ParentingReligion

Sex and a Skepchick

Yesterday, Jill sent this link to a Friendly Atheist post about so-called purity balls, in which teen girls pledge abstinence until marriage and their daddies sign pledges to be their “authority and protection in the area of purity”.

Ew.

Although this is an extreme example, I think this actually exemplifies the attitude our society holds concerning female sexuality, or at least how it has traditionally been seen. Girls are expected to police their bodies from the “unwanted” advances of male sexuality. Girls are treated and talked to as though they have (or should have) no sexual needs or desires. Boys are treated as though it is inevitable that their sexuality will become uncontrollable at some point, like little pimply teenaged sex monsters.

I remember numerous instances in my teenage years when my dad would tell me to be careful around boys because “they only want one thing” and would do just about anything to get it, and he should know because he’s a man. My first reaction to this now is to wonder if that’s really how my dad sees himself. If so, that makes me sad.

I don’t think these little talks ever really sank in for me. The picture he painted just didn’t match what I was experiencing in my life. I went out with probably a dozen guys between age 16 and 20, and found myself in a few situations that would have given my dad a heart attack. I never felt pressured to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. All of them were respectful, and none of them pushed. Things progressed naturally with mutually initiated steps. I maintained my virginity (does it seem funny to anyone else to say you “lost your virginity”? It seems to me that I gained something) until I met my husband at age 20, and if there was any pushing happening at that point, it came from me.

Of course I realize that my experience can only speak for itself, and not for anyone else’s experiences. Maybe I just happened to run into the dozen or so guys that aren’t sex-crazed assholes, or maybe things are changing or have changed, and society’s attitude needs to be updated.

Let’s start being realistic about this and teach boys and girls to respect themselves, their bodies, and each other. Let’s tell them the truth about healthy sexuality, and stop allowing them to wallow in ignorant self-loathing or feel compelled to act out needlessly repressed sexuality in inappropriate or unhealthy ways.

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50 Comments

  1. People marry in their 30’s these days. How could anyone wait? Spend their prime years under dad’s watchful eye?

    Then the same people that keep the girls/women locked up in Jesus Jail are the first people to freak when dudes start enjoying baloney in the can.

    Irony.

  2. Crap like this makes me sick. Seriously. Both sides of it. it does a serious disservice to both boys and girls, and the end result is nothing but more problems. What’s so wrong with being up-front and honest with your kids? I just don’t get it.

    Now I understand the desire to be protective of your children. It’s hardwired into us, and no one wants to see someone they care about taken advantage of, but just goes too far.

    Yeah, I know I’m likely to be FAR more ok with the idea of a teenage daughter having sex than most people, and I freely admit that I might be completely off-track with that. Nobody’s perfect, right? I am, however, fairly certain that my philosophy, and others like it, are FAR less damaging than telling young girls that sex is evil and “impure” and boys that they are sex-crazed monsters with one-track minds. Teenagers WILL have sex. There’s no stopping that, and I’d rather have them taking care of themselves and being smart about it than being stupidly risky and feeling like shit after…

  3. Everyone likes to point out how children are our future and have so much potential so they should be nurtured/protected, but what do we expect younger generations to accomplish if we have to lie to about things as simple as sex. Rystefn is completely right, teenagers will always explore their sexuality, and if trusted parents keep them from that and lie to them about how they’re suppose to act sexually then I’m afraid that those children won’t be able to figure anything out for themselves.

  4. I have two girls (the elder is 8), so let me join in with the “ew”.

    Of course I’d defend my kids from a threat, but a personal choice like that is up to them. I hope that my kids are brought up with enough self-respect that they don’t need me to say “no” for them.

  5. I’ve always thought that the whole “save yourself for marriage” was just another outdated religious ideal, like marriage itself. Of course it’s not all Christian on this. Pagans also put great importance on one losing her virginity. The difference with them though is that the act is celebrated and honored. Like you said, Carr, it’s more of a gain than a loss.
    Sex is a good thing and as long as you’re careful, I see no reason to not indulge yourself.

    I call for the Separation of Church and Nookie!

  6. As a father of a nearly-1-year-old daughter, I think about this stuff too much. My favoured strategy is to try to engender the idea that while sex is an important thing (who you do it with, how you do it, etc.), it is not THE MOST important thing. Having sex is natural, and can be awesome, but the idea of “maningless” sex would be laughable if the consequences weren’t often so tragic. And I don’t just mean VD and pregnancy (oh my!) but emotional fallout – making yourself that vulnerable to the wrong person for the wrong reason can destroy you.

