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"My Parents Went To Bible Study And All I Got Was This Lousy STD"
Should you die because your parents are irrational? Yes, it's the HPV vaccination issue -- where bodily autonomy and public health meet. From Ayn Rand Institute:

Irvine, CA--Following the landmark discovery of a vaccine that prevents infection by the most dangerous strands of HPV, a sexually transmitted disease known to cause cervical cancer, Michigan wants to require girls to get vaccinated. Yet some parents are refusing for fear their children will see it as a license to have premarital sex. It's an issue of morality, these parents claim.

"This is a false alternative," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "It is true that it is wrong for the government to force vaccinations for a disease spread only through sexual contact. But it is also wrong for parents to deprive their children of a life-saving vaccine, in the name of the puritanical view that premarital sex is inherently sinful.

"Parents should be free to have their children vaccinated or not, but they should make that decision based on medical evidence--not on religious dogma."

And sorry, but what's "immoral" about premarital sex? The prohibition of it was really all about money, wasn't it? Daddy didn't want to pay for his little girl after she got knocked up by some hippie a few generations out of the Garden of Eden, so they made rules against naked frolic before marriage. Just like peep shows. No penny, no lookee. (Yes, I know they cost more than a penny, but "no quarters, no lookee" didn't sound right.) Apart from the cost discrepancy, am I missing anything, or is that about it?

Furthermore, what's the deal with polygamy being illegal? As with gay marriage, if two guys want to marry, or one guy wants to marry a mob, (providing the mob won't be state-supported), why is that anyone else's business?

Even furthermore, how weird is it that people have their relationships licensed by the state? Mmmm, romantic!

Nobody thinks about this stuff; they just go along with it. But, every now and then I stand back from it all and think it's all pretty weird.

Posted by aalkon at September 21, 2006 10:34 AM

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Comments

Should you die because your parents are irrational?


It's not easy to subvert evolution.

Posted by: Norman at September 21, 2006 12:47 AM

Whose interests would be served by polygamy? What's in it for you and me?

Posted by: Crid at September 21, 2006 1:18 AM

How does anyone's marriage, aside from your own, effect you for that matter?

Posted by: lujlp at September 21, 2006 1:30 AM

People in long, loving marriages tend to take care of each other, and bring good children around to care for them when they can't do so themselves, relieving the burden for the rest of us. The fact that it doesn't always happen is irrelevant: Our investment plays the odds, and recognizes that we should try to stay out of each other's way. Do you think polygamy works out well for women in the places in the world where its practised?

> Nobody thinks about this stuff;
> they just go along with it.

People think about it all the time!

Posted by: Crid at September 21, 2006 2:11 AM

Polygamy is all too frequently a euphemism for child abuse, rape, and white slavery. I know of no example where a woman has thrived -- emotionally, intellectually, nor financially -- under this system.

As for the HPV vaccine, I am a Christian and my daughter will get it. But I don't think it should be a mandatory vaccine. Mandatory vaccines are supposed to be for things that are easily communicable just by being in the same room. Where's the logic in making HPV vaccine mandatory when the flu vaccine isn't?

Or is it all about making sure women remain easily available for sex?

Posted by: Kim at September 21, 2006 5:17 AM

Because some are abusers doesn't mean something should be banned.

What's wrong with women being available for sex?

I wouldn't want to be in a polygamous marriage (or any marriage), but if people will pay for their children, why should they not be allowed to be polygamous? If the women aren't forced into it, why shouldn't it be their choice? Furthermore, why should gay marriage or any marriage be prohibited?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 21, 2006 6:14 AM

Um, gee people, my first sexual experience was a rape. I contracted HPV and had abnormal pap smear tests for the next few years. I was terrified I would get cancer from my rape.

Not exactly a question of being "easily available for sex."

Posted by: Melissa at September 21, 2006 6:17 AM

Melissa, your experience must have been (and continue to be) horrifying. Hard as it is to think about it, the potential for rape is one of the reasons that I am electing to have my daughter vaccinated.

However, I don't support forcing this vaccination upon other people. My comment about whether the debate is really about keeping women easily available for sex is that it often seems, from my perspective, that the arguments about the vaccine, birth control, abortion, etc. regularly revolve around keeping promiscuous behavior consequence-free. There are some people who believe that there are emotional and moral consequences to having multiple partners that cannot be escaped, even if all of the physical reminders can. (And yes, those people do not necessarily hold absolutist positions.) People with such beliefs will typically try to raise children who will choose chastity before marriage and monagamy within their relationships. There are many decisions in child-rearing that require judgement about whether something is good for that particular child.

