Thursday, September 23, 2010

Masturbation rules

At Slate yesterday, Joel Stein offered a hilarious, and startlingly perceptive, take on Christine O'Donnell's ridiculous anti-masturbation campaign. Read the whole thing -- "The Masturbation Lobby" -- but here's a great part:

After giving it a lot of thought, I don't think I'm going to stop masturbating. I mean, I will while I'm typing this column, but that's about it. And I don't think Christine O'Donnell should be a senator even of a completely made-up state like Delaware. But she and the rest of the far-right movement do play an important role in my life. If we listen to them instead of reflexively mocking them -- which is very difficult to do, especially when they dabble in witchcraft -- they can force us to consider the downside of progress. By which I mean lots and lots of porn.

But there is another kind of progress: It's undeniably better for kids not to grow up ashamed of their bodies and sexual desires, which led some of them to suicide, self-flagellation, and the priesthood. Conservatives like O'Donnell argue that social norms formed by millions of people over thousands of years have a wisdom that must be weighed against progress. All improvements have downsides, and we might want to make sure our virtual sex lives don't consume our real ones. Even if they are much, much, much better. I've got to go.

Right. On.

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