Comments

  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    I don't think anyone can reasonably claim that the gay community (to the extent that gays even had the comfort of a community; presumably many didn't, especially those living in small towns) weren't beleaguered at that time, or that they were not disproportionately affected by the AIDS crisis.Arkady

    Oh, well... gays have been lamenting for decades that "the gay community" is more a figure of speech than anything else. A few parts of the gay population form community in large cities, but large parts of the gay population are not part of a gay community. There is less sense of community now than previously.

    I've heard some commentators refer to this period as a gay "genocide," which strikes me as extremely wrongheaded.Arkady

    Yes, totally wrongheaded. Some people were convinced that AIDS was invented (maybe at Ft. Detrick in Maryland) for the purpose of getting rid of homosexuals (or blacks). Some people were convinced that HIV didn't cause AIDS (and not just in the first 2 or 3 years of the epidemic, either.) Some people were convinced that the U. S. Government did absolutely nothing on their behalf; that the science establishment dragged its feet; nobody cared; pharmaceutical companies were cashing in. and so on. All lies, except that Big Pharma was cashing in. Big Pharma is always cashing in. It's what they do. That's why they're Big Pharma and not Little Pharma.

    The HIV virus is a naturally-occurring phenomenon, and one which disproportionately affected gay men as a result of their sexual behavior. The outbreak was to a certain extent self-inflicted.Arkady

    Had HIV 'landed' someplace else, it would have been a different epidemic, true enough.

    As it happened, HIV landed in the middle of a pool of professionally successful, culturally sophisticated, highly promiscuous, gay party-circuit travelers. Quite a few of these people were members of the artistic elite, and were interconnected with people all over the country. They networked. Had it landed in the middle of some gay cowboys in Montana, it wouldn't have amounted to much.

    There were clues before HIV landed that some gay guys were going overboard on sexual exuberance. Intestinal parasites, various odd infections resulting from too much penetrating, and so on were booming in the late 1970s. But... nothing incurable, nothing too debilitating. Most people got over hepatitis infections, syphilis, and gonorrhea; and parasiticides cleared out the can of worms some guys were carting around. (That kind of worm problem is much more common in Africa.)

    My guess is that the elite gay men's lifestyles in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and so on were everything I imagined them to be, anchored as I was in the boring Sodom on the Upper Mississippi of Minneapolis. On the one hand, I longed for that kind of exhilarating life; on the other hand, that's one of the reasons I'm here and they are not. That and luck.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    revolve around homosexual men more than around homosexual women.Arkady

    This gay man, having lived in a large city where there was sort of a community, learned fairly early on to not speak on behalf of lesbians. Ever. In the 70s Minneapolis had a relatively large group of ferocious lesbian feminist separatists. Their coffee house on Fridays in the basement of Plymouth Congregation Church discouraged mothers from bringing even young male children with them. A 10 year old boy was anathema, let alone a man.

    In Minneapolis, lesbians and gay men didn't mix a lot. So, brothers, I don't speak for our lesbian sisters, and thereby I lived long and prospered.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    It could, obviously, unless one were doing it alone.

    As Irving Berlin says,

    if you've got something that must be done
    And it can only be done by one
    There is nothing more to say.
    But I hope whatever you've got to do
    Is something that can be done by two
    For she'd really like to stay glued to you
    And would be so happy to be doing you, dude...

    You probably didn't know Old Berlin used "dude". He was way ahead of his time.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    As cynical as it may seem, AIDS gives us a chance, however brief, to establish ourselves as a victimized minority legitimately deserving of America’s special protection and care." from AFTER THE BALL By Kirk and MadsenWayfarer

    The capacity to think that way strikes me as far more deviant than the most perverse sexual activity I have ever heard of.

    One of the reasons for the public's improved view of gay men MIGHT be the loving devotion that men displayed in taking care of each other as partners and as a community. In 1987 there was zero indication that the AIDS epidemic was going to be brief. It would be another 9 years 1996) before the AIDS cocktail was shown to be effective, which changed the picture of certain death (but killed off the sympathy angle for Missures Kirk and Madsen).

    The gay community was beleaguered, particularly up to 1995-1996. In the HIV hot spots (New York, LA, Miami, San Francisco, etc.) the seropositivity rate was 40% to 70%, depending on location. The over-all rate of fatality for untreated AIDS (prior to 1996) was between 80% and 90%. (It's lower now, with "highly active AIDS retroviral therapy"). So, large swaths of the gay community were wiped out.

    True enough, a lot of people were never very sympathetic toward any problem the gay community might have, but quite a few people came to understand that gay men had not cause the virus, and had the virus been introduced in some other community, then that community would be dealing with 80-90% fatality rates instead of gay men and IV drug users (another never very popular group).

