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Let's Talk About Sex

   Tonya Jameson of the Charlotte Observer has written a piece (thanks to Romenesko for the link) about her attendance at a six-day (!) workshop on covering sex and sexuality. She writes:

    "Is the news media so afraid of offending readers, viewers and advertisers that we don't regularly tell stories about our sex lives, which many of us need help navigating?"

   Before I answer, let me note that I obviously can't speak for the entirety of the news media. I can only speak for The Washington Post Company, which includes The Washington Post, washingtonpost.com, the Express, some TV stations, a cable system, Kaplan, a newspaper in Everett, Wa., and some other stuff I'm forgetting.   

    The answer is, we live in a media environment that is already saturated in sex. You can rarely  pick up a glossy magazine or turn on a cable TV program without thinking: "This is going to inspire another jihad." Pornography essentially launched the World Wide Web as we know it. Sex, more than any other aspect of our society, has animal instinct as its 24-hour publicity machine. Do people really need help navigating their sex lives? Since the dawn of time, most people have done a pretty good job of finding their way around. They don't need arrows. Many people can find what they're looking for in total darkness.

    Let us countenance the possibility that sex should be private. That it needs less hype, not more. That it involves activities that are properly discussed between just two or, you know, three people, whatever, behind closed doors, in a whisper, with the camera turned off at least temporarily. I just don't see it as something that ought to be in the paper near the latest stock price for General Motors.

    That said, you might like Faye Flam's sex column in The Philadelphia Inquirer, which is really a science column -- and science is definitely something that needs more attention from the media. Flam's latest column is -- serendipitously -- about why humans prefer to have sex behind closed doors. (See, it's not just something I made up.) The piece takes its cue from a controversy at Penn over a couple that had sex close to a dorm window with the blinds open. Photos were soon splashed on the Internet. Flam points out that, despite the existence of people who are eager to have sex in groups or in crowded sex clubs or next to dorm windows in full view of passing college students armed with digital cameras, the desire for privacy during sex is a cross-cultural norm. Flam quotes a Jared Diamond book: "Diamond connects our so-called concealed ovulation [it is not readily apparent when a woman is ovulating] with our desire for concealed copulation and outlines a couple of theories explaining why they evolved. One suggests the urge for privacy arose because it prevents conflict and thereby encourages group cohesion needed for successful hunting and gathering."

    So to prevent conflict, we're not even going to talk about sex. Until, perhaps, the next blog item.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 6, 2005; 7:20 AM ET
 
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Comments

Well, I'll start this morning's boodle by saying that this kit is a logical continuation of yesterday's discussion of the activities at drive-in movies and such. Two questions:

1. Does anyone have amusing stories about the most unusual private place for sex? (Not me! I'm boring and not witty, anyway...)
2. How was BPH? I hope the Washington weather wasn't a problem.

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2005 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Paging Dr. Freud for Ms. Jameson, paging Dr. Freud!

Of course, sex is the reason we're all here, but having trouble "navigating" it calls for a professional navigator, not a steering committee...

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2005 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Joel, you are a brave, and possibly a foolish, man. Yesterday's topic had nothing to do with sex--it was, what, literature and the writing profession?-- but as noted above, the kaboodle found a way to work the topic around to our oldest and most interesting pasttime, to the point where when you said you were "blogging in draft mode" it sounded like a double entendre, in the context of the back-seat kanoodling that was going on (heck, we were in the trunk at one point, and "going to first base" and "undressing" and, well, our windows were definitely getting steamed up).

So, today you are encouraging these people? I can only hope that the increased traffic that is sure to result is worth the possible policing efforts that may be necessary. Stand by to shut down the generators.

Posted by: Reader | December 6, 2005 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Maybe today the boodle will have a long digression about literature. Ya never know with this crowd.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I propose that ones ability to navigate ones sex life has nothing to do with the size of one's compass. But a sextant might come in handy. And a working knowledge of how to operate the autopilot.

Is it coincidence that this Kit falls on the same day as the BPH?

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"General Motors stock prices fell sharply today in active trading on the heels of yesterday's announcement by the giant automaker that will begin phasing out trunks in their line of passenger cars with the 2006 model year. Officials for Planned Parenthood had applauded the move, but industry analysts have adopted a wait and see attitude."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Something no one seems to mention in these items about amateur recording/photography of the act:

Nobody looks as good as they think they do during sex. Nobody. Not even Ron Jeremy.

But there is one thing that's worse than visual recording.

Audio.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I dated a guy who met Ron Jeremy. He had his picture taken with him and I said, "Who's that? He's ugly..." And he said, "Ron Jeremy. His face isn't what the pornographers care about." Or, in other words...

When I read "a Jared Diamond book" I thought of Jared's Diamonds, the jewerly store and I thought, 'Why would a diamond store have a book about ovulation and copulation?' But then I re-thought and everything clicked.

Posted by: Sara | December 6, 2005 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Trunks or back seats, k-guy?

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 9:21 AM | Report abuse

A guy on my ship's crew was from Vegas, and he met Ron Jeremy at the Porn Convention. He came back with an autographed picture, written out to "The Crew of the ______"

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to spend most of today biting my tongue, and otherwise being a good boy.

And probably no song.

It won't be easy. But that's the kind of guy I am: a rock.

No need to thank me, Joel.

slyness, jw, you aren't helping!

You know what was a really good book? War and Peace, but that Russian fellah.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 9:30 AM | Report abuse

SCC: by that Russian fellah.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I normally try to do some web research before I spout off about some half-truth I barely remember, but this is the topic that would finally wear out the patience of the people on the otherside of my keystroke logger and get me fired. So all facts purported by me are less than unreliable in sourcing.

Isaac Asimov had some essays about how monthly menstruation has had very significant impacts on our culture and habits since it is nearly unique among mammals. I also remember some of the racier Stephen Jay Gould books talking about the evolutionary aspects, particularly with its effect on secondary sexual characteristics. No human butt turns bright red like a baboon. Are those enough references to mid-brow writers of popular science to appease Joel?

Now we can go back to drive-in movie stories. My wife went to college in a small very conservative town in the middle of a dry county. On the way to the only movie-plex in town there was a XXX drive-in theater that always seemed fairly busy. It was rumored to be very popular with the scholarship athletes at this Baptist college.

We, being upright moral college students, went to the cineplex instead where we saw every bad R-rated comedy that came out in the 80s. My favorites were Young Doctors in Love and Hot Dog: The Movie (as opposed to Hot Dog: The Overpriced Concession Snack).

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I was robbed of many drive-in memories, I'm sure, due to being raised in Northern New England... Damn short summer nights!!!

On the other hand, my hometown's drive-in (long gone to seed, of course) seemed to thrive on those slyly marketed "R"-rated B movies with the titles heavily suggesting that topic we dare not discuss today.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2005 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Three people, Joel?

Posted by: Huntsman | December 6, 2005 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"...some of the racier Stephen Jay Gould books..." ha!

I think a good topic for the 'Boodle would be the titles of Harlequin novels as penned by Steven Jay Gould. Like, "Evelyn's Evolution of Eros"

And although "no human butt turns bright red like a baboon," we adopt artificial equivilents. Pop into any Adams Morgan bar on a Saturday night for some field observations.

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 9:40 AM | Report abuse

bc,

Robt. Novak and his red sweater took another one on the chin last night.

DM

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 6, 2005 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Let us countenance the possibility that sex should be private. That it needs less hype, not more. That it involves activities that are properly discussed between just two or, you know, three people, whatever, behind closed doors, in a whisper, with the camera turned off at least temporarily"

OK;let's not. Maybe more talk BEFORE action would address,oh,I don't know Teenage pregnancy...abortion..STD whatever.Maybe a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing(Fruedian implications nowithstanding).

Posted by: ILL-logical | December 6, 2005 9:54 AM | Report abuse

jw, my dad drove American Motors Ambassadors when I was in high school. The front seats folded all the way flat. Nuff said. I did once get a girl to crawl into the trunk of a buddy's Nash Metropolitan with me. Here's what a Metropolitan looks like for those of you born in the latter half of the 20th century-

http://www.physics.ucsb.edu/~airboy/met1.jpg

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm..

