Amanda tackles anti-choice misinformation and the global gag rule and interviews Aimee Thorne-Thomsen of PEP. Also, rethinking intercourse and Reality Cast rips off “The Daily Show”.
Links from the show:
This week on Reality Cast we'll have an interview with Aimee Thorne-Thomson from the Pro-Choice Public Education Project and a mailbag on running back to third after hitting the home run.
From Feministing comes the latest sad sack attempt for anti-choicers to reach out to the younger crowd, even though their patented "sex is wrong" stance continues to make them unpopular with the hormonal set. The attempt? An ad campaign featuring a set of T-shirts with pink ink slogans like, "Guys don't get pregnant" and "Sex causes babies".
Note to the makers of this shirt: You're wrong. Shocking, I know. But sex doesn't cause babies. No, pregnancy causes babies. I know it breaks the fundamentalist heart to hear there's more to baby-making than a guy's O face, but sometimes we have to face up to unpleasant truths. So the key to not having babies if you don't want them is to focus on the pregnancy, not the sex. I guarantee you that if you prevent pregnancies through contraception and terminate unwanted pregnancies, then you will not have a baby that you don't want. Of course, if you want a baby, you have to get pregnant first. Simply having sex won't get you there.
Maybe the confusion comes from playing too much of the Sims. Remember that game? I played it before the online version came out and found it really frustrating that your characters, if they were married, would have sex and before they'd finished smoking their cigarettes, a cradle would show up at the end of the bed. They didn't even get a post-coital nap because the baby would be crying so much. It was a really frustrating design element, because you didn't have any way to prevent babies and abstaining from sex made the game less. The online version overcorrected and you couldn't have babies at all, which was also a problem. Maybe they fixed the problem for 2.0.
Jessica at Feministing did a little digging and found that while the website on the posters advertises itself as a source of real information and straight facts, it turns out the website is owned by CareNet, an anti-choice organization that's not above spreading the same old right wing lies about sex and reproductive health in order to scare young women away from using contraception. Jessica's done some good digging, but I can't help but point out that the poster themselves indicate a willingness to spread misinformation with this "sex causes babies" stuff. Turkey basters also cause babies, but that's no reason to avoid Thanksgiving dinner.
The Pope seems to have a bit of confusion over terms lately, as well, considering the swipe he took at Amnesty International, who recently signed on definitively to the idea that the right to abortion is a basic human right. He stated in a speech in Austria on September 7th that abortion cannot be considered a human right. I strongly disagree. As long as you consider women human, then women's rights are human rights.
In fact, when the news came out that Amnesty International was clarifying its pro-choice stance, I was a little shocked to find out that it took them so long. I expected that Amnesty International would have already had the policy supporting abortion on demand with no apology, but apparently even the largest human rights organization in the world can be a little hesitant when it comes to the idea that women's rights are human rights. Well, it just goes to show that we have a lot of work ahead of us. And I'm glad that Amnesty International is on board with supporting women, even if the Pope is still behind the times.
*interview with Aimee Thorne-Thomson*
The big news this week is that the Democratic-controlled Congress voted to overturn the global gag rule, which was a ban on any U.S. funding going to family planning organizations that offer abortion services or advice on obtaining those services. Contrary to a lot of anti-choice propaganda, the overturn would not mean that the U.S. would be paying for abortions directly, just working with groups that offer abortion as one of their non-U.S.-funded options. Ronald Reagan instituted the gag rule in 1984, but President Clinton overturned it right away when he came to office. And Bush reinstated it right away when he into office, which put a serious hurt on the health of the entire world population.
The good news is that Congress overturned the global gag rule, but the bad news is that Bush, who's beholden to extremist anti-choicers, vetoed the legislation pretty much immediately.
The veto affects a lot more than abortion rights, of course. This interview from Al Jazeera English clarifies the issues. The Kenyan representative for Planned Parenthood Sanda Ojiambo explains in detail how many vital services are lost due to the global gag rule.
*insert Ojiambo interview*
So obviously, this is about a lot more than abortion. But yet again, it's worth pointing out that the anti-choice movement that supports the global gag rule is not just anti-abortion, but anti-contraception, so this widespread termination of health services fits their agenda. Leslee Unruh of the Abstinence-Only Clearinghouse summed up the nuanced anti-choice position on reproductive justice on Fox News back in May:
*insert more babies clip*
I'm sure the people across the globe who are dying of AIDS because they didn't have adequate protection would feel comforted to know they are suffering in the name of such a thoughtful and caring ideology.
OK, here's my question. It's probably dumb and beginner-like because, well, i'm somewhat a beginner, and i got my sex ed from suburban Texas. I'm not sure what information is pertinent, so i'll include whatever i think of.
I've only had sex with one woman, and we're still together (although at the moment she lives in Japan and i, well, don't). Our sex is generally pretty good; at least, we both enjoy ourselves most of the time. However, PIV is usually a disaster, and tends to put a pretty big damper on the rest of the activities when we try it. I always take an incredibly long time to get inside her, and usually by the time i do i've spent myself, and then i feel like crap. Because of that, I've become discouraged about PIV sex, and we've only tried it maybe 10 times (we've been together for a year). I wear a condom (Trojan-enz lubricated, if that makes a difference), so i don't know if that leads to some of our issues or what. I guess my question is two-fold: I'm sure that PIV is something that gets better with practice, but is there something that we could be trying in the meantime to help us out? And second, is there a better condom out there for this sort of thing?
Or should we just focus on what we're already good at?
To clarify for the audience, PIV refers to penis-in-vagina intercourse.
Before I touch on any of the other issues, I want to make it clear that you and your girlfriend should both consult your doctors about this before proceeding to make absolutely sure this is not a medical issue. A lot of women have problems with intercourse for medical reasons and you want to eliminate that possibility before you go any further.
Aside from the possibility of a medical problem, it sounds like you might just have plain old beginner's nerves. And there's nothing wrong with that. If intercourse isn't that fun for you for whatever reasons, you shouldn't feel any obligation to stick with it. Sex is supposed to be about fun and pleasure, so stick to the things that are fun and give you pleasure. Going back to your comfort zone doesn't mean writing off intercourse forever. It might just mean delaying it until you're more likely to enjoy it.
You might want to pick up the book "She Comes First" by Ian Kerner. The title pretty much tells you what the book's going to be about, but it's still worth a read, since he advances this entire sexual philosophy that's specifically aimed at men expressing frustrations like yours. Kerner came to his ideas after suffering from premature ejaculation, but the book is for a larger audience than just men with that specific problem. It's about getting away from the attitude that intercourse is the end-all be-all of sex.
As for condoms, well, Trojans are a fine product. Some people have strong brand preferences and others don't, but it's a trial and error thing. I wouldn't make condom pickiness your first concern. Brand preference is one of those things that comes with time and experience.
Please send mailbag questions to amanda at rh reality check dot org. We do not dispense medical advice at the mailbag, so please direct medical questions to your health practioner.
Now, for the Reality Cast version of the Daily Show's moment of Zen. This is a quote from an abstinence-only presenter giving a lecture to students at Spencer High School in Spencer, Iowa. One of the students, angry at the misinformation being presented, filmed the lecture with his cell phone and posted the clip onto You Tube.