Nightmare on K Street

Not that I could forget, save perhaps by blow to the head, I’m almost forced to remember on account of it being raised in conversation, or by being near-touched upon tangentially; one early morning after hitting the booze during a trip to Melbourne.

Oh, it was going to be great. The night started out with my being called (perhaps erroneously) a “writer”, and I seemed to be able to endure the standard rate at which alcohol was being imbibed. In fact, I didn’t even feel drunk by the time another (it would later be revealed) was having a spew.

I felt the first itch of an urge to write just as the friend I was staying with was set upon by a young lady. A young lady who’d informed us that she’d “just finished school”. Which is to say she was old enough to drink, and what-not, only it made me feel a bit old.

My friend and I had been discussing Maurice Merleau-Ponty (as being the only redeemable phenomenologist), folk-theories of aesthetics, and shit, all day. I was primed to write, and the late-night action seemed to light a fuse.

Soon after, my friend and his newly graduated accomplice, ducked out for a bit of what-not, back at the place where I’d been sleeping. I went on drinking in order to give them a little more time alone, plus extra drinking for extra time, in case it was needed. It’s always good to increase your margin of error in these matters.

Anyway, perhaps I was at least a little drunk.

Eventually, thanks to a friend, I got back to the house, sneaking in and locking the door behind me, in the dark then tip-toeing over creaking floorboards, towards my mattress on the lounge-room floor, dropping my pants, and crawling in. My mate, still awake, in turn tiptoed to the lounge room to make sure I was who I was, which I was, so all was good.

Then everyone more or less committed to nodding off.

Some time later, it occurred to me that I couldn’t sleep. I’d had a good night on the piss, and I still couldn’t stop thinking about writing – people had got me all excited about it; “writer”, “Maurice Merleau-Ponty”, “shit”. Four thirty in the morning is usually a good time for this kind of inspiration.

I got it into my silly head (which is why I entertain the suggestion of my own drunkenness), that it would be like “that Hitchens anecdote” – the one where he drinks his pals under the table, only for them to wake up to find him finishing another essay. It was going to be like that.

Then there was movement…

A foot stepped down on the corner of my mattress and I opened my eyes to make out part of a black silhouette hovering above in the darkness. Footsteps tracked the side of my improvised bedding, stumbling into the kitchen, the silhouette gaining only enough outline to identify the owner; the young lady who’d come home with my friend earlier in the night.

I told myself that as soon as she’d finished I-didn’t-want-to-know-what in the bathroom, and made it back to bed, I’d get up and start writing. Sure… It was going to be like that.

After a wrong turn into the pantry, the silhouette stumbled back across the edge of my mattress, thankfully managing not to step on my balls or face in the process. I was about to emerge from my failed slumber and head for my laptop when it happened.

I still had my eyes closed, hands pinned beneath my head, when somehow a pair of arms interlocked with mine, and a face nuzzled between my shoulder and jaw. Teeth grinded – her teeth – which to my mind, instantly conjured imagery of The Walking Dead – her mouth only millimetres from my neck, gnashing.

I could have screamed I guess, but that doesn’t come naturally to me. Maybe it should.

No, what I tried to do, with some success, was to slowly untangle myself from her arms, crawling further down along my bed, as she lay “above” me at a one-eighty degree angle. After about an hour of this manoeuvring, I was finally free to get up and get away. But…

I needed a little breather before I got up. I closed my eyes, only to re-open them to the first rays of morning’s light. I looked “up” to see legs cycling as if she was dreaming the Tour de France, before noticing that in fact, she was naked. What if during my escape, she woke up to find me standing over her like that?

Shitballs…

Slowly, I searched from my mattress-fortress for my mobile phone amidst my travel baggage. I’d SMS my friend in his bedroom, and maybe give him a ring to wake him up. I needed to be rescued out of this situation.

The search for my phone lead me at last to the insides of a Woolworths plastic bag, which crunched and crackled with each tentative movement. This took some time to do stealthily, yet eventually, I was to discover the bag did not in fact contain anything other than unwashed underwear…

I closed my eyes in disappointment only to open them right as the bag was lifted away by Miss Naked, who stood briefly above my head. Swiftly, she placed the bag to one side, and then slid down under the sheets next to me – it was all I could do to roll aside, making sure my arms weren’t pinned again.

I should mention, that in recounting these details later in the day, it was at this point in the story that I was informed she was likely covered in copious amounts of cum. So there she was – pressing against my back, the pair of us forming some kind of salty shortbread cream biscuit. Yuck!

It’s on precisely this kind of occasion (perhaps I’m wrong – I haven’t had many more), that you adopt a certain kind of scepticism towards the eagerness of women, despite what they may say or initiate of their own accord, to do kinky things with your sperm; pearl necklaces, jizzing across the small of the back, swallowing, etc. I feel as if my experience involved some degree of unconscious retribution.

