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August 02, 2010

Inflammatory Debate Topic of the Day

Inspired by an offline conversation I've been having by email: how desirable is a woman's virginity to a potential husband?

Religious convictions aside, I've never understood the emphasis on women going to the altar in a state of untouched innocence. I hear men raise the issue all the time, but mysteriously the exact same religious considerations they use to argue that women ought to be virgins when they marry are mysteriously suspended when it comes to the male half of the human race. I have no particular issue with believing that it's better to wait to have sex until you're married. It's just that no one has ever explained to me why premarital sex is sinful for women but natural and good for men.

You've got to love the moral relativism. The phrase, "How conveeeeeeeeeeeenient" comes to mind.

Likewise, I've also never been convinced that premarital sexual experience is - in and of itself - a net positive and I find the argument that virgins "don't know what they're getting into" particularly unpersuasive.

No one knows what they're getting into when they marry because dating and living together aren't the same as marriage. All of which makes it that much more important to get to know the person you are marrying before you take that big leap.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by Cassandra at August 2, 2010 01:15 PM

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Comments

Seems to me that a woman's virginity falls into the "stuff from before we met that doesn't have any bearing" category.

But then, I'm one of those hate filled conservatives.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at August 2, 2010 01:55 PM

'Lost in Austen.'

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2010 02:02 PM

Seems to me that a woman's virginity falls into the "stuff from before we met that doesn't have any bearing" category.

I tend to agree. A person's history is interesting to me only to the extent that it makes them who they are today. I've seen people with essentially the same history/background develop into very different types of people, depending on what they took away from their experiences.

That seems like the important thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 02:02 PM

I have never heard a real-life male express a preference for virginity in girlfriends or wives. Most of 'em seem to want someone who knows what she's doing.

And, FWIW, I don't know what the best way is to encourage people to develop sexual skills with their spouses. In the past I've thought that it was better for them to bring a bit of experience to the table--a better way to ensure that things don't get "stale." But perhaps attitude matters more, and in some cases it could be that people associate the fun side of sex with early sexual misadventures, so that could lead to reserve with one's spouse, too.

Posted by: Little Miss Attila at August 2, 2010 02:36 PM

Men want to be the best lover their wife has ever had.
Men want their wife to be faithful after marriage.
& virginity is an indicator for at least the first.
Its an insecurity thing?

Posted by: tomg51 at August 2, 2010 03:09 PM

What I've noticed is that it's very often the guys who almost compulsively devote their energies to getting as many women as possible into bed who are the ones most concerned about marrying a woman with minimal sexual experience.

One argument that is sometimes made is that, "It isn't the sex, it's the breakup", ie that if a woman has gone through a high # of relationships that were intense enough to include sex, then she will have likely become too damaged/cynical, as a result of all those terminated relationships, to really ever bond with her husband. I think that actually the degree to which this happens or doesn't happen is a function of a lot of things other than only the woman's "number", including her individual psychology, how long the relationships lasted, and how the breakups happened.

Posted by: david foster at August 2, 2010 03:23 PM

It seems to me that prior sexual experience with other people isn't a very good predictor of anything. The vast majority of men and women, given that they're willing to make the effort, can master the required skills.

It can tell you whether you enjoy sex in general, but unless you plan to continue having sex with the general populace after marriage, general experience is a poor predictor of how much you'll enjoy sex with the person you're married to. People aren't interchangeable. We don't react to them in the same ways.

It can teach you that you have the ability to please others (kind of a low bar when you stop to think about it) but not how to please the person you're married to because - again - people aren't interchangeable.

Attila makes a good point - I think one's willingness to work at it (tough job but someone's got to do it) is the most important thing.

I think one might argue that if you and your spouse marry later in life and your spouse has been able to wait, that shows he/she is capable of delaying gratification. But I'm not sure people cheat for purely sexual reasons. I think cheating is more complicated than that (assuming, of course, that you haven't married a person with no principles). The best guarantees are marrying someone you can trust and then being sure not to neglect them.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 03:32 PM

What I've noticed is that it's very often the guys who almost compulsively devote their energies to getting as many women as possible into bed who are the ones most concerned about marrying a woman with minimal sexual experience.

You mean all that experience doesn't make them any more confident in their abilities? :p

*running away*

Seriously, I've noticed the same thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 03:34 PM

"You mean all that experience..."
*look out below!*
They say practice makes perfect...which can only mean that, wrt this subject, women are born already *so*, and men, well.... ;~*

Posted by: Peanut Gallery at August 2, 2010 03:56 PM

Not to be judgmental of anyone, but will make a few observations in light of our societal tendency to put the cart before the horse when it comes to sex and marriage, instead of marriage and sex.

Religious reasons are for both men and women. The Old Testament made no such distinctions about virtue for women and experience for men.

Abstinence before marriage reduces pregnancy and STDs, and should be taught to both genders. There never should be a double standard, but the reason I put 'Lost in Austen' up there is because of the alternate story line.

The subject of virginity does come up. Miss Price tells Darcy she is 'experienced,' and he breaks her heart when he tells her he cannot marry her because she is 'not a maid.'

Back then, that was the only way to ensure that the children born to the union were the couple's.
I don't really care if someone has a past or not, but I do care about their health and would at least want to know if there were any problems such as AIDS or STDs.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2010 04:53 PM

Back then, that was the only way to ensure that the children born to the union were the couple's.
I don't really care if someone has a past or not, but I do care about their health and would at least want to know if there were any problems such as AIDS or STDs.

I just finished reading a fascinating book that discusses the utilitarian basis for many moral precepts.

I think a large part of what conservatives consider to be the modern decline in morality stems from the way technology has partially eliminated or obscured what used to be the obvious harms of immoral behavior. There's less concrete harm we can point to, and more ability to prevent harm.

Human nature, though, remains unchanged so in the end I'm not sure what good all this technology does?

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 05:12 PM

I'm of two minds here. The first part agrees with Steve - that a person's past falls into the "stuff from before we met that doesn't have any bearing" category.

But the other half of me knows that, when you give a part of yourself away, you never get that piece back. Ever. There is a baggage element - even if the previous relationship ended smoothly - that you cannot rid yourself of. In many relationships, that baggage isn't really an issue. But - like the suitcase in the closet - it's still there even if you never take it out.

And my faith tells me that men and women should keep themselves pure for their spouse - not a belief I grew up with but one I do believe now. And one that I will do my best to teach my children - BOTH the boy and the girl.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at August 2, 2010 05:34 PM

I agree with the notion that those who are busy collecting samples become suddenly concerned about how a possible permanent partner might have handed out -one- sample.

Some men are especially stupid about this.

I grew up "before the pill". Life was different then (in many ways, stop snickering!) I thought about this, talked to classmates (of both genders) and quietly came to the conclusion that any woman that I hadn't had sex with was a virgin, as far as I was concerned, and her status with others was not relevant. Problem was solved. Well, not solved, some of them still said "No." No, to be honest, most of them said "No", but they did so in very creative and interesting ways!

Then the pill came along and people really learned what a 1% chance of pregnancy meant ... but that's another story.