    There I go – I need a drink again.

  7. I call for the Separation of Church and Nookie!

    I second that!

    And the whole thing about consequences–I think people would probably make better choices if they had all the information. As it stands, too often kids are just told the bad stuff about sex and not the good. We don’t talk about pleasure in sex ed, but kids find out about that part of it on their own. I think this has the effect of giving kids the attitude that adults are just telling them all the bad stuff to keep them from doing it, and I wonder if a lot of them just flat out don’t believe any of it.

    I think we’d do much better to hold these things in balance so kids can make informed decisions about sex. Not only is this more effective, it also shows that we as adults respect them, and that is the best example we can give them.

  8. The topics of sex and abstinence have been all over blogs I read lately, including some blogs by Christians and blogs with conservative Christian readers. I am starting to feel the idea for a future book building in the back of my mind. I guess we’ll see if it continues to build or if it peters out as I am working on other things….

    I doubt any regular readers of this blog will disagree with carr2d2’s conclusions, but there are a lot of people in the world who think that things like purity balls and abstinence-only education are the moral route to take. What’s the best way to communicate with these people and make them understand a different viewpoint? Is that even possible, considering that the people who believe these things tend to be the most insular and extreme followers of religion and authority figures in general?

    No answers from me today, but I definitely think there’s a lot of meat in this topic and I hope it continues to be discussed openly.

  9. I really hate the way the notion that all boys and men are sex crazed pigs is drilled into the heads of young girls. I got that message repeatedly from both of my parents, and as a result I had a really hard time learning to trust the boys and men that I dated. I was convinced that they were so crazy about sex that they would be powerless to stop themselves from cheating on me. It took a few years and lot of heart-to-hearts with my now husband for him to convince me of the fact that my parents were wrong, that all men are not pigs, and they do have the ability to keep it in their pants.

  10. If the idea of purity balls makes you say ew, try watching a video of one (there should be plenty on YouTube); the whole thing is icky, icky, icky.

    Notice that these purity balls are geared toward young women; not much emphasis is placed on young men. So while young Christian women are having their sexuality ‘protected’, young Chrisitan men are, in essence, being given tacit approval to express their sexuality (with heathen women, of course).

    I do like the idea of changing the concept of ‘losing your virginity’ to ‘gaining your sexuality’, although that may not be the best term to use. Or we could say what Johnny Carson said, ‘I never lost my virginity, I just misplaced it.’

  11. As the stay-at-home dad of 2 girls — almost 4 and almost 6 — I have thought about sex stuff a lot.

    My preferred plan is for them to start some sort of martial arts. This might strike some as humorous.

    First, a good martial arts program makes experiencing one’s body as a liability and weakness much more uncommon.

    Second, as far as being forced into something… My hope is that they will be able to defend themselves and physically assert themselves as the situation warrants.

    Third, ultimately empowerment in any form means making one’s own decisions. If they have sex or engage in sexual behavior it will be because they want to, they feel themselves ready, and will know the risks.

    * * *

    As for this whole purity ball business? It strikes me as infantile. Children fantasize about marrying their parents when they are young, very young.

    Imagine how it would look for something similar for mothers to take their teenage sons. If purity is so very important, then why not “purity balls” for mothers and sons?

    The likely answer? Sons don’t get pregnant. Consequently, they won’t saddle their family with the expense and social liability of a baby.

    However, the fact of contraception: condoms, diaphragms, pills, etc. means that the answer is far, far more likely to be a twin lack of courage and imagination. Or if you prefer: lazy, thoughtless conformity.

    All the moral, ethical, psychological, and sociological arguments are nothing more and nothing less than rationalizations to justify a set of behaviors. When religious nitwits start talking about sex, the conclusion is already settled: lock up your daughter — most of the time only metaphorically.

  12. What irks me is that in the past women were considered the lascivious ones by society, and the responsibility for avoiding sexual indiscretions was put on them. Now that men are considered the lascivious ones, why is the responsibility still put on women?

