Is Monogamy Natural? Sex Addiction? Sex Strike? (The Point)

Uploaded by townsquare on 22.03.2012

Hi. Welcome to a very special sex episode of The Point. I’m your guest host Christopher
Ryan, author of Sex At Dawn which we’ll be hearing about a little bit later. Joining
me here today we have a very star studded panel of top sex experts including Nina Hartley
who’s the author of Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex. Hi Nina. Hello. I’m sure you’ll
recognize Nina Hartley as a legendary adult film actress and director. She’s also a
well-known sex educator and author obviously as she’s written this book. Kara Santa Maria
is a neuroscientist as well as the senior science correspondent and host of Talk Nerdy
to Me on Huffington Post. Hi. She edited one of my articles And last but not least we have
adult sex educator and coach, Sandra Daugherty, known to her friends and fans as Sex Nerd
Sandra who is a sex blogger at Yup. Ok. And you have a podcast. Yes I do.
And where can people find your podcast? On under podcasts. Ok. And iTunes
as well? Yes. Yea. Cool. Ok. So tonight we have three interesting points. One from Slate
contributor Jesse Bering who’s written several books and publishes widely. His upcoming book
I think is called Why the Penis is Shaped that Way. So we’re all looking forward to
that. Some of us more than other perhaps. He’s gonna be talking about whether hypersexuality
is a mental disorder. Sex addiction, whether that should be considered a psychiatric disorder
or not. We’ve got another from a group called Liberal Ladies Who Lunch. And they’ve got
a unique approach to persuading Congress and insurance companies that they should include
contraception in women’s healthcare. But for the first point I wanna talk about one
of the primary subjects of Sex at Dawn which is the question of monogamy. Sex at Dawn essentially
argues that long-term sexual monogamy doesn’t come naturally to our species. We look at
data from anthropology, primatology, human anatomy, why the penis is shaped that way
and other parts of our body, and contemporary psycho-sexuality. So we’re looking at four
different areas of research and maybe we’ll cover a little bit of each of them tonight.
But I want to get some other opinions on this question of monogamy because it’s generally
believed that women are enforcing monogamy, forcing monogamy on men in American society
if not in every society. I wonder what you ladies, can I call you ladies, women? What
do you prefer to be called? I’ve known women who don’t like to be called ladies. I’m
not easily offended so. There’s a group called ladies against women I knew once. Sandra,
what do you think about that? Is monogamy something that’s being forced on men by
women? Definitely not. I wish it were that easy. I mean I’ve had the conversation with
many a men who they themselves are like no. She can’t sleep with other people. It goes
both ways. Everybody’s a little but uncomfortable with the idea that, not say everybody but,
it’s difficult for people to think of any model of how to live in our relationships
outside monogamy. And why do you think that is? Is it biological or just because of the
cultural context or economics? What do you think? I think it’s cultural. I mean you
talk about it in your book but we don’t know what happened in the mythical prehistoric
model, but the idea of women as chattel property that had to with either an oddly passive sexual
nature or a strangely aggressive one that had to be controlled and hidden and subsumed
to the will of the male part of a family. And I know men who have low sex drives and
women who have high sex drives. The whole idea of the female sexless, mild, meek, passive
and the masculine force as always the active, penetrating, going and getting doesn’t hold
up when you take Judeo-Christian attitudes about gender roles out of the scientific examination.
And even within the Judeo-Christian tradition as recently as the 1700s, female sexuality
was seen as predatory. And men were the more innocent sex who had to protect themselves
from those rapacious women. Until we get to Victorian time when women became the chaste
wife of a house and he had to go and lust experience with the prostitute. He wouldn’t
bring it home to the wife. So we’re thoroughly confused. You know what’s interesting is
that I had an opportunity to talk on the phone with Helen Fisher when I was planning a story.
And she was talking about a study that she had recently done where she has a lot of access
to kind of data or they’ve set up some interesting surveys within
And she was doing some statistical analyses of these. And she told me that she found that
it’s actually more likely or I guess there’s a higher percentage of men asking to settle
down and become monogamous and get married. That men are actually pushing for that earlier
in a relationship than women across the board in this nation singles study that she did.
And she said that a lot of times I think it’s a measure of contextual framing. We like to
think women are always saying when am I gonna find a man and why won’t he settle down
with me and we’re so unlucky because that one guy that we want won’t go there with
us. But then she said to me, stop and think about all the men who would’ve married you
if you had given them the chance in your life, all those past situations when maybe that
wasn’t the right one and you weren’t ready and so you waited. And I think that there’s
actually this culture shift where there’s a lot of emphasis kind of put on the idea
of the woman wanting the ring because it kind of works in that direction. But I’m not
really sure if that actually is descriptive of what is happening. And it’s also interesting
to look at other cultures like the Mosuo of China which we speak about in the book. I
don’t know if you remember the way that works. Oh right, the women, the men did not
stay over, the men were the ones, I loved that. It’s a very interesting society. Fill
us in. What’s going on? Sorry. Ladies at home, you’ll wanna pay attention. Absolutely.
