Monday, November 7, 2011

Three quickies and a Monday song

I've always thought it's unfortunate that the culture in which abstinence and purity rhetoric dominates is also one in which sexual dysfunction is covered up or accepted as a fact of life. Of course, this is the culture I grew up in, and I can tell you that talking honestly and openly about sex is strongly discouraged. Any indication of a lack of fulfillment from sex within marriage is viewed as a sign of selfishness, or an "impure heart." I've always thought this was a recipe for disaster. First you make sex taboo, and teach young people to avoid all sexual contact, sexual behavior, and even sexual thoughts (good luck with that) until marriage. Then miraculously these two people who are completely sexually inexperienced, and most likely have some huge psychological walls built up around the very concept of sex, are supposed to magically have awesome, mutually-fulfilling sex on their wedding night, and for the next 50 years. Right. I mean, not only is there the inexperience factor, but there's also all the rhetoric about impurity, where a woman (especially) who has had premarital sex is dirty and less valuable in some way. So if sex makes you dirty before you're married, and you spend 18 years associating sexual contact with pollution and degradation, how do you magically "flip the switch" overnight and go to thinking of it as a positive, fulfilling thing?

The prohibition on discussing sexual dissatisfaction within marriage is a such a central mechanism in the purity and abstinence machinery that it's encouraging to see advice columns like this: The Monotony of Monogamy: I married my first sexual partner, and now I’m itching to cheat, where the more likely trajectory is openly discussed. Not that it will change much, but there it is.


When my daughter got out of the bath the other night, she left these two sitting on the side of the tub. I've been wondering what they were talking about ever since.

In a recent Science article, The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling, much of the data that has been used to support single-sex schooling is debunked, and some of the truly significant problems surrounding segregated schooling are discussed. It's totally worth a read.

And finally, a Monday song.


  1. That's not at all surprising about single-sex schools. It seemed like a no-brainer to me that single-sex schools would further reinforce our gendered socialization.

    That's one chatty duck. I'm sure they covered all kinds of topics.

  2. I'm on the fence about the monogamy letter. I can see the value of these longterm relationships when they work, and I hesitate to say it's silly to even try making it work with your high school sweetheart or whatever. I think sometimes you get a really unique and deep bond when you make it work through years and years.

    On the other hand, I agree that we build up all these false expectations that lead to unfulfilling situations.

    It also seems sketchy to try and make it an open relationship now, since his wife didn't expect that going in. It's a big thing to spring on a person, but it might be the best option.

  3. The argument I always heard was that if you've never slept with anyone else, you won't know the difference. So your sexual relationship might be crap, but you won't expect any different. Obviously this is evidence to the contrary.

  4. Anonymous11/09/2011

    It's so good to have you back! Are you going to keep posting regularly now (please say yes)?