Politically Correct Sex Talk

I published an essay recently where I argued that sex should not have to be eliminated from our daily interactions since sex is such a large and valuable part of the human identity. I got some comments I did not expect. I expected people not to “get” it. I mean, I’m a wacky scientist. But I didn’t expect that, because I relayed my own experience and opinion on sexuality (and not anyone else’s), readers would accuse me of “denying the idea that people have diverse forms of sexuality”, “refusing to accept any identities other than straight” and “erasing the experiences of an awful lot of people.”

Since when does one have to be an expert in representing every sexual identity in existence to present a valid position about human sexuality? I am straight. I am a woman who likes men. I don’t like women. I have sex! And, I won’t apologize for any of it. I have friends who reside on all shades of the sexual spectrum. I love and respect them dearly. But just because I know and respect someone who is gay or lesbian or bi, doesn’t mean I can speak to their human sexual experience. To do so would be highly presumptuous and wildly fake.

I am of the opinion that anyone who purports to speak representatively of all sexual identities is swimming in their own arrogance.

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But It IS All About Sex, Isn’t It?

If you roam in feminist circles, you’ll inevitably be involved in a discussion about the sexualization of women. I constantly consume commentary about the “consumption of Black women’s bodies” and patriarchal equation of women’s worth with their sexual prowess or body image. These arguments are a vital part of the gender discussion and achieving true parity between women and men. But methinks the totality of the arguments against representing women’s bodies as sexual bodies dodges the fact that we are all sexual beings.

The human body is tuned for species survival. To do that in a fashion wholly unassisted by modern technology (or an old-fashioned turkey baster), sex usually has to be involved. Therefore, it stands to reason that the human body is hard-wired for sex. And there is some of scientific evidence to support this statement. The sexual differences between men and women are exactly what makes our species so biologically successful.

Though many of life’s exploits can be detached completely from human sexuality, there is personal value in asserting ones sexual identity. Notwithstanding the potential for exploitation, sex workers use sex or sexual prowess to make their living. People with satisfying sex lives tend to also have healthier personal relationships, higher self esteem, and assertiveness as well.

The totality of personal identity and self worth should not solely be based on sexual identity. But sexuality is a vital part of human identity. It seems to me the efforts to reject the inherent sexuality of the human species for an asexual sociological model is fallacious at best.

What Does the GOP Know About Rape?

For a party that insists discussions about social issues (namely, abortion) are a distraction, Republicans spend an awful lot of time legislating, talking about, and litigating against abortion access. It would seem that were the GOP actually unconcerned with the abortion issue and more focused on creating jobs and boosting the American economy, the unemployment rate would be well below 8 percent and the economy would have seen substantial growth above 2 percent. But alas, as evidenced by the introduction of over 1,100 reproductive health and abortion-restriction bills in federal and state level the 2011 legislative session nationwide, the GOP and their Tea Party progeny are well focused on usurping control over women’s private parts.

Abortion is a polarizing issue in the United States. A majority of Americans believe a woman should be able to control her own fertility, including having the choice whether to continue a pregnancy. Most americans agree that abortion should be allowed for victims of rape or incest, or when a woman’s health or life is at risk. But the GOP platform committee approved a party platform this week that supports banning abortion altogether without any exception for the life or health of the woman or for cases of rape or incest. The Republican National Committee will vote on this platform in full next week. The platform, including it’s careless abortion position, is likely to be approved in stride.

This week, one especially ignorant and dishonest republican, Senator Todd Akin, claimed that women cannot get pregnant from rape saying, “If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.” (I guess he’ll say anything to score points with pro-life extremists. Or maybe he is just THAT ignorant.) I don’t believe I can pull a more bullshit claim out of the ether than that.

Akin and his buddies including Paul Ryan claim that exceptions to abortion bans for women’s health, or rape and incest victims are a “red herring.” Their meaning – “exceptions to abortion bans for rape are unnecessary because women who were REALLY raped cant get pregnant”. The GOP audacity to categorize rape according to the physical state of the victim is absolutely dispicable and illustrates just how much contempt for women’s autonomy the Republican party harbors.

