Better Than Roses On Your Piano

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Now why didn't this news story appear while I still had my youth: "Young women are taking the lead in dismantling sexual taboos," says a new study by a pair of San Diego State U. professors. Young women have outpaced young men in earlier ages of first sexual intercourse and positive attitudes toward premarital sex (which is more surprising than it seems; if the study is to be believed, 60 percent of young men disapproved of prenuptial sex in 1943, against a measly 21 percent today). And suck on this factoid:

The study also found that acceptance of oral sex had shown a strong increase.

Between 1969 and 1993, men engaging in oral sex grew from 48 percent to 72 percent, while women climbed from 42 percent to 71 percent.

"In previous generations, oral sex was considered disgusting," said [co-author Jean] Twenge, a psychology professor. "Now young people see it as another way of being sexual. It's also part of the general trend of sexual behavior moving away from marriage and reproduction and toward pleasure."

Neither the article nor an abstract of the study makes it clear what we're defining as "young women." Nor is it clear whom all those young men in old '69 were having oral sex with, unless it was each other.

Not everybody, of course, is happy. Says one Jane Jimenez:

Do any of these Yahoo reporters bother to read their own news reports? Are any of these reporters parents with sons and daughters? Are any of these reporters suffering from infertility, herpes outbreaks, or cervical cancer? Would these be the examples of "pleasure" linked to rampant sex?

At Salon, the ominously named Christine Smallwood gives a thumbs-up review to Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture.

How do you cure a nymphomaniac? Some truly disturbing treatments from Carol Groneman's Nymphomania: A History.

Think male terror of the unleashed "female libido" is a strictly modern phenomenon? Dig The Bacchae, by Euripides—the original girls-gone-wild production.

Who was the last American man to suffer from the virgin/whore complex? I say Frank Sinatra, who would go crying to the long-suffering, long-dumped Nancy Sr. whenever the foul-mouthed, nasty-doin' Ava made a monkey out of him.

NEXT: Bork Borks Miers; Operation Rescue Wants To Abort Bush Nominee Too

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  1. The study also found that acceptance of oral sex had shown a strong increase.

    Monica was just a few years a head of her time.

  2. Dig The Bacchae, by Euripides?the original girls-gone-wild production.

    Showing once again, that all good things started with the Greeks.

  3. Did they comment on homosexuals such as myself?

  4. Final Sample

    This method [meta-analysis, described in detail] yielded 530 usable samples totaling 269,649 participants. The final database of samples was fairly representative of the United States, with a nearly equal number of samples from each of the four regions (East, West, Midwest, and South) as defined by the U.S. Bureau of the Census (2001). About half of the samples (50%) were of diverse ethnic backgrounds; of the other samples, 36% were all White, 12% were Black, 2% were Latino/a, 0.5% were Asian, and 0.1% were classified as ?other.? The data were collected between 1943 and 1999. Participants ranged in age from 12 to 27 years (M = 17, SD = 2.5). Thus, all of the samples were composed of young people of, on average, high school age. We did not restrict our search to young people a priori, but these were the samples most studied by researchers examining sexual behavior and attitudes.

  5. And, Herrick, a quick search found no “gay” or “homo” or “bisexual” comments in the study.

  6. As far as I could tell when I read it, the Bacchae has stunningly little to do with the female libido (E.R. Dodds, the editor of probably the most respected edition of the Greek text, reminds us that “orgia are not orgies but acts of devotion, and Baccheuein is not to ‘revel’ but to have a particular kind of religious experience-the experience of communion with God which transformed a human being into a Bacchos or Bacche.”); the villain, Pentheus, is simply amazingly dense and worried about anything unusual. As such, he believes all the wildest rumors about the Bacchic rites, and ascribes to them all sorts of sexual and other immoralities. *spoiler warning* He seems to do this largely because he has a sort of repressed desire to join in: when Dionysos comes to him in disguise and offers to take him to see the Bacchic revels, he instantly agrees and becomes so obsessed with the idea of spying on the Bacchae that he’s willing to do everything Dionysos tells him, no matter how absurd or humiliating. This is ultimately what kills him, since the Bacchae find him and brutally murder him. *end spoiler warning* I suppose this still demonstrates some worry about female libido-Pentheus was certainly afraid of it, so the concept wasn’t unknown-but the whole point of The Bacchae seems to be that that’s not what’s going on, it’s not right to worry about what is going on, and people who are obsessively worried about the female libido may have serious problems.

