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Ian McColgin
01-28-2006, 12:33 PM
Actually we need much more health education in general. Take something simple like teeth. So easy to do right but so bad if done wrong. On the Lower Cape where there's no fluoridated water and across the Cape since none of the dentists want to take MassHealth (some reasons are good on that, but it creates a problem) we have all too many children sicker than need be because they are also fighting tooth infections. They do poorly in school, as pain is one of many barriers to hearing a teacher.

But I digress.

Sex and health ed.

Faith-based abstinence education, budget problems and standardized tests have devalued health ed in general, sex ed especially, appear to have helped increase the rates of juvenile STD's, and may be just getting a pregnancy and abortion upswing going after over a decade of decline.

Are there reasons we should not be teaching children how reproduction really works and, as they grow, how various prophylactics are good for preventing different things, pregnancy, disease or both?

And should there also be some values-choices education to enable those who choose abstinence to do that well and enable others to choose more or less responsibly what they will say and when?

My own view is that kids ought by 12 or so have the biologicals down pretty well for all the plant and animal phyla.

I believe that by 10th grade they should be aware of how various birth control methods work (banana practice and all that), and a good understanding of the common STD's and symptoms, all with the value assumption that sexual activity is still in the future for most.

In the last half of high school I believe that more and more thorough understanding of the interactions between the facts, values and out-comes of abstinence, romance, promiscuity, pregnancy, renewed virginity, homosexuality, self-determination, self-respoect, self-empowerment, real care for others, and all that should be taught about in a way that allows people to understand diverse family values.

Note that I am not a parent. I recognize that even parents who want their children to be knowledgable in these matters may have more than a little doubt about a school's ability to do it. I have worked most of my life with welfare mothers, many could have benefitted from more enlightened early sex ed than they found. I've also taught a very little in junior high-middle school and high school and seen up close the scars of ignorence. I have also seen the very positive results of programs such as I so glibly outlined.

Paul Pless
01-28-2006, 12:37 PM
Actually we need much more health education in general. I thought our young people are having trouble with reading, writing , and arithmetic; not to mention the sciences and history. And, you think its a good idea to further compromise that portion of their education with things like this?

Katherine
01-28-2006, 12:40 PM
Given that I just got spit up on by a 6 monh old, I vote for better education about birth control.

[ 01-28-2006, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: Katherine ]

Ian McColgin
01-28-2006, 12:53 PM
Try learning if you're body is crying out against malnutrition. Try hearing a teacher through an ear ache or tooth ache. Try teaching kids who are oppressed into sitting still way too much of every day.

So, yes Paul, a school will fail to teach basic academics if it drops all the rest. My sex ed notions are likely to be controversial, but unless children have recreation, vigorous exercise, art and health ed, they will not learn to read well.

My generation, the boomers, had it great because our parents came home from WWII and fought older greed-heads to get for us good schools. We, in our greed, are betraying that devotion. I think we also have way too many administrators and counselors and others who do not teach, but general education reform is not my topic here.

Specifically and in isolation from other education reform notions, I'm looking for debate on sex education in public schools.

George Roberts
01-28-2006, 03:40 PM
Ian McColgin ---

I believe in the past at least around 1965-1966 when I was in high school there were not many sex/health education classes in schools.

I think you like many others are putting to much responsibility on schools.

People can and should teach their own kids something.

Perhaps kids should be required to learn boat building in schools. Then we could argue about teaching traditional methods v. composite methods.

ishmael
01-28-2006, 04:19 PM
In the last half of high school I believe that more and more thorough understanding of the interactions between the facts, values and out-comes of abstinence, romance, promiscuity, pregnancy, renewed virginity, homosexuality, self-determination, self-respoect, self-empowerment, real care for others, and all that should be taught about in a way that allows people to understand diverse family values.

What playbook do you get this stuff out of Ian, and what the hell is "renewed virginity?"

I think kids, starting around puberty, ought to be taught the basics of human biology. They also ought to be made aware that homosexuality exists, and that homosexuals have the right, like everyone else, to be left alone. That should take--with all but the slowest coaches--about two hours.

Aside from that, your image of social engineering, values inculcation, by public schools, has been a disaster for the last fifty years. And you want to expand it? :rolleyes:

Government schools shouldn't be in the business of teaching sex values any more than they should be in the business of teaching religious ones. Both are the perogative of the parents.

[ 01-28-2006, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Meerkat
01-28-2006, 04:25 PM
With a name like Ed, I'd bet the sex is male. ;)

Ian McColgin
01-29-2006, 10:24 AM
I am sorry for using the term of art from the movement of faith-based abstinence sex education. You can learn more than you want to know about "renewed virginity" on any of the many sites like

http://www.cpcqc.org/WorthWaiting.htm

I find this teaching a narrow version of an important and healing truth. People can transform the meaning of experience by reflection, personal growth and change. While teens often are a tad short on the reflection part, growth and change are at a peak. Mary dumped me on Monday and the world is a dark icy cave. Lisa smiled at me Wednesday and sun and moon can't combine for such light.

More seriously, teens can learn that not only are there choices between total slut and glorious virgin. A person may change his or her mind pro or con about sexual activity. A person may learn that what hurt can be not just healed but become a place of emotional and moral strength.

In sports kids learn that trying hard means getting tired and hurt. They can learn the right proportions where those are good things. In class kids should be learning the same thing about their minds. It's hard to memorize the poem but rewarding in understanding and performing it. It's hard and perhaps disgusting to dissect the frog but getting the right battery and making the leg twitch is cool. It's really hard learning differential calculus but then plotting organic reaction rates really does show how cells work.

The same is true emotionally. We know this in less moral-laden emotions like, easy example, taste in food or coffee of liquor. One can grow with a more discriminating palette and still have a place for pickled eggs and 'Gansett. On this forum (above the Bilge) our tastes grow influenced by the interactions of form and function in boats.

Other domains of emotion are subject to growth through experience as well so long as we don't mystify and promulgate ignorance. Some of these domains are in some of the classes, especially history and language, where people are actually studying competing values. Some of this is all too often very badly taught due to the dominance of a few noisy frightened naïve narrow monoculturalists, but I digress.

Teens need places where hurts, doubts and confusions can find some (limited - this is not group therapy) room, where they can see that they are not alone and that they can gain control over themselves and their bodies. They need information and education to make their own choices and not simply replicate their parents' mistakes.

