Monthly Archives: September 2009

Boston Herald adopts the “Abstinence girl”

So it’s not the most flattering of stories, but the Boston Herald decided it would be a great idea to interview TLR about the new Tufts dorm policy. The article, ‘”Abstinence Girl” cheers Tufts’ love,’ is a rather amusing one.

Our favorite parts….

She bemoans a youth society in which lovemaking is viewed with little more reverence than a pickup game of basketball.

and of course

But Wagley wants to know: “Whatever happened to common decency?”

The article may be hilarious due to the lack of serious journalistic skills, but the issue is real: why doesn’t the university take rampant sexuailty seriously, rather than view it as another dormlife violation – like microwaves and refrigerators – that demands another half-hearted, disregarded dorm policy?

Not the generation you thought we were…

While I am generally not a big fan of the EXTREMELY liberal bent on seemingly all New York Times articles, I think that I can live with this one:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27well.html?_r=1

According to the article, teens are waiting longer to have sex, in addition to having less overall sex.  Parker-Pope writes that, “The reality is that in many ways, today’s teenagers are more conservative about sex than previous generations.”  STOP THE PRESSES!  Modern teenagers, CONSERVATIVE in their sexual behavior? Is this POSSIBLE!??!

These aren’t our words as an organization speaking here, these are simple facts – patterns indicate that teenagers are simply not having sex as much.  Why?  Could it possibly reflect a deeper sentiment of the meaning of sexuality, and how it is much more meaningful than a one-night stand?

A word to the wise: the article smacks of hypocrisy, as most NYT articles do, because it claims that our society is NOT one in “moral” danger, because according to their definition oral sex does not fall under their subjective doomsday definition.  I once heard it lectured in a very memorable gov 97a class that oral sex is a cross-society woman’s compromise between having sex and not having sex: she is seen as complying with a man’s wishes, while she doesn’t have to feel the cultural shame of actually “having sex.”

Not only is oral sex, by its definition, actual SEX, but it IS a cause for moral concern among youth, and especially among young women.  Who understands the emotional consequences of such actions better than women?  Do women feel better if a guy dumps her if she “only had oral sex” with him?  Isn’t that as emotionally damaging as if she had had “real” sex with him?

To me, this all just seems quite silly, these subjective definitions of sex.  Abstinenece is abstinence, sex is sex.  Why color oral sex as a shade of abstinence when it is, in fact, no such thing?

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Tufts: No sex in the dorms!

Apparently Tufts University students are having trouble keeping their clothes on while roommates sit nearby doing homework. Tufts new 2009-2010 guest policy lays down the law: “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room.” The Boston Herald is amused, and some students feel patronized.

Sophomore Carolyn Pace, 19, called the policy “useless legislation” for something “obvious.” But as the Boston Herald points out, seemingly obvious things are apparently not so obvious to some.

The article then surveys other Boston campus sex policies, finding that

Harvard University’s student handbook frowns on “serious or persistent unwanted sexual conduct.

We’re fairly certain that Harvard is talking about sexual harassment, though of course it’s always difficult to know what the Cambridge administration means…we find it difficult to imagine a dorm sex ban at Harvard.

The True Love Revolution must ask the question: why are students even having sex while their roommates are a few feet over? Common decency? Respect? Not to mention modesty.

Tufts University should take care to educate their students by placing abstinence flyers by the condom boxes. It’s pathetic that Tufts must stoop to this level, but not because the Administration’s guest policy revision is misguided – the lascivious students are.

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Attractiveness – What happened to the 10-year-olds?

A Canadian survey reveals that kids as young as 10 and 11 are experiencing insecurity over their physical attractiveness. Girls worry about weight, but so do boys, who want to be neither too skinny nor too fat.

Overall, 7.3% of the girls included in the study reported that they didn’t like they way they looked, but that increased proportionately as girls’ weight, measured by body mass index (BMI), went up. For girls with normal body weight, 5.7% reported being unhappy with their bodies, among those who were overweight, 10.4% did, and among girls who were categorized as obese, 13.1% were unhappy with how they looked…For boys of normal weight, 7.6% reported not liking how they look.

This insecurity is no surprise as culture, media, advertising, marketing, and magazines stress the importance of outward appearance and sexual appeal. Thongs marketed in the kid’s sections in major department stores…

Is inner beauty a thing of the past? Why are 10 year-olds stepping on scales and staring in the mirror? They should be riding bikes, selling lemonade, and reading James and the Giant Peach.

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What’s love got to do with it?

