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When health takes a back seat to ... taste?
September 8, 2003 6:49 AM   Subscribe

We already knew that frequent masturbation might cut prostate cancer risk. But it turns out that this is not a message fit for American families. The details of the Lewinsky episode splattered across front pages of the US and abroad come to mind, but also Nancy Reagan pleading for stem research.
posted by magullo (90 comments total)

 
I detect a new euphemism being born here.

"Hey, son, whatta ya doin' in there?"

"Fighting cancer."
posted by jonmc at 7:00 AM on September 8, 2003


Note no one has said they're offended - it's media types deciding readers might be offended.

What if we were all as easily shocked/offended/outraged as media types think we are?
posted by orange swan at 7:12 AM on September 8, 2003


"To me this boils down to a taste issue," Bacha said.

Um . . . never mind.

Hey, Doonesbury is just getting around to this?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:16 AM on September 8, 2003


I can understand the concern on the part of these media types, as much as I disagree with their actions.

The fact of the matter is that if you have 100,000 readers and something offends 1% of them, you have a thousand offended people, some of whom are likely to be a royal pain in the ass. I can see the logic that it's not worth the trouble, when all you want to do is run your business selling advertisements and papers and not worry about trouble caused by the one page of comics that most newspapers seem to treat as a neccessary evil
posted by mosch at 7:19 AM on September 8, 2003


The fact of the matter is that if you have 100,000 readers and something offends 1% of them, you have a thousand offended people, some of whom are likely to be a royal pain in the ass.

No point in doing anything then ... which would leave us all some extra cancer fighting time
posted by ElvisJesus at 7:23 AM on September 8, 2003


What I want to know is, as a woman, can I fight cancer too? Or do I just have to do it for the fun of it?
posted by orange swan at 7:25 AM on September 8, 2003


I don't know why I keep fooling myself into thinking we've come out of the dark ages. People still have a problem with masturbation? Get a life people, its completely harmless! In fact, according to this article, it could be beneficial. Never mind, I'll crawl back into my hallucination.
posted by PigAlien at 7:25 AM on September 8, 2003


So the majority should be held ransom by a bigotted minority?
Great.
Leaving all the sex shuff aside- thats a 30% cut in prostate cancer they were talking about, thats really quite significant.
posted by PaddyJames at 7:27 AM on September 8, 2003


I can respect that people who run newspapers have to run a financially viable operation and do have to care about what their readers think - but surely that's compatible with just forging ahead with some great provacative content.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on September 8, 2003


What I want to know is, as a woman, can I fight cancer too?

I'm sure you can give some of the male MeFites a hand.
posted by biffa at 7:50 AM on September 8, 2003


orange swan - you can fight cancer too, but it works a bit differently for women. I don't known about ovarian cancer (in this regard) but it has been shown that breast feeding reduces rates of breast cancer in women.

This is actually really disturbing if you think about it:

Breast feeding reduces breast cancer because it flushes accumulated toxins - like PCB's dioxins, and so on - out of the mammary glands and right into............your newborn baby.

As usual (except for the little problems of underdeveloped emotional and social intelligence, or of testosterone driven aggression leading to outbursts of violence.....) the boys get it easy.
posted by troutfishing at 7:54 AM on September 8, 2003


I'm sure you can give some of the male MeFites a hand.


They can fight their own cancer like the men they claim to be.

Unless they're young, single, and cute.
posted by orange swan at 8:05 AM on September 8, 2003


"I'm out"
posted by johnny7 at 8:12 AM on September 8, 2003


I didn't mean to defend the spineless behaviour of being held hostage by a vocal minority, but I can understand it.

Modern society is constantly manipulated into believing massive lies, and I'd imagine that most peple in the media business realize this. After a while, I could easily imagine how they could giveup on the idealistic goals of a new reporter and just try to find the least stressful way to survive.

After all, cutting a comic to avoid the letters saying 'my son saw a comic which says that masturbation is healthy! I signed up for the newspaper, not PLAYBOY! I'm cancelling my subscription!' must seem relatively minor compared to the fact that most local papers give extrmely rosy pictures of world affairs, are pressured not to report any issues with the local school district (by those lucrative real estate agents), or citizens of local influence.

