Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: It's Not Sex, and It's Not Education

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to Danielle,

    Feminists who are... struggling to describe them, here. "Non-sex-positive"?

    Ok, and there are a quite a few countries and US states where some sex acts are illegal. But I'd argue that they're mostly outliers (as in Alabama =/= 'the west'), and a lot of the background to the illegality is bound up inextricably with the predominant religion.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Do fish do it for pleasure? Do birds? Do monkeys? Humans certainly do. Therefore one might assume we humans enjoy it more because....well....we can think about it, reason about and most importantly talk about it. All the above can't. I think we can safely say that all the above "do it" mainly to propagate the species. We do it to propagate but have also developed the niceties of enjoying it.

    On the contrary, I think animals, from their perspective at least, generally have sex because it is pleasurable, with propagation of the species being the aim of the genome, rather than the individual animal. Suggesting that animals have sex "to" propagate the species while humans have sex "to" experience pleasure is a conflation of personal intent and evolutionary purpose (inasmuch as evolution has a purpose).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    It's the Only Good Casual Sex*.

    Safe. Safe /=/ good. Safe (penetrative) sex apparently does mean less-good sex for some people. Depends how safe you want to be, vs. how important good sex is - but sex by definition involves the safety of more than one person, and often more people than the people having the immediate sex. Which is why it's complicated.

    Feminists who are... struggling to describe them, here. "Non-sex-positive"?

    Feminists who have trouble understanding exactly how much sexual morality has been defined by patriarchal society.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Do fish do it for pleasure? Do birds? Do monkeys? Humans certainly do. Therefore one might assume we humans enjoy it more because....well....we can think about it, reason about and most importantly talk about it. All the above can't. I think we can safely say that all the above "do it" mainly to propagate the species.

    There are plenty of animals that masturbate for no other reason than seemingly their own pleasure, including monkeys.

    Much as I'd like to google some references for you, I'm at work. I'm not googling that with a firewall in place...

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to James Butler,

    On the contrary, I think animals, from their perspective at least, generally have sex because it is pleasurable, with propagation of the species being the aim of the genome, rather than the individual animal.

    This is supported by research. Also it’s one thing to say that reproduction occurs because of sex and quite another to say that all sex occurs for reproduction.

    The majority of sex acts in the animal world not only don’t result in conception but can’t do so, for solid biological reasons. It’s one thing to say there are evolutionary reasons for our having a sex drive and quite another to try and justify all sex acts from an evolutionary standpoint.

    ETA: an example: female-female pair bonding is common among Japanese macaques. When the males come calling they not only have to fight among themselves for the privilege, but often have to battle it out with the chosen female's regular (female) partner, who would rather they didn't.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lilith __,

    :-) Hey I wasn't the one posting YouTube clips of the Dalai Lama getting a toasting. I like Buddhists, although I can't rule out that that's because I don't live among them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Lilith __,

    It’s one thing to say there are evolutionary reasons for our having a sex drive and quite another to try and justify all sex acts from an evolutionary standpoint.

    It's a bit like using evolution to justify chocolate. Oh, sure, evolved tastes for high-calorie foods in case of famine, positive reinforcement from stimulants, but, basically, chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Mmm, chocolate.

    That’s the most reasonable thing anybody’s said all day! Something we can all believe in. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3890 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to George Darroch,

    If we (the non-religious) understand the function of religions as primarily a form of social organisation, then the proscriptions on who you mash your genitals with make a lot more sense.

    This. I like to think of Leviticus as basically a set of council by-laws.

    but, basically, chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.

    *dies* Have we linked to the chocolate manifesto here before?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Do fish do it for pleasure? Do birds? Do monkeys? Humans certainly do. T

    Well, at least one of our ape relations finds evident intense pleasure in sex of all kinds...Pan paniscus, the bonobo (aka gracile or pygmy chimpanzee.) I highly reccommend "Bonobo" (by de Waal & Lanting): "Bonobo Handshake" by Sue - back in a moment after consulting Wikipedia-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Lilith __,

    Mmm, chocolate.
    That’s the most reasonable thing anybody’s said all day! Something we can all believe in. :-)

    Northern Conservative 40% Minimum Cocoa Solid Council of 1879, or Southern Great Lakes Milk Ministry of 1912?