The way their society works is that the paternal responsibility for any child goes to the mother’s
brothers. So the women live in the house, their mother’s house. The brothers normally
aren’t expected to sleep there. So the house is built around a courtyard and when the girl
becomes sexually mature, she has her room called her flower room which has a door to
the courtyard and also a door to the street. And so she can allow any boy or man she wants
to come into her room and spend the night. The only rule is he can’t be there for breakfast
so no breakfast. So she can have two men in the same night and she can have a different
man every night. She can do whatever she wants. Nobody talks. It’s considered really low
class to talk about someone else’s sex life. And then when the child’s born, she doesn’t
have to worry about a man taking care of the child because her brothers will take care
of the child. So the biological father is a non-issue. And in that society you find
that women have as many or more lovers than many of the men do. I mean yea. I think there’s
kind of that kinship notion of kind of the offspring being raised. You see it in nature
a lot too, right. There’s some lemurs in Madagascar that are overtly lesbian lemur
species. You’re giving me the perfect segue. Finish your point but stay on nature please.
Yea. There’s these lesbian lemur communities basically where they do have sex with male
lemurs in order to create this offspring but the men don’t usually stick around. The
women kind of are in groups and they have casual sex and then they are there to kind
of raise the offspring together as a big female. Do they have sex with each other? They do.
As a bonding thing. Yes. Well. Speaking about female bonding lesbian sexual mechanism, let’s
cut away to the bonobos. Now you’ll notice. Those are two females, are they not? Yea.
There we go. There you go. Now I love the butterflies. This is very biblical. You’ve
got butterflies and you’ll see that they’re all eating apples. Very Edenic, no? Lot’s
of food with sex. Yea. Well nothing gets bonobos more sexual than some food and it turns out
that apples are their favorite thing. Oh I love it. Particularly green apples which you
can’t get in Congo where they live. No. So me bringing in apples is like the new bouquet
of flowers. Yea. Alright. So there we had a little bit bonobo sex. In bonobos society,
it’s all based on female pleasure. Because bonobos, chimps and humans, well humans there’s
different data. But bonobos and chimps are both female exogamists meaning when they reach
sexual maturity, the females leave their natal group to join another group so that the genetic
mixing occurs right. Anti-incest. So it’s very difficult for them because they’re
going into a group where they don’t know anyone right. Now in the case of chimps, they
tend to get beat up and raped and abused. In the case of bonobos, they have so much
bonding amongst the females that the females stick together and take care of each other
and keep the males both sexually satisfied and they beat the shit out of them if any
male does get aggressive. So the female bonding is really what makes the bonobo society so
compelling. If any female bonding is to take place here feel free. It’s HBO. It’s HBO.
You know what. As odd as it is I always have to, you know orientation I think, part of
your preference is part of one’s orientation more than just gay straight or bi. And so
as a bisexual female I can’t imagine what it’s like to look at half the population
and not see a potential sex partner. I just have no clue. And as a polyamorous person,
I have no clue about monogamy. I have a friend who’s monogamous and I ask well how does
that work. She goes well when I’m in love, I don’t want anybody else. How does that
work? Yea. And she says I know my relationship is in trouble when other men start to look
interesting. How does that work? Because for me, if I loved your book, well I wish it had
been written when I was in high school because I always wondered why I loved you and hi.
And I never wanted my desire for you to make you unhappy and always seemed to make people
unhappy. My natural sexuality which is to be open always seemed to upset people and
it just caused a lot of people great unhappiness including myself until I realized oh that’s
how I am. I’m not shallow or afraid of commitment. Well I mean I think that comes down to a very
central feature like as we start talking about monogamy and why this is so difficult a concept
for a lot of people in modern western society, is jealousy. It’s very hard not to get jealous
when you’re seeing somebody and they want to split their affections with somebody else.
And I know that you and I have had a conversation in the past about jealousy. You had some interesting
insights on how to I guess avoid that. Over a greasy cheese sandwich? Yes. Ah I remember
it well. Yes. Well I think in the book what we try to argue is that our society, there’s
societies that accentuate and cultivate that feeling of insecurity that’s at the base
of jealousy, and there’s societies that have rituals to diminish it. And you know
we have songs like When a Man Loves a Woman. We talk about in the book. He’ll spend his
last dime. He’ll turn his back on his best friend. He’ll sleep out in the rain if she
says that’s the way it has to be. I mean if you love her, you’ll throw away your
dignity and everything else in other words. Whereas in other societies, there are some
tribes in Brazil I remember an anthropologist was talking about them and he said, you know
some of them who understand Portuguese, they hear the radio. And they’re like why are
you people always singing about love? What is wrong with you? I mean yea, love’s nice
but it’s part of life you know. Maybe I’m just a product of my culture because I think
that that song is, well not the song in particular. We all are. Oh you like that song? But I find
that notion very romantic. I also think it goes both ways. Because it gives you power.