Posted by: htom at August 2, 2010 06:08 PM

...the other half of me knows that, when you give a part of yourself away, you never get that piece back. Ever. There is a baggage element - even if the previous relationship ended smoothly - that you cannot rid yourself of.

I don't know, HF6. Maybe I'm weird, but I never think about previous relationships. There have been occasions when an old flame crossed my mind but that usually only happens when I run into someone I haven't seen for a long time who knew me when I was with that person.

I have read many places that men "replay" past episodes from their former relationships over and over again. I find that hard to wrap my mind around.

If I really wanted to be with an old flame, odds are that I would be. I married my husband because there was something special there, and once I married him I really didn't worry or think about anything that happened before I met him - my time and attention were on the present rather than the past. In fact, I was just thinking a few weeks ago that I really don't remember *any* specifics from former relationships all that well.

They're just not relevant to me any more.

I can't help wondering if this is one reason men worry more about competition from old flames - that they still think about them (especially the sex part) and therefore assume the little woman must be doing the same thing? Based on my admittedly unscientific sample of one, that's not a valid assumption.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 06:29 PM

What happened before we met is part of the history that makes the other the person he/she is today. One of us better know what is going on the wedding bed or it becomes "Gone In 60 Sixty Seconds" or "Do That To Me One More Time!"

In any case, it gets better with practice.

Posted by: vet66 at August 2, 2010 07:04 PM

I think there's a lot to be said for concerns about the baggage aspect of things. I boyfriend once make a comment about how I was kissing him that made me very self-conscious and still bothers me when I think about it (which fortunately isn't very often). Makes me wonder what kind of baggage one could develop in a sexual relationship gone bad...

Posted by: FbL at August 2, 2010 09:25 PM

I believe in teaching moral purity for a great many reasons and technology is one of them. Once it is out there, it is out there and there is nothing you can do to get it all back.

That is why I also believe in forgiveness. If there is nothing to indicate the 'past performance indicates future behavior,' I would say virginity isn't that big of a deal.

While I believe that being sexually pure is one thing, such evidence of it is with women just because of the way we are made. Because of women being more active than they were in past times, such proof is hard to come by, I think, so taking someone's word for it will have to do.

Posted by: Cricket at August 2, 2010 09:41 PM

I know me. Me having been chaste in my (very few) prior relationships was a way for me to protect myself. I know I would be unable to separate the physical intimacy from thinking there would be a commitment - the forever kind. Now, if I'm ever lucky enough to find love, I can't say I wouldn't have sex before marriage. But, I think if I made that decision, it would be because there was going to be a marriage with that man.

Call me crazy or old-fashioned, but I think one's virginity (for guys and gals) is something special. There can only be one "first time". Why give it away cheaply to someone who doesn't truly appreciate that gift.

Also, I might think the more partners you may have had, the more you risk being sexually dissatisfied with a spouse. They might not be as good at it as past partners were. You can't really miss what you never had, right?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 2, 2010 10:16 PM

On a related topic...

Maybe this explains my sense that more people are smarter than me now than when I was younger: ;) http://www.asylum.com/2010/07/30/princeton-university-sex-makes-the-adult-brain-grow/

Posted by: FbL at August 2, 2010 10:50 PM

To quote Heinlein, "Virginity is an easily correctable condition of no particular importance."

Well, maybe. I agree with Cricket about the historical and practical reason that virginity in a woman was so valued and should hold some value today. STDs are definitely a good reason to exercise caution or even refrain. As for pregnancy, the attitude was that one of the worst things for a man to be was a cuckold. However, the modern attitude for a good bit of western society is that raising the children of another is admirable. Although there are many exceptions.

I have encountered a man that insisted that any woman he marry be a virgin, and he was exactly the type described by David. Chased everything in a skirt and bragged about it after. Even the, back in the freewheeling '70s I thought that this was ridiculous. The only thing that I could figure was that only someone so completely naive would ever agree to marry such a jerk. Even worse, in my observation, men like that do not give up their ways once they are married.

For myself, I find honesty a much more valuable trait. That doesn't necessarily mean that a woman or man should confess the sordid details of all past relationships, too much detail can make your partner feel rather inadequate, but then don't try to deny your past either.

I've been married for 30 years come this November, and I've long ago discovered that what you do in the marriage is MUCH more important than what you did before.

Posted by: Charodey at August 2, 2010 11:14 PM

I never asked questions if I didn't want to know the answers. I believe this is called 'discretion,' but I'm not sure; it's a word I haven't heard in so long that I wonder if the word ever existed at all. Perhaps I only dreamed about it, once.

Posted by: Grim at August 2, 2010 11:29 PM

I have encountered a man that insisted that any woman he marry be a virgin, and he was exactly the type described by David. Chased everything in a skirt and bragged about it after. Even the, back in the freewheeling '70s I thought that this was ridiculous. The only thing that I could figure was that only someone so completely naive would ever agree to marry such a jerk. Even worse, in my observation, men like that do not give up their ways once they are married.

That has been my experience as well.

You can't really miss what you never had, right?

Why not?

Oddly enough, that argument is the exact opposite of what people assert when they claim everyone *must* have experience before marriage (and with someone other than their future spouse) or they'll always be wondering what they missed and consequently be more vulnerable to temptation - the old 'sow your wild oats' theory.

That argument isn't any more convincing as a general rule than its opposite.

I can easily see why any person who values virginity so highly that they waited might want or expect the same restraint in a future mate. At the same time, we can't always control who we love and don't get to impose our preferences on others (especially retroactively)!

I don't think history and experience prove much at all, either way. A selfish person can have all the experience in the world without ever learning to please others, while a naturally giving person may be good from the get-go.

Sex isn't exactly rocket science. From a woman's perspective it isn't experience that makes a great lover, but passion, generosity, consideration, and willingness to learn/try new things. Maybe I'm weird but to me sex isn't something you do to someone else (like playing an instrument) but something people do together. With the right person, the learning curve is enjoyable in its own right. With the wrong person all the technique in the world can't replace the joy of discovery.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 11:48 PM

I never asked questions if I didn't want to know the answers.

Sounds suspiciously like good sense to me, Grim.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2010 11:49 PM

What does a 40 year old virgin know about sex, anyway? That knowledge and a quarter won't even buy you a newspaper.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 3, 2010 12:31 AM

Having been a bit of a slut in this lifetime myself, I can scarcely hold members of the opposite sex to any higher standard...

Posted by: camojack at August 3, 2010 04:01 AM

Maybe this explains my sense that more people are smarter than me now than when I was younger: ;) http://www.asylum.com/2010/07/30/princeton-university-sex-makes-the-adult-brain-grow/

Relax, Fuzzybee -- Princeton also released a study claiming Global Warming is the reason we have so many "undocumented travelers" running around up here.

The author -- I'm not making this up -- says that they're all farmers and they came up here to grow corn.

It couldn't *possibly* be that over half of them are involved in running, expanding, and securing the cartels' dope markets...

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2010 05:04 AM

I don't know, HF6. Maybe I'm weird, but I never think about previous relationships. There have been occasions when an old flame crossed my mind but that usually only happens when I run into someone I haven't seen for a long time who knew me when I was with that person.


That wasn't quite where I was going with the "baggage" reference. And I'm not sure how to properly articulate my thoughts here either.

