Gender and Sexuality – A brighter, more tolerant future?

Personally I think that gender is not binary or even quaternary. It is much more complex than that and always have been. I see it as a spectrum.

I think that has always been the case. But we have a conservative society that puts people in pigeonholes, and that society has a binary view of gender – male and female. Anyone who didn’t fit was queer and was very much undesirable and picked on. Their lives could be made hell.

The pressure on people who did not conform to the norm was severe.

I bet that most of those people suppressed their sexuality and lived unhappy lives.

Maybe today we are moving to a less judgemental era where people can be free to be who they really are? Thus it seems that more types of expressions of gender and sexuality are coming out of the woodwork.

I don’t see that as sinister. I welcome it.

Youth Fashion – what’s that about?

Now I’m not talking about high culture here or looking to get into the range of styles. It matters little.

winkle-pickers, beehives, split jeans, arses hanging out, no laces, mini-skirts, levis, Italian suits, waist coats, plastic coats, what-ever.

Goths, Punks, Hip-cats, Rockabillies, Hippies, Skinheads……….

What’s it about?

Every new generation creates a new set of equally daft fashion statements.

It’s all about sex isn’t it? It’s a statement of fertility and accessibility isn’t it? It’s saying – ‘we’re available’.

But people hang on to their youth and fashion long past its sell-by date. Each youth fashion and haircut sticks around long past the youth, fertility and availability it signifies.

That is why youth fashion has to change all the time.

Other cultures – like some African cultures – have a ceremony where the youths are stripped of their hair and youth culture and enter into an age of adulthood. They marry and settle down.

But hey – fashion is fun – right?

Female Make-up and sexuality – what is it all about?

I am a great admirer of Desmond Morris – the animal behaviourist and human observer. He tackled the whole business of why females wear make-up and what that make-up is doing.

Women wear make-up to make themselves attractive.

Women wear make-up to signal their availability.

Women wear make-up because it became a habit.

So let us start with a standard heterosexual girl. She wishes to make herself attractive to males and signal her fertility.

Her tactic is to attract in males and then select the one that she believes has the characteristics she would most like to pass on to her offspring. That is the reason for sexual attraction.

So what might she do?

She might redden her lips to make them appear fuller and redder.

She might use eyeliner and mascara to make her eyes look bigger.

She might use rouge to redden her cheeks.

What does all this meant to achieve? Why is it attractive to males?

According to Desmond Morris this is a mimicry of what happens in sexual arousal. During female sexual arousal blood flows to the lips and cheeks making them red. The eyes dilate and widen making them look bigger.

So is make-up merely mimicking sexual arousal?

To supplement the effects of make-up the female uses bras and cleavage to accentuate her breasts, clothing to accentuate her child-bearing hips, high heels and short dresses to accentuate her legs and perfume to create a heady musk.

How does that work?

Well perhaps it appeals to male vanity? They assume that this sexually aroused female is responding to them and react accordingly.

Sex Education – My Views

Sex Education

As someone who has taught sex education for 36 years to students age 11-18 I think I am a bit of an expert on this. I was also a member of the county PSHE Team (Personal, Social, Health Education) a big part of which was Sex Education.

I think all children should receive good sex education and that should be age appropriate.

In younger children of Primary School age this should be around life cycles of animals, relationships and changes that take place in the body.

In secondary school this progresses into the fundamentals of human reproduction and would cover topics such as menstruation, masturbation and relationships.

By fifteen such topics as contraception, STDs, sexting, respect, homosexuality, human sexuality, sexism, dealing with emotions, love, relationships, inappropriate sexuality, pornography, pregnancy and abortion would be appropriate.

17 and 18 year olds would have detailed discussions on such things as the rights and wrongs of abortion, pornography and date rape.

These would not be run as ordinary lessons but usually be in the form of class or small group discussions and processing of information. The teacher would be there to lead discussions, enable and provide correct information when required (ie. on what types of contraception are available and where to get them or what symptoms of STD are and where to go for help).

