Short Update on Life in an Open Marriage


My wife Paula just called me. I’m working today and so is she. 

It seems one of the guy’s she’s dating came up to her store (she works for Victoria’s Secret) and brought coffee and muffins for the whole staff.   I asked her if she had to explain who he was since they all know me. She said no.  All who know her well are aware that she has an open marriage. One of the new girls asked if that was her secret admirer and Paula just said “not so secret anymore.”

Of Voyeurism, Athletics and Sex


It’s Saturday morning.  I’m in my office. On the way in to school I listened to NPR as I do every morning during the 45 minute drive to my university. During the week I hear the news on Morning Edition, but on Saturday, a show called “Only a Game” airs on my local NPR station. It’s about sports. It seems incongruous to me that the NPR listeners, who ostensibly care about real things like foreign policy or social issues, care anything about Tiger Woods or the NCAA basketball tournament.  Yet, even on the venerable “All Things Considered” news show this week there has been serious discussion about the college basketball.  No it was not about, not the fact that only 67% NCAA basketball players who are provided full ride scholarships leave school with a degree or  how black players are far less likely to graduate than white players.; but on who wins a silly game.  

That got me thinking about sports fans. Sports fans simply voyeurs.  They get personal enjoyment out of watching others, with more gifts than their own, do things they would like to be able to do.  They vicariously feel the joy of victory and the misery of defeat.  

Then I began to think about how our entire society is wrapped up in voyeurism of one sort or another; and, the performers are our greatest heroes.  The piece on Tiger Wood pointed out that when Tiger wins tournaments, more people watch golf on TV and buy golf equipment.   But is not the entire entertainment industry about voyeurism. I don’t just mean reality TV and People Magazine.  But even serious drama is about imaging ourselves in the shoes of the people on the screen or stage.   When I watched Les Misérables, I identified with Valjean; but I also identified with him when I read the book in 1987 while in the Army. And did I not act as a voyeur when as a junior high student I first read Lord of the Rings?

  So, it’s not just sports and trashy reality TV, but all of literate that feeds our need to experiences life though the experiences of others.   From the days when a group of young men gathered around the fire to hear the old Viking tell tales of his exploits to the latest crazy story of Lindsey Lohan; from Hamlet to NASCAR, humans routinely gain part of their identity and their joy of life from voyeurism, vicariously getting joy from others actions.  

So, I ask, why is watching people get brain injury inducing hits playing football, or beating the snot out of a person in boxing or MMA more reputable than watching attractive people make love.    We heard basketball commentators expound over the beauty of watching Michel Jordan bounce a ball and stuff it in a hoop. No one even pretends that part of that beauty was that Jordan was the embodiment of the attractive virile male.  Yet, what would happen if I brought up in “polite” company the fact that the people at xart.com consistently produce the most beautiful images of beautiful people making love?  Well here at my university, I’d be labeled a misogynist and oppressor of women at the least. In my circle of ”Christian” friends I’d be labeled a sinful pervert.

The argument from both groups of critics would be that the models were paid to have sex which is exploitive. Yet, compare that to the fact that we pay kids with tuition to public colleges to engage in sporting activities that leave many of them with lifelong scars and permanent debilitating injuries. Just the other day I was in an eatery next to campus and three of the universities’ start football players were chatting after their meal (One was the 2011 NCAA football freshman player of the year).  The discussion was on their off season surgeries to repair damage to their joints. So, the fact these kids have paid with serious bodily injury to entertain others is OK, but for a couple to have sex to entertain is not?  What makes football more wholesome than sex? And what makes the connoisseur of golf more sophisticated than the connoisseur of erotica?

In my case, not only am I the connoisseur or erotica, I am also the artist. I am (among other things) a professional glamour/erotica photographer.  My portfolio includes stylish nudes of both professional models and everyday women, as well as beautiful artistic photos of couples making love. Showing off my portfolio at my  public university I would surely be brought up on some sort of harassment charge; however, I brought in photos  of  our college football team in the mists of violent competition, I would only get praise.

