Just Sex

Over the last 29 years I’ve experienced, been witness to, and unfortunately drank the kool-aid (though, thankfully only momentarily) and once aligned myself with both ideological extremes regarding sex, relationships, and love. The one side wants to make you believe that it’s sinful, and evil, and something to stay away from entirely (until you get married and then it’s magically beautiful and a gift from God) while the secular side is feeding us this rhetoric of almost benign and meaningless activity that humans engage in whenever they feel horny and (at 29, to me, in my life) I feel as though both sides are misrepresenting what intimacy and sex and love should be. I was engaged very early and the experience left me disillusioned and bitter and cynical. (While not fully committing in my mind, if I’m honest with my self) I really wanted to believe in the “love and sex are imagined concepts to sell products” idea, (and in hindsight I realize that was because I WANTED it to be the case so I could numb myself from future hurt) so I leapt onto the pendulum bob and I swung across to the other side where I experienced the other side of hurt; disconnectedness. In my mind (though I tried to remain outwardly disinterested and aloof) I was still attaching myself to my sexual partner. I was trying to surpress the need in myself for a meaningful connection and in a lot of cases I projected onto my sexual partners a connection and love that wasn’t real but I’d convinced myself it was. (And I tried to convince others that that’s the way that I felt in a kind of feigned macho disregard that I’d felt obligated as a 20-something male was expected to react) And then, when the physical relationship ran it’s course and I finally did learn that the other end of the connection experienced sex with so little emotion and attachment, that too hurt me. I rode the oscillation of the pendulum to both extremes and both had left me hurt and disconnected. At 29, where I’m at now (and of course this may grow, alter, and shift with more experience and maturity) but I think there needs to be a more moderate concept of sex and love. Keep the love, intimacy, vulnerability, and connection that the religious end supports, but drop the negativity, guilt, and sinful connotations that surround sex. We should drop the idea that one person has one kind of love for someone and then you must never have that feeling for anyone else and if you do that’s cheating. Although, that being said, we should also drop the idea that sex is meaningless and if it feels good do it. In my opinion, sex should not be a disconnected, recreational thing that you engage in with people you’ll never see again. In my life, I want sex to be meaningful, respectful, and desired equally for both partners. I’ve learned in my experience, that I want someone to have sex with ME, I don’t want someone who wants to have sex. Now I may be generalizing and saying that because I think this this is a good idea. But I’m just one person. You can agree or you can disagree, but to me, I no longer want to feel disconnected from such a spiritual, interconnected, and emotional experience and disregard it as “just sex”. What do you think?

Terra Nova and Monogamy

The trailers for this series got me really interested in checking out the first few episodes, and maybe I’m being too picky but I’m feeling as though it’s trying to be Lost and Jurassic Park. (The most recent episode of South Park “Ass-burgers” also made a comment to that point, so I know I’m not alone in thinking that.)

The way it’s shot, and the way it’s edited, along with the way the characters are acting/being directed, screams Lost. But if you can forgive that, which I can, it’s a very well-made show and has a very interesting concept. I’m excited to see what they do with it.

One thing that struck me as kind of weird was how the central character,  Jim Shannon (played by Jason O’Mara) reacts when he learns how his wife was selected to be part of Terra Nova.

Okay, some back story, Jim Shannon and his family live in the distant future where we’ve fucked up our environment so much that we’ve made the Earth practically uninhabitable. There is a program called Terra Nova where people are sent back in time to before we fucked things up. 85 million years before we fucked things up. So they’re with the dinosaurs; pretty cool concept.

So they have this new colony that’s meant to start the human race anew in a separate timeline (cause apparently it’s not “their” past, it’s an alternate reality’s past) which is also very cool!

The inhabitants of Terra Nova are all from different waves of pilgrims; the sixth wave of people broke off from the group and they’re causing problems for Terra Nova but that’s about all that we know about them.