I do not think parents should have the right to remove students from these classes. That would infringe the rights of students.

Good sex education actually reduces sexual activity, reduces STD infections and reduces pregnancy rates. It reduces stress in students who worry about their feelings, whether they are normal, relationships, emotions etc. It promotes respect and makes people more able to withstand peer pressure. It empowers people and removes the stigmas.

Sex – My Views

Sex – what goes?

As far as I’m concerned sex between consenting adults of whatever gender is up to them. If there is no coercion then I would say it is up to them and nobody else – with a couple of provisos:

a. No major damage is done to either party

b. The activities are not public

c. All participants are adults

d. The activities are consensual

We recently (well in the last ten years) had a case of a group of sado-masochists who met up to carry out their strange practices. They would sandpaper their genitals, stick pins in their genitals and actually nail their genitals down. They photographed this and sent the photos around the group.

It got out what they were doing. They were prosecuted.

Now personally I find that peculiar and abhorrent but I would stand up for their right to do it. No lasting harm was done and they were all consenting. I do not think they should have been prosecuted.

For me irresponsible sex is unprotected sex that could result in pregnancy or the spread of STDs. I would, of course, regard underage sex as irresponsible, by my view of the age of consent would probably be fifteen.

But I’m open to debate on that.

I do, of course, as a biologist, regard homosexual sex as perfectly natural. Not my scene but there you go. It is found in most animals and has been well accepted in many cultures – Romans, Greeks, Native American Indians, Indians………… Whatever floats your boat. It is a biological predisposition that does not appear to be learnt.

Abortion – rights and wrongs.

Who should have the right to decide on an abortion?

The mother?

The father?

The foetus?

The family?

The government?

The religious body?

Nobody – it should be illegal?

The case against abortion.

a. By 12 weeks the foetus is nearly fully formed with all organs in a rudimentary form – a heart, lungs, brain, eyes, ears, limbs, fingers. It can even move. But it is tiny – about the size of a lime. But it very much like a small baby even if it cannot live outside the uterus.

b. The foetus is alive

c. Only god has the right to end life.

d. Having an abortion has a lasting psychological effect on the mother, family and father.

e. The foetus has rights.

f. Some foetuses in late abortions live for a while outside the uterus.

g. It is distressing for medical staff to perform abortions.

h. The father has rights.

I. Women can be pressured into having abortions when they don’t want one.

l. Abortion is immoral.

m. Unwanted babies can be given up for adoption.

The case for abortion

a. the foetus is not able to think or feel.

b. The foetus is growing inside the mother’s body and she has the right to decide what to do with her own body.

c. Desperate women resort to desperate measures – backstreet abortions carried out by amateurs or self-induced abortions – and endanger their lives or health.

d. Every child should be a wanted child.

e. Children born into families that can’t or won’t care for them properly are severely disadvantaged.

f. Pregnancy and birth endangers the mothers life and health.

g. Pregnancy can ruin a mother’s career or relationships.

h. Some foetuses have inherent genetic problems or major health problems.

I. Financial, social or domestic situations might preclude having a baby or another baby. The mother’s health or mental health may be at risk.

l. Morality is a personal issue. The mother decides her morality not the state.

m. There are more than enough babies in the world. We need to reduce populations.

The Choices

a. Abortion should be illegal.

b. Abortion should be available in certain circumstances – rape or danger to mother’s life or if the baby is severely handicapped.

c. Abortion should be freely available for all. It is the mother’s choice.

d. Abortion should be available if mother and father agree to it.

e. The state should decide case by case.

My view

I think that it is the woman’s right to decide what to do with her body.

I do not think that abortion should be decided lightly. I think women contemplating abortion should receive counselling and reasons for her decision looked into. It should be a well thought through decision and is a very serious one.

I think that contraception is the way of controlling fertility. Women and men should take responsibility for their actions.

I think the morning after pill should be freely available to cover for accidents.

