Posts tagged with sex

Already getting on in years (I was past the change of life), Béatrice fell passionately in love with the young priest; her feeling was translated by the verb adamare. She threw herself at him. As Barthélemy Amilhac himself said later:

It was she who made the first advances; one day, when I had just finished teaching my pupils … Béatrice said to me: ‘Come to my house this evening.’

I did. When I was in her house, I found that she was there alone. I asked: ‘What do you want of me?’

And she said: ‘I love you: I want to sleep with you.’

And I answered: ‘All right.’

Straight away I made love with her in the antechamber of the ostal, and subsequently I possessed her often. But never at night. Always in the daytime. We used to wait until the girls and the servant were out of the house. And then we used to commit the carnal sin.


What she loved in him was his gentleness and his desire — priests were known to be much more lustful than mere laymen….Béatrice loved the young man so much that she accused him of having bewitched her:
I have never committed the sin of sorcery…. But I think the priest Barthélemy did cast a spell on me, for I loved him too passionately; and yet when I met him I was already past menopause.


After she became the vicaire's sweetheart Béatrice was continually annoyed by village gossip, spread by the parish slanderers (lauzengiers)…. She was also subjected to vexation by her brothers, who in typical Occitan style set themselves up as custodians of their sister’s virtue. She was afraid they might hurt her….

She [ran away] to Vicdessos, where she was joined by Barthélemy, and from there they both went on to Palhars, where a priest-cum-notary ‘married’ them, but without giving them his blessing. There they lived for a year in the same domus without causing the slightest scandal. They lived meagrely…[consuming her] dowry. Gradually Barthélemy got to know about [her heretical] past. He was afraid. There were quarrels…. They parted.

When they met again later it was just before they were both put in prison. Béatrice had already been roughly handled by the Inquisition, and she asked her former sweetheart to help her. Once again, as before … in the cellar at Dalou, Béatrice made love with the young vicar in a vineyard while her faithful maid kept watch… The rest of [their] story belongs to [the Inquisitor]. He put them both in prison. Then, a year later, on the same day, 4 July 1322, he set them both free.
Montaillou — southern France in the 1320’s (story ends 1322)




Another interesting space.




[I]n Montaillou [Languedoc, Pyrenees, France] … around 1320 … at a minimum … 10 per cent of couples [were] ‘living in sin’.


Around 1700 … the … bishop of Montpellier … would have been shocked by such a high proportion.


…in the pastures as well as in the town the shepherds did not hesitate to entertain a mistress when the occasion offered. If anyone came across a couple openly living together, the reaction was much the same as it would be today. Were they legally married or not?

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, author of The French Peasantry 1450-1660

(but this comes from Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error)

(Source: amzn.to)




I was riding a bus through the western United States. From the eastern border of Wyoming down through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, … onward to my destination.

There was a young man who rode with us for a while. He came from Gillette, Wyoming: pop. 29,087 or 2.4 people per acre.

He told us that

  1. He had already tried dating every girl in his town
  2. He was riding the bus on a mission of love. He had saved up enough money by working in the oil fields to “rescue” his long-distance girlfriend.

Rescue her from what? was the response from most of the women to whom he told this story on our journey.

 

His girlfriend lived 3,000 kilometres away. They had never met in person. She was living with her ex-boyfriend, who, according to the young man on the bus, was still having sex with her (but she didn’t want to).

To the many women to whom he told this story during the 30-hour bus ride he relayed varying stories of the ex-boyfriend’s jerkitude, as well as of the strength of his relationship with this young woman.

  • They had talked every day for a year and a half.
  • She told him she loved him.
  • He was going out there to save her and bring her back to Wyoming to live with him.
  • (By the way: having given up the oil fields for some reason that slips my mind, he was working at a petrol station doing stuff like preparing pizza, slicing deli meats, and mopping floors. He lived with a roommate but I believe the roommate was willing to move out once he brought the young woman back to Gillette, Wyoming.)
 

To say the story was met with scepticism by the female co-Greyhounders would be a gross understatement. Many, ranging in age from (I guess) late teens to middle age, tried to warn the young man of the error of what he was doing.

  • He was missing the obvious signs.
  • She lives with the other guy.
  • You’ve never been next to her in person.
  • She’s lying to you, or to him, or both.
  • He was just lonely (and, they were too polite to add—ugly and lacking in social sense) to see things clearly.

But he was resolute. He had saved up enough money to rent a car to drive both of them back to Wyoming. He had brought duffel bags for her belongings. He had arranged for her to meet his foster parents in Colorado on the way home.