They know they're a joke, they're just trying to survive.
posted by mosch at 8:16 AM on September 8, 2003


Every sperm is sacred,
every sperm is great,
when a sperm is wasted,
god gets quite irate.....
posted by brettski at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2003


There doesn't seem to be such a thing as negative press now. For prissy crackjob who cancels his/her subscription there'll be fifty more buying the paper to find out what the buzz is about. I can understand the worries - but man, some defiance is definitely in order when it means content is getting sacrificed.
posted by orange swan at 8:27 AM on September 8, 2003


And all along I thought there was no such thing as bad publicity. Oh, well, another one bites the dust.
posted by magullo at 8:28 AM on September 8, 2003


Outlawyr:
Hey, Doonesbury is just getting around to this?

Well, since it's a Sunday comic there's a rather lengthy delay between the artist doing the comic, and it being published. My memory is a month or two, which would fit with this delay.
posted by skynxnex at 8:32 AM on September 8, 2003


And the US is the country that makes "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" which has a credit for a music score by Thomas Wanker. chortle
posted by Blue Stone at 8:32 AM on September 8, 2003


'my son saw a comic which says that masturbation is healthy! I signed up for the newspaper, not PLAYBOY! I'm cancelling my subscription!'

The correct answer to this is, of course, "You can take your stupid subscription and shove it up your stupid ass, stupid. We don't need to take money from ignorant throwbacks like you, and we eagerly antcipate the day when you have all finally died off. We are, frankly, surprised that someone with your tenuous grasp on reality can read in the first place. We will pray for your son. Stupid."
posted by majcher at 8:50 AM on September 8, 2003


I was in Fort Worth over the weekend. The Startlegram pulled the strip and even had an editorial explaining why.

One of the exercises in training for crisis lines is to test the ability to handle certain topics. People are paired up and each must speak for one minute on any word thrown out by the trainer. The last word in this exercise is generally "masturbation". Two or three people in every class will either drop out or be cut because of their inability or refusal to deal with the topic. (My partner on that particular night was a drop-dead gorgeous woman. Blushing and tang-tungled, I believe I conveyed the impression that I was constantly masturbating and would, in fact, be commencing again shortly so we'd better shake hands now, hah-hah. What a nightmare.)
posted by joaquim at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2003


The comments on this thread make me laugh. Out loud. You guys are wacky. (That's a good thing.)
posted by jdroth at 9:39 AM on September 8, 2003


We don't need to take money from ignorant throwbacks like you, and we eagerly antcipate the day when you have all finally died off.

Of course, media execs don't really think like this. Getting every possible red cent from every possible consumer is job number one.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:47 AM on September 8, 2003


tang-tungled

How does one tungle one's tang?

Your're right, WolfDaddy, corporate types go for the bird in the hand rather than the twenty in the bush every time. (Yeah, yeah, so I've set someone up with an easy parallel between my metaphor and the topic of this thread.)

One time I was in a meeting in which I explained that the product I was editing contained info that could all be found for free on the Internet, and in a format far more complete and up to the minute than I could ever hope to simulate. Our marketing manager explained that this same product was declining in subscriptions every year. The VP of my department leaned back and said, thoughtfully, "So, ideally, we'd raise the price every year by enough to make up for the subscribers that we're losing so that our numbers would be flat."

I got a vision of a last, holdout subscriber paying $500,000/year for the product and started giggling. Heads swivelled in my direction. I made some sort of non-apology for being the subversive element in the meeting. Everyone laughed - but I'm still editing the product as is.
posted by orange swan at 10:08 AM on September 8, 2003


The m-word? Talk about sexually repressed. I can just imagine what sort of mother's these guys have.
posted by carfilhiot at 10:52 AM on September 8, 2003


... splattered across front pages ...

Heh.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:21 AM on September 8, 2003


There's really litle parental control over newspaper content. Kids of any age can get to most of them. Unlike not wishing your child to see cartoons of kids masturbating dogs to completion, which requires only locking out the Comedy Channel.
posted by HTuttle at 11:21 AM on September 8, 2003


Obviously most of you must not have children. Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me. (Obviously, when they are a bit older explanations aren't necessary or welcome.) My take is that if Doonesbury is carried in the regular comics section, they shouldn't run the particular strip. Not all papers do; some run it elsewhere, like the editorial page.
posted by konolia at 11:38 AM on September 8, 2003


Obviously most of you must not have children. Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me.

And isn't that a great standard for deciding where public discurse should go! Talking about uncomfortable things is usually more important than talking about fun and harmless things.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:06 PM on September 8, 2003


Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me.

