To the Consumers’ Association of Ireland
Dear Sir or Madam,
Supportive of consumer rights, I would like to call your attention to the topic of subliminal advertising, on which I have made some research.
The following case studies from my blog [Index] deal with very recent paper advertisements, many of them advertising multinationals’ brands and designed for international marketing.
The subliminal techniques involved are akin to mental manipulation and likely to be detrimental to the consumer’s choice. What is to be done to prevent consumers from being subjected to such deceptive manipulation? (March 29, 2015)
Dear Flor, [Although I signed my full name Florent Boucharel, she calls me Flor because my email is flor.boucharel[@]gmail.com]
Thank you for your email. We would recommend that you contact the government body, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission as they have the power to investigate companies. They can be contacted on 014 4025500 or http://www.consumerhelp.ie
Thank you for your reply. I don’t think the law forbids embedding the word SEX in advertisement photographs, which, as far as I have been able to ascertain since my attention was called to the practice, is the case in almost every paper advertisement these days. Since the law says nothing, a government investigation is out of the question. I believe this is what they will tell me. I was seeing more a campaign of opinion, and that’s why I reached out to your organization, in case you would find the matter relevant to consumer rights. (March 30)
& later (having no further news from Caroline)
In spite of your reply, I feel my mail has not received due consideration, especially since my blog statistics tells me you haven’t even thrown a cursory glance on one or two of the cases I have provided.
You know, I am sure, of those people who hold positions of responsibility and, when contacted about attendant matters, ask: “Why are you talking to me? Do we know each other?”
If you’re not interested in matters such as how commercial advertising behaves towards the consumer, then you should consider changing occupation, and leave your position to a more suitable profile. (April 1)
To International Consumer Research and Testing (ICRT)
Dear Sir or Madam,
Supportive of consumer rights and the important missions of consumers’ organizations, I would like to ask what your position is on the topic of subliminal advertising, on which I have made some research.
The following case studies deal with recently published advertisements (March 2015), many of them advertising multinationals’ brands and designed for global marketing. (April 4, 2015)
Hello, is anybody in? Here’s the taxpayer who pays you!
For the sake of accuracy, your name ought to be ICRNT: International Consumer Research and No Testes.
Horror movie The Exorcist, about a Catholic priest fighting the Devil in the good old ways, uses subliminal techniques. Hence the many faints, nauseas, mental collapses necessitating psychiatric intervention among theater patrons when the film was released. Yet horror movies had been played on the screens for decades and none had had such impact on the viewers, because those films did not manipulate unconscious mind structures with subliminal techniques. As an example, the soundtrack for The Exorcist was embedded with the sound of humming bees at subliminal level, in order to trigger panic. It was an experiment in mind manipulation. (For more details on the subliminal elements in The Exorcist, read Media Sexploitation, 1976, by Wilson Bryan Key. See also this blog’s Index for my series on Subliminals in published advertising.)
In Hormones, Sex, and Society: The Science of Physicology (1994) by Helmuth Nyborg, I find a paradox. It seems to me that a male androtype-1 should not choose an estrotype-1 as a spouse, since the latter will have, as Nyborg describes it, “higher libido” and the androtype-1 is not particularly well endowed in this respect. Hence, he should make a more “sex-stereotypic choice” with respect to finding a spouse, that is, he should depart from what Physicology predicts (that he will not be sex-stereotypical). What I mean by “should” is what he would do if he knew Physicology a bit. This is the paradox. The only solution to it, as far as I can see, would be that Physicology predicts that androtypes-1 do not object to their spouses’ promiscuity, nor to bringing up children sired by other men. A rather odd prediction in terms of evolutionary genetics.
Also, I would like to stress that our current “managerial elite” is recruited on personality criteria amongst which extroversion is perhaps the most important in the organization recruiters’ eyes. Which means the hormotype index of the American/European managerial elite is not likely to be 1 or 2 (maybe not even 3), nor it is this likely to be otherwise in the near future, whereas Nyborg claims that loner, intellectual androtypes are called to make up the elite.
