Archives for category: sexology

I got to 3:50 and had to stop. A woman — and she is clearly a woman, acting not at all manly in any way that I can discern — glories in her “coming out” as “non-binary.”

Dr. LocoFoco, on Twitter, expressed the standard case against my reaction to such things: “The goal — even if it means transhumanism as a tool to actually achieve it — is everyone deciding their lives for themselves. Why not help people get there instead of criticize them because they don’t fit with your idea of what’s right, proper, scientific, or whatever else?” First off, “living for ourselves” is not at issue. What is at issue is whether you are living “for yourself” or for anyone when you misidentify reality in a consistently irreal way. Pretending that you can “become” something you cannot become is no advance for anyone. That is just witless fantasy. It is madness. Men cannot become women, and vice versa. Sure: dress as you will, talk as you will, whatever — even chop off your penis and have the surgeons try to create a fake vagina, no skin off my nose — but there are consequences for actions that are devastating, making the acts themselves foolish, and it is no service to anyone to encourage such atrocities.

Are good, “well-meaning” people not aware of the horrors of sexual reassignment surgery? It is not uncommon, now, to take the malpractice of Seventies’ “sex change” quacks and continue it: helping a “non-binary man ‘feel’ more womanly” [which is my translation of what they actually say] by keeping the penis but removing the testicles and inverting the scrotum for the fake vagina, leading to horrific medical consequences. I think we can all agree that real vaginas do not have hair inside.

The sheer insanity of the sexually confused is interesting for many human reasons. Take “The Libs of TikTok”: I inflict these people on myself for good reason. This shows a hugely influential element of the social world we live in. Filled with fantasists. Lost souls who are grasping for some relevance. Or have they been so unloved or so ignored or so actually abused that they join the bandwagon of pretend sexuality. It’s pathetic, and I do pity them. I do not hate them. Indeed, it is in part for their interest that I deny them the reality of their fantasies or the health and wisdom of their choices. I have no specific answers for what ails them, but my philosophy — which does pointedly investigate the roles of fantasy in human life — insists upon acknowledging the actual and the materially real. And warns against the unintended consequences of actions taken under the mantle of the pretense of what they absurdly call “their truth.”

So why is this at issue now in our culture?

Maybe it’s all the loopy, unthinking naturalisms of the past that have spawned this insanity, in reaction. I opposed slippery naturalism most of my adult life — it’s why I’ve been so Stoic-resistant, Epictetus’s ethical naturalism being such a bundle of prejudice and loopy non sequitur. But I’d run screaming to Epictetus’ hirsuite arms before I accept the idiocy of today’s “gender” obsessed.

Maybe it’s those loopy naturalisms that spawned this, but I don’t think so. I think it is the logic of the memeplex of leftism and cultural Marxism, the pathetic need always to find outsiders and make them a “cause.”

But that is the social frame of the malady. At bottom, surely, these people are wounded souls suffering from insignificance or worse. “Trans” is like most religious manias: it puts them deep into the warp and woof of reality. And like religious manias — Hobbes called them “enthusiasms” — they say more about their suffering than about reality.

A conscientious, caring person would try to alleviate the real causes of suffering, not get caught up in the religious mania that is Trans Soteriology. There is no salvation here. It is only human folly taken to the remotest level of crazy.

Regardless: this woman’s purple stuffed animal does symbolize the ridiculous and wacky nature of this anti-naturalist movement.

And regardless: sex is a binary in the human biology, and a people that refuses to make the most of it is doomed to die out. This trans-genderist nonsense is decadence all the way down to its nuttiest kernel of falsity.

Further: my friends who are “soft” and even “supportive” of this trans acceptance movement are playing into the neuroses and psychoses of deeply damaged people, causing great, great harm while solidifying these souls’ detachment from reality, unfitting them from leading happy lives.

And doing this disservice in the name of liberty and autonomy is a grave indecency. An affront not against nature but against philosophy, against wisdom.

Oh, and then there is the parade of the pitiful. Do you have the stomach to go beyond 3:50?

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Though the ”Don’t Say Gay” political brouhaha in Florida is a serious matter, I confess to finding much of it rather funny. Why? One-word answer? Grooming.

So much for Twitter and the comedy. But what about the serious issue regarding the ”groomer” charge? Well, you can always count on Mr. David French for the loopiest quasi-conservative take:

You may not be aware, but right-wing media is swarming with allegations that anyone who, for example, opposes Florida’s House Bill 1557 (the bill misleadingly termed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats and many in the media) is either a “groomer” or in league with groomers. A groomer is a person who specifically targets and uses “manipulative behaviors” to gain access to victims. The rhetoric is absolutely omnipresentIt’s relentless.