By that argument, we chould probably edit out the entire Bush administration (not that that's a bad idea)
posted by ElvisJesus at 12:08 PM on September 8, 2003


Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me.

no duh. neither does death, violence, or Santa.

all of which (and, yes, masturbation) are (for most xians) necessary topics of discussion with children. the sooner the better.

if a child is old enough to read Doonesbury, he/she is old enough to discuss masturbation. yes, i could read at an early age ;)

newspapers can print whatever the hell they want, however. it's not like they have a monopoly or something ... oh wait.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:14 PM on September 8, 2003


oh, and believe me, after they're older, explanations and discussion are still welcome and/or necessary. you should see some of these dumbass kids today.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:15 PM on September 8, 2003


Obviously most of you must not have children.

Obviously, because your experience raising children is the only one that matters. This is the problem with conservative viewpoints--they fail, by definition, to consider that other ways of thinking are valid.

I have a (nearly) eleven year old stepson, and I am very well prepared to have the Masturbation Talk, which will probably be necessary pretty soon. It won't be "fun", but I have no apprehensions about it, because I don't have any personal hangups about the subject to get in the way.
posted by jpoulos at 12:25 PM on September 8, 2003


Hmm... Young? check. Single? check. Cute? check.
I can fight my cancer with the best of them, but, really, can we afford to leave that to chance?

Doonesbury has always gotten a lot of flack for being in the comics section as opposed to being in, say, the editorial pages. On the other hand, it's not sandwiched between "Slylock Fox" and "Eggers" either. I think most kids (and a fair number of adults) skim right on over it. It's what I call the "Zippy Reaction"...
posted by hoborg at 12:29 PM on September 8, 2003


You might try the Dan Connor Masturbation Talk, jpoulos:

"Everyone does it. No one talks about it."
posted by orange swan at 12:29 PM on September 8, 2003


Never mind Doonesbury. The Family Circus is uber suckage.
posted by i_cola at 12:47 PM on September 8, 2003


Sex is so interesting it's forbidden to give any relevant information about it on newspaper. Same goes for what really went wrong in Enron, why did the stock market really crash, what the hell are we doing in Iraq, why were the people in that moscow theatre gassed to death, why does Herbalife run a pyramidal scheme and how to detect it, why your bank isn't the safest place for your money, why 401k is flawed and the list it's so long it takes the internet to publish it. Oh but masturbation is no-no !
posted by elpapacito at 12:50 PM on September 8, 2003


The Family Circus is uber suckage.

I'm totally serious when I say that I find the worldview expressed by Family Circus far more dangerous to kids than anything they'd read in Doonesbury.
posted by jpoulos at 12:58 PM on September 8, 2003



Every sperm is sacred,
every sperm is great,
when a sperm is wasted,
god gets quite irate.....


Am I going to hell because I had a wet dream?

Get lost.
posted by andryeevna at 1:13 PM on September 8, 2003


Easy there, cowboy.
posted by DaShiv at 1:18 PM on September 8, 2003


ah forgive me, I didn't recognize Monty Pyhon lyrics.

I like to think I have better taste... *rimshot*
posted by andryeevna at 1:21 PM on September 8, 2003


Obviously most of you must not have children. Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me.

My mother had the same attitude, and contemplating the outcome makes me think that my kids are going to be told as soon as the issue is raised. Regardless of whether I consider it 'fun' or not.

I think if there's one thing I could go back and tell myself age 12, it'd be "don't get screwed up about wanking". Well, that and "buy Microsoft".
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:37 PM on September 8, 2003


Obviously most of you must not have children. Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me.

Kid...check.
Nieces and nephews who come to me for information...check.
Zero freakout factor about explaining masturbation...check.

You may be uncomfortable discussing it, but I'm not. It's not dirty, it's not shameful, it's not wrong. It feels good, it's harmless...and as it turns out for boys...it's good for you. What's the big deal? Once my child is old enough to play with the erector set...I'd much rather it be a solo activity...as I'd rather not have grandchildren that soon.

So, I respect your decision to not discuss things with your child...but don't try to assume that your concept of morality has any more verisimilitude than mine does. And don't try to overlay your filters onto my reality.

Besides, what kid who doesn't know what masturbation is reads Doonsbury anyway?
posted by dejah420 at 1:55 PM on September 8, 2003


Changing the soiled diapers of a child just doesn't sound fun to me. (Obviously, when they are a bit older, interfering with their dirty poo-poo and pee-pee isn't necessary or welcome.)

konolia, I think you may have finally converted me. I will pray to our Lord God every day from now on that I was not born your child. Amen!
posted by majcher at 2:11 PM on September 8, 2003


First-I doubt a nine year old has any need to know about the subject. And any eleven year old probably already knows.

