Monday, June 28, 2010

No sex please, I'm a complete twit.

There was a time, when I was very young, when I thought of the New York Times as a very authoritative newspaper, a paper run by grownups who put in a real effort to spell everything right and read op-eds before they printed them and maybe not print incredibly stupid shit.

But then there's things like Camille Paglia's op-ed on "female Viagra." It's... well, it's fiskable, that's for sure.

WILL women soon have a Viagra of their own? Although a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recently rejected an application to market the drug flibanserin in the United States for women with low libido, it endorsed the potential benefits and urged further research. Several pharmaceutical companies are reported to be well along in the search for such a drug.
"Viagra" is really a poor term for a libido drug, since Viagra is fundamentally a vascular drug. It'll give you blood, but not desire; in the absence of libido, it makes sex possible, not fun. The "female Viagra," then, is just lube. But ignore all that and just get the gist that we're talking about a drug to increase libido in women.

Which I think is not a fundamentally bad idea. Certainly it could be used as relationship-glue, as a "c'mon, just take your pill and let's do this thing," but it could also be a useful option for women with sexual dysfunction. Ideally, the point of such a drug is to give women more control over their own sexuality, and that's a good thing.

The implication is that a new pill, despite its unforeseen side effects, is necessary to cure the sexual malaise that appears to have sunk over the country. But to what extent do these complaints about sexual apathy reflect a medical reality, and how much do they actually emanate from the anxious, overachieving, white upper middle class?
I was not aware we were going to medicate the country. I was under the impression that women were individuals and some of them had sexual dysfunctions and some of them didn't. Silly, silly me. I'm always mixing up zeitgeists and general cultural feelings and grand sweeping trends with things that happen to humans in reality.

I was further unaware that every woman in the country, or every woman with sexual dysfunction, was a member of the white upper middle class. I guess the implication here is that those lusty ethnics and blue-collar types surely have no such problems?

Only the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices, has preserved the radical vision of the modern sexual revolution. But concrete power resides in America’s careerist technocracy, for which the elite schools, with their ideological view of gender as a social construct, are feeder cells.
Apparently "Asian," like anything that isn't white and upper-middle-class, is one of those concepts that just means generally foreigny and requires no specifics or research. If I get some vague associations of incense and spiritual stuff and flowy fabrics, it's either Asian or a liberal-arts dorm room, right?

I'm sure that the teachings of "elite schools" are a major factor in the sexual health of the average American.

Most aspects of gender are social constructs. I asked my female guinea pigs if they would prefer to wear pink dresses or blue pants; they tried to chew on the dress a little, then got nervous and hid in their cardboard tube. Stupid guinea pigs don't know that dresses are innately coded in their estrogen receptors.

In the discreet white-collar realm, men and women are interchangeable, doing the same, mind-based work. Physicality is suppressed; voices are lowered and gestures curtailed in sanitized office space. Men must neuter themselves, while ambitious women postpone procreation. Androgyny is bewitching in art, but in real life it can lead to stagnation and boredom, which no pill can cure.
Well, yes, men and women are the same at work, because they're there to work. Men going around grunting and swinging their cocks around, and women going around buying shoes and cooing at babies, are not workplace assets. I sound like I'm kidding, but I seriously don't know how I should express my gender at work. How do I do CPR like a woman?

Androgyny can be hot as fuck. Androgyny is not sexlessness, or even genderlessness--it's another form of gender expression. If acting like a "real man" or "real woman" gets you off, have at it. But don't tell me that just because I was born with a vagina I have to play along too.

There are enough debates about whether someone's partner should ever change their gender expression to accommodate them, and you think that everyone on Earth needs to play your little game? Wow.

Meanwhile, family life has put middle-class men in a bind; they are simply cogs in a domestic machine commanded by women. Contemporary moms have become virtuoso super-managers of a complex operation focused on the care and transport of children. But it’s not so easy to snap over from Apollonian control to Dionysian delirium.
Yeah, my ol' lady is in charge of the dishes and the laundry and the vacuuming, so I guess you could pretty much say she runs the house, ho ho.

And as for the "care and transport of children," well, what would you like done with the children? Sheesh.