In the end we humans are all voyeurs, the only question is what to we imagine doing.  And make no mistake the things we vicariously enjoy many people try to enjoy in real life.  Remember, Tiger Woods winning drives grown men to go out and golf.

We in the US are asking why young men are going on violent rampages, perhaps it’s because we encourage them to engage in voyeuristic violence in sports, movies and other entertainments. We teach these young men vicarious joy of physically controlling and hurting other people.  While it is very infrequent that a young man guns down a group of people; it is all routine that young men to put try out modeling controlling and violent behavior on those around them.  Why do so many young men want to use physical aggression on their girlfriends? Perhaps, we have taught them to idolize the guy who is the most physically aggressive on the basketball court? 

A recent study of teenage girls found that those who watch the most reality TV come to believe that the hurtful bullying behaviors are the normal way girls interact.  What we live though our voyeurism we come to believe is normal and desirable. How did the old Viking’s tales of adventure and plunder affect the young Norse boys? Why, they sought to replicate the predations of their forefathers of course. 

The sex-negative crusaders, from the right and the left, claim that sexual imagery leads to sexual abuse.   Well, let me ask how often do you see positive loving sex between two people portrayed in movies and TV?  Compared that with how often sex shown to as a form of exploitation (i.e. using sex as a tool or weapon), or being paired with self-destructive behavior (being drunk or stoned), or illicit like (covert affairs).  See my point?

Voyeuristic enjoyment of sex is so looked down upon that portrayal of sex ends up being “justified” in almost all entertainments by being coupled to negative behaviors most of the time. Then the fact that young people link sex with negative behaviors is blamed on ….you got it the fact that sex is being shown in entertainment.

Recently two movies were sent to the MPAA for ratings. One had a woman’s breasts being violently cut off and the other had two women kissing and suckling one other’s breasts.  Guess which one got the “R” rating (which allowed for wide distribution) and which one got the “NC-17 rating” that effectively killed theatrical release.  You got it, the MPAA banned loving use of breasts and allowed the violent one.

THEREFORE:

I propose that we as a society would be better if we at least allowed (or even encouraged) the portrayal of positive, life affirming sexual behavior in our culture.  People will live voyeuristically through the actions of others. That is just a fact. People will emulate what they enjoy seeing others doing.  

Therefore positive physical portrayals of lovemaking should be readily available and to both adults and teens AND be treated as a positive experience.     I would rather teens play a virtual sex game like this www.redlightcenter.com than the violent games that dominate the market. Yet, this game is not available to teens while games like Grand Theft Auto where rape is rewarded is.

I would content that it is the very illicit nature of sexual entertainment that gives rise to the trashy nature of commercial porn and the serious exploitation that still goes on in the sex entertainment industry.

I will go one final step.  I propose there is nothing bad for children to grow up in a world where people express love and affection with their genitals.  Simple nudity and positive portrayal of sexuality should not generate a rating more than PG; however, when sexuality is linked with negative behavior, especially violence, more restrictive ratings should be imposed.  

Of all the Silliness and Hype of the Gun Control Debate


The vitriol has now reached a pitch so high as to likely preclude any sort of reasonable discussion and both sides are 100% at fault.

We have long known that counter to  what seems reasonable, that the more people are forced to defend their own position on an issue the more (rather than less) they become committed to their position.

So every time a story headline on CNN reads “NRA’s paranoid fantasy flouts democracy” everyone who is at all in sympathy with the NRA and even many “neutral” gun owners feel attacked and will resist any sort of dialogue. 

I looked for a similarly problematic headline on Foxnews.com, but couldn’t find one. Over the last week it has been the left who have been on the offensive to brand gun owners as morally deficient….which of course only has the effect of making 47% of Americans who have a gun at home more unwilling to consider any sort of new gun control legislation.

