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Dan Savage Is a Vile, Despicable Thing

I’m not going to reproduce the latest nasty, mean-spirited comment (in Tweet form) from the gay community’s self-appointed Moral Arbiter; suffice it to say, it uses the progressive left’s very favorite word (because profanity is how weak minds attempt to express emphasis) and it is a vile insult directed at people of far superior moral character than he. You can read it at this link.

And judging by the responses to his Tweet, his followers are as vile and reprobate as he is.

In Which We Discusss the Pharmaceutical Prevention of HIV Transmission

Commenter Throbert, who speaks Latin and Russian (I know this), suggested we ought to discuss this Truvada/PrEP thing. So… let’s discuss, won’t you?

Truvada was developed by evil capitalist pharmaceutical companies as a treatment for HIV; but if taken daily, it can reduce the risk of HIV infection among people having unprotected sex by 90%. The treatment costs over a thousand dollars a month. And, of course, a number of people think … much like Sandy Fluke’s party favors … the Government should pay for it, or force insurance companies to force those who don’t engage in unprotected secks to pay for it?

If you’re a Democrat/Progressive the answer is simple: “[Expletive] Yeah! The Government should pay for that/Force other people to pay for that!” Because Democrat/Progressives believe the Government should fund almost everything… the exceptions being the military and the Border Patrol. And if you disagree… you hate gay people and want to outlaw gay sex. Not only should PrEP be funded, but Christians should be forced by law to provide catering services to bathhouse orgies.

People thoughtful enough not to be Progressive Democrats may see more somewhat more complexity to the issue. One issue being the fact that everybody in the civilized world has known how to not get infected with HIV since 1984. If folks had universally adhered to the HIV-prevention guidance we’ve known about for thirty years, AIDS would be as rare (in the first world anyway) as an honest politician or an accurately predictive Global Warming model.

Even proponents of the drug admit that it’s not exactly… medically necessary.

“For folks who are having a significant amount of unprotected sex, it’s a slam dunk — not only giving them protective medicine, but engaging them in testing, a whole package of regular health care,” he said.

i.e. We’re not curing cancer here, we are talking about subsidizing a promiscuous lifestyle choice. It’s one thing to make that choice, quite a different thing to demand that others subsidize it.

“Personal responsibility for one’s actions has simply been thrown out the window in a community in which we are too often concerned about stigma and moral judgment,” he wrote. “We dare not speak against the reckless behavior of others because we wring our hands over the omnipresent worry that we will shame one another.”

Yup.

Does Pat Robertson understand what marriage is for?

Just caught Erin Burnett on CNN talking about something I had noticed earlier today as trending on Yahoo!

Screen shot 2013-05-16 at 6.45.32 PM

Yup, that’s right, number one above.* On his “700 Club” television show yesterday, his co-host Kristi Watts read a letter from a woman having trouble forgiving a cheating husband. Watts called infidelity “one of the ultimate betrayals“, but Robertson said the woman should “stop talking about the cheating.” After asking some good questions which get at the heart of what it means to be good husband, he otherwise seems to miss the point, dismissing the problem of infidelity — and failing to understand the full meaning of marriage, particularly the marital vows:

He cheated on you. Well, he’s a man, okay, so, what you do is begin to focus on why you married him in the first place, on what he does good.

. . . .

But recognize also, like it or not, males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make the home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander. But, think of the temptations that are out there. The Internet is filled with pornography. Magazines are filled with pictures, salacious pictures of women. Anywhere you turn around, there is some solicitation to the sense to entice a man. And so what you have to do is say, “My husband was captured and I want to get him free.”

Yes, Mr. Robertson is right; males do have a tendency to wander, but marriage vows exist to restrain that tendency, to remind a man that he has, to borrow a term many social conservatives like, made a covenant with a woman, forging a bond more important that the momentary gratification a dalliance with another women might offer.

What this man did was wrong and to earn forgiveness, he should first admit that.

Marriage has evolved for a great many reasons, one of them to control that tendency to wander.  Mr. Robertson should have said as much.  He should have said that what the cheating husband did was wrong — and criticized him for violating his vows.  And for causing pain to a woman to whom he had sworn fidelity. (more…)

On Anthony Weiner & Marriage

When I drove cross country in 2007, I had a conversation with a friend who, had since I left the DC-area in 1999, married his partner in a church ceremony.  Until he met his husband, my friend refrained from sexual activity, doing his part to set an example of the “responsible” single homosexual and not wanting to engage in sexual activity without emotional attachment.