Nor are husbands offering much stimulation in the male display department: visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife. The sexes, which used to occupy intriguingly separate worlds, are suffering from over-familiarity, a curse of the mundane. There’s no mystery left.
See, this is low journalistic standards right here: a sweeping generalization based on a sloppy and hackneyed stereotype, where not only was formal research obviously out of the question, but even momentary anecdotal (i.e., looking out the window) research seemed like too much work. It's just a nationally published opinion piece, I can knock this off before lunch.

Anyway, of course this is all insanely insulting to women who have biologically based problems with their sex drive. You don't need a pill, honey, you need him to put on a nicer shirt! It's on the level of telling people with clinical depression that they just need to think more positive thoughts.

Furthermore, thanks to a bourgeois white culture that values efficient bodies over voluptuous ones, American actresses have desexualized themselves, confusing sterile athleticism with female power. Their current Pilates-honed look is taut and tense — a boy’s thin limbs and narrow hips combined with amplified breasts. Contrast that with Latino and African-American taste, which runs toward the healthy silhouette of the bootylicious Beyoncé.
Okay, I'm not one to scream "racist" at just anything, but this is kind of proble... it seems to be verging on... the implications carry certain historical... IT'S FUCKING RACIST!

Also apparently skinny people don't have sex. I'm learning so many things today.

On the other hand, rock music, once sexually pioneering, is in the dumps. [...] Late Madonna, in contrast, went bourgeois and turned scrawny. Madonna’s dance-track acolyte, Lady Gaga, with her compulsive overkill, is a high-concept fabrication without an ounce of genuine eroticism.
That ellipsis covers three paragraphs, but the tl;dr is "I haven't listened to music in thirty years."

Pharmaceutical companies will never find the holy grail of a female Viagra — not in this culture driven and drained by middle-class values. Inhibitions are stubbornly internal. And lust is too fiery to be left to the pharmacist.
Fun fact I found out doing some reading for the last Twisty post: before the invention of bronchodilator medications, asthma was thought to be a psychosomatic illness, and talking cures involving working out the "suppressed baby's cry" of wheezing were attempted. (The funny thing is, asthma can be emotionally induced. And if that's the case... a bronchodilator will still save your life.) I don't need to spell out the analogy here, do I?



I've seen both feminist and anti-feminist objections to "female Viagra," from concerns it will be used to try to "cure" asexuals or pornify women to the "we just need to go back to the days when men were REAL men, women were REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri" nonsense on display here. But my feeling is that technology is good and choice is good. Some women with low libidos don't want them raised, some want to work out psychological causes, and some want to treat it medically. And dammit, they're all right and they should all have the option to do what they want. Between living in a world where I can take a libido drug or refuse it, or a world where I can only refuse it--I choose the former.

46 comments:

  1. I read it as yet another iteration of "Sexual dysfunction isn't real, and your sexual problems are caused by... Shitty television and music," or something.

    Then she kind of went on a rant about other stuff and I couldn't follow along anymore. Like why did you even bring filbanserin (that's what this is in reference to...) up at all, just so that you could write another editorial into the NYT.

    Whyyyyy is she even getting in on this conversation? Why is she making all these broad sweeping generalizations?

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  2. So, wait. Wait.

    Gender isn't a cultural construct. Yet the reason why women aren't women anymore is because the new cultural female gender construct isn't feminine.

    This isn't so much offensive as it is confusing.

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  3. K - I'm glad you read this post because I was trying to figure out how to email you this article; its particular brand of "there's no such thing as sexual dysfunction, just insufficient ladylikeness!" seemed right up your alley.

    Selina - You'd think that if gender wasn't a cultural construct it wouldn't even be an issue. If gender was as innate as, say, growing toes--well, we don't have a lot of fights over how many toes a person ought to have, because that usually works itself out. The fact that this is even a debate seems like fairly good proof that it's cultural.

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  4. Ughhh I'm like, I wish Paglia hadn't written this because you watch, other feminist blogs are going to pick it up and run with it and like, little point by point breakdowns of where Paglia is wrong, but worse, where she's keeping in line with mainstream critiques of feminism. By which I should make clear that I don't necessarily agree with her on anything, but, the arguments she's making are actually pretty popular in feminist critique of female sexual dysfunction. Mostly social in origin, meds won't work, it's all stress, etc etc.

    I wonder if anyone reading it will pause and stop when they see themselves in her piece.

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  5. K - Yeah, I've seen other mainstream feminists argue against flibanserin on grounds that it'll be used to pressure women to be porno-perfect sexual responders--which is an unsettling possibility--but tends to ignore the possibility that a woman might genuinely want to raise her own sex drive. I can't even count the number of times I've heard "if a woman doesn't want sex, that's not a problem!"... true from the outside, but if she thinks it's a problem then it is, dammit.