Anyway, if you’re confused you should just go watch the episodes, we’re only 3 in so far. So long story short, main character Jim becomes the head of security of Terra Nova and learns the reason why his wife was chosen to be in the Terra Nova project … another scientist requested that she be chosen … and he’s her ex! …. 😮 wha??!?!?

*rolls eyes  (a love triangle story-arc coming up? I don’t see that coming) 😉

But anyway, Jim ends up being a dick the whole episode to Dr. Malcolm Wallace, the man who requested that Jim’s wife be in the next wave of Terra Nova pilgrims…

Um, you owe your continued existence to the fact that this man has the hots for your wife … and if he was secure in his relationship with his wife he shouldn’t have to worry that she’ll hook up with Dr. Wallace.

I just thought he didn’t have to be such a dick about it.

Maybe it’s because he hasn’t seen his wife in years because he was in a prison and now he’s suspicious of anyone because now that he’s finally back with his wife, he’s feeling insecure … that could explain it. But still, a little trust goes a long way. And is infidelity really a reason to end a relationship? We’re homo-sapiens, our sole purpose here on this planet is to procreate and raise the next generation of homo-sapiens. Sex, as it turns out, is a lot of fun and telling someone, you’re only allowed to experience certain aspects of life with one person while you’re in a “relationship” is, I think, naive and disingenuous to the fact that we are homo-sapiens and therefore mammals and that we enjoy sex.

What is it about sex that makes people act so intensely about “ownership” of who gets to sleep with who? What is it about that act that causes jealousy? Could it be an evolutionary trait ingrained in our species to ensure that our genes are the ones that are passed down to “our” children and ensure that they are in fact “our” children and not the children of man down the street who your wife has secretly been sleeping with?

What is the meaning behind jealousy?

Thoughts?

My First Stand-Up Routine – For Comedy Writing

I had a very intense childhood. There was lots of violence, lots of tears, drama, sex … of course that was before my parents finally started disconnecting the television antenna before they went to sleep.

I was a really horny kid, hell, I still am, but when you’re at that age everything is heightened. It was a kind of constant horniness that never seemed to go away no matter how many times I jerked off.

Though, you can only blow your load to so many Sears Catalogue underwear models before you need something a little more risqué to appease your growing sexual appetite.

We had a video store in my hometown where I was forced to get my carnal excitement. There was a soft-core section that was labeled “thriller” … and I got kicked out of there pretty quickly.

So naturally, I went to the library. I took out books on anatomy to start. Those books didn’t really raise the suspicion of the librarians. But then I upgraded to “photography” books. Those were pretty awesome. As I gradually got more courage I began taking out instructional books on sex. Or at least I attempted to … the librarians never let me take them past the counter.

“A little young to be interested in stuff like this aren’t we?” (nasally, grating voice)

If I’m old enough to cum, I’m old enough to be interested in sex.

So I gave up trying to take them out and just took them to the library washroom and jerked off in there.

Don’t act like you haven’t done it before!

Yah, I was obsessed with sex. And violence. But what pre-adolescent boy doesn’t like violence? I mean, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? God, I remember Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Especially the way I used to beat the shit out of my brother after I watch it. I would get all pumped up during the episode and then when it was done I’d grab whatever I could use as a weapon, this one time it was the long, thin, wooden stick, you know those ones that hold up large house plants, and proceeded to smack my brother around, pretending I was Donatello and he was Baxter, or BeeBop, or Rocksteady.

I played really rough with my brother. I look back and find it amazing that I didn’t kill him in my irrational, imaginary adventures in which he was always the villain I have to beat the snot out off.  There was one time that I thought I did though, we’d been playing in the sandbox outside our house and I was making a sandcastle and I guess my brother had knocked into or damaged it in some way, so … logically … I took a little plastic boat beside me and hurled it at his head. The shape of the bow caused the skin in his forehead to peel back as the boat impacted. He collapsed on the ground screaming as a sea of blood began to trickle out from under his crippled form.

I rushed into the house screaming to my mom: “Oh my god, I killed Jordan. I killed Jordan.”
Fortunately I didn’t. But he remembered.