I don’t think the church or state have any rights whatsoever. Religion is a personal choice and the state should follow the will of the people.

I do not think the foetus is developed enough to have rights.

I would hope the foetus would be considered in the decision and father and family consulted before the decision is made.

I think the abortion should take place as early as possible.

I think counselling should be available for the mother.

I do not think it is the role of the state to interfere with the morality of the mother.

I think abortions should automatically be offered if there is concern for the mother’s health or the baby is handicapped.

I do not believe that many people ever opt for abortion without thoroughly considering it. They should not be harassed.

Human Sexuality. Some Thoughts.

Well in the wake of Weinstein human sexuality is a bit of a thorny subject that appears to be in a state of flux. But I thought it was worth putting in a few pennyworth of random thoughts.

a. I think human sexual behaviour is naturally more similar to that of Bonobos than that of other Chimps or Gorillas. Bonobos use sex to reduce aggression, as rewards and as normal social interaction. When Bonobos encounter another group of Bonobos they are more likely to indulge in a huge orgy than fight. Bonobos do not have a dominant alpha male leading the pack and claiming sexual rights.

b. Sex is complex. It is not just about reproduction; it is about pair bonding, reward, social interaction, power, pleasure, status, novelty and even revenge too.

c. Nobody should underestimate the intense force of sexual urges – particularly in young men. Properly controlled it can be a great motivator and intense drive towards achieving in many fields. Uncontrolled it can, as we all too often see, result in rape, sexual abuse or even murder.

d. Our society is sexually repressed. Our normal sexual interaction is highly restricted. This is one of the results of what we call civilisation. If we behaved naturally, like Bonobos, we would be having sex all over the place all the time. But it is obvious that we are not living naturally in small tribes where this type of casual interaction would be possible. In large groups it wouldn’t work. I remember, when I was young, seeing film of a ‘lost tribe’ (probably wanted to stay lost) in South America. The hunters came back and the women ran out to greet them and they were having sex where they met. They lived in open setting and sex was not seen as anything out of the ordinary, no more than eating. Children climbed over couples while they were making love. There were no hang-ups. I’m not sure this would work on the trains and busses.

e. Sexual repression probably results in strange behaviours – fetishes, obsessions, stalking, sadomasochism, abuse, rape …………..

f. Sexual fidelity is not a natural condition for humans. The biological imperative is for variation – hence different fathers for children.

g. Pair bonding is very powerful but not long lasting. Sexual attraction results in changes in brain chemistry that we call falling in love. This bonding enables couples to work together to bring up young children. The chemistry usually lasts around seven years – by which time the children are grown.

h. Nearly a third of babies in a stable marriage have a different father to the one they think they have.

I. Sexual strategy is different for males and females. Females can mother relatively few children. They are consequently generally very selective in choosing mates, look for males to settle with who will provide support, are very attracted to successful males but are also highly attracted to wild males who are risk taking and dangerous. Their ideal is probably settling with a high-status male who will cater for her children while having a series of affairs with a number of bad boys. Males can father a large number of children so tend to be less selective (though status plays a big role in their selection – high status males are more attractive so have to be seen with high status females). They too would ideally raise children with one woman while fathering other children here, there and everywhere. Roughly it breaks down to variety for both, quality for females and quantity for males.

j. Females are more sexual than males. They have more powerful orgasms and are capable of more orgasms than males. Uninhibited sex would create problems for males. They couldn’t keep up. Is this the cause of the macho male image, misogyny and repression of females? Is this why we have abominations such as FGM, women being dressed in burqas and hijabs and locked away behind walls, male aggression to women and patriarchal domination?

k. In summary – it seems to me that the problems with our sexuality result from our grouping into large numbers and the social mores this creates. This is reinforced by religion and social customs. This results in many sexually frustrated people, raised aggression and abnormal sexuality.

Boobs – what are they about?

boobs

I was inspired to write a blog on boobs after reading a post by Jess from Half Girl Half Teacup.

Boobs – what a strange phenomenon or is it phenomena (there are usually two of them).

