Danaan Parry used to say that we're all characters in each other's movies. I add to that: adulthood isn't so much a goal as a process of facing and accepting the fact that other people are both truly real, and truly other. I think the people you're describing haven't even started down that road, and yes, it's disturbing. similarly for people in abusive relationsihps: disturbing, and terrifying, to be treated as nothing but a character in someone else's movie.

"Submit" is an interesting choice of words to describe their goals, and their framing of connections with other people. Sounds fraught.... ;-)

The incel edgelords have been fed all sorts of evolutionary psychology woo by Peterson and his ilk, and that leads them to believe that they are operating on genetic inevitability.

They all want some ironclad order of existence so long as they get to be near the top, and they are willing to wait their turn as long as no one beneath them gets out of line.

some of them really believe that if they have the right car and the right clothes, etc, women should just submit to them.

Ah, the power of advertising! Which sells cars, clothing, etc. on exactly that premise/promise. (Although somehow neither vendor not their ad agency seem to offer up their own employees as a guarantee of fulfillment.)

As far as the lesbian porn question goes, I respond strongly to the representation of female sexual arousal. It's not a participation fantasy or an observation fantasy, it's just a straight up response to the women's sexual enjoyment unobstructed by boring male physiology.

Though it's by no means an absolute, I tend to prefer female partners. And yet I'm the opposite of that.

And back to your mention of BDSM earlier -- there was an essay in CoEvolution Quarterly or Whole Earth Review many years ago by someone writing about S&M. The condensation of her point as I remember it was: it's not about pain, it's about intensity of experience. I wish I could find that article, but I don't have time to dismantle my attic looking for it (assuming i even still have that issue), and I haven't been able to find it online. Anyhow, I really appreciated what you said about BDSM and consent.

"and yet I'm the opposite..."

Actually, it's not opposite, right? We both respond in certain ways to representations of the gender that's not our own.....

I'm not sure what you mean, Janie. Are you saying you respond to gay male porn?

Not specifically, and i have never seen much of it, but I respond more generically to what nous called "boring male physiology." :-)

Representations of women making love with each other are boring. Tastes differ, obviously, which was my main (and obvious enough) point.

Gotcha. I think the opposite/not-actually-opposite thing got me twisted up in the old grey matter.

yeah -- i should have been clearer. Opposite in that nous responds to representations of women and i respond to representations of men.

But similar (i.e. not opposite!) in that we both respond to the opposite gender from our own.

...some of them really believe that if they have the right car and the right clothes, etc, women should just submit to them.

What's the old Dudley Moore movie where the patients at the insane asylum are somehow hired to write advertising copy because they'll be blunt rather than going for innuendo? The one I recall is the expensive convertible where the voice-over is something like "Buy this ridiculously expensive car and women you don't even know will give you blowjobs."

Also, Levis and a button-down are the song of my people!

Once long ago, the VP of Marketing instituted casual Fridays for his people. When someone asked what that meant, he told them to dress like the engineering staff. Once we found out, we instituted Hawaiian shirt Friday -- the gaudier the better -- because the VP wouldn't let them go quite that far.

Showing my age, I once suggested that since marketing firmly believed the engineers only wore a coat and tie if either (a) they had a meeting with marketing or (b) they were going on a job interview, we should pick a day and all wear coat and tie. Marketing would know we weren't meeting with them, so would have heart attacks at the thought that all the engineers were leaving.

On sex, I have always believed that I had enough trouble worrying about my own sex life to take on the effort of worrying about other people's (with exceptions for non-consenting and children).

I shared a house with a gay man when I was in graduate school because we got along well. We just automatically agreed on the practical thing: if a man I didn't know wandered out of Bill's room on Saturday morning, or a woman Bill didn't know wandered out of mine, show them where the clean towels and a robe were and ask them what they wanted for breakfast.

I had enough trouble worrying about my own sex life to take on the effort of worrying about other people's

An echo of my favorite passage from legislative speeches during the first same-sex marriage debate in Maine in 2009. He was a D rep from a fairly conservative rural district, a deacon in his church -- he said he had enough trouble worrying about his own sins, he didn't have time to worry about anyone else's. He voted in favor of SSM. If only that attitude could be made contagious....

I have always known I was somewhat strange. Some other people came to the same conclusion at a party one evening. Someone who thought I was part of the conversation a group had been having asked me who my people were. I wasn't part of the conversation, and was also distracted by something else, and what fell out of my mouth was, "The applied mathematicians."

They were expecting something like the Scots or the Southern Baptists, I think.

Michael Cain: how very civilised!

The incels are a truly terrifying phenomenon. They think sex is their right, and if women are refusing to sleep with them that proves that women are all bitches, and need to be violently dealt with. The overlap with other anti-social attitudes is notable, but not essential. Apparently, the sites on which they gather and interact are truly horrifying, including glorification of fellow incels who have perpetrated mass killings after frequenting the same or similar sites.

