Heavy Petting
March 3, 2001 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Heavy Petting - Peter Singer (bioethics professor, animal rights guru, frequently admired or hated Australian philosopher) discusses bestiality, which is probably much more popular than you imagine: "In the 1940s, Kinsey asked twenty thousand Americans about their sexual behavior, and found that 8 percent of males and 3.5 percent of females stated that they had, at some time, had a sexual encounter with an animal. Among men living in rural areas, the figure shot up to 50 percent. "
posted by pracowity (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
for another piece on this, see:
posted by Postroad at 6:19 AM on March 3, 2001

Kinsey's work was debunked as intentionally fraudulent years ago. (While I have the information in my personal library, I'm too busy this morning to find a link on the internet. I'm sure someone more industrius than myself will do that later.)
posted by gd779 at 6:25 AM on March 3, 2001

From the article: They may also take advantage of the sucking reflex of calves to get them to do a blowjob.

No no no! You probably don't want to hear the details, but I recently had to put my fingers into a day old calf's mouth to encourage a sucking response, and the teeth marks lasted all day. Calves also have a habit of head-butting their mothers' udder quite violently.

(Realising with some discomfort that this was the first MeFi post where he sounded like he actually knew what he was talking about, Ceiriog withdrew quietly...)
posted by ceiriog at 6:50 AM on March 3, 2001

Postroad's link is about the Zapatistas (previous thread).
posted by ceiriog at 7:21 AM on March 3, 2001

thanks Ceirog. I screw up a lot, esp. early in the day. I count on guys like you to help me keep the True Path. I had till now counted on my ex wife but that did not work out. The sheep is man's best friend, though there may be some who would enjoy what you found painful as described in your post. For sheep: wear hipboots.
posted by Postroad at 7:36 AM on March 3, 2001

> While I have the information in my personal library,
> I'm too busy this morning to find a link on the internet.

The only thing I've found on the web so far looks like a John Birch-style site that, in an interview, wildly praises the author of 'Kinsey, Sex and Fraud' for confronting what the interviewer calls the absurd "scientific" claims of the militant sexologists for the moral legitimacy and "normalcy" of homosexuality, pornography, pedophilia, incest, sadomasochism, adultery, group sex — virtually any and every sexual deviancy imaginable.

Is that the book in your library?
posted by pracowity at 7:45 AM on March 3, 2001

Debunking Kinsey is going to be a complicated enterprise at the best of times, because many attempts to do so have been based upon prejudice and a refusal to confront the variety and depth of human sexual experience. That doesnt of course mean Kinsey was right, but that someone highly respected and high profile has to support the findings of new scientific studies...
posted by barbelith at 7:54 AM on March 3, 2001

Kinsey's work was flawed, sometimes seriously, by modern sociological standards, and no serious researchers take at face value -- for example -- his figure of 10% for the incidence of homosexuality. But the canard that it was all fraudulent has been pushed by enemies with a political agenda: see one scholar's review of the primary source for the fraud claims. (Note that the review has been moderated down. Read it and judge for yourself why it has been rated so poorly.) The basic argument presented is that Kinsey's research was flawed, and all positive viewpoints on sex presented since Kinsey are based on Kinsey's research, therefore anything that presents a positive viewpoint on sex is based on flawed research. That only passes logical muster if you accept the ridiculous assertion that nobody has learned anything about sex in the last fifty years that they didn't read in Kinsey. It's a very circular argument, actually: Kinsey said having lots of sex was okay; people started having lots of sex because of Kinsey; any subsequent research discovers (gasp!) that people are having lots of sex.
posted by dhartung at 8:07 AM on March 3, 2001

But the way, I hope everybody clicked 'females' in the original posting. That was my fave.
posted by pracowity at 8:52 AM on March 3, 2001

I have read several things that debunked Kinsey. None of them, as far as I know, were simply doing so to try and disprove the theory of homosexuals being 10% of the pop. or other ulterior motives. Unfortunately, all of the things I remember reading have been offline.

I believe one of the problems with Kinsey was that most of the men he researched were in prison, possibly raising the chances of rape and the like being common. I'm not sure of this information but I seem to recall something of this nature.
posted by crushed at 9:15 AM on March 3, 2001

I think you have to take Kinsey's work in context. The magnitude of the numbers he found wasn't the point; the point was that the things he found were things that people in general didn't believe existed at all.

He was the first who was willing to even take on this problem, and his work was extremely important for making people accept such ideas as that women masturbated and that this was common. His work was the first to put a crack in the Victorian self-delusion of Americans about sex.