I'd confess to being a Deweyite regarding public education, were there such a thing. All choices about what's in and out of the public education curricula are social engineering. To fantasize that there's such a thing as value-free education is simply incorrect. To imagine that there's only one set of right values in our complex society is just not on. The regressive and oppressive attempts we have in those directions are damaging our society's vigor.

We have social engineering whether we do it wittingly or not and whether we do it well or not.

I favor engineering for freedom and democracy. Education must empower people to contest and tussle over values without killing each other. Beyond just ideas - important as they are, education must teach people how to make and take responsibility for their own decisions, including decisions with - shall we say? - problematic outcomes in the shorter term.

That's why public schools must include teaching about the religious questions raised in Moby Dick and the moral-political swirls around the Emancipation Proclamation.

And it's why public schools must also give children both the facts and the ability to utilize their own growing values as they prepare for the most radically transforming physical experiences . . . as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

ishmael
01-29-2006, 06:36 PM
Quite a speech, Ian. I wish I knew what it meant.

Libertine sexual mores have been preached openly by the Left, by our corporate media, by the culture as a whole, for decades. I'm not sure the extent to which this has seeped into our schools, I haven't set foot in a public school in thirty years. The little that I hear: bannanas and condoms, condoms handed out at the school infirmary, Heather has two mommies, lesbian recruitment days in the Boston school system for girls as young as twelve, leads me to believe the "engineering" there has been in the identical direction.

In those decades all manner of sexual dysfunction: teen pregnancy rates, STD infection rates, abortion rates, divorce rates, skyrocketed. While I'm usually chary of drawing direct parallels based on statistics, the correlation here seems plain. So when I hear someone saying we need to continue, nay expand, turning the native perogative of the parents over to the beauracracy of the state and local education ministers it gives me the heebie jeebies.

When I graduated highschool in '74, on the cusp of the Left's sexual revolution, none of the knottier modern problems of adolescent sexuality existed in any numbers. Oh, the repression of sexual expression had its own problems; its own forms of dysfunction. Girls were taught to say NO! Boys, to keep it in their pants. Parents, on whole, didn't talk much about the welter of sexual feelings brought on by adolescence, and kids got much of their education on the street. But it was rare for a girl to get pregnant, shameful, still a scandal, and STD rates were almost zero in that age group.

I'm not sure what the answer is currently, the cat is pretty well out of the bag, but continuing failed policies isn't it.

[ 01-30-2006, 06:55 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Meerkat
01-29-2006, 07:00 PM
With attitudes like yours Ish, sexual repression will continue.

"Lesbian recruitment" - you're so full of it! :mad:

ishmael
01-29-2006, 07:08 PM
So you think teaching girls as young as twelve the proper use of dental dams for lesbian sex, which happened in Boston's school system, isn't recruitment?

There's no putting the cat back in the bag, at least not with any ease, but the reaction on the Right to decades of "if it feels good, do it, it's natural" is perfectly understandable. And what's wrong with a bit of repression? I'd say that children, who have no reasonable sense of consequences, and no means of taking responsibility for them, need a bit of repression in their sexuality.

Meerkat
01-29-2006, 07:10 PM
Post your cites on the dental dam claim.

Paul Pless
01-29-2006, 07:17 PM
There's no putting the cat back in the bag nice choice of words, real nice :D

[ 01-29-2006, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Paul Pless ]

ishmael
01-29-2006, 07:35 PM
http://www.aim.org/aim_report/A3763_0_4_0_C/

Meerkat
01-29-2006, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
http://www.aim.org/aim_report/A3763_0_4_0_C/
Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage."Setting the record straight" seems to be providing their own twisted distortions instead of what was, or was not, reported by mainstream media (I refer you to the "TWA flight 800 coverup" nonsense posted elsewhere on the site).

It appears that there may have been some questionable actions by some individuals, but that does not translate into organizational policy as Mr. Kincaid spins it.

As for recruitment, that falls back to the "nature vs. nurture" debate that is still unresolved. I personally think the notion of recruitment is right wing crap.

Osborne Russel
01-29-2006, 11:19 PM
Don't gimme no mess about social engineering. Compulsory public education is that, or nothing.

The social interest in preventing the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancy outweighs the parents' interest in enforced ignorance in these areas.

Osborne Russel
01-29-2006, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
I'd say that children, who have no reasonable sense of consequences, and no means of taking responsibility for them, need a bit of repression in their sexuality.That is the very point of sex ed. Let the parents do their job and the need for it to be taught in school will vanish. Until then . . .

MattL
01-30-2006, 01:54 AM
OK, I'd like a little information please. It reads that just about evereyone here is highly educated. Either by some school system or a lot of work done on your own. One poster stated that it has been 30 years since he has been in a public school.

How many of you have children in any school system, I have two boys kintergarden and 3rd grade. Do any of you work in a school setting, either private or public. If so, what age level.
Does anyone employ kids right out of high school or in some ROP (reginal occupation program). I teach in a junior high, 7th and 8th grade. These are the kids in the begining or middle of puberty. I taught science for 10 years and now am in the 7th year of teaching industrial technology.
How many of you have xbox, play stations and all that crap at home that you let teach your kids.

I would like to relate a few of my observations.
first off in regards to abilities. I think basic leveals have dropped since all of the mandatory testing has started. The main push now is to cram as much information into the kids as possible in the shortest amount of time. This means that instead of making sure they understand some of the basic pricnipals and giving them the ability to find our more on their own we are giving them tons of material with no time to digest and understand it. The testing itself is a mess in itself. Our school is gearing up for the next batch of mandated state testing. It will use up a month of time that will preclude any real education. (remember our presidents motto no child left untested.) I think our presidents real goal is not helping kids, but making the public school system so hindered that he can push his voucher program on the public. Kind of like privatizing social security.