To Hollaback! (In their own wods, ‘Hollaback! is a global, people-powered movement to end harassment. We work together to ensure equal access to public spaces.’)
Having seen on Internet a video of yours in which a young woman is filmed by a hidden camera walking in Manhattan, it reminds me of a news report on the same topic and with the same technique I saw a few years ago on French TV, and of my own situation even though I’m a man.
I live in Paris where I do quite a lot of walking, not seldom by myself. My experience is that some people feel free to abuse verbally, in a sneaky way, lone persons in the street whose outward appearance they happen not to like.
I have conjectured that many people, walking alone in the street, resort to listening to music or to calling someone on their mobile phone in order primarily to prevent their being abused in such a way, or at least to escape noticing it.
Some vulgarized notions of psychology likely will evoke a paranoid state of mind. The very idea of paranoia, however, may well contribute to the spreading of sneaky verbal abuse. (As a matter of fact, the person abused may even be abused by being called a ‘paranoiac’ by his or her surreptitious abuser.) (April 2015)
No answer. (My point, as the reader understands, is that harassment in the street is not limited to female victims. In my experience, verbal abuse not seldom comes from women.)
El Mallarmé «profeta» ha introducido intelectualismo en la poesía, y la poesía ha muerto casi. Todo ésto, las abstractas reflexiones o elucubraciones sobre el lenguaje y qué sé yo, es demasiado árido, y no muy riguroso tampoco como razonamiento y los filósofos lo hacen mejor.
There was in the past of Christian Europe a mighty enemy in the East: the Ottoman Empire. A mighty colossus, it nearly obliterated Christianity on several occasions, as when its armies besieged Vienna, twice.
At the head of such powerful armies, numerous as the waves of the ocean, were the dreaded Janissaries, a slave brotherhood of Albanian origin. They were the gate-keepers of the Bab-i Ali.
O what convulsions in the misty mountains of Albania, when this people too vindicated its freedom!
This video [Te Rrapi ne Mashkullore, sung by Irini Qirjako, with images from some (Albanian?) motion picture] shows scenes of the Albanian national struggle, here culminating with the assassination of a Turkish Basha or Bimbashi. The lyrics talk of a Bimbashi several times, as a portent of awesome and dreadful forces.
There is that taylor in my neighborhood, Mercan, an Armenian. I brought him a pair of trousers not long ago. He told me that with such fabric these trousers would last me ten more years. Now they have a big hole in the bottom. You can’t trust Armenians…
Mercan is the Devil. For one there’s his accent. It took me some time to understand at last what he says when he’s greeting me. He says “Ça va, mon ami ?” (Howdy, my friend?) and I was hearing something like “Ça va, Mehmet Ali ?” (Howdy, Mehmet Ali?) I thought he was mocking me in his nasty Armenian ways…
He’s a stutterer. He says “Merci, mon-mon ami” (Thanks, my-my friend) and I hear “Merci, Mehmet Ali“, like he’s mocking me. Like the devil he is…
One day I needed to have my trousers enlarged at the waist. He said, “Okay, but think about a diet, Mehmet Ali!” And he laughed. He’s the Devil…
Russian émigrés were all with Hitler, especially after Operation Barbarossa and the onslaught against USSR. They had brought the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to Germany, they had brought them to the USA, even to Manchuria and Japan. There’s even a book which claims they are the true inspiration of Hitler and the Nazi party. Grand-dukes and grand-duchesses were with Hitler. The heir to the Russian throne was with Hitler (and he was spied upon by the Gestapo at the same time). All the former White army was with Hitler and joined the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS on the Eastern front. The popes were with Hitler. Czarists, Solidarists, Fascists were with Hitler. Georgians and Tatars were with Hitler and they fought the Résistance in Corrèze where my grandparents were living their humble lives (my grandfather was once taken hostage). Caucasian Muslims were with Hitler, and Stalin made them pay the price after the war.