Please feel free to shudder – your sympathy will make me feel less lonely.

There I was, wondering what it would look like to be found in this position, at this stage my desire for essay writing having shriveled to resemble the level of interest displayed by the average, sub-zero, ninety-year-old penis. I had to escape.

About another hour was spent, wiggling, re-positioning, and lifting myself away from my unwanted bed-partner. This may seem an inordinate amount of time to spend on such a task, but one has to consider the constraints upon one’s stealth presented by empty spirit bottles, atop Ikea bookshelves, atop flexible floorboards.

The last few inches was the easiest, my visitor turning over to roll me out in a single, fluid motion, my hands and feet landing on the small gap between bed and bookshelf. Slowly I crawled towards the lounge room door, grabbing my pants and wallet on the way – I was free!

After quickly pulling on my strides and popping on shoes, I made my way to my mate’s bedroom and quietly knocked on the door.

“Whaaa..t?”

Squeezing my head and shoulders into the room, I told him he was missing something. His eyebrows furrowed, in a substitute shrug, so I pointed at the other side of his bed, where, lifting his bed-sheets, he would discover a certain absence before rolling his eyes and crashing his head back down in frustration.

At last, a course of action would be decided upon; my friend would go back to sleep, while I went out to get some early breakfast before sneaking back in to crash on the lounge. He’d take care of any awkwardness should it arise.

All in all, the rest of the morning didn’t pan out too awkwardly, although I’m not entirely sure Miss Naked remembered who she’d fucked that night. I didn’t get a word of my essay down.

Still, it all could have gone a lot worse, escalating beyond all buggery with recriminations all round. I’ll settle for my losses and call it a cautionary tale.

~ Bruce

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The tragedy of the f**kings…

Got that coffee off your monitor? Yeah, I thought it was a pretty cool title. You’re angry..?

For some time now I’ve been promising to write with more f-bombs – there’s been fair warning. So quit whining and let’s get on to the shagging. Continue reading

Flaccid lines for flaccid cocks: masculine self-pity amongst cartoonists

I’ve only just latched on to Scott Adams’ withdrawn-but-not-retracted, reposted-with-caveat, misogynist-rant story, most probably because I just don’t care about the Dilbert cartoons. Increasingly, I’m finding cartoonists a pretentious bunch who reduce life to corny sentiment and ignorant generalisation, before serving their work up with the utmost piety. Consider Leunig.

Leunig, who while using his trademark floppy lines to decry the culture of kids left in daycare centers, failed in a series of cartoons back in the day, to manage much anything other than blame mothers as a causal factor.

But it was his response to the outcry (being called a misogynist and having pointed out to him scenarios like the single mother who has to work while her child is in daycare because her husband is a deadbeat) that was laughable. Claiming of being called ‘a misogynist’…

‘It’s like saying a wife-beater, a racist, a paedophile. I think this type of accusation accounts for a lot of men being silenced about all sorts of things.’

(Bettina Arndt, ‘All Care…’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2000)

Yes. Poor Leunig, Australia’s most popular cartoonist. Nobody ever gets to read what he has to say, being so suppressed by the jack-booted forces of mere disagreement.

I never tire of saying about such self-pity, that you’ll know nanotechnology has matured as a field when it finally creates the violin small enough to play an appropriate lament.

Unless they have some kind of anxiety disorder or are considerably undereducated, the only things men are really worried about saying that could attract criticisms of misogyny, are misogynistic things. Which naturally they want to express without being called on it.

Things like claiming women have all the power nowadays (boo-hoo sniffle), that women in some way have to take responsibility for being raped, or fixating on the role of women in condemning children to day-care sans commentary on the role of deadbeat husbands; women being forced to stall careers; industrial relations realities like the rise of the two income family, and so on.

And what shameful apologetics Arndt was enabling, prefacing the above Leunig quote with…

‘Hence their attempt to silence him.’

(Bettina Arndt, ‘All Care…’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2000)

We’re talking about academic criticism, and letters to the editor, not privations by The Ministry of Truth.

‘Hey Bettina, someone down the street doesn’t like Leunig’s artwork!’

‘TYRANT!’

‘They used the word ‘misogynist!’

‘Sorry, you’ll have to repeat that last bit. The conversation was silenced.’

***

Now If you really want to appreciate just how over the top the poor response to criticism shown by Leunig and fans alike is, you need only consider Leunig’s use of moral equivalence between being called ‘misogynist’, and being called ‘pedophile’. If you accept Leunig’s equivalence, then you really can’t balk at something along the lines of…

‘Being called a paedophile is like being called a racist, a misogynist. I think this type of accusation accounts for a lot of friendly neighbourhood kiddie-fuckers being silenced about all sorts of things.’

