Tag Archives: behavior

Human Obscenity is Forever

As my friends and I prepared the dinner table last night, the sweet sounds of 1930s blues filled the room. The scratchy, canned recordings of that bygone era masked the lewd lyrics, so it wasn’t until the second verse of Lucille Bogan‘s “Till the Cows Come Home” that we knew for sure she was singing about fucking with a capital “F”.

A sample verse:

If you suck my pussy, baby, I’ll suck your dick

I’ll do it to you honey, till I make you shit

Listen to the song in all its glory:

Lucille Bogan Till the Cows Come Home
Uploaded by sergheirugasky. – See the latest featured music videos.

We stared at each other in total disbelief as she sang of giving her lovers the clap, her floor sweeping pubic hair with “funk from those hairs that will shut the door” and how her two lovers had dicks like baseball bats. There is an extra layer of shock when you discover our predecessors could be just as smarmy as any modern day porno.

We have a preoccupation with sanitizing the past in order to present its occupants in a more noble light, similar to the way we eulogize the dead and forgive them their earthly indiscretions. Hindsight is not only 20/2o; it is also easily manipulated for our own comfort.

Champions of family values often shriek about impending moral doom, holding up copies of Penthouse and rattling off porn sites as evidence for cultural entropy. But the moment you dig below the bleached façade of official history, you’ll find the same old dirty jokes, songs and images. Drawing cocks on the walls is nothing new for humans.

Of course, social sanctions against sexual innuendo and expression are nothing new either. Though the urge to create “dirty” entertainment and art is culturally ubiquitous, the urge to eradicate those creations waxes and wanes. Even the bounds of what constitutes prurience are in constant flux.

Personally, I find it humbling that Ancient Romans scrawled offensive lines on public walls or that medieval writers drew dirty cartoons  in religious texts. Perversion is a uniquely human trait and I am happy to embrace bawdiness.

We Need More “Don’t Rape” Campaigns

An Image Inspiration for a "Don't Rape" PSA

According to anti-rape campaigns, women (but apparently not men) have many modern tools against rape: self-defense classes, walking in groups, avoiding getting drunk and being aware of their surroundings. What we don’t have is an comprehensive anti-rape campaign with one simple message to would-be rapists:

DON’T RAPE

Campaigns raise awareness about rape by debunking myths, providing statistics and offering ways for potential victims to protect themselves. But the campaigns and discussions rarely address the rapist.

When we only spotlight the victims we create a disembodied construction of a rapist as a supporting character in rape prevention discourse. The rape victim is the focus while the rapist is an auxiliary entity. Meanwhile in the real world, rapists are related to us, work with us and go to the bars with us. They are our friends, lovers and family members. Rarely are rapists complete strangers hiding in the bushes.

Realizing that many of us have known or do know someone that committed rape is an uncomfortable truth. Focusing on victims is mentally convenient, especially in a culture places the onus of sexual responsibility on females. Since we’re already taking birth control and keeping male sexual desire in check it makes sense for us to prevent rape, whether through wearing teethed condoms or by starring in anti-rape commercials.

Imagine a different type of conversation about rape, one that focused on (primarily male) perpetrators. Continue reading We Need More “Don’t Rape” Campaigns

Linkage: An Economic Model of Premarital Sex

I love when disciplines converge in sexuality studies. Especially disciplines not traditionally associated with this field. Over at Vox, several economists analyzed the rising acceptance of premarital sex, though only among females.

The abstract:

“Attitudes to sex have changed dramatically over the last hundred years. This column presents a model where socialisation – the passing on of norms and ideologies by parents and institutions such as the church or state – is determined by the technological environment in which people live. Contraception has reduced the chance of unwanted pregnancies from premarital sex, and this in turn has changed social attitudes.”

A sample graph:
Notice the huge gap between acceptance and prevalence.
Also, only 4 days left to participate in my thesis. The process takes less than 5 minutes: http://www.slexiconproject.com
Thanks to Violet Blue for sending this my way!

Sex and Evolutionary Theory: Ur Doin It Wrong

http://www.scheissprojekt.de/evolution.htm

New communications technologies and media have blown the doors off of information propriety. On one hand, this is awesome because knowledge is power. On the other hand, this blows because factoids without understanding create false assumptions of the world.

The term “pop psychology” comes to mind. Example: I date those women/men because my mother/father was that way!

Here’s another term: “Pop Darwinism.”

Few things are more seductive than biological explanations of behavior. No moral assessment needed because it’s in your genes. Don’t bother with social analysis: we can’t help our human nature.

Let me disabuse you of any evolutionary misinterpretations.