In our conversation in ’07, several years after he and his beloved exchanged their vows, he confessed that he wished he had experimented more in his single days.  Despite this change in attitude about those days, he remain committed to the ideal of marital monogamy; he would remain faithful to his betrothed.  That conversation came to mind this afternoon when I read Jennifer Rubin’s latest commentary on Anthony Weiner:

Women whom he apparently told his wife about before their marriage but could not bring himself to give up. The press isn’t invading his mind or his bedroom; it’s looking at his Tweets and talking to the women on whose Timeline he was willing to risk his marriage, his career and his self-respect.

Emphasis added.  My friend recognizes in word and deed what Weiner understood only in word, that marriage vows change things.  A gay man understands the meaning of marriage, a notion which a powerful straight man refuses to integrate into his life.  If Weiner wasn’t willing to give up his sexual flirtations with other women, why then did he get married?

Even as the gay man referenced in this post recognizes the mistakes (if mistakes they were) he had made in not “experimenting” before he met his beloved, he won’t let his past failure alter his existing marital vows.

Some men, both gay and straight (and I would dare say some women as well), refuse to recognize the responsibilities which inhere in the very idea of marriage.  In exchange for the lifelong commitment of your betrothed, you agree, to borrow an expression, to forsake all others.  Here, the gay man instructs a straight counterpart on the meaning of marriage.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  David in N.O. writes, “BTW, any marriage supporter who says extra-marital trysting is ok is no supporter of marriage of any kind.”  He got that right.

Is monogamy really a challenge?

Commenting my post yesterday on civility and monogamySonicfrog offers an interesting and insightful rejoinder to my acknowledgment of the challenges of monogamy:

Living monogamous isn’t that difficult. It comes down to making a relationship a priority over getting your rocks off with a stranger. Granted, the latter can be fun, but the former is, to me anyway, more gratifying.

His comment corresponds with anecdotal evidence I have accumulated from successfully partnered and married acquaintances, friends and family members.  Almost all report how easy it is to remain faithful to their partner.  Some may acknowledge that attractive individuals continue to turn their heads, while others just say that it’s “wrong” to cheat (as one of my straight female friends did in a rather emphatic tone when I asked her why she had never had an affair*).

It does seem that for some, particularly those who were promiscuous in their youth, that monogamy develops naturally out of the relationship. Many realize that a “roll in the hay” (as it were) might offer a moment’s pleasure, but fails to provide the level of connection and intimacy as does their relationship.

Now, I do have some friends in open relationships and they do seem quite balanced individuals, so that arrangement may work out well for them.  But, I also encounter a number of gay men who entered a relationship without either partner expecting to refrain from hookups only to find that, after a time, they stopped seeking outside sources of sexual ‘recreation.”  Monogamy just evolved without either seeking it.

* (more…)

Yes, Mr. Savage, it is possible to promote gay relationships without being nasty

Perhaps, the editors of Newsweek and Time really don’t want to see state recognition of same-sex marriage.  Given that fact that each magazine has now promoted a man who wears his contempt for Christianity on his sleeve, it seems their editors are little interested in changing the minds of the overwhelming majority of Americans who profess that faith.

Or maybe said editors are oblivious (or indifferent) to the faithful and believe that most people have a worldview similar to their own — only they just need be made aware of it. Reader Peter Hughes alerted me to a post on Newsbusters analyzing Dan Savage’s Time magazine interview:

In this week’s issue, Time magazine followed Newsweek in honoring gay sex columnist Dan Savage and offering him space to trash conservatives. The liberal media sets Savage up as an anti-bullying activist, then lets him push conservative faces in the dirt. In December Newsweek printed him saying “F— John McCain” and asserting Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was clearly a “c—sucker.”

Why does this fellow have to be so nasty so often?  Maybe he’s having a perpetual bad day?  When asked what advice he could “give readers of TIME“, this gay marriage advocate chose to express contempt for monogamy:

We talk about love in a way that’s very unrealistic: “If you’re in love, you’re not going to want to have sex with anyone else but that person.” That’s not true. We need to acknowledge that truth so that people don’t have to spend 40 years of marriage lying to and policing each other.