    There was a discussion on NPR a few days back about how the far right and Trump's campaign strategized cynically to make it difficult to think reasonably about Trump's candidacy. Very similar to the crap cooked up by the twisted sisters Kirk and Madsen.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    It would be wise, here, to distinguish between sexual orientation and fetishes.Heister Eggcart

    I take it that's a request for clarification.

    Sexual orientation determines whether one is sexually attracted to men or to women, homosexually or heterosexually. There's more to it, but we can go into all that another time.

    Fetishes are objects which some people find necessary adjuncts for sexual arousal. A fetish isn't the object of sex, per se. For instance, a heterosexual male who finds black lacy underwear stimulating, wants to see the underwear on a woman -- not in a box by itself. Similarly, a homosexual male who finds military clothing arousing, wants to see the clothes on a guy, not on the shelf.

    There are some people who like sex objects other than people. The black lacy underwear could be a sex object on it's own. So could an old running shoe. (But not a new running shoe. No, no; that would be totally beyond the pale. Lock that person up!).
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    What's the harm? This is obviously where the analogy fails. I wouldn't ask those questions about paedophilia.Sapientia

    OK, I get your point. Of course I agree that pedophilia (paedophilia) is harmful. It's just that attraction to pre-pubescent children isn't a sexual orientation, and neither are any of the other paraphilias. It's an attraction to children of one sex or the other. Most of the other paraphilias are pretty much harmless. They might be annoying or embarrassing, but they don't result in much harm.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    I had the opinion that Alfred Kinsey has been discredited as a social scientist.Wayfarer

    Kinsey's research is still relevant, to some people's pleasure, other people's disgust. Who was it that discredited him? (The Kinsey Institute is still doing research at the University of Indiana, btw.)

    Kinsey's studies were observational. He and his team conducted interviews and he observed sexual behavior. There was little formal research on sexual behavior at the time he began his work in the 1930s.

    Gay rights and gay identity is a minefield nowadays - say anything other than to express unqualified admiration and support, is to be categorised as a racist or a bigot. It's a binary choice. This is a consequence of a successful communications and media strategy, whichwas laid out in a 1987 article called The Overhauling of Straight America (later published as a book).Wayfarer

    Sexuality and gender in general has become something of a minefield.

    "The Overhauling of Straight America" was an interesting piece...

    As a strategy, it might be effective, I don't know. It sort of sounds like Trump's and the right wing's approach to overhauling democracy, and that seems to be working.

    One of the features of the article that bothered me was that it seems very anachronistic. Gay liberation began in the 1950s-and 1960s; Stonewall was in 1969. A lot of gay rights work had been accomplished between Stonewall and Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. Gay marriage was elevated to a critical issue by the "gay-political-elite" in the 1990s, so maybe Kirk and Madsen succeeded. I was struck by the small presence of AIDS in the piece. It got mentioned as a major hazard for the cause of universal acceptance. But for the average gay man of 1987, it was more like an existential threat.

    In any event, it is a great demonstration of what happened to gay liberation between the time the homophile Mattachine Society (1950) was organized and 1987. What started as a claim for human dignity, then sexual liberation became a program for assimilation into middle class straight society.

    As you said, it seems, these days, that advocacy groups of all stripes pretty much require total assent or one is labeled as racist, sexist, homophobic, classist, ableist, ageist, elitist, or something. I blame cultural politics which have been rolling along since the 1980s. Sure, some gay people contributed to this by calling everyone homophobic who wasn't explicitly pro-gay.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    However, I find there is a problem when we start comparing it with other innate but unaccepted characteristics, such as pedophilia or psychopathy.NukeyFox

    You should have a problem, because homosexuality isn't the same kind of thing as pedophilia, and psychopath shares nothing with either homosexuality or pedophilia.

    We don't know how, exactly, people develop what are called "paraphilias". Quite a few people have fetish objects which were, are, and always will be necessary for their sexual arousal -- perhaps black, lacy underwear, or perhaps wearing the opposite sex's clothing for their own sexual arousal. Three controversial paraphilias are pedophilia (sexual interest in pre-pubescent children; hebephilia (sexual interest in pubescent children--11 to 14); and ephebophilia (sexual interest in late adolescents--15-19.) People are generally not very successful in changing a paraphilia, though they can avoid the object of desire (young children, exposing themselves in public, prostitutes, etc.).

