Saturday, October 28, 2006

on the subject of taboo

all right you Freuds out there, whip out your pencils, 'cos i've been thinking about sex lately. unfortunately...not really in a fun way, but with the self-righteous disdain i usually reserve for politics and ex-boyfriends.

To state the obvious, many Americans want young people to be taught that sex before marriage is a really, really bad idea. Many laws have been passed to make sure that not only are children and teens taught the government-edited version of human reproduction, but that they understand it is wrong, dangerous, and frightfully uncool until a judge and a preacher permit it between you and only one other person of the opposite gender. Parents, educators, clergy members, and police officers alike are unified in their desire to see young people remain face-twitchingly horny until they've jumped through the appropriate hoops and signed the dotted line indicating that they're now permitted to fulfil a need their entire physiology has required for a decade or more.

I have touched on this topic before, but it never really occured to me to consider the history of what is now called "abstinence-only sex education." I remember all too well shuffling uneasily into the gym bleachers and observing fuzzy line drawings of my reproductive anatomy while a coach droned on about the dangers of STDs. I recall feeling horror and revulsion when a dry, flaccid condom was passed to me by the twelve year old to my left and hearing sob-stories about infections and childhood pregnancies. But until this week i never really thought to wonder Why all this emphasis was placed on deterring the young and unwed from getting jiggy. Is it to curb the spread of infection? No--in this country little tax money is spent on medicine so its not really hitting people in the pocketbook. Most people don't care if others have disesases, so long as they don't, and anyway the government doesn't give a rat's ass about young people's health or well-being. (They recruit young people to go get shot at, for chrissakes.) Is it to prevent unwanted pregnancy? Again no--the fact that someone is married is not an indicator that they want children, and thanks to hormone technology babies can be prevented until they're wanted regardless of marital status. Okay, then, it must be because Jesus said so. ...Still no. Though the Bible does speak out against adultery, it says nothing about premarital or unmarital sex.

What is it, then, that makes Americans so insistent that their children not only endure sexual frustrations to the point that they torture small animals, but actually pretend to not have these impulses? Today's parents like to imagine that their teens are asexual and only date with the mindset of finding someone who's nice to talk to. Though I'd be hard-pressed to find a rational adult who actually believes in this fancy, people nevertheless hope that their children aren't out using their reproductive organs, even after taking reasonable precautions.

I can only assume that they think in this way because they've been conditioned to by their parents and preachers, and those before them--even back to people who didn't know about sexually transmittable infections and didn't care if poor people got knocked up.

Nothing that is taught in schools legitimately adds up to a longstanding will among humans to prevent extramarital relations. The church states only that sex is an act to be enjoyed only by married couples, as though its a reward for putting up with the rest of their BS.

And then it hit me. The most logical reason why anyone would want their partner to not have experienced sex before they tied the knot is because they don't want them to know how it's supposed to feel.

Kristen's Axiom #1: Men are insecure about their penises.

Everything comes clear! Men want to marry virgins because virgins have never been pleased or displeased in bed before. They have no idea if their husband is doing a good job because they have no basis of comparison. They're terrified that they're lousy at pleasing their parter, but as long as the wife has never had better she's not likely to leave him on account of it. she's just less likely to want it much, or maybe she'll even believe that sex is supposed to feel that bad. Thus their marriage is not dependent upon their wife's appraisal of their ability.

which, of course, sucks for the woman. Many women go through life thinking that they don't have the ability to orgasm, or that sex is simply something to be endured as infrequently as possible in order to keep the family name going. They don't have a clue that there are men out there who are not only good at it, but enjoy going out of their way to make their partners happy. It is on account of the average man's fear of failure, paired with his unwillingness to put effort toward pleasing his wife, that for centuries humans have tried to keep sex from being an orgasm contest.

I believe that sexual failure is reasonable grounds for divorce.

Moreover, i believe unwed people should be encouraged to engage in protected, disease-tested sexual behavior. Girls and boys alike should go on dates with a stern warning to do it as safely as possible. Not just a reluctant "well i know you're going to do it anyway" but a serious encouragement to get out there and learn. So that if the young person decides to get hitched, they're more likely to have a good, low-stress adult life with someone they love. 'Cos face it, if you know what you're doing, you're very unlikely to glue yourself to someone who's incompatable with you in bed. That's masochism.

