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January 14, 2006

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Kimball Corson

Geof asks why do we have the sexual attitudes we have?

I think any good answer would have to take into account our evolutionary genetic heritage well discussed in Frans de Waal’s Our Inner Ape and also the tension in attitudes between the uses of sex for lustful diversion, fun, release and recreation, on one hand, and procreation, hopefully in the context of a structure to raise children, on the other. The first approach howls of decadence for too many, while the latter seems to oppress with exclusivity and responsibility. We react to both attitudes with discomfort, especially when we cannot find natural limits to the former approach or comfortably reconcile it with the latter. Too, the technology of birth control changes faster than attitudes can or have and further muddies the water. Befuddled, we therefore sometimes let circumstances control our behavior, as when a black out in New York City years ago produced a spike in the City’s birth rate nine months later. The truth is I think we do not have an approach to sex that most of us can comfortably live without feeling either hampered or guilty. One result of this quandary is more auto-eroticism then might otherwise be the case, an endeavor well supported by the pornography industry. It has been said that electronic pornography and games are the driving force behind improved computer video technology. What is sexually sensible and appropriate and at what point in our lives is not subject of any clear consensus I know about. Indeed, we seem not even able to discuss these matters candidly or well for the most part. And that problem has been reinforced by religious doctrine which is too ready with pat and unsatisfactory answers that do not help and often induce only guilt and sexual repression. We are a confused bunch compared to the rest of the animal kingdom which seems to have a better go of it.

P.S.
It would be nice to see a cleaned up version of Geof's talk presented here in print so we don't have to suffer through kaleidoscopic or psyadelic images as we listen.

Nina

Such a topic name of the post.

Kimball Corson

On January 19, I wrote above:

"Indeed, we seem not even able to discuss these matters [why we have the sexual attitudes we do] candidly or well for the most part."

Indeed, the number of posts after that to Geof's article and this site would seem to make this point quite clearly, and I cannot believe for a second there is no interest in the topic.

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