    Psychopathy is a brain disorder which prevents emotion from acting on thinking in the normal way. A psychopath may perfectly understand that stealing is wrong, but they don't feel guilt about stealing (or killing people). It isn't that they don't want to feel guilt -- they can't feel guilt. Psychopathy presents as a range of pathology, from slightly psychopathic to extremely psychopathic.
  • Counterargument against Homosexual as Innate
    Sexual orientation is not binary, or all one thing or all another. Kinsey's scale (which does not at all represent percentages of straights, gays, or bisexuals) is worth a look: tumblr_oluoniZ8c31s4quuao1_540.png

    Some people engage primarily in heterosexual activity, but sometimes engage in homosexual activity. Similarly, some people engage in mostly homosexual activity, but sometimes engage in heterosexual activity. A much larger percentage of the population is exclusively heterosexual than is exclusively homosexual (maybe 66% exclusively heterosexual, 3 or 4% exclusively homosexual). Around a third of the population sometimes engage in sexual activity in which they do not usually engage. "Sometimes" might be once, twice, for a few months; or a couple of years.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Marko would say something like that, of course, and no matter how you slice it, the way through the world is tortuous. Whether lust and desire are the deepest, most dangerous pits into which we might fall while we traverse this veil of tears) is open to dispute. Lust, in particular, is quite dangerous and finds its objects in wealth (avarice), food and comforts (gluttony), vengeance (wrath), or achievement (pride) as well as S*E*X.

    Desire is pitched much higher. We don't 'lust' after the good, we desire the good. We desire love--eros, philia, agape, storge, ludus, pragma, philautia, of which eros (sex) is but one (albeit double-edged) form.

    Love in all ways:

    Philia, or deep friendship
    Ludus, or playful love
    Agape, or love for everyone
    Eros, or sexual passion
    Pragma, or longstanding love
    Philautia, or love of the self
    Storge, or familial love

    If we only aim for eros which is the easiest love -- hard wired by nature to assure our continued existence -- then we are more likely to get tripped up. But there are other forms of love that are compatible with eros which will keep us balanced.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    And, quite frankly my excessive (previous) indulgence in pornography has made me quite unhappy.Question

    My take on us people is that we are much more alike than we are different, and that we tend to be unhappy a lot because we think we have failed to live up to society's high standards (and have made the unobtainable social ideals our own). A lot of us beat ourselves over the head for failing to live up to both our own, (and society's) often quite unreasonable expectations.

    Everything connected with sex tends to be connected to some sort of high ideal, high standard, or religious rigamarole. It's easy to fail with sex. We either had too much; too little; were too casual about it or too serious; didn't do it the right way or didn't do it with the right people; took too long, didn't take long enough, and so on ad nauseum.

    Try forgiving yourself more and do more of what makes you happy.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    virginity isn't physicalAgustino

    Sorry. Psychic virginity does not compute.

    matriarchiesAgustino

    Please list the extant matriarchies where men are considered property the way women are considered property under patriarchy (as if there were such a thing as matriarchy and patriarchy).

    Yes that's Victorian EnglandAgustino

    Victorian England, he says. Double standards preceded Victoria Regina and survive into the 21st century.

    chastityAgustino

    Chastity schmastity.. My guess is that chastity has been honored everywhere more in the breach than in the observance.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Why do you suppose virginity applies only to women?Agustino

    This should be obvious. 1) Men do not have a hymen which can be breached, thus providing evidence of virginity or not. 2) Women were sexual property of men, not visa versa. 3) Men were expected to have sexual experiences prior to marriage, women were not. You have heard of the double standard?

    Of course, a man can be a "virgin", not that it was much of a virtue.

    Actually chastity is precisely one characteristic that is specific of civilisation, not of savagery.Agustino

    I think Michael was making a joke which you didn't get.

    Besides, chastity can be taken on, whereas virginity once lost can not be regained. Nuns and monks who have had sex (even a great deal of sex) can become chaste, poor, and obedient, if they have nothing better to do with their time.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Indeed, but their society obscures spiritual aspects from coming under consideration in how words related to sex are used. Us individuals don't just pop into being out of nowhere - we are created and molded by our society, and hence our stupidities, more often than not, end up being the stupidities of our own society.Agustino

    Since it is the case that we haven't agreed on what might and might not constitute sex, and since it is the case that we haven't agreed on what exactly spirituality is, I don't think a spiritual interpretation of virginity is going to help much.

    Virginity makes some sense in a society where either the woman has some sort of 'property value' or where women have been tasked with maintaining a sentimental notion of purity (which doesn't apply to their potential mates). Virginity does not make much sense where women are free of property value and where sentimental ideas of purity are pretty much history.

