cozies, Surgeon Generals, and abstinence


Lots and lots to talk about today (making up for the past, silent week).
First, a bit of frippery that I found hilarious: vibrator cozies. Don’t hide ’em in the drawer, girls!
Heading into more serious topics, the US Surgeon General just released his report on sexual health and behavior. It contains good things; encouraging schools to promote not just abstinence (as so many schools in the US are beginning to favour) but a combination of good sex education and birth control as well as abstinence. He states that there is no scientific evidence that would point to teenagers having sex earlier when armed with the facts of sex and birth control. He also stresses that the US needs to develop more tolerance towards sexual diversity, and that sexual orientation, once discovered in the teenage years, is very likely not alterable.
As expected, the current conservative US administration (whom you all know I love and respect so very much) is having fun with this. The Surgeon General’s ticket runs out in a few months and it’s very unlikely he’ll be asked back for another term.
I often wonder why these conservative groups embrace abstinence so closely. Are they trying to bring back another Victorian age, with people being proper and prudish and buttoned up? Those of you who have read any kind of Victorian erotica knows that during this most stringent of sexual times (publicly), private sexuality burgeoned even more. The more you try to control something like sex, and force abstinence on a group of people, the more likely they are to run out and do it even more. Only they’ll hide it. And such a furtive quality often means taking unneccessary risks. Like forgoing birth control. I’ll bet that if Mssr. Bush had his way, birth control would be abolished. It’s not like you need it anyway, right? Sex is only for procreation within a marriage; hence, birth control is not needed. Everyone else should just not have sex.
Bah. Big penis-spank on the head to them all, I say.
Switching topics, I ran across a charming article (via mouthorgan) titled Who Says Your Marriage Has To Include Sex? It talks about a group called The Sexless Marriage Network – a dating service of sorts for people who don’t want to have sex again. Ever. They don’t believe sex is necessary in marriage; on the contrary, they believe that:

    eliminating sex eliminates jealousy and mistrustsex presents them with layer upon layer of distracting and unpleasant, unproductive activity and thoughtmarrying solely for the companionship, the affection, the spouse to bring to the Christmas party, is nothing to be ashamed of

Hmm. Let’s take these points one by one, shall we?
point 1: Jealousy and mistrust have little to do with sex. They have to do with ownership. That’s an ugly word, and most of us hate it, but let’s be honest here. When you’re jealous that a partner is spending too much time with another person (and that person doesn’t have to be a potential sexual threat; jealousy can happen when your partner spends too much time with their friends, as well) have you ever asked yourself why you’re jealous? The answer, when it all boils down, is this: “Because he/she is mine.” Ownership is not about sex. Hence, jealousy could still be rampant in a marriage that has no sex and no expectation of sex. If anything, you’d just find new things to get all nervous and mistrust-y about.
point 2: Sex is most definitely distracting. But is that distraction negative? It’s part of your physical makeup. It’s as natural as every other bodily function. Sexual desire is just as much a part of every person as the need for sleep. Sleep is pretty distracting, too, when you think about it. Ever felt sleepy during a business meeting, the drive home, or when reading a book? Sure you have. Sleep takes up at least a third of most people’s lives. Think about how much more we could accomplish if we got rid of sleep. But if you tried it, you’d soon find your body would rebel and force you to take a nap. Denying your body’s natural instincts on purpose, and for an extended length of time, is a bad thing. Why do you think people, even little babies, masturbate?
point 3: I agree that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But I do think that by choosing only companionship, they are cheating themselves out of so much more.
Look, I’ve been in a sexless marriage. And it’s true; I was very productive, channeling my desires and energy into going to school and building a huge web site and getting a great job in a new city. But I also wasn’t very happy. And there were many, many nights that I snuggled with my husband on the couch and felt empty, and I didn’t even know why. When I woke up to my own sexual energy, I realized how sad I’d been, how warped my attitudes and self-esteem had become.Abstinence-only and sexless marriages. Gosh, I hope we as a society can pull it together eventually.

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Vikki McKay
By Vikki McKay

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