"How very civilised" referred to the housemates' partners' greeting, but frankly I adore "the applied mathematicians" too! If I had been there, I would have been utterly delighted.

"How very civilised" referred to the housemates' partners' greeting, but frankly I adore "the applied mathematicians" too! If I had been there, I would have been utterly delighted.

... we should pick a day and all wear coat and tie. Marketing would know we weren't meeting with them, so would have heart attacks at the thought that all the engineers were leaving.

LOL! Dare I hope that you actually tried it (at least once)?

They think sex is their right, and if women are refusing to sleep with them that proves that women are all bitches

Whoda thunk treating people like objects and unbridled self-absorption that screams "WORST SEX EVER!" would be a turn off?

+1 @Pete

Of course, acknowledging that would conflict with their imperative to always be the victim.

I confess that people refusing to accept that they have agency seems odd. I mean, I have no problem with accepting that some things are beyond my control. But everything?

LOL! Dare I hope that you actually tried it (at least once)?

I couldn't ever convince enough people to make it worth while. I admit that I had a rather unique relationship with marketing -- when I had my "technology intelligence" hat on I wrote unpopular white papers. My boss came back from a meeting once and said, "You are the only person I know where someone in the meeting suggested it might be a good idea to kill you before you went to work for the competition, and for a moment it seemed like they were going to consider it seriously."

it might be a good idea to kill you before you went to work for the competition,

Another of life's mysteries: Why it never seems to occur to them to do what seems so obvious. Rather than worry about you going to the competition, why not just have you do whatever they are worried about right there. For them. If it's that big a deal, they could even decide to pay you more. Radical, but....

"Sex is so fraught, for so many reasons and in so many ways."

That must explain all the literature about it. Well said.

I share wj's feelings about (male) gay sex, though my aversion has greatly reduced as I've got older.

I thought about GftNC's question a few weeks ago about why RWNJs are oppose to contraception (but haven't commented on it before now).

I think these two things are somewhat related. Some people, and I am one, are uncomfortable with anyone in a large category being on the receiving side of penetrative sex.

That category is all men, our daughters, and anyone sufficiently like our daughters. (When it comes to my daughter, I'm broadly in favour of parthenogenisis.)

There's another category, which for men is our lovers, and people we'd like to be our lovers. To be clear, there need be nothing negative about our feelings here, one can of course be deeply in love with one's lover.

A lot of things make sense in this framing. Lesbian sex, no problem (yes, I know, there are some practices...). Gay sex, bad. Heterosexual sex, complicated, because who's in which category is unclear.

Liberals like me resolve this by recognising that our feelings about other people's sex lives are unimportant. So there's no need to tell me that my feelings are illogical.

RWNJs want to resolve it by having all sorts of restrictive rules from which they, and people like them, are implicitly exempt. Restricting access to contraception, for example, is not supposed to affect them or the people they care about. For everyone else, babies are good, sex is bad, so maximising the ratio is exactly the consequence they want.

When it comes to my daughter, I'm broadly in favour of parthenogenisis.

This made me smile.

Rather than worry about you going to the competition, why not just have you do whatever they are worried about right there.

It was in the early days of individual on-demand video. We could deliver it in a straightforward way over our hybrid fiber-coax network. The conventional wisdom was that it would be many years before the satellite companies could do anything similar. What I did was show how different technologies were all reaching the point where the satellite companies would be able to provide a similar, although not identical, service in about three years.

As I recall, the first satellite-based on-demand service didn't show up for five years. Not unreasonable, since they needed component prices to come down and make the service not just technically feasible, but profitable.

Marketing hates it when you tell them their monopoly on a service is going to go away in three years, not ten.

Open thread, so: this is a lovely article about James Lovelock, by his biographer. I knew there was a lot more to him than Gaia, but not quite how much more.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/29/conversations-with-james-lovelock-the-scientist-at-the-end-of-the-world

A great line from San Jose (CA) Mayor Sam Liccardo, who just tested positive for covid (for the second time this quarter; the omicron variant seems to do that):
"Symptoms are minor, with intermittent grumpiness"

Gotta love a politician with a real sense of humor.

Goddamit.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the end of Roe v. Wade represents a “major loss of rights” for women, a Washington Post-Schar School poll finds, but those who support abortion access are less certain they will vote this fall — a sign of the challenges facing Democrats who hope the issue will motivate their base in the midterms.