As for polygamy, to restate: I know of no example where a woman has thrived under the conditions of polygamy. I know of plenty of examples of abuse. Thirteen year old "brides" are statutorially incapable of consent. I recommend reading "Under the Banner of Heaven" by John Krakauer. This book is a good start on the subject -- there are many others that dissect the practice as well.

Posted by: Kim at September 21, 2006 7:13 AM

I think the crux of the matter is that women must be empowered as early as possible in their lives. This means sex education which includes not only the mechanics of sex, but also how to handle the emotional aspects, and how to deal with the inevitable power exchange issues. Then women will be able to make informed decisions about when they want to have sex, with whom and under what circumstances.

If they have a strong sense of self and very high self esteem, they can't get conned into having sex when they won't get anything out of it. Nor will they want to be in a polygamous relationship unless they see some benefit for themselves. (There is such a thing as polyandry, but no-one ever seems to talk about that-that's one woman marrying a number of men).

Since marriage was all about money, can someone explain to me the difference between paying for a wife and paying for a prostitute?

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 7:33 AM

Everyone seems to have missed a big point in all of this. I fully support the idea that all girls should be educated in all aspects of sex at an early age. There is so much emotionally at stake that young girls are not mature enough to handle and that is rarely covered in a "sex talk".

Anyway. The point that is being missed is that boys should also be receiving the same education. I have seen teenage pregnancy and both sides deal with it. In almost every case, the young man feels that he has somehow been cheated out of his youth by this girl thrusting responsibility on him. The truth is that the responsibility lies with both parties, and I'm tired of the girls carrying most of the burden.

On a side note....Amy, we understand your views on marriage. You shout them at the top of your lungs at every opportunity. We get it. You can let it go. You're not a fan of marriage. Congrats.

Posted by: Surprised at September 21, 2006 8:01 AM

If I'm boring you, there's always Dear Abby.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 21, 2006 8:30 AM

Perhaps what I'm doing is hitting a little too close to home.

For my views on boys protecting themselves, here's an example:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/ag-column-archives/2006/01/is_that_a_son_i.html

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 21, 2006 8:32 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 21, 2006 8:33 AM

And, PS, it isn't just that I don't like marriage. Marriage doesn't make sense for our times. Here's why:

http://www.advicegoddess.com/ag-column-archives/2005/12/holding_on_for.html

Guess what, "Surprised": If you put up a Web site, I promise I won't come tell you you should shut up because your views are boring me. Why not? Because that seems kinda rude.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 21, 2006 8:36 AM

Michigan wants to require girls to get vaccinated? This HPV vaccine is brand new. How about a little post-marketing surveillance (www.fda.gov/Cder/handbook/postmark.htm) of the drug before we make it a legal requirement to accept it?

Oy friggin' vey.

Posted by: Lena at September 21, 2006 9:21 AM

""People in long, loving marriages tend to take care of each other, and bring good children around to care for them when they can't do so themselves, relieving the burden for the rest of us. The fact that it doesn't always happen is irrelevant""

The same is true with polygamys marriges due to the fact that they often produce more children. Growing up in Utah the guy that lived behind me had three wives, they all lived in the same house, and the ladies traded off time with the kids so they each had two days a week in which they were free of all house hold responsibiliies, they claimed they loved it. The guy they were married to never abused them, I never even heard him raise his voice.

Posted by: lujlp at September 21, 2006 1:19 PM

Not boring Amy, you just have an opinion that many folks don't agree with. And maybe you harp on it. Overly much. On occassion. This is kind of funny:

"Maybe it didn’t matter to him because he’s one of those guys who really just wants a tidy house, regular sex, and hot meals -- and he never figured out he could come close with carryout food, topless bars, and a cleaning lady."

but kind of horribly untrue. Do you live like this? If not, maybe this isn't the best advice to pass on to other.

Sorry if I have overstepped my boundaries, it's not my website.

Anon

Posted by: Anon at September 21, 2006 3:41 PM

> ......having sex when they won't get anything out of it.


What's this "getting something out of it" idea? Suddenly an orgasm isn't good enough?

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris (back from France) at September 21, 2006 4:05 PM

Kim, polygamists aren't all 13.