Then both sides dredge up the fringe crazies who threaten civil war or create a video game where the player murders the leaders of the NRA.

Symptomatic of the lack of thought being put forth in the debate is the NRA’s proposal to have all schools have “armed guards” in all schools. MSNBC lead the charge in calling for “more guns in schools” a terrible idea and anyone who says it isn’t’ is deranged. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it “a shameful evasion of the gun crisis, devoid of soul-searching” and that the suggestion “offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe.”

HOLD ON!   New York City schools have an entire school police division of over 5,000 “armed guards for its 1,700 schools. That’s way more than one each. So why the shocked rhetoric?  I’ve been in many schools as a school social worker. I worked for a public school district for 12 years and all middle and high schools I’ve been in have resource officers, i.e. armed guards, as do some elementary schools. So is that deranged? 

But, the NRA doesn’t get a pass; they didn’t propose who was to pay for resource officers in all elementary schools.  If they had proposed paying with them with a gun & ammo tax they would have been credible, but I guess they think we should shift funds from paying teachers to paying police officers. Then the NRA puts out a stupid ad using the president’s kids as a foil asking why do his kids get armed protection and others don’t? Now it’s always inappropriate to use the children like that but that’s not the real hypocrisy. The real hypocrisy is that the same conservatives who fight gun control, typically also fight against the transfer of tax money from their rich schools to the poor…i.e. yes rich schools can afford a resource officer. The president’s answer was actually quite good, he said he refused to believe that armed guards are the ONLY answer. It was a hopeful answer, but one that left open the door to that as a possibility.

The politicians are no better. The entire debate about assault weapons is just silly. Both sides are quite right. The advocates of a ban say that military weapons have no place in civil society and a ban of assault weapons is not an infringement on the 2nd Amendment. The opponents say that the cosmetic things that make a gun an assault weapon (like a pistol grip or bayonet mount) do not make those weapons any more dangerous than those without them and the ban is just a symbolic gesture. They are also quite right.  So why is either side fighting this silly fight? . Here is the link to the definition of an assault weapon, take a look and see if I’m right. http://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/glossary/assaultweapon.htm    Why not let the other side have a hollow victory?  The reason is that for activist and their political allies, this isn’t’ really about what will make a real difference; it is about winning. A hollow victory is still a victory and a hallow loss is still a loss.

 

If we are going to have an ugly national debate, I say we debate banning all self-loading weapons (in rifles they are called semi-auto and in pistols they are called autos).  That is a meaningful debate worth having.  Prior to the early 1980’s self-loading weapons were very rare in the civilian world.  Self-loading weapons are what make mass shootings possible.  One can change a 15 round magazine in 9mm Glock or an AR-15 in seconds, none of the prosed gun law changes will make these weapons less leather in a mass shooting setting. On the other hand, unless a person’s home is being assaulted by paratroopers, a .45 revolver or a pump shotgun is a more than adequate home defense.  This country has long required federal licensure for sub-machine guns, machineguns, cannons & tanks. This law is unquestionably constitutional.  The only difference between a self-loading rifle or pistol and an sub-machinegun is an inhibitor that reduces time it takes to empty a magazine from 6 seconds to 16 seconds and there is no barrier from simply changing that law to include all self-loading weapons.  Such a law would have a huge impact on the ability for deranged people to shoot up a school or movie theater.   

There are two reasons why law abiding people resist such logic. One is self-loading weapons are cool and fun.   I’ll be candid. I own a WW2 vintage M1 Carbine that I bought when I was in the US Army Reserve so as to keep my shooting skills up to par using military type peep sites. Shooting it is cool even though it jams ever 4th round and is so inaccurate I would hate to ever think my life depended on it. I also inherited an 1800’s vintage Belgian made black-powder double barrel shotgun that I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to load, let alone fire.  I would not be quick to give up these two pieces of history.