Oh, the poor, brutally suppressed kiddie-fuckersbeing compared to… misogynists of all things!

No. Not buying it.

This is absurd precisely because Leunig’s equivalence is false, and spurious, and downright pathetic. Yet Arndt gobbled down Leunig’s terms without so much as a hiccup.

Being called ‘misogynist’ is not the same as being called ‘paedophile’, and the criticism isn’t made to silence Leunig. Leunig’s work is criticised as misogynistic by critics because it’s misogynistic, and because this warrants criticism. Pretty straight-forward stuff, at least for grown-ups.

On occasion I’ve suspected that Legal Eagle over at SkepticLawyer may be just a little blind to subtle winks, nudges, veiled facetiousness and the like, which could just be the chief source of my disagreement with her about the old GrodsCorp crowd. But in the case of Leunig on Muftis, religion, sex, women’s freedom of expression and the threat of rape, Legal Eagle gets it exactly right. Leunig’s post hoc justifications only serve to verify what his critics are saying.

At least he spared us the spectacle of calling his oppression fascism; ‘gleichshaltung‘ is how Leunig describes his critics disagreeing with him – and you know we’ve got gleichshaltung in Australia when not everyone agrees with Leunig, the poor victim.

***

Now on to that other poor victim, Scott Adams.

Adams, a couple of weeks ago, as mentioned, managed to churn out a post that drew infuriated responses before being withdrawn back up the author’s own fundament.

After opening by telling us that he’d been in contact with readers concerned with Menz Rightz, Adams elaborated…

According to my readers, examples of unfair treatment of men include many elements of the legal system, the military draft in some cases, the lower life expectancies of men, the higher suicide rates for men, circumcision, and the growing number of government agencies that are primarily for women.

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

I’m not so unsympathetic to fathers in custody battles that I’ll say there’s nothing in it, nor will I say that male circumcision is a non-issue, because it isn’t. But give me a break.

No, better still give Adams and his readers a sense of proportion (or history)!

The lower life expectancies of men are a very recent phenomena, pregnancy for the better part of human history being the cause of much lower life expectancy rates for women. The present difference (in the developed world) is an artefact of recent and abrupt medical/biological realities, not an imposition by a matriarchy hell-bent on immortality for women only.

As a guy, all else being equal, I’m probably going to die younger than most women in the developed world, historically/statistically due to the benefits of contraception. I’m not going to resent womens’ rights for this, or the subsequent, massive improvement in their quality of life! Good for them!

At some point in the future, when we’ve got over the discussion of the risks of reproduction to women (not just in terms of death rates, but in terms of economic and social inclusion), when the last penny has dropped for the last reproductive ignoramus, then the matter of male lifespan may be a whole lot more demanding (or given the likely timescale, the issue may rectify itself without any Adamsian advocacy).

As it stands, the matter of womens’ reproductive rights (bound intrinsically to, but not limited by, the reality of womens’ lifespans) is for most women far from being something able to be taken for granted. When you have laws being drafted in the US, that would potentially see women prosecuted for a miscarriage, or when you see serious political consideration given to ‘screening’ rape victims into categories of ‘forcible’ and ‘non-forcible’ rape (thanks John Boehner), it’s clear there’s still a long way to go.

Yet if you read further into Adams’ pathetic rant, the limited and flawed liberation of women in this respect, is somehow part of a monolithic feminist utopia, one which men are intimidated by, and should be resentful of.

Seriously, what do these guys want? A magical medical breakthrough in male longevity isn’t realistic, so the alternative is to coercively calibrate women’s reproductive rights so that on average, they die earlier at just the right age. Then perhaps Adams and his readers can dance through the streets in a ticker tape parade to celebrate The End of The Gender War.

(And what if they want equality of standard deviation in those stats? How coercive would that have to be?)

***

Having had to duck, what with a pack of Germaine Greer’s thugs probing my study with a spotlight beamed from armed patrol jeep, I almost missed the part where Scott Adams segued with…

‘Now I would like to speak directly to my male readers who feel unjustly treated by the widespread suppression of men’s rights…’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

Tell me about it brother! Oh wait…

Adams was being sarcastic?

‘…Get over it, you bunch of pussies.’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

It was a bait-and-switch all along? Well no, not really.

‘The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently. It’s just easier this way for everyone… It’s the path of least resistance. You save your energy for more important battles.

So parsing all this sarcasm, what we are left with here is the suggestion that matters of gender difference (less pay for the same job, longevity and health, and so on), are merely territories to be tactically ceded in a battle against women.

