Here’s a tongue twister and a mind bender.
How many people has the person you sleep with slept with?
Probably far more than you think.
This story from across the pond:
The average British man or woman has slept with 2.8 million people — albeit indirectly, according to figures released on Wednesday to promote awareness of sexual health.A British pharmacy chain has launched an online calculator which helps you work out how many partners you have had, in the sense of exposure to risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).
The “Sex Degrees of Separation” ready reckoner tots up the numbers based on your number of partners, then their previous partners, and their former lovers, and so on for six “generations” of partners.
The average British man claims to have actually slept with nine people, while women put the figure at 6.3, giving an average of 7.65.
“When we sleep with someone, we are, in effect, not only sleeping with them, but also their previous partners and their partners’ previous partners, and so on,” said Clare Kerr, head of sexual health at Lloydspharmacy.
“It’s important that people understand how exposed they are to STIs and take appropriate precautions including using condoms and getting themselves checked out where appropriate.”
What about cutting back on your number of sexual partners to – say – ONE? Wouldn’t that fix the problem? Sheeeeesh. And we wonder why STDs are taking over the world. There are some STDs – herpes, gential warts, etc – that condoms cannot prevent.
Six degrees of sexual separation makes for a mighty big orgy. People say we need health care reform in America. I think a big shot of chastity would be a good start.
This, folks, is an example of why David Brooks is one of the best and most insightful writers out there today.
Once upon a time — in what we might think of as the “Happy Days” era — courtship was governed by a set of guardrails. Potential partners generally met within the context of larger social institutions: neighborhoods, schools, workplaces and families. There were certain accepted social scripts. The purpose of these scripts — dating, going steady, delaying sex — was to guide young people on the path from short-term desire to long-term commitment.
Over the past few decades, these social scripts became obsolete. They didn’t fit the post-feminist era. So the search was on for more enlightened courtship rules. You would expect a dynamic society to come up with appropriate scripts. But technology has made this extremely difficult. Etiquette is all about obstacles and restraint. But technology, especially cellphone and texting technology, dissolves obstacles. Suitors now contact each other in an instantaneous, frictionless sphere separated from larger social institutions and commitments…
This does not mean that young people today are worse or shallower than young people in the past. It does mean they get less help. People once lived within a pattern of being, which educated the emotions, guided the temporary toward the permanent and linked everyday urges to higher things. The accumulated wisdom of the community steered couples as they tried to earn each other’s commitment.
Today there are fewer norms that guide in that way. Today’s technology seems to threaten the sort of recurring and stable reciprocity that is the building block of trust.
Take my advice and read the full article. It is well worth your time. Get it here.
This from a Yale senior
When asked to investigate issues of sexual culture at Yale, discussion members consistently agreed on one particular problem of campus life: Yalies don’t know how to date. We don’t know how to ask someone out during the day, while sober. We don’t know how to treat someone after a sexual encounter. We don’t know how to balance a hyperactive work life with a serious relationship and friends. Judging from some stories, a substantial portion of the population may not even know enough about basic anatomy to give any kind of pleasure that isn’t pure luck. We’re sure there are some dating-savvy kids out there, we just haven’t met you yet.
No wonder some people get so desperate. Hook-up culture assumes that sloppy, drunken sex every other Saturday night should satiate collegiate hormones for four years.
I wonder how the relational habits students are forming today – in a culture dominated by random hook-ups – will affect their ability to maintain healthy relationships later in life. The divorce of sex and love, not to mention sex and marriage, means that most sexuality is experienced through a haze of inebriation and isolation. It’s directed toward self. The writer hints at this problem, but only in physiological terms. The problem isn’t a lack of education, as she supposes. It’s the lack of love.
Years from now, when these students are married, will they know how to make love to – you know – someone they actually love? Or will their sexuality still be directed toward self, seeking fulfillment through one extra-marital hook-up after another? That’s what I fear will be the case for far too many.
Earlier this term, news came out that some male students at Yale had published an email, describing new young freshman girls in vulgar terms and ranking them according to sexual most wanted list:
University administrators are investigating an anonymous e-mail circulating through the Yale undergraduate community that ranks certain women in the freshman class based on their physical attractiveness.
The e-mail message — which was originally sent from an anonymous e-mail account — came to the attention of administrators and freshman counselors earlier this week after first being circulated among athletic teams and fraternities. Titled “The Preseason Scouting Report,” the message lists the names, hometowns and residential colleges of 53 freshman women, who are organized into categories based on appearance. Some of the names are accompanied by vulgar commentary on the students’ Facebook photos or Facebook profiles.
The e-mail classified the women into several categories, including “sobriety,” “five beers,” “ten beers” and “blackout,” based on perceived degree of desirability. Some are also given “overall grades” of “HIT” or “miss.” (The News obtained the e-mail but is not reprinting it in full to protect the privacy of the students named in the message.)
I was reminded of this controversy from a couple weeks ago when I read a separate story today in the Yale Daily News, which commemorated the 40th anniversary of coeducation at Yale. Check out the paragraph under the heading “Popular Girls.” Some things never change.
The enormously popular Yale course “Biology of Gender and Human Sexuality” (commonly referred to by students as “Porn in the Morn” has been stripped of its status as a science course by the Yale College Science Council. It will no longer meet the undergraduate science distributional requirement.
Yale professor of radiology, William Summers
As a result, professor William Summers has decided to stop teaching the course. From the Yale Daily News:
Last spring, 357 students took the iconic course — mainly freshman and sophomores. Enrollment peaked in 2005 when 546 took “Porn in the Morn.”
That year, Summers had to split the class in two because space wasn’t available for the full 546-student lecture. Summers would lecture the same material twice a day, two days a week.
The next semester, Summers taught “Porn in the Morn” from the auditorium in the Yale Law School, one of the largest lecture spaces on central campus. It was a setting where some students first learned the concept of the G-spot, or first saw an image of a crowning baby (the projection of which on the auditorium screen caused several students to walk out). Summers was known to invoke aliens on his exams, a trope “to suggest that one look at the issue [of sexual dimorphism] without any preconceived assumptions,” he wrote in an e-mail to the News.
Click here for full story.
There are two angles to this story. On one hand, it shows how ridiculously low academic standards have gotten at some of our nation’s top universities. What ever happened to – you know – actual biology, chemistry, and physics? On the other hand, what is a professor of radiology doing teaching a class on human sexuality anyway? What is his motivation? Is this a personal hobby? It’s a bit odd and creepy to me.
I had an acrimonious exchange once with Summers on an unrelated issue while I was at Yale. But never took a class from him. He is known to be quite close to Yale’s president, Richard Levin. And while he may be a fine professor, his notion that examining gender as a social construct and looking at vaginas on PowerPoint makes for a good science education is emblematic of the damage extreme liberalism has done to our higher education system, where academic excellence and morality seem to be in a tandem decline.
Nothin’ like a 4 and 1/2 foot tall grandmother giving a sex talk.
She’s actually teaching a course here this semester.