There is no doubt that monogamy is indeed a challenge, particularly for men. But, it does yield rewards in terms of a deeper emotional connection and greater intimacy.  If someone wants to shack up with another and have other sexual encounters on the side, he should be allowed that choice, but such a relationship is not marriage. (more…)

On Sex, Faith & Happiness

While completing work on my dissertation last fall, I found my mind sometimes wandering as I pondered two great issues, those of sex and of happiness.  As to the former, I continued my ongoing (and long-running) internal dialogue on where was the appropriate place for a single man to draw the line on sexual activity.  As to the latter, I noticed that on days when I was most productive, I usually felt happier than on those when I slacked off.

And as I drove around neighborhoods adjacent to my own where creative artistic types, many sporting tattoos on their incompletely covered bodies, live in close proximity to Hasidic Jews, most wearing near identical clothing almost entirely covering entire bodies (save their faces), I wondered if those who adopt more constraints on their clothing (as well as their personal appearance) could be as happy as those who have eschewed such religious constraints and dress however they please.

While I have been reminding myself to blog on these topics (and the intersection thereof) since I successfully defended my dissertation, this week it seems the universe has been reminding me as much.  While browsing at Barnes & Noble, I caught site of this display table, featuring books on happiness:

Then, this week, Memeorandum linked Ross Douthat’s column on monogamy where he wrote about research suggesting a “significant correlation between sexual restraint and emotional well-being, between monogamy and happiness“.  Later, Glenn Reynolds linked Douthat’s followup post where the Times columnist noted that in the wake of the sexual revolution:

Female happiness has dropped since the 1970s, despite enormous female economic gains. Marital happiness has dipped as well, even though fewer people get married and it’s easier to leave an unhappy union. (more…)

Casual sex for single gay men: barrier to finding LTR?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:05 am - July 1, 2010.
Filed under: (Gay) Male Sexuality & the Monogamous Ideal

A friend recently sent me a text which I found it difficult to answer from my cell phone.  Indeed, can’t really give him an answer even now.  At one point in my life, I would have offered a quick and easy answer, but now I’m not so sure how to address his question without relating multiple, often seemingly contradictory thoughts and including numerous anecdotes.

Here, in its entirety, is the text transcribed:

Casual sex: healthy outlet for the single gay or barrier to finding an LTR?

Now, I would lean toward the former answer, but with lots (and lots (and lots and lots (and lots and lots and lots))) of caveats.   We are by nature sexual beings.  I don’t think it’s healthy for us to refrain from sexual expression (for a long period) just because we haven’t found a life-partner.

As one who tried celibacy for a while, I realize it has many beneficial aspects for the short term, but realize that once those benefits are realized it kind of feeds on itself.  (Note to self: finding a better way to express this.)

Perhaps, when I have given the matter some more thought, I can craft a more insightful post.  For now, I’ll just pose his question to y’all and invite you to consider it in the comments section below.

Gay Men, Marriage & Friendship

One reason I have a great deal of difficulty taking seriously most (but not all) gay marriage activists (particularly those of my sex) is that they are loath to discuss the emotional significance/meaning of the institution.  And as I study male psychology, I wonder that it often takes a woman (or a child, or combination thereof) to activate the nurturing aspects of our psyche that seem to come more naturally to women, aspects essential for developing enduring relationships.

To be sure, there are some men who seem to have already internalized those “feminine” qualities.

Several years back, I had an e-mail exchange with a leading advocate for state recognition of same-sex marriage.  He practically bristled at my questions about his failure to address monogamy in the conversation on expanding the definition of this ancient institution.  He simply could not (refused to?) see the link between sexual fidelity and emotional intimacy, how that ideal deepens the bond between the two individuals in a marriage.

Indeed, at those meetings on gay marriage, I found that those most willing to point out that monogamy was an (essential) aspect of marriage were (almost*) always women.

Look, I realize these thoughts may seem kind of random, but because of several serendipitous circumstances on my cross country journey coupled with thoughts about my dissertation — and how Athena’s relationship with Tiresias (this paragon of wisdom to the ancient Greeks being the only individual who had lived as both a man an a woman) fits in — has got me thinking about this yet again.

