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Nothing but mammals

I'm not a sex fiend, she said, I'm just a mammal. Today was a good day for sex stories, URLs from the world of internet news sites about sex offenders and the like.

Study: Sex of any kind can harm teens emotionally
“Teenagers often suffer emotional consequences from having sex, even when it's ‘only’ oral sex, a study published Monday suggests.” The first thing to bug me about this is the word “suffer.” Sure, we use suffer when talking about consequences, but particularly when talking about negative consequences. I would hope that there are emotional consequences to sex; otherwise we're talking about breeding a generation of sociopaths. But from the third word in the article the negative spin is in effect. True, this is not meant as great scientific reporting, but why do we not expect or demand that from our news sources? It's not just with regard to the people whom we date and marry that our standards have fallen so low—it's throughout the culture ... every facet.

Here are few other things I found amusing and disturbing.

Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston -- Britney spears giving birth on a bear rug, from behind
Madonna or Whore?
Britney's birth

Take this passage from the article: “Among the sexually active teens, those who said they'd had only oral sex were generally less likely to report negative consequences, whether physical—pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections—or emotional.”

I should hope so! I should hope that no one reports pregnancy caused by oral sex. Have we stooped so low in our thinking?

A bit earlier the most important part of the whole article was passed over with little discussion: “Though the study could not look at the reasons for this difference, other studies have noted that there's pressure on girls to at once be sexually attractive yet resist having sex.”

The “study” will likely be taken up by those on the right and such as an argument—employing some sort of causality that eludes the rest of us—that teen sex is harmful and bad, but what we should take from the above passage is that perhaps these negative emotional “consequences” come less from sex as an activity and more from a culture steeped in double standards, religious leaders and politicians who tell us sex is dirty and sinful (but who are, themselves, caught in scandal), and a society that tells girls and women that to be a sexual creature is to be a slut, something unclean. I know, I'm preaching to the choir.

A Time Limit on Rape
“If a woman consents to having sex with a man but then during intercourse says no, and the man continues, is it rape?” Here we have an interesting and not unproblematic situation—if during sex a woman changes her mind and says “No,” how quickly must the man withdraw, cease all activity ... describe as you will ...?

Yep, They're Gay
Sex-reporting from Time:
Yep, They're Gay!

Actually, as hinted at in the article, that question is not what is really interesting, and in fact, that question is mainly a matter of definition, a matter of legislation, perhaps. The interesting part deals with matters of how far outdated, outmoded, or merely prehistoric certain legal ideas or expressions are. As cited on the second page: “But the appellate court, citing a 1980 rape ruling based on the English common-law idea of ‘the initial de-flowering of the woman as the real harm,’ unanimously ordered a new trial [...]” As other have stated, this idea of de-flowering is archaic.

And now to the more disturbing:

Fake 7th grader faces felony molestation charges
“Investigators said Tuesday they will recommend felony molestation charges against a sex offender who passed himself off as a schoolboy, saying they have a videotape of him having sex with an 11-year-old Oklahoma boy.” There are so many absurdities about this “story,” which I've mentioned a few other times already. This is a perfect example of reality making high-concept fiction obsolete. Not fiction, mind you, just a certain kind of fiction. Were one to write such a story and try to pass it off as fiction readers and editors alike would dismiss it as unrealistic. This, however, only brings us back to Aristotle on the difference between poetry and history, when he mused that poetry is more philosophical than history, it generalizes and universalizes. To combine this with Hegel, Hegel found that “The rational is the real,” which is not to say that he denied the existence of those things that did not fit into a rational system, but rather that those outside the rational system were merely contingent, accidental ... “existence”, not “reality,” in his words.

Or I could cite C.D. Payne's Youth in Revolt, which featured a different kind of absurd passing to likewise perverse yet comical and not grossly illegal effect. It works as comedy but would never work as drama.

Police arrest man suspected of raping Olympia girl
“Olympia police have arrested a man they allege could be the rapist of an 11-year-old Olympia girl Monday morning in her bedroom, a news release said today.” And then: “David Lukas Lynch, 23, who reportedly told police he was a transient who lived in the woods, was spotted by an officer patrolling the area at the corner of Henderson Boulevard and Eskridge Boulevard at around 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, Olympia police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said.” The arrest took place across the street from where a couple of friends live. One must wonder about anyone who breaks into a young girl's room at night and rapes her. One must wonder about anyone who does any part of that: break in, rape, or abuse an 11-year-old. The difficulty with such crimes—and this seems like a cool, rational way to approach them—is that they are easy to define but difficult to grasp, comprehend, understand. We can often resort to a certain empathy if not sympathy when it comes to a murderer—although, we tell ourselves, we would never do that, we feel we can understand crimes of passion, perhaps even the chain of emotions and events that might lead one to premeditated violence. The thief? Perhaps we understand the desire to have, perhaps we understand the need if it is a crime of desperation. And perhaps we, too, have an addiction, but one that does not lead to ruin or which only involves analogous substances. But to prey upon someone (and it is redundant to say someone weaker—rarely does one prey on something stronger!), we label these people predators, but, even though many of us hunt, for example, we do not know how to relate this to our lives. In fact, being able to empathize with such a person is not merely looked down upon, but often seen as a moral failing and likely to make one suspect—if you can empathize with that, what are you capable of?

But to conclude: Commander Tor Bjornstad?

Oh. My.

And then the real conclusion: it is worth noting that the only “positive” sex-related stories/articles in the standard media deal with a reduction of sex-related phenomena, that or—does it count as postivie?—bizarre phenomena. Then again, a whole sub-genre of horror movies is predicated upon punishing sexually active teens, and these always perform well with the intended audience. Make of that what you will.

—February 6, 2007