Archives for category: sexology

…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.

twv

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.

twv

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.

Is it true that girls tend to be attracted to the guys
that give them the least amount of attention?

…as answered on Quora….

No. But women (and girls) are often attracted to men (and boys) who show enough strength and confidence not to fall all over themselves in a mad rush to fawn over the objects of their affection and lust.

Women tend to admire strength, confidence. Men who attend to women too earnestly often turn women off.

There is an antimony here. It may seem schizoid. But we humans have more than one need we aim to fill when we seek to mate, and those distinct needs drive us to behaviors that can seem paradoxical. Some of our desires and standards are buried deep on one level, while others burst out, unmissable, into the open. Though it is dangerous to cite studies that only back up one’s favored point of view, I merely note here that some studies have shown that women tend to prefer different types of men at different times in their hormonal cycles. It might be helpful to learn this lore, which is developing in evolutionary psychology. (I’d avoid “women’s studies” because these “disciplines” — wholly the creatures of feminism and state subsidy — appear relentlessly ideological and unscientific.)

And men, too, have seemingly contradictory and transitory impulses. The lore on this is commonplace. Men are said to “only want sex” (sexual gratification) and yet they move heaven and earth to please women and take care of children.

How the welfare state, feminism and sexual (“gender”) egalitarianism have affected the playing out in individual men and in society of these two quite distinct urges is the subject of ongoing ideological conflict. The current trend of outing creepy, rapey men in politics and in the performing arts (but I repeat myself) for their abusive behaviors is not unrelated.

“The least amount of attention” in the question references, I gather, the “cool stance,” a sexual strategy very common in developed capitalist society. This stance is liken unto “peacock feathers” and other extravagant plumage among birds, and massive antlers in ungulates — aesthetic excesses that subtly signal strength. The idea being that “I am so strong I can afford to ‘waste’ resources on ‘useless’ beauty.” Women are programmed to admire strength. The species would not have survived had they not found mates strong enough to protect them and their babies. The cool stance, as well as drug use (tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, heroin — the more dangerous the stronger the signal) attracts those attracted to power, seeking natural signs of power.

But coolness is just one strategy that can signal male power. Another is behaving like a criminal, like “an asshole.” You know, as in “bad boys.” It is a staple of narrative fiction and feminist dispute to note just how common this is. More obvious signals of male power are wealth (“like my shiny new car?”), athletic prowess, and uniformed military and police service.

Intelligence, of all things, has even been known to serve to attract women. Whodathunk?

So, there are a variety of strategies available, for both men and women, to attract mates.

There is no one dimension, and certainly no single strategy, upon which sexual selection and the mating market play.


See, among many possible references, The Origins of Cool in Postwar America (2017), by Joel Dinerstein (I purchased a copy but have not found time to read it yet; it looks great), and The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature (2001), by Geoffrey Miller.

The kick-ass female action “hero” was a novelty with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But after the millionth iteration, it is wearing thin, to say the least.

To say the most? It is a form of misogyny.

How so? It imputes to women the natural and traditional propensities and roles that men admire in men and aspire towards — and that women have desired in men and want men to be. So women are now routinely being judged by a standard that was naturally-cum-fancifully apt almost only for men. This functions as a performative repudiation of femininity, and a triumph of masculinity. It is a strange twist on “trans.” And for men to admire women chiefly for filling masculine roles strikes me as preciously close to the liking of women for being like men.

So, what men and women who assert the value of “female action heroes” (NOT heroines) are really doing is saying “no one really likes women”; that the feminine is disgusting or pitiable and that women, to be admired, should “be more like men” or, better yet, aspire to be “better than men” as understood by unrealistic standards once held by men for themselves.

Like so much of modern politics, and of course feminism, this strikes me as creepily misogynistic.

I am reminded of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where the citizenry is “decanted” not begotten naturally, and where “fatherhood” is a joke and “motherhood” a gross indecency. To the extent that the female superhero theme is not pornography (and that is the source of some of the attraction: watching lithe bodies contorting onscreen for our delectation) it’s a repudiation of the feminine telos.

Which strikes me as misogynistic.

Not hatefully misogynistic. It may not be borne of hate. It is borne of discomfort. Queasiness. Distaste. Discomfort with the natural, the animal reality of our species and our very mammalian success. Our civilization is imagining a new non-animalistic conception of life. It used to be the gods, now it is stefnal superheroes and the looming, all-too-real specter of cyborgian AI.

Decadence, for the most part. But hey: maybe the future is less Brave New World and more Day Million.* But I doubt it.

Of course, we have a choice of dystopias.

* “Day Million” is a terrific short story by Frederik Pohl, as well as a name of a short story collection.

I have never once heard a person blathering about “gender theory” ever mention the designators of sexual selection roles in terms of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.

According to standard gender theory definitions, these terms would at least have to be considered, even if discarded.

But no. Never heard anyone say this. Just me. 

Have you heard anyone consider “Alpha male” or “Beta male” as “genders”?

I am more than aware that I’ve convinced few people of my extreme skepticism of the concept of “gender.” At least, no one has admitted to being convinced. But I have given multiple reasons to abandon, even scorn, the terminology, as unscientific etc.

But considering the nature standard gender talk by gender ‘activists,’ and considering that one can (allegedly) display or define one’s own gender, rather than have it socially constructed or whatever, then at the very least Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, along with Sigma and Omega, and still other of these pack-based terms, would serve just as reasonable terms for a gender as any of those you find in these witless lists of genders.

My thesis, which you may attack at will, is that this is a tell.

This is a tell that “gender research” is bloviating ideological nincompoopery, not anything like science, and the use of it by scientists — legit or manqué — is an embarrassment to all honest thinking persons.

You may say that the “Alpha/Beta/etc. categories are not used by actual ethologists” and I am very interested in what you have to say. Now you begin to think. But that’s not my point. If you don’t see why, think some more.

twv