Polyamory, gay marriage, polygamy…Americans struggle with the definition of marriage. Embrace tradition or embrace changing sexual norms? Is the former backwards and is the latter progressive? What is marriage and what’s love got to do with it?

While Newsweek’s summer feature on polyamory claimed that half a million Americans live in polyamorous families, living with multiple sexual partners still instinctively repels American society. Polyamorous activists for social acceptance strategized by hopping on the gay marriage train. Gay marriage activists cringe at being grouped with this new contingent, and they have reason to stay clear of the affiliation. Jonathan Yarbrough, part of the first couple to get a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts made it clear that

I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner. . . . In our case, it is. We have an open marriage.

Some conservatives predict that polyamorous partners feel emboldened by the gay marriage train. The Newsweek article quotes Glenn Stanton, the director of family studies for Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian group:

And while there’s part of me that says, ‘Oh, my goodness, I don’t think I could see them make grounds,’ there’s another part of me that says, ‘Well, just watch them.’

Whether they make strides or not, the place of self-proclaimed love in society is becoming ever more confusing. The gay marriage movement eschews the historical notion of traditional marriage and paradoxically claims that it won’t fundamentally change society but it will fundamentally change the way people view love – thus changing social norms. When asked why it can interfere with same-sex love, the National Organization for Marriage writes,

Love is a great thing. But marriage isn’t just any kind of love; it’s the special love of husband and wife for each other and their children.

So what’s wrong with Jonathan Yarbrough’s open marriage? Why did he get married if there’s a sleeping around provision? Why not just stay single?

If marriage is about strengthening community, protecting women, commitment, raising children in (statistically proven) the most beneficial homes, and economic stability (on the personal and societal level), how can other types of relationships fill the marriage definition? Gay marriage activists often reduce the argument to love, but throughout world history, marriage isn’t just about love. And, posing the question to polyamorous sympathizers, can you truly love more than one person?

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Gardasil Vaccination Coercion

A British teen is being denied US citizenship over her refusal to get the Gardasil vaccination. Local churches helped pay for application fees, but the application was refused over the Gardasil issue. The new immigration requirement as of 2008 by the Center for Disease Control transcends the right of the individual to refuse the vaccine that prevents against HPV and has recently come under fire when an August American Medical Association study revealed hidden harmful consequences. Although the 1996 Immigration and Naturalization Act mandated vaccinations instated by the CDC, Gardasil is the only required vaccine combatting a disease caused by sexual contact. Simone Davis, age 17, objects on moral, religious, and health grounds, saying she chooses abstinence and does not want the vaccine.

Gardasil is not a required vaccine for US citizens, nor is it a necessary vaccine. Although the ABC news article cites rape stats and other figures, girls should not be coercively vaccinated against sexually transmitted diseases, thus paying – literally and figuritively – for the potential crimes and indiscretions of others. Since when did prevention become the supreme god? Where is the CDC’s campaign for abstinence?

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The Wrong Signals

Harvard College’s Caleb Weatherl discusses Harvard’s ironic approach to sexual assault on campus in a Harvard Crimson article this week. Sex Signals, a required freshmen orientation event, reveals a clear agenda: sex is recreation, sex is fine, sex is meaningless. For a school ranked top in the world, such an agenda is not just misleading – it’s pitiful.

The event misleads freshmen, manipulating them into believing that their peers are just dying to strip naked every weekend. Weatherl’s thesis sums it up:

Sex Signals points incoming freshmen in the wrong direction by how casually it treats both sexual activity and rape, by the amount of sex it implies is occurring on campus, and by failing to adequately address personal responsibility to make smart choices.

Weatherl concludes that

Ultimately, Sex Signals squanders the opportunity that the College has to begin a frank, informed discussion about how serious the issue of sexual assault is and what we can do to prevent it. It leaves students with jokes about sex and the attitudes that fuel rape as well as the impression that much more sex is happening at the College than truly is. At the end of the performance, the actors emphasize that something “magical” can happen when the lessons of the show are followed. They then proceed to jokingly discuss different sexual activities that the magic might entail. What a shame: Sexual assault is no laughing matter, especially at a university-sponsored rape prevention program.

Why freshmen must sit through a contrived and lie-filled presentation is an ivy-covered mystery. Make them read Foucault. Make them read poetry. Read off rape stats. There are many ways to learn about the severity of sex and the dangers of assault, but one way to assuredly do the opposite is to make vulgar jokes about women, sex, assault, and relationships.