It was for later researchers to use better methods and techniques -- and vastly larger samples -- to get much better numbers than he got. But his work was qualitatively important, even if it was quantitatively off by a lot.

I honor him for the same reason I honor Freud: nearly everything he said wasn't correct to a greater or lesser extent, but he founded a field and others who followed him did better. In some areas it's really hard to be a pioneer.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:09 AM on March 3, 2001

Some, crushed, but by no means "most". No one disputes, at this point, that Kinsey used means of study that were ethically dubious, even disturbing. If you wish, you may read Reisman's arguments in succinct form. You should also be aware that even if all her factual conclusions are correct (and the present director of the Kinsey Institute insists they are not), they are seeking to indict his research for a greater cause -- in this case, the website leaderu.com is a project of Christian Leadership Ministries. Reisman is a columnist for the conservative/libertarian WorldNetDaily site, where her bio says "In her exclusive WorldNetDaily columns, Dr. Reisman addresses issues of contemporary society - efforts of homosexuals to be accepted as part of "mainstream" society, consequences of the sexual revolution, child abuse and custody battles. " Something of the agenda at work is to constantly focus on flaws in Kinsey's original research while ignoring validation of those findings over the last half century.

I'd be glad to see pointers to legitimate criticism of Kinsey that does not, somehow, tie back to Reisman and a vast network of (yes) right-wing groups with a common agenda. If all things sexual can be made to seem a product of Kinsey, and Kinsey can (alas) be debunked, they hope to reverse fifty years of changing attitudes. To this end they have repeatedly tried to link any kind of sex education to pedophilia. (A notable example was Dr. Joycelyn Elders' statement that masturbation should be part of sex education: to this day, many people believe that she said masturbation techniques should be demonstrated, when of course it isn't something that generally requires demonstration.) And yes, they most certainly want to redefine homosexuality as deviance.
posted by dhartung at 10:17 AM on March 3, 2001

Cam was right. Metafilter is dead. I'm about as interested in reading articles about the historical context of people raping animals as I am about the historical context of child molesters. Farewell and good riddance, Metafilter.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 12:08 PM on March 3, 2001

Yeah. It really, really, really sucks when someone posts a topic I don't care about. It sucks so bad I have to post in the thread to tell everyone.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:11 PM on March 3, 2001 [1 favorite]

Was anybody besides me disturbed by Singer's moral relativism? "This does not make sex across the species barrier normal, or natural, whatever those much-misused words may mean, but it does imply that it ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings," writes Singer. He sees little difference between Man and animal. We're all pleasure-seeking creatures. Nothing transcendent, nothing special about our species. Since we have sex with fellow humans, why not animals? To Singer, there's no real difference.

He's not a humanist in any sense; he's an animalist trying to bring Man down to the level of the lower species.
posted by shackbar at 12:59 PM on March 3, 2001

> Metafilter is dead. I'm about as interested

Poor Mr. Skullhead, off to skulk and sulk. [He's] depressed. Somebody shoot [him].
posted by pracowity at 1:32 PM on March 3, 2001

shackbar: He sees little difference between Man and animal

Um - 'Man'/animal, Idaho/USA.

I'd be more articulate, but I'm trying to work out the difference between Jack Daniels and alcohol.

Singer's work is best sampled in How Are We To Live? or maybe Practical Ethics. Pretty straight utilitarianism, about as far from 'moral relativism' as you can get.
posted by ceiriog at 5:08 PM on March 3, 2001 [1 favorite]

I think this is a fascinating thread - and I think that the sheer rarity of an online discussion forum prepared to discuss the nuances of sexological research and political / cultural bias should never be underestimated. I think it is dangerous to compare Kinsey and Freud though. Freud's body of thought is not statistical in nature (whether accurate or innaccurate) and comprised the best proportion of his life to generate. A large proportion of Freud's work has also been assimilated into the mainstream, and it is only the more immediately troubling or button-pushing stuff that is now popularly characterised as his work. I've become gradually more biologically determinist in my thinking, but I have a huge amount of respect for Freud. I have a fair amount for Kinsey too, but he's not really in the same league.
posted by barbelith at 6:05 PM on March 3, 2001

I want to see some more posts with 3988657 links in them! They're so worthless to follow, it makes me HAPPY TO SEE THEM!

It seems like there's no cohesion here, just a lot of grandstanding.

And calf tongues are raspy, so BJ's from them hurt, I would assume.
posted by Capn_Stuby at 11:37 PM on March 3, 2001

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