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  6. On the subject of androgyny being sexy...watch this video (work-safe, but awesome): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_G5tntpUeI

    Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir does a routine to Lady Gaga's Poker face (only I guess Lady Gaga isn't erotic either?)
    I actually *like* Camillie Paglia, so this is kind of depressing

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  7. "Mostly social in origin, meds won't work, it's all stress, etc etc. "


    To be fair, there are certainly cases where sexual dysfunction can be caused by social issues or, more commonly, stress issues.

    I even have a few female friends who -have- sexual dysfunction caused by stress issues, in my opinion. And you know what? Some of them would be delighted to be able to use medication to counteract that, because they don't -want- to have those issues.


    ~Aaron

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  8. Wow, that article is a pile of slop.

    Paglia clearly hasn't seen the "Alejandro" video yet. It's got some bondage play and a vinyl nun costume, which I think qualifies as erotic. But then it's also got gender role reversal and men in fishnets and heels, which according to her cancels out the eroticness since it breaks down that clear divide between male and female, so...
    ...Lady Gaga is awesome :D

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  9. @ Aaron
    Yes, telling someone, "you know, your problem is actually social in origin" isn't helpful at all.

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  10. Anon - I love that Johnny Weir video. And I loved it more when I read an interview with him in which he pointed out that skating hurts--he wears no pads, ice is hard, and in learning new moves he's going to fall. A lot. I don't want that knowledge to fall under "so he's more masculine than he looks"--I'd rather have it serve as evidence that he's more awesome than he looks.

    And he looks kinda awesome already.

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  11. You don't need a pill, honey, you need him to put on a nicer shirt! It's on the level of telling people with clinical depression that they just need to think more positive thoughts.

    Yeah...

    Nothing quite like having someone point out that there's nothing really wrong with my life and so I shouldn't be depressed at all. As though I don't already recognize that on a cerebral level, and as though the cerebral knowledge of that doesn't already serve to make my emotional state more depressed.

    "Well, great. Not only am I depressed, I'm stupid for being depressed. Thanks, that helped a lot."

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  12. I even have a few female friends who -have- sexual dysfunction caused by stress issues, in my opinion. And you know what? Some of them would be delighted to be able to use medication to counteract that, because they don't -want- to have those issues.

    That seems a bit like breaking your leg and - instead of getting a cast - taking hardcore painkillers so you can walk around on the broken leg anyway.

    I mean, people can do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, but if someone is having sexual dysfunction due to stress I would hope that they would work to eradicate the stress, not just the symptoms. Or at least use the medication to give their sex lives a little momentum while they work on fixing the real problem.

    American actresses have desexualized themselves, confusing sterile athleticism with female power.

    But...when you're strong, you can do more and don't need to ask people's help as much to lift things and...

    Oh wait, she said female power. Female power is when you look passive, pretty and ornamental and men want to have sex with you. And then you get to tell them no, and laugh and laugh and laugh!

    Plus, of course, there's the fact that people are attracted to all different body types (I guess now we know that Camille favours more of a Marilyn Monroe physique, and that's fine, but don't tell the rest of us what's hot!). And the fact that, again, when you're stronger you can do more - including fucking. These "desexualized" muscular female bodies Paglia disparages will have more stamina, be capable of more positions, and usually have a higher sex drive than bodies of women who don't work out. So once again she seems to be saying that "sexiness" in women equals passivity - it's how you look, not what you do.

    And finally:

    Their current Pilates-honed look is taut and tense — a boy’s thin limbs and narrow hips combined with amplified breasts. Contrast that with Latino and African-American taste, which runs toward the healthy silhouette of the bootylicious Beyoncé.

    Um, Beyonce has a really sleek and toned physique, too - she just has more hips and ass than the desexualized boyish women because she's genetically predisposed toward it. And assfat, by the way, isn't inherently "healthy". Neither is muscle, for that matter; health depends on a lot of factors.