Human behavior is regulated by the body to serve its needs through a fairly simple system of rewards and punishments. Whenever you do things that your body likes, different glands secrete happy hormones into your bloodstream. One of these hormones is Oxytocin. It is released when people hug, when mothers breastfeed, and in significant amounts during orgasm. Oxytocin is also instrumental in the development of trust and friendship in the brain, as it associates the positive feelings induced by Oxytocin with the hugger, baby, or partner in question. Your brain, as smart as it is, very easily becomes addicted to things that make it feel good. Oxytocin is generated by the body and is not carcinogenic so its okay to be addicted to it, and more to the point its release rewards healthy behavior. The "mother-baby bonding" that happens during breastfeeding is not just a sweet idea--its actually chemically conditioning the mother to want to nurture the baby and the baby to trust its mother. Similarly, the happy stupid feeling people have after a good round in the bed is chemically induced and imprinted on the brain in the file marked "partner." Couples who have good orgasms are much more likely to start loving each other, and stay in love thanks to the brain's will to do anything to get more Oxytocin. If your brain was a junkie, and you were its dealer, this stuff would be your crack.

The key to a successful relationship is happiness, and the key to happiness is positive hormone reinforcement. And that means good relationships and good sex. The fact that we're uncomfortable saying this aloud and keep it behind closed doors indicates that a lot of people aren't having good sex, and may not be very happy. I believe it is time we encouraged the unwed to begin to practice and learn with their friends how to make each other feel good. It is about damn time we as a society grew up and had a healthy, mature attitude toward sex.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Religion or politics

As I'm sure everyone is already aware, the USA has one political party with two names.

Democrats and Republicans are both notorious for wasting taxpayers money, falling short on campaign promises, lying outrightly to everyone within earshot, and basically proving time and again that the last people you should put in charge are the ones who ask to be put there. But today I came to the realization that the two sides of the coin have decided to lump into one big ugly, distorted one.

NPR ran a bit today during All Things Considered which followed the attempts of several democratic candidates to reach out to "Persons of Faith"--i.e. the Christian Coalition, to try and get some more blue asses in chairs next month. They realized in 2004 that they were losing votes to Jesus W. Bush et al and it was time to try and steal back some punch cards. The message is clear: "Two can play at this game."

Yeah, Democrats, real smooth. two can play at social intolerance, prejudice, and using bible verses to justify just about anything we put our minds to.

What will it take to convince the general populace that Religion has no place in Politics?

I still find it funny that there are millions of people out there who continue to encourage the Government, that pillar of good intentions, to regulate morality. They try time and again to entrust this laughingstock, the usual gang of idiots, with the task of deciding what is right and wrong for every single American. Moreover, they expect them to base this decision on the pages of the Bible, a book which is notorious for its tendency to be out of date, jarringly inaccurate, full of loopholes, auto-contradictory, glaringly prejudiced, and, much unlike the Geneva Convention, open to interpretation.

Yeah, W's in trouble with the UN (again) for signing the fun new law which suspends habeas corpus for suspected terrorists, allowing pretty much anybody W and his cronies dislike to be sentenced without anything resembling a fair trial, be tortured, or simply held indefinitely without being charged with anything. The Supreme Court said no to this two years ago, but what does W care? he's king of the world. The international community referred to this action as "interpreting the Geneva Convention" (i.e. picking and choosing which articles to abide by or disregard.) and, in due fashion, are scheduled to start squabbling, bitching, and accomplishing nothing on the topic shortly.

If I may, I'd like to take a moment here to mention something that has become more obvious and funny the older I've gotten. Mind you, I'm the ripe old age of 22 and i'm taking my time to explore the world and figure out where I fit in it, which I expect will take the rest of my life. I'm not in any hurry to settle down and stop learning, and I feel that I'm currently among friends in this. But I took a glance through the ol' Facebook yesterday and realized that this is not the case for everyone. A huge chunk of the kids i knew in high school have stayed in south carolina, put down roots, gotten hitched, and in four short years have nurtured their xenophobia into full flower. I'd like to mention a few of the more prominent issues which I noticed in my search.

I thought the whole idea of erecting a wall along the US/Mexico border was a joke. I didn't realize people--educated people--had actually established Facebook groups lauding this effort and encouraging it to grow.

