Friday, September 30, 2016

The Friday Sex Blog [Raising Children as Sexual Beings]

Hola! Everybody...
I have to make a choice between paying my phone or my storage. Most of my possessions are books, some valuable (to me, at least). I’d rather be without the phone. Click HERE if you think supporting my writing is a good idea. Have a great weekend. 

Sexual Upbringing in the US

Once you are exposed to sex -- you’re never able to regain innocence again -- from then on you have sexual thoughts -- you have sexual feelings -- innocence is forever gone. It encourages sexual curiosity that would not have been there...
 -- Oprah Winfrey on Teens and Dial-a-porn

I believe Oprah speaks for many US parents and the sentiment that if “you don’t try to shield them from... all this explicit kind of stuff until they’re ready to handle it, then you’re robbing them of their innocence, their one time in life to be somewhat carefree.”

At this point, I would like to make the observation that as a nation our teen pregnancy and abortion rates lead the developed world1. Many are trying to blame this phenomenon on a perceived sexual permissiveness and lax sexual morals. My point is that the exact opposite is true: it is our dysfunctional relationship with our own sexuality, passed on to our children, that is root cause of our sexual problems. I will make the case that, contrary to the blather that passes for sexual discussion these days, it’s not permissiveness, but rather, repression that is at the root of our “sexual problem.” If you doubt me, just hold on for a second and absorb the following fact: the vast majority of teen pregnancies are the result of an adult impregnating an adolescent.

::blank stare::

Recently, there was a moral panic regarding the new teen sex “epidemic” called sexting. In fact, prosecutors across the nation began convicting teens as sexual predators. The reality is that studies and show and the experts agree that sexting isn’t as widespread as reported in the mainstream media. In addition, I find it the cruelest abuse to criminalize what is normal adolescent behavior.

I think when adults insist children can’t handle sexual content, they’re really projecting their own hang-ups about sex. We even fight about whether children should be taught about protecting themselves sexually.

What people seem to mean by “sexual innocence” is the absence of sexual thoughts, genital responses, and the awareness of how one is sexually aroused. A lot of parents would probably feel more relaxed if childhood did not have any sexual component and if sexuality magically appeared at puberty or, better yet, at marriage. Many parents have mixed feelings about their own sexuality and any recognition of sexuality in their children triggers their own unresolved sexual anxieties.

But let’s be honest about preadolescent sexuality -- were you “sexually innocent” prior to reaching puberty? Is that an accurate view of your pre- adolescent sexuality? When you were a child wouldn’t have you preferred learning more about the meaning of your sexual development rather than being blocked from such clarification by parents who were trying to keep you innocent?

Sigmund Freud shocked most of the Western world when he observed the reality of childhood sexuality over one-hundred years ago.

Almost all of the subsequent research of the twentieth century supported Freud’s assertion that children were sexual creatures. Alfred Kinsey, almost a half century after Freud, shocked the world with his own revelation of sexual responses involving erection and lubrication not only in preadolescent children but even in newborn infants. There’s even research on in utero sexuality.

I couldn’t begin to cite the overwhelming body of research supporting children as sexual creatures. Yet, this is exactly what we want to deny and what we want our children to deny. In the process, we teach our children that their sexual natures are evil and we drive the sexual conversation underground, where the shadow aspect takes over. It’s no surprise our children act out sexually, we don’t recognize, nor do we support their sexual natures. Shit, even saying children are sexual creatures is enough to get you in hot water. 

Parents who claim to be open-minded about sex exhibit sexual anxieties. When they do discuss sex with their children, they often fail even to mention the pleasurable aspect of sexual experiences. They prefer to emphasize its relational and affective aspects, and so they often fail to mention pleasure. Since intensity of bodily pleasure is the aspect of sexuality that most clearly distinguishes it from other activities, this omission surely sabotages any realistic preparation for sexual behavior. Children experiencing these bodily pleasures for the first time must wonder why their parents failed to understand these transformative feelings.

Adult anxiety about childhood sexuality is not based upon any sane assessment of what is happening in their child’s life. Rather, because parents see sex as dangerous and threatening, they conclude that kids should be kept away from it. As a parent, I can certainly understand parents can have a realistic fear that other adults may take advantage of their child. But if that is the main concern, it follows that more talk about sex is called for rather than promoting ignorance by acting as if childhood sexuality is a trampling of some mythical “natural state of sexual innocence.” It is their lack of knowledge about sex that makes children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. 

