Verbalized, It Becomes an Ethical Problem (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 236)

“Words, words, words.” And what’s in a word? Answer: corpses, millions of corpses. And the moral of that is, Keep Your Trap Shut; or if you must open it, never take what comes out of it too seriously. Katy kept our traps firmly shut. She had the instinctive wisdom that taboos the four-letter words (and a fortiori the scientific polysyllables), while tacitly taking for granted the daily and nightly four-letter acts to which they refer. In silence, an act is an act is an act. Verbalized and discussed, it becomes an ethical problem, a casus belli, the source of a neurosis.

The Genius & The Goddess

Aldous Huxley          1955

Cribb Comment: Keeping within the context of the entire novel, it appears that Huxley is illustrating the difficulty of resolving and unifying the antagonistic paradox he feels exists between spiritual grace (verbally expressed awareness and contemplation) and animal grace (instinctual physical behavior) in a union between two souls that each originate out of opposite ends of this spectrum. Elsewhere in the novel, he appears to suggest that “human grace” is also a part of this dynamic and that the complete spectrum must be incorporated together in unison if an individual is to attain the highest level of awareness and transcendence possible in our existence.

Cribb          2018

Conquer and Be Conquered (Love vs Sex 248)

Her clever red lips taught him much. Her delicate, supple hands taught him much. Still a boy when it came to love and, moreover, inclined to plunge into his pleasure blindly and insatiably as into a bottomless pit, he learned thoroughly from her that pleasure cannot be taken without giving pleasure in return, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every look, every inch of the body, has its secret, the awakening of which affords happiness to the knowing person. She taught him that lovers should not part after a love fest without admiring each other, without feeling they have been conquered as much as they themselves have conquered, so that neither one of them suffers from satiety, boredom, or the unpleasant sensation of having abused the other or having been abused.

Siddhartha

Hermann Hesse          1922

Make Love, Not Waste (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 225)

We should all be making more love to one another.

Define it as you will.

We waste so much time

that is then

lost forever

on

being pitiful, broken, and invulnerable.

Why do such a thing?

Why squander such opportunity?

Why self destruct in isolation, when such love and beauty and union begs for our participation?

Cribb

2018

The Passing On of Life or Lifelessness (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 188)

In the premindfulness* state, our minds are most often operating independently of our bodies, on a different level, as it were, from the actions that our bodies are performing. When I read a bedtime story to my children, for instance, I can, at the same time, be plotting out the details of my next writing project to myself. If one of my children interrupts me to ask me a question, I find that I have no idea what I am reading about. Rather than being mindful, I am instead reading mindlessly, and while I would prefer to think otherwise, my children’s experience of me will be lifeless. Similarly, when walking to the store, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or even making love, we often are split off from our physical experience: we are quite literally not present. Our minds and bodies are not functioning as one.

*mindfulness, as defined in Buddhism – being aware of what is exactly happening in the mind and body as it is occurring.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

The History of Hysteria: Pathologizing the Female Libido (Love vs Sex 240)

Hysteria was one of the first diseases to be described formally. Hippocrates discussed it in the fourth century BCE, and you’ll find it in many medical text covering women’s health written from medieval times until it was removed from the list of recognized medical diagnoses in 1952 (twenty-one years before homosexuality was finally removed). Hysteria was still one of the most diagnosed diseases in the Unites States and Great Britain as recently as the early twentieth century. You might wonder how physicians treated this chronic condition over the centuries.

We’ll tell you. Doctors masturbated their female patients to orgasim. According to historian Rachel Maines, female patients were routinely massaged to orgasm from the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s. Have a seat; the doctor will be right with you. . . .

While some passed the job off to nurses, most physicians performed the therapy themselves, though apparently not without some difficulty. Nathaniel Highmore, writing in 1660, noted that it was not an easy technique to learn, being “not unlike that game of boys in which they try to rub their stomachs with one hand and pat their heads with the other.”

Whatever challenges male physicians faced in mastering the technique, it seems to have been worth the effort. The Health and Diseases of Women, published in 1873, estimates that about 75 percent of American women were in need of these treatments and that they constituted the single largest market for therapeutic services.

Much of this information comes from The Technology of Orgasm, Maines’s wonderful book on this “disease” and its treatment through the centuries. And what were the symptoms of this “disease”? Unsurprisingly, they were identical to those of sexual frustration and chronic (unsatiated) arousal: “anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, nervousness, erotic fantasy, sensations of heaviness in the abdomen, lower pelvic edema, and vaginal lubrication.”

This supposed medical treatment for horny, frustrated women was not an isolated aberration confined to ancient history, but just one element in an ancient crusade to pathologize the demands of the female libido—a libido that experts have long insisted hardly existed.

The men who provided this lucrative therapy didn’t write about “orgasm” in the medical articles they published on hysteria and its treatment. Rather, they published serious, sober discussion of “vulvular massage” leading to “nervous paroxysm” that brought temporary relief to the patient.

Maines found “no evidence that male physicians enjoyed providing pelvic massage treatments. On the contrary, this male elite sought every opportunity to substitute other devices for their fingers.”