Don't most people figure it out for themselves?


I am not anti-information. I am anti-premature info. There are some topics that can wait. Of course, if a child brings them up, then that's the time whether or not it is my personal preference.
posted by konolia at 2:14 PM on September 8, 2003


Have any of those editors ever popped their cookies? Quite likely.
posted by moonbird at 2:50 PM on September 8, 2003


First-I doubt a nine year old has any need to know about the subject. And any eleven year old probably already knows.

Don't most people figure it out for themselves?


There is a plethora of information and how-to sites on the net, which suggests to me that a lot of people don't figure it out and are looking for info.

And as far as premature info goes, why is nine too early to know about something harmless and pleasurable? You think children don't think about or touch their genitals until they're eleven?

Seriously, it makes me sad how people in this country are so messed up about sexuality. How many parents will cringe thinking about explaining sex or masturbation to their child, but don't give a second thought to said child watching distorted or unexplained sexual imagery on TV?
posted by RylandDotNet at 3:03 PM on September 8, 2003


Well, konolia has a point. We're taliking generally about 'parents' & 'children', but gender does come into it (titter ye not!)

My girl is well of an age to understand and (lord forgive me for even writing this) practice the act. But do you in one moment think I've ever talked about it with her? One word: no.

If she had been a boy, I personally would have found that easier. I'm not so sure that her mother (who thankfully lives across town) will take that one on: either way, she is so net savvy that she can research whatever the hell she wants - it's her brain, and her body.

I usually put myself in the homolefty camp on this sort of thing, but since the Banana Condom Event of 1998, in which excruciating embarassment was shown on her part, sex has been simply a factual & impersonal topic of conversation.

Then again, I am English.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:12 PM on September 8, 2003


Well, konolia has a point.

No she doesn't. You just happen to share the same hangups.

it's her brain, and her body.

What an incredible cop-out. I hope there aren't any more serious subjects you were afraid to talk to your child about.
posted by jpoulos at 4:38 PM on September 8, 2003


I'm sorry, dash_slot-. That was a real asshole way to make my point. I mean no offense.
posted by jpoulos at 5:08 PM on September 8, 2003


Look, boys and girls, I have an opinion, and it is not the same as that as most of you. I have a respect for the innocence of children, and whether you realize it or not they are not constantly consumed by thoughts of sexuality. If a child has a need to know something-or asks a question-the child has a right to information. That information needs to be tailored to the child's age and ability to understand. Which is not the same as an adult's or a teenager's.

You may all be shocked to know that Dr James Dobson wrote a book for young people entering puberty-and the book discusses masturbation in a calm and factual way. That is the age group that is ready for the information. A younger child more than likely isn't.

By the way, my paper ran the cartoon in the editorial section, which is where I personally feel Doonesbury belongs.
posted by konolia at 5:16 PM on September 8, 2003


jp - none taken. In fact, we're much more likely to try and think about the differing opinions on world issues, the latest crap boybands ( she hates 'em more than I do!) and my variable standards in the domestic sphere.

Probably all of which are more important to her than the topic at hand (no, honestly missus!)
posted by dash_slot- at 5:33 PM on September 8, 2003


Despite the protests of the more sexually precocious among us, I think parents are in a better position to judge the individual needs of their own children than strangers over the net.

That is, as long as vital health information isn't being withheld for ideological purposes (or whatever other reasons) when the time comes, of course--especially when directly asked for. This is important stuff: after all, when it comes to fighting cancer, everyone has to do their part. Whatever satisfaction one may derive from fighting the good fight is only incidental.
posted by DaShiv at 5:35 PM on September 8, 2003


I'm with dejah, the issue is whether a child young enough to not know what masturbation is would be reading doonesbury. the answer, i think, is no.
posted by carfilhiot at 8:19 PM on September 8, 2003


konolia: You may all be shocked to know that Dr James Dobson wrote a book for young people entering puberty

THIS James Dobson!? :o Isn't he the guy who's made moral crusades out of suing 7-11 to keep them from carrying Playboy, and such triflings?

Konolia, while I respect your right to hold your opinion, I fear that you are desiring a Nerf-i-zation of the world. Children become adults because of both the intentional and unintentional exposures to grown-up things. There is not now nor has there ever been a crystal clear road map and timetable for children to discover life: we can't wish that kids were like Peter Pan, staying young and "innocent" forever. I'd hardly consider this Doonesbury to be the first inkling of masturbation to those younguns reading the comic, and if it is, then so be it- they're gonna find out sometime, because their biological clocks are not going to wait forever for a parent to get over their blushing awkwardness in discussing the topic of sex with their kids.

