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Soldiers in Iraq and sex
January 2, 2006 6:10 PM   Subscribe

The Sex Lives and Sexual Frustrations of US troops in Iraq "Well over a hundred thousand American men and women, most younger than 30, spend a year or more at a time in a foreign country where they are almost totally isolated from the indigenous population. Are all these troops really chaste for those long periods, as called for by military regulations?"
posted by halekon (63 comments total)

 
No wonder they've been trading grisly pictures for pornography.
posted by interrobang at 6:12 PM on January 2, 2006


Having read perhaps 30,000-50,000 articles on Iraq,

... ?
posted by docgonzo at 6:16 PM on January 2, 2006


Well, now's the time for the soldiers in Iraq to read up on frot [NSFW in any way, unless you work in the gay porn industry].
posted by Hildegarde at 6:18 PM on January 2, 2006


Too bad there's no information available. It's mostly just "I wonder what's up with that?"
posted by delmoi at 6:23 PM on January 2, 2006


Well, I had three Iraq vets in my cab Friday night (all three heading back in the near future), and all they talked about was sex, sex, sex. Of course, in that regard they weren't much different than the other 20-something men (and many of the women) I ferry on Fridays & Saturdays. I didn't think to ask how much, if any, access to women they'd found over there. My guess would be very, very little.

I believe I have now offered as many facts as the author of the article, yeah?
posted by Banky_Edwards at 6:34 PM on January 2, 2006


You should charge for that kind of information, Banky. Clearly it pays!
posted by Hildegarde at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2006


The author of that article is a tease who promises a great deal, and actually delivers very little.

We better not send *him* out to sexually service troops in Iraq.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2006


Thus, interested female soldiers will have much greater opportunities to find similarly inclined male soldiers than the reverse.

Well, now I know what my new career path should be.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:05 PM on January 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


Bromide. Tea. Sorted! Hey, worked for my dad. Probably.

Come on soldier, buck up! Think of that lovely education you're paying for! Be everything you can be!

Jesus Christ, I didn't get laid for four years in my twenties and I coped by wanking like a wizard. What a bunch of pussies.
posted by Decani at 7:05 PM on January 2, 2006


Yeah really, I wanted hot male on female soldier action and all I got was 'there *may* be houses of prostitution! Pictures! I want *pictures*
posted by mk1gti at 7:12 PM on January 2, 2006


Well, I found this sub-linked article [gay.com] interesting, about the 21-year-old, married National Guardsman pleading guilty to murdering a 17-year-old Iraqi boy in shame after consensual sex.

BTW, did everyone miss this: “Patrick Cockburn mentions in an article on the Green Zone, that prostitutes made regular visits to the zone, which even possessed at least one brothel.” That name must
posted by ijoshua at 7:12 PM on January 2, 2006


um… be made up, or something.
posted by ijoshua at 7:14 PM on January 2, 2006


Well, now's the time for the soldiers in Iraq to read up on frot [NSFW in any way, unless you work in the gay porn industry].

thanks Hildegarde for the link - I never knew that!
posted by Flamingoroad at 7:16 PM on January 2, 2006


Oh, please, ijoshua... we're having an adult conversation about horny soldiers here.
posted by squirrel at 7:16 PM on January 2, 2006


"BTW, did everyone miss this: “Patrick Cockburn..."

Too much frot.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:18 PM on January 2, 2006


One of the guys who was beheaded (there have been so many I don't remember who) was lured into danger by the prospects of sex. I heard this from a friend who is serving over there now who claimed he was briefed on it before heading over. Just what I have heard... could be true of false...
posted by j-urb at 7:53 PM on January 2, 2006


Several of my older ex-military friends would snort and say that at least they aren't in a submarine.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:02 PM on January 2, 2006


And this was one of the biggest reasons that women were not allowed into the military (active duty/front lines) for many many years. A few of the female soldiers that I knew in the past knew damn good & well that they could make men do anything they wanted. They most certainly would exploit that fact for everything that they could. The teasing was relentless, and the women loved it.