OK enough about that lets move on to sex ed.
As I stated earlier I taught science for 10 years. This included sex-ed. For part of that time I was on a committe with parent volunters to discuss and approve new materials for this program. this group included a couple of teachers, some normal parents and a few from a religious group.
First off it is the law in any sex ed program that abstenencs be taught as the best, and only 100 percent method of avoiding pregnancy, or sexually transmited diseases. OK you got that, it is the LAW. Every teacher I know that has taught this subject knows that and does it. Now on to reality. There are junior high school age kids, and younger, that are having sex. And I don't meant they are not inhaling, they are doing the whole intercourse thing. (as an asside, I have a student now, 13 years old, in the second year of a commited relatinonship -- read between the lines here people --. She has broken up a bunch of times with the boy, they are not togehter now thank god. Part of the problem is mom thinks it is so quite that her daughter is in a close relationship with a boy and is pushing her into it... there are worse stories, but I don't want to talk about them.) I felt as a science teacher I was obligated to discuss all the issues; the parts of the body, what happens biologically, abstenence, birth control, heterosexual and homosexual tenedencies everything. Some teachers dont feel comfortable with this subject and dont go too deeply into it. This is OK, because you have to becomfortable with the subject and the students to beable to teach anything. Now some of the right wing concervatives may be agast at this and say no this should be taught by the parents. Well I'll tell you most parents don't. Yes they should but it doesn't happen. Yes it is left to the godless left wing liberal teachers. If you don't like it stop bitching about it. Quite complaining to the school board and your paster and teach your kids yourself. The problem is a lot of parents don't even know whats going on them selfes. When it isn't necessary for the school to do it, beleave me the teachers would love to not have to do it.

Let me finish up with the xbox stuff. I know people that love them. I don't think I'd ever let my kids get one of the TV attachments. Have you ever looked at the games they play. Most of them are so steeped in violence and sex that I wouldn't let anyone under 18 even look at the boxes. Talk about moral up bringing. The only thing we have is the older boy has a game boy. The rules for it are 1.5 hours of reading for each hour of game boy.

I guess I have been venting here and it's getting late so I'll post this now with one final remark about myself. I grew up going to church, but haven't attendend much in years. I commute with a devout christian. He and I, it think, have may of the same views of morality. The diference is that he gets his from reading a book and being afraid of his god. I get mine mostly from my parents and wanting to be a good person, because that is the right thing to do.

George Roberts
01-30-2006, 02:29 AM
MattL ---

I think you will find a large number of the people here are older so it is expected that they have been out of high school for several decades.

You or the law made an error in claiming that abstinence is the only 100% method. I had a vasectomy. I am told that is 100% effective.

While I am in favor of abstinence outside of marriage, I would not want any school to teach that or any other position.

I would expect that a biology class would teach human reproduction with the same passion and covering the same issues as other mammal reproduction.

MattL
01-30-2006, 02:43 AM
All surguries have a percentage of failure. I have heard of people with vasectomies or tubal ligations that didn't work. Also even if you can't get someone pregnant, that doesn't stop you from getting or giving a STD. Perhaps you should have listen when you were in school those years ago smile.gif

George Roberts
01-30-2006, 10:20 AM
MattL ---

My practices have worked well enough for me:

I had the vasectomy after my second daughter. Have had no more kids.

I have never had an STD, but then I NEVER hung out with people who had to worry about STDs.

(edited to add NEVER. Some typos are worse than others.)

[ 01-30-2006, 01:13 PM: Message edited by: George Roberts ]

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-30-2006, 10:37 AM
MattL, my wife and I have a boy in sixth grade and a boy in kindergarten. My wife grew up in a strict Protestant sect - but she was brought up by her grandparents, because her mother had "fallen"... I was brought up by my elderly parents. Neither of us had anything in the way of sex education beyond "Don't worry about it!"

I suspect, although it may be a little early to tell, and I may be quite wrong, that neither of our children will be as fascinated by sex as we were.

Neither sees much television ( "The Simpsons" and programmes on science or history) and the only computers they see are at school.

Garrett Lowell
01-30-2006, 11:00 AM
"I recognize that even parents who want their children to be knowledgable in these matters may have more than a little doubt about a school's ability to do it. "

I'm in that camp, Ian. Certainly, the school can do an adequate job teaching the biology of sex.

However, my wife and I will start having 'the talk' with our daughter sooner rather than later. Probably when she's 7 or 8. Same with our son. These won't be of the 'talk once and forget about it' variety, either. It's going to be an ongoing thing.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-30-2006, 11:09 AM
We are not keen on the "The Talk" approach. We would rather treat it as a part of everyday conversation.

PatCox
01-30-2006, 12:05 PM
The left preaches sexual libertinism? Ish, do not project your caricature on what liberals are. "The left" is not Playboy magazine. The culture became more libertine, period. The cliche's about conservatives being somehoe more moral are absurd, its not just anecdotal evidence, ish, if you truly have delved into Jung's work you would see that he explained the mechanism by which the more puritannical one is, the more likely one is actually a closet hypocrite with a sexual closet full of skeletons. What of the woman in south carolina who drowned her boys, turned out her father had abused her for years, and he was the local head of the moral majority. The divorce rate for republican congressmen is much higher than for democrats, didja know that? Your stereotyping is absolute bull****, Ish. Given your personal life, you are not fir to comment on anyone's sexual mores.

Keith Wilson
01-30-2006, 12:39 PM
That AIM link was purely and simply a propaganda piece, and not a very clever one at that. "Homosexual recruitment" is a ludicrous concept, invented by people one can only call homophobes (and I'm not at all fond of the term). Consider the impact on the average straight person of graphic descriptions of gay sex. Is it, "Gee, that sounds like fun?" Not bloody likely. The average reaction is the same as yours and mine: "Eeeeew, yuck!". For an essay almost as biased, but a LOT more sensible, try here. (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/gate/archive/2006/01/27/notes012706.DTL&nl=fix)

I have two kids of high school age. Both went through the standard sex ed in public school, which was mainly remarkable for its extreme blandness and attempts to not offend anyone, left or right. There was one exception, some religious-right guy who gave a spectacularly judgmental abstinence talk (ineffective too; the kids I think are still laughing about him). He pissed off enough people that he wasn't invited back. Not very useful, all in all. Our Unitarian church, however, has a program which is extremely detailed and complete. They don't have to worry about offending people; all the parents have to read over the curriculum and look at the slides before they give permission for their kids to go. My daughter has corrected a surprising amount of misinformation about sex among her friends.

ishmael
01-30-2006, 12:54 PM
Not sure what you are jabbering about, Pat, but I see I touched a nerve.

I don't blame all libertine sexuality in the culture on the Left, just its intellectual underpinnings. Without the willing aquiescense of the corporate world--with its ongoing spewing of the coarsest of obscenities across the spectrum of popular culture--the less savory ideas of the "sexual revolution" would have died down to a simmer when the LSD ran out. ;)

The loss of moral compass within the entertainment and advertising industries is probably the single biggest contributor to the concurrent loss of the culure's bearings. "If it sells, and it's legal, let's make money off it." Of course, we all know how rightwing the creative minds of the entertainment and advertising industries are.