The other reason gun owners are so obstinate is the rhetoric of some of the anti-gun lobby as mentioned before. Every time the anti-gun forces portray gun owners as morally deficient it convinces gun owners that their real intent is to confiscate all guns.  There are some on the far left who truly do believe in an all-powerful government that controls every facet of life; however, that Marxian fringe does not represent the mainstream of gun control advocate, but they do disproportionally impact the rhetoric.  President Obama has made it much worse with his claim that his administration has the right to kill American citizens that he deems a potential threat via drones without resorting to the niceties of trials or even warrants.  In this way the advocates of gun control ensure there will be no gun control.  If enacting real consensus gun control were the goal, the gun control advocates would need to condemn the radicals in their own ranks as well as the radicals on the right and build a centrist coalition. This is not happening.

If I were to put on my cynical hat, I’d say the gun-control “industry” and their political allies are not so stupid as to not know they are, by their actions, stymieing gun control. I would say the whole thing is a charade to benefit themselves with no intent in actually passing meaningful laws that would put them out of business. The NRA is shameless in the way it does this very thing, but by doing so they both get to be rich and powerful, but they also get what they want, no regulation.   In that way the NRA and the gun-control groups are a symbiotic system, enriching and empowering themselves at public expense.

But of course, I’m not that cynical so I won’t say that.

I will say that it is time for a “REAL” gun control debate. I say a debate on the requiring federal licensure of all self-loading weapons has legitimate arguments on both sides and needs to be debated on a national scale.  

In such a debate, no one is a villain for making arguments for or against. Civil society can only exist when we have civil debate.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Updates on the Life and Love in an Open-Polyamorous Marriage


This is the first of what will be many posts about Mr. & Mrs. Barbarian’s Polyamorous life.

First, I’ll give a brief background.    Mrs. Barbarian and I were married in 1986, long before we became open barbarian heretics.  We had not had premarital sex because we believed that to be morally wrong.  What we found quickly after our marriage was that we had very different expectations of sex in marriage.   She wanted quantity. Daily was her expected minimum and several times daily was preferred. Though some men would think this was heaven, I wasn’t made that way. I’ve always been more about the quality rather than quaintly.  For just routine sex, a few times a week has always been fine for me, even in my 20’s.  She didn’t (doesn’t) care about variety or surroundings; she just liked the services of a stiff penis and/or soft tongue as often as she could get it.   This created tension with in the first week.  In retrospect, had we believed that sex was a normal and wholesome part of the courtship (as we do now), it is likely we would not have gotten married due to this fundamental incompatibility.

It took me almost 5 years to come to the answer that, for her to be happily married to me, she needed the freedom to get sexual satisfaction from people other than me.   So, in the early 90’s I told her she was free to take a lover.  It took until 1996 before she was both ready and had the right opportunity. In the intervening time, nearly 17 years, she has had sex with around 100 men and women. Some were just “flings” others were deeply loving relationships, lasting for years.   Although at first glance, 100 sexual partners may seem a lot, if you work that out over 17 years it is not so many, a hand full a year. Over the same period of time I have has less than half as many sexual partners, and until the past year, they were almost always part of her relationships, with me just joining in.  Things have changed in the last year or so, but that is another story.

The key concept about our open marriage has not been that she does have sex with other people all the time, it is that she can have sex with other people whenever she chooses to.   That distinction is important, because over 17 years there is a lot of life. There are a number of years when we were not sexual with anyone but each other and more than one year in which she had more than two dozen sexual partners.  We were raising family, pursing education, caring for aging parents and just living our life. So there have been hot times and cold times, but in the background there was never a time when if she met a man (or woman) who hit her in just the right way that excited her libido, she couldn’t have sex with them if she choose.  That is the true nature of an open marriage.

There are many fun and erotic stories over those years, and and few stories of difficulty, that I will be sharing on this blog as time goes by. But today I just want to make an update on what happened this week.