David French, ”Against the ‘Groomer’ Smear” (Substack, April 5, 2022).

I’ve never liked the term “groomers,” which I first heard in the Pakistani/Brit context of Rotherham. Edward ”Jolly Heretic” Dutton used it in his book on the Finnish experience with Muslim men turning teenage Finnish girls into their whores. I had sort of got used to it by that point, but never completely. 

What we are dealing with appear to me to be two semi-distinct things:

1. The training of youngsters into a state of sexual willingness to fiddle around, sexually, sans parental chaperones and with a variety of partners some of whom might be adults, and

2. the training of youngsters into states of sexual willingness to specific sets of adult clientele.

The latter would be ‘grooming’ proper; the former, a looser form of ‘grooming.’ 

Interestingly, all instruction of youngsters into sexual relations — including No Sex Acts Until Married — is a kind of grooming. Note the word ‘groom’ as in ‘bride and groom.’

It seems to me that parents should want to control this kind of instruction more closely than they would on matters of, say, learning math or literature. And surely only the most servile fool of a parent would welcome paid agents of the state to encourage their youngsters to develop active sexual behavior before puberty, or orient themselves sexually towards adults rather than a special compeer of the opposite sex.

So I do not see any major problem using the term ‘grooming’ in the looser sense. Sure, grooming has been understood as the activity of training children to become sexually active with specific adults. But the more general activity, of training kids to be more generally accepting of specific adult panderings, propositions, flirtations and the like. Think of it like the normal case for schooling: while job training is usually used as a quite specific term for educating students to perform in a specific job, the usual instruction in schools is widely understood to be a more general form of a job training program — job training not for a specific job or industry but for ‘jobs and industry’ in general.

Sex education in First World countries seems to have become, to a shocking degree, a program of job training in that looser sense: educating youngsters to accept sexual partners and sexual positions that would formerly have been called perversions.

Sex education started out as a ”family planning” agenda — excused to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases — but morphed within recent memory to “gay acceptance,” and not only encompasses the encouragement not merely of something that hardly needs encouragement (namely masturbation) but also ‘trans gender’ sexual apery, all based on the half-baked pseudo-science of ‘gender theory.’

I am now a strong advocate for positive heteronormativity, and believe non-heterosexual people should be on board with this position too. Sure, I’m against negative heteronormativity. But my backing of positive heteronormativity has indeed been reinforced by my fear that the recent Norming of the Queer is going to produce a new reaction in the form of a strong, society-wide negative heteronormativity — that is, the kind of norming of heterosexuality that entails the persecution of homosexuals and bisexuals and the sexually weirder — queerer — yet.

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I was never a ‘good boy’ or, for that matter, a ‘good man.’

Not by dominant standards — I hated sports and hunting and fishing and was not big or strong until a remarkably late date. Thankfully, the silly idea of transgender never popped into my head. I never took it into my noggin that I’d be a better girl or woman than a boy or man. When I encountered gender ideas in Lawrence Durrell’s work — he wrote absurdly of there ‘actually’ being four or five sexes — I rolled my eyes and read on. And somehow I learned that failing to live up to some standards didn’t mean that I had to accept defeat completely, or despair of my very existence. I came to realize that not being particularly handsome or impressive was other people’s problem more than mine — and I was appreciative that people tended to like me despite my obvious flaws. At least they thought I was funny and capable of thought.

So the rise of ‘gender dysphoria’ has puzzled me to some extent. Obviously something is going on. I came to know some transitioning men-to-women when I was a young adult, and sympathized. But I realized right away that most of these people didn’t pull it off well. Going from being a passable man to an ugly woman didn’t seem like a step forward to me. Some of this seemed to be a strange way to handle being gay: a man “becoming” a woman wanted to engage in sex acts with men in a more natural way, and a fake (ahem) vagina allowed this. More interesting and disturbing were the men who wanted to be lesbians! Recently I learned that the late novelist Iris Murdoch thought of herself as a male homosexual in a woman’s body. I think this scenario is mentioned somewhere in her novels, too.

I wonder how much of this is a result of a lack of “self-acceptance.” To me it is simpler: sex is nature, and choose the roles you want, sure, but never lie to yourself about nature. If you are a male who doesn’t like your penis, say — or a woman who hates her breasts — don’t lop them off: live with them. None of us are perfect.

