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April 13, 2006

Dawn Eden attempts a thought experiment


Kiss oF a fOOl, originally uploaded by :R.e.a.s.o.n:.

At first I thought Dawn Eden was flirting with Saul Kripke...

. . . suppose you could French kiss your beloved boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse without exchanging spit?

No, seriously. Suppose exchanging spit greatly increased one's fertility at certain times of the month and was hence something to be avoided at all costs by those wishing to be childless.

You could take a pill that would dry up your saliva glands and prevent your own mouth from absorbing your partner's saliva.

To preserve that nice gushy feeling, you could swish some prefabricated spit substitute, just like the real thing, between your teeth before locking lips. But neither you nor your partner would be capable of transmitting any of your own natural wetness to the other.

Physically, it would feel just like a real French kiss. But would it be one?

Is a kiss still a kiss when it's only sensation, with no substance shared? Is it still a soul kiss when you're purposefully withholding part of yourself — something that's always been an essential element of a smooch?

I wonder . . .

Turns out, Dawn's not really not writing essentialist erotica. She's saying that people who use contraception don't really love each other. Or that sex with contraception isn't really sex. Or something...

I'll let Amanda translate:

For the more slow-witted, this is Dawn’s unbelievably clever attempt to trick us into agreeing that your aren’t really having sex unless you get pregnant. I’m actually down with that idea because that means that the Virgin Mary wasn’t a virgin but I am. If you’re not really, truly having sex when you “contracept”, I do believe we’ve stumbled upon a much niftier way for the abstinence-only squad to preserve virginity than through the anal & oral only method that’s currently popular. Just use contraception! You’re not really fucking if you’re on the pill, so who cares?

My promising career as a Dawn Patrol commenter came an abrupt end last night when I attempted to perform the naturalistic fallacy on her comments thread.

"Isn't great," I said, "that we have pills and IUDs that allow us to control fertility without drying up any of those nice seminal, vaginal, or oral juices? Shouldn't we thank science for allowing us to swap these fluids between orifices without worrying about whether we're actually doing what we're doing?"

Apparently, Dawn doesn't want to absorb my memes.

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Comments

So I have to wonder....

Am I really eating dinner If I don't lick the plate clean?

Am I REALLY opening a door if I don't turn the knob with the wet tissue of my mouth? Savoring the flavor of others passage...

I know that last one was hot, but it's just a thought experiment. Don't e-mail me... :)

The world is a scary-enough place without me trying to figure out how Dawn Eden's mind works.

I was almost drawn into Dawns idea until I realized she was equating sharing souls with sharing spit. It's either a big insult to souls or a big complement to spit.

PS: I'm liking the new version of Majikthise with lots of photos lifted from flickr.

WOW! I've never visited Dawn Eden before. WOW! I don't think I will again. WOW! I kept looking for the punchline. Didn't see it. I think she's serious. WOW!

Dawn doesn't want to absorb my memes.

Welcome to the club.

I've discovered Flickr's "blog-this" button. You can do this on your blog, too Rob.

Users can give other Flickr members permission to blog the pictures in their photostream.

If you're a Flickr member and you have blog with any of the main blog hosting services you can set up your Flickr account so that you can post directly to your blog.

Oh, please, not Dawn Eden. Some things in life are simply not worth bothering with. At all. Really. Really, really, really....

Dawn's views are all the more bizarre given that she is the daughter of a Biologist:

http://www.dawneden.com/2004/08/rachels-storypart-9testimony-from.html

Dawn certainly has a very saliva-focused view of the making out experience. Remind me never to stand near her on New Year's Eve.

I was reading Dawn Edens piece that was linked to, and thought it pertinent to comment. I believe the point she makes is more metaphysical then biological.
The idea, (in my understanding- and its one I subscribe to) is that the nature of the sexual act with birth control as apposed to without birth control, is one of kind not degree.
This phenomena is magnified as an entire culture succumbs to the notion of sex under a regime cheap, reliable, female controlled birth control.

If one is truly interested, the works of scholars like Robert Michael at the University of Chicago, or most prominently, Nobel-prize-winning economist George Akerlof of the University of California at Berkeley – use an economic model to show how the introduction of the pill dramatically restructures our concept of human sexuality and its value.

To be curt, one can accurately say that sexual intercourse is seen in contemporary society as essentially recreational rather than procreational. Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of sexuality. I believe Dawn thought experiment is helpful in highlighting this significant divide in peoples understanding of intercourse.

I like the naturalistic fallacy tack.