  13. Looking back on my teenage years, “hormone-crazed sex monster” would be a fair description of me, but being a nerd, I didn’t really have the social skills to manage any sort of outlet for it.
    If I had manged to find a suitable partner, I don’t think notions of common sense or responsibility would have held me back.
    I’m a grown up now, and father to daughters, and if I have a fear, it’s that of my talented daughters having their lives derailed by an unexpected pregnancy that theu can not bring themselves to abort. When they are mature enough to be able to manage contraception responsibly (actually using the condoms they carry, remembering to take the pills every day) then I’ll feel fine turning them loose on the world and FSM help the teenage oik who breaks their hearts. Until then, I want to keep a close eye on them.

    And Purity Balls? There aren’t ‘e’s and ‘w’s enough for the eww I need to express.

  14. What always strikes me as so weird whenever questions about sexuality arise is the sheer terror about sexuality in general, but female sexuality especially that’s exposed in the ways in which we think about sex. It really seems that most of the “traditions” which are enforced against women are created to control a terrifyingly dangerous force, to keep that control away from women. Which always makes me wonder why and how this began?

    I must say, as well, as a daughter of a decent father, that I find it much less creepy that my dad wasn’t overtly concerned with my hymen. Eeeewie.

  15. Now that men are considered the lascivious ones, why is the responsibility still put on women?

    Because it’s still a man’s world, Dahlin, and we ain’t gonna blame ourselves! I think men fear the empowerment of sexual freedom in women.

    But what really irks/perplexes me is that women are blamed for male lasciviousness. As in a woman shouldn’t dress too provocatively because she is inviting rape. And I actually know people who won’t let their 5 year old daughter play topless because “what if a pedophile sees her?”

  16. I think it originates with a desire on the part of primitive men to know which babies are “theirs.”

    Ah, something I can blame on evolution. My genes want to ensure that resources I expend are not being spent to raise someone elses genetic material. Which explains why my wife needs to stay in her chastity belt, but not why I want my daughters to remain chaste. You’d think my genes would be happy if they bred like little bunnies.

    Unless we’re talking really primitive (or Purity Ball attendees) in which case.. I can barely type this – I would, er, want to ensure as many seperate pathways for my own genetic material as possible.

    I am pleased to say that social conditioning can override the desires of my genes to reproduce.

  17. See, it’s hard for me to accept this evolution-made-me-be-an-complete-ass arguments, given that we are currently capable of rational thought. While I understand that my question was originally “how did this get started” I’m not certain that that argument fully explains it. If we’re just spreading our genes, I mean, it is in the interest of women to spread our genes as well, as well, is it just sexual dimorphism then, that once the big bad men figured out what the relationship was between screwing and babies they had the physical force to cow the womenfolk? Again tho, this doesn’t explain at all why we still engage in this nonsense.

    You know, I once had a dude (in a women&politics class nonetheless) tell me that women had all the real power cause they controlled the sex. Just an impressive display of nonsense.

  18. HypatiasGirl,

    I wish I could believe your classmate’s attitude was rare, but I’m afraid it isn’t.
    I have access to just about every local TV and radio news channel at work, and judging by the asinine comments by guests and “journalists”, it isn’t.
    And don’t even get me started on the science reporters. Ugh!

    Anyway, if anybody’s interested, I cover some of this stuff in my blog:

    aOC
    http://anoptimisticcynic.blogspot.com/

  19. it’s hard for me to accept this evolution-made-me-be-an-complete-ass arguments

    Hang on there, you’re reading a lot more into my comment than what I said. I’m not talking about morality, decency or non-jerkiness – I’m just saying that genes are the molecules that want to reproduce, and we’re all full of them. There are a lot of animals in the wild who follow a reproductive strategy of alpha males controlling a number of females. It’s a viable strategy for a physically powerful creature to optimize its chances at reproduction. Your query about women’s gene’s is interesting, since an alpha/harem society make it a viable strategy for women to seek a bit on the side to increase the genetic diversity of their offspring. In either case, don’t underestimate the power of your genes to make you do things you wouldn’t consider otherwise rational. Why else would I own a Hawaiian shirt?

    You may also have noted that I expressed gratitude that I was able to override the primal genetic urges, since that allows a more complex and interesting society to build up in which I don’t need to kill my sons to preserve my harem. It may be okay for the common chimpanzee, but while we share a lot of DNA, we have also evolved in different ways wrt brain structure, ability to communicate and ability suppress some of our more primitive urges.