Like vet66 said, what happened in a person's past makes them who they are today. But there seems to be something special about giving that one part of yourself (your heart, your body...either/or) to the one person you plan to spend the rest of your life with.

Part of me sees it like re-gifting in a sense. You gave it to one person and then you took it back. And then you gave it to someone else ("it" being either your body in the physical sense or your heart in the metaphorical sense...take your pick). Does that diminish the gift in any way?

And these are not judgemental questions - they are legitimate questions to which I'm always pondering my answers. Because, very soon, I'm going to have to start discussing this with my daughter and I still straddle the fence on this issue.

As a parent, I fall firmly in the "save it for the one person with whom you plan to spend your life/marriage/etc." camp. But that is relatively hypocritical when viewed in light of how I lived my life before I met MacGyver.

Hence, the pondering.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at August 3, 2010 05:23 AM

As a parent, I fall firmly in the "save it for the one person with whom you plan to spend your life/marriage/etc." camp. But that is relatively hypocritical when viewed in light of how I lived my life before I met MacGyver.

I agree that this is a real problem in a world where the average age of first marriage is now about 26 or 27. That's a lot of waiting. Not saying it can't be done, but it's not easy in today's world.

This may sound weird coming from a woman (because supposedly while men view sex and love as two different things, women see them as connected) but I question the idea that when a person has sex with another person, they have "given something precious away". I think a person's attitude towards virginity matters - if they view their own virginity as something precious then that may make sense. If they don't see it as all that important, it doesn't make so much sense.

My problem with your formulation is that it seems to equate sex and love/commitment/fidelity or to suggest that each of us has a finite quantity of love that is diminished every time we connect with another human being.

My experience may not be at all typical, but I can remember worrying during my second pregnancy that in having a second child I would somehow be robbing my firstborn of love and attention. That turned out not to be the case at all - there was plenty of love in my heart and loving another child increased my capacity to love rather than decreasing it.

I also have to question the notion that having sex necessarily involves "giving away" or losing something of yourself. For some people it may well do so, but others don't invest a physical act with the same significance as an emotional commitment. I had plenty of boyfriends before I met my husband and he had plenty of girlfriends. I think we both cared about them at the time. Did we "lose" something of ourselves regardless of whether we had sex with them or not?

I don't think so. If anything, my experience was that having prior relationships taught me how to get along with men so something was added rather than subtracted. Exclusivity is important in the context of a committed relationship because of the need for mutual trust (if you decide to give up some of your freedom it's reasonable to expect a reciprocal commitment) and the risk of rejection (if you don't trust the other person to put you first, why should you put them first in your life?). But sex doesn't always take place in the context of a long term or committed relationship.

This is somewhat difficult for a woman to say because it sounds as though I'm saying promiscuity is a good thing when I don't think that at all, or that I think having sex with as many people as possible only increases one's ability to enjoy sex. I don't believe either of these things. But that's kind of my point - aren't we equating love and sex when for many people they are not one and the same (or they may be one and the same in the context of a long term relationship but not so in the context of a one night stand or a less intense relationship).

I'm trying to be careful here b/c I'm not interested in discussing my personal history and am a bit leery of the conclusions that might be drawn from my comment.

Over the years I've had many friends (male and female) with varying degrees of experience before marriage. In general, I tend to believe that young people don't necessarily invest all that much of themselves in a sexual encounter, but as they mature they are more likely to want both love and sex with the same person: the whole enchilada, as it were.

When my boys were teens, I told them that both men and women have a strong desire to be intimate with each other, but that sex isn't a casual thing. Often it can cause one or both partners to form an emotional attachment or bond, and if they have sex before they get to know each other well they may end up bonding with someone who is not well suited for a relationship or with someone whose personality or goals are incompatible with theirs.

I told my sons that women bond more quickly and tend to assume that having had sex means the man cares for them when in fact that is often not the case. So a man needs to be aware of the danger of hurting a woman by treating her too casually. But sex affects men as well - perhaps not so much as it does women, but if it didn't help couples bond then women wouldn't use sex (consciously or unconsciously) to hold onto men.

I also told them that while sex for its own sake is often enjoyable, it is a deeper and better experience with someone you love. Therefore, I hoped they would choose to wait until they were married or in a committed relationship.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 07:00 AM

"When my boys were teens, I told them that both men and women have a strong desire to be intimate with each other, but that sex isn't a casual thing. Often it can cause one or both partners to form an emotional attachment or bond, and if they have sex before they get to know each other well they may end up bonding with someone who is not well suited..."

I can't speak for others, but that's what I mean with "leaving a piece of yourself." It's not the virginity aspect, it's the vulnerability and sharing aspect.

For women, with all our body-consciousness and the typical strength/size differences compared to men, sex is a both physically and emotionally vulnerable situation (whether we want to call it a casual encounter or not). For most women, getting to the point where we can truly trust someone enough to be that vulnerable doesn't happen with everyone we meet.

I've often tried to imagine how the modern urban woman who could (and often does) have a different man each week really feels about herself and her ability to be as emotionally intimate as she is physically. I honestly can't see how she does it without "shutting down" a part of herself.

The woman who can repeatedly enjoy an encounter for the moment without significant attachment certainly exists, but I strongly doubt she's more than a rarity. Ditto as far as lasting attachment for the woman who is physically intimate with a string of genuine boyfriends (not flings).

If that's correct, then I suspect that for most (but certainly not all) women there has got to be baggage if they bring a significant number of previous sexual relationships/encounters into a new relationship.

But as has been so thoroughly demonstrated in the commentariat here, each person is certainly unique.

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 08:50 AM

The "sex talk" I got from my mom was right before I went off to college. It was something like "don't let some guy sweep you off your feet and into bed". Ick! Never have liked discussing sex with my mom...

As far as saving yourself until marriage? Yeah, waiting sucks. Especially when you are still single at a much older age than you ever expected. Can't help but wonder what's wrong with you when you end up like that.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 3, 2010 08:53 AM

The pornography industry and various shows and magazines have so much "sex instruction" that it is hard to argue that you need to experience it to know what it is like.

So you can keep your personal risk down while still gaining observational experience.

The other issue is that pornography and the presence of public sex debate is so prevalent that people now make private expectations of their partners based upon what porn actresses do. Which is another issue, on top of the normal one.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 3, 2010 09:05 AM

"Ick! Never have liked discussing sex with my mom..."

I had the birds and bees talk with my mother at about age 9 (IIRC). I knew most of it, but some of the "how" details were a bit unclear. Was really no big deal.

Since then, my mother and I have had various conversations about it. They weren't very detailed, but I never had that "ick" reaction that so many people describe.

Just another way I'm weird. ;)

Then again, maybe it's because my mother never remarried after my dad died, so those more adult conversations never happened with any accompanying contemporary pictures in my head, haha!

