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Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

The Abstinence Clearinghouse-which I guess is like Publisher’s Clearinghouse, but if you win instead of a million bucks you get no sex?-recently launched a blog, which I of course checked out since I love kitsch. Mostly it’s full of irritating news and eye-rolling slogans (“Free love is pretty expensive!”) but one post in particular actually blew my mind:

I recently received the following email. Thought many of you would enjoy it. Read on–

Installing A Husband…Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance — particularly in the flower and jewelry applications,which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable programs such as NFL 5.0, NBA 3 . 0, and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I’ve tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.

What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate

Then there’s the joke response, which you can surmise if you’ve ever seen a sitcom: “I Thought You Loved Me.exe,” Beer 6.1, Food 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7 all factor in. You probably had this very email forwarded to you by a “friend” in 1997.

This organization is an entire organization devoted solely to convincing young adults (mainly teenage girls) that they should wait until they’re married to give it up. Therefore, I honestly have no idea why they thought it would be a good idea to post this. It would seem that the assumption here is that, once a dude pops your cherry, he immediately turns into Homer Simpson. And then every other post on the site is dedicated to telling you that this is a good thing.

I get that it’s supposed to be a joke-haha, relationship problems that make actual people miserable every day have numbers behind them, like they’re computer programs!-but I think I’d rather keep it under wraps and join the convent if these are my options.

One star for the baffling marriage software post:
★☆☆☆☆

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Let me say this first: I love Planned Parenthood. I think they do great stuff. They provide people, especially women, with health care on a sliding-scale basis. In the midst of an abstinence-only education fueled sea of misinformation, they actually provide factual sexual health info. Many of their clinics provide abortions, which is practically heroic given the current political climate.

About a week ago, they introduced new condoms onto the market in the hopes that women would buy them, carry them, and use them, since evidently men are the ones expected to bring the condoms, and people are having unprotected sex when they don’t. That’s all well and good: even though women already take care of the bulk of birth control, remembering to swallow pills every day, or stick patches or their asses, or get bits of metal stuck in their uteri, or get cozy with their cervices while inserting a rubber thingie and a gallon of spermicidal foam. But encouraging women to continue taking control of their sexuality is still a good thing.

The thing is, though, that PP did it by trying to make condoms fashionable and trendy, calling them “Proper Attire,” and though the tag line “Proper Attire: Required For Entry” makes me giggle because I’m twelve, it’s still stupid. Now they’re the “must-have” accessory for the season. They’re for chic, stylish women. Frankly, more chic, stylish, trendy shit is the very last thing I need. I already have every women’s magazine, advertisement and storefront in the world telling me that THESE jeans are no longer acceptable for wear outside my apartment (oh and also they make my ass look fat), that my handbag has the wrong logo on it (the right one will cost me 4k), or that these shoes may as well be from the 1980s for how out of fashion they are. Condoms do not need to do any of that. Condoms need to keep me from getting knocked up or getting a disease, and I will be happy.

Besides, PP has totally missed the point here. The point is not that condoms aren’t pretty enough or stylish enough, the point is that they’re condoms. They get used for sex, and women are still really squeamish about random Target cashiers knowing they have sex. It doesn’t matter how pretty the condom box is, it still looks like a condom box. And until people stop shaming women who not only have sex, but have sex for fun and not babies, buying condoms is going to be off-limits for some women.

Unfortunately, that problem can’t be solved by marketing and clever little turns of phrase. Three stars for the PP fancy condoms.
★★★☆☆

NB: If the condoms themselves were patterned or polka dotted, not just the boxes, I would totally buy them. In fact, why haven’t condoms gone the way of band aids, with all sorts of exciting colors and patterns and character endorsements? Someone needs to get on that.

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Whatever else I think about the notion of abstinence until marriage, this picture of the “Abstinence Rose Pin” offends my writerly sensibilities. I saw it on Feministing a while back, and I knew there was something wrong with that simile that I couldn’t exactly name.

I solved that problem the way I solve all my problems, by looking up “simile” on Wikipedia. That actually didn’t help much, so I looked up “metaphor” and found it: it’s an absolute, paralogical or anti-metaphor. This is a metaphor in which the two things compared have no point of discernible similarity. Wikipedia’s example is, “The couch is the autobahn of the living room,” which is so becoming a throw pillow if I ever learn needlepoint.

Now, I did pass high school, so I know the difference between similes and metaphors, but I still say this is an anti-simile. Similes, you will recall from 10th grade English, allow for more precision in the comparison process, allowing the writer to point out exactly how the two things are alike, where metaphors tend to let the reader assume the similarities more. This is where the abstinence rose pin fails: women aren’t really like roses in any immediately apparent way, particularly in a way related to sex, and the card fails to qualify exactly how the two things are alike.

The rest of the card doesn’t help. The comparison gets all confused by dropping the “like” from the second sentence, now saying that the lady is in a fact a rose, a statement we still haven’t seen any evidence for. Furthermore, sex isn’t anything like petals being plucked from a flower (and if it is, you’re doing it wrong). Last but not least, is “bare stem” code for “penis?” Maybe having lots of sex will turn blushing young ladies into dudes. Hey, the abstinence movement just solved the problem of my senior thesis for me.

I give the abstinence rose a mere point. It espouses a philosophy with which I strongly disagree in a grammatically indefensible manner. But, I did get a post out of it.

★☆☆☆☆

Therefore, as a special favor to the abstinence-only movement, I’ve tried to come up with a few metaphors that make a little more sense.

(more…)

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