  20. Aiabx, total apologies for jumping on the gene thing, I didn’t intend to imply that such a characterization was necessarily your feelings. Don’t get me wrong, the power of evolutionary psychology and the evolution of morality etc. are super interesting and constantly raising questions about the limits of our free will. (Totally recommend Marc Hauser’s “Moral Minds”, although he’s a little shady on his use of philosophers)

    That being said, I agree most strongly with your last paragraph, viz., our ability to communicate, also, our “social emotions,” the empathy, guilt shame etc., really make it seem as though one cannot rely on argumentum ad instinct and live comfortably. However, everyday this theory seems to be disproved, there goes my brilliant contribution to ethics.

    It has always struck me as fascinating what aspects of our behaviors we are willing to accept as “hard-wired” under which circumstances. (ie, men are hard wired to be promiscuous and aggressive sex fiends, but being gay’s a choice.)

  21. Nearly all of my extended family on my father’s side are ultra-conservative, teetotaling, evangelical Christians (thank you dad, for not following in their footsteps). In fact, one of my uncles is a Baptist minister. When his daughter (my cousin) got married several years back, they set aside a portion of the ceremony for her to present the groom with her “purity key”. They explicitly pointed out to everyone present that she had kept herself physically pure for her wedding night. So, in essence she was handing him the key to her vagina.

    It was creepy as hell.

    There was, of course, no reciprocating act from the groom.

    That said, I think there is a kernel of truth to the whole, “men are hornballs” thing. This American Life did a whole episode on the mental and physical effects of Testosterone in February: http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=220

    The first segment is an interview with a man who has zero testosterone production. The second is with a transsexual man (former woman). While the discussions are purely subjective, they are quite compelling. That’s not to say that men have no ability to control their desires. But on average, we do have a much stronger physical and mental impulse than women when it comes to sex.

  22. You know, I once had a dude (in a women&politics class nonetheless) tell me that women had all the real power cause they controlled the sex. Just an impressive display of nonsense.

    There are many different kinds of power, and yes, wonen have been excluded from most of them. You just happened to have your hands on one small lever of power that is often on the minds of males in their peak sexual years.

  23. But on average, we do have a much stronger physical and mental impulse than women when it comes to sex.

    Yeah, right. If we’re talking subjectivity here, you have no ground to stand on. Have you forgotten who you are talking to here? Hahhahaha.

  24. aiabx — the problem is that women don’t have control over their own sexuality. Hence purity balls and that creepy purity key mentioned above (maybe it was to the chastity belt). Women’s sexuality is considered to be the property of whatever man “owns” them. Women stand in the way of men’s access to sex, which is not the same thing as power. If women truly had power over their sexuality we would have moved much farther away from the virgin/whore dichotomy, away from sexualizing little girls and training women to defend the virginity which properly belongs to their future husbands, than we have now (sorry that’s such a complicated sentence).

  25. Jsug, the average is based on what population? Are you familiar with the studies which make the case that women are as physically sexually responsive as men, they just don’t recognize that they are sexually aroused?
    I hope so, cause I can’t remember where my source for that is.

  26. As I said, there are many different kinds of power; the power to ostracize from a family or community, the power to physically punish disobedient family members, the power to publicly shame, the power to keep relations dependant on your economic earning power, and a million other ways in which men can push around women.

    On the other hand, you had, for a brief while, the power to make some guy jump through hoops in order to get some action. It isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but I bet it was all he was thinking about that semester. These things loom large under the full flood of testosterone.

    I am recalling studies saying that teenagers were incapable of making fully rational decisions as their brains have not fully developed yet. I’m sure there are brain scientists here who can attest to the reliability of these reports. But when I consider the combination of a pre-rational brain and a rush of hormones, you’re lucky he didn’t claim that immediate sex was the only cure for the end of the world.

  27. I don’t doubt that women are capable of being sexually aroused as much as men. I’m not talking about what happens during sex. I’m talking more about how we react to the world around us in everyday life. Seriously, listen to the program I linked. The experiences described by a man who had testosterone and lost it, then by a former woman who had massive doses injected into her system for the first time, are extremely vivid, and they aren’t isolated cases.

    This is an excellent example of how much our personalities are impacted by the chemistry of our bodies and brains.