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 09:26 AM

I got actual "sex ed" in school. In elementary (DoDDS in Germany, 6th grade, IIRC), they separated the girls and the boys for that and it was more about the changes we'd soon be experiencing. That was also about the age when my oldest younger sister was born. Got the more comprehensive sex ed in 9th grade, in Home Ec, believe it or not. Sex & relationship discussions with Mom are something I try very had to avoid...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 3, 2010 09:35 AM

Too much porn, combined with male boasting on the Internet, may have actually led to a LESSENING of sexual knowledge. 10 years ago, it seems like most people understood that few women could orgasm from intercourse alone and that it was usually best to bring her to orgasm during foreplay. Now there seems to be huge emphasis on making it happen during intercourse, with guys feeling like they have failed to turn her on properly if they can't achieve that...and maybe also women feeling they have been failed.

Is female satisfaction really that much greater if the O happens from penetration alone? Can't be sure, of course, being male, but it seems unlikely.

Posted by: The Iconoclast at August 3, 2010 09:36 AM

I never asked questions if I didn't want to know the answers. I believe this is called 'discretion,' but I'm not sure; it's a word I haven't heard in so long that I wonder if the word ever existed at all. Perhaps I only dreamed about it, once.

Yeah G, discretion walks hand in glove with integrity. Both are still around but rarely. Uh-Oh, I feel a story coming on! ;-)

I learned about discretion at a fairly young age in regard to women. A bunch of us went to a "make out party" when we were 12? 13? It was in a girl's basement and while her parents were home they were not real attentive. This was the spin the bottle age. The early explorings of the opposite sex. And fun too! :-)

After the party all us guys were walking home when a couple of the guys began the bragging. Talking about second base, third base, etc. I was seriously shocked that they were talking about stuff like that as if it was so much Swiss cheese. I had always been told that a man never, ever discusses such things by both my Dad and Mom. We were living in a part of the country totally foreign to me so I guess it's just a difference in cultures. When it got to my "turn" to brag about my exploits I was asked "What did you get?" I just mumbled "Nuthin'" and got a horse laugh for being such a wimp. I was literally speechless at what was being said. I didn't get it.

The braggart that went to "third base" was definitely proud and full of himself. The little girl he was with that night sat next to me in class and she was a sweetheart. I mean she was a girl of a type I'd never met before. She was just so bubbly, funny, sweet as ice cream on pecan pie. Yeah, she was my first crush! Heh! I was too shy to ever tell her how I felt and the guy she hooked up with was the QB on the middle school team. I still remember that little girl's smile and eyes even after all these years!

The lesson came when we all got back to school on Monday. Word got out that this little girl had "given up third base". It ran like wildfire all over school. It destroyed her. Absolutely devasted her. She told me before class that what was being said wasn't true but I had already figured that one out for myself. It didn't matter. Nothing she could do or say could make it right. I watched her waste away for the rest of the semester. She was circled out of the herd and it got so bad her parents heard about it. I never abandoned her friendship but I was the new kid and her folks were from there so my friendship counted for little. Probably one of the ugliest things I'd ever witnessed up to that age. It was a lesson I never forgot and a story I have passed down to all of my kids.

I did manage to get "offended" by the stud QB after practice one day and got to go a few rounds but nothing was ever done to the guy. It was like he was some kind of hero or something. Just another prick to me. I've always detested asshats like him and always will. He got elevated and a beautiful little girl got destroyed. My first life lesson in double standards! I don't think life has changed drastically even today. No matter how cool these kids think they are. Or how promiscuos they've become. Descretion and integrity have never changed.

I've never had the "replay" sex Cassie. Guess I'm just an oddball but I've never experienced that. There's all kinds of sex. There's the "all men are pigs and he's gotta' have it quickie" or the "chase her around the house neekid 'til you catch her" sex. The infamous "how many places can we do it where we're not supposed to" sex and the "hang the washcloth on the pole in the shower" sex. But it begins with the "this is so emotional it's almost a By God religious experience" non sex. That's the one that brought you together and the one you recreate throughout your lifetimes. The one that joins your souls as one and make you proud to have someone hold your hand and walk down life together.

When it's right it's right and past sexual experiences don't mean a damn thing. It's what you have TOGETHER that is important. And it don't do nuthin' but get better as you learn each other and how to please each other. Guys feel the emotional investment too so don't think you Ladies have the market cornered! :-)

Posted by: JHD at August 3, 2010 10:05 AM

I did manage to get "offended" by the stud QB after practice one day and got to go a few rounds but nothing was ever done to the guy. It was like he was some kind of hero or something. Just another prick to me. I've always detested asshats like him and always will.

One of the most disturbing things I've ever read was in "Guyland" in the part that dealt with male bonding rituals and parental and school responses to juvenile idiocy.

The author relates a whole slew of truly shocking incidents where young boys and men behave in appalling ways. That didn't surprise me b/c a minority of any group will always manage to demonstrate the lowest common denominator aspect of human behavior.

What did shock me was the responses of the parents. Most of the Moms were shocked and upset when they learned of their sons' behavior. Most of the Dads were not only not upset but in many cases proud of the fact that their sons were jackasses.

Again, I don't believe in broad brush generalizations but I think this shows how important a father's guidance is to a son's development. If the father doesn't draw the line and set the right example, how do boys learn right from wrong?

... it begins with the "this is so emotional it's almost a By God religious experience" non sex. That's the one that brought you together and the one you recreate throughout your lifetimes. The one that joins your souls as one and make you proud to have someone hold your hand and walk down life together.

You've stated something I wasn't able to explain extremely well. To me at least, sex with someone you love and are committed to is categorically different from more casual encounters. I don't think that kind of experience is at all commonplace - it takes time, effort, and commitment to create.

That's what I tried to convey to my sons.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 10:21 AM

Too much porn, combined with male boasting on the Internet, may have actually led to a LESSENING of sexual knowledge. 10 years ago, it seems like most people understood that few women could orgasm from intercourse alone and that it was usually best to bring her to orgasm during foreplay. Now there seems to be huge emphasis on making it happen during intercourse, with guys feeling like they have failed to turn her on properly if they can't achieve that...and maybe also women feeling they have been failed.

Somewhere on TED there is a hilarious lecture from an older single woman who isn't anti-porn (she claims to enjoy it herself regularly) and who has slept with a lot of younger men.

The gist of it is exactly what you just said - she sees a huge shift in male expectations, knowledge and behavior that can best be characterized as a sense of entitlement. She even created a website to "debunk" some of the more idiotic porn memes that seem to have gained traction with the younger generation. Can't recall the name of the site but it is a real hoot. I think you can find the links on Nerve.com if you're interested - it's a bit explicit for me to post here. I wasn't offended by it but see no reason to post that sort of thing here.

Anyway, interesting observation. Glenn Reynolds periodically trots out his 2004 essay asserting that porn is the best sex ed for kids.

I don't even know what to say to that - it's like saying that kids should learn about history from Hollywood movies. Fantasy and entertainment don't seem like a terribly reliable basis for real world conduct or decisions.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 10:36 AM

I understand that type of reaction Cassie. Notice I didn't say I agree with it but I do understand it. Guys compete. It's what we do. Sexual conquest is a form of competition if not taught properly by a parent. It doesn't necessarily have to be the Dad either. My Mom's emotional "talk" with me about discetion and integrity was actually much more meaningful than my Dad's. At the time of the incident above I went to my step dad and asked him what I should do. His reply was to laugh it off and tell me to stay out of it. I didn't get that either. I believe if my Dad had been around he would've given me different advice. To this day I regret not doing more or calling the guy out but I was struggling myself with the whole new kid thing. Not making excuses for myself but being new is a fairly traumatic thing even for a guy.

