Wednesday, February 4, 2009

And they lived happily ever after...40% of them that is.

I just read this article.

It begins by pointing out the obvious downfalls of a monogamous married relationship: monotony, boredom, homogeneous sexual experience (or infidelity) until death do you part.

Here's a quote "Monogamy may be good for us, but it doesn't mean we have to like it"

The author proceeds to raise a huge imposing red flag dyed with the hymen blood of adolescent female fantasy.

"Is monogamy good for us? If you put any stock in studies undertaken by university scientists, you will find myriad examples of the benefits of marriage: 60% of single women reach the age of
sixty-five, whereas 95% of married women do. Drug and alcohol abuse among 500 000 young test subjects dropped sharply among those who married. The University of Chicago recently conducted a study that showed married people make twice as much money, have twice as much sex and experience half the domestic violence as those who co-habitate, and
the numbers are likely even higher when compared to those who don't
live together."

Ooh, a masquerade of science. Do we see any citations for the 'university scientists?' Is there a link to the source of those quoted statistics? Of course not.

I did some checking and found some more interesting statistics. Here's a taste.
Guess what I'm not breaking it down into little tidbits because if I do you'll miss the point and come away with misconceptions. Read it. Pay attention. It's pretty dry but you'll learn something.

As for the U of C study I haven't been able to find it. Closest I got through 20 mins of google work was this BS. Keep in mind that's from a propaganda site. Again it's the closest I could find.

Now we move into the attack phase! Check out some of this venemous rhetoric.

1"One taste of unfettered promiscuity and they're hooked, deadly diseases or not. These are the people who seek sanction for their philandering, and try to convince the rest of us that monogamy is unnatural, and ultimately unsustainable, and that we're all just kidding ourselves if
we try to pretend otherwise."

2"One of their favourite arguments is that, as animals, it is our biological imperative to disseminate our DNA as widely as possible. We are driven, they maintain, to have sex with many, many partners in our lifetime so that we have the best odds of living on in the next

3"The simplest answer to this argument, before even getting into the obvious benefits of monogamy, is to realize that human beings are animals in physical form only."

I detect the makings of some religious bias underpinning the entire premise of the argument that monogamy is the healthiest way of life. Let's consider these three salvos and what each of them implies.

1) Promiscuity, regardless of disease, is assumed to be universally negative.
2) This is a gross oversimplification. For one thing we ARE driven to procreate, if we weren't no one would have kids. Kids are messy, gross and expensive. If we didn't love them we sure as hell wouldn't be concerned about 'living on' through them.
3) Physical form only? So in other words YES WE ARE ANIMALS. This point is the most egregious and conveys (among other things) that the author has little or no comprehension of basic biology/physics/chemistry.

Continuing on this thread the author lauds the accomplishments of the human race above our contemporary mammaliam peers. It's funny because she jabs at dolphins and gorillas for not accomplishing things we humans have only accomplished pretty late in the game. She also makes the laughable assertion that "our ability to reason, form concepts, [and] to think is unique to us.

For the record: Animal intelligence cannot be described by the following pie chart:

Now keep a close eye on the logic train as it derails and spawls out into the station killing everyone in it's path.

"There is nothing on earth like a human being, and therefore no comparisons to animals are valid, especially when it comes to something as complicated and ultimately brain-oriented as sex."

Wrong! We can learn a lot about monogamy by studying people, our closest cousins (despite the great apes being behind on novel writing and space travel) and various other examples in the animal kingdom. Oh but you provided some examples already, I bet they are super relevant.

"While animals mate out of instinct - and sometimes at their own peril, like the various spider and insect males who give their lives to the female after mating - no human being ever mates without engaging their mind on some level."

Sigh. I want you to look up the difference between R-selection and K-selection. Insects and spiders are usually R's and humans/chimps/most mammals are K. Maybe even all of them.

Next bit of idiocy: "We have sex for more than procreation, whereas animals, with extremely
rare exceptions, mate only during their fertile phases and only for the purposes of creating offspring."

Just for procreation huh? Well...except for bonobos, black swans, penguins, flatworms, sheep, dolphins, seahorses and lions. Check Wikipedia if you don't believe me.

Another round? "We also continue to love and care for our children even after they're weaned, which animals don't. Humans and animals are more different than we are alike; arguing that we should be as indiscriminately sexual as they are is ridiculous."