We are in the mitst of a “hot period”.  In the last month she’s been out with 3 different men. We had a terrific threesome with one man and it was going great till we found out that his claim that his wife was cool with him having sex with us was not true and we got some hostile threats. So that relationship ended. She’s had hot make out sessions in her car with one guy 3 times in three weeks, where though she’s gotten practically naked and he’s brought her to over a dozen orgasms with his fingers, they have not had intercourse yet.   And last night we met with yet a third guy.

Mrs. Barbarian was so sweet.  Yesterday she calls me at work and asked me to meet with her a man she was meeting for dinner; a middle-aged divorced MBA.   So we have dinner, he was very polite…a grandfather perhaps in his mid-late 50’s.  Just dinner was not big deal, pleasant, but I wasn’t turned off or impressed. As always it would be her call whether this went forward to another date, or more. The vast majority of men, women or couples that she or we initially meet with never materialize into a friendship or sexual relationship.   

Since we’d both come from work to meet and my “creep detector” had not gone off, I was able to leave them to have someone on one time after dinner.    She arrived back at our home perhaps 30 minutes after I had and asked what I thought.  I told her that he was nice. Then she surprised me when she asks if I thought he’d be a good playmate for me.

Now, she’s known I was interested sexually in men for over a decade, and she’s been very encouraging for me to explore that interest; after all she is a full bisexual who is equally happy in relationships or in bed with women or men.  It has only been in the past year I have had a series of 3-somes where I’ve had oral sex with the man as well as the woman that has led me to self-identify as bisexual. So, last night, she told me that she had specifically set up the date because he was bisexual and thought I might like him.  Now how sweet is that of her.   How could I ask for a nicer wife?

This is the way we live.  It’s not a one off experiment, but a way of life. We wouldn’t want to live any other way.

Of Teen Sexting


The social conservatives are raising the warning to parents, teens and everyone else of the newest grave peril to the world: sexting.

I really think there is an instinctive reaction of the “leaders of society” to be afraid of new fun things, especially if they are popular with teens. However, with over 20 years professional experience dealing with the related issues, I would propose that not only is sexting by teens (and adults) not an evil; it is, on the whole, a very positive development. 

To be sure we are on the same page: let me define sexting in the broad sense. It is a person using electronic media to send nude or sexual photos or text to someone else.  In effect is it little different than when in 1976, I stretched the telephone cord out to reach a storage room so I could talk to my girlfriend on the phone.  I was 14 or 15 as was my girlfriend.  For hours we would talk about sexual things and occasionally masturbate as we talked.   I was too young and afraid to actually do any of the things we talked about. Further my imagination was limited to what I found in the Playboy, Penthouse and OUI magazines my dad had stashed in a closet.  We never had physical sex in the whole half year we were a couple, but we talked about it a lot.

I tell that story because early sexual experiences are nearly universal.  My wife at a slightly younger age had a best friend with whom she “practiced” what they would do when they were older and had boyfriends.  

Beginning at the outset of puberty, sexual thoughts, talk and early ‘trials’ begin to grow in the lives of young people.   Not the end, but the beginning of puberty.  So for girls this begins between about 11 and 13 years old and for boys about 13 to 15 years old.   This period is typified by self stimulation that comes short of what would be called masturbation, looking at their own bodies and observing the changes and looking at other people’s bodies and imagining what they look like naked. And early sexualized talk has always been nearly universal.  What is new, is the easy access to graphic sexual photos and video.  Porn is ubiquitous and is often the primary teacher of “normal” behavior to this young group looking for guidance.

By the time their bodies have matured to the point that adult type sexual behavior is an option,  young people have been developing an internal vision of sexuality for several years.   The problem is there is not a good outlet for that experimenting with sexuality during that formative time .   There are eight to ten years between the budding  of sexuality and the achievement  of the maturity needed to be actively  sexual in a responsible fashion.  This lag time holds many pitfalls for adolescents; disease, pregnancy and exploitation leads are just a few of the potential problems.   Those adults in charge have a tendency to just pretend that young people are asexual until the transform overnight into full fledged adults. When they do so, they also tend to label the search of adolescent’s for sexual identity problematic.  Whether they use the word sinful or inappropriate or perverted, they all have the same underlying meaning:  people are not supposed to even notice their sexuality until they become ‘adults’.  Of course this is nonsense.