Guys are guys. We are pigs after all. One thing I noticed, and the one my sons picked up on, is that I actually had more experiences with girls simply because they knew it would never get talked about. Not the lesson I was trying to teach but a by-product nonetheless. I don't consider it being all new age "sensitive" either. To me it is simply a matter of respect and integrity.

But then I am easily confused! :-o

Posted by: JHD at August 3, 2010 10:44 AM

I know it's kind of a joke guys enjoy, but I really don't view men as pigs :p

I know I've mentioned this a zillion times or two but when I was a freshman in college a boy who had a big crush on me decided to tell his frat brothers we were sleeping together (we weren't).

I learned about it from... 3 of his frat brothers who were uncomfortable with his behavior and thought I should know.

Being at Dartmouth was a real eye opener to me wrt male behavior b/c I saw somethings that really upset and disappointed me. On the other hand, there were many times when young men stood up to the less mature types and my admiration for them persists 30 years later - even more so now that I fully understand how hard it can be to take an unpopular stand.

Anyway, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. You did the right thing in a difficult situation and my guess is that the woman in your story remembers your actions with gratitude and admiration as well.

My Mom's emotional "talk" with me about discretion and integrity was actually much more meaningful than my Dad's.

As a Mom, that's good to hear.

I had many such talks with my sons because I think teaching morals is something you can't do in just one talk - it takes persistence, repetition, and consistency to teach a child that these are serious matters and that you're paying attention as a parent to how they act.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 10:58 AM

Also, all the focus on a woman's number of sexual partners may be distracting men from paying enough attention to other, and perhaps more-important, factors in a potential wife. Probably more marriages have been wrecked by female extravagance and greed than by female lust. And a woman's limited sexual experience is no guarantee against narcissism and entitlement.

Posted by: The Iconoclast at August 3, 2010 11:04 AM

...all the focus on a woman's number of sexual partners may be distracting men from paying enough attention to other, and perhaps more-important, factors in a potential wife.

I'm not sure how many men worry about this? Some do, but I'd be surprised if most do (and the ones that are preoccupied with it never struck me as great catches

My entirely unsupported sense is that men are more likely to focus too much on a woman's looks than on her sexual history. The problem is that beauty can't make up for lack of character and they have a lot shorter shelf life.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 11:29 AM

JHD, you made me swoon! ;)

Seriously, you're a good man. If only most (or all) looked at things the way you do... :)

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 11:33 AM

I've never understood the "kiss and brag" mentality. It seemed to be "all about me" and nothing about "we". Must have been good parenting, although I don't remember any discussions approaching the topic. "Things you shouldn't do", I suppose, and bragging about yourself was close to the top of that list.

Sex (lust) and sex (love) and sex (play) are each great, flames to warm your soul. Any two, together, are a nuclear explosion. All three together is a stellar ignition. People who've experienced the second are hard to convince of the existence of the third, but it's there. Old flames, I struggle to remember. Old explosions, cued by discussions like this, I can bring to mind with a smile. Old stars ... there's one. When I'm very stressed, she occasionally shows up in a dream. I'm sitting at a sidewalk cafe, or on a beach, or somewhere; she appears out of nowhere, walking up to me, nicely dressed, says a few encouraging or comforting words that I never remember, smiles, and walks away, disappearing. Psychic connection? Fantasy? Who knows. There's something we made that hangs around and wishes me well, or so it seems.

Connecting to people is important. You don't need sex to do that. You can do it just typing on a keyboard, posting, reading replies, responding, thread by thread you can unintentionally and unknowingly build a cable that ties your soul to another's. The connection dissolves, the exchanges stop, and nothing remains. You wonder briefly once or twice over the decades "what ever happened to ..." and it fades away. Only an internet acquaintance, lost in the mists of forget.

Until the day you learn that he's thought of you in his grief and you run to hold him in your arms, both of you crying your eyes out over the death of his daughter. The connection of souls is independent of time, place, method of communication ....

Sex is so dangerous because it can form such connections so quickly.

Posted by: htom at August 3, 2010 11:35 AM

Ees verdad - that JHD, he ess the stud muffin....

Posted by: Chinese-Japanese Jewish Mexican American Lawn Chica at August 3, 2010 11:36 AM

Connecting to people is important. You don't need sex to do that.

Agreed. Some of my dearest friends are people I "met" on the Internet. Some of them I've met in real life and some I never will.

Thanks for a lovely comment.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 11:40 AM

htom...a beautiful and moving piece of writing. This passage: "When I'm very stressed, she occasionally shows up in a dream. I'm sitting at a sidewalk cafe, or on a beach, or somewhere; she appears out of nowhere, walking up to me, nicely dressed, says a few encouraging or comforting words that I never remember, smiles, and walks away, disappearing"...reminded me of something I quoted on another blog earlier today. This is from the British writer and officer Selwyn Jepson, who was a principal recruiter of secret agents during WWII. Here, he is writing about Noor Inayat Khan, an agent who he recruited and who did not survive the war:

"...not only in the dark hours of solitude, but at unexpected moments of daytime activity, it is as though a shutter opens in a familiar wall which I know has no shutter in it, and she is there, briefly, the light filling my eyes. She does not haunt me, as do some of the others...she is simply with me, now and again, for a little moment."

Posted by: david foster at August 3, 2010 11:55 AM

For women, with all our body-consciousness and the typical strength/size differences compared to men, sex is a both physically and emotionally vulnerable situation (whether we want to call it a casual encounter or not). For most women, getting to the point where we can truly trust someone enough to be that vulnerable doesn't happen with everyone we meet.

To a point, you're right but I also think the required degree of trust varies a lot depending on one's idea of a satisfactory encounter is.

Sex can be a remarkably distant and un-intimate activity (is that even a word?) that involves very little sharing or connection. For instance, I'm not sure trust is a huge factor in casual sex - in fact that may be part of the "thrill" for some people - the knowledge that they're taking a risk with someone they *don't* trust. Women are not as big risk takers as men on average but that doesn't mean there aren't women who do enjoy risk (or who don't prize relationships).

To my mind, the trust that exists in a close relationship is what makes sex more enjoyable than it would be with someone one felt less close to, but that probably just explains why I've stayed married all these years.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 02:24 PM

Beautiful, beautiful comment htom. Wow.

"Sex (lust) and sex (love) and sex (play) are each great, flames to warm your soul. Any two, together, are a nuclear explosion. All three together is a stellar ignition. People who've experienced the second are hard to convince of the existence of the third, but it's there."

I'm glad to hear it. I've been cycling through a few dates lately that went nowhere recently. There has been so little sparkage that I start to doubt th existence of the 2nd category, much less the 3rd, haha!