"OK; let's not" discuss the possibility that sex should be private. PUBLIC sex would address all those issues? And it's very difficult to read "activities that are properly DISCUSSED ... behind closed doors" and not conclude the sentance calls for talk before action.

But then again, I'm a logical thinker.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2005 10:02 AM | Report abuse

oh, oh, pick me, yellojkt.

Re: literature, sex, menstruation. I had a proffesor in college who was an avid vampire lore buff. He gave us some essays (the author of which I am about to google) which followed the theory that, in cultural evolution, as women's menstrual cycles became something hidden from public view, and i'm trying really hard right now to compress some lengthy articles into one coherent sentence here, is when different cultures started to create different lore and mythology to fill in that gap - more specifically, vampire lore. It was a way to explain why the vampire myth is cross-cultural. The image of the bloody mouth, blood as a 'life-force,' the combination demon-sexual-being, was more or less a direct result from the transtion of human culture from hunter-gatherer to agricultural society.

I'm gonna go see if I can find that on google.

Posted by: LP | December 6, 2005 10:11 AM | Report abuse

DM

I know, I know. I'm a UMD guy, but I like GWs swagger. Bully for them.

yellojkt, my personal favorite R-rated 80's comedy: Bachelor Party. Tom Hanks' career has been in free fall since this apogee.

Not to mention Adrian Zmed.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Think about this. Why are genitalia referred to as "privates" and "private parts"?

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

SCC: replace "this" with "that".
I think.

A pox upon me.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 10:23 AM | Report abuse

bc, no poxes, please. They impact a person's attractiveness to the opposite sex. (Do I remember my 17th century lit well enough to say that a pox could be as STD?)

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

In the vein of the Ron Jeremy stories, I had a friend in college who attended a Catholic high school. When John Holmes took a turn for the worse and died, my friend offered this during his high school's morning prayer: "I'd like to say a prayer for my friend John Holmes, who is going through some tough times right now". The teachers were perplexed as to the cause for all the snickering coming from the back of the class at that.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | December 6, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bachelor Party is a classic in the genre. My favorite throw-away gag is when they are chasing through the 200-plex movie theater and one of the theaters is a broom closet with two seats. I think the couple in there aren't paying much attention to the movie.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2005 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Would that be Gabriel Garcia Marquez's less-well-known novel, "Love in the Time of Small Pox"?

(Attention: attempted literary tangent in progress. Boodlers are advised to proceed with caution.)

Posted by: Raoul Duke | December 6, 2005 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I recall from anthropology class, over two decades ago, that women in hunter-gatherer societies and in other cases of eating a very low-fat diet, menstruate a lot less often. Now that I think about it, we had this menstruation discussion a month or so back, didn't we? Anyway, we are being ethnocentric when we fixate on monthly menstruation as being the norm. I suspect it's more that roughly one month is the minimum time that it takes the female body to finish menstruation, do its ovulatory thing, then menstruate again. The body is perfectly happy to accommodate prevailing conditions by menstruating less often. Males, in the meantime, are always at the ready. If you're always mating, every chance you get, then you never miss a chance. Fecundity City!

One could argue that the outrageous evolutionary success of humans (so far) relative to our simian cousins is due to perpetual horniness. We simply out-mated the poor devils, displacing them from the veldt or savannah or forest or whatchamacallit, the better to pursue our intellectual interests.

As to why we prefer privacy: I would have guessed that it's the extreme vulnerability of the posture. In the throes of pleasure, we lose control of our public image. It may be ethnocentrism again, but my impression is that our species has generally preferred to maintain a bit of a poker face about everything, resisting the opportunity to display our vulnerabilities to our fellows, who also are our rivals for sexual and political success. You go revealing that you like a good %!@# )@&, and you can bet that the bigger, hairier, jock primates will make fun of you for it and flash their fancy stone hand-axes to the ladies, edging you out of the game.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I taught school for a little while at the High School and Middle School level. Kids know how to do it but don't know what it means in the context of their lives. I was teaching in a school where most of the population was black, and there were a number of middle school children that were missing from class rooms from time to time. What they need is some real sex education that helps them to understand that removing the tedium of their day-to-day existence with some sexual freedom winds them up in the premature existence of a teenage babysitting....and they've been raised by the same. We aren't allowed to actually talk to them about sexuality as a topic, the the basics. Not a thing about love, family planning, learning to tell the difference between love and sexuality and how to mix the two properly. We live in an age where perfume commercials on television are accompanied by models in underwear and we can't have a candid conversation with the children that need that conversation the most....The truth is most of these kids are BRIGHT, their cultural/ethnic situation has them economically seperated from others...their mores dictate that they will be repeating what they've been taught and it's not that hard to stop, but because of some archaic mindsets, they are doomed to being marginalized because we spend money to contain them but not to address the core issues of education and support.

Posted by: Lets actually talk about sex, morons. | December 6, 2005 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of sex, sexual politics, and menstruation: anybody read "The Red Tent?" It bogs down a little once Dinah grows up and gets an Egyptian boyfriend, but I thought the author did a really fascinating job of portraying a society and a way of life that are thousands of years in our past, with characters who were consistent with that time but nevertheless very recognizably human. A big element of the novel is the way that women's society is distinct from the men's society with traditions of its own that are not written and of which men are nearly completely unaware. Many societies have this sort of division, but we don't see it in modern Western society, and it's a surprise to think of it within a society that is ancestral to modern society and religion.

Just one example in the modern world of differing male/female cultures would be the flushing of toilets using the foot, an activity that is laughable and nearly unheard-of among men, but fairly normal among women. Or, so I hear.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Literature and sex go great together. My waste of a college Shakespeare professor spent all his lecture time reading the dirty parts. My favorite Shakespeare line is "your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs." -Othello, Act I, Scene i

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2005 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Speaking to "Lets actually talk about sex, morons." -- I think you have missed the point of JA's posting. He's not arguing that one should not discuss sex in a reasonable manner, really. His point is that our society constantly wants to talk about sex, and insert sexuality into every blessed thing, so that there is a continual background chatter that speaks of nothing but sex -- not love, not intimacy, just sex as a physical act. It is not an argument against reasonable sex education to say that sexual dialogue should be between persons who know each other sexually (or are about to do so) and should be conducted as a private conversation, not shared with the world. Sex should be important to people, important enough that we don't casually blab about it all the time.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 10:56 AM | Report abuse

To the author of this article:

You are severely mistaken that "most people have done a pretty good job of finding their way around." You'd be surprised how many people are clueless when it comes to knowing how their bodies work -- and how many people are experiencing sexual difficulties of whatever nature.

Equally wrong is your assertion (a banal cliche) that "our culture is saturated with sex" and "the media is full of sex." The American culture is extremely Puritan and any hints of sex are instantly blocked or frowned upon. If you wish to see "a culture saturated with sex" you should visit Europe.

Please stop propagating cliches, this only detracts from your journalism.

Posted by: S5 | December 6, 2005 10:57 AM | Report abuse

In 1960, sometime between 8th and 9th grade, "The Sundowners" came out, starring Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, and was said to be a racy movie for its time. I begged and pleaded with my mother to be allowed to go to the Saturday matinee with my best friend, BW. My mother said no. So I beggedandpleadedandbeggedandwhinedandpleaded until she said yes. Of course, I had neglected to mention that the reason I wanted to go so bad was B and I knew that two girls we liked, CG and the light of my life (unrequited) and fire of my loins (doubly unrequited), the spectualar MS, were both going to be there, and we agreed to meet them there.

Finally my mother relented, and B and I went to the movies, and sure enough there were CG and MS. Naturally, we sat boy-girl-boy-girl, with me next to MS. After about 20 minutes of watching Robert Mitchum shear sheep (told you it was a racy movie--those sheep had NOTHIN' on when he was done!) I did the bravest thing I had ever done in my entire life (possibly even up to today): I slowly reached out and put my arm around MS. She not only didn't object, after a minute or so she kind of snuggled in.