Oh that's just sloppy. I'll give one meta example to prove how retarded this is.

Predatory animals require years to learn the necessary skills of stalking and hunting. This requires parental guidance and protection for many years beyond suckling. This literally applies to lions, tigers and bears. Oh my, what a pwning.

The author gives a bloated account of polyamory and how it prevents seeing value in exclusive relationships. I end with a quote before I return to the fray:

"It's more fulfilling, they claim, sharing your life with several partners, never being truly intimate with anyone."

Let's examine a few problems with this statement. For one thing you are lumping serial monogamy into this category by intention or implication. Who's to say you can't have multiple fulfilling, intimate relationships that last 2-5 years each instead of one that lasts 40? Also consider swingers and 'open' marriage. There are still all the trappings of loyalty and filial devotion with some sanctioned booty calls. That's still marriage. Care to comment? No I didn't think so. Care to continue flaming? By all means:

"Promisicuous people are not happy. They are always looking for fulfillment around the corner, for excitement in the next encounter, for the bigger, the better, the more outrageous. They are never satisfied with what they have, but continue to strive toward something that is always out of reach."

Oh but married and monogamous folk are immune to this? No. That's a standard feature of life on earth, madam. If you're an Oprah fan google 'destination addiction' This goes on for another few sentences and culminates with the following gem.

"The inability to find and commit to someone wonderful is a serious character flaw, not a lifestyle that should be held up as a model of human behaviour."

Bit judgemental are we? Your arguments have held up so well to casual scrutiny that surely this can be taken without further skepticism. Oh wait. It's clearly an opinion of the author and I believe it should be taken as seriously as the rest of her piece.


"There's a loneliness that pervades those who simply flit from one person to the next, a sense that they are missing out on something profound and real. They know, deep down, that the height of love and the best kind of sex is found within long term, mutually exclusive
relationships. They know, or should know, that good sex depends on it.

I remember, and anyone who's read "Metamorphic Cacophany" will recognize the setting, a certain bible study where the married speaker claimed that there's no such thing as 'guilt-free sex' outside of marriage. I can dismiss this via experience as can almost every other couple that's had sex with the person that they eventually did marry. But there's such a presumption that because the author experiences life in one way that everyone who doesn't is kidding themselves or suffering psychological trauma.

I would argue that anyone who feels they are up to the task of understanding the totality of human behavior enough to summarily judge all sexuality has a personality flaw. It's called Hubris. Look it up. It goeth before the fall.

Now we've moved past the feeble attempts to deglamorize anything but puritanical morality and come to the indoctrination phase. Hype it up a bit, have fun.

"And that's the bottom line when it comes to monogamy. Monogamy affords you the best sex of your life. If you understand, as I mentioned before, that sex for humans is as much about the mind as it is the body, then it makes perfect sense that the most fulfilling sex occurs
within a mutually, loving, trusting relationship. Being with one person you love allows you a level of freedom and creativity that you can't possible enjoy with strangers. The intimate bond you form with the person whose character you love as much as their body allows you to
explore the dominant and submissive aspects of your natures, without worrying about political correctness or misunderstandings. It allows you to grow, to experiment, to savour each experience and relive it, in reality or in a shared memory. It removes you from the realm of
jealousy or competitiveness, and lets you live instead in a safe haven of sexual pleasure and freedom."

So many missed opportunities. I've heard the old adage that marriage/committment is a kind of freedom because it rescues you from the hells of single life. To an extent I'll agree. However you are out of your husband-fucking mind if you think that fulfillment and intimacy can only come out of marriage. The author describes this in such a way that, if it were true, would probably lead to a negligible divorce rate and marriage at a very young age with death being the most common cause of seperation.

This very act of attempted persuasion calls into question the ENTIRE premise of the argument. If it's so great, why doesn't everyone already know this. I'll apply the penis pill logic here. You can quote me on this:

If it really worked, half of the spam I get wouldn't be competing products claiming that it works.

We're not stupid people, madam. However much it pains you plenty of people are proving you wrong by having wild, unadulterated sticky intercourse as I type these little words into my scribefire window.

But no, press on in your crusade to filet those with sexual temptations.