One of the joys of childhood is that sense of discovery of these things that others take for granted, the newness to you of things older than human history. Every kid stumbles upon sex in a way no one planned for, and the charm and vibrant energy of adolescence is how in our naivete we as teenagers think we're the first people to ever realize sex was possible- after all, all the wrinkly old grown-ups clearly don't have sex! I have vastly more sex than I did as a 14-year-old (what with the whole divide by zero error), but I'll never again have the same hot-flushed excitement about sex that I did when I was first entering puberty.

Sex is healthy and natural, and most kids who aren't ready to explore their own bodies or talk about sex will have a couldn't-care-less attitude about sex if it's brought up, a shrug-and-whatever response (yet later, when the opposite sex having cooties is no longer the philosophical bent of your child, those informational conversations could help them both make smarter choices as they grow older, and see their parents as trustworthy resources for asking questions about their bodies). Only our hysteria and obsessiveness about keeping sex hidden gives it that allure of something that MUST be tried NOW. No force on heaven or earth will stop your kid from wanking it once he or she figures out how much fun it is; keeping them from being psychological wretches because of their shame regarding their own perfectly normal and healthy urges is about the only reaction you can or should have. I'd hazard that no kid who wasn't already masturbating, or thinking about it, was going to start based on a Doonesbury comic strip, nor will they start shooting heroin and selling their body on the streets. They'll just shrug, and get on with their important kid's work of playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Besides, innocence is a nasty business, best discarded as soon as possible.
posted by hincandenza at 8:56 PM on September 8, 2003


I have a respect for the innocence of children, and whether you realize it or not they are not constantly consumed by thoughts of sexuality. If a child has a need to know something-or asks a question-the child has a right to information.

versus

Having to explain what masturbation is to a child just doesn't sound fun to me. (Obviously, when they are a bit older explanations aren't necessary or welcome.)

So which is it, konolia?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 PM on September 8, 2003


Has anyone here with children, or experience with young children, not known four year-olds to be nearly frantic monkey-rubbers?

The ones I've known sure as heck are.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 PM on September 8, 2003


Lets talk facts here:
Prostate cancer is diagnosed every 2 3/4 minutes, approximately 220,000 new cases each year. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in America among men.

Almost 29,000 American men lose their lives to prostate cancer each year, one death every twenty minutes.

Prostate cancer incidence rates increased 192% between 1973 and 1992.

above stolen from here

One in six American men is at lifetime risk of prostate cancer. If a close relative has prostate cancer, a man's risk of the disease more than doubles. With two relatives, his risk increases fivefold. With three close relatives, his risk is about 97%.

In the next 24 hours, prostate cancer will claim the lives of over 80 American men.
There's a scary line from Chuck Palahniuk's Choke in which the mother claims "We're not living in the enlightenment anymore we're living in the de-lightenment." When I see Bush pushing more lead for children and his appointees claims of the healing power of Jebus it just makes me sick that we're throwing away rationality and good health because of tradition, prudeness, and religious stupidity.

Its not just the newspapers, or the fundies, hell Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders resigned over her stance on masterbation. Its sickening that so much of the American noosphere must pander to the puritans and angry letter writers while prostate cancer is seen as an acceptable fate for "sinners."

In the same line of reasoning, the Bush administration is doing its best to fight stem cell research which could end several diseases in my lifetime. All for faith and religious sophistry. Amazing how low we've sunk recently.

May the outrage never end.

rant stolen from here
posted by skallas at 10:01 PM on September 8, 2003


I have a respect for the innocence of children, and whether you realize it or not they are not constantly consumed by thoughts of sexuality.

konolia: If you're feeling pummeled here I don't wish to add to it, but I will say that it may be worth reflecting upon what you mean by "innocence". I don't see how a child becomes any less innocent by learning that, yes, it feels good to touch yourself there, that it's ok to do so, and that it's polite to enjoy such things in private. Seems like the most innocent thing in the world to me.

And while children are not constantly consumed by thoughts of sexuality, I can say that my younger brother discovered this particular hobby before he was out of diapers. The fact that most little kids haven't connected such activities with thoughts of being sexual with others is irrelevant -- they still benefit from some reassurance that what they might be feeling and doing is normal.

Plus, I imagine that if a kid is old enough to read the word "masturbation" in a comic strip and to ask what it means, then their friends are already talking about it at school. Better that you're there to give them your own guidance.