O nirvana!

Then, after about 10 minutes, my arm fell asleep. After about 20 minutes, there was some pain. After about 30 minutes the pain was agonizing. My entire right shoulder felt like it was on fire. Before I started wimpering I think I may have blacked out. Up on the screen, Robert Mitchum kept on shearing those sheep. I thought about those animals that get their legs caught in a trap, and gnaw their own limbs off in order to get away. The muscles in my arm went into spasms, then atrophied. Gangrene set in. My fingers and thumb had turned blue, and were cold and lifeless. The pain in my should was excruciating.

But I did not move my arm. It was around MS.

I am a rock, and it was wonderful.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 10:58 AM | Report abuse

To S5: I think your assertion regarding the relative saturation of sexuality in America versus that in Europe is a matter of degree, not kind. I don't think it a "banal cliche" to observe that sexuality (in many forms and guises) is a large part of the media (in its many forms and guises) in this country. To the extent that the majority of those reading this live in America, and not in Europe, making comparisons between the two does not necessarily invalidate the initial observation. It does not help the person whose home was destroyed in a hurricane to observe that many more people lost their homes in an earthquake in Pakistan.

Posted by: Raoul Duke | December 6, 2005 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Is it irony that the people saying that we need to really talk about sex in an open manner are coming across as really stuffy and judgmental?

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Tim, I read "The Red Tent".
I agree, an interesting book, and a sort of odd companion to the biblical book of Leviticus.

I should add that I think you're right on about vulnerability, but I think that it says something about our culture publically elevating the sex act itself so that we can mask our vulnerability, and it's *evil* cousin, intimacy. Nobody wants to buy vulnerability (who wants to be vulnerable?), and it's very tough to sell or buy real intimacy (though it may explain the large market for various forms of mental health services, therapy, counseling, etc.).

One last thing, Tim.
You get an extra point for using the term "poker face".

bc
I shall remain unclean until sunset.

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I read an article once, long ago, source forgotten, that said the best way to keep your teenager from having pre-marital sex is to let them know that their parents have sex on a regular basis. The psychology of this is interesting, and complicated, but it immediately had the ring of truth to me. It's an effective way to make sex less "sexy" and more about love and family ties. A family that's built on love is certainly the best environment to raise a healthy child. The media hypes the idea of sex as a source of pleasure, but a lot of times the love gets lost in the message.

And The Red Tent is a great book, a lot easier to read than the Bible, entertaining and enlightening.

Posted by: Reader | December 6, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

bc, I thought that "The Red Tent" was more of a companion to Genesis than Leviticus. Not that I've gotten around to reading the Pentateuch lately.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Sexuality is the doorbell ringing not the life that you live....excitement not living is what you're being sold....as an addictive thing. Which is okay until you hit 30 then, it's boring. Since most vapid consumers are in the early years, then like most animals you give them the obvious....like deer feeding machines. Evidence is obvious, I see deer sign everywhere.

Posted by: Bathing in the rhine | December 6, 2005 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Dontcha just love it when strangers address you as "moron"? I know I do. Just makes me want to take every single word they say with the utmost seriosity.

Two things suppress ovulation: low body fat due to poor nutrition\slow recovery from prior pregnancy and\or high level activity (this is why marathoners don't menstruate), and on-demand nursing. The latter means basically that you are walking around with a child on your hip all day and giving them the breast whenever they indicate a desire to nurse. One thing that has been linked to higher rates of reproductive cancers in Europe and America is oral contraception accompanied by extreme regularity and a larger total number of ovulations over a woman's lifetime.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Sister Simone, a very tiny ancient nun, took all the grade 9 girls into a classroom one day and told us she had something very important to tell us. What she said has stood the test of time and is to this day the sum total of my formal sex education. She said, "Do not let boys lay on top of you"

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 11:18 AM | Report abuse

dr: that's terrific.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Tim, clearly the characters are from Genesis, but I intrepreted some of the setting/story as these folks in the context of the laws laid, er, *set*, down in the second half of Leviticus. Well, and other places in the Bible, too.

I'm no theological or Bible scholar, that's for ..., um, sure.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 11:23 AM | Report abuse

dr- does that mean she was advocating the female superior position?

Posted by: Raoul Duke | December 6, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Respond to all insults that are directed.

Posted by: tiny egos | December 6, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Sex is everywhere in our society, but only on a very simplistic, base level. We use sexualized images of women (mostly) to sell products. It's very rare to find any serious discussion of sexuality in the media. "10 Ways to Wow Him in Bed!" does not count. Our culture remains very adolescent about sexuality, and would greatly benefit from more serious, academic, scientifically-based discussion of sexuality. That's what is sorely lacking.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 6, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Has been to the deer feeders too much.

Posted by: Zorro | December 6, 2005 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Regarding privacy while you, er... "do that thing": There's another time we demand privacy: when we poop. Just watch a toddler who is still in diapers, but not yet potty-trained, go hide behind a chair or otherwise get some privacy while he poops in his diaper.

There's just some little voice in his head that says "don't do this in front of anyone" even though he hasn't yet learned the all-important "don't do this in your pants."

Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

dr: so it's okay for girls to be on top?

My first gfws (girlfriend with sex) told me that her mother's principal sexual advice to her was "if it looks like it belongs on a horse, dear, run away."

I have noticed that girls/women of my "acquaintance" have at times made brief mention of having conversations with their mothers about sex, at a level of candor and explicitness I would never have considered. My first girlfriend (before gfws) mentioned that she had discussed with her mother whether she felt ready to have sex with, you know, me. I certainly felt uncomfortable talking to her mother after that. Then there was the horse thing. Then there were the really appalling things from the mothers of other gf's -- instructions on how to do certain things, humor about ... oh, I just can't say it without saying something that would force JA to smite me.

So, women of the boodle -- did you have conversations like that with your mothers? Your daughters? Do the men know?

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Heavens to Betsy!

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Great story, Curmudgeon! I, too, had to beg my parents to see the double header, "Wait Until Dark," and "I Love You Alice B. Toklas." The latter was listed as "Objectionable For All" by the Catholic Tidings (various drug and sexual references), so my parents didn't want me to see it. After much persistant pestering, they finally relented. I met at the theater with my best buddy, his girlfriend, and the girlfriend's girlfriend, with whom I was smitten. My buddy and his girlfriend sat right behind us (they were constantly tapping on the back of my chair, beckoning me to put my arm around my date).

Fortunately for me, I'd been told by one of my older brothers of the the suprise scare moment in "Wait Until Dark," when the mortally injured hit-man leaps out at Audry Hepburn in a desparate attempt to kill her. My date was practically in my lap for the rest of the movie. Bliss.

It isn't (just) the sex, it's the anticipation, even when the sex is hypothetical or a remote possibility.

Posted by: CowTown | December 6, 2005 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I warned you, JA.

Posted by: Reader | December 6, 2005 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm on the phone with Hal. Jeepers. Gosh.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Tim, yes they do, and yes we know. At least I know, anyway.

Fortunately, they're polite enough to stop laughing at us in our presence.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Tim asks:
>So, women of the boodle -- did you have conversations like that with your mothers?

I think the conversation went:

Mom: "If you get pregnant, don't bother coming home."

Me: "Umm, okay."

Tough love, baby.

Posted by: Pixel | December 6, 2005 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Heavens to Betsy" why? Admittedly, we've been talking mostly about sex, but at a pretty cerebral level. Except for the one about the award-winning bad sex scene. I'm still trying to work out the geometry in my head. It just doesn't sound like a healthy relationship between two fully self-actualized adults. But they would have to be pretty limber.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Definitely no song today, I think.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

An anonymous boodler at 11:25 posted the following:

"Turning to literature ...
I believe the following will be of general interest to those who hope that a discussion of literature might emanate from today's kit, and to those who just want to do some Blogging in Draft Mode, if you know what I mean.
This is, seriously now, the winner of the recently announced 13th annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award.
Winkler by Giles Coren (Jonathan Cape)"
REMAINDER OF POSTING CENSORED BY JOEL AND HAL

Look, if anyone wants to read the Bad Sex passage they can Google it. Let me say one thing about being censorious: It's fun, you should try it sometime.