Finally, even parents who accept a more modern view of sexuality are hesitant to prepare their child for sexuality. For example, the typical response I hear from self-proclaimed modern, liberal parents is: “I am open about sexuality with my children and I will always try to answer any question at all that they raise about sexuality.”

Consider whether we would wait for questions to be raised in any other area of great importance to our children. We don’t wait for children to ask before teaching them how to tie their shoes, or how to add, or why they should not to play in the middle of the highway. How well would children know how to read if we waited for them to ask us before we taught them? We think these are things they should know and we make sure they know them, whether they ask about them or not.

Why aren’t we adopting the same attitude when it comes to one of life’s greatest questions? Is it because we’re sexually permissive? I think not. I think it is because as a nation we are sexually repressed. And our children suffer for it.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 

1. The United States’ teen pregnancy rate is over four times that of the Netherlands (14.1) over three times that of Germany (18.8), and almost three times that of France (25.7). The United States’ teen birth rate is nearly eight times higher than that of the Netherlands’ (5.3), over five times higher than France’s (7.1), and over four times higher than Germany’s.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Rapture

Hola Everybody,
Seems like the rapture is upon us proving that conservatives were right all along. Now, don’t you feel like an idiot for not purchasing this RaptureSurvival Backpack© ($149.95 plus shipping & handling)? Ha! 

Jesus is Gonna Kick yo Ass

Quick! Look busy -- Jesus is coming.

Every once in a while (in the U.S. that means every day) a religious nut predicts the end times are upon us. Google “rapture” if you want the details. If you’re too lazy, I’ll explain … 

Pretend you’re a big time Hollywood executive and I tried to pitch you the following story:
“Okay, let me start with some context. It’s the 21st century, but millions of people still believe in this invisible Super Ghost who lives somewhere way, way up in the sky somewhere. You see, he created everything, sees everything, knows everything, and knows everything that had ever happened or will happen. Think: a huge security camera in the sky.

The people who believe in him think of him as a magic helper who protects, punishes, and watches over them. It’s a take on the Santa Claus thingee: He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake (and engaged in revolutionary activities), and so on.

Yet even though this ghost has, like, all the superpowers of all the superheroes rolled into one, he’s in actuality very insecure. He demands that you follow and pay tribute to him or else you get an eternity burning in a non-stop, super-duper fire, boiling in lava-like shit and being constantly stabbed by devils with pitchforks. Oh yeah! I almost forgot, two thousand years ago he sent his only son (which he conceived by fucking a married virgin) to earth in order to redeem humanity from their wickedness by getting him nailed to a cross (that whole Gospel According to Mel Gibson treatment).

Now, bear with me because this is where the story gets interesting: after two thousand years of watching humanity slaughter itself, getting really fucked up, and having wild orgies, and basically just slacking off, The Son plans to return to earth from outer space. But before he does, he’s going to beam up to Heaven all those people who have continued to have faith in him. Yup, levitate them right out of their clothes, wherever they are -- on an airplane, asleep, having sex, on the toilet, and (get this!) from the freaking grave! That’s right, corpses and cadavers blasting out of the ground! Think: Saw meets Night of the Living Dead, with some touches of Superman and Terminator thrown in.

Meanwhile, the people left behind are freaking out. I mean, imagine you’re on an airplane to Puerto Rico and suddenly the pilot fuckin’ disappears! Flies right by your window!


Then you look and you see hundreds of naked people whooshing by (of course, we’ll make them up to be gorgeous-size zero-big-breasted-no ass-having-blonde-white-babes and maybe throw in an old dude just for laughs). And then the plane just nose dives, crashes smack into the side of a mountain. Families are broken up and companies have to close because, like, the entire sales department just flew through the AC vents out the window!

Meanwhile, the people left behind are in a mass panic and MSNBC-CNN-FOX is blaming it on the Muslims and the liberals. The president is pissed because he thinks it’s some secret pentagon weapon he wasn’t informed about. Cut to a religious secretary as she tells him, ‘Mr. President, it’s the Rapture.’ Since he’s secretly a Nigerian postcolonial Socialist Islamofascist, he’s never heard of the Rapture. The secret service sweeps him away to an undisclosed location where they fill him in on the details.