    As a random side note, one of the characters in The Bacchae is Teiresias, the blind prophet. He appears in many Greek myths, but I think my favorite (and the most relevant to this conversation) is the following: when Tiresias was a young man, he was walking in the forest and stepped on a snake. The snake was apparently a magical snake, for when it bit him he turned into a woman. He lived much of his life as a woman; when he was older, he was walking in that same forest, and stepped on what was apparently the same snake, since when it bit him he turned back into a man. Sometime later, Zeus and Hera had a fight about whether women or men got more pleasure from sex. They decided to ask Tiresias, since he’d had it from both ends; and Tiresias responded that women got nine times as much pleasure out of sex as men did.

  7. Dig The Bacchae, by Euripides?the original girls-gone-wild production.

    Showing once again, that all good things started with the Greeks.

    So, what happened for the last 2500 years?

  8. Nor is it clear whom all those young men in old ’69 were having oral sex with, unless it was each other.

    It could just be that the average orally sexually active female had slightly more oral sexual partners than the average orally sexually active male. That could easily account for the 48% vs. 42% difference.

  9. So, what happened for the last 2500 years?

    Eh, Gyros are pretty good.

  10. The ol’ “tulips” joke! I loved when they used it on “St. Elsewhere”.

  11. Am I the only one who pops in here when the NFL coverage goes to a break?

  12. Men are still the leaders in high expectations and low standards.

  13. Now if only more young women had positive attitudes toward premarital sex with ME…

  14. Well, shit, Evan, I would have thought libertoids would eschew all team sports…

  15. And this is surprising, how?

    Still, you’ll not be laughing at the triumph of pleasure over reproduction when you’re living in a country ruled by conservative Christians, Mormons, and Moslems. They are the main demographics which are having children, after all…

  16. Nah, only those where participation is forced. Public school gym class sports, for example.

  17. Crimethink,

    As a libertarian, I support the outsourcing of reproduction. I had one of my own once, the ROI wasn’t so great.

  18. And suck on this factoid

    I nominate H&R as the best blog for reading while on a date.

    Liberals watch football? No shit? I figured you people spent your autumn Sunday afternoons doing yoga…

    …in an effort to acquire the ability to suck on their own factoids. Liberals are a lonely lot.

  19. Jeeze. Who posted that? That musta been my evil twin commenter.

  20. …anyway, I should have noted that that did not include our own joe.

  21. Still, you’ll not be laughing at the triumph of pleasure over reproduction when you’re living in a country ruled by conservative Christians, Mormons, and Moslems. They are the main demographics which are having children, after all…

    Maybe, but you’re assuming that the kids will all ape the values of their parents. Recent history suggests that’s far from a sure thing. Particularly when the born-again demographic contains a large number of Baby Boomers saddled with guilt over what they did when they were younger.

  22. What Eric said. Fundie-spawn turn into normal people a much higher rate than normal people turn into fundies.

  23. we can hope, joe. we can hope.

  24. Before posting, I searched for mark213. He ain’t here. To be driven away by pubic hair (previous thread) is a terrible waste.
    Goddess invented pubals to be like flames for moths.
    Now addressing that wiry moth Herrick who delights in outing himself like a flasher. Herrick, we are all homos… or whatever we need to be to lure underage persons… in cyberspace.
    Okay, now what is the actual “topic” here?

    Tim Cavanaugh,
    Who had roses on their piano? Liberace had a candelabra… one of his mother’s, likely.

  25. Does sucking on pubes cause gingivitis?
    A friend was wondering.

  26. Hold it joe,
    I’m the one “eschewing” all team sports here.

  27. “What Eric said. Fundie-spawn turn into normal people a much higher rate than normal people turn into fundies.”

    I read somewhere that 95% of offspring follow in the footsteps of their parents beliefs and religion. So if Moslems, Mormons, and other such folks are having most the kids, then most the population will be of that persuasion. Right?

  28. I just read that Jane Jiminez column. I don’t mean this question to sound catty, honestly I don’t, but why is it that the people who spend the most time railing against the evils of sex are usually the same ones who are too ugly to ever, ever get laid? Just calling it jealousy or sour grapes sounds like too easy an excuse, I think.

    Also, since I’m not likely to get married, would it be dishonest of me to brag (on a technicality) that I’ve never, ever had premarital sex?

  29. Weeelll… I can’t offer a solution for your question (though I would never underestimate bitterness as motivation), but I can at least second your assessment of Ms Jimenez. Yowch. I might also add, as a corollary, that many of the people who advocate more sex are HOT (Dr Ruth aside, and she was a Haganah sniper, so I ain’t gonna say nuttin’ ’bout her appearance.)