As to my personal life, I don't see it as particularly relevant, except insofar as I was embedded in the milieu. I learned a few things about being a sexual libertine, gave it up a couple decades ago as both unworkable and wrong. But me, Puritanical? Hardly. That you see my concern over handing sexual morallity over to a bunch of beaureaucrats in the schools as Puritanical says more about you than it does me.

Finally, Jung's work came out of a very sexually repressed era. Victorian Switzerland made 1950 USA look like a swinger's convention. If you read a bit about his life, not just his ideas, you'll find that his personal experiments in sexuality(he came to practice a sort of controlled pagan polygamy) often ended badly.

I've never defended or admired some of his personal excesses. I doubt, however, that he would approve of what the culture has done with either his or Freud's ideas around human sexuality. Freewheeling, unconscious, libertine sexuality for the masses is far removed from the conscious, individual exploration he was attempting, which has only come to light in the last decade or so.

Cheers.

ishmael
01-30-2006, 01:18 PM
Keith,

The AIM piece may be propaganda, but it was factual as to what happened in MA schools. I was living there at the time, and remember it well. It was, interestingly, the only piece on the topic I could readily find on short notice last night.

George Roberts
01-30-2006, 01:18 PM
Norman Bernstein ---

I graduated a few years before you.

Different people certainly had different experiences.

In high school I did not know of anyone who talked/bragged about having sex.

Later in college I found those people who talked/bragged about having sex not desirable to be around. I might have heard 2 people talk about sex during my stay in college.

But then I never thought about buying drugs either.

ishmael
01-30-2006, 01:37 PM
Yes, Norm, any of us, I'm sure, could come up with individuals, left and right, who were naughty. Both industry and state governments pushing particular agendas(or just selling what sells) are mass phenomenon. People, individuals, have always had their quirks. Making some of the seamiest the norm, on a mass scale, is new.

TomF
01-30-2006, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
Making some of the seamiest the norm, on a mass scale, is new.Yes. But I see this as a business agenda, rather than a leftist ideology agenda. The "adult industry" sells "product" into a series of related "market niches." Any number of other businesses have invested, because of the profits to be made. Rather like the more traditional vice-industries like tobacco and booze.

Review the business models, and tell me again about the intellectual underpinnings of capital accumulation being Leftist...

[ 01-30-2006, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: TomF ]

ishmael
01-30-2006, 02:17 PM
Tom,

You'll notice I said the creative minds in the entertainment and advertising industries. I agree, when you get to the money people all bets are off, and you are dollars to donuts dealing with nihilists who if it sells, do it, no matter their political leanings.

Norm,

I agree, after several decades of being bombarded by mindless sex and violence people are tired and bored with it. How that will play out remains to be seen, and sex, as they say, will always sell. How much industry drives the consumer and vice versa is an interesting topic. I have to believe, given all the money that goes into advertising, that the mix is probably skewed toward industry power over the consumer. If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it. Why it works is beyond my ken, but if the economy depended on people like me...well let's just say it wouldn't work.

PatCox
01-30-2006, 02:57 PM
Here is a review of Scooter Libby's child-bestiality porn novel. Its not parody, its true. Damn that libertine liberal Scooter Libby (is that the problem, Ish, do you think libertine = liberal because they sound alike?)

SCOOTER’S SEX SHOCKER
Issue of 2005-11-07
Posted 2005-10-31

Of all the scribbled sentences that have converged to create the Valerie Plame affair, the most remarkable, in literary terms, may belong to Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s recently deposed chief of staff. “Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work—and life,” he wrote in a jailhouse note to Judith Miller. Meant as a waiver of confidentiality, the letter touched off the sort of fevered exegesis more often associated with readings of “The Waste Land” than of legal correspondence. For even more difficult prose, however, one must revisit an earlier work. “The Apprentice”—Libby’s 1996 entry in the long and distinguished annals of the right-wing dirty novel—tells the tale of Setsuo, a courageous virgin innkeeper who finds himself on the brink of love and war.

Libby has a lot to live up to as a conservative author of erotic fiction. As an article in SPY magazine pointed out in 1988, from Safire (“[She] finally came to him in the bed and shouted ‘Arragghrrorwr!’ in his ear, bit his neck, plunged her head between his legs and devoured him”) to Buckley (“I’d rather do this with you than play cards”) to Liddy (“T’sa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand’s glans . . .”) to Ehrlichman (“ ‘It felt like a little tongue’ ”) to O’Reilly (“Okay, Shannon Michaels, off with those pants”), extracurricular creative writing has long been an outlet for ideas that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast. In one of Lynne Cheney’s books, a Republican vice-president dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress.

It took Libby more than twenty years to write “The Apprentice,” which is set in a remote Japanese province in the winter of 1903. The book is brimming with quasi-political intrigue and antique locutions—“The girl who wore the cloak of yellow fur”; “one wore backward a European hat”—that make the phrase a “former Hill staffer,” by comparison, seem straightforward.

Like his predecessors, Libby does not shy from the scatological. The narrative makes generous mention of lice, snot, drunkenness, bad breath, torture, urine, “turds,” armpits, arm hair, neck hair, pubic hair, pus, boils, and blood (regular and menstrual). One passage goes, “At length he walked around to the deer’s head and, reaching into his pants, struggled for a moment and then pulled out his penis. He began to piss in the snow just in front of the deer’s nostrils.”

Homoeroticism and incest also figure as themes. The main female character, Yukiko, draws hair on the “mound” of a little girl. The brothers of a dead samurai have sex with his daughter. Many things glisten (mouths, hair, evergreens), quiver (a “pink underlip,” arm muscles, legs), and are sniffed (floorboards, sheets, fingers). The cast includes a dwarf, and an “assistant headman” who comes to restore order after a crime at the inn. (Might this character be autobiographical? And, if so, would that have made Libby the assistant headman or the assistant headman’s assistant?)

When it comes to depicting scenes of romance, however, Libby can evoke a sort of musty sweetness; while one critic deemed “The Apprentice” “reminiscent of Rembrandt,” certain passages can better be described as reminiscent of Penthouse Forum. There is, for example, Yukiko’s seduction of the inexperienced apprentice:

He could feel her heart beneath his hands. He moved his hands slowly lower still and she arched her back to help him and her lower leg came against his. He held her breasts in his hands. Oddly, he thought, the lower one might be larger. . . . One of her breasts now hung loosely in his hand near his face and he knew not how best to touch her.