    Can I just say how I fucking hate this pervasive assumption that the shape of a woman's body is entirely dependent on diet and exercise? I had an ex worry that if I started weight training I'd "lose my curves". Um, no; not unless exercise somehow shaves bone fragments off my giant childbirthin' pelvis. Conversely I've had friends built like hipless, breastless twigs who thought they'd fill out into Beyonce-like proportions if they started eating more, but in my experience this body type always ends up gaining weight around their gut and nowhere else. And then of course there are the fat chicks I've known, most of whom really didn't have a bad enough lifestyle to have "earned" their body type. SOMETIMES IT'S JUST RANDOM.

    Finally: BOO to Camille Paglia for thinking androgyny isn't sexy. I know a boy who'd disagree - if he weren't too busy putting on lingerie so I could fuck his sweet little ass.

    -perversecowgirl

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  13. Perversecowgirl - That seems a bit like breaking your leg and - instead of getting a cast - taking hardcore painkillers so you can walk around on the broken leg anyway.
    I'd say a closer analogy is taking hardcore painkillers while you wait to get a cast (in this analogy that takes days or months and is a very uncertain process, okay)--it's not a complete solution but it sure makes the interim time more bearable.

    And assfat, by the way, isn't inherently "healthy". Neither is muscle, for that matter; health depends on a lot of factors.
    I think that part of the essay was just Paglia's attempt at saying "skinny bitches aren't as sexy as REAL women," with an unexpectedly frank "them lusty ethnics don't have the white man's problems" thrown in.

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  14. I'd say a closer analogy is taking hardcore painkillers while you wait to get a cast

    Maybe. The anonymous who brought it up didn't specify that drugs were just an interim solution, though; s/he just said that some women would be delighted to counteract their stress-related dysfunction using meds.

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  15. Dear Ms. Paglia,

    I advise that before you run around declaring all of pop* music unsexy, you should at least listen to some of it. It's nothing but sex and dancing and dancing as a metaphor for sex and occasionally some chick brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack. How could it possibly involve sex /more/?

    Also, I am fairly certain that the amount of microphone-humping, guitar-fellating, bandmate-snogging and doing-of-various-inappropriate-things-to-the-amps in rock music has remained roughly stable or in fact increased in the past thirty years.

    Unless you mean some definition of sexiness in music that has nothing to do with being about sex or sexualization on stage, at which point I am somewhat puzzled about what you meant.

    ...Oh, it doesn't count because the dudes sometimes wear eyeliner, and that's androgynous. Gotcha.

    Sincerely,
    Ozymandias

    P.S. As regards the unattractiveness of narrow-hipped thin-limbed women: fuck you, lady, and the horse you rode in on.

    *Lady Gaga, I love her, but she ain't rock.

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  16. "we just need to go back to the days when men were REAL men, women were REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were REAL small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri"

    YES Douglas Adams shoutout!

    Oh yay, Camille Paglia. Why do people listen to her at all? Why won't she go away?

    I remember giggling over a passage in "Sexual Personae" where she links male creativity to the fact that they can aim their urine far away from their bodies, while women's pee just falls on the ground. Damn it, I want to write unsubstantiated nonsense and get paid for it too.

    -sylvie

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  17. I asked an endocrinologist about chemically lowering my libido in hopes it would help my marriage. The doctor indicated it could probably be done with an antiandrogen, which would be likely to have fairly serious side effects. My wife indicated that it wouldn't be that big a help anyway.

    I would have liked to have a better option; one that lowered libido without the side effects of an antiandrogen. It'd also be nice now that we're separated and I'm committed to living single and celibate for a year or two so I'm not just falling into the rebound thing. The idea that men (particularly husbands) might be badgered into taking such a drug, however, is unsettling. I'm pretty sure that with a drug that promotes libido or depresses it, for men or women, there are going to be instances where people are badgered into taking it. And that would be very bad. Still, I'd rather err on the side of liberty. Someone who's being badgered has recourse within themselves; if the drug's illegal there is no recourse.

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  18. ozymandias - In the article, her musical references go straight from Pat Benetar to Lady Gaga. It's like the 90s and 00s never happened at all. (Also, she thinks country music is sexy, but obviously no white people are listening to that.)

    sylvie - she links male creativity to the fact that they can aim their urine far away from their bodies, while women's pee just falls on the ground.
    Wow. Amazing. I had no idea the caliber of intellect I was dealing with here.

    (Clearly rather than accepting our limitations, we should teach every little girl how to use a funnel. PROBLEM SOLVED.)

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  19. I mean, people can do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, but if someone is having sexual dysfunction due to stress I would hope that they would work to eradicate the stress, not just the symptoms.