I fear sometimes we men don’t work at developing emotional relationships with other men.  That so visual and physical is our sex drive, we don’t want to consider the emotional consequences of infidelity.**  This is not to say that men don’t achieve emotional intimacy, indeed, many do.  But, they’re not the ones at the forefront of the movement for state recognition of same-sex marriage. (more…)

The Pill, the Sexual Revolution & Gay Sex

This morning, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, Glenn links two posts, the first by 1970s bombshell Raquel Welch who observes:

In stark contrast, a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, “sexual freedom,” has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.

But, what really caught my attention was this in neoneocon’s (must-read) post:

Now we have to worry about rampant promiscuity among teens and even preteens, and the deep psychological and even physical damage it can cause (such as STDs). Girls who once were protected by the mores of society and their own fear of the shame of pregnancy are free to enjoy sex—but how many of them are really having all that much fun, and at what cost? How many of them have the maturity to understand what they want and with whom they might be happy? How many are giving in to the age-old pressures of popularity and the needs of teenage boys?

Emphasis added.  I would say the pill has been a mostly good thing.  It helped launched the sexual revolution which, in turn, made it easier for gay people to start being more open about our sexuality.  But, this revolution while mostly a good thing, was not entirely a good thing.  It did have some downsides.  And these two smart women get at some of the issues we all wish to brush under the table when discussing sexuality.

Past social mores, while often oppressive, did serve a certain purpose.  But, some served only to censure folk like us.  We are grateful for the lifting of the social stricture on homosexual conduct.  But, I wish to draw your attention to the part of neoneocon’s post that I emphasized.  Too many of us try to write off the psychological consequences of hooking up.  We say that the shame we feel is only a social construct and so try to wish it away.

But, it’s real and often recurring.

I just think we need to consider the psychological consequences of hooking up.   (more…)

On monogamy & marriage

Given the recent discussion on this blog (notably in the comment thread to my post on Joy Behar) about whether monogamy is essential to marriage, let me draw your attention to a post Glenn Reynolds linked today on a site that is hardly at the vanguard of the marriage movement.  Among her “Secrets to a Long Happy Marriage,” Wendy Atterberry includes some tips on “keeping faithful.”  Yes, she acknowledges that people may stray, but leads off her list with this point:  ”Be aware of the dangers and recognise the urge for what it is: a temporary itch, not to be scratched.”  (Emphasis added.)

She thus acknowledges that fidelity is key to a happy marriage.  And that once that fidelity is compromised, it takes a lot of work to restore trust, requiring both husband and wife to “work through the problem together, with professional help if” necessary.

In case you miss my point, let me repeat, fidelity is essential to marriage and gay people are capable of monogamy.

It’s just too bad the leaders of gay organizations refuse to say as much.

Gay People are Capable of Monogamy

For well over a year now, I have stopped paying attention to the left-wing blogs which distort my views and seek to cast me as something I am not.  It’s just not worth my time to attempt to engage with people more interested in belittling conservatives than in understanding–and countering–our arguments.

When, however, a blogger, well, in this case, a blogress whom I generally respect gets my views wrong, I do take notice.  Last night, just before bed, I chanced on an incoming link from the normally sensible and sharp, Cynthia Yockey (AKA a Conservative Lesbian).  In her broadside attacking me for my alleged views on gay marriage, she misrepresents my recent critique of Joy Behar:

His latest assault on gays and lesbians who are seeking equality in every aspect of their lives, especially marriage equality, is founded on siding with Joy Behar, of “The View,” who recently opined that homosexuals do not deserve marriage equality because she says we are not monogamous. Or somehow, straight people who marry are monogamous, but gay people, who cannot marry, are not monogamous and therefore never deserve to have marriage equality.

I did not side with Joy Behar.  I believe gay people are capable of monogamy.  In my post, I faulted gay leaders for their silence in the wake of Miss Behar’s recent comments on gays and monogamy.  I did so to show my skepticism of theirunderstanding of the responsibilities and purposes of marriage.”  I did not challenge the fitness of same-sex couples to fulfill the obligations of matrimony. (more…)

Joy Behar: Gays Unable to Fulfill Obligations of Matrimony
Gay Groups Silent

One of the main reasons I find it difficult to embrace the gay marriage, er, marriage equality movement, is that its proponents seem more interested in the abstract notion of “equality” than in the real institution of marriage. Its advocates are less interested in promoting marriage than in winning, to borrow an expression from my friend Dale Carpenter, a “trophy in the cultural wars.