Into the gap between the onset of sexual development and the age at which maturity allows for good decision making, falls sexting.  Sexting allows for young people to explore their developing sexual bodies,  desires  and identities from a safe distance.   The only difference between my time in the mid 1970’s and now, is that instead of writing erotic poems or talking sex on a telephone, is they can now take and send photos of their new “bits”.

Herein is what really upsets the old people.  The photos.  God forbid someone see their 15 year old daughter naked.  How it could be misused! And what about the lurking pedophiles? 

Both of these are red herrings to hide the discomfort of the older generation.   Let me take them one at a time.

Can naked photos be misused?   Certainly cyber bulling is an issue and it needs to be addressed.  However, the cyber bully will find a way to harm people sexting or not.   On the larger problem of having naked photos show up one day, it is function of uniqueness.  In the 80’s even married couples were warned never to make sex tape because if anyone found out they had it they would be disgraced.  Now home sex movies are the norm.  Unless they are of celebs, no one cares.   And as this generation moves into adulthood,  naked photos of them as teens will become a non issue as well. Surveys say over 70% of all teens do it. Thus, for this generation, it is and will be the norm not the exception and so the photos loose their “blackmail” power.

When our daughter was 14, another parent became enraged when they found out she was video chatting topless with their son.   Was my daughter a perv? Did she need to be jailed? No.  Our response was that in itself, there was nothing inherently evil about showing her new breasts to a boy; but, the parents of the boy did have rights and we needed to respect them.  Further it gave us a first time to talk explicitly about the age of consent. We pointed out that as she would not be at the age of consent until she was 16, she should not do that again until that time. 

In the last few  years some local D.A.’s have prosecuted teens who are of the age of consent for taking their own photos and sending them to others.  This is a huge issue.  These people seek to say that while teens may legally consent to fuck their brains out at 16 (almost everywhere in the US),  but photographic virtual sex (with no risk of disease or pregnancy) at the same age is tantamount to child pornography. This is absurd.  In the end, I’m sure reason will prevail in the courts; however, for now  the best advice for now to teens is to not show your face in nude photos until they are 18 until this problem is resolved.

This issue of pedophiles is not a light one.  I worked full time with sex offender treatment for several years and have a good handle on the issue.   What most people don’t understand is that pedophiles can just as easily use photos of children from the Sears Catalog as fodder for masturbation.  Moreover, the serious pedophile doesn’t look for photos of adolescent girls, but rather pre-pubescent girls and that is another matter all together.   There is no question that it is unwise for young girls or boys to post photos of a sexual nature (clothed or nude) on social media that has potential access to their personal information. But that it true for adults as well. 

Sexting does do something else very important to society and the developing teens.  It provides a avenue for that pubescent and adolescent population to see what real girls and boys look like at their age.   Only three-quarters of a century ago among that same 11-15 year old group, single sex and co-ed skinny dipping was not uncommon in rural America.  I would suggest adolescents prior to WWII had significantly more first-hand experience regarding what others of their age looked like naked than they do today.  What this age group doe see today are movie stars and porn stars. Neither of which make a good baseline on which to compare one’s own body. 

Adolescence is the age at which all of us develop an internal vision of what is sexually arousing and what is not,  as well as what we ‘should’ look like.  The most common images seen by today’s adolescents are of chiseled men with huge penises and skinny women with huge breasts. These images are so far outside the norm as to leave 95% of the population in the “unattractive” group.   Once this generation moves through this period of life, those images of sexual normalcy become forever fused with their adult sexual personhood to their detriment.  They will forever judge themselves and others by that vision of normal.  

SO

I make the case for sexting as a positive activity in the lives of teens (and yes for adults too).