I spent years collecting thousands of names of people involved on the side of Nazism and Fascism, from every country: Cossack White Army officers, Albanian gurus of mystic tariqas, French anarchists, Australian aborigines (true!), Afro-Americans, Indian nationalists, Indonesian nationalists, Khmer nationalists, Pu Yi the last emperor of China, Turkish Turanians, British aristocracy, the then King of Sweden and his son the present King of Sweden, Knut Hamsun, the Muslim Brotherhood and Nasser of Egypt, the Shah of Iran and the future Ayatollah Khomeini, etc. etc. A long list. I spent years on it, I don’t know what to do with that work.
De hecho yo no había escuchado la canción Aviateur, cantada por Véronique Jannot, hace desde muchos años. Me la propuso YouTube, al escuchar yo otra cosa. Entonces me volvieron memorias de mi niñez. No son memorias de mi casa porque mis padres no miraban programas de televisión populares, con canciones y tales cosas. Pero, de vacaciones, nos quedamos con mis hermanos en la casa de abuelos o a veces de tíos, en el campo. Gente más popular y no tan educada como mis padres, y ellos miraban esos programas populares, y nosotros con ellos. Y me gustaba, de niño. Después, de adolescente, ya no me gustaba el campo. Me aburría, no podía hacerme amigos con los jóvenes, aunque me enamoré de una morena, S., cuyos padres tenían un comercio de bicicletas. Era una tontería. Le declaré mi amor y, como ella no cayó en mis brazos al oírlo no más, lo abandoné todo. Una tontería, pero era bonita la hija del vendedor de bicicletas… De adolescente, las vacaciones en el campo eran malas. De niño era otra cosa. Gente sencilla, televisión popular, una Francia que tal vez aún ya no existe.
Véronique Jannot and I are of the same breed, de pelo y ojos castaños. But her talent has been exploited by foreigners, Armenians. Besides, her very artist name (if it’s not her real name) is a joke, because it alludes to Jeannot Lapin*. I want to make clear that this sort of popular culture has something very shallow about it, which makes it unbearable to refined minds. Only the exhaustion of a working life can create a need for that kind of shallow entertainment. The producers are all foreigners, alien, exploitative Armenians.
*D’après internet, Jannot est son vrai nom. Elle aurait dû choisir un nom de scène plus glamour : Véronique Davies, Véronique Crawford-Jones, Veronica Lamborghini…
Pearl of the Mediterranean
Where will I find you now?
The lemon trees
What fills my eyes with tears?
O the sea at Mersin!
Fragrances like attar of rose…
jarabe de rosa beberé
almíbar de rosa saciará mi sed ardiente
miles de mirtos para tenderle arropes suaves
Encantadora es la rosa en el jardín de luna
Canta, bello ruiseñor, por la rosa que te llena de dulzura
In France the name Fatma was used as a common name to designate a North-African girl (as there are many migrants from North Africa in France). For example: “Did you see that fatma?” Then it designated any girl, whatever her background, for example: “Did you see that fatma?” And then it came to be abbreviated as “fat,” (prononcer « fatt ») for example: “Will there be fats at that party?” (Il y aura des fatts à cette soirée ?) At least that was so in my teens.
I distinctly remember occurrences when the word was used by my friends and myself (by the way we were all white, middle-class teenagers). For instance, during a summer vacation in Spain we used to call Spanish girls “fats” among us. And there’s a joke. While we were in Spain, near Valencia, there were several days of feria with bulls, “toros.” Several toros were involved and they had a leader, so to speak. One day, one of our group, talking about this leading bull, called him “le taureau mère,” as we talk of a “vaisseau mère” (mother-ship) in a fleet of ships. But “mother-bull” was really ridiculous, so we laughed and someone said: “You mean ‘le taureau fatt’ (the fatma-bull)!”
But we didn’t say fatma to girls, as they would have beaten us up.
3 Poems to O.
You didn’t tell me you’d take my heart away.
You didn’t tell me you’d always be in my dreams, at the cost of a life. But what is a life worth comparing with such dreams?
You didn’t tell me that, because of my memories of you, I’d be like a madman always by my thoughts. But what worth is soundness of mind compared to such lunacy?