Other sex scenes are less conventional. Where his Republican predecessors can seem embarrassingly awkward—the written equivalent of trying to cop a feel while pinning on a corsage—Libby is unabashed:

At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.

And, finally:

"He asked if they should **** the deer."

The answer, reader, is yes.

So, how does Libby stack up against the competition? This question was put to Nancy Sladek, the editor of Britain’s Literary Review, which, each year, holds a contest for bad sex writing in fiction. (In 1998, someone nominated the Starr Report.) Sladek agreed to review a few passages from Libby. “That’s a bit depraved, isn’t it, this kind of thing about bears and young girls? That’s particularly nasty, and the other ones are just boring,” she said. “God, they’re an odd bunch, these Republicans.” Unlike their American counterparts, she said, Tories haven’t taken much to sex writing. “They usually just get caught,” she said.


— Lauren Collins

PatCox
01-30-2006, 03:17 PM
More on libertine liberals:

Conflicted America
The Ironies Abound

When America sat down last week for its annual rite of national Thanksgiving, some would argue that two different nations actually celebrated: upright, moral, traditional red America and the dissolute, liberal blue states clustered on the periphery of the heartland. The truth, however, is much more complicated and interesting than that.

Take two iconic states: Texas and Massachusetts. In some ways, they were the two states competing in the last election. In the world's imagination, you couldn't have two starker opposites. One is the homeplace of Harvard, gay marriage, high taxes, and social permissiveness. The other is Bush country, solidly Republican, traditional, and gun-toting. Massachusetts voted for Kerry over Bush 62 to 37 percent; Texas voted for Bush over Kerry 61 to 38 percent.

So ask yourself a simple question: which state has the highest divorce rate? Marriage was a key issue in the last election, with Massachusetts' gay marriages becoming a symbol of alleged blue state decadence and moral decay. But in actual fact, Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country at 2.4 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants. Texas - which until recently made private gay sex a criminal offence - has a divorce rate of 4.1. A fluke? Not at all. The states with the highest divorce rates in the U.S. are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. And the states with the lowest divorce rates are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Every single one of the high divorce rate states went for Bush. Every single one of the low divorce rate states went for Kerry. The Bible Belt divorce rate, in fact, is roughly 50 percent higher than the national average.

Some of this discrepancy can be accounted for by the fact that couples tend to marry younger in the Bible Belt - and many clearly don't have the maturity to know what they're getting into. There's some correlation too between rates of college education and stable marriages, with the Bible Belt lagging a highly educated state like Massachusetts. But the irony still holds. Those parts of America that most fiercely uphold what they believe are traditional values are not those parts where traditional values are healthiest. Hypocrisy? Perhaps. A more insightful explanation is that these socially troubled communities cling onto absolutes in the abstract because they cannot live up to them in practice.

But doesn't being born again help bring down divorce rates? Jesus, after all, was mum on the subject of homosexuality, but was very clear about divorce, declaring it a sin unless adultery was involved. A recent study, however, found no measurable difference in divorce rates between those who are "born again" and those who are not. 29 percent of Baptists have been divorced, compared to 21 percent of Catholics. Moreover, a staggering 23 percent of married born-agains have been divorced twice or more. Teen births? Again, the contrast is striking. In a state like Texas, where the religious right is extremely strong and the rhetoric against teenage sex is gale-force strong, the teen births as a percentage of all births is 16.1 percent. In liberal, secular, gay-friendly Massachusetts, it's 7.4, almost half. Marriage itself is less popular in Texas than in Massachusetts. In Texas, the percent of people unmarried is 32.4 percent; in Massachusetts, it's 26.8 percent. So even with a higher marriage rate, Massachusetts manages a divorce rate almost half of its "conservative" rival.

Or take abortion. America is one of the few Western countries where the legality of abortion is still ferociously disputed. It's a country where the religious right is arguably the strongest single voting bloc, and in which abortion is a constant feature of cultural politics. Compare it to a country like Holland, perhaps the epitome of socially liberal, relativist liberalism. So which country has the highest rate of abortion? It's not even close. America has an abortion rate of 21 abortions per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44. Holland has a rate of 6.8. Americans, in other words, have three times as many abortions as the Dutch. Remind me again: which country is the most socially conservative?

Even a cursory look at the leading members of the forces of social conservatism in America reveals the same pattern. The top conservative talk-radio host, Rush Limbaugh, has had three divorces and an addiction to pain-killers. The most popular conservative television personality, Bill O'Reilly, just settled a sex harassment suit that indicated a highly active adulterous sex life. Bill Bennett, the guru of the social right, was for many years a gambling addict. Karl Rove's chief outreach manager to conservative Catholics for the last four years, Deal Hudson, also turned out to be a man with a history of sexual harassment. Bob Barr, the conservative Georgian congressman who wrote the "Defense of Marriage Act," has had three wives so far. The states which register the highest ratings for the hot new television show, "Desperate Housewives," are all Bush-states.

The complicated truth is that America truly is a divided and conflicted country. But it's a grotesque exaggeration to say that the split is geographical, or correlated with blue and red states. Many of America's biggest "sinners" are those most intent on upholding virtue. In fact, it may be partly because they know sin so close-up that they want to prevent its occurrence among others. And some of those states which have the most liberal legal climate - the Northeast and parts of the upper MidWest - are also, in practice, among the most socially conservative. To ascribe all this to "hypocrisy" seems to me too crude an explanation. America is simply a far more complicated and diverse place than crude red and blue divisions can explain.

The spasms of moralism that have punctuated American history from the first Puritans all the way through Prohibition and now the backlash against gay marriage are not therefore a war of one part of the country against another. They're really a war within the souls of all Americans. Within many a red state voter, there's a blue state lifestyle. And within many a blue state liberal, there's a surprisingly resilient streak of moralism. And it is this internal conflict that makes America still such a vibrant and compelling place. The conflict exists perhaps most powerfully within the red states themselves - as they grapple with the "sin" of their own practices and the high standards of their own aspirations. It's worth remembering that Bill Clinton was a product of a red state. And that for more than half his life, George W. Bush was a dissolute wastrel from a blue state family. These contradictions are not the exceptions. They are the American rule. And if you love this tortured and fascinating country, one more reason to be thankful it still exists.

endit. November 28, 2004, Sunday Times.
copyright © 2000, 2006 Andrew Sullivan

uncas
01-30-2006, 03:21 PM
Sex ed should start at home...Not be a requirement of the schools kids attend...
If the parents can't handle it...and they have problems serving breakfast...well...they should not be parents.
I am tired of schools having toi deal with the basics...because the parents don't have time or don't know how to deal with them.
I would like to tell those parents to get a life...and yes you out there who say...but...the parents don't have the means...the time....the moiney...Too bloody bad.