  28. I’ll give you the different kind of power, (have you read Dunbar’s “Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language”?). I will argue that full floods of hormones are not unique to men, and that in any given college classroom the attention given to the subject matter at hand is surely dwarfed w/r/t the attention given to sex, irrespective of gender or sex (trust me, and as I recall it was kind of a boring class, so like, triple the ratio). Given that both parties are rabid little bunnies, why aren’t we having purity balls (HA) for the boys? I’d say that it was because men are granted control over sexuality, their own and their womenfolks’.

    And no, he didn’t claim that immediate sex was the only cure for the end of the world, but I’m pretty certain he was the kid who argued that “breasts were wacky side effects”. I love liberal arts education with its emphasis on “cross cultural studies,” and that women’s studies counts as cross cultural.

  29. Jsug,
    I’m not claiming chemistry has no effect on personality, and I grant you that the experiences of intersex and transgender people raises fascinating questions about the interrelation between genetics, chemistry, physiology and personality.
    The problem with the above anecdotes is that we are always already embedded in a cultural soup which informs how we respond to the world around us. So that when given the testosterone, the trans man will color his experiences with what is associated culturally with testosterone, masculinity and so forth. The man who loses his testosterone responds as well to the implication that he may not be really masculine anymore. Where the line is drawn between chemistry and culture may not be able to be clearly demarcated.

  30. The man who loses his testosterone responds as well to the implication that he may not be really masculine anymore. Where the line is drawn between chemistry and culture may not be able to be clearly demarcated.

    The problem with this part of your argument is that the man didn’t know he wasn’t producing testosterone. He had a medical condition that took the doctors 4 months to diagnose. He’s simply describing his life experiences as he and others around him perceived them during that period. His stories also have very little to do with what we might consider traditional masculinity. Remember, women have testosterone, too, but their levels are typically much lower.

  31. Given that both parties are rabid little bunnies, why aren’t we having purity balls (HA) for the boys?

    Because prior to being able to do DNA testing, boys always had plausible deniability – especially if the girl could be cast as a slut – which was self-evident when she turned up pregnant.

    And because these people are only a degree removed from child-molesting quasi-Mormon sex cults.

    And because boys can’t resist crude puns about balls.

  32. Jsug, he’s still describing in retrospect, after the diagnosis is known, what his experiences were. This is not to say that not having testosterone isn’t going to change behaviors, although I wonder about what the experiences of the people who are XY but androgen insensitive, so that the body produces the testosterone, but is unable to interact with it? But all the same, I propose we meet in the middle? (it is a really interesting program, I don’t know how I got out of the habit of listening to it)

    aiabx, really, who can resist crude puns about balls? I think we can all agree that they are inherently hilarious.

  33. “Now that men are considered the lascivious ones, why is the responsibility still put on women?”

    Because the societal assumption is STILL that women have less sex drive than men, and that we can control it better. If we can, I’d have to say it’s because we’re the ones who have serious consequences if we can’t. Sure, guys have to pay child support if there’s a baby involved, but girls actually have to deal with the pregnancy or the abortion, give birth, deal with adoption, or raise the kid. All that, IMHO, makes signing a check every month look pretty damned easy.

    I’ve got nothing against girls or guys wanting to stay celibate – I’m not all that sexually active myself, simply because I’m uncomfortable having sex outside of a relationship, and tend not to have a whole lot of time for serious dating right now. But the idea that it’s any business of my (admittedly beloved) dad’s whether or not I have sex frankly squicks me, and is WAY too reminiscent of the middle ages for my taste, thanks.

  34. Why is it dad anyway? Where’s mom? The whole thing is funny. Not just that it’s girls who are expected to make these lame pledges (only to break them when dad’s not looking, tee hee), but why is dad the sex police? Dad’s have more authority than mom or something? Not only is this practice insulting to girls, it’s insulting to women/moms.

    And the poor boys! Boys can get very attached to their girlfriends. Saying they are only sex-crazed bastards assumes that they don’t have normal human feelings. And yet they somehow grow out of this and become responsible enough to keep an eye on their daughters’ vaginae? Uh huh.

  35. Yeah… I remember being a teenager, and I managed to date the same girl for over a year without once losing control of my penis. her dad was one of those “guys are only after one thing” types, which caused us no end of problems… I think he also had a problem with someone taller than him dating his daughter – a lot of people have hight jealousy issues.