I never got to hear how the story ended.





Draupadi (द्रौपदी) with her five husbands (the five Pandavas पाण्‍डव).

Draupadi (द्रौपदी) with her five husbands (the five Pandavas पाण्‍डव).


hi-res




Railing against “grey areas” has become a favourite rant topic. People think that they’ve covered their bases and are being really open-minded when they switch from {0,1} to [0,1]—but no false dichotomies are avoided in this transition from discrete to continuous.

Let’s take the example of sex & gender. Most of the tick-boxes and bathrooms we face in life are labelled “M” or “F”, which covers most of us but not all.

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/57607/thumbs/s-TRANSGENDER-BATHROOM-RULE-large.jpg
http://www.understandthetimes.org/images/nir152i.gif
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01001/460-toilet_1001290c.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5054/5424192256_e8aaaf7256.jpg
http://burstupdates.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/burstupdates-women-urinal-e1338061475122.jpg
http://images.sodahead.com/profiles/0/0/2/1/7/2/1/0/9/hmm-33753092570.jpeg
http://i1.stay.com/images/venue/147/77/e90c14ec/science-fiction-museum-and-hall-of-fame-sfm.jpg
http://www.funnypictures.net.au/images/men-women-alien-bathroom-signs1.JPG

http://www.scatmania.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/29082008165.jpg

(And I want to apply a kernel weighted to extra-count the forgotten individuals, since as minorities they’re more vulnerable. This can be seen in data such as e.g. higher suicide rates and higher murder rates.) The University of Hawai’i’s guidelines for dealing with individuals possessing ambiguous genitalia (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) use words like

  • chromosomes—XX, XY, or other
  • micropenis, labia-scrotum fusion, gonadal dysgenesis
  • androgen insensitivity syndrome, hypospadias, kiinefelter syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Turner’s syndrome
  • true hermaphroditia

which raises the question of where the “grey area” between [M,F] ~= [0,1] could come from. Chromosomes either come in whole units — for example people with Klinefelter’s syndrome have 47 chromosomes “XXY” — or have a much more complicated structure if you want to dig into the DNA string. Other aneuploidies include XYY, monosomy or partial monosomy, trisomy 21 (which I don’t think affects genitals or sex assignment), distal 18q−, mosaicism, the list goes on. How are we going to assign a total order there in order to define a continuous variable? I don’t see any way to—just more possibilities to add to the domain of a categorical variable (and making it much more confusing than the usual gender dummy!).

The paper above, to give another example of non-orderability, notes that various chemicals usually squirt at you in fœtal development but they vary in their squirtular timing. So androgen, progesterone, and so on aren’t mutually fungible (as the different “coloured edges” in Ramsey theory), and además we’re dealing with time series like Ed Küpfer’s pictures of sports scores:

image

image
image

Those kinds of pitures, but with different coloured spiketrains representing the incommensurability of androgen vs testosterone and so on.

So how do you get total orderability (necessary for a “grey area”) from a time series of incommensurable chemtrains? I don’t see it. The geometry is more interesting than just a line segment.

Further reading: transgender mathematician (Leigh Noble), transgender computer programmer (Tim Chevalier @eassumption), transgender economist (Deirdre McCloskey @deirdremcclosk), transgender electrical engineer (Lynn Conway). Jeff Eugenides’ Middlesex.

(Source: twitter.com)




In game theory the word “strategy” means a fully specified contingency plan. Whatever happens—be it a sequence of things, a conditional branching of their responses and my responses—∃ a contingency.

I can’t prove this, but I do feel that sometimes people talk about others as constants rather than response functions.

(A function is a ≥1-to-1 association from elements of a source domain to elements of a target codomain. I’ll owe ya a post on how this is not the most intuitive way to think about functions. Because it depends which domains you’re mapping from and to. Think for example about automorphisms—turning something over in your hand—versus measures—assigning a size to something.)

  

For example, extraversion vs introversion. This is one of the less disputatious dimensions of human variation from the MBTI. We can observe that some people (like me) gain more energy by being around people and feel like sh*te when they spend too much time alone, whereas others (like my best friend) replenish their reserves by being alone and drain them when they go out in public.

So we observe one datum about you—but sometimes a discussion (eg, an economics debate) wants to veer over counterfactual terrain—in which case we need a theory about how things might else have been.