You didn’t tell me my memories of you would be more real to me than reality. But what is reality worth, you tell me, in the shadow of one memory like these?
You didn’t tell me there would be no more seasons but the summer of your smile.
You didn’t tell me there would be a never-ending day from the day on when you said: One plus one makes one. Did you say so, by the way, or is it my imagination?
You didn’t tell me you’d break my heart in two so that one plus nothing makes a funny two: a crazy man.
You didn’t tell me one is not just one but also the one and only, so this one can’t be counted like any other one because in a way this one is a bit too much – especially being away.
You didn’t tell me I’d have to know the effect of spending some time by your side and then (as a punishment for what crime?) I’d have to know the effect of spending my whole life and perhaps even an eternity without you.
You didn’t tell me it wasn’t just two people in a given place at a given time, but two people one of whom would be forever out of space and time.
You didn’t tell me that was just a serious game so that not only would I lose my bid but also I would lose my mind.
You didn’t tell me I was to be there with you for a few days and then you wouldn’t be by my side until the end of time. Yet that’s not too high a price because there can be no such thing as too high a price for what I’m talking about.
You didn’t tell me you’d make a fool of me and I would be glad. Had you told me, I wouldn’t have believed you, for I was a fool. Born to be a fool: that’s what you should have told me.
You didn’t tell me…
Yes but it’s only a dream.
–Yes but this is only a life.
Yes but what’s more precious than life?
–Yes but it’s made precious from dreams.
If I could see your eyes
Then you would see
The moonlight on the sea
(Your eyes the moon
My tears the see)
This is the fifth issue of the Science of Sex series, triggered by reading the Sex Wars trilogy by best-selling author Dr Robin Baker as well as other behavorial ecologists and evolutionary psychologists.
“Springboarding” the Mogul
Despite the alleged evidence brought forth by several scholars that low-status men are more likely to be cuckolded by their partners than high-status men (see XXXI), I shall presently explain why the reverse is likely to be true or, at least, why high-status men, i.e. moguls – known collectively as the joking class – are equally exposed to cuckoldry than men from the working class.
In essay XXVIII, I wrote, quoting Baker: “It leads us to the model I call, from a graphic word used by Dr Baker, the springboard model: ‘Once a woman has a long-term partner, the costs of one-off intercourse are reduced as long as her infidelity remains undetected. Her long-term relationship provides a springboard from which to exploit the genetic benefits of one-off sex with selected men without risking too much. She does not have this freedom, however, if she does not have a partner.’ (SW 260-1) According to this model, a woman is not much interested in one-off sex while single, because she may end up with a pregnancy and no male support to help her bear the burden. As a single woman she is in search of a lasting relationship, and this can easily lead one to think women are monogamous. However, once she is engaged in a lasting relationship, the ‘springboard’ is provided for extra-pair or one-off sex, with which she may improve her reproductive success with mates whose genes appeal to her. As a single person, the woman seeks a partner, and her choice relies on status more than good looks; if need be, she will sacrifice the latter. As an engaged person, she seeks lovers and genetic endowment (BW 131).”
Then I added: “If BW 131 is correct (‘In choosing a short-term partner for sex … looks are much more important’), the following needs some explanation: ‘Some men have a higher chance of being cuckolded than others, and it is those of low wealth and status that fare worst. … Moreover, the men most likely to cuckold the lower-status males are those of higher status.’ (BW 44-5) (…) it is not clear why women partnered with high-status men would not be likely to cuckold them with low-status men if the latter possess the required genetic endowment. Dr Baker explains that these women have much to lose if their unfaithfulness is detected, but that means, then, that sacrificing good looks while choosing a long-term partner is detrimental, because in reality the springboard is not even provided.”