(I've met three people in the last 2-3 months that caught my attention and went NOWHERE: a twinge with one person on three dates, but it never developed; nothing at all with another, and a meeting of the minds but no sparkage in the third. I don't expect to meet the love of my life more than once--if ever--but believing there's something wonderful simmering within most of us just waiting for the right combination is starting to sound a bit far-fetched). :P

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 02:28 PM

The above sounds more complaining than I intended it to. I'm not so much discouraged as kinda surprised and puzzled. It's rather frustrating to meet someone and say, "ooh! Interesting!" ...only to find out upon a minimum of closer inspection that there's absolutely nothing there after all. Weird...

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 02:31 PM

"...a twinge with one person on three dates, but it never developed..."

Passive voice, FbL? What were you expecting "it" to do? :)

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2010 02:36 PM

FWIW, I didn't fall head over heels with my husband right away.

In fact, over the years I've noticed a curious thing: the friends who ended up mattering most have almost invariably been ones who didn't make much of an impression on me to begin with. IOW, I didn't feel some kind of instant connection, and I wasn't struck by some bolt from on high telling me that person was destined to be important to me.

Most of the strongest connections I've formed with others just sort of snuck up on me.

Not sure why, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. I have always somewhat distrusted passing enthusiasms. I think I feel as though they can't possibly be based on anything substantive, since I haven't had time to learn what really matters about the person.

That's kind of funny in a way b/c I'm not exactly the most cautious person in the world.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 3, 2010 02:44 PM

LOL! Yes, sloppy writing. I was trying to not take too long and get into details.

Point is, I thought there was mutual attraction, but there wasn't, or else my attraction to him wasn't as strong as I initially thought. That better? :P

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 02:49 PM

Good point, Cassandra. I've had the attitude that it takes awhile to know either way, but in the cases I was referncing, I didn't have the opportunity to find out.

I suspect I may be the type it has to sneak up on, since I'm pretty cautious and am always surprised by someone's attentions. In high school I spent my freshman years running in the same circle (including choir trips) as a senior boy whom I don't think I ever noticed until the last few months of school. Ended up with the most awful crush on him (went to "prom" with him, though we never really dated) and still think of him fondly. It always amazed me that I had never noticed him before...

But I've had a couple friendships with guys that went off like a house afire (on a purely platonic level) and I guess I've been hoping to find that same initial spark in a romantic interest.

Then again, I may have no idea what I really want, haha! ;) Being friends with guys is easier. :P

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 03:05 PM

What I meant by the question about passive voice, FbL, wasn't a critique of your writing; I wondered whether your writing was reflective of your thinking. Cass occasionally makes the point, which I think is a good one, that keeping the spark in marriage requires positive efforts by both parties. It seems to me that, if you want a spark before marriage, it might be that you can create one.

Of course, you'd have to decide that you do want one. Still, there's this notion that people have that they have to be attracted first; it doesn't really have to work that way. If someone is otherwise a good match, you can build a flame even if you don't 'feel it' to start with, using the same techniques as you can use to build one with a spouse when life has made you grow apart.

Cass makes the point that many people who've mattered most to her were people who didn't matter at first; it snuck up on her. I've had that experience too. (In fact, my wife did not initially strike me as someone I'd want to spend an hour with, let alone a week or a lifetime... but that changed.)

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2010 03:45 PM

Again, I just want to get to the point of a first date. Those that I am interested in don't seem to be interested in me. Is it how I present myself? It is my physical appearance? Am I too old for the men I'm interested in (men my age getting much younger women seems epidemic...)?

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 3, 2010 03:49 PM

Spice (38 years has seemed like seconds) I knew for several years before our first date. (Although as I've told here other times, others thought it was love at first sight, just that neither of us knew it!) I first met her several years after my final separation from my first star-lady.

Old Sun, too, was an acquaintance who slowly became entangled in my life, over eighteen months or so. We lived together then for not quite a year, were almost going to get married when I was told I was going to be drafted. ... We parted as friends, but with no other commitments, when I left for MCRD/SD. She wanted to wait for me, I wanted her to be free. (Mostly I think I wanted her not to worry about having to write a "Dear John" letter to me if she found someone else -- or maybe I just didn't want to get one; mankind is the rationalizing animal.) I promised to look her up when I got out of the Corps, and did.

We'd both changed, and changed separately from not being together over those changes. Good or ill, or good and ill, we found that we didn't have what we'd had, and after a wonderful month together, parted again as friends forever, but not staying in touch, unless one of us needed something from the other.

She married a couple of months later (a guy she'd been dating on and off for several years.) I've heard third hand that she's a grandmother, professionally successful, and that her first child she named Tom. From the timing, not my child.

FbL, I wish I could point you at your perfect mate. All I can say is to look at those who laugh with you. Laughter is the glue that holds us together when the pain of the world strikes.

Posted by: htom at August 3, 2010 03:51 PM

Thanks for clarifying, Grim. You're right, of course. In the case I mentioned, I honestly wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to pursue. And yeah, I probably get a bit too passive in such cases, initially.

Between what Grim wrote and what htom wrote... reminded me of a great guy I met and had dinner with, during which we talked for 3.5 hours and laughed and covered a wide range of topics. We've directly communicated that we're not the right type for each other but are very enthusiastic about being friends. Thing is, he's got all sorts of qualities I appreciate and for HIM I'd consider offering "encouragement," even though I feel absolutely no sparks. But the truth is I wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole right now (not a matter of personal preference but of intelligent decision in light of his current situation). And I'm honestly not remotely his type.

Ah, life! ;) LIke I said, that there really is so much simmering that just needs to connect with the right person... I'm honestly and happily amazed it happens for anyone. :)

Posted by: FbL at August 3, 2010 04:10 PM

Neither Spice nor Old Sun were anywhere close to "my type", which I had a very good idea of, having programmed the university's computer-date matching software -- and had it search for dates for me. All of which were nearly perfect matches for "my type", ranked in order of how I fit with them desires, and those dates were all horrible failures, hilarious at times to the bystanders. It was a running joke for a few months, until I just abandoned the attempt.

Actually, closely matching "type" or "ideal" turns out not to be a very good predictor to use for computer dating, for either short or long term happiness. A few common interests, a few disagreeing interests, works better. I suspect it's because if the date is too close to the desired image, we spend too much attention on the remaining or small differences, and not enough paying attention to that other human for their own sake.

Thinking back, I don't think there were ever even flames with any of those computer dates. Well, not the desirable kinds of flames.

Posted by: htom at August 3, 2010 04:34 PM

Musings while waiting to turn the cake.

Lust, love, play. That's hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. Presumably Mr. Lizard there in the back is very easily satisfied, even if the love and play partner is not the exact ideal he'd choose as a lust object. (Hmm, perhaps the ideal he'd like is not so well expressed by the forebrain? A little conflict, there, guys?) Mr. Lizard, of course, has non-verbal ways of expressing himself, which is how I decided on my "type". That, however would leave the other two out of the equation, which would explain the hopelessness of my computer dating plot! (I had no access to the ladies' lizard brain preferences.)

The baking is for the National Night Out Block Party; an orange Bundt cake, with orange-lemon glaze and sugared zest; and gluten-free vegan vanilla cupcakes with mocha frosting.

