Public sex is just for animals, not humans

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Apparently there has been a big bruhaha over a Northwestern professor having a live demonstration of a sex act* performed for students as part of a human sexual psychology class.

Ok, so what.

Sex is part of nature. It’s primary function is for procreation. But, unlike animals, humans have the good fortune (or mis-fortune) of also having a brain with curiosity and a need for recreation attached to the same body as their genitals. When we deny that fact and refuse to study the psychology behind human sex, we’re not really exploring our entire humanity. What’s wrong with demonstrating a sex act as part of an academic exercise for the purpose of studying emotional and psychological reaction? Was it the practical application of a theory that upset people the most or was it just the fact that it was sex? Or maybe it was the modification of a perfectly good power tool?

Studying the psychology of human sexuality without a practical lab is like studying architecture and never building a bridge. Do you really want that guy in charge of the project?

Oh my god, dog, you are going to hell for those thoughts!

Actually, all dogs go to heaven, so I’m not really worried. And even if you believe God made you in His image, certainly He knew what He was doing when He gave guys danglies and women innies. He did it a lot so with your logic, He is either a genius or a pervert.

Secondly, sex acts are neutral. They are neither good nor bad. What makes them good or bad is all this morality and cultural crap we attach to them.

Thirdly, sex is a very large part of who we are (unless of course, you are married.) Why not study it more fully? Why would we not want to know everything about what makes us tick? Why does something like sex make us all giggly or nervous or outraged or ….

The rules of sex are not established by nature. They are established by the class of humans in power. Like every species in nature, the ones allowed to procreate are the ones best suited to advance the species. In the animal kingdom, we have the most cunning, the fastest, the most powerful, etc. In the human world, we have the class most willing and able to dominate the others. That class will use social norms, religion, laws, peer pressure, shame or any other means necessary to impose their will on others. Depriving the “weaker” classes of the means to procreate is the ultimate dominance one human can have over another. (Don’t even get me started on non-hetrosexual sex. I have no idea why anyone wants to prevent that or why they feel it threatens them. Maybe that deserves more study.)

Ever wonder why virginity is prized above all else in some cultures? There is no natural reason for it. It doesn’t destroy a woman or make her any less fit for companionship or procreation. Yet a “ruling class” gets that idea impregnated (pun intended) into a class (women) which prevents them from consenting to intercourse outside of a sanctioned union, i.e., marriage. When a women violates the rules, she is ostracized and in some cultures, killed. A population is now controlled by their own morality. Really simple crowd control, ain’t it? That statement is over-simplified, but you get the idea. You can apply the same kind of thinking to any type of sex. Attach a moral penalty to it and you control a population. Start from there and study outward.

Did you have a strong reaction to Professor Bailey’s demonstration? Why? Like him, do you eventually arrive at a logical, academic reason for not being curious about the psychological basis of sex-toy-induced orgasm? Did you recoil? Did you ever ask why you had that reaction? You probably should.

It seems an unfair symptom of our culture to know what sex is all about almost five decades into life rather than in the prime of youth. It not only robs you of some great interactions with other people, but also a deeper understanding of works of literature like The Awakening, The Scarlet Letter or Sister Carrie. Read them when you are young and intimidated by sex because of fear or confusion and you learn nothing. Read them when you are older and know a bit more and it produces anger and resentment. (Maybe I’m just projecting here.. sorry.) When we fail to give sex cultural or moral power it does not naturally posses, we also free ourselves from the power others wield over us.

And before you go on about “think of the children” and other such nonsense, I am not advocating sex awareness that is not appropriate for children. But as a parent, have you crafted your exit strategy on sex before your child turns 18? Why not; it’s your job. Why are parents getting involved with the class demonstration that happened at Northwestern? Didn’t you give your off-spring the skills to determine his or her own sexual choices? If not, shame on you. You had eighteen years!

Ok, your turn. I’ve already said my piece.

*Apparently the sex act was a dildo attached to a modified reciprocating saw where the woman disrobed and consented to the man using the device to penetrate her vagina. I’m not sure what the class was studying, but if they were studying reactions to facsimiles of a penis during intercourse, I’m pretty sure they got some interesting ones. Does my saying penis and vagina upset you? Does my description of the act above? Why? Be honest with yourself, please, even if only in your head. It’s the only way we grow.

And the title? It was a tweet I received yesterday from a fan in response to my 140 opinion on this mater. I promised I’d write more today. It wasn’t really public sex; it was in a classroom, as an academic study with everyone in the room an adult and with full consent.


7 Replies to “Public sex is just for animals, not humans”

  1. I agree. So what!

    Especially since no one was forced to observe, those doing the demonstration weren’t forced to do so, and everyone was told that the material would be explicit.

    People ought to get a life that’s fulfilling enough to hold their attention, and worry less about how someone else’s life should be conducted.