To be curt, one can accurately say that sexual intercourse is seen in contemporary society as essentially recreational rather than procreational. Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of sexuality.

But our closest primate cousins also use sex for purposes other than procreation. The bonobos use sex to forge alliances, establish trust and resolve differences. Non procreative sex for the common chimpanzee is less idylic: males will other males to establish dominance. While not pleasant, this is clearly nonprocreative.

The evolution of human sexuality is complicated and uncertain, but I think it is very clear that nonprocreative sex has played an important role in human society since there were humans at all.

Gosh, the thought of sexual intercourse having some other function than procreation! That pleasure can be an end in itself! Oh, the dissolute and their low ways! Oh, my virgin ears!

Hootarama, that is funny. I think. What a demented little kook. How in the hell does an idea like that form? Do you need a special cranial implant?

And why do I keep hearing the whole thing in Cartman's voice?

Lindsay: Wow, I thought I could only do that for my own photos. Teach me to read the instructions.

Fitz, there's a typo in your comment. You wrote: "To be curt, one can accurately say that sexual intercourse is seen in contemporary society as essentially recreational rather than procreational. Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of sexuality." What you meant to write was "one can accurately say that sexual intercourse is seen in contemporary society as essentially recreational rather than procreational. Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of women's sexuality."

Even a cursory glance at the historical record will confirm that men have been encouraged to have recreational sex throughout history. Contraception simply allows women to do the same without a big, historically often life-threatening price tag.

Rob helpy-chalk

I don’t know how immediate useful talk of primates is to either my thoughts, or Dawns original post. As far as the exploits of Bonobo monkeys; I’m afraid a few dithering Maureen Dowd columns were enough to spoil any interest I might have had.

“I think it is very clear that nonprocreative sex has played an important role in human society since”

I don’t doubt that it has. My point was that the normative setting and human understanding of sex was certainly more toward the procreational understanding than our contemporary recreational viewpoint.

Ron Mashate

If you don’t subscribe to “naturalistic” thinking, very well; but to simply assert any such thought as a fallacy however seem rather chauvinistic.

Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of sexuality.

Birth control is not at all new. What is new is the reliability. Neither is non-procreational sex. What is new is that heterosexual sex can have low risk of conception. (Homosexual sex is a perfectly normal activity in many societies).

And sexual intercourse is not seen in contemporary society essentially recreational. Not at all! Women who treat sex as recreation are looked down upon ("sluts"), and while men may often get a free pass, it's not considered proper for us either. No, the conception of sex in contemporary society is closer to being an expression of love than recreational.

Indeed, this is a dramatic departure in terms of human understanding of sexuality.

Birth control is not at all new. What is new is the reliability. Neither is non-procreational sex. What is new is that heterosexual sex can have low risk of conception. (Homosexual sex is a perfectly normal activity in many societies).

And sexual intercourse is not seen in contemporary society essentially recreational. Not at all! Women who treat sex as recreation are looked down upon ("sluts"), and while men may often get a free pass, it's not considered proper for us either. No, the conception of sex in contemporary society is closer to being an expression of love than recreational.

Eli

Obviously this was not a typo. I do however appreciate the distinction you make and the clever way you made it.
I don’t know how cursory a glance I’m supposed to be making. Certainly I would not be surprised to find considerable instances were male recreational sex was more acceptable then female recreational sex. This is not the case however, (at least facially) within the Christian tradition. It can also be asserted that fornication for either Gender was legally, culturally, and religiously condemned.
I agree that contraception does allow women to avoid the biggest overt price for intercourse (the pregnancy). However, a examination of the works I reference above will illustrate the causal effects birth control has had, especially to those who maintain its egalitarian leveling as a unproblematic societal virtue.

Is this the latex dam(n) of abstinence?

Fitz,

I'm not following you. What I was alluding to was the general tendency to transform an is into an ought. That's all. (French kiss w/ saliva is the platonic ideal of the French kiss, therefore it ought be the platonic ideal of the French kiss, let’s say, behind the ultimate nature of reality.

Fitz,

Since when does humanity start and end with the history of christianity?!?

Okay, let's say that sex is different now that it was before reliable birth control. Hallelujah! To hell with the old, bad, scary sex that produced unwanted pregnancies. Let's hear it for the new, fun, safe sex with the option of planned pregnancies.

Ron Mashate

If that is the distinction you meant then I withdrawal the chauvinistic remark. My point is that sustained resort to the use of birth control as a cultural mainstay has loosened our conception of the platonic ideal of the is; so much so that we rarely discuss the potential of the aught - concerning the same.

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