That’s why. But I think on the flip side it’s equally romantic if I could say that
to the man. The man saying no I’ll die for you baby. It gives you power. So I have a
question. Are you monogamous? Yes. Ah ha. And that’s your natural tendency. I’m
the one sticking out on the panel here. No no. Not at all. So I find that, my sister
is too. Most people are. Or they claim to be. I think most people are serially monogamous.
Serial, yea. And I like Dave Savage’s idea of monogomish, you know. Except I always think
of the Amish. I was a swinger for many years. I’m in that whole alt world and I knew couples
that would swing together five days a week and others that three times a year, plenty.
That was enough excitement that they didn’t need a whole lot of it. And I always thought
that jealousy was a cultural contrast based on men to chip on women, blah blah blah. So
I felt myself feeling it once. I was shocked. It’s like, well this isn’t natural but
you’re feeling it. So I had to acknowledge my actual feelings versus my ivory tower theory
of feeling. Sure. But because I also was motivated to live an open life I had to cope with what
was at the base of my jealousy which was insecurity among other things. But all human beings are
insecure. I mean that’s a natural tendency you’re going to see across the board. Sure
but isn’t insecurity a form of hunger and doesn’t that hunger get enhanced by scarcity?
Because think about it. We’re raised by one or two people at most. We locate all our
dependence on one or two people and we learn. That’s a very Western concept. Yea. That’s
nothing like that way humans are normally raised. And we seek that fulfillment through
the lifespan. You want total attention. You want total admiration. And what do we call
each other? As adults what do we call each other? Baby. What the hell is up with baby?
Yet it’s somehow comforting to me. So to wrap this up because I’m getting the sign
from over there, let’s go to the opposite end of the spectrum from Nina’s experience,
and at the opposite end who do we find? Charles Darwin. Ok. As far as anyone knows, Charles
Darwin had sex with one woman in his entire life, first time being when he was twenty
nine years old when he married her, his first cousin who was not attractive, not sexy, G
G G as Dan Savage would say by any account I’ve ever read. And yet he’s seen as the
great authority on human sexuality and he’s really the Darwinian theory of sexual selection
is what gives us this notion of the passive female selecting among the males competing
and all that business. So what do you think? Do we discount his insights into sexuality
because he had no personal experience or very little? Well he was basing most of these ideas
on what he saw in nature. Darwin was a naturalist and so his theory of like the Origin of Species
based on natural selection was based on looking at data from organisms on islands mostly.
And he was able to see kind of evolution in hyper speed next to evolution on a large mainland
atmosphere. And I would not assume that Darwin was speaking from personal experience when
he described these ideas. And he was an expert on sea urchins which have the longest penises
of any animal. I mean Kinsey found plenty of evidence to the contrary. I mean Darwin,
he came to some conclusions. He saw his data in front of him But I mean time has moved
on. There’s more information out there. We can come to new conclusions. But I don’t
think that Darwin was arguing anything about the kind of culture of sexuality. I mean when
we look at this data, we’re actually looking at how new offspring can compete for resources
and continue the gene pool. You’re talking about origin of species. I’m talking about
sexual selection, the second one. The other book. Which is still, you’re right, is still
based on observation of the natural world, but he was a Victorian. He was pretty uptight.
It’s true. And when we did the book about kind of expression of emotions, he took what
he knew about animals and applied it to the human condition. Which is to some extent what
you did in your book and I think that that’s important is to compare us to animals in the
wild but then also take into account a lot of the cultural components that shape what
we do and who we are as humans and how it is that we’re different from nature. Because
you know to some extent, even when it comes to natural selection, we’re not really subject
to those laws anymore. Not at all. I mean there’s a lot of artificial selection. I
loved the part in the book and I heard this before, but that animals that we thought were
monogamous were actually only sexually monogamous not socially monogamous. Well they’re socially
monogamous, not sexually monogamous. Exactly. Yes. And that to me was so refreshing. Like
those fucking penguins. Yes. You know. They make that movie about the penguins. Oh they’re
so wonderful. Turns out they’re with a different mate every year. Yea we think of it within
a breeding season. Yea. We don’t look beyond that. It’s also the where does sex fit in
your world view. So I may get ninety eight percent of my emotional needs met with my
primary partner and I wanna live with him. I don’t wanna live with anybody else. And
I wanna live in a big household with people and there’s something really really important
to my psyche, my emotion, my sexual nature that only this person can give me. And I’m
lucky that I don’t have to choose either to never go have this or to break up with
him to get that. I know that this is not going to sustain me. This is my meat and potatoes
but I like a cherry every now and again. And how do we, with all the choices we have, bring
our sexual behavior in line with our values in a way that sustains us and fulfills us?