Since then, I made a quote from Buunk et al. that support Baker’s statements, but Baker, in a footnote to his published books he sent for publication on the present blog (of which I am very honored), took, at least as I interpret it, some distance with these, stressing their somewhat hypothetical nature and the lack of data:
“The question over the number of children (and grandchildren) produced by high and low status/income males is one that is desperately in need of real data, data that even now is impossible to obtain. But until we do, the discussion will continue and everybody can hold their different views.” (Comment on XXX) & “Like you, I haven’t read the papers on children produced by high and low status males and females that you reference. I like the conclusions (because they fit my expectations) but cannot comment on how convincing the data are on which they are based. But my comments which you highlight still stand. The advantage to high-status women of producing fewer offspring with high status males is that by making a higher investment with his help in those fewer children she eventually benefits through the succeeding generations (how many generations we cannot say) by eventually producing more descendants than high status women who initially produced and tried to raise more children. So my comment that the data do not exist to prove the matter one way or the other in evolutionary terms is still valid. To my knowledge, no one has yet been able to follow survival and reproduction through enough generations to make the necessary tests. It will need to be over more than one generation and the more the better. I cannot see how this can be done at present.” (Comment on XXXI).
As I am convinced of the relevance of the springboard model, I shall present evidence that the very model does not allow us, provisionally, to retain Buunk et al.’s statement (“Even in contemporary Western society high-income men have more biological children than low-income men, whereas among women the opposite is true”) as valid.
1/ First, that “the men most likely to cuckold the lower-status males are those of higher status” is contradicted by the following (from David Buss, The Dangerous Passion, 2000, p. 164):
“The contrast between the minimums women express for regular mates and for one-night stands is especially striking because women relax their standards for many qualities when seeking brief encounters. For degree of education, for example, women required husbands to be in the 61st percentile, but for one-night stands they required only the 47th percentile. In sharp contrast, women became more exacting in a one-night stand on precisely the qualities one would expect according to the theory of sexy sons. Whereas they wanted their husband to be in the 58th percentile on sexiness, they wanted their brief flings to be in the 76th percentile. On physical attractiveness, they required husbands to be only in the 54th percentile, but demanded the 77th percentile for one-night stands.”
Based on this study, women’s expectations as to their lovers’ degree of education are fairly moderate and, as is well known, in our meritocracies, degree in education predicts status accurately.
2/ Second, as both Baker and Buss talk of one-night (one-off) stands, I am led to assume this is the most common method of cheating adopted by women and, since Baker also writes that one-off flings are hardly detectable, his line of argument according to which women married to high-status men have more to lose if detected, is unconvincing.
3/ Third, high status nowadays being linked to long studies (see The Bell Curve 1994), high-status men must be called, plain and simple, eggheads. How do eggheads score on sexiness and physical attractiveness? According to some line of research (Helmuth Nyborg 1994), there exists some hormonal trade-off that tends to make brainiacs not particularly studly, hence not quite adequate to one-off flings.
What is, by the way, the function of the pervasive office of spin doctors, in politics, if not to turn eggheads and geeks into manly men and womanly women in the eyes of the public?
4/ Fourth, if a large penis is of any relevance for a man’s attractiveness as a short-term partner, which after reading Baker (“females should prefer to mate with males who will give them male descendants with a penis more efficient at removing a rival’s sperm (HSC, 174)”) I believed was the case, then the same trade-off as just exposed makes high-status men uncompetitive on the short-term partners market.
Baker has corrected me on this point as to his real meaning: “Regarding large and small penises (and testes) I simply refer back to my conclusion in Sperm Wars and Human Sperm Competition. The size distribution of both in the population is fixed by evolution at the stable situation where each gains the same advantage. In which case there is no need for anybody to be envious or gloat. The average and distribution of sizes will differ in different populations because the selective pressures are different, thus shifting the ESS [evolutionarily stable strategy] in one or other direction accordingly. But each size distribution should be adaptive to the local conditions. Everybody is equal except during phases that the pressures change and evolution starts shifting the equilibrium point. Only during those phases is there an advantage in being larger or smaller.” (Comment on XXXI).
One explanation for the size distribution and equilibrium evoked by Baker in his comment could be provided by the springboard model itself: If women marry small-penised brainiacs for their status and resources and at the same time look for large-penised studs in order to give birth to “sexy sons” (Breiling & Buss), such dual behavior would maintain some fairly constant size distribution among any given population, if children are sired by both husbands and lovers.