Everybody is obsessed with them.

boobs 2

Guys are nuts about them and can’t get enough.

Girls are worried about them all the time. They are either too big or too small. They pay billions for cosmetic implants. It’s the end of the world if they have to have a mastectomy. Young girls worry about not having any.

Boobs dominate everyone’s thoughts.

The Fugs

Boobs A Lot

Do you like boobs a lot?
(Yes, I like boobs a lot.)
Boobs a lot, boobs a lot.

(You gotta like boobs a lot.)
Really like boobs a lot.
(You gotta like boobs a lot.)
Boobs a lot, boobs a lot.
(You gotta like boobs a lot.)

But why?

They are obviously not there for the feeding of babies. Gorillas and chimps (our very close cousins) don’t have them and they feed their babies perfectly OK. In fact only 10% of a boob is glandular. 90% is adipose tissue (fat). If girls have boobs that are too big they find it hard to breast feed – the smaller the better is the rule.

So what are they for?

They are simply a secondary sex characteristic to attract males. Males like boobs a lot.

The trouble is that they are a bloody nuisance that women have been saddled with for thousands of years. They cause nothing but trouble (oh I know that a lot of girls like to flaunt their boobs and love the effect they have on men – but that hardly compensates in my opinion). Boobs get in the way. They are not built for running. They are not built for fighting. They have a short life (they head south rapidly if unsupported). They are cumbersome (guys – trying strapping two big bags of sugar to the front of your chest and see if they slow you down and get in the way).

They probably stopped women competing on a level playing field in primitive times. They could not hunt so well.

Women athletes tend to reabsorb their breasts.

The firmness of breasts denote fertility. Young girls are fertile. Older women are less so. The more pert the breasts the more fertile the girl.

Of course with modern technology women have conspired to keep their breasts pert longer and support them so they appear more pert than they are in order to subvert male proclivities. Men are easily fooled.

So why did something so useless and detrimental evolve?

Well Desmond Morris postulates that it is all to do with our bipedal evolution.

With chimps, gorillas and early man the quadrupedal nature of ambulation meant that the male face was lower down and the main focus of male attention was on the rump of the female – hence her rounded buttocks and reddened labia. The buttocks and labia were the main attractants.

When we walked upright the buttocks were nowhere near so visible so substitutes were selected. The boobs and big red lips took on the role of the buttocks and labia.

Aaah!! What does it tell us?

Men are such fools.

A little bit of lipstick and a push-up bra will take all the blood away from their brains. All they see and think about is boobs (and lips, labia and buttocks of course).

New age of censorship? Is this a real dilemma? The destruction of art!

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I was made to think quite hard yesterday when I was reading an article about the 72 year old artist Graham Overden.

Overden is a quality artist who has work displayed in the Tate and other galleries. I am unfamiliar with his art but for such galleries to display it suggests that it has merit. He specialised in painting of young prepubescent girls and rural landscapes.

Overden obviously had an attraction to young girls. He was prosecuted and found guilty of six counts of indecency and one of indecent assault for which he received a 27 month jail sentence.

A judge has now decided to go through Overton’s art work, including his collections of work by other artists, including Sir Peter Blake, and deciding whether they are obscene. If they are considered indecent they will be destroyed.

I found this disturbing. This seems to me to be a return to State censorship that has repercussions for everybody.

I do not condone what Graham Overden has done. Young girls should not be sexualised or used as sex objects, let alone physically abused.

I suspect that the young girls who posed for Overden were doing so with their parents’ consent?

This threw me into a number of thoughts:

Are we entering a new age of prudery?

Should we have censorship of art?

Should art be destroyed?

Are some subjects, such as young girls, now off limits for photography and art?

Could some of the photographs I innocently took of my children, who seemed to have a predilection to throw off their clothes, now have to be viewed in a different light?

Is obscenity in the eye of the beholder? Can a photograph/painting of a young girl be viewed as purely aesthetic by one person and as sexual by another?