    Vaginal sexAgustino

    versus

    masturbationAgustino

    Masters and Johnson were doing laboratory research, and the required instrumentation of measurement may have leveled off the experiences the subjects were having. No one would dispute that really great sex (whatever that might be) is better than humdrum sex (whatever that might be). What M & J were claiming is that the basic physiological response was no different. It's like, good food is better than bad food.

    Psychological satisfaction is more complicated (obviously). The oral sex lady could count herself as a virgin because her psychological investment in both the act and the guy was probably minimal. The energy required to perform various sex acts varies and one will feel more or less exercised when it is completed.

    So, when President William Jefferson Clinton claimed he did not have sex with that woman, he was speaking the truth as far as he was concerned. Ms. Lewinsky apparently thought they had had some sort of sex. "How else could I have a Presidential semen sample in my closet?" she cried.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Yes, I think you're right, most heterosexual people probably think that sex is first vaginal, then anal, then maybe oral, but maybe oral is counted as foreplay, and a hand job just would not count. Some gay men think that sex is first anal, then oral. But a fair number of gay guys would count oral and anal as equally "sex". A hand job is not intercourse, except in a vaguely 'digital' way, one's digits wrapped around a hard dick.

    What counts as "sex" is not important in actual sexual contexts. But in discourses about sex, like public health advisories on how to avoid sexually transmitted disease, precision about what is "sex" matters a lot. For instance, quite a few teeny boppers, those teen age lovers, don't think that oral sex is actually sex. It doesn't count.

    "It doesn't count" until one discovers a sore on the roof of one's mouth (primary syphilis lesion), a dripping infection from one's penis (primary gonorrhea), blistering on the lips or penis (genital herpes), or some such. One might go to a clinic and discover that one acquired a venereal infection while not having "sex".

    What is "sex" also matters in discourses about sexuality and sexual identity.

    BTW, Masters's and Johnson's research showed that there is no physical difference in the physiology of arousal and orgasm, whether the sex is anal, oral, vaginal, or digital, gay or straight, single or double. So, as far as the body is concerned, masturbation is indistinguishable from vaginal sex.
  • Convince the bomb not to explode.
    Why do you think god being lonely suggests that god is vain?
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Well, in my experience at least, solo masturbation, for example, doesn't get called "sex" in common parlance, and it is commonly understood in contrast to sex. But it is obviously sexual. Likewise with flirting, but it seems even more absurd to call that sex.

    I'd say that "sex" primarily means sexual intercourse, but perhaps can also include oral sex. I think that it makes sense to say things like, "We didn't have sex, I just gave him a blowjob".
    Sapientia

    Right, people usually reference sex in the context of at least two people. As for flirting, I was thinking of fairly aggressive flirting, not the sort of flirting that a waiter or waitress does to increase the tip size. Flirting isn't "sex" so much as it is "sexual".

    "We didn't have sex, I just gave him a blowjob"... not sex? It seems to me that a blow job is definitely sex, and so is a hand job performed on someone else. I think if you asked 100 people if you could perform oral sex and a hand job on them, at least 95% would think you had ask them to have sex with you, and wouldn't think you were suggesting something on the order of a scalp massage.
  • I fell in love with my neighbors wife.
    Hmmm... but it's a different experience with a partner than without. I think most people would agree.Agustino

    Of course, and I would agree; I'd also suggest sex with a partner is usually better than without.
    because I loved her, and so I found no need for "imaginary partners".Agustino

    Sure -- people in love don't need to add the internal video track. But... as you know, people aren't always in love with the people with whom they are having sex (and are often married to) so that added video track helps performance. I mean, sometimes one is expected to get it up and a woman can fake pleasure more easily than a man can fake orgasm (at least for a money shot). So, again, the mental movie in one's head helps one get it up, as per expectation.

    What defines something as being sexual?Agustino

    The person who is experiencing it.

    I included flirting as sexual because when people do it, it "feels sexual". One's dog might show a lot of interest in you while you are eating, or when it wants to go for a walk. but it does not feel sexual. It''s either annoying or amusing. One's lawnmower, pencil, or refrigerator don't feel sexual (one would hope).

    I think the sex drive is different from the pleasures of sex. The sex drive is like an energy source, it depends how one learns to make use of it.Agustino

    Good clarification. It isn't the pleasure that is sublimated as much as it is the 'drive' or energy.
  • Justification for continued existence
    What reason or justification is there for us to know we will still continue existing for the next day, if anyEphrium

    We have nothing to go on but the past (morning after morning we woke up and continued to exist that day). You might hope that you will continue to exist, you might fear that you will continue to exist, and you might not care all that much one way or the other whether you continue to exist.

    There is, of course, only one guarantees, which is that one day you won't continue to exist. You might know that that fated day will be soon, or you might not -- but the final day will come.