Knowing our cultural biases. You have to make a choice. Obviously you need to be on the
same page as your partner. When it comes down to it that’s the most important thing. But
then you have to make a choice. If your partner is not comfortable allowing you or I shouldn’t
say allow. But with you going and getting that cherry from time to time, then maybe
the cherry’s not that important because you’d rather have that strong foundation.
Or how can the part who isn’t the cherry, how can. My thing is through three-way experiences.
One partner would love to have a threesome. Other partner says no can do. Never gonna
happen. But how can I meet you as far as I can go? And for the couples I’ve seen, the
person who does not want the threesome, I’ll watch me some porn with you. I’ll point
people out on the street. It’s never gonna happen but I will support your fantasy and
not make you feel like a shit for having it and you agree not to break my boundary. And
I’ve seen many couples make a compromise of the long term pair bonding. And I think
the number one thing when it comes to this, and I wrote about this a lot on Huff Post
when I did a whole month’s series about sex and love and the brain, is you have to
communicate. You have to talk to each other. And for some reason it’s extremely frightening
to most people. No you know why. Because it’s a deal breaker. Because a lot of times if
you put that on the table, it’s the end of the story. Listen, the last thing I wanna
do is break up a conversation about three-ways with three hot women but the producers are
giving me signals. So let’s cut to a break and we’ll be back in a few minutes and talk
about something else just as exciting as three-ways. Ok?
Welcome back. I’m Christopher Ryan. I’m here with Nin Hartley, Sandra Daugherty, and
Kara Santa Maria. Thanks for that. You know it’s interesting. We’ve got a Christopher,
a Nina, and a Santa Maria. Anyone else picking up on some strange, do you mind if I call
you Pinta? Just for fun a little Christopher Columbus reference. Alright. Let’s take
a look at Jesse Bering’s video then we’ll talk about what he has to say. Hey everybody.
My name is Jesse Bering. I’m a writer for Slate magazine and for Scientific American.
And the topic that I’d like to talk about today or the point that I’d like to discuss
today is something that’s currently being debated among members of the American Psychiatric
Association who are in the process of revising the diagnostic manual, the DSM, which is due
out in May of 2013. One of the proposed new mental disorders that they’re thinking about
including in this revision is what’s called hyper sexual disorder. And hyper sexual disorder
basically refers to people who are having too much sex or are too preoccupied with obtaining
orgasms to the extent that it’s somehow interfering with or disrupting other goals
or other pursuits or occupational aspects. So somebody who’s spending two or three
hours a day looking at internet porn or scouring the internet trying to get constant hookups
and so on, these would all be viable candidate for this new diagnostic category of hyper
sexual disorder. Now the controversy comes into play, we’re talking about sort of the
history of analyzing this question of how much sexual desire is too much sexual desire.
So work in this area has been addled by these sort of religious claims that we can actually
objectively categorize what we should be doing in terms of the frequency by which we’re
having sex or engaging in sexual activities. You may or may not be aware of this but the
first use of the x-ray and x-ray therapy was to cauterize or to obliterate the clitorises
of adolescent girls or young women who were masturbating too much or seen as masturbating
too much. So there’s a danger of somehow resurrecting these old fashion sort of religious
concerns about human sexuality. I see points on both sides of the debate quite frankly.
If you’re skipping meals because you’re looking at too much porn for instance or losing
friends then you’ve got some issues probably. But on the other hand I’m a little but weary
of looking at this as a psychiatric disorder. So I just wanted to put that out to you. If
you wanna check out my work again, I’m Jesse Bering at Alright. So what
do you think about that. I’m reminded listening to him of the old saying that your promiscuous
if you’re having more sex than I am right. So it’s a very relative thing. And also
in terms of cultures you know. Different cultures would consider other cultures promiscuous,
certainly the early accounts of whalers and explorers. They seem to always say that the
people they found were highly promiscuous because they weren’t uptight Christians.
But Nina, you would be considered promiscuous by most people certainly. Professionally promiscuous
perhaps. I’m professionally promiscuous. I’m a discriminating slut. The difference
between a bitch and a slut of course is a slut fucks everyone, a bitch fucks everyone
but you. I wish I had come up with that joke myself but it was not original to me. After
the first ten years of being in the business a lot of fans would ask are you a nymphomaniac.