One confirmation of the hormonal trade-off alluded to is provided by a comparison of both penis size and IQ for Mongoloids and Caucasoids. According to Baker & Bellis (HSC 169), average penis size is 10-14 cm for Mongoloids and 14-15 cm for Caucasoids (with a difference also noticeable as to testes’ weight). Now, world records on IQ are: Singapore (108), Hong-Kong (108), South Korea (106), North Korea (106), Japan (105), China (105), and Taiwan (105); compared with US (98), UK (100), France (98), Germany (99), Spain (98), Italy (102) (Lynn, 2011).
(Baker writes, as quoted above: “each size distribution should be adaptive to the local conditions.” Does it imply that a difference in penis size should be found between Northern and Southern Mongoloids? Except Singapore, Southern Asian nations score less well on IQ measurements than Northern Asian nations. Environmental conditions certainly play a role. If we take Singapore, world record at 108, for instance, the country’s ethnic background is as follows: Chinese 76%, Malay 12%, Indian 9%; IQ by country for these populations: China (& Taiwan) 105, Malaysia (& Brunei) 92, India (& Pakistan & Sri Lanka) 82; expected IQ for Singapore based on ethnicity alone would be 105(.76) + 92(.12) + 82(.09) = 98. If IQ really measures intelligence as the capacity to learn (cause) and not a level of education (effect), then it is not education that can play the major environmental role, but other things such as nutrition, climate…)
Some great minds, based on the medical knowledge of their time, already had the notion of a trade-off between penis size and intellectual capacities. Strindberg, in his book Vivisections (a book he wrote in French – a rather clumsy French), said: « les organes générateurs se rétrécient, lorsque l’homme d’élite n’est pas un animal reproducteur et que le besoin sexuel doit être un passe-temps pour lui, vivant sans famille. Hürtel : Anatomie II : 69. « Chez des hommes forts il est très petit ; chez des poltrons et onanistes bien grand. D’une longueur remarquable chez les Crétins. » Les statues antiques semblent prouver cette théorie. Dans la France, le pays culturel, cet organe est plus petit que chez les autres nations. Voir : les dimensions des préventives. » (“The organs of generation shrink in the case of the elite man who is no longer a reproducing animal and for whom, living without family, sexual needs are only a pastime. In his Anatomie II: 69, Hürtel states that ‘strong men have it very small; cowards and onanists quite large. It is remarkably large by cretins.’ Statues of the antiquity seem to prove this theory. In France, the country of culture, that organ is smaller than in the other nations, as attested by the dimensions of preservatives.”)
5/ Fifth, May-December marriages, so-called, certainly occur more frequently for high-status men. Some of these men marry late because they want to achieve status before, and that takes long years of studies and a strong commitment to one’s career. Some marry at the same age as others but they may divorce and remarry later. Whatever his age, a high-status man has the financial means to attract a young wife. However, “when a man is substantially older than his partner, he may be especially vulnerable to being cuckolded and abandoned for two reasons. First, women usually want men who are only a few years older than they are, not men substantially older. Women married to much older men may therefore have a desire that remains unfulfilled. Second, a young wife is likely to elicit more interest from other men, opening up more frequent opportunities to switch mates.” (D. Buss, pp. 126-7). If a man much older than his wife is more likely to be cuckolded, and if it is true that a man much older than his wife is more likely to be a mogul, then credence to Buunk et al.’s assertion is further undermined. (As to the first reason advanced by Buss here, it is consistent with common sense but all the science of sex I have absorbed makes me find it difficult to see the reason behind it – being observed that Buss offers no explanation at all. It may be a consequence of evolved “mate insurance” strategies.)
All this hints at high-status men standing high on the wedding (springboard) market but being discarded as possible short-term lovers.
6/ Now, that “some men have a higher chance of being cuckolded than others, and it is those of low wealth and status that fare worst,” should depend, according to what has just been said, on low-status men’s sexiness and physical attractiveness, and, in fact, according to the same trade-off alluded to above, these men may score rather high on both, as well as on penis size and manliness in general, so they would be much thought-after by married women for one-off flings. Provided, that is, they be not gangrened by too high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).