It wasn’t long after that, maybe a week or two, and he got me back. I was sitting in front of the television, watching whatever the fuck I was watching, Darkwing Duck, Full House … two people fucking … whatever it was. So he comes up behind me, ever so quietly … with a massive decorative ceramic pot from downstairs.

I was fully engrossed in whatever I was watching and didn’t even know he was behind me until the pot connected with the back of my head. The whole thing shattered and I don’t remember much else of what happened except being in the hospital and having the doctor tell my parents that they couldn’t stitch me up because all of the cuts were so small that I just had to put a huge cloth over my head and put pressure on it until the blood clotted. So I had a full scalp scab.

That was lovely.

I’m sure there’s some file somewhere labeled, “possible child abusers”. Our family was always going to the hospital. There was nothing salacious or malicious about it, we’re just fucking dumb!

Like one night my brother and I were having a bath, I was maybe 5 which would make him about 3, and my Dad was supposed to be watching us, but he was tired and drinking some tea in a mug at the edge of the bath. He went to put it down and he didn’t put it completely on the edge and the mug tipped over into the bath. He went to catch it but ended up swatting it faster into the tub. The mug shattered explosively sending bits of ceramic mug into our little soapy bodies.

Another trip the hospital.

When I was 3, our family lived briefly in Rankin Inlet, in the Northwest Territories, what is now Nunavut. It was fucking cold and for parts of the year the sun never set or set extremely late in the evening. So, being a 3 year old, I couldn’t sleep if it was bright out. That just wouldn’t make sense!

So my parents put plastic bags on the windows … but we knew … we knew.

One night, after three stories, two false bathroom alarms, and a night snack, my Dad was beginning to get frustrated with us.  We had bunk beds, I was the top bunk … of course … but we’d been reading stories in my brother’s bunk. After the final story my Dad said: “Alright, no more stories. Get into your bunk.”

I didn’t move.

“I’m gonna count to 3 …”

Nothing.

“2 …”

Nothing.

“1 …”

I mean fuck it, I still had another second, I knew he was going to say zero!

And it was about a millisecond before he said “zero” that I finally started moving. He gave me a playful tap on my behind as I tried to get out of my brother’s bunk and that was enough to cause me to lose my balance and fall forward, onto my arm.

Snap!

So they took me to the hospital in Rankin Inlet, but they weren’t equipped to deal with a broken arm … uh, what? A fucking hospital is not equipped to deal with a broken arm? What the fuck ARE they equipped to deal with?

“Uh, … we have band-aids” (dopey impression)

So they charted a medevac flight to Winnipeg and I went to the Health Sciences Centre.  My Dad had to stay with Jordan so it was only Mom and I. When we finally arrived and they put a cast on my arm they pulled me into a room by myself and asked me what happened.

In my little 3 year old brain my Dad did it. ‘Cause I mean I was getting out of bed, he swatted me and I broke my arm. So I told them: “My Daddy broke my arm.” (smiling impression)

Sex With Someone From The Future Can Be Hazardous To Your Health

Via Discover Magazine

There comes a time in every science writer’s career when one must write about female sea monkeys having sex with male sea monkeys from the future, and the troubles that follow.

That time is now.

In many species of animals, males and females have a conflict of evolutionary interests. Males compete with each other for the opportunity to fertilize the eggs of females. Males use all sorts of strategies in these competitions. They fight with each other for territory, they scare off intruding males, they put scrapers into females to dump out the sperm from previous males, and they inject “anti-aphrodiasiacs” to make females unreceptive to other males.

A number of experiments suggest that females have to pay a steep price for these male shenanigans. Anti-aphrodisiacs are toxic to the females, shortening their lifetime. Why would males harm the females that carry their offspring? In many species, males can mate with many females. The long-term health of any one female doesn’t matter–in an evolutionary sense–to the male.

