Category Archives: Bedroom
I had a dream about a girl. It wasn’t that kind of a dream. It was about a reasonably well-known woman befriending me and talking me up to other people as a guy worth knowing.
The next morning when I woke up, I instinctively figured it was a dream. I looked it up and much to my surprise, it turned out that it wasn’t a dream. She mentioned me positively on her website.
Then I woke up again and it turned out that the previous wake-up was itself part of the dream. I didn’t bother going on the web to confirm.
I had a dream last night – bear with me, this is not just a post about my “weird dream” – that I was out somewhere and there were these cute baby goats. I kept trying to take a picture of the baby goats with my phone but the camera on my phone just wouldn’t work. I never got a picture of the goats and, in fact, even said to myself “There are no goats. This is a dream.” right before I woke up.
But the goats aren’t the important part. The camera is. As it happens, I’ve been having some difficulty with my camera phone lately. So the problems in the dream were not usual or off-the-wall. But I’ve had this dream before. This is the first time it has involved goats, but my inability to take a picture has become a recurring thing.
I wonder if anyone else has had that happen in a dream. Or more than one. And if so, what that might be tapping into.
Collective dreams are not that uncommon. A lot of people have dreams of losing their teeth, showing up naked, or that class that you’ve never studied for and there is a test. That last one is of particular interest because it is the most situation or society specific. Losing teeth is one of the oldest problems in the history of problems. Being naked goes back to whenever we first started wearing clothes. But school? As a universal thing? In the greater scheme of things, that’s pretty recent. Yet our collective subconscious has adapted it into an exemplar of unpreparadness.
These social dreams are interesting because they don’t appear to be something we get from one another. It’s not that we hear about someone having a dream about X and our subconscious says “Ohhhh, that’s a good way to rag myself over lack of preparedness.” A lot of us have these dreams for really long times before realizing that other people are dreaming them.
Do any of you have dreams involving cameras or other modern inventions malfunctioning?
In the last week, Vice, New York magazine and, for some reason, Bride magazine have all opened up on open relationships. There was the piece in The Post titled “It’s time to rethink cheating in marriage.” Barcroft TV in April brought us “POLY TRIAD: I’M DIVORCING MY HUSBAND SO WE CAN MARRY OUR GIRLFRIEND.” And The New York Times Magazine had an extended exploration of the subject called “Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?”
Not to ruin the ending, but no one who read that article came away thinking the answer was yes.
The Times piece focused mostly on a couple named Elizabeth and Daniel. He asked her to open their marriage; she said no. Years later, she became attracted to another man and decided she was into the open marriage thing after all. Without discussing it with Daniel, Elizabeth started a full-on affair. When Daniel expressed pain over the arrangement, she refused to end it.
Sounds amazing. Why aren’t more people into this?
I’m trying not to feel a sense of smug superiority regarding Daniel’s fate here. But it’s just too perfect.
There has been something kind of weird going on with this lately. A lot more writing lately on unboxing marriage. A natural consequence of winning the SSM is that liberals don’t need to pretend to value marriage like conservatives Except One Thing? Or is this mostly Fake Trend Stuff?
I’m not sure it matters that much. These ideas aren’t really new and they have failed to gain traction in the past for reasons. I’m mostly surprised they haven’t managed to tie it in to SSM more than they have (“What straight couples can learn from openly married gay couples!”
I used to think being gay was wrong. I supposed that if you asked me, I would have said “being gay” wasn’t wrong, but “choosing to live as a gay person” was. I’m not sure I made that distinction at the time. I also thought it was appropriate for the state to encode its objection against homosexuality in its laws. While I probably would not have supported outlawing gay sex or instituting/continuing a formal program against gays, I believed the state shouldn’t offer any protections to gay people as gay people.
For example: In 1992 (I was 18 then), Cibolia had an amendment up for consideration by voters that would have invalidated then existing civil rights protections for gay people. These were laws that Danvar and a couple other cities had adopted to forbid discrimination in housing, hiring, and other practices based on sexual orientation. I supported that amendment, not so much because I bought into the “special rights” argument that amendment supporters invoked. I supported it because I thought such anti-discrimination laws meant the state “legitimized” and therefore implicitly recognized that being gay was acceptable. (For the record, the amendment passed and was overturned by the US Supreme Court 4 years later, the first of a string of decisions written by Justice Kennedy that led to Obergefell.)