    Change in sexual drive can be a stress, in and of itself. It's even worse if there's a relationship involved. A happy, healthy sex life that turns into an awkward dance of mismatched sex drives is stressful by itself, even if the root cause is external to the relationship. Fixing the drive mismatch, even temporarily, can help reduce the stress that's contributing to the problem.

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  20. [i]Wow. Amazing. I had no idea the caliber of intellect I was dealing with here.[/i]

    Oh yes! How can you argue with the magnificent mind behind such statements as "The male projection of erection and ejaculation is the paradigm for all cultural projection and conceptualization - from art and philosophy to fantasy, hallucination and obsession" and "Male urination really is an accomplishment, an arc of transcendence"?

    -sylvie

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  21. Wow. Truly a seminal thinker of our time.

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  22. Ugh, I got so mad when I read this garbage. Why does the NYT print this crap (Douthat, Brooks, Paglia, everyone who writes for the Style section) when they could probs get almost any intelligent cultural critic they want?

    -- The idea that past decades/eras were some sort of golden age for female sexual pleasure is so wrong-headed & ass-backward, I don't even know what to say about it. Ya know what helps me enjoy my sexuality without inhibition? Access to reliable birth control, & not being branded as a slut or nympho when I express sexual desire. Ye Olde Tymes when men were men & women were women tended to lack those features.

    -- I actually agree w/ Paglia about most men's schlumpy, baggy, unattractive clothing. But, ya know why hetero men dress that way? Because they're afraid that if they follow fashion or wear body-conscious clothes, they'll look like fags. Making men anxious by telling them that they're so androgynous & don't look like men anymore is making the problem WORSE, not better. The pop stars from back in the day that everyone remembers as so sexy -- the Rolling Stones, Bowie, T.Rex, the NY Dolls, Prince, all the 80's guys -- were FUCKING ANDROGYNOUS for their times. They were hot because they DIDN'T CARE whether ppl like Paglia thought they looked like traditional men.

    -- In every other retarded "decline of civilisation" think-piece by Paglia's intellectual peers, I see the opposite claims being made. Now that strippers are cool and porn is more graphic & readily available than ever before, society has become ultra-sexualised, everyone is expected to be sexual all the time, our kids have become prosti-tots, etc. etc. So the NY Times editorial page would have me believe, at least. Now I'm supposed to believe that all the internet porn, all the stripperobics classes, all the reality TV & smutty rap lyrics, are rendered null by the fact that _the Rolling Stones got old_?? Man, it doesn't take much to create a sexual malaise.

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  23. Hershele OstropolerJune 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    From a pro-freedom perspective, the FDA's job is to make sure drugs generally do what they say they will and don't do anything else if possible. It's not their job to determine if the drug should do what it says it will, or if any drug should.

    From a feminist perspective, I notice there's no male equivalent of this. There's no true female equivalent of Viagra either, but Viagra itself, I believe, works for women as well, though less reliably. I don't see that low female libido is any more of an illness requiring medical intervention than low male libido is; the feminist conspiracy suspicion is that it's only low female libido that bothers straight men. I can only see it being used with the woman's knowledge as a shortcut to skip over the whole seduction process (without her knowledge is a different thing, I'm pretty sure that's covered by "rape" in the Model Penal Code), not always to her--or her partner's--benefit, emotionally or even sexually. Twisty might call this "pornifying women," though she probably wouldn't, because it's possible to say that and not sound like a nutcase, but I'd say, rather, it's about molding (heterosexual) women to fit their partners' demands, and I suspect there's quite a bit of that about already.

    I'm not sure how big a concern using it as a "cure for asexuality" is. It would hopefully only be given to people who want to be cured, but that's partly cultural: how many homosexuals wanted to be "cured" 60, 50, even 40 years ago; how many would have if these "cures" actually worked? I don't think we're worse off because homosexuality gained some measure of acceptance instead.

    On balance I don't approve of this medication's existence, but that's something the pharmaceutical industry is responsible for, not the FDA.

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  24. Hershele - I don't see that low female libido is any more of an illness requiring medical intervention than low male libido is
    I'd say that they both are, if they cause significant distress to the low-libidoed. Some people just don't want much sex and are okay with that, but others would honestly want to want more--hell, even I do in extremely rare moments--and I'm okay with that being an option.

    it's about molding (heterosexual) women to fit their partners' demands
    Is it necessarily? Can't someone want a higher libido for themselves? Also, ideally partners aren't just making demands but having desires--there's a difference between "get horny for me now, woman" and "I would like it if there was a greater sexual component in our relationship." The latter can be legitimate.