    Answer carefully, potential unnatural acts heretic scum!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I knew Sue wasnt right!
    “Bonobo Handshake” by Vanessa Woods, Gotham Books 2010 – an absorbing read, where Handshake doesnt at all mean what you think it does…

    My copy is south at the moment-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Lilith __,

    At the dog park (which is a volcanic cone, basically) I often come across male dogs with their peni on display, sitting on a hill, looking out over the vista with very happy looks on their faces.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Have we linked to the chocolate manifesto here before?

    That is a thing of beauty and wonder.

    (It really is incredible how much views of women and chocolate mimic views of women and sex, though. Maybe it’s just the idea of women having pleasure in things that gets some people all upset-like.)

    “Bonobo Handshake” by Vanessa Woods, Gotham Books – an absorbing read, where Handshake doesnt at all mean what you think it does…

    Knowing what I do about bonobos, I'm now wondering whether this means it's really sexual or really not. I can't tell.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    That is a thing of beauty and wonder.

    I will be eternally grateful to Max for that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I will be eternally grateful to Max for that.

    He deserves some sort of analogy Nobel prize.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    This. I like to think of Leviticus as basically a set of council by-laws.

    Yes, I can see an ancient Bhatnagar passing judgment on loud drumming disturbing the elderly, following by a youthful exodus from his clan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    We know bonobos use sex for diplomatic reasons, peacemaking, and enhancing food-sharing, as well as just entertaining themselves. That some male bonobos offer their penis to another handed species, by way of a greeting, seems par for the course of omni-sexuality...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, I can see an ancient Bhatnagar passing judgment on loud drumming disturbing the elderly, following by a youthful exodus from his clan.

    "Practice proper crop rotation! Don't let disabled people in the temple! Bunnies are the Devil's work! Don't stick your genitals into anything you're not absolutely sure they'll come back out of!"

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Don't stick your genitals into anything you're not absolutely sure they'll come back out of!"

    I bet there was real experience backing that one.

    ETA: I'm thinking some kind of ancient world farm animal, probably.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to BenWilson,

    I bet there was real experience backing that one.

    I cheated. That one's PJ O'Rourke. Doesn't nullify your point, though.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Islander,

    That some male bonobos offer their penis to another handed species, by way of a greeting, seems par for the course of omni-sexuality…

    Right, so it's exactly what I thought it was. Which is evidence of either broad scientific knowledge or general corruption. Could be either, round here.

    Yes, I can see an ancient Bhatnagar passing judgment on loud drumming disturbing the elderly, following by a youthful exodus from his clan.

    There definitely would have been a bit of self-reinforcement going on there, I think, kind of like churches today - the people that stay are the ones willing to put up with the rules, who then enforce the rules because they had to follow them, while others just bugger off to see about that licentious Greece place, and stop belonging to the group.

    (Yes, yes, the Old Testament pre-dates classical Greece. Whatever.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    but, basically, chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.

    *dies* Have we linked to the chocolate manifesto here before

    I have two older brothers. My father who loved his chocolate noted that as my brothers grew older he got less chocolate. So when I came along my father took action and convinced his two year old son that chocolate was made from poos.

    On the plus side I did seem to get fewer pimples than my brothers and my wife has no competition for the chocolate. And I have have absolute proof that you can teach a two year old pretty much anything you want. However, getting restaurants to stop squirting that disgusting dark brown stuff over their dessert creations can be difficult.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4452 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    bugger off to see about that licentious Greece place

    So THAT's where the phrase "bugger off" came from.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    However, getting restaurants to stop squirting that disgusting dark brown stuff over their dessert creations can be difficult.

    So this has been a family tradition, handed from father to son, to associate chocolate with poo?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10646 posts Report Reply

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