In any case, when looking for (or falling for) a short-term lover, women are not after the same traits that make the ideal husband, so if it is high status that makes the ideal husband, the only way for the fact that low-status men be more cuckolded than high-status men to be true would be that the same set of men possess all the required endowments for both marriage and one-night flings.
7/ Last but not least, cuckolding a poor devil does not seem as evolutionarily sound – because the possible offspring is more likely to be raised in a dysfunctional home that will impair their prospects in life – as cuckolding a mogul, because then the lover’s offspring will benefit from the mogul’s wealth. So, even if in general unlawful inseminators are high-status men, there still is that incentive to cuckold men from the same set, which would contradict the second part of the assertion. The more I think about it, the more I rate the incentive as very strong.
Spousal Rape As Legal Object
Imagine for a moment you’re a mogul and married to a beautiful young woman, the jewel of her sex. The only problem is: She has made a springboard of you. And not only that, but also: There is nothing you can do about it. You may divorce but if you remarry the situation will be the same: There is nothing you can do in the bonds of matrimony. Please follow my reasoning.
“Women, of course, can experience sexual desire at any phase of their cycle. Nonetheless, they are five times more likely to experience sexual desire when they are ovulating than when they are not.” (Buss, p. 21). Furthermore, “Women who stray tend to time their sexual liaisons with their affair partners to coincide with the peak of their sexual desire, when they are most likely to conceive. Sex with husbands, in sharp contrast, is more likely to occur when women are not ovulating, a strategy that may be aimed at keeping a man rather than conceiving with him.” (id.) These conclusions are the outcome of “the most extensive study of ovulation and women’s sexuality,” in the course of which “several thousand married women were asked to record their sexual desires every day for a period of twenty-four months.” (id., p. 20).
No need to take great lengths of rhetoric – for the results talk by themselves – to make it clear that the only way at your disposal to impregnate your legal wife is to force copulation on her. Because if you always let her choose, and never ignore a refusal, then you will be stuck inside the infertile phase of her cycles, and the children she will beget and you will raise will not be yours. (Buss is only talking of the “women who stray,” of course.)
For all the good intentions that may lie at the core of spousal rape legislation and the chilling stories of domestic battering and abuse that have prompted such measures, one cannot help thinking they happen to be a fine tool for the enslavement of men. The creation of spousal rape as a legal object makes women’s strategy unbeatable, the man utterly defenseless against it.
The topic has been treated at rather great lengths in XXVIII and XXIX. Baker’s view runs contrary to a firmly grounded popular notion in a radical way. According to him, copulatory female orgasm allows the woman to privilege, in sperm competition, the man with whom she orgasms by insuring a better retention of his sperm inside her tract. The question I have so far failed to ask is: What is man’s role in the operation? In such a depiction, it seems that, contrary to popular belief, the man does not “make the woman come,” but rather that she had made up her mind beforehand that she wanted to advantage that man in sperm competition, that is to improve his chances of siring a child with her and that this would require that she “come.” In other words, if the woman wants to privilege one man, she orgasms with that man, otherwise she does not orgasm. Male performance vanishes from the scene.
Is premature ejaculation, then, not a problem? Imagine that, after a few preliminaries needed to lubricate the genital tract and penetrate it in proper conditions of moisturization (that may be via kissing merely), you ejaculate five seconds after intromission. Does it leave the woman who wants to favor your sperm enough time to orgasm? One would be tempted to conclude, following Baker’s view, that women cannot be willing to privilege such men, that by their very nature they cannot help wanting to privilege copulatory performant men – a sort of pre-established harmony. Otherwise, male performance must play a part, which remains undefined in Baker’s picture. The decision to favor a man may occur during intercourse, the woman considering (consciously or not) that his performance entitles him to be favored in his reproductive goals. In this way, orgasm would be a tool in the woman’s hands but its usage would depend on the man’s performance – needless to say, such interpretation leaves no room for the notion of copulatory orgasm as a female strategy: the man makes the woman come and forces her to retain more of his sperm. Baker’s findings would then amount to this: Performant men’s sperm gets pole position inside the female tract, and his own interpretation, about female strategies, would be unwarranted.