Because for their way of thinking since women can get sex for free, why would I put myself
in the position of being outed as a where by making movies if I wasn’t also emotionally
stunted and a nymphomaniac in desperate need of male attention. And I haven’t gotten
that question in about fifteen years which is pretty nice. And I always told them I’m
not a nymphomaniac because I can derive satisfaction from the sex that I do have. I know why I’m
having it and I have it for a reason. So I never saw myself as that. Other people certainly
would because of what I do for a living. And I think it’s is the amount of sex you’re
having upsetting to you? Is it disrupting your life? Is it causing you to lose weight,
lose work, lose friends, and stop bathing? And even then I don’t like the term sex
addiction because I’m a nurse. I’m old school and for me an addiction is, no one’s
ever died or vomited or lost consciousness from a lack of sex. Well consciousness. As
in falling down puking and blacking out because you didn’t have sex. Oh in a bad way. In
a bad way. Is it coming off of having access to sex. To my alcohol, to my drug of choice.
I must say that people who are not allowed to have the outlet that they desire no matter
what it is don’t have very strong central nervous system responses to the lack of outlet.
I think it’s the why not the what. Sex, drugs, gambling. Anything can be misused.
Anything can be used to try to blunt our pain and distress in the world. Now you’re getting
deep. Yea. I think when it comes to addiction I guess from a clinical, from a neurobiological
standpoint, there is a difference between requiring a certain chemical to illicit a
certain response, and requiring a certain behavior wherein your brain mimics the chemical
that you would be taking exogenous. Like if you were taking cocaine for example and you
became addicted to that cocaine, it could be somewhat related to you going out and gambling
and having a similar brain response to that behavior you would have the same kind of dopamine
response. But what’s interesting is that the love pathway in the brain is extremely
similar to the drug abuse pathway in the brain. And I don’t think anybody has argued about
people being addicted to love. I mean it’s a popular song lyric but I don’t know if
anybody’s talking about diagnosing somebody with love addiction. But people go bat shit
crazy about love. But are you pulling out this Helen Fisher stuff again with the love
pathway? Well no. Is there a love pathway? There’s not but we have been able to with
people who are self-identified as being in love. All respect to Helen Fisher by the way.
Sure. Of course. But people who have self-identified to being in love, there are particular brain
regions that seem to be kind of more active at different stages. You see people who are
in early kind of sexual experience, people who decided to be committed, there are going
to be some different neurological regions that are a little bit more active. Little
lit up. You can say it’s a little loose like that. But I think really quickly when
it comes down to the question that was asked here which is is hyper sexuality a disorder
that’s worthy of going into the DSM, you know one person that I’ve spoken to actually
a lot about this is Alan Frances who is an architect of the DSM-IV-TR which is the last
version of the DSM. And now the DSM-V is gonna be coming out and people are up in arms about
a lot of the diagnosis that are going into it. And it’s important because this is not
just, we’re not just arguing over wording. We’re arguing over people’s lives and
whether or not they can get a diagnosis and a lot a lot of money. And when it comes down
to it. In pills. In pills. I think that a lot of people are afraid that including diagnosis
like hyper sexuality is going to give individuals kind of a free ride. It’s gonna pathologize
people who are bad at making decisions perhaps because it’s very difficult for a clinician
to see those shades of gray. And I do think that there are people who have a legitimate
problem which is impulsive sexual behavior. Like they don’t even derive pleasure from
this. It’s a common symptom of bipolar disorder. Do these people only have impulsive sexual
behavior or do they have impulsive behavior in many parts of their lives? People with
bipolar disorder do. They generally have more impulsive behavior than just with sex. Right.
But it seems to be one of the areas that gets them in the most trouble. What do you think?
Do you run into this in your podcast? ‘Cause you get a lot of input from listeners right?
Yes I talk to a lot of people about their sexualities. I mean I haven’t run, even
the most sexual humans that I talk to are totally, the problem with this is that, I
looked at what it takes to be classified as hyper sexual. And there are five things and
you have to have four of them. And I technically by these standards am hyper sexual. And I
definitely do not have a disorder. Are you gonna tell us which four? Yea is that a false
positive? Or tell us which one you don’t have. We think about it all the time and read
about it all the time. We have a fair amount of it. And what’s the fifth one? No it’s,
you’re disregarding risk from your sexual activity. Like sometimes I might be a little
late to something because you know what. I’m very stressed out and I may need to masturbate.
But you know what? That’s gonna make my whole day much better. Disregarding risk?
Is that what it is? There’s risk that comes along with all sexual behavior. Well that’s
what I’m saying. How do we define risk and how do you measure how much risk is too much
risk? How risky does it have to be? Well like alcoholism might be like you lose your job,
those sorts of things. But things like you spend excessive time doing this. And then
that’s just completely debatable. And if you have a psychiatrist who has certain values
may think oh. More than ten minutes, that’s excessive. Click. You know. And you only need
four of five. Two of them are responding to either a stressful life event or your mood
like boredom. I’m bored. I may want to get off. Every monkey in the zoo is a sex addict.