***

But the poll also provides evidence of an enthusiasm problem for Democrats: Those who reject the idea that the court’s ruling is a loss for women are 18 percentage points more likely to express certainty they will vote in the midterms — 70 percent compared with 52 percent of those who do see such a loss, according to the Post-Schar School poll conducted July 22 to 24.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/07/29/abortion-roe-midterms-poll/

On the other hand
Republican voters are not that excited about Republican candidates

Also
Blindsided veterans erupt in fury after Senate Republicans suddenly tank PACT Act

Blindsided veterans erupted in anger and indignation Thursday after Senate Republicans suddenly tanked a widely supported bipartisan measure that would have expanded medical coverage for millions of combatants exposed to toxic burn pits during their service.

Supporters of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act — or PACT Act — overwhelmingly expected the House-passed bill to sail through to the president’s desk for signature.

But in a move that shocked and confused veteran groups Wednesday night, 41 Senate Republicans blocked the bill’s passage, including 25 who had supported it a month ago.

A temper tantrum, obviously. But the kind of tantrum that veterans may well remember come November.

And finally,
The Political Environment Might Be Improving For Democrats

As was the case when we launched the forecast a month ago, the Deluxe version of FiveThirtyEight’s midterm model still rates the battle for control of the Senate as a “toss-up.” But within that category there’s been modest, but consistent movement toward Democrats. Their chances of winning the Senate now stand at 55 percent. That’s up from 47 percent from forecast launch on June 30. It’s also up from 40 percent in a retroactive forecast dated back to June 1. [Emphasis added]
So depression may not be warranted quite yet.

About two-thirds say overturning Roe represents a major loss of rights for women in America

1. Did they try to find out how many of those people who recognize the major loss of rights think that's just dandy?

2. By the numbers they gave, if you took 100 people and assumed that 52% of those who recognize the loss of rights would vote one way and 70% of those who don't think it's a loss of rights would vote the other, the former will have 33.8 votes and the latter will have 24.5.

3. The poll results fit quite nicely with the fact that the right has been more lockstep and focused on this issue for a very long time.

4. The election is more than three months away.

PS feel free to check my math. ;-) (You know who you are.)

the right has been more lockstep and focused on this issue for a very long time.

Although I'm seeing indications that a lot of the support on the right was tribal, rather than heartfelt. (Easier to rally around when you think there's no chance that what you are "supporting" might actually happen.) Even so, polls show that a majority, a narrow majority but still over 50%, of Republicans support access to abortion.

The far/Christianist right did want it. But having gotten it, they may find it a poisoned chalice.

Just popping in, intensely interesting topic, but (shout out to Fermat) the comment box is too small to contain my marvelous conjectures on all this.

I will note that the thread is a trip to scan, I saw someone quoting someone else (I leave it to the interested to sort out who is saying what) saying
LOL! Dare I hope that you actually tried it (at least once)?
which had me furiously going back to re-read and see if I missed something.


In other news, I'm on the back end of a 10 day covid home quarantine, amazingly, my wife and daughter didn't get it. 2 days of feeling sicker than I have ever felt in my life. Here in Japan, it seems to be the BA.5, taste and smell weren't affected, high fever, sore throat and cyclically stuffed nose were the symptoms. It was the last week of classes here, and I was able to do them (abbreviated) on zoom, which was no problem for the students as we had a ton out because they were sick or were close contacts. Unbelievable how long this has been going on.

Stay safe all!!

lj -- Sorry you've been sick, glad you're on the back end. My son (triple-vaxxed, last March) said the same thing about covid: it was the sickest he had ever been in his life.

Funny story about the side effect of skimming the thread.... The conversations do wander, which is part of the fun.

Come back soon!

PS feel free to check my math. ;-) (You know who you are.)

Not me, that's for sure! As I have often remarked, I'm almost innumerate compared to most of you. Janie, your 09.48 cheered me up, therefore.

lj, I second Janie's well wishes. So sorry to hear how unpleasant it was, but very glad it didn't last any longer. I saw a friend the other day who had tested positive, after a period of being out and about a lot, and quarantined for a week until negative, all without experiencing any symptoms at all (with the possible exception of very slight cold-like symptoms on the first day). And she is also fully vaccinated and boosted.

Stay well, and see you here soon!

By the way, as I scanned back to see what lj was so fascinated by (I guess we should talk about sex more often!), it occurs to me to say this.

After my first visceral (not guttural) reaction to the tone of Janie's linked George Leonard dicta, I must say that actually I do agree with her that there are (buried among the prophet-from-the-mountain pearls of wisdom) some interesting points. In fact, there is not much if anything there that I truly disagree with. For the record, and FWIW.

The only one of Leonard's points that really makes me roll my eyes is #12. Come on, George, people aren't that simple. (To put it politely.)

The rest are at least a little bit thought-provoking, even if I don't exactly "agree" with all of them. If they had been written now, and maybe by someone who wasn't a straight white male guru type, the emphasis would likely be different, but a lot of the same headings would be important to touch upon.