We see this again this week when none of the national gay organizations took issue with those in the media who contend that gay people are incapable of meeting one of the primary obligations of matrimony:  monogamy.  Last Tuesday, January 26, on The View, Joy Behar said that gays, “don’t take monogamy and infidelity the same way that the straight community does.”  Two days later in the New York Times, Scott James reported approvingly on the number of gay couples trying “to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony.”  Many are omitting monogamy:

New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area.  The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

Now, I don’t know what percentage of those couples consider themselves married.  And to be sure, while it wouldn’t be my choice to be part of an open relationship, I do believe individuals should be free to design their relationships as they see fit.  Open relationships may well be fulfilling to the individuals involved, but they’re not marriages.

Given that marriage is based on sexual exclusivity, to call a nonmonogamous union “marriage” is indeed to subvert the meaning of the institution.

By refusing to criticize those who see gay people as incapable of monogamy, gay organizations lend credence to social conservative arguments that gay marriage advocates seek to subvert the institution they’re ostensibly trying to promote.  I could find nothing denouncing Ms. Behar on the web-sites of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights or even Freedom (sic) to Marry.  Even my various google searches turned up no commentary from the head of these organizations taking Ms. Behar to task for her prejudice against gay people.  I could find none addressing the New York Times article.

As can be expected, it was only on blogs where gay people defended the ability of their fellows to meet the same conditions of marriage expected of our straight peers. The folks at Queerty responded that conversations about gay monogamy are best left in hands other than The View gals. Over at Good As You, Jeremy Hooper was astounded that Behar “could have such an uninformed opinion about gay relationships as a whole“: (more…)

“Gay” Pashtuns, or Social Acceptance of Homosexual Behavior

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!!

Maybe I shouldn’t read Instapundit on days when I oversleep.   While I was eating my breakfast, I kept chancing upon posts which inspired me to pen three of my own (including this one).

This morning, Glenn linked an article that addresses an issue that has long fascinated me, particularly as it relates to the ancient Greeks, but also because it deals with the complexity of human sexuality.  The article considers the homosexual practices of ethnic Pushtuns in Afghanistan:

An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

The study, obtained by Fox News, found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually — yet they completely reject the label of “homosexual.”

Sounds a lot like the ancient Greeks where older men often took a younger man (really a teen) as a lover and sought to educate him while enjoying the pleasures of his body.

But, can we call them “gay”?

It is only recently in human history that we have considered the notion of sexual orientation as an immutable characteristic, with most people physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, a certain percentage (which may well vary across history and culture) are physically and emotionally drawn exclusively to their own sex.  To be sure, in the Symposium, Aristophanes was did articulate a view of human sexuality similar to the current notion.  But, his ideas didn’t gain much currency until recently.  In many cultures, when men had sex with other men, this recreation was just an extracurricular past time.  It did not define their sexual identity.

The Greeks of mythology and history, Achilles and Alexander, respectively, held up as gay exemplars, were anything but.  While each had a male lover*, neither steered clearer of the “fairer sex.”   (more…)

The Lindsay Wagner Approach to Gay Marriage

To understand the decline in quality of the debate on gay marriage from its early potential to its current name-calling, you can start by reading two pieces by Andrew Sullivan 19 years apart.  In the first, “Here Comes the Groom,” he outlines a solid argument on the merits of extending the institution of marriage to same-sex couples.  In the second, “My Big Fat Straight (sic) Wedding,” he rhapsodizes about how wonderful state recognition of gay marriage makes him feel.  With said recognition, his “wedding”* “shifted a sense of our own identity within our psyches and even our souls.”

That later form of “argument” is currently on display in a San Francisco court room where lawyers are making a 1970s case for gay marriage, it’s all about feelings, nothing more than feelings.  These lawyers have, in the words of my friend Charles Winecoff, turned gay marriage advocates’ “fetish for state-sanctioned self-esteem into a federal case.