As natural selection favors increasingly deadly male mating strategies, this onslaught opens up the opportunity, in turn, for the evolution of counterstrategies in females. In some species, females may evolve antidotes to male poisons. The males, in turn, may evolve counterattacks to overcome these new defenses. Theoretically, this coevolution can become a never-ending cycle of sexual conflict, capable of producing some of nature’s greatest extravagances (like absurdly kinky ducks).

Up till now, the best evidence for this kind of sexual conflict came from experiments. Scientists manipulated Drosophila flies so that the males were free to evolve while the females couldn’t. The result: the lifespan of the females got shorter and shorter over the course of generations. In a flipped version of the experiment, scientists prevented males from mating with lots of females, as they normally do. Instead, the male flies were forced into monogamy. Now there was no evolutionary reward for competing with other males. Over time, the male fly toxins got less toxic, and the females lost their defenses.

Now Nicolas Rode of the the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, France, and his colleagues have found a new way testing this hypothesis: by having males travel through time to mate with females.

The time-traveling males in this case are brine shrimp (a k a sea monkeys). Brine shrimp produce tough eggs that can survive through droughts for years and then hatch into healthy young when water returns. In the Great Salt Lake in Utah, the brine shrimp egg cysts form layers on the lake bed going back decades. Rode and his colleagues gathered cysts from layers that formed in 1985, 1996, and 2007. They brought the cysts back to their lab and reared the sea monkeys. And then they orchestrated some sea monkey sex. They had females mate with males from their own time, as well as from the other years. For example, females from 1996 could mate with males from 2007 and 1985.

If sexual conflict is an ongoing evolutionary process, you’d expect females to fare differently with males from different time periods. They’d be best-adapted to the males of their own time, and worse adapted to males from other times. Evolutionary theorists have developed two different models for how this time-traveling sex would play out. It’s possible that males and females escalate their adaptations over time in an evolutionary arms race. It’s also possible that evolution moves more like a merry-go-round. For a while, one male strategy may dominate, and one female counterstrategy dominates as well. But then a new male strategy pops up, for which the females have no defense at all. That male strategy then rises to dominance, and a corresponding female counterstrategy eventually evolves as well.

Rode and his colleagues tracked the females, noting how  many eggs they had and how long they lived. And they discovered, as predicted, that having sex with males from another time is bad for a sea monkey’s health. The further away in time the sea monkeys were, the sooner the female sea monkey died. When the male traveled 22 years to mate with a female, her life was cut short on average by 12%.

There are lots of caveats to this study–which you’d expect for the first study of its kind. The results weren’t clear enough for the scientists to pick the arms race or merry-go-round model as the best explanation for the conflict between the sexes. And over the entire lifetime of the female sea monkeys, time-shifting didn’t have a measurable effect on their reproductive success. That’s because they females who were dying faster also produced eggs at a faster rate.

Another mystery is how the time-traveling males are harming the females. Rode and his colleagues note one unusual aspect of brine shrimp sex: males and females can stay clasped together for hours–even days. They’re not cuddling in some erotic afterglow. Studies on other species suggest that the males are holding on tight and the females would prefer to get on with their lives. Amplexus, as this embrace is known, may be yet another way for males to outcompete their rivals. By holding on tight to females, they can prevent their mates from finding other males.

Females pay a price for this guarding; it can make them easier targets for predators and prevent them from eating. Scientists have found that female water-striders have evolved lots of acrobatic moves to get clasping males off of them. It’s possible that sea monkeys engage in a similar sexual wrestling match, and that the male and female moves evolve over time.

Whatever the answer to these questions, one thing seems fairly clear. If you’re a female sea monkey, and you see a blinding flash of light, and a male sea monkey suddenly appears saying he’s got to protect you from an army of sea monkey robots from the future–take care. Your well-being is definitely at risk.

Reference: Nicolas O. Rode, Anne Charmantier, Thomas Lenormand. Male-female coevolution in the wild: evidence from a time series in Artemia franciscana” Evolution: in press. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01384.x

[Image: FanpixBackstory for those who’ve never heard of Kyle Reese]

[Updated to clarify the nature of sea monkey time travel and correct Marseilles to Montpellier]