And this is just the first seven minutes! In the rest of the movie, the people left behind are going to suffer a seven-year nightmare of wars, plagues, attacks from supernatural creatures, asteroid collisions, and rivers of blood… ”

Would you buy a pitch like that? Well, considering the really inferior crap that gets produced these days, maybe a studio would produce such a story. Wait… you mean they made that movie?! Damn! LOL

Seriously, if I insisted that I actually believed the story to be true, most of you would have probably called security and have me kicked to the curb or shot by the cops, right? Right? Right?

As many as a hundred million Americans admit that they believe in this story, which is known as the Rapture, a scene lifted out of the last book of the Bible. Yeah, that part, the crazy, hallucinogenic part. The part with the Apocalypse and its Four Horsemen, the Whore of Babylon, a seven-headed dragon, and crap that looks straight out of a badly crafted segment of Lord of the Rings.

It’s hey-Zeus (!) on steroids come back to kick some major Muslim (and Jewish, Atheist, and Wiccan, and… etc.) ass!

If you’re a Christian and never heard of the Rapture, then shame on you, you didn’t read the Bible all the way through to the end. In any case, this book isn’t for believers of the rapture. It’s for you, Heathen! Unbeliever! Doubter! Satanist! Secular Humanist Socialist liberal! If you're curious about what 100 million people find so compelling about the Rapture, then this book will do the trick. If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of person who values reason rather than myth, then this book will literally make you laugh your ass off.

Quick! Look Busy!

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why I Cannot Vote for Hillary Clinton

Hola mi gente,
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I’m Not With her

Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
Martin Luther King, Jr. -- Letter from a Birmingham Jail

I am not voting for Hillary Clinton. My decision isn’t because of some imagined misogyny on my part or because I dislike her personally. It isn’t based on the scandal around her emails or because of some concern over her character, though those are concerning. No, my reasons for not voting for Hillary are pretty much straightforward: I vehemently disagree with her ideology.

My core values centered on economic and racial justice shape my own politics. History shows those values do not shape hers. Even with her current concessions to the Sanders campaign (which will most likely change) nothing Clinton says or intends to do if elected will fundamentally transform the circumstances of the most vulnerable in this country. Like the rest of U.S. politicians, he is a corporate neoliberal cheerleader intent on maintaining the status quo. I have had my fill of them since before Clinton, pt. 1.

What in Clinton’s history demonstrates she is a substantive alternative to the status quo? How would her position on free trade, for example, or her view of foreign policy, and on immigration change our course as a nation? Hillary supporters constantly bring up the specter of what our world would like with Trump as president but have been mostly quiet with the fact that Hillary, in her advocacy of one of the worst, most racist crime bills ever signed by a president, basically called black children super predators who needed to be “brought to heel.” Taking that as context, her call for “common sense policing” in the face of the state-sanctioned murders of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people is scary. How will her presidency transform the conditions of my black, brown, and First Nation people?

Given the state of the country and of black and brown communities, these questions must be asked. But many Clinton supporters are downright contemptuous or label them as part of a left out of touch or irresponsible. For supporters of the Clinton campaign, those who dare to ask these questions, people like me, demonstrate that we don’t understand the incremental nature of US politics or that we have crossed over into some forbidden realm of politics.

Ironically, when Republicans reject Trump on ideological grounds, it is widely applauded. When establishment conservatives argue that Trump isn’t a true conservative, and that they will not vote for him, it is seen as reasonable. But to argue something similar about Clinton is immediately dismissed. We are labeled as “privileged,” a racist implication that is the height of hypocrisy considering we’re talking about a privileged white woman who has a cruel history when it comes to black and Latina women and children.

This is revealing in that in strips away the thin veneer of a robust democratic national dialog. In a historical period in which the center has moved to the right, there isn’t even room for talk (let alone action) for genuinely progressive politics left of center. The political spectrum in the US spans this warped center to the far right and this is the legacy ensured by the Democratic Leadership Council that was championed by the Clintons. Clinton our only viable option is we are told. Get behind her or risk the future of the nation, they say, resembling political Chicken Littles.