It must be a slow news day for this author. Horny soldiers? There might be prostitutes? Gee, I guess he never heard any stories about the first Gulf War. Or Vietnam. Or the Korean War. Or World War II... or, well, basically any college. Men are horny creatures. Women have the goods. Men will go nuts to get those goods. And people are still surprised by this?
posted by drstein at 8:06 PM on January 2, 2006


Are all these troops really chaste for those long periods

yes. lynndie england, for example, conceived immaculately.
posted by quonsar at 8:10 PM on January 2, 2006


Yeah, those women in the military have so much power.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:13 PM on January 2, 2006


You did not just link to Ms. Magazine!
posted by Kwantsar at 8:22 PM on January 2, 2006


One of the guys I work with was a company commander during one deployment. He said he finally decided to ignore all the covert screwing in the tent at night. I think he was in Kuwait, though.
posted by atchafalaya at 8:23 PM on January 2, 2006


Disclaimer: everything I know on this topic is based on rumor, trash talk, and (possibly flawed) personal observation.

AFAIK, there's surprisingly little sex among American troops in Iraq. A conservative culture and dangerous street conditions mean that prostitution is hard to find and kept fairly quiet. Sex between soldiers happens, but for the most part must be kept absolutely secret and seldom ends happily. Sex between soldiers and civilian employees is far more common; many female (non-Iraqi) civilians find themselves with an "honor guard" of admiring officers pretty much everywhere they go.

Pornography, enh. AFAIK they don't tend to tolerate it in the on-base shops run by Iraqis. But plenty of soldiers have access to the Internet (that bountiful and varied fountain of smut) via private satellite connections shared among the hooches.
posted by xthlc at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2006


If he even read 30,000 articles about Iraq, at two minutes per article, that's 41 straight days of reading, 24 hours a day. At eight hours a day, that would require 125 days of reading, devoted to nothing else.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:28 PM on January 2, 2006


You did not just link to Ms. Magazine!

I so did, girlfriend. And I would do it again.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:33 PM on January 2, 2006


I should also mention, though, that they did have a huge rack of condoms for sale at the base PX on Camp Victory.

Unlubricated, because they were theoretically for keeping dust and water out of your gun barrel. They seemed to be VERY popular.
posted by xthlc at 8:34 PM on January 2, 2006



Unlubricated, because they were theoretically for keeping dust and water out of your gun barrel. They seemed to be VERY popular.


I really, really, really want to say something about the symbolism here, but I'm drawing a blank.
posted by teferi at 8:44 PM on January 2, 2006


Fascinating topic, completely empty article. And boy did I want to slap him after that 50,000 article comment. I wouldn't have trusted any of his Iraq sex facts even if he did purport to research any, seeing as how he can't even get the facts about his own life in order. Oh and plus it's Znet.
posted by dgaicun at 8:44 PM on January 2, 2006


A lot of unwanted kids are concieved in porta potties. Sorry, but that's the report I get from the front lines, and it's multiple sourced.
posted by 2sheets at 8:50 PM on January 2, 2006


Well, now's the time for the soldiers in Iraq to read up on frot

How on earth did I reach my current level of sexual perversion and pornographic consumption and never run across this "technique" before?

Mefi teaches me something damn nearly every day.

More here.

"Oxford style". Heh.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:52 PM on January 2, 2006


A lot of unwanted kids are concieved in porta potties.

Note to self: When not wanting kids, stay away from porta potties. Check.
posted by JekPorkins at 8:56 PM on January 2, 2006


Cockburn is pronounced Coburn
posted by A189Nut at 9:01 PM on January 2, 2006


Cockburn is pronounced Coburn

You keep tellin' yourself that, Bruce. But we all know the truth.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:03 PM on January 2, 2006


I'm glad I could bring frot to the metafilter masses, really I am.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:08 PM on January 2, 2006


Emission Accomplished.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:23 PM on January 2, 2006


xthlc, I'd have to disagree. There's a lot of sex going on over there but it's completely taboo to discuss it in print. (Indeed, a lot of Abu Gharib pics were of soldiers having sex with one another, "milamporn," but you only hear about the torture pics.) For a lot of soldiers, armed with a lot of the creature comforts of home, Iraq becomes a high-stakes vacation/dormitory and you can imagine where that leads.
posted by nixerman at 9:24 PM on January 2, 2006


Unlubricated, because they were theoretically for keeping dust and water out of your gun barrel.