Crazy as it may sound, we prefer to keep the material here of a "family friendly" nature, and the specific family I'm thinking of is mine, which includes delicate children. Not that they have the slightest interest in Dad's musings.

About the comment earlier calling us all morons, and the other comment saying that people really DO need help with their sexuality, let me point out that I was writing about whether newspapers ought to have more coverage of sexuality. This is not about sex education in schools. But maybe I'm wrong about newspapers, too. Maybe we ought to have a sex columnist, or maybe a BUNCH of sex columnists. Or a sex SECTION! Right between Sports and Business.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I am quite sure that Sister Simone was never ever told any more than exactly what she told us. She would have been appalled that there could be more. I am also certain that all of us were wondering aboout the whole rest of the story thing. It is a source of laughter at our reunions.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we could all use a six-day sex workshop. Before kids, that used to be called a "vacation."

Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2005 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The Zorro thing was very funny, I have to say. I feel bad about the vaporizing of the passage, but Hal and I thought it was kind of a no-brainer. Which is to say, a decision even WE could make.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes: "Maybe we ought to have a sex columnist, or maybe a BUNCH of sex columnists. Or a sex SECTION! Right between Sports and Business."

Ah, the oft-proposed "X" sexion.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I once went on a short 3-day bicycling vacation with a girlfriend. My male friends looked at me funny and asked if I really WANTED to break up with this girl. I couldn't understand what they were talking about. I LOVE bike-camping. What's the problem? It took at least several more months before we broke up. But it turns out that exhausted people, even 20-somethings, are not very interested in you-know-what.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Did the editor make you do this, Joel?

You guys will do anything for HITS!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 6, 2005 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Here are several revealing paragraphs from Jameson's story:

"
Cable television does the best job of exploring sexuality.

This fall, HBO, the network that gave us "Real Sex," "Sex and the City" and "G-String Divas," debuted "Sexual Intelligence," a documentary featuring Kim Cattrall of "Sex and the City." It wasn't the typical HBO voyeuristic approach. It was academic.

Along with sex experts, the show featured interviews with three men and three women, including a gay man, gay woman and a woman who calls herself "heteroflexible." They discussed their bodies, fantasies, kissing and more. HBO also airs "The Sex Inspectors: A Real Sex International British Import," a six-part series about helping couples enhance their sex lives.
"

There is a difference between HBO and your local newspaper. HBO gets away with all kinds of outrageous stuff, and it's wonderful, it's fabulous television. But it's a subscription network, doesn't have to worry about being family friendly, and doesn't even have to worry about what the advertisers might think -- because it has none. A newspaper is never going to be like HBO.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 6, 2005 12:04 PM | Report abuse

TBG you've been hangin' with a different crowd of toddlers than the ones I know. Children have to be taught that bathroom functions demand privacy. Naked children in the Third World squat wherever and whenever.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

TBG you've been hangin' with a different crowd of toddlers than the ones I know. Children have to be taught that bathroom functions demand privacy. Naked children in the Third World squat wherever and whenever.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 12:07 PM | Report abuse

dr, first Mother said a stork brings a baby to Moms and Dads. Sounded reasonable to my 4-5 yr. old mind. I liked that. A few years later, she changed it to "Good Catholic Moms and Dads pray for a baby and God grants their prayers." Sounded reasonable to me. Finally, at age 15, I learned the real deal in Catechism from Father Wagner when I asked why he said it would be considered living in adultery if a Catholic divorced and remarried. My older sister, in the same Catechism class, was mortified. "You little creep, don't you know anything? Motherrrrrrrrrr, will you puhleeze talk to this imbecile!"

It is sad that children today are bombarded with sex (and lies, and war and terrorism and bombs). Can't we let them enjoy just being kids.

Posted by: Nani | December 6, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Okay, literary people. Is it "butt" naked, or "buck" naked? I've always wondered.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about the double post-&^%*%$$@$ typepad!

Re: Sister Simone I am reminded of the aptly named former Ag Sec Earl Butts, who once said of the Pope's views on sex, "You no playa da game, you no makea da rules."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Buck.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

dr, was that "aboout" on purpose, or some subliminal typing?

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Buck naked or butt nekkid. It's a regional thang.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

SCC: bombarded with gratuitous sex.

Posted by: Nani | December 6, 2005 12:24 PM | Report abuse

re: buck. Somebody's gonna ask for a source, so here it is: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=20001005

This one (http://www.takeourword.com/TOW155/page2.html) gives it a wishy-washy toss, saying at first that "buck" is older (my belief), but then saying well, maybe it isn't older.

This one calls it a draw: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/001959.html

This one (three-qyarters down the page) sides with buck: http://nstockdale.blogspot.com/2005_03_01_nstockdale_archive.html

There, that's settled.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

To be strictly on topic, I'm not sure that you can take all sexuality out of the media. Its too deeply interwoven with our entire perception of ourselves, and our world.

Take advertising, an intrinsic part of the media world. Those big SUV adds are selling size, power, strength. Size power and strength are directly related to the pecking order of the universe which goes right back to sex and the guy who can keep the best female in his herd is the guy who wins.

There is a strong perception that sex and passion are separate from intimacy and love and caring. Thats the area that we need to focus on reconnecting in our culture. Any animal can mate and procreate, but humanity in all its various forms needs to learn that there is more to it than just a simple act.

We see a lot of the two separations in the modern media. Just off the top of my head, everything I can think of in MSM is either showing sex and passion, or love caring and intimacy. There seems to be a whole lot less on tv, in magasines, and in movies that covers it all. The times that MSM covers it all, portray characters as full people, exploring intimacy and sexuality are times the media wins, are the media that will stand the test of time. All you have to do to see it in action is to go back to Jane Austen and Mansfield Park or Pride and Prejudice. Sex is always implied, indeed seethes under the surface, but never is overtly spoken.

MSM, just needs to focus on showing and selling us the whole picture.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think I live in the butt nekkid region. Thanks for the clarification!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2005 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Whoa!! I must admit that I always get a kick when I read that people want to have sex in private to "prevent conflict and promote group cohesion" and the like. And birds and bears do it not because their hormones are raging but because it is their express desire to select a mate with the best possible genes to pass on to their future offspring and carry on the great, never ending saga of natural (or sexual) selection and evolution.

I really don't think that's what the bears and birds are thinking, if thinking they are. Thy're horny, they are filled with insatiable urges to mate, and although, in strict terms of selection and getting the best genes for their buck is in the equation, this is NOT why they mate.

I do have some problems with Diamond's stipulation that privacy arose (ahem) for the sake of group cohesion and conflict avoidance.

I really doubt, in the midst of hot and heavy lust, that ancient humans were thinking about anything other than getting it on with each other.

Love, lust, a desire for privacy to share an intimate moment. Yes, I know these things can't equate with snazzy talk about conflict avoidance. And anyone who dared to print anything other than the strict "genes and group cohesion" formula would be pilloried.

I did read Joel's column in NG about the sweaty t-shirt test for finding a mate. People sniffed a variety of t-shirts that carried the sweat of other people. Apparently there was some evidence for attraction to potential mates that may have had good disease resistance, measured by attraction or not, to certain types of sweat.

But ask those folks why they are attracted to the person behind the sweat. They won't tell you it's because after a sweaty day at the beach, they concluded from smelling his or her date, that excellent disease resistance topped the list of dreamy qualities! Besides, this experiment didn't follow the logical course. Whoever was attracted to Jim's smelly t-shirt should have met him. If it was uuugggh! at first site, smelling the potential for disease resistance in sweat wouldn't win out over the uuugggh! factor.

Poor Tonya Jameson. If she only would join a book club, any book club, she would be awash in fliers that come with the club's catalog offering how-to sex manuals, videos, etc. Tantric sex, new age sex, the best sex yet!! All advertising great full color pics!! Help IS available Tonya -- but when you find out how to have sex -- please do it in private . . .