Trans activism seems perverse to me — a defiance of truth, an attempt to make outrageous fantasy become reality, hell or high water — but I could be wrong. Still, I remember the cautionary tales, like those of Dr. John Money. Or the de-transitioners discussed on The Daily Wire.

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…a year ago on Facebook….

Much of today’s political tribal warfare strikes me as superficial and stupid, and my friends here on Fb and elsewhere no doubt often note that I sport no great respect for most participants, especially the movers at the top, but also anyone who is relentlessly partisan.

One reason is that I do not think very many people reason their way into their ideologies. Reason appears later in the filiation of ideas, as rationalization. And of course it does to some extent with me, too. But I read Jefferson, Locke, Nozick, Plato, Nietzsche, Peirce and a lot of political philosophy and economics and even sociology and anthropology in my teens before I adopted my current perspective. So my occasional gloating is rationalized on the excuse of past reason. (And in my defense I never have really stopped reading or reasoning.)

So what is really behind political ideological “identification”? It is “tribal,” yes, but more important is that it is sexual.

Usually I bring up the religious nature of political ideology, but a few of my friends may note that I not irregularly bring up sex.

Why?

Well — It is almost all about sex.

And honor.

Sexual honor is a main standard of hierarchy legitimation.

Which is why people take it all so personally. Why is Trump so awful? He is sexually icky! Why is he so great? He is just so tough and impressive! Sure, ideological discord sure looks like it should be seen as a technical policy matter — at least from a superificially reasonable perspective. But it is not. Because fundamentally it is really about sex, family, work, and honor, and the idealized styles of same.

It always has been, and probably always will be, about Our Sex versus Theirs. “We do sex right” while “They do sex wrong.”

And this is why leftism, hollowed out by the failure of so many socialist and technocratic programs, now is reduced to a husk of thought, obsessed with gender and trans activism and things like that. Because all the left really has left is the defense of non-heterosexual sexual activity and its lurking-in-the-background anti-natalism. Meanwhile, the right is on the verge of reviving a defense of full-blown heteronormativity. Wait for it, wait for it….

I find this rather funny. A comedy of ideas reduced to sex farce.

Time to read Tom Sharpe again.

N.B. A few weeks ago I read Sharpe’s latest
Wilt sequel. It was not very relevant to this subject, alas.
Perhaps The Gropes’ll be more relevant.

From Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2008), streaming on Amazon Prime.

The Case of Caitlín R. Kiernan

My problem with ‘trans’ is not primarily political, and it is not personal either — I’ve known a many people who have tried to look and act as if they were of the opposite sex, and I’ve certainly not been “offended” — as so many people are these days, by so many things.

My main concern is lying.

Here is a case in point, an author whom I’ve not read but whose work looks really interesting: Kenneth R Wright.

Oops. That was his name as a lad. According to Wikipedia . . . well, according to the online encyclopedia, author Caitlín R. Kiernan’s early life as a boy is not worth mentioning. Now he is all woman, and his past as a boy and his ontic status as a natural-born male is just not worth acknowledging:

In an encyclopedia entry, this seems deceptive; it is obviously intentional, and driven by the recent and dominant form that leftist ideology has taken.

The current position in etiquette is that a person gets to define his or her own sex: it is no one else’s business. You can see where this comes from, and I’m all for individuality, etc., etc. But etiquette isn’t about truthfulness, and a truthful people have to maintain places and contexts wherein full truths are acknowledged.

And the “trans” issue is certainly not the only domain of contest where this comes up.

Consider another tricky matter in manners: intelligence. While it would be bad manners to call attention to either the greatest excellences or greatest failures of a person in everyday encounters — it is rude to call a genius one of the genii or a mentally challenged person a “retard” — there are many contexts in which either truth must be acknowledged. One of them would be in an encyclopedia article. We can argue about where else the truth must be allowed, or required.

Same for those who try — with wildly varying degrees of success — to appear as if they be members of the sex they are not. I would likely call Ms. Kiernan by the name she wants in most everyday contexts, but I am not obliged to think of ‘her’ as a woman.

This is an extremely interesting situation, though, because it gets to the heart of our philosophical culture. It is a matter of truth. Do we live in a truthful culture, or one in which fantasy plays the dominant role?

Far be it from me to oppose fantasy. But my philosophy valorizes truth. I regard the people who fear (or for whatever other reason refrain) to state in an encyclopedia article the truth about Caitlín R. Kiernan as liars.

And where lying is culturally enforced, great crimes will be committed.

A pluralistic society would accept disagreement on the extent to which manners would protect the weak from the truth. But we do not live in a pluralistic society.