‘Being old sucks, so let them have it’, is an interesting, if interestingly stupid take on the cultural evolution of women’s longevity, when you consider the unavoidably associated reproductive rights. The criticism laid before the faked about-face, still applies afterwards – Adams still needs a sense of proportion and history if he doesn’t even recognise that he’s dismissing the tenuous but significant gains in reproductive rights, with simple, base ageism.

And besides this, what ‘battle’ are we talking about? I’m not at odds with women claiming that they earn less, nor demands for pay equality.

Maybe I’m not a part of the ‘team’ of man, Adams talks about; a fifth columnist! Maybe I’m one of these irrational ‘pussies’, too hung up on ‘fairness’.

‘Fairness is an illusion. It’s unobtainable in the real world. I’m happy that I can open jars with my bare hands.’

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

What rubbish. Not all inequalities are as intractable as the difference in the capacity to open condiments with bare hands (roar). Many aren’t. Once women couldn’t vote, now as a result of political effort, they can. There’s nothing at all unobtainable about campaigning for ‘fairness’. Quite a lot is obtainable if you pay attention to history.

Imagine Scott Adams if he was a polemicist from the beginning of The Enlightenment.

‘Stop trying! It’s futile to invest effort in female emancipation! It’s unobtainable in the real world because I can open jars!’

A 21st Century perspective would make Enlightenment Adams seem the dunce, in much the way it makes him seem the dunce in the here and now.

Adams cod-philosophical, phony-stoicism, belies a need for convenience (and some pretty base standards) in order for him to be able to consider himself in any great esteem. I may not be as rich as Adams, and I don’t begrudge him his financial success, but I just couldn’t live if I had to judge myself so lightly.

***

Amidst all this bluster, there’s one especially telling piece of bullshit.

How many times do we men suppress our natural instincts for sex and aggression just to get something better in the long run? It’s called a strategy. Sometimes you sacrifice a pawn to nail the queen. If you’re still crying about your pawn when you’re having your way with the queen, there’s something wrong with you and it isn’t men’s rights.

(Scott Adams via TinySprout, 2011)

Oh dear. Honestly, I laughed. Nothing forced about it.

There are two types of guys who use this kind of adolescent bluster.

Guys who ‘get with the queen’, in which they’ve been selected, merely being allowed to consider it a conquest in order to keep them pacified; the guy usually suspecting something and therefore needing to reinforce the myth of his own prowess, just so his cock doesn’t shrivel up.

And then there’s the forty-year-old virgins who loudly fake confidence and a track record of sexual conquest, all the while secretly holding the faith that some day Neil Strauss will deliver, allowing them to unleash an angry, battered inch from Calvin Klein catacombs.

Outwardly confident, inwardly self-loathing and resentful. Chest puffed-up, balls ascended into abdomen. Smiles and winks with cock-skins more wrinkled than Leunig’s wobbliest lines.

That getting to ‘nail the queen’ is given as an example of natural instincts for sex and aggression, is probably a bit telling.

~ Bruce

Caveat: I’m not at all remorseful about using male sexual-imagery as pejorative. Protestations that talk of ascended balls, and flaccid penises, is like dismissing a women for the size of her breasts will not be well met. I’m using the schlong as metaphor, for one. Something that the penis is apt to do being a particularly expressive organ. The old cock and balls; balls risen in fear, dick shrunk in revulsion, relaxed and hanging about. How’s it hangin’?

Moreover, the sexual objectification of women is something historically imposed upon women. Cock talk hasn’t been foist upon men at all; much of the history of male sexuality is the history of guys talking about their gum-nut nestled in bush.

A short civics of sexual envy

There are any number of common phrases that rub me up the wrong way, and among them is “sexual jealousy”. Usually the term is applied to some poor sod who either hasn’t got his (and it’s usually a guy) wick wet in a while, or harbours a resentment towards people who have a sex life.

Why is this a problem? Envy is when you harbour a desire for something you don’t have. Jealousy is when you harbour a desire for something that has been taken away from you.

Even if it’s over an ex sexual partner, it shouldn’t be called “sexual jealousy” because neither one’s ex-partner, nor their sex, is something for another person to own. They own themselves and they own their sexuality, and they grant access as they see fit. Nobody’s taking anything.

The only way sex can be taken away from someone is when one’s own sexuality is impaired by an external force – say chemical castration or a particularly nasty accident that leaves one physiologically unable to engage sexually. But this kind of thing isn’t usually what is on one’s mind when they say “sexual jealousy”.

So for a start, let’s begin by calling what we are talking about by the term “sexual envy“.

I find people who manage their sexual envy poorly particularly irritating at times. And so do a lot of people. The negative consequences of poorly managed sexual envy can be anywhere between someone being a bit of a jerk, to being a sex offender.