That said, if people are jumping on you, I'm guessing it's because they're angry about the harm that sex-negative attitudes cause (rightly so), and by piping up you've become a nice tangible target for all that resentment (which is perhaps unfair).
posted by boredomjockey at 10:01 PM on September 8, 2003


It must scare the hell out of some people that hedonism is natural and good for you. Afterall, homo sapiens didn't evolve by not spanking it, getting it on, and relieving stress through psychotropics.
posted by skallas at 10:03 PM on September 8, 2003


Also, lets no limit ourselves to the funny papers. Remember our old Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders?
The first question that happened to be asked of Joycelyn Elders at this United Nations World AIDS Day Conference: "...if masturbation might be taught as a way to prevent AIDS?" Joycelyn Elders replied, "masturbation is something that is a part of human sexuality, and is a part of something that perhaps should be taught".

Joycelyn Elders was fired by President Clinton one week later
for "values contrary to the administration."
source
posted by skallas at 10:23 PM on September 8, 2003


I don't see how a child becomes any less innocent by learning that, yes, it feels good to touch yourself there, that it's ok to do so, and that it's polite to enjoy such things in private.

"Innocence" is often defined as knowing nothing about sexual topics or not having engaged in sexual activity. Whether protecting a child's innocence (thus defined) for as long as possible is a laudable goal or symptomatic of a pathologically repressed lifestyle is an argument for another day.
posted by kindall at 11:04 PM on September 8, 2003


The first rule of the wank club is that nobody talks about the wank club. Unless you're Phil Collins and you're starring in Miami Vice. But that's a whole different story.
posted by seanyboy at 12:04 AM on September 9, 2003


Yes, hindcandenza, THAT James Dobson.

It both amuses me and annoys me that I keep getting painted as this anticommunication and antisex prude. I am nothing of the sort.

Only our hysteria and obsessiveness about keeping sex hidden gives it that allure of something that MUST be tried NOW

I call horsefeathers on that one. The last thing that is hidden these days is sex. You can't get away from it unless you blow up the tv and radio, toss out the paper, and in general seal yourself in a bomb shelter.

Now according to your theory, the fact that sex and sexual things are NOT hidden means that there isn't that much of an allure. Well folks, kids are fornicating like rabbits all over the place.

When I was younger and sex was treated a bit more discreetly, some of it was still going on but nothing like this.

I am thinking of a song-if I am right it was Shirley Bassey-"Is That All There Is?"....

Sex is not bad. But hedonism has the potential to destroy a society. Undisciplined sex drives can and do cause a lot of grief. I'm sorry if you can't understand that.
posted by konolia at 4:16 AM on September 9, 2003


The last thing that is hidden these days is sex.

Actually, sex does remain hidden. What we are bombarded with is the commercialization of sex. And the refusal of many folks to talk frankly about the true nature of sex (that it is a good thing, that there is nothing immoral about it, but that it does come with cost and responsibility) only helps to make the bastard child legitimate.

My wife was watching an Oprah makeover show the other day and she could not believe that I actually prefer women WITHOUT make up. I'm not saying that I don't enjoy some nice lingerie once in a while (or porno for that matter), but the essence of sexuality, for me at least, is much simpler and plainer. And we are far from bombarded with THAT sex.
posted by ElvisJesus at 5:49 AM on September 9, 2003


There is not now nor has there ever been a crystal clear road map and timetable for children to discover life.

If there is one, it's the road map that "God" gave us in the path of our own physical development. I don't understand how the Pious reconcile the fact that zod thinks people should be ready for sex at 12, with their own beliefs that they must wait for many years after that.

As for the rest of your comment, hincandenza, you used the S-E-X word so many times, I got flustered and stopped reading. Was it a good one?
posted by jpoulos at 7:04 AM on September 9, 2003


(Not that I think 12 year-olds should be having sex, of course. God said that.)
posted by jpoulos at 7:05 AM on September 9, 2003


Well, konolia, I'm with you up to but not including that hedonism-destroying-society sentence. I think most of the posters on this thread are knocking the notion of nurturing and protecting children's natural development because, frankly, it's tough. It takes a lot of work and a lot of commitment. But to pretend that the media world we live in - where sex, violence and greed are glorified, commodified and amplified to a nearly inescapable level - is something natural that kids should just get used to as soon as possible - that's nothing more than throwing up your hands and surrendering. I refuse to do that, and I admire those who work to counter that cultural steamroller, whether I agree with all their other views or not.