Re, "Since marriage was all about money, can someone explain to me the difference between paying for a wife and paying for a prostitute?": that's easy!

The prostitute stops charging you when you're dead!

Posted by: Radwaste at September 21, 2006 4:49 PM

Stu-I am talking about orgasms

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:24 PM

Stu-I am talking about orgasms

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:24 PM

Stu-I am talking about orgasms

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:24 PM

Stu-I am talking about orgasms

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:24 PM

Stu-I am talking about orgasms.

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:25 PM

I skimmed a bit, but I'm pretty sure everyone here missed the point that requiring a vaccine is not the same as forcing a vaccine. There's thousands of people who don't get their kids vaccinated for whatever religious or health grounds they feel like claiming, and yet their kids are still allowed to go to school. The HPV vaccine is no different. And even if it was "forced," which would be virtually impossible, you could still go to private school or homeschool, which most of the religious fanatics prefer anyway.
Anyway, since I had a scare with HPV myself, I'm lining up with my daughter the minute Kaiser makes it available.

Posted by: Pat at September 21, 2006 5:35 PM

Sorry about that-I don't know why it went up 4 times.

I was going to say, a lot of the time, a guy is only interested in getting himself off as fast as possible, which means that the woman does not have an orgasm. Roll on roll off, and if they've really got nerve, they try to get a blow job too, without doing anything for you.

The whole 'paying for sex' thing exists because of a patrilinear system. Since men control money, they want to make sure they're only paying to support the fruit of their own loins. And paying a prostitute gets the man off the hook for caring about whether she enjoys the sex or not, and frees him from having to deal with the emotional attachment problem you may get with a one night stand.

Posted by: Canada at September 21, 2006 5:45 PM

Well, in MI, the legislature is all in a hoo ha about this too. Yes I am on the rampage...

Geeze maybe I will testify during the hearings that hey, I had all my sacred childbearing organs ripped out because of cervical cancer.

The stupididy of square britched politicians.

Posted by: sonja at September 21, 2006 7:04 PM

Conceptually, what I appreciate about prostitution is the relative (to marriage) honesty about power dynamics, trading and motive.

I often wonder how long polygamous women would stand for being legally unrecognized if polygamous marriage became legally available. I like to imagine countless polygamous women suddenly browbeating their husbands into legally recognizing and paying to support their offspring and all of their spouses.

Posted by: M at September 21, 2006 8:30 PM

"I had all my sacred childbearing organs ripped out"

How dainty! I can tell you're still too traumatized to talk about it.

Posted by: Lena at September 21, 2006 8:33 PM

“I was going to say, a lot of the time, a guy is only interested in getting himself off as fast as possible, which means that the woman does not have an orgasm. Roll on roll off, and if they've really got nerve, they try to get a blow job too, without doing anything for you.”
I’m sorry, ma’am, this flight is full, you’ll need to check some of that baggage. Jeez, sorry that that’s what you’ve encountered, but it’s only the norm if that’s what you settle for. Although, Lena, you were supposed to serve me at the end of my last post, thirsty and out of breath and all, and where were you? (taps foot) THIS is what I get for posting a day late.
‘Men control money’? Shit, where’s all mine? My student loans are huge, man, it’s not fucking FAIR. I promise, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do not hand out stacks of greenbacks at a biannual Dudefest, no matter how much they make.
Prostitution does not exist ‘because of a patrilinear system,’ unless this also explains male prostitutes, utilized by both men and women. It exists for a number of reasons, the chief one being that humans, men often more than women, want to get off, often with as little fuss and expense as possible. And because some people, men and women, don’t mind performing sex acts for what is often a lot of money. This is excluding the whole area of forced prostitution, which would require a (big) post of its own, but that’s not what we’re addressing here.

Posted by: cat brother at September 22, 2006 8:08 AM

I get fed up with men being treated as wicked because of their natures. Women drool over babies, and that's acceptable. Men drool over babes, and that's not. Women want love, men want sex (I generalise, in case you didn't notice) - but why is one good and the other bad?