  36. I have a question for anyone that would like to answer. I recently wrote a grant proposal for a high school science class that proposed better sex education in the U.S. my goal was to:
    “Establish an effective educational program that demonstrably decreases teenage pregnancy, reduces the spread of STDs, and teaches better critical thinking skills to teens and their parents.”
    One of my pieces of evidence that I presented that made a good case for implementing critical thinking into my “program” was this study I found called The Heat of the Moment: The Affects of Sexual Arousal on Decision Making.
    In the study, Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT, took a group of young male heterosexual college students and has them answer a series of yes or no questions concerning sexual activity. After a couple months Ariely then asked the college students to retake the test, this time while they were sexually aroused
    “The results showed that sexual arousal had a strong impact on all three areas of judgment and decision making, demonstrating the importance of situational forces on preferences, as well as subjects’ inability to predict these influences on their own behavior.” (Ariely’s study)

    Link to study: http://web.mit.edu/ariely/www/MIT/Papers/Heat_of_Moment.pdf

    Now here is my question. What do you think would happen if women were tested instead of men?

  37. holy crap…i go away for a little bit and come back to 43 comments. i’m a bit overwhelmed.

    let’s see…what is the evolutionary purpose for fathers to have an interest in their daughters’ sexuality? well, a daughter is essentially a sure bet for passing along his genes to a subsequent generation. what his genes want him to do is ensure that she finds a good mate who will contribute to the health and survival of his grandchildren.
    As several people pointed out above, a legitimate evolutionary explanation for a behavior does not justify the continuation of said behavior in modern human society. This type of knowledge is helpful in understanding our impulses and determining whether or not they are relevant to our lives today.

    cassie, that study sounds dead interesting. i’ll have to take a look when i have more time. i hope you get your grant.
    to answer your question, i suspect the results would be the same. i know how i get sometimes…

  38. I find it strange that while discussing sex drive, the only hormone we discuss is testosterone. As if testosterone were somehow the only hormone involved in human sexuality! There are other sex hormones in our bodies that don’t seem to get enough attention in relationship to sexuality and I think that has everything to do with cultural assumptions about sexuality and masculinity. We already think we know that men are more sexual, so we spend extra time and research investigating a hormone that is more prevalent in men. Not only that, but we equate sexual behavior with overt aggression, which we also attribute to males. Overt aggression, especially of the sexual variety, is overlooked in women. Not only that, but we then tend to ignore the less overt ways in which sexual advances are played out. This is not a well rounded attitude towards sex, even in the animal world where sex appears more violent and instinctually basic. Thus the idea that men are inherently more sexual beasts is necessarily largely a cultural construct, even when “backed up” by science, which any good skeptic can admit is also based in cultural constructs – especially in the interpretation. (Not to be all with the post-modern.)

    As to the biological, hormone angle, I think almost any woman can tell you that events related to their own “female” hormone cycles such as pregnancy and menstruation can have a strong impact on their sex drive. If this sex drive is not manifest in smashing men over the head with large rocks and dragging them back to their caves, it doesn’t make it any less potent or important. I feel like I had a lot more to say about this when I started typing, but I’m afraid it has now slipped my mind…

  39. kaiyote, i think you make a great point. also, we know that testosterone is not strictly a male hormone. women have it, too. t has been correlated with sex drive in both men and women. this does not mean, however, that it is the only factor, and your right…our male-centric view of sexuality has limited our understanding of more prominently female hormones.

  40. There are other sex hormones in our bodies that don’t seem to get enough attention in relationship to sexuality and I think that has everything to do with cultural assumptions about sexuality and masculinity.

    I think that’s partly true.

    Humans think largely in metaphor, and there’s a strong linguistic metaphor in English that sex is conflict. That’s why we talk about “conquests” and that someone’s virginity is “taken”. This isn’t just sexist culture, it’s actually part of the English language just as much as male-default pronouns once were.

    There’s a theory that some cognitive scientists have that psychopathy is partly due to the inability to see these metaphors as metaphors. So to a serial rapist, for example, sex really is conflict. I wonder if this leeches over into the mainstream, too.

    So I have to agree with those who have touched on this being largely a framing issue. If we talked more about “gaining sexuality” than “taking virginity”, perhaps that’s a more effective way to combat the frame.

  41. It’s funny. I just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale, and my first reaction to many parts of it were, of course, “Well, that couldn’t really happen here.”

    And then I remember things like purity balls, and it suddenly seems that much less far-fetched.

    Also, hee… “purity balls.”

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