  • Maybe when you were young, your parents always made you do chores whenever they saw you, but didn’t particularly seek you out when you were out of sight. So you learned to hide in your room, avoid chores, and develop your personal life there. Hence became introverted as a response to environmental factors.
  • When I was young, I used to think I was introverted. Really I was just widely disliked and unpopular for being an ugly nerd. But later in life I developed social skills and had the fortune to meet people I liked, who liked me back. In response to who was around, I became extraverted.
   

I can think of other aspects of myself that are obviously responses to situational stimuli rather than innate constants.

  • If I were raised in a different culture, my sexuality would be different. In my culture, homosexuality is seen as “You boink / date / marry from your own sex”, but in ancient Sparta women all gayed on each other as a matter of ritual before the men came home from war. But they didn’t call themselves homos, and neither did the Roman men who sexually touched each other. It was just a different conception of sex (one I can’t fathom) where “Just because I regularly crave and do sexual stuff with people of my own sex, doesn’t mean I’m gay!”
    File:Pederastic erotic scene Louvre F85bis.jpg
    File:Banquet Euaion Louvre G467.jpg
    File:Pompeii - Terme Suburbane - Apodyterium - Scene V.jpg
    File:Nisos Euryalos Louvre LL450 n2.jpg
    Point being this is all the result of inputs; born Puritan, think sex = evil. Born Roman, "sexuality is a behaviour, not an identity".
  • If I ate more food and exercised less, my fat:muscle ratio would increase.
     
  • If I meditated more, I would feel more at peace.
  • If I read more maths, I would know more maths. More people would think of me as a mathematician—but not because it was inevitable or inherent in me to be a mathmo, rather because I chose to do maths and became the product of my habits.
  • If I fixed more bikes, I would be able to fix bikes faster.
  • If I made more money, I would go to different places, meet different people, be exposed to their response functions to their own pasts and presents and anxieties and perceptions, a vector field of non-Markovian baggage, and all of this history and now-ness would sum up to some stimuli-complex that would cause some response by me, and change me in ways I can’t now know.
     
  • Our friendship could have been so much more, but we sort of let it fall off. Not for any reason, but it’s not so strong now.
  • Our love could have been so much less volatile, but I slept around, which had repercussions for your feelings toward me, which repercussed to my feelings toward you, which repercussed …. (multiplier effect / geometric series)
 

Besides being motivation for me to learn more maths to see what comes out of this way of thinking about people when you layer abstract algebra over it, this view of people is a reminder to

  1. release the egotism, and
  2. not take too literally what I think I’m seeing of whomever I’m interacting with.

Someone who piss me off may not be “a jerk”, it may not be about me whatever, s/he may be lag-responding to something from before I was there. Or s/he may not have adapted to a “nice guy” equilibrium of interacting with me. Who knows. I’m not seeing all of that person’s possibility, just a particular response to a particular situation.

On the other hand, if they really are acting wrong, it’s up to me to address the issue reasonably right away, rather than let my frustration passive-aggressively fester. Wait ten years for revenge and they’ll be a different person by then.

The final suggestion of people-as-functions is that there’s always something buried, something untapped—like part of a wavefunction that will never be measured, or a button on a machine that never gets pressed. You may see one version of yourself or someone else, but there’s more latent in you and in them—if you’re thrown into a war, a divorce, the Jazz Age, the Everglades, a hospice, a black-tie dinner, poverty, wealth, a band, a reality show about life under cruel premodern conditions—that may bring out another part of them.

 

UPDATE: peacemaker points out the similarity between people-as-response functions and the nature/nurture debate. I think this viewpoint subsumes both the nature and the nurture side, as well as free will.

  1. Evolution shaped our genes in response to environmental pressures (see for example the flies’ eyes chart above).
  2. My assumptions & predilections are a response to a more immediate “environment” than the environment of evolutionary adaptation.
  3. And I exercise free will over how I respond to the most immediate “environment” which is just the stimuli I get from you and the Wu Tang Clan.

UPDATE 2: As I think through this again, I feel quantum measurement really is a great metaphor for interacting with people. You only evoke one particular response-complex from a person on that particular time. And the way you evoke it perturbs the “objective” underlying thing. For example if yo’re introduced to someone in a flirtatious way versus in a business setting.




Paul Bloom disproves the idea that sexual pleasure se logra by merely the proper stimulation of various genitalia with the following Gedankenexperiment:
Imagine you find out that the person you had sex with last night is not who you thought they were.
Maybe you learn that the charming gentleman is the author of white-supremacist hate literature.Maybe you find out that the beautiful woman was your long-lost sister. The feeling of wanting to crawl out of your own skin and leave the ugly husk of your body behind wouldn’t be out of place.
That such tropes appear in literature we’ve found from millennia ago suggests people have long felt this way: sexual pleasure must be tied in with not only the body of your partner, but with their spirit and inherent nature as well.
  