That said, however, for anyone whose children do watch TV, whose children do play video games, whose children do go to schools where making them grow up as fast as possible is the overriding goal - seeing a thoughtful Doonesbury cartoon such as this would hardly make a difference.

And speaking of making a difference, since skallas posted all that data about prostate cancer, just remember there is another thing you can do to prevent it: Stop Eating Animal Fats.
posted by soyjoy at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2003


hedonism has the potential to destroy a society

Nice try, Konolia. Why do I keep hearing from you that you're not an uber-prude and then get again and again uber-prude remarks from your. Sodom and Gomorra this time, no less.

Undisciplined sex drives can and do cause a lot of grief

I guess you missed the part where health benefits clash with moral concerns. I know where I am on that one, but it sure sounds you're completely lost.
posted by magullo at 7:50 AM on September 9, 2003


Make that "moral" concerns.
posted by magullo at 7:51 AM on September 9, 2003


It both amuses me and annoys me that I keep getting painted as this anticommunication and antisex prude. I am nothing of the sort.

Then why, oh why, do you keep saying anticommunication/antisex things?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:56 AM on September 9, 2003


I say things that you perceive as anti sex because I adhere to what God says about sex. He created it (no matter what Skallas says) so He knows more about it than the rest of you. Like a lot of things in life, sex has its proper time and place. I can tell you that when I started obeying God on the subject, that part of life turned out to be better, not worse.

On the other hand, if I believed in recreational sex before marriage, multiple partners, same-gender sex, sex for teenagers, etc., you would consider me enlightened and nonprudish.

Well, no thank you. I don't like to have to be concerned with unwanted pregnancy, genital warts, cervical cancer, AIDS,herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or having to wonder if my partner likes me or just likes to screw.

Have fun, folks. I like my peace of mind.
posted by konolia at 11:15 AM on September 9, 2003


Um, remember when I said "I admire those who work to counter that cultural steamroller, whether I agree with all their other views or not?" See above for those other views.
posted by soyjoy at 11:43 AM on September 9, 2003


Arguing logically with konolia is like dancing about architecture.
posted by jpoulos at 12:24 PM on September 9, 2003


*dances about architecture*

Just admit we disagree and get it over with. No more and no less than that.
posted by konolia at 12:57 PM on September 9, 2003


Let's see...driving above the speed limit is fun. Lots of people do it. Many people see nothing wrong with it. Most of the time you won't have an accident.

But when that blue light comes after you, I doubt the highway patrolman will be impressed by your impeccable logic.
posted by konolia at 1:00 PM on September 9, 2003


It's not that I perceive your comments as anti-sex: they actually are anti-sex.

You state flat out that talking about masturbation with your kids is discomforting and that older kids do not need to know the facts.

The kids in my life were chronic self-diddlers when they were toddlers. Their mother and I made a concerted effort to not foobar their self-image by getting all freaky and uncomfortable about it. We let them know that while it's a grand feeling, they needed to do it in the privacy of their bedrooms. This wasn't an uncomfortable conversation: indeed, it was kind of amusing, because they were just so blithely unaware that the behaviour wasn't one society would condone for public viewing.

What did you do when your four year-old was self-pleasuring? And how does it jive with your original statements of "uncomfortable" and "unnecessary"?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:28 PM on September 9, 2003


Kids might be curious, but they don't do that for the same reason adults do. I have three children and I never ever saw that kind of behavior. Not because I said anything about it either.

If a kid has his hands down his pants that much something is wrong.
posted by konolia at 1:48 PM on September 9, 2003


Uh-huh.

See, that is why you have this reputation of being an uptight, clueless prude.

And you're also wrong. I speak from well-remembered personal experience as a masturbating pre-pubescent ten year old, that the reason I did it was exactly the same reason I do it now: it feels damn fine. I was fully aware of what I was doing and why I was doing it and how to do it to the best of my ability.

But of course in your eyes, that means I must have been a perverted child with some sort of deep-seated "wrong" in my life. Heaven knows that it couldn't have been simple biological imperative!

Anyway, I took the opportunity to ask the kids, back when they were playing with themselves in the livingroom and back yard, why they did it.

The girl, four or five years old, said that it was because it felt good. The boy did it sometimes because it felt good, and sometimes because his foreskin was feeling tight. The pediatrician agreed that he should keep at it, to help the foreskin stretch, and that the problem would resolve itself. It did.

Your reputation is accurate and well-deserved, konolia.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:41 PM on September 9, 2003


> Let's see...driving above the speed limit is fun.

Worst. Analogy. Ever.