Posted by: htom at August 3, 2010 05:29 PM

"No one knows what they're getting into when they marry because dating and living together aren't the same as marriage"

one of the truest quotes ever.....and we are still together after 26 years married...and several years before

Posted by: suntiger at August 4, 2010 06:37 AM

"No one knows what they're getting into when they marry because dating and living together aren't the same as marriage"
Oh so true, indeed. If Old Sun and I had married before I left, as we thought about doing, we would have changed anyway (probably differently) and who knows where we would have ended up?

Spice and I set a date, then postponed it for a quarter century, because we saw so many who'd been as happy as we were getting married and then having bitter divorces a year or three later (and sometimes with kids to fight over.) :( We really didn't want to end up like that, and wondered if the cause might not be the act of getting married, that once married, they took their partner for granted, and so if we didn't marry, that couldn't happen. Or at least it didn't.

The advice I hand out, when asked, is "Once the topic emerges between the two of you, or even just in your own mind, you're both already sliding down the slope to change. Know that having sex with someone will change your relationship; know also that not having sex with them will also change your relationship; for better or for worse, it has changed already by asking the question, even just in your own mind. You have, now, a new relationship with that person, and you have to find the path to make it as good as possible for both of you. With love and care, you can have both friend and lover, but you can, even easier, end up with neither friend nor lover."

Posted by: htom at August 4, 2010 10:40 AM

c/and you have to find/and together you have to find/

Posted by: htom at August 4, 2010 10:44 AM

To the first thread: I think both partners should be virgins, partly because of my moral beliefs and partly because of the STD rates today. If the Goose is supposed to be pure, then so should the Gander.

Real world, I'm not going to dump an otherwise fine person if he tells me that he's sampled around in the past. However, in that case I am going to ask if he's been tested. But he has to tell me - I'm not going to inquire. I also acknowledge that there is a double standard for guys vs. girls and I think it stinks.

Posted by: LittleRed1 at August 4, 2010 02:35 PM

Thinking back, most of the initial sparks were from seeing someone I knew, usually well enough, or almost well enough, to call a friend, in some "new light". Some kind of new circumstance. A different light in her hair, swirl of skirt, skipping down stairs, smile in her eyes at something, kiss on the cheek, a couple of steps of a dance ... and all of a sudden, Spark! (at least for me!) The sexual attraction was in addition to a bunch of other connections, and I couldn't always figure out what it had been.

Didn't always do anything with those sparks, for any number of good or bad reasons, and they were rarely mutual at that moment (and often not mutual, period.) But they were almost always an "Oh! Look! Want!" kind of thing, not planned or expected or anticipated or even desired. I don't remember ever feeling one upon meeting someone; maybe after a couple of hours. I talked with Spice almost daily, about all kinds of things, we worked on dorm projects together, wrote All University Committee reports, so many things, for several years, and then I opened the door to the dorm for her one evening, again, and Bang!

Posted by: htom at August 4, 2010 09:15 PM

Sometimes you can tell about a guy that he believes his own sexual contact with a woman degrades her. In that case, he probably also thinks that sexual contact with other men has degraded her. But he thinks that he himself has not been degraded by the same act. And then you know he's a hopeless case and you just have to stay away from him -- his views on all kinds of important things are going to be a mess.

That's not to say that prior sexual contact is unimportant. Someone pointed out above that women tend more easily to form affectionate attachments to their sexual partners, which in my experience is true as a trend, though of course it's not universal. If she's had a number of disappointing experiences in which she attached strongly and her partner did not, she often has learned to detach emotionally from sex. She may have to unlearn that detachment.

Men, for whatever reason, either start out more detached or are quickly trained into it, and they have to unlearn it, too, in order to find happiness in marriage. Maybe it's harder if they're both unlearning it at the same time. I suppose this is an argument for its being more dangerous for the woman to have a lot of sexual experience than for the man to have done so. At least one of them needs to have retained the roadmap for connecting sex and intimacy.

Then sometimes both he and she, no matter how many partners each have had, still know that sex and intimacy go together, and it's no problem at all.

As for experience and skill -- I've never known experience to lead to skill. I believe it's generosity and attention that lead to skill.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 5, 2010 10:41 AM

As for experience and skill -- I've never known experience to lead to skill. I believe it's generosity and attention that lead to skill.

I couldn't agree more. That was what I was trying to imply earlier, but I essentially danced around the subject due to my own discomfort.

Whether one is talking kissing or more involved pursuits, I never noticed any correlation whatsoever between a guy's experience level and his skill. Men have a general tendency to systemize things - to think that most anything can be reduced to a predictable set of steps that will lead to success.

That's what the whole PUA thing is, essentially.

I've seen a lot of parallels between the PUA nonsense and similar sites that attempt to teach women the same skills. There's a critical difference, though. The womens' sites I've seen attempt to teach women to see things through a guy's eyes (IOW, to understand men, their needs and vulnerabilities, and what they're thinking when they do things that make our heads explode). The idea is to help women see things from the man's perspective so we don't overreact to behavior that puzzles us.

Unlike the PUA phenom, which essentially helps men supposedly "understand" women so they can be more easily controlled/manipulated. The open contempt for (and anger towards) women on those sites is what bothers me so much. There's no attempt to ask whether the way women see life is ever justified or to try to understand why we're the way we are. It's just, "Here's a vulnerability you can exploit/way you can make women do what you want them to. It works because women are weak minded and irrational."

The men who have always impressed me were the ones who no kidding see women as people in our own right and attempt to deal with us as we are. Pretty much the same mind set that makes a man a good partner or lover.

Posted by: Sister Mary Bag O' Metaphors at August 5, 2010 10:59 AM

Whether woman or man, both are easily hurt, knocked unconscious, maimed, or killed. They are also easy to lie to, to detect lying from, and various other common factors.

The issue is identity. Some people attach common or uncommon traits in identifying and profiling the self or other individuals. After studying human weaknesses in mind, spirit, and body, including inflicting, preventing, or healing damage from psychological attacks, sexual experience is no longer the primary identifying mark common to all men and women. It just is not.

For example, some people think race is the only issue with which to profile people. Given their racist votes for Obama and their racist attacks on blacks that don't follow the Democrat plantation line, of course race is their one and only criteria to profile individuals. That doesn't mean it is the only option out there.

It's just, "Here's a vulnerability you can exploit/way you can make women do what you want them to. It works because women are weak minded and irrational."

For people that simply don't know themselves and how vulnerable humans really are to a numberless set of threats, this probably seems very exciting and epiphany filled.

A candle's light can seem to burn as the sun to one that was born and raised in the darkness of ignorance.

That's not to say that prior sexual contact is unimportant. Someone pointed out above that women tend more easily to form affectionate attachments to their sexual partners, which in my experience is true as a trend, though of course it's not universal. If she's had a number of disappointing experiences in which she attached strongly and her partner did not, she often has learned to detach emotionally from sex. She may have to unlearn that detachment.

This reminds me of Patty Hearst and her husband, which, not coincidentally, was one of the bodyguards involved in her rescue.

For most weak and insecure beta males, they would have either seen her as damaged goods or as meat to be preyed upon, maybe for her money. While the money is good, I would have to say, I also make note that the importance of being useful shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to male perspectives on women. At a certain point, there's this realization that you could stay and help her rebuild herself, a role nobody else can do as good as you nor supplant you in. Along with that realization comes the idea that you can also benefit, thus an alliance of mutual interests.