Or I’m depressed. I wanna have sex with my boyfriend or my husband. Or both. Sexuality
is used to bond with your mate so if you’re having a fight and that life event causes
you to go let’s close the intimacy gap by having sex. And then suddenly that’s two
out of three guys. So makeup sex is pathological. That’s the problem. So then it’s too difficult.
Wow. I think there’s a big difference between somebody engaging in hyper sexual, and I’m
not gonna use that as a diagnostic term but as a descriptive term. Somebody engaging in
hyper sexual behavior and it may create some problems in their life but they’re still
enjoying it. And somebody engaging in hyper sexual behavior and the entire time not deriving
any pleasure from it because there’s a drive, a fundamental neurological drive to do something
that is detrimental. And they can feel it being detrimental even throughout the experience.
But aren’t they still getting something that could be described as pleasure that compels
them to do it? I think at some stage that it’s true whether it’s the function of
the remorse kicking in five minutes later, ten minutes or in the middle of it. Or maybe
there are some situations where people while they’re doing it. They’re saying why am
I doing this. I just need to get off and I gotta get out of here. I’ve had orgasms
that weren’t very pleasurable. No. It was a reflex you tickle you tickle achoo. It’s
a reflex you can get to in your body. Orgasm is a neurological, spinal cord reflex that
your body can be caused to have. You can die having an orgasm. Don’t men have orgasms
when they’re hanged? Is that true? They get erections and ejaculate. Well they get
erections and I think there are emissions sometimes. Don’t forget orgasm and ejaculation
are separate events. Well maybe for you. Alright. On that note, we’re gonna take a short break
and we’ll be back in a few minutes to talk about the third subject and we’re gonna
get Pinta to chime in more often.
Welcome back. We’re gonna talk about one more point tonight which is from Liberal Ladies
who Lunch, an organization who have called a sex strike to support coverage for contraception.
I’m gonna read their declaration here although I’m not a lady who lunches. In light of
the recent war on women, we are calling for a nationwide sex strike from April 28th to
May 5th. Interesting choice of dates. How many days is that? Seven days? All women should
withhold from having sex with their partners. All women. This will help people understand
that contraception is for women and men, because men enjoy the benefit of women making their
own choices about when and if they want to get pregnant. Once Congress and insurance
agencies agree to cover contraception, we will then resume having sex. Until then men
will have to be content with their hand. Bad idea. Bad idea. Unenforceable. That’s what
prostitutes are for. Where have men gone always when their women won’t put out. It’s a
cute idea. It’s great. Miss Estrada made a great comedy twenty five hundred years ago?
Yes ancient Greece. But I don’t get the humor. I don’t think it would work. I don’t
think all men go to prostitutes. No no. It’s only a week. It’s only a week. How many
men only get laid once a month as it is so there is that. I think the issue here is not
our individual partners. I don’t have any reason to think that the choice of mates in
my life are in line with Republican Congress people on this issue. So I don’t think that
me personally withholding sex. I mean it’s making a statement. I signed a petition. I
think that getting the word out is actually really important. So how would you feel if
your male partner said hey I joined this organization. Sorry I can’t have sex with you this week
‘cause we’re protesting the war in Afghanistan. I mean I don’t think I’d be that offended.
Isn’t that kind of ridiculous? I think that if that’s an important thing to do, and
there’s a lot of heart behind it and it’s an important piece of activism, I would support
it. It’s just a week. It’s just a week. It’s not that hard. I have a vibrator. Oh
the vibrator. I read in an article today, I think it was in Salon, about these new what
are they called, artificial vaginas? I don’t know what you call them. Fleshlights. Fleshlight
and these eggs, these eggs from Japan. Apparently they’re great. I’m way behind the curve
on this one. So you know, that’s another issue of course but when the technology gets
so good. Sex toys are never going to replace partners. No? No they’re not. I mean to
just please our genitals? Sure. However, sex is for so much more. Well what if Siri could
have sex with you? That would be remarkable. Siri, find the nearest Thai restaurant and
alright. Phone sex. That’s what real dolls are for. One thing about toys and gizmos is
they don’t have a pulse and they can’t hug you and they can’t look in your eye.