I’ve been meaning to post on this as a “people who shit me” post for a while now (it’s been an issue of annoyance for years and years of living amongst geeks), but I think I’ll play it a bit less rhetorical this time.

Feeling entitled to something nobody is entitled to

It becomes a lot more obvious when you appreciate that sexual envy finds its foundation in sexual entitlement – “I should have that”. Sexual envy isn’t just a melancholy over not having one’s desires met. Furthermore, sexual entitlement, if true, would necessitate sexual obligation on the part of some other sexual partner irrespective of consent.

Sex is a private matter. Not necessarily private in that we shouldn’t hear about it in public, but private in that it is in no part whatsoever a part of the commons. Consent via a private social contract is therefore necessary and thus entitlement to a sexual partner is impossible. People who seek to appease their own sexual desires by avoiding these contracts are what we call sex offenders.

The first and foremost thing that the sexually envious have to come to terms with is that they aren’t entitled to a partner, and therefore there is no justification for their envy – just explanations. They don’t have a reason to be envious, just reasons that they are.

It’s not always a serious problem

To a small extent, this is understandable and can be tolerated.

To cite a different instance of akrasia from my own life, I have moments of anger over a number of tragic deaths that have occurred amongst friends and family. I’m not entitled to have my friends enjoy immortality, or for them to be immune to risk. Death happens.

I don’t think it too much to expect that I get a bit of consideration around these kind of events, that I’m not going to be able to be entirely reasonable. But I still have to come to terms with, and properly manage this anger as best I can so that it doesn’t consume me, or become a problem for other people. When the shit isn’t hitting the fan, I think I do pretty well.

Similarly, I think we can afford to tolerate the occasional “all the good guys are either taken of gay”, or “I won’t be getting any tonight” by the sex-starved. This much is just harmless venting. A minor akrasia with the implicit, stoic recognition that things are what they are.

But there are plenty of ways in which poorly managed sexual envy, short of motivating sex offences and other, more disturbing phenomena, can still be the basis for antisocial behaviour.

Plans and pick-up lines

“I’m planning to get laid tonight!” says the young guy who has no idea who he is “planning” to have sex with. Given that consent is required, plans shouldn’t be made in the absence of the other, prospective partner. “I want to get laid tonight” is far more appropriate. If you do, you do. If you don’t, you don’t. And it’s not just rhetoric this. How many young men (and it’s usually men) go out for a night on the town with expectations (i.e. sense of entitlement, predicated on the obligation of a stranger) of getting laid, only to wind up in a fight? Or looking stupid (which they probably deserve)?

At the very least, this kind of attitude shows a premeditated disposition of bad faith towards potential sexual partners. It’s the kind of motivation that lay behind many a rehearsal of pick-up lines, which largely fail for this reason – if not the pathetic desperation, the inept attempt at manipulation is the ultimate turn off. The object of affection is left in the position of accepting the advance at the expense of their self-respect – “I actually slept with him after he used that line?”

For anyone to say “yes” to this kind of approach is to humiliate one’s self. “If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?” Seriously, does anyone seriously expect another human being to abandon their self-respect just to get into the sack with someone spouting this kind of rubbish?

The plans and rehearsals are predicated upon a lack of respect, a failure to fully appreciate the concept of consent and again, as sense of entitlement. And it doesn’t go unnoticed – which is why it doesn’t work, except with the most sad and desperate and most willing to humiliate themselves.

Envy as ulterior motive

You’ve probably seen this oodles of times. People who go around critiquing other people’s relationships in instrumentally misleading fashion.

“She’s not good enough for him”. “He doesn’t treat her right”.

Either through gossip about how Ms X was a tramp, or how Mr Y doesn’t pay proper attention to his partner, it’s pretty much the same formula at its roots. Feign genuine concern for the welfare of the object of desire, cook up charges against the competition and naturally it (conveniently) follows that one’s self is the best candidate as lover.

It’s about as obvious to everyone as plans and bad pick-up lines. Everyone except perhaps the person performing the mental gymnastics. And again, it is predicated upon a lack of respect for the person desired, a failure to fully appreciate the concept of consent and yet again, a sense of entitlement.

Do you really think that she’d let her boyfriend talk to her like that? Do you really think she has so little self respect? Could it just be that they are having a bit of a joke? Do you really think so little over her to think that she actually needs your critical analysis?

Do you really think that just because they let you into a part of their lives, that they’ve invited you into the most personal aspects of their relationship? Did they consent to you being there?

What makes you think that you’re even a candidate for replacing the existing partner, even if she does give him the flick? What a sense of entitlement!