I am tired of the gov. filling in because the parents can't/won't...
Nuf said.....
My answer is simple...don't have children...

[ 01-30-2006, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: uncas ]

George Roberts
01-30-2006, 04:36 PM
Norman Bernstein ---

Some people enjoy risky behavior.

I would suggest that we let them enjoy it. They can also pay for it.

I expect those who have children as children have little chance to move up the economic ladder. That leaves more room for those who don't take those kinds of risks.

ishmael
01-30-2006, 05:19 PM
Pat,

Say it isn't so! Scooter Libby, a Republican , has written a perverse little novel? What's next, Goldwater and Reagan as secret accolytes of Marcuse?

This tidbit is important how? As I said, pointing to the actions of individuals in a vacume is meaningless. Where did their ideas come from?

And divorce statistics have nothing to do with a discussion of the foundations of hedonism and promiscuity in the culture. They are shingles on the roof, and therefore nonsequitur.

It doesn't suprise me in the least that people on both the Left and Right are swayed by the blandishments of the culture. People is people, is people.

You may be correct, those with the stuffiest attitudes are likely to have the greatest difficulties with the blandishments. But stuffiness doesn't necessarily mean Puritanical attitudes, it can also mean revolutionary preachiness. Both contain strong shadows.

The roots of the current sexual climate grow in leftist intellectual soil: Neo-Marxist Marcuse, neo-Marxist Friedan to name two of the main taps.

You don't like it. Me either. But dem's the facts.

[ 01-30-2006, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

High C
01-30-2006, 05:40 PM
:rolleyes:

uncas
01-30-2006, 05:48 PM
Norman...fine....
I love paying for it....as obviously you do...In stead of just letting everything continue...I would like to find a solution...and it is not paying more to people on welfare everytime they have a child....
At what point is society going to say enough...
We have health ins. issues...we have so many things to deal with that cost money...I'm sorry...but I get a bit miffed when we keep giving money out to people who just don't care further than that next check from the gov.
It is becoming a right not a priviledge...The welfare system has now covered four or five generations and the people on welfare know the rules and reg. better than the officials.
They know the system...and are using it.

Why don't you take some people living on the streets home with you...instead of all the stuff you write...an action is worth a thousand words...Take them home...raise them...do what is right...put your house where your mouth is...
Donate to the food programs...donate to the churches who have food lines...donate your blood....
Ya like your way of life...share it...

TomF
01-30-2006, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
The roots of the current sexual climate grow in leftist intellectual soil: Neo-Marxist Marcuse, neo-Marxist Friedan to name two of the main taps.

You don't like it. Me either. But dem's the facts.[/QB]Hows about Ayn Rand? Neitzche? Who arguably are at the core of a lot of conservative, Ubermensch individualist claptrap?

It doesn't make sense to say that the roots of the current sexual climate grow out of leftist intellectual soil, and then turn 'round and say people is people is people when confronted with their peccadilloes. I know a fair number of promiscuous corporate money-focused me-first types, who have zippo interest either in Friedan or Marcuse. Much happier with Milton Friedman or Ricardo.

The culture's been here before, too. Georgian England wasn't precisely priggish, which is why the Victorians reacted, and were. People tend to, unrestrained, do what they feel their consciences and societal mores allow them to get away with. They've done so before Marxism, during Marxism, and will do after Marxism is a dim memory. Sure, Leftists have embraced free love ... but so have a fair number of right-wing anti-Marxist b@stards.

Keith Wilson
01-30-2006, 05:52 PM
The welfare system has now covered four or five generations and the people on welfare know the rules and reg. better than the officials.
They know the system...and are using it. Uncas, please look up the reality of welfare laws, which were radically changed under the Clinton administration. They haven't been the way you describe for a long time.

[ 01-30-2006, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

uncas
01-30-2006, 05:57 PM
Keith...if the rules have changed great...but with any rule put in place...there is a way around it...I have not seen any differences.
on the ground that have amounted to much..
So be it...
We are stuck with the system...so be it...will it improve...nationwide..I doubt it...
Norman..good luck finding a balance....
It ain't gonna happen....But that is the way of the system...

ishmael
01-30-2006, 06:52 PM
Hows about Ayn Rand? Neitzche?

Both Rand and Neiztche were radical libertarians, who can't be pigeonholed as left or right, and whose influence on the sexual revolution of the 1960's was peripheral, at best.

Actions of an individual taken against their professed philosophy are hypocrisy, and no reflection, good or ill, on the philosophy itself.

And yes, things go in cycles. But I challenge you to find a period in the modern West with as widespread culturally sanctioned hedonism as the last forty has had.

[ 01-30-2006, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Meerkat
01-30-2006, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
Keith,

The AIM piece may be propaganda, but it was factual as to what happened in MA schools. I was living there at the time, and remember it well. It was, interestingly, the only piece on the topic I could readily find on short notice last night.You will have to do better than that. The AIM piece is flagrant spin. It also did not mention details you posted: for example, claims that 12-13 year old girls were "recruited" and/or taught to use dental dams (itself suspect since oral sex has a very low risk of transmission if a few basic precautions are taken). Nor does it essentially do anything more than bitch about a few people getting out of hand and trying to thereby smear the organizations involved.

Meerkat
01-30-2006, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:

The roots of the current sexual climate grow in leftist intellectual soil: Neo-Marxist Marcuse, neo-Marxist Friedan to name two of the main taps.

You don't like it. Me either. But dem's the facts.This would be hilarious if it were not so sad!

Don't like someone's thought: smear them with sexual inuendo.

ishmael
01-30-2006, 08:20 PM
You're an expert at avoiding argument with smear tactics, Meer. Pointing out the intellectual roots of the sixties sexual mores isn't innuendo, it's a valid observation. Show me someone at the right end of the political spectrum with anywhere near the influence of a Marcuse or a Friedan on the roots of the movement, and maybe we could have a genuine argument. Otherwise, you are eminently ignorable.

