Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Why do you have sex?

At first blush that may seem like a stupid question, up there with why do you laugh, eat or pinch off a loaf in the morning? I mean derrr, you do it because it feels good, because shooting a hot load is the closest you can get to transcendence while shuffling around this dirt circle.

Think about the question again and try to peer past the mechanics: do you have sex for the act or the intimacy it brings? Is it the physical sensation that attracts you, the emotions it summons or both?

Maybe sex is not about you at all but because it satisfies your partner and fulfills your perceived role as a lover? Perhaps you do one-nighters with randoms for acceptance or for the exact opposite; so you can be rejected, to prove all you're good for is sex and not much else?

It could be you're the religious type and your sex is solely for procreation or, you're "trying for a baby" and copulation has become just that - trying - a chore where you never expected it to be?

From a scientific standpoint, reproduction would seem to be the evolutionary reason for sex, an involuntary instinct; but if this is the case, how come so many of us can override the impulse and never have children? Why then does the huge majority of human intercourse not result in fertilisation?


At first, the distinctions seemed clear: One governor broke the law, the other cheated on his wife (and she, apparently, had cheated on him). One offered a short apology, the other answered every question that was asked.

But as New Yorkers tried to make sense of it all, some found themselves questioning their own instinctive sense of right and wrong, of public and private, of how much information is too much information. Was one politician a tragic figure felled by his own hubris, the other just trying to get ahead of the Albany rumor mill? Were the late-night comedians’ jokes funny, or did they sting viewers who were angry and ashamed? Should we even be talking seriously about this stuff, normally fodder for the supermarket tabloids and “The Jerry Springer Show”?


More often than not, guys interpret even friendly cues, such as a subtle smile from a gal, as a sexual come-on, and a new study discovers why: Guys are clueless.

More precisely, they are somewhat oblivious to the emotional subtleties of non-verbal cues, according to a new study of college students.

"Young men just find it difficult to tell the difference between women who are being friendly and women who are interested in something more," said lead researcher Coreen Farris of Indiana University's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

This "lost in translation" phenomenon plays out in the real world, with about 70 percent of college women reporting an experience in which a guy mistook her friendliness for a sexual come-on, Farris said.

Some might think the results come down to "boys being boys," and so even the slightest female interest sparks sexual fantasy. But the study, to be detailed in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science, also found that it goes both ways for guys - they mistake females' sexual signals as friendly ones. The researchers suggest guys have trouble noticing and interpreting the subtleties of non-verbal cues, in either direction.


Married people the world over are devastated to discover that their partners have been, as the Dutch say, pinching the cat in the dark. French wives were shocked when I suggested that it was their custom to look the other way. (Even French first ladies don’t do this anymore.) Wives from sub-Saharan Africa, a part of the world with the highest levels of male infidelity, told me how they went running down the street after their husbands, begging them to sleep at home.

But American D-Days are even worse because we have such improbably high standards for marriage. If your spouse cheats, you’ve been living a lie. Americans describing their D-Day experiences say that they weren’t just shocked, jealous and profoundly upset, but that their whole view of the world had collapsed. "It robs you of your past," one husband said. "What is real? What is fake?"

We Americans are particularly preoccupied with honesty. We’re the only country that peddles the idea that "It’s not the sex, it’s the lying." (In France, it’s not the lying, it’s the sex.) America is also the only place I found that has a one-strike rule on fidelity: if someone cheats, the marriage is kaput.

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