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  25. Ongoing stress is sometimes something you can't really do jack shit about, like health problems or a work situation you can't currently escape. I spent several years tied up in an ugly legal situation with someone who valued victory more than they valued time and money, and there really wasn't a damn thing I could do about it other than simply allow this person to give me a legal fisting without lube.

    If I had had a medical way to take more comfort from the intimate side of my marriage, would I have taken it even though it would have been artificially messing with my libido? Hell fucking yes.

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  26. Wow. Truly a seminal thinker of our time.

    Hee. "seminal". :D

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  27. ozymandias, ILU, seriously.

    Man, I listen to and enjoy at least parts of every musical genre and era known to man, and....way to talk out your ass, Paglia.

    Lady Gaga sings about sex, desire and eroticism constantly. That's without getting into Beyonce, Pink, Adam Lambert, Rihanna...

    On the flip side, classic rock has bands like ZZ Top (who are awesome, but not exactly sex on a stick) and half of Pat Benatar's music was more 'hurt me and I'll fuck you up' than sultry sex symbol.

    That whole article is just giving me a headache right now. How can people even put their names on this kind of shit?

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  28. Hershele Ostropoler said - "From a feminist perspective, I notice there's no male equivalent of this."

    I think next time you are in a 7-11, you should take a look at the impulse buy items near the register. You will find racks of Horny Goat Weed and similar products. Rhinos are poached not only as ED treatments, but for male libido promoters. There are a gazillion folk aphrodisiacs aimed at men. The fact that there isn't a modern drug just tells you it hasn't been invented yet.

    If there were no interest in drugs to promote male libido, it would indeed be of interest from a feminist perspective. I think it's of more interest from a feminist perspective that folk medicine has so many more libido-promoters for men than for women; I think the depressing truth was that the woman's desire was not regarded as being of equivalent importance.

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  29. I think a lot of people also think that Viagra is a libido-promoter for men, because erection, libido, potato, potahto, right?

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  30. @Holly: But... but... white people with pickup trucks are basically the stereotypical audience of country music! And Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash don't exactly strike me as the pinnacle of sexiness. I mean, it's one thing to write a stereotype-ridden piece of hackwork, but it's another to not even bother to pay attention to what the stereotypes are.

    @aebhel: But P!nk doesn't count because she's butch and Adam Lambert doesn't count because he's gayer than a treeful of monkeys on nitrous oxide, and only people who obey their assigned gender norms are sexy, dontchaknow. And Lady Gaga's just weird, I mean, who would want to hit that?

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  31. You take that back about Johnny Cash. You take that back right now. :p

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  32. Didn't know NYTimes identified as a top prior to now. Post an article so richly deserving of satire, and then disable the comment section? That's mean!

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  33. Does NYTimes ever allow comments, though? If they never do, that's pretty understandable; comment sections on newspapers always end up unmanaged and undignified with a lot of "LOL FIRSTIES TITTIES" gakking up the place.

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  34. @ozymandias Clearly Camille wasn't at the recent 'Lady Gaga' night at Suspension (public BDSM party in NYC). There was some sexiness.

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  35. ozymandias--

    only people who obey their assigned gender norms are sexy, dontchaknow.

    Right, like David Bowie and Jim Morrison, how silly of me! :P

    I would totally do any one of those three. On a related note, it bugs the hell out of me when people say women think Adam Lambert is hot because he's 'safe'--you know, being gay, so we all know he'd never actually sleep with us and that makes it okay to fantasize about, like, cuddles and long walks on the beach or something.

    Which I know is totally what I'm thinking about when I watch 'For Your Entertainment'. :P

    Holly--

    Johnny Cash was GOD.

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  36. @Holly -

    I think in general the OMG TITTIES comments get stuck in the moderation queue. A lot of the articles do have a comment option at the bottom though.

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  37. Speaking as someone who's done *ahem* informal research into this, there actually are modern workarounds for low male libido. In no particular order:

    Buproprion (aka Wellbutrin) tweaks norepinephrine and dopamine receptors, resulting in enhanced sense of energy and well-being. Reportedly it has a libido-enhancing effect as well.