"With most casual relationships, sex is a special occasion. It is the ultimate goal of the relationship, yet the one thing that always eludes the players, who chase after it and connive ways to get it and who ulitmately [sic] only get to enjoy it with relative infrequency. Monogamy
provides you with an opportunity to enjoy sex every day of your life, in every way, infusing even your non-sexual moments with a tinge of excitement and expectation."

Yes I suspect couples that have been married for 20 years are living out JUST that sort of idylllic sexual fantasy day in and day out. Or maybe they're so sick of seeing the same wrinkled sack of semen factories that they want to kill themselves. Maybe they are comfortable but not especially titillated. I would argue that the sexual aspects of monogamy are relatively minor compared to the social, economic and security concerns that we humans all share.

"Looking into the eyes of the person you admire most in the world only heightens the physical sensation of sex; looking into the eyes of a stranger only takes away from it. Your attitude towards monogamy makes you confront the question of which you want more."

Have you EVER had sex with a stranger? I mean really. Have you ever just pulled a dude off the street and commanded him to plow you? I doubt it. You can know someone for a short while before getting jiggy with them but except in some rape/prostitution cases I would guess that the number of sexual encounters with a stranger are a significant minority.

Does the girl you've taken on two dates count? What about that guy who you used to hang out with but haven't seen in two years? The lack of quantification just irks me.

Now I conclude my counter tirade.

I am married, happily so, but I consider myself one of the lucky few people who managed to locate, pursue and apprehend their soulmate at a young age. Does that make me morally superior or just lucky to have found that person?

While I have no intention of ever cheating on my wife, and hopefully she feels the same, I do not for a second think that our sex life is going to be hot as a branding iron until the day one of us dies. It's already cooled off because that's what happens to all relationships.

Ever notice the 'newlywed' phenomena. You get with someone, things are new and fresh. There's territory to explore, riddles to unravel and a wide vista of sexual conquests just ripe for the taking. Life goes on. You learn and grow into a comfortable space with that person, bring light to the darkness and peel back the fog of war (alls fair in it) to reveal a deeper understanding of that person.

You won't want to hear this but that cannot happen without physical intimacy. And what are the odds that two people meet, connect and then break things off because the compatibility just doesn't go deep enough. Does that really make you a bad person? Does loving someone before you meet your spouse diminish the love that you will later build upon and grow together?

I say nay. And I also reject the notion that promiscuity can lead nowhere good. I have no interest in simultaneous romantic encounters, one girl at a time was always good enough for me. But that's just me and a big chunk of the population. Maybe it's MOST but it's certainly not ALL.

With proper precaution, both physical and mental, multiple sexual partners is not a bad thing. Being reckless and throwing the bone at any floozy with a loose zipper is stupid and dangerous. Meeting a lot of people, trying them on for size and moving on until you find the right person is what nearly all people do before they find 'the one' and even then 60% of the time it doesn't work out. My final point is that you can be just as reckless with monogamy as promiscuity.

Consider the young religious couple that have been dating chastely for several years. They get married young, say 20, and on their wedding night they finally get to cut loose and throw some DNA around without worrying about getting caught with wet hands.

Then what? Does sex magically transubstantiate these people into compatible lovers? What if things don't synch up, what if she likes it rough and he can't go more than 20 strokes without splattering out a map of Hawaii? What if some aspect of love making is unwanted or unfulfilled?

Now you, Leanne Bell, claim that monogamy only increases desire and enjoyment. Having been with a few girls that I was not compatible with proves otherwise. You are essentially banking that lack of all other experience will turn out ok because you'll always have that one person.

Answer me this: What if that one person can't fulfill you no matter how much they want to due to some physical or emotional deficiency? And what if some accident or medical condition precludes intercourse for one or both partners? Does the one languish with the other or could love provide some other means of fulfillment?

I don't intend to answer these questions because that's some deeply personal shit. And unlike certain other bloggers I won't presume to impose my judgement onto people who I have never met with such wanton disregard for actual data or experience.

Ting a ling!

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1 comment:

Matthew said...

Couple of things i thought of while reading this. (mostly unrelated, or just interesting side thoughts.)

* Mice are r-selective and a mammal.
* Trees are K-selective.
* Trees try to have sex with everything and everyone outside in the spring time.
* Religious fanatics always forget the bible actually says not to get married as it gets in the way with a personal relationship with god (and maybe alter boys?)
* umm there was something else, but i can't remember it now.