Posted by: Norman at September 22, 2006 8:36 AM

You're right Norm. The male drive is pathologized, but it isn't wrong, it's just different. Men and women have different evolutionary adaptations (still behind our psychology today). Men go for beauty (and what we think is beautiful is actually indicative of fertility and health) and women go for something different: providers (ie, men of status and power) -- whether or not they want children. We're hard-wired with this stuff, and in Don Symons words, it takes "hundreds or thousands of generations" for an adaptation to take hold, so we probably aren't about to see a change anytime soon.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 22, 2006 9:24 AM

Cat brother, I'm just making an observation about my experiences. I don't have any hostility towards men or the guy after the fact, I just don't sleep with him again. And I know it is in guy's hard wiring to get the job done as quickly as possible in order to spread as much of his DNA around as he can, so I'm not demonizing men. All it means is that I have to keep trying new guys till I find a guy who does it the way I personally like it. (P.S. the last 2 were amazing, so I see them both regularly, and everybody is happy!)

This refers back to a previous discussion about not telling a guy how many guys you've had sex with. I would say that in my case there is a reason for moderately high numbers (it's all relative!), since I won't stay with a guy and fake my orgasms just for the sake of being in a relationship like a few of my friends are doing.

And usually women don't have to pay for sex, and when they do, I assume they do it for the same reasons as men: convenience, no emotional content, and to have their needs met.

Posted by: Canada at September 22, 2006 9:44 AM

I never have to pay for convenient, emotion-less sex, because the people I sleep with are as shallow and narcissistic as me. Mutuality is the key.

Posted by: Lena at September 22, 2006 11:01 AM

(cough) Lena, aren't you supposed to be serving someone now? Like ME?

Posted by: cat brother at September 22, 2006 11:38 AM

Amy,

I seemed to have hit a sore spot. I didn't mean to be rude. I was simply pointing out that your regular readers know your opinions about marriage, and as "Anon" pointed out, its not exactly a popular opinion. I was not telling you to shut up in any way, just mentioning that you could let an occasional opportunity to trash marriage pass.

"Perhaps what I'm doing is hitting a little too close to home."

If you're trying to insinuate that I am or was a teenage parent, you're incorrect, I have no children. If you're trying to be incredibly rude to one of your regular readers, you've done remarkably well. I read your stuff because you find clever ways of getting your point across. You have a way with words. You're little stab about hitting too close to home was was grade-schoolish. Your suggestion to switch to Dear Abby may have been your best advice yet. I can't believe how horribly rude you were.

Posted by: Surprised at September 22, 2006 11:43 AM

Oh, Surprised. Puh-leeze. We are so delicate. I think you should re-insert your buttplug before all hell breaks loose.

Posted by: Lena at September 22, 2006 12:13 PM

> Conceptually, what I appreciate about
> prostitution is the relative (to marriage)
> honesty about power dynamics, trading
> and motive.

That's preposterous. Every successful marriage I know of is frank adn direct about the needs and responsibilities each partner brings to the exchange.

> Women drool over babies, and
> that's acceptable. Men drool over
> babes, and that's not.

Norm-O, that's one of the best things you'ver ever said. It's not that men should be permitted to let the stupid impulses of their gender be seen in public; it's that women shouldn't be, either. And cootchie-coo is just such an impulse.

Posted by: Crid at September 22, 2006 1:35 PM

I'm going to make sure I check with my sister to see if she's going to get her 9-year-old daughter an appointment to get the vaccine when it's available. I'm suspecting that she's in favor of it. At this point, the 9-year-old thinks boys and s-e-x are really icky ideas but it's possible that that will change.

As for marriage, well, it is a funny idea to think of getting a license for a relationship. On the other hand, a lot of legal protections go into effect with the purchase of the license. For instance, if I become ill and need someone to make decisions for me, I want it to be my very sensible and knowledgeable hubby, and not my sentimental Mom who would definitely choose against my wishes. I'm so much more comfortable with the idea that my hubby is my legal next-of-kin.

The traditional marriage enterprise (powerful, wealthy man marries attractive, dependent little woman) has some serious flaws, but partner marriage (powerful, self-sufficient partners marry each other) can be very supportive and satisfying for both parties. I have a partner marriage where the balance of power and responsibility are equal. Of course, we don't have kids, and kids may be the thing that unbalances and screws so many marriages.

Posted by: Dalynn at September 26, 2006 11:29 AM

> The traditional marriage enterprise
> (powerful, wealthy man marries
> attractive, dependent little woman)

What??!?!??

Posted by: Crid at September 27, 2006 12:33 PM

Dalynn, is your power dynamic truly equal? Just wondering, because what I've noticed is that one partner usually has the upper hand in some way or another. If it is equal, that's great, I've just never seen that before.

Posted by: Chris at September 28, 2006 8:32 AM

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