    Bremelanotide and Melanotan II, its precursor, have both had clinically demonstrated libido-enhancing effects in male and female subjects.

    Recreational ethanol, while not a proper aphrodisiac, can help to reduce mental inhibitions which may make an existing libido less publicly evident.

    MDMA, aka ecstasy, a Schedule I recreational psychoactive, aids in reducing mental inhibitions. It also reportedly induces a greater appreciation for music, energy, and a sense of emotional intimacy with others.

    5-MeO-DIPT, aka Foxy Methoxy, is another Schedule I recreational psychoactive. It reportedly induces greater appreciation for tactile and aural experiences, as well as greater libido.

    This post brought to you by Wikipedia and erowid.org.

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  38. All right, fine, everyone. Johnny Cash is sexy. My point about Willie Nelson, however, stands.

    aebhel, you know you would rather sleep with some random fratboy dudebro Evolution says so! Evolution never lies! And men create all great art because they can urinate really far!

    (I think that the bizarre emphasis on penises is because she liked Freud. I noticed the same sort of weirdnesses when I read The Second Sex, even though Simone de Beauvoir is approximately ninety times as sane as Paglia.)

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  39. Add "than David Bowie" to the end of the first sentence in my second paragraph. Proofreading fail.

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  40. There's a lot in that op-ed to be annoyed at, but the music comments are just.... BAFFLING.

    I mean, she claims that rock used to be sultry because it was directly inspired by black music, no joke, and now music is too white to be sexy. I mean... there's at least two sources of 'wtf' in that statement. And apparently androgyny isn't sexy but 60s and 70s rock gods were?

    Also, in an op-ed that is all about STRAIGHT WOMENS' libido, the relevant question about current music is whether there are any hot FEMALE pop stars, like straight women are getting turned off pop because Madonna got skinny- OBVIOUSLY what the boys look like is irrelevant to he female libido.

    I just. Huh?

    I'm going to be over here watching Adam Lambert lick his pretty, androgynous, lipstick-wearing bassist before writhing, jerking off his mic stand, having aural sex with every member of the audience simultaneously, and doing vocal things that would make Freddie Mercury weep tears of joy. You have fun with.... whatever the fuck you're listening to, Camille.

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  41. @DragoJustine: That's a really cool point about Paglia's bizarre insistence on talking about the hotness of women-- I didn't even catch that. Perhaps she assumes that if we look sexy, then we'll feel sexy? I don't even know.

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  42. So many of the screwed up ideas about female sexuality come from the idea that the only way for us to get turned on is for us to feel desired. Which, don't get me wrong, that's awesome, but that has a lot more to do with my ego than my libido.

    The two are related, yeah, but they're not the same thing.

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  43. Wow. Truly a seminal thinker of our time.

    I saw what you did there.

    I see other people have covered one of the comments I was going to make ("Lady Gaga is today's Madonna? But I thought Adam Lambert was today's Madonna!"), with bonus Weir to boot.

    THe other thing? About "Guys wear boring clothes" or something? Might that be because of the catastrophic shortage of variety in attractive and interesting clothes for men? Perhaps because "women aren't visually stimulated" and also looking nice is so GAY so there's no market for it? One of the husbands has been known to bitch about the lack of nice-looking guy clothes.

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  44. Holly, I do not think that "fisking" is the best way to rebut someone else's essay, even if that essay is full of fatuous errors. Fiskings always seem to jump from topic to topic without warning and leave it up to the reader to figure out the core of the disagreement between the fisker and the writer being attacked. It's also mentally tiring to switch between the two writers' voices and visually tiring to switch between the italic and roman text.

    I would have much preferred it if you wrote an essay giving your opinions on low sex drive in women and (sparingly) quoted Camille Paglia only to show some of the traps one can fall into when thinking about the subject. I'm sure you would have still had chances to make fun of her.

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  45. Anon - Thanks for your helpful suggestions! Here's one of mine: I always liked cooking blogs better. Please make this into a cooking blog because I'd enjoy it much more and I love recipes. It would be best if you focused on Italian food and don't do anything that requires a grill because I don't have a grill and I'd hate to miss out. Thanks very much, Holly.

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  46. My very favorite line from the post hasn't come up in comments:

    "Most aspects of gender are social constructs. I asked my female guinea pigs if they would prefer to wear pink dresses or blue pants; they tried to chew on the dress a little, then got nervous and hid in their cardboard tube."

    WIN!

    Sunflower

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