The statistical occurence of pregnancy among rape victims has actually been studied. According to a study presented at The South Atlantic Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;175:320-5), the national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5.0 percent per rape. Holmes, et al also concluded that rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency – to the tune of 32,101 pregnancies resulting from rape each year – and is closely linked with family and domestic violence.

But the GOP doesn’t believe “legitimate” rape victims actually become pregnant.

The real GOP policy is to force impregnated rape victims to sacrifice their bodies and their lives because a fetus is more important than any woman’s sanity, health or life.

The real red herring here is that the GOP is unlikely to confirm any woman’s rape as “legitimate” enough to sanction the woman’s choice to terminate her pregnancy. Apparentlyin GOP-land, a woman could not have possibly been raped except if she lay on her death bed after the attack. So those of us who were raped by our abusive husbands – not really raped. Those of use who were raped after we passed out from drinking – not really raped. Those of us who were slipped a date rape drug – not really raped. Those of us who stopped fighting because our attacker had big fists and a knife and we didn’t want to die – not really raped.

So next time, struggle a bit more so you have some STAB WOUNDS to prove your rape was LEGITIMATE! And since you can’t get pregnant from “legitimate” or “forcible” rape, if you do turn up preggo you must just be some kind of masochist.

I find it insane

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general.

I find it insane how quickly a conversation about abortion can turn into a misogynistic rant. The things people say about women sometimes astound me! I seriously think some people would rather see a woman dead than provide an abortion that would save her life, let alone protect the woman’s health.

The worst, I think, is people who insist that they are not sexists, they are not misogynists, and then proceed to denigrate to women in general. A recent conversation with a “pro-life” friend and his buddy turned sharply south when the friend intimated that only lazy and irresponsible women have abortions. I  pointed out that if abortion became illegal again, women would once again start dying unnecessarily from back-alley abortions, that abortion doesn’t just go away when it is illegal, and that illegal abortion presented a massive public health problem in cities all over the country – which was the primary reason for liberalization of the short-lived laws prohibiting abortion by a third of the United States starting with Colorado in 1967 even before Roe v. Wade was decided.*

For their part, this guy his buddy tried to convince me that abortion is never necessary to protect women’s health, abortion doesn’t save lives, women shouldn’t “open up ya legs”, women are irresponsible, women let men take the blame, women instigate and trap men into sex, women are dumb, women are selfish, women don’t need to enjoy a “frivolous and meaningless” sex life, a woman who has an abortion is a “hoe”, and finally, that I personally am ignorant and immature.

Way to go pro-life guys. You sure do make your comrades proud.

 

*Okay, I didn’t give them the history lesson. But I did point out the public health issues.

Abuse Knows No Bounds

Domestic abuse does not discriminate. Abuse can happen to rich people, or to poor people. Abuse strikes the educated and the illiterate. Abuse doesn’t care if you are Black or white or Asian or Latino or any other something. Abuse hurts the weak and the strong. Abuse isn’t sexist, it can happen to women and men. Abuse stalks the young and the old. Abuse is cool with straight, queer, gay, lesbian. Abuse is everywhere, lurking behind closed doors, in open windows, at parties, and on the street.

Domestic violence is a chameleon. Sometimes abuse dresses in bluish-purple clothes. Other times abuse wears the Emperor’s New Clothes. But just because abuse is not written on someones face doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Abuse holds on tight. Abuse is shackles and shame, alienation and isolation. Domestic violence ensures the abused hears from his or her loved ones, “There is no point in trying.”, “Well if you wouldn’t…”, “You should just stay with…”, “It’s all your fault.”, “I don’t believe you.”, “You’re lying.” Abuse tries to take away everything you love, until it kills you.

If you know someone who is being abused, please don’t give up on them. It can take an abused woman, on average, 6 to 7 times to leave an abusive partner for good. It can be hard to keep “being there.”