The liars I look upon with deep suspicion. Sure, they will call me names like ”trans-phobe,” and cast aspersions upon those like me who will not cave to their fairly recent innovation in manners. In a free society, both sides would accept each others’ rights to think and act differently. But the contest now is that one side (the “trans-accepting” side) demands that the other speak exactly as they wish, while the other — my side — is willing to let them make fools of themselves as they so urgently wish, but we are not willing to grant them the justice of their effrontery, to imperially enforce their etiquette of fantasy on us.

They balk at being called liars, though. You see, they have re-defined the terms, and have theories that back up their re-definitions. So call them “trans-honest.”

twv

The gender debate is a tricky one. I think “gender” is mostly pseudo-science, but if you regard gender as simply “one’s identity understood in sexual signaling terms,” which is what it really means in proper usage by academic gender theorists, it has to be understood that people interpret signals differently, and the intended sign — the one you wish to “put out there” — has never automatically been accepted by others. And there’s the rub, right?

In the trans and intersectionalist movements, the signal you “put out there” is said to be the true one, and it is oppression if others do not accept it.

Well, does that even pass the smell test?

After all, as Umberto Eco pointed out so eloquently in the first few pages of A Theory of Semiotics (1974; 1976), the study of signs is ”in principle the study of everything which can be used in order to lie.”

And the trans activist part of the gender movement sure stinks of people committing a public fraud and demanding not only compliance, but praise, too.

Switch away from trans. Consider another gender rubric.

I could “display” as an Alpha Male, for instance.

And funny that gender theorists never talk about the Alpha/Beta/Gamma/etc rubric in anything but contemptuous terms), eh?

Anyway, let us say I dress up and behave as a typical Alpha.

But that would be absurd. I am obviously not an Alpha. And who says I’m not, who are these horrible oppressors? Women. If I were an Alpha, I’d have a new woman on my arm every week. That isn’t happening, so no matter how I “display,” I’m not an Alpha.

Same with a man dressed up as a woman. A man is a male adult. That’s the definition, and it is determined, after challenge, by gametes (which are binary, with no spectrum or crossover whatsoever), genitalia, chromosomal make-up, and secondary sexual characteristics.

A Gedankenexperiment

Now, as a thought experiment, a “trans woman” tries to get us to treat him as a “her,” for reasons we can leave for another time. Not treating him as a woman is oppression, etc. etc. But if some man just says he’s a woman while still looking like a man, I’ll balk. Why wouldn’t you?

What most “trans women” try to do, thanks be to the daimons in our culture, is dress and act in a feminine manner, according to the customs of the society he resides in, and alter, as much as he can, his secondary sexual characteristics, often with estrogen therapy. If he goes the full way, he will get surgery to do so, and even remove or modify his genitalia the better to pull off “the transition.” But note he cannot change his chromosomes or his gametes.

So, on a basic biological ground, he remains a man, no matter how far trans he has gone.

Of course, by custom, a man who can pass for a woman usually gets treated so, but that isn’t a matter of his/her/zher rights, it’s a matter of others’ discretion.

Bottom Line

Since the trans movement reached its most recent degree of ratchet-crazy, I’ve often said that I’m not really interested in your gender, and that I’d prefer to bestow others’ pronouns, for example, by sex.

Seems like my linguistic habits should be up to me, not you.

If you are a man, I’ll call you as such. If you are a woman, I’ll call you as such. It’s truly oppressive for you to insist on something different from me. My language is mine, and you must negotiate with me to induce me to change it; if you apply coercion (especially legal coercion), you become my enemy.

And I’m authorized to defend myself by force.

And, for the record, I will take your “gender theory” seriously when you treat seriously the Alpha/Beta/Gamma perspective. This has been talked about for years, but the gender theorists I have encountered are “oppressively” dismissive.

twv

Great moments in “gendering”: Ludwig von Mises called Ayn Rand “The most courageous man in America.” When Rand heard this, she was gleeful.

Why can women forgive their cheating husband, but men can’t? (or, Why, traditionally, have women more easily forgiven their cheating husbands than men forgiven their cheating wives?)

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

A basic element, here, is that while

  • women have a rather limited number of eggs and bear the natural, biological burden of investing in progeny prenatally, as well as being better adapted to nurture young children (breast milk, for starters),
  • men have a startling amount of sperm and do not bear the natural, biological burden of prenatal investment in the production of children, and are less well suited to raising children in their very young years.

Because of this inequality, the “deals” men and women make in sexual relations have tended, across cultures, to demonatrate quite distinct supply and demand schedules. Women have tended to offer sure paternity of their children to their spouses in exchange for the man providing physical and political and “economic” security.