I must say that actually I do agree with her that there are (buried among the prophet-from-the-mountain pearls of wisdom) some interesting points. In fact, there is not much if anything there that I truly disagree with.

Ok, I went back and read it again, because I'm procrastinating instead of mowing the lawn even though today is probably the coolest chance I'll get to do it. I'm not trying to trash Mr. Leonard - I don't know anything about him. But I just don't see anything profound here. In some ways it reminds me of reading a horoscope. Just a random sampling because - as has been pointed out - this is not a "Ph.D. dissertation", even though and with no small measure of irony, those are actually my initials. ;-p

2. If that's true, how would you know?
4. Ok. Whatever.
6. Feelings aren't trivial. Got it.
12. Live, Laugh, Love. Really? The dishes?
14. Love conquers all. Never heard that one before.
17. I'm no Vonnegut, but "people will die" seems pretty inarguable even if I'm not entirely sure what it "sums up".

I'll admit I have something of a pet peeve for this kinda stuff. It feels very "The Secret"/Oprah Winfrey pop philosophy-ey.

What am I missing here?

lj, glad you got thru it.

The current variant is (supposedly) milder than the original. But far more contagious. To the point that, like regular flu, you can get it multiple times. Aided and abetted by the fact that a lot of people, even in this fairly open minded area, seem to have decided that taking any preventative measures is no longer necessary. Hoping that the next big wave holds off until after the elections....

What am I missing here?

Some of us like pop philosophy?

We got a pretty fun and unusual thread out of it? (Though tastes obviously differ.)

*****

But more seriously, starting with a story that I may have told before, although maybe not because we don't actually talk about sex much at ObWi... (understating the case considerably).

I have a vivid memory of walking with my son down an avenue on the campus where he taught in China, at a moment in a conversation when he took me to task for (to oversimplify) the loose sexual mores of my generation.

I said, "I was taught [in Catholic school] that we would burn in hell in unimaginable agony for all eternity for kissing our boyfriends. That took a lot of rebelling against."

Of course, that's only my story, and it's an oversimplification, although not really an exaggeration. The sexual revolution that came about roughly during my coming of age years happened for many reasons, and even my younger siblings didn't get the same hellfire and brimstone messages about sex that I did. (I was an exceptionally rule-following child, plus they lived under the rule of a different pastor than I did.)

Sex wasn't talked about by the adults in my world when I was a kid. I was the kind of child that none of the other kids brought it up with, either. (Heaven help me.) I barely knew there was such a thing as homosexuality before I first realized, during college, that the term might apply to me.

Whether because of all that alone, or also because it's one of the most interesting of topics (connected, as I've said a couple of times already, to almost everything else that's important in human existence), I think it's a fun and interesting topic to talk about. I used George Leonard as a trigger for conversation because his points are pithy and cover a lot of major headings relating to sex.

If you don't like chocolate ice cream, you don't have to eat it. ;-)

Pete, if your pet peeve is what I think it is, I hate it too with the added bonus of having had to endure quasi-mystical claptrap from guru-types who were a) in love with themselves, and b) mainly using it as a way to get into girls' knickers (or as you would probably say, pants). But nonetheless, I think that back in the day a few of these points were not at all typical of the genre, and did indeed need saying. I'm thinking of 9 and 13 in particular. Most of the rest is pretty obvious, I agree.

An interesting and wide-ranging thread, for sure, Janie. The generational thing is interesting to me. I didn't come from a religious or otherwise puritanical background, and my parents were remarkably open (clearly as a policy they had decided on before becoming parents) about nakedness, the facts of life etc etc. I don't remember anything from them about homosexuality, but given the way I was brought up and the time in which I went through adolescence and young adulthood, my cohort were (by later standards - even comparatively few years later) extremely promiscuous and sexually adventurous. And, on the gay thing, we all thought (and I still think) that human sexuality is usually somewhere on the continuum, with comparatively few people exclusively straight or exclusively gay.

I have no regrets, and no disapproval of the way we were. My only reservation is that the pill, and the pre-feminist cultural climate, meant that many young women were subjected to invidious sexual pressures which girls today would immediately recognise for manipulation, and have a far healthier sense than most of us ever did of their own desires and sexuality.

My only reservation is that the pill, and the pre-feminist cultural climate, meant that many young women were subjected to invidious sexual pressures which girls today would immediately recognise for manipulation

I remember specific instances, in fact... As if there couldn't possibly be any other reason for declining a guy's advances besides fear of pregnancy, and now that that was taken care of, well....

Hmmmm. Q: What did this post start out with? A: A comment from nous about incels and misogyny.

The more things change.....

I agree that many girls today would recognize the manipulation, but I doubt they're all proof against it. The wish to be liked is strong, and people are ... complicated.

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