They can’t support you when you’re having a bad day. And you can’t withhold when your
Congressman. Back to the topic. Exactly. Thank you. Oh smooth. She’s good. So do we all
agree this is a really stupid idea? A stupid idea but it gets us talking about it. Or maybe
Sandra doesn’t. I actually think it’s a wonderful idea because it gets the discussion
going. Ok yea. Superficially this is a war on women and contraceptives and pills and
oh all this stuff. But truly this is a war and denial of our sexuality. This is a war
on sex. And I love this because it’s making a direct connection for people between contraceptives
which is something you get at the pharmacy and is really sterile and your HMO is involved,
to like two people in the bedroom making love. I mean that’s the truth behind all of this.
This is all just superficial stuff. The underlying thing isn’t even talked about. I think we
need an organization called men for women. Have a million men march on Washington for
women’s contraceptive. No I think that’s true and I think that there is a big group
of men who just haven’t really unified. And those guys are gonna get laid. Well yea
of course. But I did a piece for Huff Post about the statements that Rush Limbaugh recently
made. And I kind of Skyped in with an OBGYN and said you know these are the top five things
that Rush Limbaugh should know about birth control and doesn’t. And I got a lot of
hate mail that day and I kind of tweeted about it and I had this kind of big rush of men
tweeting back to me saying don’t lump us all in together. And I was like of course,
of course not. Just saying there’s a lot of misogyny on the web, you know not you.
And I really support or I really appreciate that kind of support and I do feel it. I just
don’t think there’s a unified kind of voice for a lot of feminist men. And I think
that’s a scary word. It’s like Rush called us feminazis. I know. Right. Like it’s a
scary word to say I’m a feminist. It makes you sound like sixties bra burning. Well that’s
why the work you’ve been doing and Susie Bright’s been doing is so important is sex
positive feminist. It also presupposes that the only sex there is is piv intercourse which
is penis in vagina intercourse. There are so many things that a man and a women could
do together that are mind blowingly orgasmic that do not risk death or babies. And so you
know what? How about we take, you know what. No intercourse. What else might we do? Yea.
The Republicans are forcing us to have anal sex. Really if you think about it. Or oral
sex. Well yea. Abstinence only education only ups the rates of anal sex and oral sex and
well pregnancy. Talking about education, I don’t know if you saw an article about the
way Dutch parents deal with teen sexuality. It was really interesting. They sell smaller
condoms. No those are the Chinese and the Indians. No seriously. In Asia, the standard
condom size in Asia is significantly smaller than in the Western world. Sorry. I’m just
saying. And in Ireland. I mean I’ll take it. Most teenage boys are not able to wear
safely an adult condom and I hear there’s snugger fit brands. And I hear in Scandinavia
somewhere that they are also marketing a brand of condom for the in between set. Oh can you
imagine how up in arms people would be in this country if it was like, we’re making
a middle teen condom just for your sexually active kids. But also it makes the whole what
size do you want question real. What always gets me about the conservatives is well we
can’t talk about it ‘cause we’ll give them ideas. I think Mother Nature takes care
of that. O yea. We have ten million years evolution and twenty thousand years of culture.
Which weighs more? Five million years of evolution. Well the thing that’s happens in Holland
that’s relay interesting is that when a teenager has a boyfriend or girlfriend they
invite them over for dinner, meet the parents. And so if the parents like the kid, the kid’s
welcome to spend the night in the girl’s room or the boy’s room. That’s nice. And
the sexual conversation is happening openly. And in the interviews with the parents they’re
like well you know, in Dutch there’s an expression, I can’t remember what it is
in Dutch, but it means you tolerate in order to control. So that’s the way they deal
with drugs. That’s the way they deal with pretty much everything in Holland. Immigration
and all sorts of things. In some cases more successfully than others. But with the teen
sex thing, teen pregnancy rates are a third of what they are here. The STD rates, I don’t
remember what it is, half or more. It’s incredible. And as you said, even in the US
in states that have a tolerance approach to sex ed., the rates are much lower and in the
abstinence only states, much higher. You’d think that they would look at the results.
Why don’t we have single parent healthcare? It makes sense in the bottom line. For every
dollar you spend in prevention you save five dollars on treatment. For every dollar you
spend on sex education you save money. It’s because none of these issues are rational.
I mean where Congress is standing on this is not coming from a scientific perspective.
It’s not coming from a monetary perspective. It’s coming from a religious perspective.
I mean that is fundamentally underlying these policies. Although religious is such an interesting
thing because, isn’t religion about love and tolerance and respect? Not politically.
That’s a good point. But the Judeo-Christian religion, the religion that our laws around
sexuality and sex education are based, are predicated upon the assumption that we all
know that man is sinful. We all know that women need protection from male lust. We all
know that her proper place is in the home as the caregiver of children. We all know
that it’s an election year. That’s what we know and that’s how you get your people
out to vote, is bring up these issues. That’s the end. And let me just say there’s a wave
of Santorum swashing across the land. I mean he won two states last night? Mississippi
and Alabama. Mississippi and Alabama. Who have the highest rates of teen pregnancy,
teen marriage, divorce, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease. And what is Santorum
against? Public education. Right. What is he against? Higher education. What is he against?