Posted by: nelson | December 6, 2005 12:33 PM | Report abuse

jw, Would you beleive I was talking Canadian?

Put your bet on the table that this one is going to surpass Rovestorm for activity, and that JA, our obviously fearless leader is going to have to re-think his boodling in draft mode adventure.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Funny thing is, dr, that this isn't the Kit that appeared briefly last night while Joel was blogging in Draft mode.

Posted by: TBG | December 6, 2005 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Okay -- conflict avoidance and group cohesion probably was part of the reason why sex was private. Just read my post. I did sell it short. But I still think an innate desire for privacy for is a large part of the formula.

No, I don't know where that innate desire for privacy arose. One can probably make a case somehow for some underlying reason that is related to selection.

But just think you you feel when you're with a partner and want to make love. A very strong desire to be alone together (a strange oxymoron)is paramount. Unless it's a frat party and copious amounts of grain alcohol punch are involved.

Posted by: nelson | December 6, 2005 12:44 PM | Report abuse

On a biological note, I remember reading somewhere long ago that homo sapiens is the only species that copulates face-to-face and that breasts evolved as substitute butt cheeks. Can anyone confirm or deny that?

My mother gave me a book about the birds and bees, and I did the same with my kids. Of course, they also had the sex ed program at church that focused on the ethical dimensions of the subject. When my younger girl, now a college sophomore, fell in looove last year, I advised her to make a run to the university clinic for birth control, but she told me in no uncertain terms that that wasn't necessary. Oh well, one tries to do one's best...

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2005 12:51 PM | Report abuse

slyness,

Maybe your daughter is being what we all want our daughters to be, eh?

You very well may be blessed.

Possibly the two of us are in the same boat, happily.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 6, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Kurosawaguy:

I had the same reaction you did to the toddler-privacy comment. I believe that toddlers can be taught that natural bodily functions are private or even dirty or shameful, but if they aren't taught anything, they'll just think they are natural. Americans seem to have a very high incidence of neurosis when it comes to bathroom issues. (just read Weingarten's chatological humor for details) That is not a good thing, I think it leads to health problems of both physical and psychological kinds.

Posted by: Reader | December 6, 2005 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael, yeah, she's a good kid. And the boyfriend is on track to be a neurosurgeon, so we definitely want this relationship to work...she did go and get a patch, to help with the PMS symptoms, so who knows? She made reference to the boyfriend spending the night on the futon, and when I said that was too much information for her mother, she laughed.

Posted by: slyness | December 6, 2005 1:16 PM | Report abuse

By their relative absence today, the women who usually dominate this blog are suggesting some discomfort with the subject. You have to admit, there are far more males than females posting today, even allowing for the indeterminate or the hermaphroditic.

I think prurient accounts would probably be of more interest than practical information. And, for this topic, the grand poobahs might sanction anonymity. Eh?

Posted by: goombah | December 6, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

slyness,

I have always thought that the more decisions you let kids make when they are young, the better off they are when they start making serious decisions.

My daughter's mother is really "black and white" on issues while I get into the gray areas. I have found that I really get something out of discussing my own issues and family issues with the kids.

When the kids realize that they are making their own choices, within limits, they are very impowered and responsible.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | December 6, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon,
That was a such a funny story about MS that I just emitted a semi-snort.

Tim,
I think I have The Red Tent at home. Now I guess I'll root it out for a read. I am currently reading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and it is pure delight.

I question whether humans have stronger sex drives than other primates, however.

Posted by: TA | December 6, 2005 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Responding tothe 1:36:03 post recommendation, let me tell you about the time I got between two male/female bloggers at an internet campaign in Amsterdam.

The first one put her/his hand on the mouse and then started searching for orthographic movies on the internet, not realizing that what she/he was really looking for was pornographic. By the time I could communicate that to him/ her, the clock had struck one.

Posted by: omnigasm | December 6, 2005 1:45 PM | Report abuse

TBG, I know. I think you and I were the only 2 people who saw it. I was somewhat surprised when I came to the kit this morning.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 1:46 PM | Report abuse

TA said: "I question whether humans have stronger sex drives than other primates, however."

I wouldn't say "stronger" but "active at all times." Presumably, organisms with limited periods of estrus have evolved limitations on fecundity in response to the carrying capacity of their ecological niche. Human evolution said "Carrying capacity be damned! Squeeze 'em out as often as possible, let God sort 'em out." You could thus argue that humans are not as highly evolved as apes because evolution didn't have the chance to teach us a lesson before our other adaptive strategies -- kill things with rocks and sticks, not your hands; work as a team -- stepped in to save us.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Taking a break from drafting a whole slew of discovery requests to comment on the apparent dearth of women blogging on this Kit.

You know, guys, sometimes sex for women can be really, really boring. When I was living in Stockholm ages ago, my best friend (still is) and I were walking to the subway to take our respective trains home and we were talking about sex. She said that sometimes it was so boring, she thought about what she was going to have for breakfast in the morning, what she was going to wear for work . . . .Yeah, me too.

I suspect that if sex weren't so overrated much of the time, the mutual pleasure coefficient would be a whole lot higher.

But, when it's been good, it's been very *very* good. And fun, to boot.

There seems to be far too many people out there scared ****less of this topic. Information is indeed power and the less information you have, the more it will hurt you. I'm all for extensive sex education in schools. Perhaps a requirement for high school graduation ought to be an exam on sex education. Not exactly like driver's ed, but hey, pick your metaphors where you will.

Back to the everyday job. Thanks for the pause.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 6, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,
Guess I have to be the one to provide today's song...:

The version I know:
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do...
I'm half crazy over the likes of you.
It won't take long I promise
For I have no pajamas
But you'll look neat between the sheets
Of a waterbed made for two...

But there are others:

http://chris.kom.com/daisybell.html

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I'm half crazy, just to make love to you
You make me all hot and sexy
So let us call a taxi
My kind of fun, just can't be done
On a bicycle built for two.

For the digital age:

Daisy, Daisy, send me some email, do
I'm half-crazy all for a byte of you
I can't afford a modem
I don't know how to code 'em
But you'd look good
Upon a node
Of the internet built for two.

[Insert male name, twice],
Mudge, Mudge, here is your email true
I'd be crazy to interface with you
Why don't you get a clue be-
Fore ranting like a newbie
And I'll be damned
If I'll be spammed
On an internet built for two.

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2005 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Tim,
What about wabbit fecundity? Or that of another mammal that is considered overpopulated? In those cases, other kill factors like disease and starvation step in to control the population.

Posted by: TA | December 6, 2005 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Loomis, I was just thinking along completely opposite lines, about the most erotic passage I've ever read (and which will be familiar to just about everyone here--at least I hope):

"...when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 2:54 PM | Report abuse

How ironic, that in a blog about sex, the "today song" is a little ditty sung by a computer (presumably asexual) in what arguably may be one of the best SF movies of all time.

Posted by: Jack Sprat | December 6, 2005 3:04 PM | Report abuse

...which of course takes us back to a discussion of high-brow literature, specifically John Updike, who started all this in yesterday's kit and who wrote one of the..ah, have to be careful here...most memorable scenes in all of serious literature, on about page 86 [approximation] of his first major novel, "Rabbit Run."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I could claim to recognize that passage, but I'm waiting for possible SCCs, thereby most likely proving that I know much less than I think I do. As usual.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 6, 2005 3:05 PM | Report abuse

curmudge -- Excellent choice of passage. Now let's see if I can concentrate on what I need to do for the rest of the afternoon. Nah, too late. . . .

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | December 6, 2005 3:07 PM | Report abuse

In high school I had a boss who was explaining to all us wide eyed kids at Wendy's that sex was the world's most over-rated pleasure and that the world's most under-rated pleasure was a good shit.

Most people I tell that to react in horror and assume I am saying that a good dump is better than sex. That is entirely not the point.