My views then made up an almost textbook case of “bigoted position.” I can see that now. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I didn’t see that then. It took me a long time to change my mind on such issues.
The principal reasons I changed my mind were the following, in descending order of importance:
1. I noticed a pretty strong disjuncture between the Lockean idea of consent of the governed and the need for civil liberties with laws restricting gay rights.
2. As I grew up and from a variety of personal experiences and revelations, I came to have more empathy for gay persons.
3. Gay rights activists forced me to try to justify and rethink my position.
No. 3 was in last place for a reason, and in my opinion, was the least important for my conversion. My anti-gay views at the time certainly had a hearing at Cibolia State University, but it was a minority view there. I don’t think I ever voiced it, in part because the pro-gay rights position, as I heard it, was of the shaming sort, similar to what we find in Sam Wilkinson’s post Over There. It wasn’t uncommon to hear any objection to gay rights be answered with “why are you insecure about your sexuality?” or with a lecture about how Ancient Greeks thought homosexuality was good, so we should, too.
One thing the activists accomplished, however, was to compel me to justify, at least to myself, why I opposed gay rights. The stark reasons I mention in the first paragraph of this post solidified as my own answers to activists’ positions. As later events challenged and undermined those reasons, I began to see them as I see them now, as bigoted positions.
Perhaps my position would have changed sooner if the activists had tried to engage people like me more empathetically than they did. Perhaps not. But I realize that the goal of such activism isn’t necessarily to change my or anyone else’s mind or to honor my position on the matter. It could be to rally those who already agree, or to marginalize a certain position as bigoted or beyond the pale. In 1992, it was probably as much of a defensive posture as anything. Matthew Sheppard’s murder still hadn’t happened yet. And not only was Cibolia State University very close to where the murder would happen, it wasn’t a comfortable place to be gay or to support gay rights despite what seemed to me at the time to be the majority pro-gay rights view. There was one story of a person wearing a “straight but not narrow” button being physically assaulted, assuming I’m remembering things right.
Even now, in 2015, the righteous, crusading, vengeful tone we see in Sam’s post is probably not wholly about righteousness, crusading, and vengeance. It’s still probably not safe to be openly gay, regardless of what the Supreme Court says about the right to marry. Still, perhaps that tone ill serves the cause, as several on that thread, including Will and Mr. Blue from Hitcoffee, have tried to note there.
James DiMaggio is at large with an unrelated, kidnapped 16-year-old , after murdering her mother and (probably) her 8-year-old brother. His ex-wife says he was obsessed with Everquest, and hung around the girl’s mother as a nonsexual friend:
DiMaggio’s former wife, who was married to him for only six months, said he didn’t show any violent tendencies during that period, but instead was a “nerdy” guy who showed a keen interest in video games, in particular, the game “Everquest.”
“I would complain about the virtual reality game he would play all night. It was ridiculous. It was consuming him. It was addictive,” the ex-wife, who wished to remain anonymous, told HLN’s Nancy Grace.
“He is not a materialistic person, and he’s very resourceful,” she said.
The suspect’s ex-wife added that she did not believe there was a romantic relationship between DiMaggio and the slain woman, describing their relationship as a “brother-sister type of deal.”
So here, we have a middle-aged man who is unsuccessful both romantically and financially. He was hanging around a family as a platonic “uncle,” where no man was present. He did them frequent favors, such as driving the attractive teenage daughter to her gymnastics practices. It should have been obvious he was after sex from someone there.
“He said he had a crush on her, but didn’t mean it in an intimate way,” 15-year-old Marissa Chavez toldThe San Diego Union-Tribune. “He said, ‘If I was your age, I’d date you.'”
The comment made the girls uneasy, Marissa added.