This narrowing of the political discourse joins forces with an easy form of identity politics. Many extol the fact that Hillary Clinton would be our first woman president. But, beyond the symbolism, what would that mean for women at home and abroad? As with the election of Obama, Many felt good about the idea of a black president. Now, as Obama prepares to leave office after eight years, African American communities lay in ruins, and we continue to find ourselves engaged in this haunting ritual of grieving in public for another black life snuffed by the police.

It is not enough that Hillary Clinton might be our first president with a vagina. Symbolically that would be significant, but the more important question rests with how her economic policies would affect the lives of working, poor women and children here in the United States and around the globe. How would she shift the frame of US aid policy and its impact on developing countries? How might her hawkishness affect the lives of vulnerable women and children? If none of that matters, then, as the sister, Daughter of Oya, states:

If your feminism holds more space for a racist genocidal imperialist than it does for an entire planet full of women suffering under the barbarity of the system she [Hillary] has dedicated her life to upholding, then your feminism is trash, it’s not going to get you free, and you need to get it together.

In fact, anti-racism and anti-sexism have become easy positions for neoliberal political elites. Today, perhaps understanding that calling black and Latinx children sociopaths would be political suicide, Hillary speaks with ease of “implicit bias” with regard to police brutality. One would gather that she expressing solidarity with people of color, and some assume that her policies reflect her rhetoric. On closer examination, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, her top advisors are lobbyists for the private prison industry. It’s just the latest instance of pandering that changes little and allows a few people to feel good about themselves.

I am not saying that anti-racism or anti-sexism (or identity politics in general) don’t matter. But they can’t provide cover for business as usual -- a version of neoliberalism dressed in a multicultural Chanel pants suit.

Finally, the best a Clinton supporter can offer as a reason to vote for her is not anything that Clinton brings to the table. Rather, it’s him. The most persuasive reason to vote for Hillary Clinton is Donald Trump. Trump is worse. I know that. The prospects of a Trump presidency -- what would be a deadly combination of arrogance and ignorance -- ought to frighten anyone. It frightens me. But as the candidate who I will be casting my vote for, Jill Stein, has correctly pointed out, what we fear from Donald Trump, we have already seen from Hillary Clinton.

But what I have a very hard time understanding, especially form people who call themselves progressives living in New York, is why they would cast a vote for a candidate who is to the right of Ronald Reagan on many issues. It’s the Electoral College, stupid. Hillary is certain to win New York, that’s a done deal, why are you voting for a pro-fracking, pro-free trade, pro-mass incarceration candidate unless that is where your values actually reside?

Here is a piece of adult-like wisdom, my friends: we can’t continue to live with the current level of income inequality. Hard working people are working longer hours for less pay. And politicians like Hillary Clinton and their benefactors continue to argue for trade policies that have decimated the working class in this country. We can’t continue to lock up black and brown people or watch them killed in cold blood by people sworn to protect us or fail to publicly educate all of our children. We can’t continue, as Hillary’s record shows she will, to bomb people around the world into oblivion.

We can’t even begin to entertain a robust idea of the public good when filthy rich people believe that the only role of government is to facilitate the transfer of public dollars into private hands, and the function of politicians is to make us believe that it is in our best interest that we allow such a thing to happen.

In the final analysis, Donald Trump is simply an indication of the rotted heart at the heart of this country. But so is Hillary Clinton. That fact alone cannot be the only rationale to support Hillary Clinton. Something more substantive is required of us -- of her.

I am not with her. I will not vote for her. I will vote down ballot, focusing my attention on congressional, state, and local elections. And I will post my vote for Jill Stein. I refuse to support a political machinery that repeatedly turns its back on my people and the most vulnerable in this country, because people have been led to believe they have nowhere else to go. That false belief betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of this period of democratic awakening.

Fear is not enough. I have fought all my life so that I could live a life not based on fear and what is ugly and cruel. I have fought to live a life based on love and what is good in all of us. We find ourselves in a moment in history, in which the very life of the planet hangs in the balance. Running around in fight or flight mode, our collective amygdala on fire, is not the way to go.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


[un]Common Sense