  2. *Warning: Closed minded, old fashioned conservative blabber forthcoming!*

    I love feminism. I’ve got four daughters: 13, 12, 9 and 7. I want them to have all the advantages that so many women fought so hard to obtain. I want them to have the freedom to pursue a career. I want them to be able to make the same amount of money as their male counterparts, doing the same work. I want them to be able to choose to be a stay-at-home mom or be a professional such as a Dr, Lawyer (not really, I hate lawyers) or business women (I really like this one). I want them to be able to vote and sit on a jury. Those are the roots of

    I don’t believe that what happened in this class is what the women of this country fought so hard to obtain. That somehow spreading your legs wide, either for video entertainment purposes or live audience viewing, is now some way for women to express their new found equality.

    In a world where there is so much pressure for women to look and act a certain way, how this type of scenario is going to improve women’s perceived worth to society is beyond me. We continue to push this idea that how open a woman is with her sexuality is an indication of her confidence.

    As a man I guess I’m not supposed to stand up and tell women what they should, or should not, do with their bodies. I think that’s the problem though. Men have been trained to stand back, be quiet and let women make their own decisions. Because of this men are now afraid to stand up and act as a protector. It’s against the rules for us to step forward and speak out against destructive choices and situations. The thing is, from what I can see, it’s men who are the driving force behind so many of these types of situations. We have playboy, hustler, maxim, FHM, and other magazines run by men that ‘celebrate’ the hottest women on the planet. We’ve deceived women into thinking that exploiting their sexuality is a way for them to express their feminine independence. Of course, we’re sneaky about it. “Don’t worry, honey, this is for ‘academic freedom’. None of us men will be thinking any dirty thought’s about you”. Wink wink, nod nod.

    The people who attended this class didn’t leave with some new found understanding of sex. They left thinking, “Wow, wait till the media gets a hold of this one! I get to say I was there!”

  3. I’m going to start off by asserting that the ERA movement in this country probably did more to damage the economy than advance women’s rights more than anything. It was an unintended consequence of the movement of the ’60s-’70s but nonetheless, instrumental.

    I have a daughter (20) and I want all those things for her as well. She was taught about the above topics well and we’ll leave it at that. If she wants you to know more, she can pop in and comment. She reads this blog.

    I’m a bit confused about your argument and thought about it pretty much all afternoon. I have come to the conclusion (and please, jump in and steer me back if I misinterpreted) that it is based on values rather than an academic curiosity. I don’t think the exercise/presentation was designed to persuade or prescribe any particular behavior, just examine more in detail what is.

    Let’s jump out of sex for a minute and into linguistics. When I was studying in the field 25 (or so) years ago, there was a very heated debate within the field about whether grammar should be prescriptive or descriptive. The camp that held a belief that linguists should tell people how to speak properly within specific contexts were members of an older school that understood there was one right way to do something. If grammar were flexible, they argued, than anything would be allowed. The descriptive linguists argued that language was fluid by its very nature and that linguists should be in the business of explaining how people used language why and with whom, not telling them how to.

    Sex is kind of the same way. We seem to spend a lot of time and energy telling people how they should behave rather than observe them and ask ourselves why they do what they do, when and with whom. And the answer very well may be that women do certain things because they feel pressure from men but without study, how would we know? And is that necessarily a bad thing? Not sure, but I think if we close our minds to never asking we are also closing our minds to understanding why.

    We are good at figuring out the “what” in our culture, but fewer and fewer people are asking why. I think asking why leads to a better understanding of ourselves, even if — and maybe especially if — it is an answer that makes us uncomfortable.

  4. Now listen! (tongue in cheek here) I avoided the morality issue on purpose! lol

    No one is going to take me serious if I just bark (pun intended) about religion and morality and avoid the conversation at hand.

    Did anyone walk away more enlightened than before the class. My opinion is no. They didn’t learn anything those two people couldn’t have told them after the ‘event’.

    I can’t imagine the ‘subjects’ were constantly stopping what they were doing to explain why they did something or what they were feeling. It’s more likely they would have to make all their statements after the events took place. To me, that puts this in the voyeurism category and not education.

  5. I learn more from watching people watching others than I learn from watching those I am supposed to watch. At your next conference or hang in a public place, give it a shot.. don’t watch the stage.

    Your opinion is respected. I just don’t share it. If we all thought alike, though, we’d all just be doing missionary 😉 (intentionally provocative.. did you react? If not, others will, I’m sure, even if they are just lurking.. oops, there goes two followers.. but I gained fifteen more…)

    In all seriousness, I’ve processed millions of surveys and customer intercepts and what I have learned is that what people SAY they want or feel is almost never what they really want or feel. The best objective data comes from direct observation and measurement. I doubt the professor had an objective measurement set up (maybe he did) but in psychology, direct observation is a legitimate method. If we weren’t talking about sex, this would most likely not even be an issue. Food? Pooping? Speech? Breathing? all of these are human needs and have been studied.. and there are some very strange needs human have with all of that that is “outside the norm.” Sex should be too if we are to really understand the human being. Some need to understand more than others, I guess.

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