She said DiMaggio took Hannah to Hollywood for a week-long “Sweet 16” birthday celebration. The trip was cut short, however, because DiMaggio became upset about the amount of time Hannah spent on her cellphone.
“After that she never responded to his texts and e-mails,” Marissa told the San Diego newspaper.
It sounds as if the family made a couple of common mistakes. First, they were down on their luck financially. So, they were probably eager to accept help, and less likely to critique DiMaggio’s motives. When people are needy, predators sense it.
The second problem I call the “Beemus Illusion,” after my own former immature, older male friend who weaseled into young women’s lives by playing the nonsexual big brother role, then had tantrums and blowups when we didn’t want to have sex with him. In order to label a guy like DiMaggio appropriately, a woman has to make a socially disapproved assessment — even privately — of a friendly-acting male as a loser. Easy for me to do it from behind a keyboard. But when it mattered in my own life, I was reluctant. When I finally did, other people got mad at me. You can see the same illusion in effect with the kidnapped girl’s father — he talked about what a great guy DiMaggio was, how he “obviously just lost it.” No one wants to see the warning signs.
I like to think I wouldn’t fall for it now. When you’re a parent, you’re not supposed to take chances. In the Boy Scouts, the rule is never have fewer than two approved adults alone with a kid. That’s a common rule now for children’s activities. And normal adults don’t like to hang out alone with unrelated children. It sounds like torture to spend a week alone in Hollywood with some friend’s teenaged son or daughter.
My oldest son is old enough where I’m supposed to talk about “stranger danger” with him. This is what I’m telling him: Normal adults don’t talk to kids they don’t know unless it’s their job. And they don’t ask kids for help when they’re alone, they ask them to go get an adult. Normal adults also don’t tell kids their private business. I wish my parents had been clearer about this. For instance, when I told my normally strict dad that “My (male) English teacher is picking me up this weekend for an art show,” why where there no follow-up questions? And we thought it was so cool when he talked in class about his ex-girlfriends, even the one who committed suicide.
ThinkProgress cites a study that points out that Evangelical kids have premarital sex in similar numbers to everybody else: 80% for Evangelicals, 88% for heathens.
Both ED Kain and Russell Saunders, along with TP itself, cite the study as a case against Abstinence-Only education (AOE). As a practical matter, I am not a big fan of AOE. My wife Clancy and I do not intend to go that route and if our local school does, we will fill in the gaps ourselves. The only real area of disagreement between us, really, is how in depth we want to get (do we stop at the mot proven methods, or do we go over everything?). The clinical stuff will be hers; the psychological stuff will be mine.
Having said all of this, I don’t see this report as necessarily being more than just a poke in the eye of the self-righteous. There is also the assumption among many that we can count on the religious folks to forgo contraception either due to (a) lack of sex-ed and (b) the religious implications. It’s an assumption that is not foreign to me. Putting my mind in that of a religious person (I am a half-lapsed Episcopalian, a weak version of weak sauce), I can easily imagine an aversion to bringing a condom along or taking contraception because that makes the sex worse than just sex, it makes it premeditated sex. It might be easier to ask God for forgiveness for the heat of the moment, but might be harder to explain to God why you were so prepared for it. Also, Catholics and contraception (though the more Catholics I get to know, the less I find that this is really an issue – even among the devout). I don’t even have to imagine much of this because I can draw on my experience living among a fair number of these people.
However, the data doesn’t necessarily support that conclusion. According to the Add Health Study, very religious teens are within 10% of being as likely as the irreligious when it comes to using contraception (58% to 65%). If we consider the 8% difference between those who have sex and do not have sex to be on the irrelevant side of things, we have to view the 7% differential on contraception in the same light. The difference between those who use contraception the first time is only 1% different.
Now, the Add Health numbers and the numbers in the original article are not exactly measuring the same thing. For one thing, Add Health is looking at religiosity more than what the brand of religion is. So a self-described Evangelical who only attends church once a week would count as irreligious but a Unitarian who attends every week would be considered very religious. From the perspective of what we’re looking at, though, neither source is much more valuable than the other. Anybody can call themselves an Evangelical. The numbers for self-described Evangelicals is not necessarily indicative of the devout ones that keep their children sheltered. The TNC numbers are also looking at young adults while the Add Health numbers are looking at teenagers. If the discussion is sex ed, I think the latter numbers (which show a 15% differential in sex among whites) are probably more valuable.