(The Hamilton Beach Company of Racine, Wisconsin, patented the first home-use vibrator in 1902, making it {only} the fifth electrical appliance approved for domestic use. By 1917, there were more vibrators than toasters in American homes.)

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

 

 

 

Cojones Grandes (Love vs Sex 239)

Moderate body-size dimorphism isn’t the only anatomical suggestion of promiscuity in our species. The ratio of testicular volume to overall body mass can be used to read the degree of sperm competition in any species. Jared Diamond considers the theory of testis size to be “one of the triumphs of modern physical anthropology.” Like most great ideas, the theory of testis size is simple: species that copulate more often need larger testes, and species in which several males routinely copulate with one ovulating female need even bigger testes.

If a species has cojones grandes, you can bet that males have frequent ejaculations with females that sleep around. Where the females save it for Mr. Right, the males have smaller testes, relative to their overall body mass. The correlation of slutty females with big balled males appears to apply not only to humans and other primates, but to many other mammals, as well as to birds, butterflies, reptiles, and fish.

In gorillas’, winner-take-all approach to mating, males compete to see who gets all the booty, as it were. So, although an adult silverback gorilla weighs in at about four hundred pounds, his penis is just over an inch long, at full mast, and his testicles are the size of kidney beans, though you’d have trouble finding them, as they’re safely tucked up inside his body. A one-hundred-pound bonobo has a penis three times as long as the gorilla’s and testicles the size of chicken eggs. The extra-large, AAA type. In bonobos, since everybody gets some sugar, the competition takes place on the level of the sperm cell, not at the level of the individual male. Still, although almost all bonobos are having sex, given the realities of biological reproduction, each baby bonobo, still has only one biological father.

So the game’s still the same—getting one’s genes into the future—but the field of play is different. With harem-based polygynous systems like the gorilla’s, individual males fight it out before any sex takes place. In sperm competition, the cells fight in there so males don’t have to fight out here. Instead, males can relax around one another, allowing larger group sizes, enhancing cooperation, and avoiding disruption of the social dynamic. This helps explain why no primate living in multimale social groups is monogamous. It just would not work.

As always, natural selection targets the relevant organs and systems for adaptation. Through the generations, male gorillas evolved impressive muscles for their reproductive struggle, while their relatively unimportant genitals dwindled down to the bare minimum needed for uncontested fertilization. Conversely, male chimps, bonobos, and humans had less need for oversized muscles for fighting but evolved larger, more powerful testicles and, in the case of humans, a much more interesting penis.

We can almost hear some of our readers thinking, “But my testicles aren’t the size of chicken eggs!” No, they’re not. But we’re guessing they’re not tiny kidney beans tucked up inside your abdomen, either. Humans fall in the middle ground between gorillas and bonobos on the testicular volume/body-mass scale. Those who argue that our species has been sexually monogamous for millions of years point out that human testicles are smaller than those of chimps and bonobos. Those who challenge this narrative (like us, for example) note that human testicular ratios are far beyond those of the polygynous gorilla or the monogamous gibbon.

So, is the scrotum half-empty or half-full?

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

 

 

What If’s of Erotic Love (Love vs Sex 238)

First-born children often feel jealous when a younger sibling is born. Wise parents make a special point of reassuring the child that she’ll always be special, that the baby doesn’t represent any kind of threat to her status, and that there’s plenty of love for everyone. Why is it so easy to believe that a mother’s love isn’t a zero-sum proposition, but that sexual love is a finite source? Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins asks the pertinent question with  characteristic elegance: “Is it so very obvious that you can’t love more than one person? We seem to manage it with parental love (parents are reproached if they don’t at least pretend to love all their children equally), love of books, of food, of wine (love of Château Margaux does not preclude love of a fine Hock, and we don’t feel unfaithful to the red when we dally with the white), love of composers, poets, holiday beaches, friends…why is erotic love the one exception that everybody instantly acknowledges without even thinking about it?”

Why indeed? How would the prevalence and experience of jealousy be affected in Western societies if the economic dependence trapping most women and their children didn’t exist, leading female sexual access to be a tightly controlled commodity? What if economic security and guilt-free sexual friendships were easily available to almost all men and women, as they are in many of the societies we’ve discussed, as well as among our closest primate cousins? What if no woman had to worry that a ruptured relationship would leave her and her children destitute and vulnerable? What if average guys knew they’d never have to worry about finding someone to love? What if we didn’t all grow up hearing that true love is obsessive and possessive? What if, like the Mosuo, we revered the dignity and autonomy of those we loved? What if, in other words, sex, love, and economic security were as available to us as they were to our ancestors?

If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?

Human beings will be happier—not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That’s my utopia.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

According to E. O. Wilson, “all that we can surmise of humankind’s genetic history argues for a more liberal sexual morality, in which sexual practices are to be regarded first as bonding devices and only second as a means of procreation.” We couldn’t have said it better. But if human sexuality developed primarily as a bonding mechanism in interdependent bands where paternity certainly was a nonissue, then the standard narrative of human sexual evolution is toast.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010