TomF
01-31-2006, 08:57 AM
Many fair comments, Ish, both about the impact of Rand on the 60s and on an individual's hypocritical actions not really being a strike against the ideology they profess.

But I think that the sexual revolution was more directly tied to technology producing The Pill than with Leftist ideology. The confluence of the two was, in my view, an accident of history. Certainly various Lefties embraced (!) "free love" as one of the ways of throwing off the "cultural shackles of capitalism" ... but it's always smacked to me of opportunism, justifying what folks always wanted to do with reference to the ideas of the subculture of the time.

Had the Pill emerged in the Georgian England that produced "Moll Flanders" or "Tom Jones," I'd be very surprised to have seen much different response in people's behaviour.

On another point though - Rand and Neitzche can certainly be characterized as "libertarians" ... as can some of the more vocal Conservative voices here on the WBFF. The Right in American popular culture has become strongly identified with libertarianism, rather than the Conservatism of the old Tories in England. And libertarianism (including the freedom of the individual to act) certainly includes sexual freedom as a part of the package.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
01-31-2006, 09:37 AM
Can someone explain why some people of 50+ think that their generation invented sex? And that morals have slipped since their grandparent's days?

ishmael
01-31-2006, 10:06 AM
Tom,

While it's true, libertarianism extols the choice of the individual over and against state or corporate control, it also emphasizes individual responsibility for those choices. You get in trouble with the choices you make, don't go crying to the state to fix it.

I have a hard time imagining Rand, a staunch defender of capitalism, being much influence on the LSD soaked "Summer of Love" or on the equally delirious Woodstock. Both were epicenters of and windows into the sexual revolution of the sixties. Not so with Marcuse, who was de riquer in humanities classes in the sixties, and Friedan whose The Feminine Mystique was radically(for the time) against traditional family structures.

Rand, being nothing if not anti-statist, would have deplored the notion of the state having responsibility for teaching its version of sexual morality to the young.

And your point about it being a time of many influences, not the least the invention of easy birth control, is well taken.

Norm,

I've pointed to two very influential 'lefty' theorists, whose work did much to shape the sexual mores of the sixties and beyond. I've yet to hear anyone point to a 'righty' with claim to that dubious distinction. Maybe the evidence doesn't meet a courtroom standard of proof, but little in the social sciences does.

[ 01-31-2006, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

ishmael
01-31-2006, 10:13 AM
Norm,

Did you study any sociology in college?

uncas
01-31-2006, 10:17 AM
Actually...I am finding very few people read anymore...The WBF...even here in the bilge is made up of an exceptional bunch...as it is obvious most here do read....and read a good deal....and that it taking into account the typos.

There are too many diversions out there. Games, computers, the internet....The list goes on.
I would say the average age of the formites would be about 40......with few under 25 and few over 80.
I must say...when I go to the library....everyone says hello to me by name....I go a lot.

pss..I did hear about a year ago that the Balt. School system was now incorporating comic books to teach kids how to read....

Also...I bet if you look here...a majority of formites worked when they were teens...had little time for...games....etc....
The kids now days...hang out at the mall...ya know...ah, ya know....

[ 01-31-2006, 10:21 AM: Message edited by: uncas ]

Ian McColgin
01-31-2006, 10:21 AM
I sure can't figure why so many my age think they thought it up, but as I read history, most recently cured virgins since time began think they were the first.

I was lucky to grow up a bit better educated. I knew that one of my ancestors was at Brook Farm, that my Boston grandmother and grandfather both cut adventurous swaths through society, and how an Oklahoma uncle had his fatal heart attack at age eighty something tiptoeing boots in hand home from an assignation with the wife of a cold neighbor . . .

Sexual promiscuity is neither a conservative nor a liberal thing. In all forms of human leadership - political, religious, military, cultural - there's always been a heady dose of sexuality that in many cultures is for male pleasure.

Men claiming the droits of the king, an all too frequent phenomenon among politicians and priests and therapists and professors and scoutmasters, is an abuse of power.

Sex ed helps children learn the difference between healthy expressions of sexuality and oppressive sexual exploitation.

PatCox
01-31-2006, 02:18 PM
Stazzer-newt, its because some people have absolutely no clue as to sociological context and historical context. For example, most americans, who aspire to and consider themselves, middle class, think that middle class mores such as the victorian prudery surrounding sex, are universal. They don't realize that only the middle class is afflicted with a crippling addiction to convention and prudery. The lower classes, who have always made up the majority of human beings, have been engaging in various forms of "immmorality" since time imemmorial. Ish seems to think there was never a prostitute until the 1960s, for example. The lower classes in our slums have been engaging in incest, bigamy, adultery, mopery, divorce, prostitution,living in sin, and on and on, since the beginning of time. And again, for most of time, these were the majority of the population. Illegitimate births, abortions, and VD were all epidemic for most of US and world history, just not spoken of in the history books, it was unremarkable, expected of the lower orders, so to speak.

However, literature and history are both written by the middle and upper class, and they simply ignored the life that went on in the streets all around them (and the upper class with its traditions like keeping mistresses simply kept a discrete silence). So people think that the past was like a Bronte novel, all ever so perfectly moral with only the occasional romantically tragic lapse to prove the rule, as it were.

Its like the people who declaim "O tempore, O mores," over the fact that its not safe to walk through central park at night, completely ignorant of the fact that Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed the park 150 years ago, wrote "of course, it will be uninhabitable at night, being taken over by prostitutes and brigands." And that he designed the below grade crossing streets to protect people from the denizons of the park at night.

This kind of myopia is also called "having your head up your "I watched too much leave it to Beaver in the 60s" ass.

[ 01-31-2006, 02:21 PM: Message edited by: PatCox ]

MattL
01-31-2006, 02:45 PM
I have a hard time imagining Rand, a staunch defender of capitalism, being much influence on the LSD soaked "Summer of Love" or on the equally delirious Woodstock. Both were epicenters of and windows into the sexual revolution of the sixties. Yes the 60s were influenced by LSD, but where did the LSD come from. I understand that LSD was greatly introuduced and spread by the CIA, not a very left wing branch of the government.