Posted by: yellojkt | December 6, 2005 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I think lobsters do it face-toface.

Posted by: LP | December 6, 2005 3:12 PM | Report abuse

That's because you can smoke AND take a dump at the same time.

Posted by: Jack Sprat | December 6, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Yellojkt: When I was in college, a professor told us there are three major sources of pleasure in life: food, sex, and elimination. And she said, the order you put them in depends on your age. I've been watching her words come true as I get older.

Posted by: Reader | December 6, 2005 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yo, TA: "What about wabbit fecundity?"

I was speaking only of human fecundity as opposed to our ape-and-other-various-primate kin.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Snakes have two penises (and no one knows why!) and mate facing.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Snakes have two penises (and no one knows why!) and mate facing.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 6, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

My goodness.

Only 1 hour 41 minutes until BPH.

Mudge, that quote makes me think of drunk Irishmen and Salvador Dali movies.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Andalusian girls"

Nope, I'm unfamiliar with Ulysses. But I can google it. Now, I gotta go read it.

I have heard a fellow storyteller perform a pem by Rumi. It was pretty cool. The storyteller is good, but it's clear that it would take a complete dunce to kill it, so long as he sticks to the actual words (or their translation).

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Umm, that would be a "poem" by Rumi.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 3:27 PM | Report abuse

kurosawaguy,

Must have something to do with the "forked tongue". Double the pleasure? Or is that quadruple?

Posted by: Jack Sprat | December 6, 2005 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me who thinks that Joyce and Kerouac are probably having a drink (or three) together upstairs?

Posted by: Jack Sprat | December 6, 2005 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Jack: ...along with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Wolfe and Hunter Thompson, all of them drunk on words.

Salud.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 3:39 PM | Report abuse

This kit was written on a BPH day. Conincidence? I think not.

Disclaimer:
Not that I wish to imply that this boodle was written with any ulterior motive whatsoever.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mudge (if I may),

Agreed, but I was referring to the two aforementioned writers' prodigious use of punctuation.

Posted by: Jack Sprat | December 6, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I already said that!

Posted by: jw | December 6, 2005 3:48 PM | Report abuse

jw, your umbrage to dr's Disclaimer is noted.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 3:51 PM | Report abuse

That must be why they call that strange looking navigational thing a "sextant"

Posted by: Jim Brodhead | December 6, 2005 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Tim,
You are correct, of course. I now realize that I was merely arguing with the tangent going on in my head.

Posted by: TA | December 6, 2005 4:03 PM | Report abuse

BTW, this kit is now being advertised on the front page of the WPost as "Achenblog's Sex Talk".

Posted by: TA | December 6, 2005 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course it's being advertised on the front page; of course it is. Fantastic; absolutely fantastic. (What was that Joel was saying again?)

Posted by: Tom fan | December 6, 2005 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self would like to apologize. He is the one who posted the censored and deleted winner of this year's Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award. It was inappropriate material and he is really, really sorry. He promises that he won't do it again. He says again that he is really, really sorry. Now he's just pathetic. But still really, really sorry. Really. Sorry.

In fairness to Bayou Self, he felt that the passage he posted was way over-the-top stuff. Yes, it described sexual activity in a frank way. But it was literature. And, for example, it did end with a two-word sentence that is curious to ponder.

"Like Zorro."

Posted by: Bayou Self's Public Editor | December 6, 2005 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Also appearing on the front page of the Post (this is the headline from the linked article): "U.S. Admits Wrongful Detention, German Chancellor Says. Secretary Rice Declines Comment as European Tour Continues"

Obviously, she should have said "Sorry about that, Chancellor." A gigantic misstep, followed by an inadequate and insincere apology. Instead, we don't do even that much: "Oh, by the way, we imprisoned one of your people without due process because we mistakenly identified him as a terrorist, and as everyone knows, terrorists deserve no rights. So, it was his mistake, really, for looking like a terrorist. 911! 911! 911! Fight the terrorists there, so they won't be peeing in our streets and troubling our wimmen folk!"

Pardon me, but I'm once again feeling the awful shame that this administration has heaped upon our country.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

TA - ha!
I feel so - used.
No, dirty.
No, um, liberated.
Yeah, that's it. Liberated.
I'm going to march right out to Conn Ave. and burn my Manzier. I mean, Bro.

I see that Time hasn't named their POTY yet. I guess we're goin' dutch tonight, ma'am.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 4:20 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "because we identified him" not "because we mistakenly identified him." I forgot that this administration does not make mistakes.


Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh.

Posted by: Tim | December 6, 2005 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Tim-
That's 'cause the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

No mistakes, nothing to fix, no problem.

bc

Posted by: bc | December 6, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Joel, a blog-process question: what happened to the "Do We Need Columnists?" entry that appeared in my rss reader last night? I was looking forward to lurking through some amusing comments, but it was gone without a trace this morning. The link still works though...

Posted by: SC exile | December 6, 2005 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Tim,
For you...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucrr/20051203/cm_ucrr/isgeorgebushtheworstpresidentever

Posted by: TA | December 6, 2005 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Disclaimer:
Not that I wish to imply that this boodle was written with any ulterior motive whatsoever. " JW

Oops. I meant to give proper due to you jw. I figure, why fool with perfection.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Disclaimer:
Not that I wish to imply that this boodle was written with any ulterior motive whatsoever. " JW

Oops. I meant to give proper due to you jw. I figure, why fool with perfection.

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

And I am so sorry, that I have posted twice. SCC SCC

Posted by: dr | December 6, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

JA, aka Illustrious Boss, I deeply regret that I am unable to contribute in a constructive or substantive way to today's Boodle. Other engagements demand my attention. Please raise this issue (sex Sex SEX SEX!)in a future Kit.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Posted by: CowTown | December 6, 2005 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I think sexy/sexing-up is different from sex. Sexy, a collectively-perceived, idealized romanticism, is embedded in advertising (TV shows) and newspaper articles to generate sales and is therefore everywhere. There's a distinct (yet ignored) difference between the salacious klatches of Sex and the City and educational news about "our sex lives." If sex were disassociated from sexy, we could benefit from a sex section in the paper. Secrecy about sex and intimacy (even if due to a distaste for sexy) elevates sex to the esoteric be-all-end-all of human existence, leaving the uninitiated unprepared for the emotional, psychological, and physical consequences.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 6, 2005 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Now, see? The above post (by whomever) is the kind of thing I wanted to write. But I don't have the time, darn it. Well said, Annonymous.

Posted by: CowTown | December 6, 2005 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,
Your cleverness, knowledge of literature, and use of words is making you "a man of interest," and impressing the heck out of many of us here on the Boodle.

More lingering questions from me...
Did you always know you wanted to become a journalist? How long were you lurking on the Boodle before you decided to join in? As you were maturing, did your word power make you a hit with the fairer sex? Do you often use words to charm? Do you strike up conversations with women on your bus rides to and from work? And do people in general find you charming?

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2005 5:48 PM | Report abuse

isn't there a sex museum in nyc?

Posted by: ot | December 6, 2005 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and I heard they have a very popular hands-on section. ;)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 6, 2005 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I must refer the gentle readers to the brief exchange between myself and Tim on Thanksgiving. There was a brief discussion on the difference between nude, naked, and nekkid. It would have been, perhaps, more appropriate today. Alas, my timing was a little rushed. It happens to the best. I'm going to go say a few Hail Marys now...