But the abused needs your help. You can’t give up. Help is patience. Help is encouragement. Help is love. “Being there” is the best thing you can do.

Unlimited Female Attention

This picture is what you find when you look at the back of a bottle of Axe Bodywash. Seriously, next time you are in the drugstore (or the shower if you live at my house), take a look at the back of a bottle. It’s on every one, as if therein lies the secret ingredient to instant sex appeal

I think men must be crazy. Anyone who would want unlimited attention from anyone else must have a few screws loose. I mean, when do you take a shower? Floss your teeth? Number two?

If you are a man reading this, brace yourself. Choosing the perfect brand of body wash will not bring you closer to the unlimited female attention you so seek. But, fear not! I offer you now some rules for success to steamroll the speed bumps from your path.

1. Don’t stink.

Sure, not smelling bad is a great start. And smelling good is an even better start. But really, no matter what scientists say, there is more to the art of lady catching than pleasing olfactory characteristics.

2. Lose the pick-up lines.

‘Nough said.

3. Be real.

Don’t be one of those fake dudes who tries super hard to impress women. Personality is only attractive if it is authentic. Just be cool. And don’t be what you think cool is. Be your cool self. But alas, if you are going to fake it, just don’t be a jerk.

4. Respect.

For Pete’s sake, don’t condescend to any woman you meet. Women are actually pretty smart. We don’t always want to talk about celebrities and weight loss. We also like to talk about politics and movies and SPORTS!

5. Be confident and just go for it.

Because smelling good can’t make a scared guy any cuter.

Happy Mother’s Day!

This year, I am donating all the money I would have spent on flowers and chocolate for Mother’s Day to help the improve maternal health all over the globe.

I love my mom. She and mothers like her are the reason for my success. I would not be where I am were it not for her love and her belief in my potential. So it is with joy in my heart that I wish my mom a happy Mother’s Day.

The typical gifts for a mom on Mother’s Day are flowers, chocolate, hugs, dinner out, breakfast in bed, special chores or yard work, and the like. But this year, I am remiss to bestow upon my mother figures material gifts (that they themselves could obtain) while so many mothers of the world suffer. In my mind, flowers are meaningless. Chocolate is meaningless. Chores are meaningless.

Every ninety seconds a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. That’s 350,000 women who die every year! Sadly, the vast majority of these deaths are avoidable. And the United States are no exception. It’s more dangerous to give birth in the United States than in 49 other countries including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea. In 1990, the United Nations set Millennium Development Goal number 5: reduce maternal mortality by 75% and achieve universal access to reproductive health by the year 2015. These development goals are closely intertwined with reducing hunger and improving education for adolescent girls.

Therefore, with respect for and in honor of all my moms, I want to help all the mothers of the world in their name. So this year, I am donating all the money I would have spent on flowers and chocolate for Mother’s Day to help the improve maternal health all over the globe. Every mother deserves health care and respect. Every mother should be able to give birth without the fear of death. So mom, with the strength you gave me, I do this. I love you mom.

If you would like to learn how you can help improve maternal health and the situation of women and girls locally or globally, check out some of the links below.

Global:

End Poverty 2015: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/getinvolved.shtml

CARE: CARE fights global poverty by placing special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. http://www.care.org/

Girl Up: Girl Up envisions a world where all girls around the world, have the opportunity to become educated, healthy, safe, counted and positioned to be the next generation of leaders. http://www.girlup.org/

Jolkona Your choice. Your Impact. Your world.: http://www.jolkona.org/impact/mdgs

International Planned Parenthood Federation: IPPF is a global service provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. http://www.ippf.org/en/

Local:

National Network to End Domestic Violence: NNEDV is the leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates. http://www.nnedv.org/

United Way: advancing the common good and mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world. http://www.unitedway.org/

Mary Kay Foundation: dedicated to ending women’s cancers and domestic violence abuse: http://www.marykayfoundation.org/Pages/Home.aspx