Skepchick Quickies 5.13


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I think it’s pretty obvious that semen is a depressant. Ask any guy who hasn’t gotten any in a while… he’s probably depressed.

  2. It seems that Josh would like to replace the group gossip/public silence strategy (which, I agree is awful) with the (for lack of a better term) he said/she said strategy. While I agree that we need a different approach I’m not sure that this is a positive direction.
    And before anyone asks, no I do not have any better ideas but that does not invalidate my concerns.

    1. I tried pretty hard (and perhaps failed) to avoid the appearance of proposing solutions and to focus on why the current, widely-used strategy is a major contributor to the problem. My knowledge is on these issues is only relevant (if that) to the theoretical considerations.

      I’m certainly not endorsing a “he said/she said” dynamic. In fact, the major thing I call for (on this and other issues) is serious thought and effort discussing solutions and collecting quality data on the problems.

      I’m not convinced that making people less afraid to speak out will lead to a “he said/she said” culture of accusation. I’m still waiting for an example of such a scenario that has occurred in the past where there has not been a serious incentive for accusation, like a monetary reward. Absent such precedent, I’m not sure if this argument is vaguely insulting women by assuming that a significant fraction of them are chomping at the bit to accuse men of misdeeds or is expressing a collective anxiety about the ability of guys to interact socially in a contextually appropriate manner.


      1. Actually, I don’t believe either of those scenarios to be true; most women I know are willing to let an awful lot of rudeness slide (more that I would, in fact) before being offended and most men (even geeks) I know can react with women and still “keep it in their pants” so to speak. I also have no problem calling someone out when the evidence actually warrants it.
        My concern comes from the possibility of misinterpretations being given too much sway.
        Have you ever been misunderstood? I know I have.
        Would you like to be judged by those misunderstandings? I know I wouldn’t.
        If someone is being and asshat they should be called on their asshattery, I absolutely agree, I just feel that a certain amount of caution should be used least we turn into the screeching aliens from Invasion of the Body Snatchers every time we witness an off-color remark.
        Conferences and meet-ups and the like are not usually, at least initially, made up of people from the same friends group. What is considered acceptable to my close friends may not fly in a larger arena and if not imediately called on it I may not realize that I have offended. (I am using “me” as a generalization, please don’t ban me from your events. :) )
        And I am not excusing dickish behaviour, just saying that a scarlet A may be going too far. My opinion, besides, “Excuse me, you’re being a dick.” is usually enough.

        1. Far from advocating for an extreme position, the call here is to get to a moderate position where people feel empowered to discuss their experiences. The system we operate in now (and, to be fair, this is how most of society operates), where women are intimidated into silence, shamed for their sexuality, and offending men are protected, is an extreme position.

  3. I remember my friend telling me once that Gen Con had such a reputation regarding the personal hygiene of its attendees, and the jokes and criticisms became so common (including one Con when soap was handed out), that he remembered how it eventually changed (somewhat) for the better. In accordance with “On Catholic priests and sketchy skeptics” maybe the skeptical community needs a “Free Soap” moment. Though, what do I know…I haven’t attended a skeptic’s gathering (except the NECCS Drinking Skeptically) OR Gen Con for that matter.

    1. Really good idea. Problem is, we’d need wide adoption and a catch phrase that’s mildly offensive while at the same time sticky. “Don’t be a creeper”?

      Some kind of campaign within the movement would be really cool. I’m totally on board with this.

  4. I posted this comment elsewhere (and I think even on SC earlier). The original paper was poor research and of little or no value because it didn’t take into account a potential confounding factor of some women being victims of sexual abuse which might explain both their sexual practices and their degree of depression. The question about suicide attempts was “ever”, not necessarily contemporaneous with their exposure (or not) to vaginally deposited semen.

    If you look at this paper


    There is a very clear association between sexual abuse and depression and suicide attempts with an odds ratio of 4.14.

    Abuse is also associated with female sexual dysfunction.


    “Of the six FSD domains (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain), the pain and satisfaction domains were most closely associated with abuse histories.”

    If you look at this paper


    Condom use among women with pelvic pain is associated with reduced pelvic pain.

    In this paper there is a very clear association of chronic pelvic pain with prior sexual abuse, odds ration ~3.


    Presumably women who have pelvic pain would tend to use condoms when condoms reduce that pain.

    So the idea that women who were sexually abused would have more suicide attempts and would have greater use of condoms during sex is pretty well supported in the literature. I think there is greater support for a sexual abuse explanation than there is for a magic antidepressant in semen explanation.

  5. Mark, I call that DTB, Deadly Testosterone Buildup.

    I never cared for ST:Voyager even a tiny bit. But I can conjure up images of Nana Visitor in the real Maqui in the French Resistance. To be honest, I can conjure up images of Nana Visitor doing just about anything…

  6. The Maquis first appeared in TNG…(over-dramatic sigh) I guess journalists can’t get anything right.

    1. I know, right? At least they didn’t say it was first from Voyager, THAT would have been pathetic. ^^

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