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 6, 2005 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Loomis, that's a lot of soul-searching. Let's see.
(a) Always want to be a journalist: Yes, from senior year in high school, when my English teacher talked me into doing a column for the school paper. (Believe it or not, I once did a parody of the Mollie Bloom soliloquy in one of my articles; impressed the hell out of the teacher, though I doubt most of the kids knew it's source and import. I can't even remember the topic, but it was probably typically sophomoric: Yes she said I did my homework yes all the algebra problems yes she said and my history term paper too yes all 10 pages yes--and like that. I was one of the class clowns, though not behaviorally, just verbally, and wrote lots of parodies, recited Bob Newhart albums by heart, etc.)
(b)I was probably lurking only for a couple of weeks, in part because my work flow slowed up quite a bit and I had nothing to do at the office, so started looking for stuff to read to keep out of trouble. My first major post was the which salads are guy salads and which are girl salads thing.
(c) I have never matured (kinda thought that might be obvious). As to the fair sex, I was pretty popular in high school, but mainly because of my semi-class clown stature, and also because I was a good listener--I was a confidante (think there's a funny mark on that word somewhere) to half a dozen people, knew a lot of the secrets (and kept them--I received gossip, but was known for my discretion, didn't pass it on--talk about the roots of being a journalist!) But to the other implication of the question, no, although I was a pretty quick-witted, I was also pretty shy, and in the direct presence of a girl I was interested in, my brain turned to mush and I became basically an incoherent stammering idiot, or dead silent. (I subscribe to the theory that writers write to express what they can't articulate verbally. I started writing short stories back then for that reason. What's interestinmg is I was aware of this at the time.)
(d) Do I use words to charm? No, generally pretty much the opposite. I tend to be fairly blunt, curmudgeonly, sometimes sarcastic or sardonic, and a wise ass. I make people laugh, but I don't charm. I have held some middle management positions, and have generally been respected but not necessarily liked; I don't tolerate fools and idiots very well, and I'm not at all "diplomatic." I have gotten in trouble over that, from time to time. I am pretty loyal, and pretty tenacious. I get along very well with people I respect, but don't get along with people I don't respect, also a problem. Don't like to kiss ass or kiss up, either, even when it seems necessary or justified or in my best interest. All in all, I am probably an "acquired taste."
(e) Strike up conversations on the bus? First, nobody talks to anybody on the bus, ever. Don't know why. The bus is always packed, and after a while riders get to "know" each other as "regulars," and may nod, or even say, "Hot today" when they get in line. Mostly they sleep (it's an hour ride, in a touring-type bus, no standing straphangers allowed) and about a quarter of us read. (I start off reading, and fall asleep after 15 minutes. That tells you the kinda charmer I am.) Even so, I'm not the kind to initiate conversations with women I don't know (if someone else starts, I'll respond, and I do enjoy flirting with someone I know. I flirt shamelessly with one woman at the office, but the context is understood, and everybody knows it's a game. But that's different.)
(f)Pretty much covered my general lack of charm. However, I suspect in many ways I am like Gene Weingarten, but without the mustache and voice. I heart women and appreciate them the way he does. Instructively, the mother of a girl (woman-she was about 24 at the time) I had a long-standing and unrequited crush on once said to me (at the girl's wedding, as a matter of fact), "Poor [name]. You wear your heart on your sleeve, don't you?"

And I'm good with kids (I'm the parent they "can talk to"). And know the infield fly rule.

I'd have never written any of this if I didn't know the rest of the boodle are over at McCormick and Smick's getting snockered.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 8:01 PM | Report abuse

But enough about me, you sweet-talkin' thang...what about you? What's your sign? Come here often?

(See? I got nothing.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Our culture is saturated with images of semidressed people in evocative postures. Our culture is full of sexual desire triggers and naughty talk, not sex.
If it was, we'd know exactly how many times the POTUS gets it on in a week.

As it is, most of us would rather NOT know.

By the way, somebody forgot the obvious way to stop menustration-- pregnancy ;).

Some animals DO like to copulate in privacy-- almost all monogamous birds do when they live in social groups.
THis is because they cheat once in a while and if they're consorting publicly, they could risk their secret lovers finding out. Jealousy occurs in birds.
Ah and not to mention that a cat could eat them when they're busy-- but frankly, birds do it quick enough that it is not the reason.
Males in polygamous species do it when they get a chance, period, with 1000 other birds watching if need be.

In contrast, most mammals are NOT monogamous, let alone social AND monogamous.
Wolves (and dogs) come close, but they don't naturally live in large groups like birds or people. As a matter of fact, in a pack only the alphas get to mate... (packs are usually a family, anyway), and they harrass their underlings trying to mate. You'd think they'd learn to develop private mating but their technique prevents quick mating, and in any case disrupted mating beats infanticide of wolf pups.

Interestingly in voles they found a single gene can switch a polygamous male to a monogamous male.. it's about boosting their memory and having them associate the good times with a specific female.

Those voles are not social, so no clue if these voles want to draw the curtains or not...

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 6, 2005 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Curmy

Can't you tell LL has the hots for you, or your words anyway. Too bad you are in ________ and she is in _______.

Also, do you think the anonymous contributions today are from the women who don't want to participate?

Posted by: cordova | December 6, 2005 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, cordova, just my luck--to be 59, married 23 years, father of five and grandfather of 10--and to stumble upon my first groupie, and she's half a continent away. Where was she during the Nixon administration, when it would have done some good?

Don't have an opinion on that, though I noticed the absence of Loomis, Sara, Nani, A/TFan, and some other reg'lars. If I hadda guess, I'd say no, anonymous posting ain't their styles. (So I guess I do have opinion after all.)

Hey, for those who have cable, "House" has been pre-empted, Commander in Chief is showing its pilot episode in re-run, and AMC has "To Kill a Mockingbird, " which gets my vote hands down.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 9:23 PM | Report abuse

I've stayed oput of this whole sex-in-privacy versus sex-in-public discussion all day, in part because I pretty much disagree with all the other opinions offered up so far. I tend to think the whole preference for doin' in privacy thing is learned behavior (rather than innate) that was started a long time ago in pre-KansasSchoolBoardian times, and stems from three basic (male) motivations, any or all of which combined serve to explain it.

First, when doin' the deed, the male (usually) has his back to the audience (assuming there is one), and is--how to put this?--extremely vulnerable and exposed (and not in a good way). Men REALLY REALLY don't like to be exposed and vulnerable like that, especially when other predators are nearby. So part of it is to do the deed in an environment that is relatively safe from interference and danger. Lots of other male adaptive behavior comes from the same source, viz., shaking hands, etc.

Second, men are territorial and possessive (no! really?) and so would necessarily want to "protect" (you should pardon this next phrase) their "property" (remember we're talking Cro-Magnon era here) from the rest of the tribe. This one's mine; stay away. The best way to do that is to do it away from the tribe, where the rest of the gang isn't likely to want a turn, even if they aren't otherwise threatening or potentially murderous.

Third--and I think this is really important--male behavior with a woman in privacy is considerably different than male behavior with a woman when in public. It has much less to do with "performance anxiety" (though that always lurks) than with other things. When in privacy with a woman, a man can relax, fool around, snuggle, spoon, be gentler ("be himself," we might say), tease, nap--an entire range of actions, emotions and responses he could NEVER do in a public context.

In short, privacy is so much more qualitively better that even a Neandertal learns pretty quickly that it's better to club the woman over the head and drag her off into the bushes than it is to just drop trou' and do it in the road.

It can be simplified to this: sex is better in private. Nothin' more complicated than that.

Finally, there's that great, great scene in "Lady Chatterley's Lover" when LC does a little...ah...flower decorating with John Thomas. Could that scene have happened with other crofters hanging around? No way.

The defense rests, your honors.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, no funny little marks are needed for "confidante." There are no tittles involved with that word. (As the local smut peddler, let me add to the folks at home that "tittles" is a grammatical term for funny little marks on words. For those of you scoring at home, congratulations. Ba-dump.)

Posted by: Bayou Self | December 6, 2005 9:59 PM | Report abuse

It was not I who made anonymous posts to the Boodle today. I am far too involved with Christmas and its many associated activities to pay much attention to the Boodle of late. I didn't jump in until late this afternoon, when I first got online today. And my evening has been equally as full and busy as the morning.

It was a jiggy Boodle today...many men talking about sex as though it involved conquest, with many of their peak experiences occurring many years ago. Or the dispassionate discussion of textbook sex or lower primate/lifeform sex. I think perhaps what wasn't said by many is more revealing than what was.