In the trial, Perry v. v. Schwarzenegger, a lesbian couple from Berkeley and a gay couple from Burbank, seek to overturn California’s Proposition 8.  And in so doing, Charles reports, they’re trying to make federal law out of a saccharine ’70s song:

[Attorney Ted Olson] Olson opened the show by declaring that “domestic partnership has nothing to do with love” – essentially admitting that the two couples are seeking legal recognition of their feelings. Then the complainants took to the stand to deliver a string of what even theLos Angeles Times called “emotional accounts,” proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that non-celebrities no longer need Oprah (or Jerry Springer) to validate their existence.

First, Jeffrey Zarrillo testified that ”the word marriage” would give him the ability “to partake in family gatherings, friends and work functions as a married individual standing beside my parents and my brother and his wife.  The pride that one feels when that happens.”  Does he mean that, like Michelle Obama and her country, he never before felt pride being with his partner?  In their nine years as a couple, did they never attend any of those events together?

If “the word” means so much, why not just call yourself married? (more…)

How Should Public School Teachers Handle Gay Kids?

Sometimes the best questions our readers ask are the most basic ones. In response to my post calling “abstinence only” sex education anachronistic, DRH asked, “Now for a real tough question. How should sex ed. handle gay & lesbian students?

It is a great question.  And the answer is not as simple as partisans on either side of the debate would like.  It’s why I’m willing to cut Kevin Jennings a little slack on the Brewster incident.  If he had shown some remorse in the years since the incident (before his appointment to the Department of Education), we would know he appreciated the complexity of the situation.

That leads to the question, how should a teacher handle a gay student, particularly when said student is a minor who approaches him (the teacher) in confidence, fearful his parents will find out?

Should he teach him about safe sex?  Tell him that his feelings don’t render him a pariah or deviant, but instead are, while perhaps an aberration or anomaly, in the great scheme of things, natural?  Should he discourage that boy from having sex until he finds someone with whom he can share something more than just physical stimulation and release?  Or at least teach him about the emptiness and remorse that often follow casual sex and the potential that our sexuality offers for emotional intimacy?

As to the first two questions above, the answer is clearly, “yes.”  As to the second two, the answer is not so clear.  That education seems to better belong with the child’s family and place of worship.  But, what if that place of worship teaches them that homosexuality is not just an aberration, but an abomination?  Should it be the public school’s job to contradict that teaching? (more…)

Kevin Jennings & the Prevailing Gay Sexual Ethos

While I think some of the coverage on conservative blogs about the latest Kevin Jennings hullabaloo (James Taranto might call it a kerfuffle) a bit overheated, I have not yet found any cause to rescind my earlier call for his resignation.  Simply put, he is not the kind of man who should be supervising a program for elementary and secondary schools in the federal Department of Education.

That said, while I think it’s highly relevant to study the content of the books he recommended for middle and high school students, I don’t know how relevant it is to bring up the “youth conference” his organization GLSEN sponsored at Tuft’s University in March 2000 where facilitators* taught the finer points of “fisting” and asked rather inappropriate questions of young teens. It appears that GLSEN did a better job policing its workshops since then.***  More recent conferences apparently have not included such seminars.  (At least I have seen no evidence that they have.)

Let us hope that they fired the individuals responsible for said workshops and the person who, by including them in the conference, deemed them appropriate for adolescents.*** Anyone who thinks it appropriate to teach such things to teens shouldn’t be allowed to teach teens (or facilitate workshops for them).  Such seminars have nothing to do with teaching adolescents responsible sexual behavior nor do they help them develop an adult attitude toward sexuality.

But, the “curriculum” there does seem to be part of a pattern for Mr. Jennings, wishing to impart to adolescents an attitude toward sexuality where indulgence is the operative idea and intimacy and affection are reduced to occasional (and perhaps welcome) side effects.  And the rules of safe sex are the only limits.

As I’ve said previously and it bears repetition, we can’t make a final judgment on the nature of the books on the GLSEN list without putting the sexually explicit passages in context.  That said, books with such descriptions are not appropriate for young teens (up to age 15 or 16) and should only be recommended to older ones after first consulting their parents.

