What Is Sex For, Anyway

With the issue of what people do with their genitals looming larger with every passing day, I’ve been thinking about the way people talk about the function of sex. “It’s for procreation”, they say. Asked why, they may point to Genesis, saying “God said so.” Or they may point to Darwin, claiming “natural selection says so.” Underlying even sex-postivist, ethical slut, reclaiming cunt attitudes is a sense that reproduction is the primary function of intercourse — they just believe we’re lucky enough to be smart enough to figure out ways to forestall reproduction and still have the [Continue reading]




Out on a Limb

Hypothesis: Nudity, pornography, and open sexuality have absolutely no harmful effects on children (when the child is not the subject of sexual behavior).

Discuss.

Who Drives Tech? Wankers Drive Tech!

Porn Industry Again at the Tech Forefront: LA Times story on the role of the porn industry in driving technological advancement. Nothing new, but nice to see that acknowledged in a major outlet.

Money quote: “Historically, the porn industry has adopted new technologies more nimbly than Hollywood. It embraced home video in the late 1970s, allowing people to bypass seedy theaters and watch the movies in their living rooms. Mainstream studios, by contrast, fought home video all the way to the Supreme Court before making it one of the most profitable pieces of their business.”

Uptown/Downtown

Bitch|Lab’s post on how the current argument about whether feminism or technology have done more to free women from the “drudgery” of housework ignores dimensions of race and class as well as the historic construction of notions of cleanliness and morality brought to mind an essay I wrote long ago. At the turn of the 20th century, middle-class women engaged in what was essentially a missionary effort directed towards poor immigrants, establishing “settlements” in poverty-stricken areas like the Lower East Side and offering instruction on diet, hygiene, and good citizenship, all with a healthy dose of moralizing.

All Things in Moderation. Except That!

Emily Jenkins in Salon writes on sexual moderates, people who like sex just fine but don’t obsess over it, don’t feel the need to define every aspect of their lives in relation to sex — and the way our culture marginalizes what is probably a pretty normal attitude about sex as weird, dysfunctional, frigid, etc.:

When Monogamy Isn’t Monogamous

Originally posted at Savage Minds on November 16, 2005.

Every time I teach the section on marriage in my Intro to Anthro class, I inevitably face the same question. The book lists four types of marriage: monogamy, polygyny, polyandry, and group marriage. and someone always asks “What about swingers?” (Of course, I live and teach in Vegas…) The question points to a limitation of the concept of marriage not just for anthropological understanding but even within our own everyday usage.

Sex: It’s What’s for Dinner

Originally posted at Savage Minds on December 14, 2005.

Tough Times for Vulvaes

Our Vaginas, Ourselves – New York Times