1)      Sexting is a safe and appropriate way for teens to explore their developing sexuality.

2)      Sexting  is a “real” counterbalance to the media fantasy about human bodies.  

Of a New Definition of Casual Sex


captions (347)My wife and I have both come to the conclusion that we are not real fans of having casual sex by the conventional definition, i.e., sex with persons with whom we have no ongoing relationship.  Now, that’s not saying we haven’t done that once or twice in the past year, because we have. But, those times were “just one of those things”.  The point is, we don’t go looking for that kind of sexual encounter.  I’m sure part of that is that we are both over 50 and neither of us have that burning imperative, when we go to a swing club or party, that we must have sex with someone new. And it’s not that we think such casual sex is wrong or as some put it empty. It’s just not for us.

On the other hand we certainly don’t believe that sex should be reserved for relationships that are deeply committed either.  I am quite sure the myth of the specialness of sex is an outgrowth of property based monogamy (with women being the property). It became codified into nearly every religion that has a professional clergy as a way to maintain social stability and thus the clergy’s social position.  Even though this myth is still perpetuated via self-identified secularists in psychology, it does not derive from real science but from the desire to justify what they already believe by using unjustified cause-effect statements.

The position that my wife and I are comfortable taking is the proposition (that I’ve made before) that sex is a normal and positive part of adult social relationships. In other words, sex is for friends. In our post tribal world, most of us have precious few people to whom we can go to when we have a joy to share or need comforting in our sorrow. I don’t mean the new “Facebook” meaning of friendship, but a real relationship of trust and caring.  A friend is the person that you don’t need to put on for and don’t expect them to put on for you.  Perhaps the best definition of friendship for me is that person for whom I don’t have to clean the house if they come over.

Friendship is all about shared experiences and mutual support.  As humans one of the best ways to do both is through physical touch, skin touching skin.  Sexual touch is the most complete version of touch, which makes it a natural activity for friends. Sexual sharing is all about skin on skin touching, full body skin on skin touching.

One may counter that sex is mostly about erotic passion and release. I would disagree. Perhaps my age is showing again, but the most important thing about sex is not the erotic passion and release of orgasm. The most important thing about sex, it is skin on skin touching. If orgasm is all someone wants, masturbation is a more sure way to gain orgasm than any other, but no one can get the deep pleasure and sense of serenity that full body skin on skin contact provides via masturbation.  When I’ve taught about sexuality, I use the analogy that a full sexual experience is like a symphony. It has multiple parts including an opening (often with surprises), and a slow building section that can be either sensuous or relaxed, a rhythmic center, a climax then a quiet reflective post climatic refrain.  Sure it is possible to listen to the climactic three minutes of the Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture over and over, but by doing that you rob the music of its real power. Or perhaps more accessible to some readers, if you  just watch saw the last scene of the Les Misérables, it would have nice music but it wouldn’t bring forth tears because there was not the preceding build up.

I’ll offer two recent examples in our life.  My wife has a very good friend who has been in a relationship for years. They have talked about having sex on and off and have yet to actually have penetrative sex, though they have done many other things.  Last night she met him for drinks and they again discuss having sex, this time she’s concerned about his very large penis…and a little excited. My guess is she and he will do it soon. That won’t change their relationship; they are good friends now and will be afterword.   A second example is a friend of both me and my wife. She’s had several dates with him a few years back but it didn’t go anywhere.  He is in mid-life like me and is experimenting with new things like cross dressing. He wanted to find out what is like to play the female role with a man. Last week we got together and has exual play about an hour.  He found out that having oral sex with another man is fun, but no life changing experience.  We left friends, and neither of us climaxed. It was just casual sexual pleasure.

With that background, I contend that sexual interaction is, or should be, a normal and positive part of adult friendships.

With this in mind I offer the following definition of “Casual Sex”

Casual Sex: informal sexual interaction of a caring, but casual, nature between persons who have an ongoing mutually supportive relationship (philia), but are not romantically involved (amore); mutually pleasurable sex between friends where their relationship is not defined by that the fact they have sex.