What I find troubling in this whole story is something I have encountered all too often in my own experience coming out and living as a gay man, that our (gay) culture reduces our sexuality to its mere sexual expression.  Not just that, those who put themselves in positions of guidance to gay adolescents very often just mimic the culture; they don’t try to improve it by encouraging their charges to tether sexual expression to emotional connection or even to make them aware of the importance of that connection.   (more…)

“Abstinence Only” Sex Education Belongs to a Long Bygone Era*

Generally, if I post on a matter where I indicate that I share even the slightest bit of common ground with social conservatives, critics will come in as if out of the woodwork, making allegations about my views both at odds with my actual opinions and even (on occasion) at odds with things I actually said in the very post to which they attach their comments. And  so it was, when, in the past ninety-six hours, I posted on Adam Lambert and the latest Kevin Jennings “scandal.”

As to the former, first let me say that I’ve never heard him sing or seen him perform (save for a brief clip of his sexual simulation at the American Music Awards); I offer no commentary about his vocal talents.  Simply put, I don’t have a problem with ABC canceling his appearance on their network because they fear a repeat of his performance at those awards nor do I think it appropriate for a gay organization to take ABC to task for its actions.

And while I share the concerns expressed by some conservative bloggers about the content of the books on the list GLSEN, Jennings’ organization, provided for adolescents on its website, don’t let that concern mean I share those bloggers’ views on every issue involving gays (and sex).  I know that some of them, for example, support “abstinence only” sex education, a idea I believe to be counterproductive and outdated, particularly given a culture saturated by sex.

Now, I do have problem with sex education curricula which discourage teen abstinence and encourage them to be sexually active.

That said, whether we like it or not, teens are going to be having sex.  They need to know about contraception and STDs.  They also need to know that sex can be infinitely more rewarding when part of an intimate and loving relationship.   There are benefits to abstinence–and not just form from the point of view of preventing pregnancy and STDs.  Those should also be taught.

If, however, kids are only taught about abstinence, they likely won’t learn about the risks which inhere in sex.  In this culture saturated by sex, with pressure from their peers, with their own human desires, they’re going to act out their urges.  So, let them know the risks, but also let them know that they don’t need to have sex to prove themselves. (more…)

Leave Tiger Woods Alone

I know that I’m not just whistling in the wind with this post, but whistling in a typhoon.

First of all, I believe Tiger Woods behaved badly in cheating on his wife.  He betrayed his marriage vows and hurt someone to whom he had pledged fidelity.  And while, by dint of his athletic success and graceful manner, he has become a public figure, he has not been entrusted with any public responsibility.

What he has done is a matter for him to work out with his wife.  She has every right to be angry and to excoriate him for his errors.  But, we should not add to her pain by prying into their private life.  Let’s just leave them alone to work this thing out on their own and with those counselors they choose to consult at this difficult time.

Is the notion of “marriage equality” at odds with the natural sciences?

As I research the idea of male aggression for the chapter in my dissertation on why men need the goddess Athena, I encounter reams of evidence, from the social as well as the natural sciences, which provide substance to my “gut” suspicion of the term, “marriage equality.”

In their 1989 book, Brain Sex: The Real Difference Between Men and Women, Anne Moir and David Jessel write:

A hundred years ago, the observation that men were different from women, in a whole range of aptitudes, skills, and abilities, would have been a leaden truism, a statement of the yawningly obvious.

Such a remark, uttered today would evoke very different reactions.

But, these differences are real and they go to the very heart of the debate about marriage:

The appreciation, for instance, that sex has different origins, motives and significance in the context of the male and female brains, that marriage is profoundly unnatural to the biology of the male, might make us better and more considerate husbands and wives.

Sex differences are not then a social construct and men and women see marriage in profoundly different terms, at least until their mutual sexual attraction brings them together in a committed relationship.  

We know how real those differences are from even such a zealous advocate of gay marriage as Andrew Sullivan.  He understands how hard monogamy is for men and offers excuses today for men’s failure to realize that ideal, a failure he refused to countenance when he was writing/debating gay marriage in the 1990s.

Does acknowledgement of these differences mean that gay people should abandon the struggle for state recognition of same-sex marriage?  For now, I’ll say, “not necessarily.”  It does mean, particularly given the results in Maine this past week, that we need change the way we approach the debate.