Do we have to reassess everything a person has done in their life if they are a convicted paedophile? And does that negate all their output?

I had to think hard about some of these issues. This is what I concluded:

I think paedophiles have an illness. If they have an unhealthy sexual attraction to young girls or boys they should suppress it and seek treatment. If they abuse young children they should be punished and be treated.

I do not think any art should be subject to censorship unless it incites violence or hate crime.

We do seem to be entering a new age of prudery on sexual matters. I think all matters of sex between consenting adults, of whatever gender, in private, is purely up to them.

I do not believe a judge has any right to destroy works of art. That smacks of the Nazis burning books.

I do not believe anyone can see in the mind of another. If they view something as sexual in their heads then that is up to them. The Victorians covered legs on pianos because they found them sexual, while round the corner they had brothels.

If some people find a work of art sexual that is up to them.

It is only natural to reassess the work of an ‘artist’ if they are convicted of a crime. But it does not invalidate their work.

Naked people are not sexual. They are aesthetic, including children.

Sex is not obscene. Abuse of underage children is obscene.

Artistic freedom should be sacrosanct.

Now those are my views. What do you think?

Sex – Pornography – male and female.

love ans sex original

Males and females are different. That is quite obvious and not merely restricted to the physical. There are physiological, emotional and psychological differences that are every bit as stark as the physical.

In terms of sexual needs and relationships those difference come from a psychology born of different priorities. It gives rise to different attitudes and desires.

The object of sex is to get as many copies of your DNA into the next gene pool as possible with a view to them going on to create further versions of themselves in future gene pools. It is the way we achieve immortality.

Sexual reproduction creates variation. Variation creates a range of offspring that enables adaptation to change. More variation – more likelihood of success in the distant future.

Male and female sexual strategies are different due to the nature of their physiology.

Males are capable of fathering thousands of children. One of their strategies to get copies of their DNA into the next gene pool is to go for quantity. They will seek opportunity to father children as and when it arises with as many different females as possible.

Females are only able to produce a limited number of offspring. Hence the female strategy is to go for quality. The female of the species makes herself attractive, draws in as many suitors as possible and selects the best. She then wishes to create a strong relationship in which her children can be brought up with security. She wants to provide the greatest chance of her limited number of progeny surviving and prospering and so invests a great deal of time, energy and effort in nest-building, relationship and nurture.

Males are also interested in quality and are prepared to invest in this nurturing. It is in their interests to raise healthy survivors who will prosper and pass their genes forward. Though they will always be looking for opportunities to father children in other nests.

Females too are not naturally as monogamous as they might appear. Variety is the name of the game  and if an opportunity arises to introduce variation into her offspring she will seize it. It makes sense for her to have a safe nest to bring up children, provided for through a stable relationship, while at the same time introducing variety from different contributing fathers.  Research shows that many children of seemingly stable, monogamous relationships have different fathers.

There is a biological imperative at work.

So how does this relate to pornography?

Males tend to view sex as physical and mechanical. They view their pornography as close-ups of the genitals and sexual act in detail. There is the minimum of relationship and it is devoid of emotion. The more lurid and graphic the better. They are excited by visual and auditory portrayals of sex. Male pornography exaggerates physical sex to the extreme.

Female pornography is completely different. Females are interested in relationship and tend to prefer the emotional side and exaggerate it to the extreme. The romance novel is as much pornography as the male sex magazine. The young female swept off her feet by the gallant male. The perfect love affair with its deeply romantic setting culminating in their perfect love-making under the delicate moonlight.

Of course I stereotype. There will be males and females who would be quite turned on by pornography aimed at the other gender. I merely suggest that firstly, the romance novel is as much pornography, in that it exaggerates an aspect of relationship out of all proportion, as what is regarded as male pornography, and secondly that the reality of sex must lie somewhere in the middle.

In order to foster better relationships we should understand the motivations that are behind our behaviour. Sex is a means to an end. Relationship is a compromise.