However, even if we assume that there is relative parity between the religious freaks and the heathens, whether sex has occurred is really only part of the story. When did it occur? With what frequency? It’s entirely possible (and reasonable to believe, given the two sets of numbers we’re looking at) that the religious folks are starting later. It’s also not necessarily unreasonable to believe that they might have fewer partners are fewer instances, which can have other benefits down the line.
Sex is not necessarily a switch that one turns on, inviting a torrent of potential negative repercussions all at once once flipped. Just as contraception reduces the risk of pregnancy, so do partner reduction and instance reduction. Now, maybe this reduction is not occurring at all. Maybe they’re just a bunch of hypocrites. But the TNC numbers do not shed might light on this. Instead, we (and my initial response was no different) look at the numbers and assume a sort of boolean variable with all other things being equal (except contraception, which we assume is not equal because we know how those religious freaks are about contraception).
None of this is to say that Abstinence-Only education is a good idea. I am rather skeptical of the notion that a middle-aged teacher putting a condom on a banana is going to make teenagers all hot and bothered (I actually question the degree to which kids would listen in any event, because they are much more savvy than we, the ones who “just don’t get it”). I do think that an opt-out is reasonable, and I think the resistance to Abstinence-Plus is based more on philosophical tribalism rather than real pragmatism.
One of the reasons I do think that AOE is a losing battle, though, is because whether sex is in the classroom or not, it’s virtually everywhere else in as public a spectacle as the FCC will allow. This is one of the reasons that devout Christians often try to pull a curtain to the rest of the world. When I lived in Mormonland, I sort of rolled my eyes at the cottage industry of avoid-secular-society movies and entertainment that they lined up for their kids. But really, that has as much to do with my religious inclinations than good parenting or bad. Evangelicals and Mormons have a sub-culture to retreat to. We don’t. If we did, it might not be all that unattractive an option.
Spiritual women are more promiscuous than are non-spiritual women. The study differentiated between “spiritual” and “religious” and though the article focuses on spirituality, the pecking order seems to be spiritual over non-spiritual, irreligious over religious. Their theory:
“Believing one is intimately tied to other human beings and that interconnectedness and harmony are indispensible may lead one to believe sexual intimacy possesses a divine or transcendent quality in itself,” Burris writes. “In fact, ascribing sacred qualities to sex has been positively associated with positive affective reactions to sex, frequency of sex, and number of sexual partners among university students.”
I have an alternative theory.
Being an atheist is undemanding but also unpopular and for a lot of people unfulfilling. Being a member of an organized religious provides you with a packaged set of beliefs but comes with a bunch of rules you have to follow. Call yourself “spiritual” and not “religious” and you can do whatever the heck you want with less in the way of social consequences and you can find meaning in whatever the heck you want to find meaning in. So if it feels good you can make it not about feeling good but about connectedness and all that jazz. The rules are typically more generous when you make them up as you go along. You get gratification from all ends.
That these people would correlate highly with people that engage in promiscuous, unprotected sex is hardly a surprise.
After a tense and heartwarming discussion with Clancy, we came to the conclusion that we should get a second clock. My lack of a clock has been well-documented on this site and it was finally decided that enough is enough. The conversation went something like this:
Clancy: My alarm clock isn’t waking me up in the morning anymore.
Me: I don’t know what your problem is. Whenever it goes off I have to go to the other room while you hit the snooze button for an hour.
Clancy: Yeah, but lately I don’t even have to hit the snooze button. I just sleep through it.
Me: Hmmm. Well we have the lights come on and the alarm go off. What more can we do for you?
Clancy: Get a louder alarm clock.
Me: Can I have your old one?
Of course, I haven’t been able to plug my new alarm clock in or anything silly like that. But it does make a good cell phone alarm holder until I can get a new extention cord.
One step at a time, here.