Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thoughts While Listening To A Bimbo Talk Show Host

Carrie McCandless (left) is a 30 year old Colorado teacher who yesterday pled guilty to "unlawful sexual contact" with one of her students, a 17 year old boy.

Her lawyer maintains she's innocent of the charge, but unwilling to risk a trial that might send her to prison for years. The deal is for her to serve five years of probation in exchange for a guilty plea. If you're interested, you can read the details here.

Late last night, I was listening to a bimbo talk show host cough up his opinion that there ought to be a double standard about these sorts of things. He offered that it was acceptable for an older woman, like McCandless, to have sex with an underage boy, but that it was unacceptable for an older man to have sex with an underage girl.

According to the bimbo, a double standard is morally justified in these cases because of the very nature of human reproduction. In humans, the reproductive burden is not equally distributed between the sexes. Instead, women bear most of the burden (i.e. nine months of pregnancy followed in most cases by years of care-giving). Men, on the other hand, never get pregnant, nor are they usually the primary care-givers. Consequently, the bimbo pointed out, men have a much lighter reproductive burden than women.

He then went on to argue the difference in reproductive burdens between men and women obligated society to protect girls from older men, but did not obligate society to protect boys from older women. That is, girls have a lot to loose by getting pregnant from older men. Boys, on the other hand, have very little to loose by getting an older woman pregnant. Hence, we ought to be outraged if an older man has sex with a girl. But we ought to encourage -- or at least condone -- a boy having sex with an older woman.

It would be cruel to demand that talk show hosts think.

Now, I confess I admired the bimbo for his heroic effort to do something with the McCandless case besides condemn her to hell. It's always boring at midnight to hear a bimbo take the moral high road. Nevertheless, I found myself in radical disagreement with him.

The age and sex of a couple makes little difference to me. The way I look at it, the important things are mutual respect, shared expectations, sexually responsible behavior, a lack of abuse, mutual free and informed consent, and so forth. The same things that are important to me always. I'm not in favor of people so young they cannot give informed consent having sex, but apart from that I think the age of the partners doesn't much matter.

I'm not saying McCandless was right to indulge in groping a 17 year old, if that's what she did, because her specific case is complicated. For one thing, she was the 17 year old's teacher, and thus in a position to retaliate if he turned down her advances. Could he have given free consent under those circumstances? Maybe. The McCandless case hinges on that and other questions that cannot now be answered because the case will not go to trial. So, I'm reserving judgment on that case.

Instead, I have another bone to pick with the bimbo talk show host. Not only do I disagree with him that it's automatically immoral for an older man to have sex with a girl, and automatically moral for a boy to have sex with an older woman, but I also disagree with his notion -- he must have gotten this notion from the same "scientists" that keep telling Rush Limbaugh the jury is still out on global warming -- that only human males have evolved to have multiple sex partners. The truth is the best available science strongly suggests that both males and females have evolved to have multiple partners.

In the first place, there is no society in which it is unknown for some women to have more than one partner. This suggests the basis for multiple partners has a genetic component, rather than being merely cultural, since if it was merely cultural, we could expect to find cultures in which no women had more than one partner. But in every culture, there are women who have more than one partner.

In the second place, human males have evolved to cope with their females "getting some on the side." According to some scientists, the size of male testicles and the quantity of sperm production indicate that males evolved to have sex with females who were at least somewhat likely to have sex with more than one male. Again, the size and shape of the male penis is such that it seems evolved to be an effective pump for removing a competing male's sperm from a vagina prior to depositing one's own sperm. Last, males ejaculate significantly more sperm in circumstances when their females have had a chance to be with another male. None of these things would be the case if females were evolved to be perfectly monogamous.

So, in my opinion, the bimbo talk show host is wrong not just in his belief that we should have a double standard when it comes to older people having sex with younger people, but he is also wrong in his belief that only men evolved the reproductive strategy of screwing around.

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