    As to the other – that’s the kind of extraordinary hairsplitting that qualifies one to be nominated for the Supreme Court. Congrats!

  30. Maybe people like Jiminez are making lemonade out of a lifetime of lemons. You know, “I’m not getting any anyway, so I’ll tell myself it’s because of my incredible level of morality, which is more flattering than admitting that the only thing keeping me from a lifetime of sluthood is the lack of any conscious male takers.”

    By the way, I have never had premarital sex.

  31. Well, good for you… though I’m pretty sure that your technicality would be too technical for people to whom such things matter.

  32. True, Peachy, but such aren’t the people I generally try to impress, anyway.

  33. You’re in luck, then 🙂

    But seriously – though there is a considerable correlation between appearance and stance on sex, I think it is largely coincidence. My experience has been that most people get their attitudes towards such things at a young age – well before their in/ability to get some should be an issue (one hopes!) Some do change their minds as they get older, of course; I would expect that certain types of shifts in belief systems (religious to atheist, conservative to libertarian) would be associated with a positive relaxation in sexual mores. (How many state-hating god-deniers do you you know who would oppose sex for all?)

    Of course, one’s appearance – the face especially – is molded by one’s personality, so one could argue it is in fact prudishness that causes prune-ishness, rather than the reverse.

  34. Naturally, looking prune-ish will prevent one from getting any, which might lead to more prudishness (as per your theory), which might lead to more prune-ishness (as per mine) in a dreadful, inescapable cycle. Any minute now Joe is going to be along to suggest a federal aid program for the victims of this awful affliction… 🙂

  35. Peachy–

    There’s also the fact that a lot of the sex-haters have the type of ugliness that is acquired, not inherited. If you spend too many of your formative years with your mouth all pursed up in a Puritanical frown and your eyes all squinty with disapproval, then after awhile your mom’s prediction really does come true–your face freezes that way.

    I look at the faces of the old people in my neighborhood, and just by the type of wrinkles they have, and where the wrinkles are on their faces, you really can tell which wrinkles came from a lifetime of cheerfulness, and which ones came from frowning too much.

  36. So true. I fear I’ll look like a (male) gorgon by the time I get to be prune-face’s age – and I’m in favour of sex for everyone (even prunes).

  37. kwais,

    “I read somewhere that 95% of offspring follow in the footsteps of their parents beliefs and religion. So if Moslems, Mormons, and other such folks are having most the kids, then most the population will be of that persuasion. Right?”

    Almost everyone self-identifies as belonging to the faith of thier parents. Actual converts are few and far between. But Bill Clinton was a Baptist, John Kerry a Catholic, etc. 95% of the children of anti-abortion “sidewalk counsellors” are not going to be religous fanatics – not by a long shot.

  38. Thirty-nine comments, and nothing yet along the lines of “This just totally blows me away”?

  39. I would have said it, Stevo, but it sounds weird coming from a girl.

  40. joe,

    Thank you for finally admitting that John Kerry is not a real Catholic. 😉

  41. This just totally blows me away… I mean, I’m sucking wind right now… gotta give my head a minute to go down to normal again.

    Is that satisfactory, you freakin’ perverts? (I kid because I love 🙂 )

  42. I’m trying to think of a pun involving the words “fellatio” or “fellate” but not having any luck.

  43. Hmm… that’s a tough one. The best I came up with is “I fell eight stories the other day – that’s a tough way to get down.”

  44. “Am I the only one who pops in here when the NFL coverage goes to a break?” – joe

    Nah, most of them pop in here during their work breaks – cause they have actual JOBS…

  45. I love all the concern by Ms. Jimenez and her compadres over at Agape (!) Press over the potential spread of HPV, a disease for which a vaccine is available and which her buddies in the Christian Right oppose because making sex have fewer deadly consequences might encourage kids to have more of it.

  46. Stevo, RE: Pun
    Wish I could help, but all I got is the song “Come On Baby, Light My Fire” sung,
    of course, by the great Jose Fellatio.

  47. 95% of the children of anti-abortion “sidewalk counsellors” are not going to be religous fanatics – not by a long shot.

    Using my siblings as a sample, it is only 80%, but even using this number can be misleading in one direction or another when you consider: (1) the religious fanatic sister is the one with 7 children (compared to an aggregate of 1 from the rest of us); but (2) the “fanatic” sister barely qualifies as a fanatic (I might put her in the “rather religious” category myself).

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