The idea of use them and lose them, however, doesn't think in terms of long term alliances. It thinks in terms of betrayals, backstabs, and short term gains. These are the people who would rather make 10 new enemies, just to kill off their one old enemy. They don't admit it to themselves. They just tell themselves that it was the right thing to do under the circumstances. That they had no other choice. But they did.

Men, for whatever reason, either start out more detached or are quickly trained into it, and they have to unlearn it,

Another thing I am reminded of. Prison guards are taught to block off emotion and treat dealing with inmates like inanimate objects. This type training was meant to prevent them from bonding with inmates or being emotionally manipulated or hurt. However, they carry that into the bedroom as well. Because they were never taught the difference between social and asocial and how to flip between. They were just taught, by rote memorization, some motions to go through. Force of habit ensured that they couldn't break it. Even when they got home to the wife. Which is why they got divorced.

That also reminds me of a certain staff sergeant that works in intelligence, interrogating suspects involved in drugs, Latin America, Kosovo, and other regions of note. He said that fellow associates often had to block off the normal socialization bonds, instead imitate them in order to win the confidence of the subject. Then brutally sever such bonds when expedient, to get info or goods or to manipulate the subject. Some of them had personality disassociation from such. Others were well integrated, relatively speaking.

Experience is a neutral term. It can mean good or bad things, good or bad actions, good or bad results. Skill, however, is a specific meaning centered around doing something well. But experiences can be negative or positive. It is not necessarily a good experience for the person or the people involved with the person.

Getting back to the main point, it's not hard to manipulate people. So why is it so exciting to understand how to manipulate women? It's like knowing that they have milk producing glands while men have external genitalia, is somehow a philosophical revelation, an Eureka. Why is it a philosophical revelation to know that human knees behind backwards while birds bend forwards? Why is it so special. All you need to know is that depending on how the knee bends, you can break it by forcing it to move several degrees beyond its natural angle of flexion.

That is neither special nor deserving of a Eureka. Skill involves productive use of such knowledge to further a goal. Somebody taking advantage of the knee's natural biological limitations, by accident or for no good reason, does not have "skill". They did not do it right. They didn't even know they did it. They don't know why they did it. They don't know what they are doing it for.

You will have to look up Patty Heart's specific experiences. Her circumstances are unique, but only if you aren't aware of what is actually going on in the world vis a vis terrorist and communist movements. I have particular reasons why I don't like relating them personally by hand.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 12:00 PM

Sometimes you can tell about a guy that he believes his own sexual contact with a woman degrades her.

That's a good point, Tex. There's two elements as I see it that people judge value. They judge a person's value based upon their rank in the social hierarchy. Beautiful women, thus, have higher value because the competition, other men, pay them more attention. This is classified in social hierarchies as "having more rank". Crowds don't cluster around to pay attention to the flunkies or janitors, you know. The second element of people judge a person's worth is based upon internal value. What does that personal have that is of especial rarity that can be made use of if acquired. This can include beauty, in the sense of a trophy wife. It can be intelligence or skills or wealth or connections.

The argument seems to be that virgins have both intrinsic and extrinsic value of a high order. Because they are rare in modern society, they have the value of "rarity". Also, intrinsically they have a lack of experience, which may mean they are easier to dupe, manipulate, or will lack experience to make informed judgments to contest the will of her older partner. So it is a power issue. There is an intrinsic worth in being in a relationship with somebody you know you have power over. It's known as an addiction similar to adrenaline addiction, wealth addiction, and sex addiction. Usually serial mass rapist-murderers have a conglomeration of such traits all put together in a nice little meat eating package (Kazinszky).

However, in judging intrinsic value, humans tend to look inwards on themselves rather than outwards on what society deems important. So some people value fat on women, because of something they intrinsically value and ignores society's expectation that fat is bad. A person, then, that values himself over all others, who values experience for the power it has, would naturally wish to keep his tools from being experienced. For fear that the slaves will rebel should they have a lesson on tactics and weapons use.

Modern politicians have really finessed this inclination to its logical conclusion. To all of our benefits, obviously.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 12:15 PM

For me it's simpler. I believe it's necessary to loathe oneself in order to believe that your intimate contact with another person degrades that person.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 5, 2010 04:40 PM

Texan99 -- I've known some of those people (forced association through employment or church) and they decidedly do not loathe themselves; self-love approaching narcissism is how I'd describe them. My face is wrinkling up just remembering them, as if they smelled of skunk or decaying corpse. They are loathsome, though, and their touch might well contaminate. Maybe they see others as they themselves are, as if reflected? Psychological projection?

I don't want to seem to be advocating pre-marital intercourse; I am sure (from other discussions) that virgin couples can attain the heights I described. They might take longer ... but then they might not be delayed along the way. Different paths to the same heights. The mind is the most important sexual organ, sharing that with your partner may be the key "trick" involved.

Posted by: htom at August 5, 2010 06:35 PM

Whether these poor souls loathe or love themselves may depend what you mean by "loathing" and "self love." The brittle kind of self-obsession that afflicts narcissists is not what I'd call the opposite of self-loathing. If a guy thinks less of a woman because he's had intimate contact with her, he may think he's the center of the universe, but he doesn't fundamentally believe he's valuable. His touch defiles, is the message at the root of that weird attitude. That may render him important and powerful, but not admirable or lovable.

I can't think when I've ever run across a woman who thought less of a man because she had touched him intimately. This seems to be a trap set almost exclusively for men, but I have no idea why.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 5, 2010 06:54 PM

But women do think less of other women for such.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 07:14 PM

"...but I have no idea why."

For this cause: the kind of man who feels that way is one who does not want to be 'trapped' by a woman; and now this woman, who before was free of such capacities, is in the category of women who might trap him. Thus she is now wicked and dangerous, whereby before she was clean and pure from harm; and how has she been corrupted? By her passage from someone he has not slept with, to someone he has.

We refer to this sort of man in several disparaging ways, where I come from. Of course, where I come from no longer exists.

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2010 08:06 PM

Of course, where I come from no longer exists.

Only in the sense that the past does not exist in the present. It is simply changed, not gone. Changed for good or ill, however, is another issue.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 09:32 PM

Grim -- there's a lot of that place I miss, too. There were some bad parts that may be well gone ... but we seem to have added still more of them, as well as getting rid of some of the good ones. :( On balance, not a change for the better. Since this is a perennial complaint about changes in society, thirty centuries ago, this planet must have been a paradise!

Posted by: htom at August 5, 2010 10:13 PM

Since this is a perennial complaint about changes in society, thirty centuries ago, this planet must have been a paradise!

If you lived in a starship in orbit that could drop kinetic asteroids on any place you deemed fit, yeah.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2010 10:22 PM

"Gay Deceiver, HOME!"

Posted by: htom at August 6, 2010 08:56 AM

"GayDeceiverHOME!"

Posted by: htom at August 6, 2010 08:57 AM

That's an interesting story. You should post a link to one of the newer threads so people can read it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2010 03:45 PM

Posted by: david foster at August 8, 2010 09:56 AM

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