When it comes to sexual behaviors, experts love to claim we get down how we do because of sexual selection favoring a hunter gatherer society, where females nurtured the babies and males hunted the food. Somehow, these behaviors are etched deep into our genes and any resulting behavior is an attempt to recreate this world.

An easy to digest concept package.

Problem is, organisms are complex. Reproductive strategies are diverse in the animal kingdom, from fishes to humans. Many like to assert that our ancestors favored only one type of male-female relation but this flies in the face of multiple adaptive reproductive strategies found among animals. Forget all this selection favoring only the dominant males and fecund, nurturing females nonsense. If species survival favors adaptive ability, then organisms adopting multiple strategies would fare better. Diversity and complexity beat out simplistic single-strategy approaches.

Organisms relying on social groups (like humans) are even more complex. Claiming that our sole purpose is sexual reproduction ignores life in social groups. If we want to pass on our genes, if we want our species to survive, cooperation (on some scale) increases our chances of survival. Cutthroat competition would only be beneficial in situations of absolute scarcity. United we stand, divided we devolve.

Our biology is one of many factors when we talk about behavior in humans . Genetics are not behaviorally deterministic, only influential among mammals. We learn most of our behavior from traditions and mores passed down through culture and adapt to contemporary contexts. Behavior and culture are not absolutely predicated on some genetic competition. Influence is possible but, again, we would be influenced by a multitude of genetic reproductive behaviors and strategies.

Joan Roughgarden from Stanford wrote a book called Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People. (Go buy that book! Complex ideas, but she’s an excellent writer.) One of her chapters challenges concepts of sexual selection. Here’s a passage about how we actually misinterpret Darwin’s texts, even in the academic world:

“The universal claims of sexual selection theory are inaccurate. Males are not universally passionate, nor females universally coy. The social dynamic between males is not universally combat to control females. Diversity among males and females does not universally fit a hierarchy of genetic quality. Females do not universally select males for their genetic quality. Moreover, sexual selection theory is inadequate to address the diversity in bodies, behaviors, and life histories that actually exists. Darwin didn’t bother to explain the exceptions he recognized, and as data on diversity in gender and sex continue to accumulate, sexual selection theory, which addressed only a subset of facts to begin with, becomes increasingly inadequate.” -page 169.

So the next time you hear, read or encounter any Pop Evolution, think back on this article and realize that well-packaged, comforting explanations of human behavior are often false.

Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive

Yesterday, WordPress caught me with my pants down. I posted some partially formed thoughts on nice guys vs. bad boys in the bedroom. Namely, the pervasive idea that nice guys are duds in the bedroom. Or that any nice person will not be good in bed because sex is naughty and only bad people can be good at naughty things.

Today I’m going further down the rabbit hole. Continue reading Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive

Good Guys Make Bad Lovers and Other Stupid Stereotypes

Sometime ago, I found myself in a bar, engaging in a verbal struggle with a soon-to-be ex-lover. He stirred his Mai Tai and told me why I liked him. “I’m an asshole. Women like assholes. Why do you think the sex is so good?”

Yes. Because all 3 billion plus men on the planet fit into two categories: nice guys and bad boys. No complexity to their personalities, no context to their actions, no mistakes leading to growth. Just wusses and studs.

Why do we deem nice behavior as incompatible with sexual skills? A friend of mine sent me a link to a PUA (Pick-Up Artist) blog where the author asserted that men were either good boyfriends or good lovers. Never both.

The ex-lover I mentioned based his sexuality on the false good guy/bad boy sex norms. In his mind, being highly sexed meant he was secretly an asshole, despite any acts of kindness: Bringing me a bottle of wine and chocolate when I was dying from cramps. Mixing me drinks. Making me dinner.

What a blatant jerk.

Underlying the alpha and beta male mindset is that hot sex is incompatible with kindness. We think nice girls can’t be sexual or that sexual girls are bad and bitchy. Is this just a logical fallacy rooted in demonizing sex? If sex is bad then all sexual people are bad people?

Let’s drop this sexual construction like the bad habit it is. Sure, some jerks are good in bed. But lots of perfectly nice people can fuck like madmen. There is no real correlation between social kindness and sexual satisfaction. The only sure thing we can say about bad boys is that they have more sex partners, but a high number of sex partners does not equal sexual skills.

In fact, it might mean the opposite. Jerks could be so self-obsessed that they are awful in bed and so flip through partners quickly. Just because you get someone into bed does not mean that you will get them off.

Edit: If you think this post is a little underdeveloped in the idea department you’re right. Want to read an expansion of these concepts? A follow up post can be found here or by clicking the “Kindness and Hot Sex are Not Mutually Exclusive” link at the top.