A woman who engages in sexual activity with a man not her spouse betrays the essential element of the deal. This is a direct abrogation of the basic agreement. A man who engages in sexual activity with a woman not his spouse is not directly violating the terms (or basic requirements) of the “deal.”

But a husband who ceases to support — or slacks off in supporting — his wife while diverting his resources to a mistress, say, that would be on the level of a cheating wife.

It has been a staple of feminist thought that there is something horrible about this double standard. The more I investigate the nature of sexual relations, the less sense this makes to me, since the very contract itself is based on a double standard — or, better yet, like almost all trades, the deal is, in essence, the satisfaction of two distinct sets of priorities. So a double standard is precisely what we would expect to see evolve.

Now, in couples who do not have, cannot have, or do not want children, the nature of the deal changes. Also the importance of the deal tends to lessen as well, which is why we would expect to see more divorce and more “cheating” in families with no children.

So, no wonder wives tend to forgive cheating husbands more often than men forgive cheating wives — at least in the past. These days, with fewer children being produced and with more households dependent upon the State (taxpayers) for the maintenance of children, we should see this double standard weaken, perhaps even to the point of reversal — in cases where other pressures are brought to bear.

In fine, we should expect distinct behaviors and value-standards along sex lines for a sexually dimorphic species.


N. B. I assume a mix of naturally selected habits and attitudes and economically-induced ones, as well as culturally variable influences. We always expect variety. But patterns of behavior can nevertheless be teased out, with causal relations introduced in multiple dimensions, honing in on a number of factors. The fact that, in complex systems (such as societies) there are outliers and divergent behaviors does not preclude the making of generalizations subject to the usual caveats and statistical distributions.

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I believe I am transgender, but I keep feeling doubts. I think a lot of people would be surprised, I never always knew I was transgender (mtf) like some transwomen. How do I get over my doubts?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . . 

Without knowing your age, and without hearing you express your reasons for belief as well as for doubt, no one on Quora would be able to give a good answer.

But a word of caution: your feelings of sexual desire and sexual identity are not primarily a social concern, or something that other people can determine for you, or even should influence your ruminations much. My advice to young people on most matters is the same: be true to your experience and to yourself as you make the decisions that create (or remake) yourself. Growing up is a matter of discovery, mostly. Before you obsess about any category you may or may not fit into, or the approbation or disapprobation of any clicque or tribe, make sure you are not defining who you are and what you feel and how you think mainly to meet others’ expectations of identity, their interpretations of their experiences, or their commitments to any trendy ideology.

Seek truth. Attempt always to learn. Try to attain some mastery of some endeavor. Be responsible.

twv

Should there be straight pride?

…as answered on Quora….

Probably not. But there should be no “straight shame,” either.

And, more importantly, most people should practice a bit of modesty, as part of humility and decorum, rather than “pride.”

The point of “gay pride” was, as near as I could make out, a reasonable and necessary push back against the anti-homosexual shaming that was once the norm. That the “pride” movement went overboard, as can be seen in too many of the gay pride parades I have noticed, is sad. By putting aside the question of being unashamed of one’s orientation and instead publicly glorying in indecency and immodesty, “gay pride” paraders have promoted shamelessness when shame be more apt.

You see, the original idea of not feeling shame for one’s desires is good. But the shameless public promotion of private, even lewd activities strikes me as bad, immoral, inconsiderate — what amounts to grand effrontery.

Why would straight people wish to emulate all that?

But straight people do need to defend their desires against the onslaught of anti-straight social forces.

I believe heteronormativity also needs to be defended.

Why? Because the norming of the activities that lead to procreation, to the maintenance of the species, is pro-life, humanistic, civilized. To opposeheteronormativity is to promote decadence.

Quite literally.

Of course, the reader will gather that I think heteronormativity need not be oppressive to the small population of sexual outliers. A society can norm heterosexuality without pride and overbearing condescension and exclusion. Heteronormativity can be humble, not proud.

It is a worse than a shame when it is, instead, shameless and tyrannical.

I believe it is imperative that straight people resist cultural decadence and re-learn modesty, responsibility and the blessing of human reproduction. Also, it might be helpful to relearn that sexual activity can be pleasurable within a context centered around the production of offspring and the raising of same.

But “straight pride” won’t do that. “Straight virtue” might.

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It has been over a month since the last episode of my podcast, so, with my latest episode, I’m starting a new “season.” It sounds better that way than to explain why there was such a long gap between episodes.

Season Two, Episode One.