Ewww. That could lead to cockburn.
posted by popechunk at 9:27 PM on January 2, 2006


Indeed, a lot of Abu Gharib pics were of soldiers having sex with one another, "milamporn," but you only hear about the torture pics

Link please? Such a welcome relief from torture pics.
posted by Goofyy at 9:46 PM on January 2, 2006


Wow, Hildegard, that NSFW gay pr0n frot link has the best use of a novelty Star Trek font ever: cockrub warriors rule!
posted by Nelson at 9:48 PM on January 2, 2006


You philistine, Nelson, that's a Babylon 5 font!
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:01 PM on January 2, 2006


I'm fairly sure there was a lot of frot going on among the crew of the original Enterprise...
posted by Hildegarde at 10:02 PM on January 2, 2006


Oh, also the crew of...uh...Babylon 5. (Is that a ship too? Let's hope so!)
posted by Hildegarde at 10:03 PM on January 2, 2006


Several of my older ex-military friends would snort and say that at least they aren't in a submarine.

Yes, but did they know about frot? Perfect for submarines!

Dom marines, too.
posted by mediareport at 10:04 PM on January 2, 2006


The story gets it wrong, from what I can tell. Prostitution isn't that common from what I can see with my interactions with other soldiers.

What is common, however, are a bunch of guys hanging out in common areas, watching porn and, apparently, getting off while doing so. I've read accounts of this from several soldiers so far. Whether that results in homosexual acts privately, I don't know. I assume it might now and then, but privacy is a hard-to-find commodity. I think part of the reason they are getting off together in public is actually because they can make a more public show of not being gay that way. You watch some porn, objectify some bimbos, and get off in a way that minds your own business. That's what's apparently most acceptable in Marine culture.

You also have to take into account that almost every major military base has a large amount of foriegn workers on it, who do not have the same restrictions that the soldiers do. A soldier told me about how gay sex in their tents were OMFG indiscreet and much more common amongst foriegn workers, with some of them effeminately cruising outside the tents, then meeting up as a group inside certain tents at certain times. Presumably, they would also flirt with other available soldiers.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:36 PM on January 2, 2006


(Sung to the tune of The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man")

Lord, I got laid in a Porto-San
Secretly screwin' in Iraq and Afghanistan
When it's time for conceivin'
I hope you'll understand
That I was born a frottin' man
posted by fandango_matt at 10:48 PM on January 2, 2006


"Frot," eh? I never knew it had a name.

Submarines, WolfDaddy? Think we ought to explain to MeFites about the concept of a "patrol sock"?
posted by alumshubby at 11:07 PM on January 2, 2006


Thus, interested female soldiers will have much greater opportunities to find similarly inclined male soldiers than the reverse.

Where is this not true?

You watch some porn, objectify some bimbos, and get off in a way that minds your own business. That's what's apparently most acceptable in Marine culture.
posted by insomnia_lj


Where is this not true?

Actually, I have some friends in the marines and ran that by them insomnia and they claim it's bunk and that it sounded like typical marine bashing. Well, you know, par for the course, right?
posted by justgary at 11:23 PM on January 2, 2006


last time I endured conditions like that for years on end I got an engineering degree out of it.
posted by kcm at 11:44 PM on January 2, 2006


To avoid ambiguity, frot is no longer known as frottage.

Whew! Just saved me some embarrassment.

(Although neither is in the spellchecker. Not in the speechmaker either.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:52 PM on January 2, 2006


"I have some friends in the marines and ran that by them insomnia and they claim it's bunk and that it sounded like typical marine bashing..."

I've heard multiple such accounts from Marines. Here's a recent one from Christmas Eve.

"The guys were watchin porn an shit. Can't tell you enough how old that gets. So stuck on a tv screen. I need the real fucking thing. "Jarhead" is oddly similar to the situation. Funny how guys crowd around in a huddle to watch porn and satisfy a "major" aspiration to them. I can't blame them I ain't perfect. . . I just feel there's more to it than that though while these guys talk about it all the time."
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:27 AM on January 3, 2006


Gun's goin off
posted by the cuban at 3:11 AM on January 3, 2006


my "experiences" with sex in the military:

1. i didn't have any when i wasn't supposed to.

2. i know of half a dozen officers who got dismissed (and at least one time confinement) for adultery or conduct unbecoming. i don't actually know of any who got "caught" being homosexual, but of course we all know that that is immediate dismissal.

3. a good friend of mine worked on the kennedy, and she said her friends would actually make a LOT of money from male soldiers keeping them entertained, shall we say.

4. i totally believe that a bunch of marines would get together and wank. a bunch of frat boys doing what frat boys do best. i never did it, and i can't imagine officers doing that...but i'm sure it happens.

5. wife swapping is way more common than in the general public. and it's not just swapping..it's letting your wife go get fucked by some marine whenever you're afloat cause you know you'll get to do the same to his wife. in this kind of environment you have gotta believe that the sex doesn't stop for the serviceman that's called away. he's gotta keep up with his wife, so he bangs whatever he can.