TomF
01-31-2006, 03:28 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
Ayn Rand is considered to be one of the leading intellectuals and philosophers of the 20th century.So's Noam Chomsky. :D

PatCox
01-31-2006, 04:55 PM
Ayn Rand is considered to have been the mentally ill leader of a greed cult of assholes. Great philosopher? Yeah, sure, the same kind of people who think john Lennon is a philosopher might think Ayn Rand is a philosopher. Philosopher light, writing little philosophy comic books (novels) for those whose attention span wouldn't allow them to read real philosophy.

ishmael
01-31-2006, 05:01 PM
For example, most americans, who aspire to and consider themselves, middle class, think that middle class mores such as the victorian prudery surrounding sex, are universal. They don't realize that only the middle class is afflicted with a crippling addiction to convention and prudery. The lower classes, who have always made up the majority of human beings, have been engaging in various forms of "immmorality" since time imemmorial. Ish seems to think there was never a prostitute until the 1960s, for example. The lower classes in our slums have been engaging in incest, bigamy, adultery, mopery, divorce, prostitution,living in sin, and on and on, since the beginning of time.

My, my, such classism! from one who prides himself on his egalitarian attitudes.

So, I guess this means the Left has succeded. It has dragged that pesky middle class with its false sense of superiority and "victorian(sic) prudery" down a peg or three, into the moral gutter where they can get a taste of the real life of divorce and VD and abortion and adultery. Congratulations for your well taught lessons in reality .

I always wondered what the real agenda was, but now I know, to teach the middle class a lesson. After all, how's the revolution going to happen until you destroy the middle class? It does you proud. :D

Given a choice, I'll take "Leave it to Beaver." LOL

[ 01-31-2006, 05:05 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Meerkat
01-31-2006, 05:02 PM
Originally posted by ishmael:
You're an expert at avoiding argument with smear tactics, Meer. Pointing out the intellectual roots of the sixties sexual mores isn't innuendo, it's a valid observation. Show me someone at the right end of the political spectrum with anywhere near the influence of a Marcuse or a Friedan on the roots of the movement, and maybe we could have a genuine argument. Otherwise, you are eminently ignorable.You state your opinion as fact witout foundation and expect anyone to take you seriously? :rolleyes:

------------------------

I enjoyed "Atlas Shrugged" as a teenager and went to the trouble to buy it in hardback, although it's since been lost. I'm not sure I could stomach the writing style these days. I don't think it was pro-capitalist, I think it was anti big business and the objectification of people as "production units."

PatCox
01-31-2006, 05:10 PM
Ayn Rand is to philosophy as intelligent design is to science, it is psuedo-philosophy. There is little debate on that topic. Its something that appeals to sophomores, though.

ishmael
01-31-2006, 05:22 PM
Well, one of her fervid followers just retired, Alan Greenspan. He seemed pretty influential to this kid.

Nicholas Carey
02-01-2006, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by Norman Bernstein:
[QUOTE]We didn't become sexual libertines because some book told us it was the coming trend... the trend was already there, by the time the authors were writing.I suspect that this guy

http://g-images.amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/3b/86/e7689330dca0c2585e574010.L.jpg (http://www.djerassi.com/bio/bio2.html)

had more to do with changes in sexual mores than did Ayn Rand or anybody else.

Carl Djerassi (http://www.djerassi.com/) is widely credited with inventing The Pill (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/gallery/images/04.jpg).

George.
02-01-2006, 05:35 PM
For example, most americans, who aspire to and consider themselves, middle class, think that middle class mores such as the victorian prudery surrounding sex, are universal. They don't realize that only the middle class is afflicted with a crippling addiction to convention and prudery. The lower classes, who have always made up the majority of human beings, have been engaging in various forms of "immmorality" since time imemmorial. Well said. Same with the upper classes.

The middle classes are literally caught in the middle.

Nicholas Carey
02-01-2006, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
I suspect you're right about the pill, but there were influences from a few books of the times as well. Kinsey, Helen Gurley Brown and Masters & Johnson, to name a few notables. All of them together, however, could not equal the impact of Betty Friedan.Don't you think that they were more reflections of peoples' changing mores rather than the cause?

I suspect that Betty Friedan merely spoke truth to hundreds of thousands of 50s housewives trapped in postwar Levittowns (http://tigger.uic.edu/~pbhales/Levittown.html) across the country.

Women's experiences during the war, working in factories and doing important skilled labor, probably increased womens' desire for some changes as well. Once you've seen Gay Paree…and all that.

WRT to Kinsey and Masters & Johnson, I believe all they did is document what people were doing. It may have opened peoples' eyes to the notion that other people might be as kinky as they were (I suspect the overall kink level in society is much higher than anybody is willing to admit (viz., the popularity of in-room porn at hotels/motels.)


Interestingly, another book had a greater impact than one may think. There was a landmark pornography trial in Massachusetts in the 60's. An old anti-pornography law was overturned, allowing for the publication of Fanny Hill, and ushering in a new wave of porn.But porn is a constant, pretty much throughout human history. The legal hullaballoo over books like Fanny Hill, Lady Chatterly's Lover probably popularized porn more than did the books themselves.

Porn has, however, always been a driver of, and early adopter of technology. And technological change itself often drives cultural changes.

One of the first uses of Gutenberg's printing press was pornography: "Johann Gutenberg developed the art of printing around 1448, and one of the very first books to appear in print was Il Decamerone, Boccacio's erotic masterpiece. Suppression of freedom of the press—a phenomenon which is a significant part of the history of eroticism—followed immediately after. In 1497, sections of the Decameron were thrown into Savonarola's 'bonfire of the vanities' in Florence."[more (http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/proceedings/14/kutchinsky.pdf)]

Ditto for still photography. 40 years after its invention, police in London raided 2 houses owned by photographer Henry Hayler and seized more than 130,000 obscene photographs and slides[more (http://www.nazraeli.com/nazraeli/photomon/39-6.html)].

Film? Same thing. Edison himself produced an erotic success entitled The Kiss. The French film, A L'Ecu d'Or ou la bonne auberge is reputed to be the oldest actual porno flick. It was made in 1908. By 1910, porn flicks had moved on to such films as "the German film Am Abend (c1910) [which], as [Patrick] Robertson writes Film Facts (http://www.watsonguptill.com/detail.html?id=0-8230-7943-0), "is a ten-minute film which begins with a woman masturbating alone in her bedroom, and progresses to scenes of her with a man performing straight sex, fellatio and anal penetration." [more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography target=)]

Video. Ditto. The failure of Sony's Betamax to VHS is widely attributed to Sony's refusal to license Betamax to producers of porn.

The same holds true for the 'Net. [Obviously: just google for, oh, almost anything that could in any way be construed as somehow pertaining to sex