Emotional fallout

When there is a stoicism involved, with the implication that there is no entitlement, the emotional fallout from a friend with a lousy sex life is one of those things that friends just put up with. When the problem is amplified by depression, or anxiety, support should be able to be found from the appropriate health care professional – such support in my view, unlike sex itself, being a part of the commons. (Indeed, I think that those of the sexually envious denied a nationally funded mental health care scheme when they need it, have grounds to be angry – on this count they are entitled.)

But when it gets to the point that entitlement is surreptitiously assumed, as is the case when the sexually envious think their envy is justified, and people start to be treated in bad faith, that’s when tolerance can quite reasonably be wound back.

“Take me out with you so I can get laid as well!”

No.

For one, and healthy minded outing doesn’t treat sexuality as some kind of hunt. Sex just happens. A healthy sex life is a function of a healthy social life and a “hunt” isn’t healthy.

If your friends are getting laid, and they’re not hooking up in dubious arrangements, odds on they’re not “hunting” . Odds on they’re just treating people right.

And seriously, do you think the guys or gals or guys and gals want to go out for a night on the town, with someone who views the outing as a “hunt”? Someone with a penchant for “she’s not good enough for him”, or “he doesn’t treat her right”?

The only sexual entitlement is for one’s sex life to be free of coercion from outside of one’s mutually informed and consenting partnership. Being cock-blocked by the sexually envious,  constitutes such a form of coercion. Sure, the guys and girls may have not been out on the hunt, but if they hook up in good faith, who is the sexually envious to get in the way?

Entitlement squared

The emotional fallout can be hard on people having to deal with the sexually envious and putting up with it, when entitlement is assumed, is really an act of charity. People don’t have to put up with behaviours motivated in bad faith, not even from their friends.

I’ll say it again – it’s charity. And I mean “charity” with a specific meaning.

Welfare can come from the commons, in which case people have an entitlement and should expect it (within the limits of the tragedy) from a civilised society. Welfare can come from charity, which is not a part of the commons, which therefore people don’t have an entitlement to.

When sexual envy dominates a certain kind of private social interaction, to the extent of motivating behaviour in bad faith, the sexually envious remain within the private social setting from the charity of the other parties. They aren’t entitled to get laid on a night out on the town, and they aren’t entitled to being taken out on a night on the town by their friends if they’re going to behave like that.

I think this is true in a broader range of social settings, if not all social settings.

If the sexually envious insinuate themselves closer to someone else’s partner at a social gathering, they can expect to be ejected from it. They can expect to be ejected from their network of friends altogether. In a workplace setting they can expect their due warnings, then to be fired.

The sexually envious aren’t entitled to sex, and they aren’t entitled to having their sense of entitlement entertained.

After an extended period of this kind of behaviour, or if after due warnings, the sexually envious need to realise just how much their relationships are an act of charity on the part of other, private citizens. Charity that can be repealed with out further warning.

The sexually envious really need to take responsibility to stop it getting this far in the first place.

Diminished capacity

It can be argued that sexual envy is in some cases at in part pathological. At least I don’t intend to prejudice this.

But all the same, unless those having a problem dealing with sexual envy are institutionalised or in a prison for sex offences, the odds are that they still have other faculties in tact. It’s just that for the sake of their particular weakness, they lean very heavily upon their social network.

This reasonably comes with a cost and the cost is control.

If the sexually envious acknowledge that they have diminished capacity in managing something that has consequences for others, it falls to the capacity of others to deal with it. In any effective deferral of such capacity comes the deferral of some form of decision making.

This is reinforced by the realisation that one’s social network are within their rights to abandon someone treating them in bad faith. They have an entitlement to say no to private social interaction just the way that a potential partner can say no to sex.

I don’t think this ultimatum is one made in bad faith – the diminished capacity is in itself a kind of ultimatum in the way it limits choices, and having this foisted upon a social network is what drives the ultimatum in the first place. The sexually envious with diminished capacity had an ultimatum hanging over their heads in the first place. There’s no loss of freedom in this arrangement, just accounting.

So when the sexually envious pleads to their social network that they can’t control themselves properly, they are inviting the social network to take control for them. They are inviting the social network to set boundaries for them anywhere between minor considerations to total exclusion. The members of the social network have the right to protect themselves from the full array of antisocial behaviours stemming from sexual envy.

The sexually envious need to realise that this extends to discussion of control. Like it or lump it, the sexually envious need to realise that boundaries preventing discussion of matters of control in bad faith, can include boundaries preventing discussion of control altogether. Negotiation isn’t an option unless given by way of charity.

Ultimately, the sexually envious who plead diminished capacity can reasonably be excepted to accept the terms their social networks give them, or can reasonably be excepted to leave their social networks altogether. And before they whine about being emotionally exploited – their obedience in return for emotional needs being met – they should consider their track record amongst their cohort.