6. i have no proof...you'll have to choose to believe me or not.
posted by taumeson at 6:18 AM on January 3, 2006


In the book version of "blackhawk down" the author describes the sex lives of the soldures in somalia, which basicaly amounted to a lot of masterbation.
posted by delmoi at 7:14 AM on January 3, 2006


nixerman: that's cool, I'm quite ready to be wrong on this. I knew there was quite a bit going on under the radar -- since I was a (non-female) civilian who had zero leisure time, I wasn't privy to much of it.

However, I'd still say that there's probably nowhere near as much sex in Iraq as there has been in past conflicts. A whole host of factors (cultural context, the new and more prudish military, etc) contribute to that.
posted by xthlc at 7:37 AM on January 3, 2006


I once asked a career submarine guy what they did for sex when on patrol for 18 months at a stretch.
His reply: "You put your shorts on backward."
posted by nofundy at 8:00 AM on January 3, 2006


A former student — nuclear submarine — told me, "Well, you know what they say: A sub goes down with 100 men and comes up with 50 couples." I must confess I was astonished and raised my eyebrows involuntarily.

As to the original post, I raised my eyebrows over the 50,000 article item myself. The rest was equally uninformative. I could deal with prurience or with analysis, but lame conjecture? Feh.

Good job on the prurience, the rest of you. Anybody got any analysis?
posted by ancientgower at 11:18 AM on January 3, 2006


Thus, interested female soldiers will have much greater opportunities to find similarly inclined male soldiers than the reverse.

Where is this not true?


In the places where I spend my time, it seems, i.e., English and art classes, the publishing industry.
posted by orange swan at 12:03 PM on January 3, 2006


So frot was coined in 2000 was it? Bollocks - frottage is a much older term that that. Any time you were dry humping when you were a teen? That was frot too.

I am stunned that none of you knew this.
posted by longbaugh at 12:43 PM on January 3, 2006


What taumeson said.

insomnia_lj is right about common room porn. It’s just that everyone disappears for a bit from time to time.

Subs from what I understand are actually easier because you’re working so damn much.

“A few of the female soldiers that I knew in the past knew damn good & well that they could make men do anything they wanted” - posted by drstein

“Yeah, those women in the military have so much power.” -posted by Hildegarde

Tensions and stakes are a lot higher in these situations. A woman keeps shaking her ass at a guy, giving it to everyone else, forcing a guy to pay her, etc - there could be some problems. I’m not justifying rape - but it’s a vastly different animal in the military in certain circumstances than it is when some frat boy date rapes someone. Very very different. I’ve actually prevented a rape and everyone involved thought I was an asshole, because they were trying to play each other. Sounded to me like she might be getting raped. I heard “no” quite a few times. Some crying. No screaming though. But I got involved and suddenly I’m a dick for it.
What do I know? I’m not a player. I was celibate for 2 years straight - more than that on and off when I was overseas. (It’s called discipline). Apparently my black and white sense of ethics was way out of line. (It was two guys btw. Not a moral thing for me. They could orgy as much as they like I wouldn’t bat an eye. I hear “no, please” and crying, I tend to want to get involved - apparently not the right move though. Meh, I’m the one that has to live with it. Doing something or not. I’d do it again. It’s my world as much as anyones. Kitty Geovese comes to mind.)

There are many women who do manipulate out of their paygrade. Pisses a lot of people off. Most of the women I’ve served with were better than average though and had excellent military bearing.

I in no way endorse violence against woman. Similarly however, I cannot stomach the use of sex to gain advantages from the people one is supposed to be loyal to.
(There are degrees of course, and obviously there can be misperceptions, I’m speaking of only the most egregious examples.)

It’s pretty easy to find time to jack yourself off though.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:03 PM on January 3, 2006


That’d be - better than the average troop - not better than the problem children using sex to manipulate people.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:05 PM on January 3, 2006


Any time you were dry humping when you were a teen? That was frot too.

I am stunned that none of you knew this.


And color me stunned that none of my gay peers seem to remember that "let's just cuddle" back in the 80s was a euphemism for getting your frot on.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2006


All y'all that are surprised to hear about frot, wait until you hear about snoodling.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:15 PM on January 3, 2006


posted by mr_crash_davis wait until you hear about snoodling.

Don't forget to tip.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:58 AM on January 4, 2006


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