Driving fast has no health benefits. Not that I expect much out of a fundie, but this is below your usual standards.
posted by skallas at 2:56 PM on September 9, 2003


If you had read as many parenting books and magazines as I have you might have a different perspective.

And haven't you ever heard that if a child is sexually precocious it might be a sign of child molestation?

Fish, IF I wanted to be nasty (and I really don't) I could say you seemed like a sex-obsessed fiend. I see no reason why this subject has to be so polarized.
posted by konolia at 3:07 PM on September 9, 2003


Lest there be any misunderstanding, I didn't just call Fish a sex fiend. I am simply saying that the sex fiend/prude labels are too limiting for this topic. There are lots of views along the entire spectrum.

But I still disagree that moral=prude. My husband can verify that.
posted by konolia at 3:09 PM on September 9, 2003


If you had read as many child development texts, taken as many child development university-level courses, and been involved in as many children's lives as I have, you might have a perspective based on reality.

As for your second short paragraph, you should take extreme notice of that might in it. The specific children I have mentioned are definitively not molested. Nor, for that matter, have I ever been molested. But we've all enjoyed playing with our own selves (and all in the privacy of our own bedrooms, now we're all past the age of five!)

Be as nasty as you want. "Sex fiend" is an epithet I can live with; it's a hell of a lot better than being a prude. Especially a prude who I strongly suspect has had more sexual partners than the fiend!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on September 9, 2003


*falls down laughing*
posted by jpoulos at 5:45 PM on September 9, 2003


Fish, some of us learn from our mistakes.

[ETYMOLOGY: 18th Century: from French, from prudefemme, from Old French prode femme respectable woman; see proud]

Okay, from now on when you all call me a prude I am simply going to read it as respectable woman.
posted by konolia at 4:04 AM on September 10, 2003


Well, I'm way late to this discussion, but would like to say that I'm impressed konolia keeps coming back here after the shit she gets every time she expresses her opinion. Especially after a comment like this: a prude who I strongly suspect has had more sexual partners than the fiend. WTF, fff - totally uncalled for.

FWIW, I agree with konolia that there is way too much cheap sexuality floating around in the media and often kids are having to make interpretations and decisions before they can make educated ones.

That being said, I believe the problem is not enough real information about sexuality, not too much. Kids who are brought up to feel good about their bodies, know that pleasure derived from it is a wonderful thing, and have been told and shown the results of unsafe sex are in a much better position to make good decisions than kids whose only exposure is Britney Spears, Playboy and chatrooms.

Masturbation, sex, nudity - they're natural and healthy. And feel good. American society would be revolutionized if sex could be dealt with honestly, without the horrible double standards omnipresent in media. The US could stand to take a page or two from Scandinavia in that regard.
posted by widdershins at 9:48 AM on September 10, 2003


Uncalled for how? She did compare me to, if not called me, a sex fiend.

I think it's ironic that despite that suggestion, I've had exactly one sexual partner. It is no stretch at all to imagine that konolia has had at least two, and probably three, times more sexual partners than I.

Only thing fiendish about me is that I think children have sexual lives (Amazon book review).
posted by five fresh fish at 11:19 PM on September 10, 2003


I'm sorry, fff, I didn't realize that you were comparing konolia's sex partners to your own. I read it as "more sexual partners than a fiend"... Either way, I don't think speculation about the number of konolia's sex partners is particularly appropriate or cogent. She wasn't being nasty - she said you seemed like a sex-obsessed fiend, and then pointed out right afterwards that she wasn't calling you one.

Anyway. This isn't my battle; sorry for butting in. I misread you and thought you were making unprovoked personal attacks on konolia, that's all.
posted by widdershins at 7:13 AM on September 11, 2003


Widdershins, I appreciated the kind words.

Fish, we weren't talking about personal lives per se, we were talking words on a screen. IF you searched out everything I have written on this site, you will see I never claimed to be a paragon of virtue in my youth.
posted by konolia at 7:53 AM on September 11, 2003


I don't think I ever said I thought you were a paragon of virtue. Which is why I figured it was pretty safe to claim that you've had more partners.

My point is that despite my open attitudes toward sex -- ie. that it's a great thing, that kids should know what it's about, that I'm not at all shy about talking about it with them, that I'd even encourage it over intercourse -- I am not the sleaze you seem to imagine I am.

I'd rather talk openly and honestly about sex with my kids, than to have them screwing around behind my back because they don't trust me to not freak out or get weird should they approach me.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on September 11, 2003


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