Baker probably discarded such interpretations as mine because, if correct, the question as to how female orgasm evolved in the first place would be quite complex, the whole matter quite puzzling. However, this would not be the first case of this kind: “The hymen is one of the great unsolved mysteries of human anatomy. I know of no plausible hypothesis for any physiological function it may serve, and I know of no other organ in the animal kingdom evolved inevitably to be injured. … Historically, male dominated-societies have universally evolved politics that reinforce individual anticuckoldry adaptations and have instituted a variety of new practices that serve this function. Very recent social institutions evolved in the context of sperm competition may even have selected a female structure, the hymen, that is unique to humans.” (R. L. Smith in SCH 103 & 110). With hymen, then, we would have a female body part evolved as dictated by mate guarding requirements, i.e. for the sake of male control. Similarly, female orgasm could be a female function evolved for the sake of performant males’ success and control.
Research on sperm competition has shown that viewing hardcore polyandrous pornography results in sperm improvement. “Interestingly, even though men will often state that one of their most frequent fantasies is to have sex with multiple women simultaneously, many pornographic movies are just as likely (if not more so) to show multiple men sharing one woman (…) Evolutionary psychologist Nicholas Pound provided a compelling explanation for this otherwise recurrent image in pornographic movies. He argued that males in numerous species become sexually aroused at the sight of another male mating with a female. In other words, the presence of other males serves as an excitatory visual clue. It would appear that the possibility of sperm competition between rival males gets men to rise – literally – to the occasion. (…) It seems unequivocal that men find sexual images laden with implications of sperm competition to be visually arousing. That said, if one were to discover that such images actually have an effect on men’s sperm motility… now that would be something to get excited about! This is exactly what Sarah J. Kilgallon and Leigh W. Simmons found. They provided men with sexual images that cue sperm competition (two men with one woman) or alternate images that did not (three women). The men masturbated while watching the images, and subsequently provided the researchers with the fruits of their manual labor. Two key semen metrics were analyzed: sperm motility and sperm density. Amazingly, Kilgallon and Simmons found that the sexual image that cued sperm competition yielded sperm samples that possessed greater motility (though sperm density was lesser in those samples).” (Gad Saad, The Consuming Instinct, 2011, pp. 248-50).
A good news for the industry, doubtless, for it now can advertise and sell its most hardcore productions as sperm-improving merchandise. As sex in an evolutionary sense is competition and pornography consumption may provide a manifest advantage, unsuspected so far, what man will dare dispense with it?
I have already exposed my views on the phenomenon, centered about the notion of silver-screen conditioning, for movie screens, the same as crystal-screen conditioning (from a Thai name for television, จอแก้ว, tjo-keo, “crystal screen”), and sexploitation, subliminal or otherwise, by advertisers as conditioning a form of fetishism, in the true psychiatric sense, for merchandises. I would also like to refer to Deirdre Barrett’s book Supernormal Stimuli (already quoted in XXIX), which explains how pornography fits in the category of such stimuli. She talks of a “wanker nation” (the US) and of the increasing number of men who consult therapists in the hope to be freed from an addiction to porn. In the same way that cheap fatty and/or sweet food is responsible for the current pandemic of obesity, easy access to pornography is triggering a mental pandemic whose consequences will be major. Like obese men and women, the most affected from a young age on will remove their genes from the surface of this earth, stuck to practices of hours-long stop-and-go masturbation in a universe of surgically improved (supernormal) sex attributes. Their sperm’s motility will have been improved in vain.
March 1st, 2016
PS. The book by David Buss here quoted is The Dangerous passion: why jealousy is as necessary as love and sex (2000). Robin Baker’s name and works are cited on several occasions: pp. 17-8 (notes), 170-2, & 216 (notes).