Of the Supreme Court and Gay Marriage


Well the voices of alarm are at full throat this week.   The Supreme Court will unveil its decisions on two cases dealing with gay marriage. To the pressure groups and much of the media, these two cases are essentially the same; however, that is because to them messaging is more important than substance.

One case Hollingsworth v. Perry the plaintiffs are seeking to have California’s ban on same-sex marriage overturned.  The other case U.S. v. Windsor,  there is a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  

Among think tanks these cases have created some very odd bedfellows.  For instance the libertarian Cato institute and a number of conservative legal scholars have declared DOMA as being unconstitutional social engineering and that it should be overturned. Thus allying them with the Obama administration and the gay rights organizations.  

The CATO institute also has come out to oppose Proposition 8 taking the libertarian position that the equal protection clause does apply and that proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage,  is an unacceptable intrusion into private affairs.

Of course the loudest voices are those political pros who make their living making a lot of noise.  The Christian Taliban are out in force promising God’s judgment on the US is  the court overturns these two laws.   This morning I as late to work, so I turned on local talk radio (rather than NPR’s Morning Edition as I usually do) and heard the vitriol.   The callers universally believe that the US is a “Christian” nation and that it is the government’s job to keep everyone acting in a righteous way (as they define it) and thus, these two laws are justified to keep God’s favor by condemning homosexuality.   On one hand I found these people laughably provincial, since they seem to think all of the US is just like the rural South.  On the other hand they are scary because this is a core belief that the job of government is to enforce “God’s law”, as they see it, on everyone (hence I call them the Christian Talban).

The other group is not nearly as crazy, but they speak in their own hyperbole.  To liken California’s Proposition 8 to the Jim Crow laws is laughable if it weren’t used with such good effect.  California has very comprehensive domestic partnership laws, so comprehensive as to make domestic partnerships virtually indistinguishable from marriage.  Yes, there are some rights not afforded, but mostly this very bitter fight over Proposition 8 is about symbolism over substance (for both sides).

What is most interesting in California is that if the Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8 as a proper exercise of the citizens to enact their own laws (which I think they will do); and strikes down DOMA as an improper usurpation of federal authority over the states (which I think they will also do, then the difference between domestic partnerships and marriage will be very meaningful.   So, in California there will be an immediate drive to repeal Prop. 8.   In such a case I have no doubt that Prop. 8 will be repealed.

I’ll say right here, that I think Prop. 8 should be upheld.  The integrity of the democratic process outweighs the right to use the word “marriage”.  This is not like the Civil Rights Act.  Gay and Lesbian American’s not only have equal political rights, it can be fairly argued that their political influence greatly exceeds the 1.7% of the population which they represent.  If they want the right to marry, the road map is laid out already. Just  get the voters on board as has been done in several states already.  I would suggest that Prop. 8 and  DOMA were both reactions to courts getting ahead of the people on this and in the end, activist courts who try to impose their will over the population do the GLBT community a disservice.  There is little doubt that demographics will resolve this issue in many states in the next few years.

DOMA will likely be overturned (and correctly so) by a large majority of the Supreme Court; but, with different opinions being written as to why it is unconstitutional.  The effect will be that states and the federal government will have to recognize the marriages of each and every state.  This, in fact, is not new, the Constitution requires state afford full credit of all  “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state”, thus every state will have to recognize the marriages of same sex couples, even if they do not permit such marriages in their own state.   So, if South Carolina doesn’t permit same-sex marriage anytime in the next century, then same sex couples can go get married in Oregon, or in D.C., and come home married.   This is the significance of DOMA; DOMA gave protection for states that do not recognize same sex marriages performed in states that permit them. Striking down DOMA will (should) force all states to recognize the legality of all marriages performed in any state.

So, a win on DOMA and a loss on Prop.  8, will still be a big win for marriage equality.