The fact that they are still in the cohort in the first place, with no conditions made before the plea of diminished capacity, shows the good faith and grace they have already been shown – to deny this would be disrespectful. If the seriously sexually envious individual has a cohort willing to take them on board, warts and all, they should be happy and grateful, not spiteful and selfish.

What the sexually envious (from the benign to the malicious) need to really get their heads around

  • Not having a sex life is not pleasant and is clearly sub-ideal, but it is not a problem necessitating a solution. To require a solution would first require an entitlement to be unmet, but there is no sexual entitlement to be met or unmet in the first place.
  • The problem (if any) necessitating a solution in the first place is the treatment of sex as an entitlement, which necessarily presupposes sexual obligation from others. Which is wrong.
  • If they treat sex as an entitlement, it’s probably a good thing they aren’t getting it. People so selfish don’t deserve the intimate trust of others.
  • When they aren’t getting sex because they treat potential partners in bad faith, it’s because self-respecting potential partners are turned off by this. And being turned down in these cases is a good thing because it preserves the self-respect of the person being approached for sex, while costing the suitor nothing worthwhile that they possessed in the first place.
  • Trying to not see sex as an entitlement, to try and get laid, is not a solution. The goal of getting laid, from an envious perspective, presupposes entitlement and is thus doomed to fail if overcoming entitlement is the primary goal. Which it should be.
  • The sexually envious are entitled to medical assistance for depression, anxiety and any other medical reason making things worse. They aren’t entitled to the charity of having their friends deal with acts of bad faith – and in cases of chronic bad faith, aren’t even entitled to the friends they treat this way. Psychiatrists, social workers and others are paid for that and it’s for the sexually envious, not their friends, to pick up the slack.
  • The sexually envious who manage their emotions so poorly as to regularly engage with their cohort in bad faith, can’t expect their cohort to keep them around without conditions being met. Nor can they expect their cohort to be open to negotiation on these conditions.
  • Being sex-starved but keeping your sexual envy well managed, is a better state to be in than being sex starved and rabidly envious. Sex shouldn’t be the goal. Getting over envy should.
  • And finally, because it warrants repeating – there is no sexual entitlement on which to base sexual expectations. Sexual entitlement, not lack of sex, is the problem.

~ Bruce

Rob Smith on 'Worship at the temple of Onan'

Young men and women, have you ever felt guilty for your need to pleasure yourself? Have you ever felt guilty because of need arising before marriage? It could just be that you’ve been misled as to what The Bible alludes to. Rob Smith spills the beans in his second guest appearance at Thinkers’ Podium.

Hi everyone. I’m Rob, as you probably guessed from the introduction. Between work and running my unregistered charity, Hymns for Neglected Greyhounds, I pitch in as a youth group elder at the Uniting Way Church of The Blessed Tree. I’m also a part-time external student studying theology at the Sydney Theology of Faith University (STFU).

Obviously I’m not a theologian yet, but I do get quite a lot of young adults coming to me and asking if it’s okay to masturbate, or engage in pre-marital sex. So as Bruce says, I’ll spill the beans. (And to keep Bruce and Tipper happy, I’ll put all the smut over the fold.)

Worship at the temple of Onanrob_smith

By

Rob Smith

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Virtuous hedonism

If I were the kind of guy to worship a God, I’d worship Bacchus. Sundays wouldn’t be spent drinking the communion wine, just wine-wine.

I spent a dollar or two on wine in the second half of the nineties, when my hedonistic streak hit in 1996. More wine that I’ve drunk since the nineties.

I also like a good beer. Brewed more in the nineties than I have since the nineties as well.

Now I average less than a standard drink a day and I don’t think I’ve passed four in a day more than five times in the last ten years. But this isn’t some creeping conservatism on my part. No.

I genuinely don’t enjoy getting plastered. What I enjoy is the slightest, initial hint of alcohol in the system and what the beverage can bring to a social or gastronomic event.

Well considered hedonism wasn’t something I really had at the time. Ad hoc, faux-considered hedonism was. I reached the conclusion first and then engaged in some pretty superficial, instrumental reasoning to distract my executive functions from cock-blocking me.

However, persistent critical faculties and an increase in the myelin sheathing in my frontal lobe (something that finishes developing in the mid-twenties) gradually put an end to this self-deception. There was more to hedonism that just screwing everything in sight and drinking yourself into a stupor and if I wanted to get my head around it, I’d have to start conserving a few braincells.

You’ve been lucky, or living on another planet, or both, if you haven’t noticed that quite a large number of religious people frown on this kind of behaviour. In as far as rampant hedonism can cause harm, I’m sympathetic. The categorical objections, hellfire and brimstone however can go and take a flying leap.