There are several groups, established in highly defensive terms, which support the Iraq war as the best thing we could be doing with our time, money, and lives. The group's name is actually "Support the War in Iraq--if you don't support the war, you don't support our troops!" in brave defiance of all evidence to the contrary. Even as these people's representatives acknowledge that this isn't a good idea and its about time we apologised, the sincerely gung-ho keep praying their friends and relations stay in the line of fire.

There are people who will vote for any candidate who wants to make homosexuality a felony, even if its the same candidate who believes we should make it harder for African countries to get medicine for AIDS, establish sanctions against Venezuela because Chavez is outspoken in his dislike for Bush, embezzle massive amounts of money, and call everyone who isn't white a terrorist. Oh wait, those ARE the candidates who want to ban visible homosexuality!

Many people who join the campaign group "Pro-Life" also join the campaign group "Pro Death Penalty." I get it--you think the government should decide who gets to live. You know, those cool guys who've killed hundreds of innocent women and children in Iraq this MONTH.

Some of these people have also joined groups for "Pro Gun Rights" and this is where it gets really funny. You want the government to force women to have unwanted children, who'll spend their lives in poverty, in foster care, and/or hated by the people who have to raise them. You will then allow these abused, neglected people to own and use firearms at their convenience, and then you will demand that the government kill them when they use them against you! Cheeky!

There is a Facebook group called "Anti Hillary Clinton 2008." Funny seeing as she hasn't said she's going to run for it. Equally as funny, there's other groups entitled "Jon Stewart for President 2008."

Looks like I'm voting for Alfred E. Neuman again.

The best encouragement I can offer anyone in how they vote is this. Before you choose your deciding issues, ask yourself: "Am I voting for what I think is best for Everyone in this country, or am I voting for what I enforce upon myself already? Will this policy benefit or harm good people--sane, taxpaying, well-behaved citizens--who don't live the same way I do?" At no point is it appropriate to think "is this the way Jesus would vote?" or anything along those lines. There are too many religions in this country--indeed, in each state, for anyone to vote so arrogantly as to think that its appropriate to inflict their religious lifestyle upon anyone else. The fact that you live that way does not mean it is necessary for anyone else to.

So in November, vote with your brain, not with your soul. Do your research, and figure out just how many times our incumbent God-tastic government has lied to us and screwed us over. If you can vote without considering what the candidate did or did not say about Jesus, your vote will go a long way toward helping our country and preventing terrorism.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Today is my birthday (Pacific Time.) I am twenty-two.

Super Bad

Today I realized that, of all the music in all the world that i've ever heard, the one song i will claim I absolutely detest is James Brown's "I got Soul (And I'm Super Bad.)" This may in fact be the worst song in existence. It has a good bass line and is sufficiently funky to get the ear jamming, but it turns a complete 180 several times in the recording when Brown...shrieks.

He does not shriek in a good way, or even in a way that could be percieved as an expression of excitement. At least three times in this song Brown makes a noise I didn't know human beings could make.

Someone who keeps a predatory animal as a pet (Boots is recovering nicely) may have heard this sound once or twice in their yard--the sound of a bunny losing its life. This high pitched squeal is at once horrifying and pathetic--the sound is loud, sudden, and unearthly, eerie enough to give you goosebumps--but at the same time you know it is the last, terrified utterance of a small, harmless animal who didn't do a thing wrong except look tasty to a hungry cat. One well-placed chomp and its over, often without much of a fight.

James Brown mastered this spine-tingling, eardrum-shattering noise and chose to demonstrate it in this otherwise inoffensive song. Every time I hear it i reflexively grimace, as though fifty seventh-grade teachers are scratching a chalkboard simultaneously with their long, horrible nails. Eeeeeurgh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I have decided to start a list of goals that I have set for my life, in order that I'd like to achieve them.

1. Get job that pays enough for:

shared rent nearby OR shared rent further away and transit fees

2. Work way up to job that pays enough for:

List 1
repayment of student loans

3. Retire.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

pad thai

I'm a really lousy cook.

Friday, October 06, 2006

life's little pleasures

I really like books that have a piece of ribbon sewn into the binding to serve as a permanent book-mark. I consistently lose the loose variety.