Am I a Curmudgeon groupie? No. Do I have the hots for him? At this age--don't make me laugh (no offense, Mudge)! His writing is a good/bad tickle of my mind, that's all.

I also see that he and I have some strong traits in common: " have generally been respected but not necessarily liked; ... and I'm not at all "diplomatic." I have gotten in trouble over that, from time to time..."

If I had had my rathers, I'd have preferred the Kit to have been on the subject of sex appeal (that perhaps leads to sex), rather than sex itself. I think the Boodle would have had women jumping in with both feet firmly planted on the subject. I have already expressed myself previously about the irresistible magnetism of a man's joie de vivre.

Posted by: Loomis | December 6, 2005 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, since everybody's still out at Happy Hour, I seem to have the joint to myself. Following the Molly Bloom soliloquy above, I'd now like to post the second-most erotic passage in all of literature (relax, Joel, it'll be OK). I know it is fashionable to trash Hemingway, but I can't abandon the Grand Old Man. This is from my favorite of the Nick Adams stories, "Fathers and Sons." Nick and his son have been talking about Nick's youth and how he used to hunt with an Ojibway Indian boy and the boy's sister, Trudy. Nick's son, age about 10 or 11, asks what they were like:

"It's hard to say," Nick Adams said. Could you say she [Trudy] did first what no one has ever done better and mention plump brown legs, flat belly, hard little breasts, well holding arms, quick searching tongue, the flat eyes, the good taste of mouth, then uncomfortably, tightly, sweetly, moistly, lovely, tightly, achingly, fully, finally, unendingly, never-endingly, never-to-endingly, suddenly ended, the great bird flown like an owl in the twilight, only in daylight in the woods and hemlock needles stuck against your belly.

-----------------------

That there, ladies and gents, is some o' yer world-class dirty writin' 'bout sex. Often imitated, never equalled. I'd kill to have written that passage.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Oops, sorry, LL, didn't realize you had posted whilst I was composing.

Interesting observation...but what was it you think we didn't say? (I'm not being argumentative--you're probably right. But what was it you had in mind?)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 10:52 PM | Report abuse

By the way, hope you weren't referring to my arm going to sleep for an hour and a half and causing intense pain as my "peak sexual experience."

Second your suggestion: let's get Joel to kit about sex appeal tomorrow and talk about that all day.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 6, 2005 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll start off with a report of tonight's BPH. It was another success. Good food, good drinks, and more good company. TBG was there to join bc, jw, Achen fan in all of her various forms, omni in all of his various forms, TA (and Mr. TA), mo, and me. mo took pics, of course, and I'm sure they will be posted in due time. Our server, who remembered our last time there, also took a pic of the lot of us. bc and jw each gave us a very sweet early Christmas gift. They can reveal the details as they see fit. I left early, so I'll let the others tell you more details. It was a delight to meet TBG (and Mr. TA) and I look forward to the next one in the new year with others in the area joining us.

Posted by: pj | December 7, 2005 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad the BPH went well. Can't wait to see the pix. It's good that mo was there, since I've missed her postings.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | December 7, 2005 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Nice feature

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2005 3:37 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon's earlier comments made my think of an old movie- everything does. In "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask", Woody Allen portrays different aspects of the subject through a series of unrelated vignettes. In one of them Woody is involved with a woman who cannot become aroused without at least some risk of exposure, so they do it in the bushes at a garden party, behind a wardrobe in an antique store, etc. Although the piece on the dangers of breast augmentation was good (Woody saves the day by contructing a giant bra), the best segment by far was the depiction of male physiology during sex. The brain was likened to a NASA control room with technicians barking orders "Roll out the tongue!" while individual sperm cells waited nervously like paratroopers before a jump, comparing stories about the mission to come.

I can't believe I said that.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 7, 2005 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I didn't make anonymous posts yesterday. I made a flippant post early on but then got busy with work and then took the afternoon off. I have been sparse lately though. I've been kind of busy.

I'm also glad the BPH went well and am looking forward to the pictures. I'm a big fan of pictures.

I'll bet bc and jw worked up a song and dance act as their early Christmas present, didn't they?

Posted by: Sara | December 7, 2005 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I am not sure all of omnis' forms were represented at the BPH. I was there, but reservedly at a distance because the sexual tension was not high enough to comingle. You might say I was lurking or mostlyjerking.

Just continuing yesterday's topic. And if I may say so, talking about sex appeal is less appealing than talking about sex.

Posted by: omnigasm | December 7, 2005 9:20 AM | Report abuse

On the other hand, appealing for sex is just downright sad...

So I've heard.

Posted by: Scottynuke | December 7, 2005 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I, too, could not attend the BPH, as I had forgotten it was my bowling night.

As for snuke's posturing, he may have kneepads from all the begging he must have to do, or so it is written on the men's room wall.

Posted by: Goombah | December 7, 2005 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I get tired of the lack of plot and the lack of story line other than fighting, and things exploding...no matter how dressed up and fancy that is. I often wonder if the repetive nature of the lack of range is stultifying the general ability of people to think outside of that range of behaviour. It's all about using female display to capture attention....I okay with that as a first level, but I'd like to move beyond that. As in, having the people that have control of the money/media actually move beyond that....and don't tell me that the media is controled by males in this -> range, they can be included.

Posted by: sex is okay, but | December 7, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Did you know that there is a category in the Grammy Awards for "Hawaiian Music Album"? That must be one of the ones they present the afternoon before the telecast.

There is also a category called "Historical Album" The first album nominated is "The Complete Library Of Congress Recordings By Alan Lomax." OK.. what's left after that one?

Posted by: TBG | December 8, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Activating the carnal molecule is difficult when one is not aware of the sensual nature of protonic expultature. That being said being in two places at once allows one to experience the abulations of forensic pleasure exculpated to extremes of benificial fractions. Those fractions greater than one....at least as long as I am present. Heartness/treeness/roseness parasitized is not love but a form of power over....distortion is not an artform unless it Coletrane.

Posted by: Begin presents for yourself | December 8, 2005 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Well for all those interested in more. Great blog to visit. Witty and humourous and so much more on sex and sexuality www.isitaboutsexblog.com
enjoy

Posted by: Aloof | December 9, 2005 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Looks like everybody has a story to tell, but i kinda want to tell you if your thing doesnt stand up upto expectations do visit
here!

Posted by: anonymous | December 9, 2005 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Looks like everybody has a story to tell, but i kinda want to tell you if your thing doesnt stand up upto expectations do visit
here!NOW!

Posted by: anonymous | December 9, 2005 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I spelled Coal Train wrong.

Posted by: Excuse me | December 12, 2005 12:40 PM | Report abuse

You have a penchant for having a lack of understanding your mission to earth. You've allready lived out your live as a redassed baboon....move on.

Posted by: Dear anonnie mass.... | December 14, 2005 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of drive-in movies (way at the beginning) does anyone remember the XXX drive in movie theater in Beltsville named "Sidney Lust?" I'm not kidding, people - that was an aptonym from way back in the day. There are ticky-tacky apartments there now. It was on Route One near Powder Mill Road. If you went over the bridge on Powder Mill you would suddenly be assaulted by giant pulsating body parts and bad acting! I attended many a movie there, the most memorable had an orgy scene in a big bathtub that looped over and over again (guess nobody noticed) and one of the guys looked like Abraham Lincoln. Too surreal. But that's how things were in Beltsville. Same place where Vet's liquor is - the veteran's eyeballs have light bulbs in them.

Wouldn't it have been funny if MST3K did XXX films?

Posted by: mizpattay | December 17, 2005 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and on another subject discussed earlier here (just catching up, kids) has anyone ever been to http://www.mum.org/? The Museum of Menstruation used to actually be in someone's house in Hyattsville; now it is only available on the web. The curator/owner is a very kind gentleman (I have corresponded with him). The museum is dedicated to his mum. It's a facinating place, and continually updated.

Anyone care to make a comment here about odd things in Prince George's County?

I am a proud lifetime resident, and speak the language well.

Posted by: mizpattay | December 17, 2005 1:36 PM | Report abuse

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