I’ve never been an egoist, it should be said. It’s usually at this point in the discussion, that you’ll (if you are an atheist) have the occasional religionist associate your ethics with that of Ayn Rand. Even if you have more in common with say, John Stuart Mill (a utilitarian and dare I say, an actual philosopher.)

Whenever my pleasure, or the pleasure of my group has been at the expense of others, it’s been as a result of thoughtlessness. This was more a problem in my youth than it is now. That harmful externalities (loud noise past the neighbour’s bedtime and the like) weren’t good things wasn’t in dispute – they just went un-noticed. I suspect that this is the case for a lot of young yahoos.

I’m not selfish with my pleasure. I cook for people, for example. I share creativity in general with the aim of maximising pleasure. Nowadays, I do so with the aim of first avoiding the afore mentioned harmful externalities.

I think a few of Nietzsche’s assessments of the human condition are flawed in these respects. The things that he asserted were life-affirming on a primal level, I’ve never found life-affirming. And I think I’ve been a tad more primal that Nietzsche.

I don’t gain pleasure in subjugating people. I don’t see pleasure in others in being subjugated and I have a visceral objection to seeing other people subjugated – it’s not just slave morality that sees me looking out for others. Not that I deny what Nietzsche felt, rationally I object to it and the animal in me objects to it.

What I think Nietzsche’s error was, was to generalize his own imperatives the way Freud generalized his own sexual peculiarities to the entire human condition. The primal imperatives of the human condition are far more diverse, subjective and elusive than that.

Sexuality is a great example. Some people are attracted to members of the opposite sex, others to people of the same sex and some people aren’t particularly sexual beings at all. And within these divisions (and others) there are a multitude of other preferences for various sources of pleasure. A virtuous hedonism, as opposed to a self-deluded one, takes all of this into account.

When I worked at a deli in Norwood during the early years of this decade, there was this repeat customer who really got on my nerves. She was the stereotypical pretty girl that supposedly all the guys like. While she was in some respects a nice young lady (she was also at times a very noisy neighbour) and capable of eliciting quite a bit of sympathy from me, I actually found her quite sexually repugnant.

Aside from not being attracted to her that way (I find living stereotypes of all sorts rather unappealing), she quite unwittingly had the body language of someone who took entitlement (to men) for granted – cornering me rather aggressively a few times and otherwise not giving me my space, this annoying, incessant crotch-staring habit and the occasional but rather obvious barging in between me and other females. So when eventually I objected (which in terms of workplace sexual harassment I felt I was rather entitled to do – the crotch-staring was a bit much), she couldn’t quite get her head around the notion that I didn’t find her attractive and had to (self-deludedly) contort things to fit her narrative of men finding her attractive.

Suffice to say it ended with acrimony*. Reminds me of how Ayn Rand went off the deep end when she found out that her lover Nathaniel Branden, found the younger Patrecia Scott more attractive.

Sometimes people just don’t find you sufficiently attractive. It doesn’t matter to them that you find you attractive.

It’s like that with food and drink, music and the visual arts (and more.) A virtuous hedonism is permissive of peculiarity while seeing suffering as the only true perversion of the human condition.

Unaffected atheists clearly have an advantage over theists in accessing this virtuous hedonism, not carrying the same metaphysical baggage (i.e. sin.) Not that a theist necessarily can’t, nor do so easily – at best they fall superficially short of the same ease atheists can achieve the more superficial the differences in ethics become.

The same may not be true for a number of ex-fundamentalist theist, atheists. Not that I’ve ever had the experience of a religious enculturation, but I’m convinced by the tales of people who are still influenced by the spectre of hell even after refuting its existence.

All I’ve ever been able to rebel against in religion is the socio-political privilege it seeks and often attains (which I suspect is more obvious the less your religious enculturation), religion has never had that kind of control over me. I suspect though, that rebellion is still the answer.

Conservative Catholicism is particularly guilty of reducing atheism to rebellion against God, while at the same time finding their imaginary hell insufficiently harmful, venturing to create it on Earth through all sorts of insane sexual restrictions. Atheism isn’t rebellion, but rebellion against religiously motivated suffering is probably quite healthy behaviour for affected ex-theist atheists (and probably for newly moderate theists as well.)

Really, you are coming from a pretty sick place if you can find fault in people wanting to keep the Pope’s (or anyone else’s) liver-spotted hands off their genitals.

A virtuous, life-affirming quest to find and give pleasure is one of those things I think atheists need to give serious consideration before they check out of this fleeting existence.

~ Bruce

* In all fairness though, I think through my creative, generous and then mutating bakkheia, more than a couple of women (and at least one guy) got the impression that I was attracted to them when I wasn’t. This and a fair amount of beating around the bush not wanting to tell people the straight-out awful truth that I don’t actually like them that much, probably served to confuse the situation.