Pleasure is complicated. Economists know this but usually choose to forget the fact. The study of where individual demand curves come from would be a new discipline, although ink has been spilled on the topic.
However, the questions of pleasure and satisfaction are relevant to the engineering of society. If the objective function is set to: maximise output, but people derive pleasure from achieving increasingly difficult goals and receiving even artificial rewards, then the world of work is not optimised for happiness but the world of school is.
Getting more practical than grand critiques of “society”, anyone who manages more employees than herself would benefit from knowing which free-or-cheap buttons she can push to motivate and reward the people “under” her. Even more pedestrian: I know that sitting down feels better after a physical labour or constitutional, but I haven’t a quantitative knowledge of how to engineer my habits and routines to take fullest advantage of that fact.
Sound the trumpet again for a department of happiness studies.

Paul Bloom disproves the idea that sexual pleasure se logra by merely the proper stimulation of various genitalia with the following Gedankenexperiment:

  • Imagine you find out that the person you had sex with last night is not who you thought they were.

Maybe you learn that the charming gentleman is the author of white-supremacist hate literature.
Dave Chappelle playing a (blind) black white supremacist
Maybe you find out that the beautiful woman was your long-lost sister. The feeling of wanting to crawl out of your own skin and leave the ugly husk of your body behind wouldn’t be out of place.

That such tropes appear in literature we’ve found from millennia ago suggests people have long felt this way: sexual pleasure must be tied in with not only the body of your partner, but with their spirit and inherent nature as well.

  

Pleasure is complicated. Economists know this but usually choose to forget the fact. The study of where individual demand curves come from would be a new discipline, although ink has been spilled on the topic.

However, the questions of pleasure and satisfaction are relevant to the engineering of society. If the objective function is set to: maximise output, but people derive pleasure from achieving increasingly difficult goals and receiving even artificial rewards, then the world of work is not optimised for happiness but the world of school is.

Getting more practical than grand critiques of “society”, anyone who manages more employees than herself would benefit from knowing which free-or-cheap buttons she can push to motivate and reward the people “under” her. Even more pedestrian: I know that sitting down feels better after a physical labour or constitutional, but I haven’t a quantitative knowledge of how to engineer my habits and routines to take fullest advantage of that fact.

Sound the trumpet again for a department of happiness studies.


hi-res




What do you do if the type of person you attract—or are attracted to—isn’t the type of person who makes you happy?

Asking for a past life.




Thank you, steel manufacturing companies, and thank you, chemical processing companies, for giving us the time to read. —Hans Rosling

Totally good point about how the mechanisation of the rich world has allowed us to have so many professors, doctors, photographers, lawyers, and social media managers.

 

But I wonder: why is laundry so important?

There has to be a good reason; no one working with their hands for 70+ hours a week would choose to do an extra 10 hours of labour a week if they could avoid it. But I know from experience that, in my world, if you don’t do laundry for months at a time, nothing bad happens to you.

What did I do instead of laundry? I’ve taken a few options, some of which would have been available to poor humans now or in the past:

  1. wash clothing with the excess soapy water that falls off me in the shower (not available to them)
  2. turn clothing inside out and leave it outside (requires a lot of socks but before the 19th century no one was wearing socks anyway)

The second you would think poor people could do pretty easily. I used my porch, which got sun and wind and blew away, over time, most of the smells

So what’s the reason they couldn’t do that? I have a few theories.

  • They laboured with their bodies, getting much sweatier than I do at my computer.
  • Bugs and germs were more prevalent in their environment and got in their clothing if it weren’t soaped — or at least exposed to ammonia rising off the castle pissing grounds.
  • They got dirtier, muddier, muckier. But why would you need to deal with that?
  • Having clean clothes raised your appeal to the opposite sex, and social status went along with that as it goes along with attractiveness today. Clean isn’t necessary; it’s just sexy (on average).

Anyway, I wonder if it isn’t the other changes to the modern OECD environment (reduction in bugs and reduction in manual labour) that made for the progress. Nowadays I just use the washer when I’ve exercised or played in the mud.

If the wash was always just a way of keeping up with the Joneses, however, then we can’t congratulate the washing machine for saving us necessary labour — it just helps us live out our autocompetitive rank obsessions in other ways now the elbow’s been surpassed on that dimension.