Monday, July 9, 2012

"In Which We Hate On Condoms"

I really kind of wish this article had been CALLED "In Which We Hate On Condoms," and then written in a Ben-Franklin-ish vernacular, because form really should follow function. And the function of this article is to espouse old-tyme views of things in what was supposed to be a new-tyme era. At the very least, they could have hosted it on angelfire just to give us some kind of heads-up.

So while Rush Limbaugh being a dunder-headed, empty-bucket-brain, loser-type guy a few months back warranted only my Facebook contempt, I thought Continue Unprotected was probably the natural location for a rant on "How Condoms Ruin Sex." Here follows said rant.

Spoiler alert: These people think that condoms ruin sex, in the way that people who don't vaccinate think that vaccines ruin kids. I think they're all dumb.

I was willing to be convinced by some kind of science, if there was any...or, alternately, I was willing to respect the simple message that "hey, we just don't like condoms, and we're hippie-types who enjoy free love and spirituality, and condoms are unnatural and what-have-you." Instead, the "reasons" presented by the article are semi-science-y and semi-wishy-washy-emotional ones -- the kind of "common sense" that American white people are always trying to get you to buy because it makes their manifest destiny seem more manifest.

The basic arguments come down to this one idea: that women's health relies on semen. Specifically, that semen provides women with essential anti-depressing hormones, that women's infertility is "heal[ed]" by semen, that semen contains essential vitamins and minerals (as part of your balanced breakfast). Women who have unprotected sex with their husbands like sex more than women who are having condom-using sex. They want to do it more.

Wait, is that really right?

Um, no. This is one case where "common sense" makes "scientific" turn into "science-y" so often happens when evangelicalism meets the world of facts.

In Fact World, there are a jillion cases of this "scienceyness" happening, but let's focus only on the most annoying, starting with the premise that women who don't use protection like sex a lot more than women who do use it (or who, with their partners, have men who use it).

1. First, the only women who are supposed to be having any sex are the married ones, according to 1flesh. Let's get that out of the way...except that it doesn't really get out of the way. What it does is guarantee that the populations being studied here are necessarily slanted, not equivalent (and not controlled, like a real science experiment would be). We can't compare women in monogamous, long-term relationships (the ones supposed to like sex more and be having it without condoms) to ALL OTHER WOMEN and then rate their satisfaction with their relationships on the exact factor of condom use.

Women who are choosing not to use protection are either 1. free spirits who have decided, or decided not to decide, that protection isn't important for them, or 2. in a monogamous relationship, one that can sustain an unplanned pregnancy or that has a guarantee of no STIs. There's also 3. women trying actively to have babies.

The final option is women who are stupid, but I'm not going to bother listing that here because then this post would be four words long -- and you know how I love a good rant. Those are the ladies out there who are barebacking all the time. (Further others include sex workers, addicts, etc. -- but how many people from that strata of society do YOU think were interviewed for 1flesh?)

Women who use protection are all the other women who are sexually active in any way: Women who paid attention in school. Women who know they can get diseases even if their partner claims it's his first time. Women who have more than one partner, ever, over the course of their lives. Women who don't want kids; women who do want kids, but not right now. Women who think. All KINDS of women.

Which of those 2 sets of people do YOU think are probably less depressed on the whole? The happy mamas-to-be who found their Princes Charming, or all the other women in the world?

Do you honestly think it's the physical effect of the SEMEN making that first category of women happier??

2. As for the claims that semen "heals" infertility: yes, it does. THAT'S CALLED PREGNANCY.

To my knowledge, the scientific community hasn't yet discovered a way for a lady to get pregnant without sperm. Let me know when it does, and I'll update this post to make a more cogent argument -- until then, it should COMPLETELY SUFFICE TO SAY that of COURSE semen "heals" infertility. Because that's how you get pregnant. Duh-DOY.

I suppose that argument might hold some water if I'd ever met or known or heard of anyone, ever, in the history of the world, anywhere, ever, who wanted to have children but was somehow still using condoms during sex with her potentially co-parenting partner. And then claimed she was infertile.

If such a person exists, they don't need to have their infertility healed -- they need to have it made permanent.

3. Yes, I'm willing to agree without doing any research whatsoever to the idea that semen contains all kinds of good nutrients and what-have-yous. I will cede that point entirely to the non-condom-users.

You know why? Because there's an even better source of all those things in the world that don't involve unprotected sex.


4. Let's say semen is as wonderful and magical as 1flesh claims it is.

Why shouldn't we all go out and have as much sex as we can? (Using the rhythm method prescribed by the site, obvs.)

If you have religious or moral objections, why not sell it as a product?? I'm sure we could find a manufacturer to package it, and don't begin to tell me there isn't sufficient willingness among men to help supply us sad, sad ladies with the pick-me-up we so desperately need!

If women are gaining chemically based physical happiness from semen, it's irresponsible of us to be denying it to anyone. So unless there are actually other, MORE COMPLEX reasons that ladies in non-condom-using relationships are happier overall, let's make this vital resource available to everyone.

5. Let's talk about that rhythm method.

There's a comment on the site that this particular method is 96.5% effective in the real world, and that women who start using it are still using it a year later, more often than women who start using birth control are still using birth control a year later.

The method involves abstaining from sex for between 8-11 days a month to prevent pregnancy.

Think about everyone you know who could say "yeah, I could do that." Then ask yourself if that isn't EXACTLY the type of person you'd expect to still be doing pretty much ANYTHING they'd decided on, a year later. They're determined. They have the willpower of a mule...or, again, they're stupid and don't know themselves well at all. (Other possibilities are that they're asexual, have a low libido to begin with, etc.)

Again, there's no control group here. People self-select out of this method.

6. Now I want to talk about some things not discussed at all in this article:

Misogyny: I think it's inherent in the implication that men's semen is fundamentally important to a woman's well-being, and even in the implication that a woman "needing" her man('s penis) is an automatic good in the relationship.

Gay Men: Um, they do exist, so why aren't they discussed here? Because they're not supposed to be having sex at all? Why are the ONLY benefits discussed ONLY about how men's emissions affect female partners in P-in-V sex?

Lesbians: Again, nonexistent. Maybe the reason their relationships are sinful (a word carefully not mentioned here, but it's implied by context) is because they're literally being depressed by each other's lack of sperm.

Non-"vanilla" sex: If semen is such an awesome thing, why is there no discussion of non-P-in-V sex? Surely oral and anal will do the job for ladies sick of the Prozac, just as well if not better, right? While the magical semen idea is strewn all over the article, there's only a heavy implication (through omission of other body parts) that vaginas are also magical, and can do things for ladies that other non-mentioned body parts can't.

The weirdest thing to not discuss, to me, is the philosophical underpinning of the movement. Traditionally, you'd be told not to use birth control because GOD is in charge of your life and fertility, and because sex is for procreation.

SEX IS FOR MAKING BABIES. That is the crux of every cogent anti-birth-control argument I've ever heard.

This set of arguments doesn't include that bit. It treats sex like a good end in itself, even without the resulting children.

But then it doesn't follow through and explain WHY sex is good, separated from its fullest natural context, in which having it means having kids. And that is seriously problematic in a website dedicated to how "the natural way" is better.

Don't take little bits of the sexual revolution and cobble them into your subculture; really think about what you're saying and why. Is "natural" (vanilla, P-in-V, one-man-one-woman, married, non-condom-using) sex really "the best"? Why would you need to prove that to anyone other than your intimate partner?

And what do you mean by "natural" and "best"???


jenny d said...

So THAT's what's wrong with me! Not enough semen in my diet :-P

Anonymous said...

You are a REAL FLAMER!!!