Contraception. What is he against? Women working outside the home. There’s obviously a correlation
here. And today’s news, you tweeted something today about Arizona? A law in Arizona where
women have to prove the contraception is not. Was not being used for contraceptive purposes.
If the employer is against contraception on religious grounds, if she’s using contraception
to prevent pregnancy they could take it away. Only if it’s used to treat a medical condition
will they pay for it. And it passed. It passed. It passed? What’s going on? ‘Cuase it
feels like the general trajectory of society, even American society is toward a more tolerant
approach to sexuality. Dan Savage is main stream. We’re here talking about sex openly
and it’s gonna be on TV. We’re in Los Angeles. And some of these people are in New
York. Yea but this is gonna be seen nationally. I think there is a big difference between
blue states and red states. Right. And even the main stream? I’m gonna be talking to
NBC. We’re the main stream media. There’s a huge difference. So you think there is a
left wing media conspiracy? It’s not a conspiracy. No no no no no. But I do think there is more
education in the media. I think that there’s more conversation, communication, progressive
values in the media. It’s all that higher education. Sandra, what do you say? Like I
do a podcast on sexuality and it’s for nerds so it’s for the more intellectual bunch
and I get so many letters from these wonderful people in these small towns who have no one
to talk to about sex. Thank you thank you thank you. And they just write me and they
have questions and they’re just like thank you for existing. And so I know that in every
small town in America, there’s at least one person who’s just hoping for sexual
information. And I hear from them and it really keeps me going, even on those tough days to
know that they’re hungry for this information and so sure yea. But also let’s not forget
that we’re turning I think by twenty three Caucasians will be like fifty percent or forty
nine percent. So I think this might be the last gasp of the last century. That’s what
I was saying. Because they’re pushing back against labor advances, they’re pushing
back against anti-discrimination, they’re pushing back against women’s lib advances.
And it just worries that the way of life that they have been taught to treasure and to enshrine
as something sacred and special is being assaulted from all sides. And in a mere twenty more
years, it’s going to be a statistical anomaly and that’s just terrifying. I mean when
you’re world is taken apart that greatly within your lifetime, it really is terrifying
and you have to fight back. Especially when you have a conservative world view which is
to hold on with dear life with what you’re comfortable with. Yea with conservatives have
a much more active fear reflex and that’s scientifically demonstrated. Conservatives
tend to be more fearful people in general. I’m sorry for our conservative viewers.
I don’t mean that in any personal sense. Go ahead. I know I haven’t said as much.
Getting you two cents. You know it’s, I like consistency. I have a hard time when
things don’t quite make sense. And to me this whole contraceptive women’s thing.
I mean we’re all sexual. We all partner off. So it’s not a women’s issue, it’s
a human’s issue first of all. But if we’re going to go after hormonal birth control,
why don’t we just say contraceptives are illegal period. Like why are we not saying
let’s just make condoms illegal. I don’t think we need to start making them illegal.
Well Santorum said they should be illegal. At some point we have to just go look. Are
we against contraceptives or are we against contraceptives? ‘Cause they all go under
the same umbrella. If we’re just gonna pick at pills today, next year it’s gonna be
what? Well the Catholic Church has come out over and over saying that they are against
contraception. They have huge kind of rallies in Africa trying to prevent individuals from
using condoms. But when it comes down to it, 98% of Catholic women use birth control. Right.
So there’s a big difference between what’s being kind of disseminated to the masses from
on high, and what the average citizen is doing in their private life. Did you really just
say disseminated? You did didn’t you? All that does is sew frustration and distress
and guilt within the individual, which is so sad as opposed to my church supports me
in taking care of myself and making responsible choices. I’m going against my god’s teaching
but I really don’t want to have a baby. So there’s that distress internally. It’s
very sad. Well as a group I feel like as Americans, we could all kind of I feel like, underneath
all of that religion and all of that, we can kind of go hey. We’re kind of using contraceptives
and we should maybe calm down about this. Move on. You know. Move on. There’s my segue.
Thank you very much panel. You’ve made this easy for me. I hope it was easy for you. Nina
Hartley which we can see you at is that right? I can’t believe
you got that URL. That’s fantastic. Sex nerd Sandra, also known as Pinta tonight.
Stop it. And Kara Santa Maria who write and does a video blog at Huff post right. Three
times a week you said. Around there yea. So you can both read her and see her on Huff
Post. Nina’s book is Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex. And my book is written with
my lovely wife and co-author Cacilda Jetha, Sex at Dawn. And that’ll wrap it up for
us. Thanks very much and hope to see you again.