The Precious Touch

The texture, more important than appearance

The feeling, more appealing than the look

The facets of quality, as measured

Like the content of a treasured, well-read book

The touch, far more impressive than the visual

Though first drawn by sight alone, ’tis not enough

The smoothest, gliding surface when encountered

Convinces more than coarsened, crude and rough

The elements, attractive in display case

Cannot be chosen till character is felt

In life, as in the study of the gem stones

Intrinsic value known once precious held

Cereals And Solitary Pleasures

Ok so, Pete made a comment on one of my posts  about the ‘fact’ that Mr. Kellogg had apparently invented corn flakes while trying to discover a cure for masturbation for the inmates in a sanatorium.

I just had to check the facts on that. Wikipedia might not always be up to scratch but it seemed to be true. What I read in the rest of the info has prompted this post. I wanted to entitle it ‘Wankers’ but felt sure that some people might be put off reading thinking it was another political rant!

So here goes nothing.

I did a post a wee while ago referring to the fact that I don’t find discussing sexuality easy. Especially in public. Blame my mum.

It doesn’t take away from the fact that I admire those who can. It doesn’t take away from the fact that I am a sexual being. A sensual woman, I like to think. Despite the fact that my own mum had issues discussing, overtly, anything of a sexual nature. Blame her mum.

In later years, my mum would discuss pretty much anything with the adult me. Sometimes embarrassingly so. But I always remember one of her ‘talks’ as she tried to explain a few facts to me.

It kind of went like this.

‘You know how some men like steak and some prefer chicken for dinner?’

‘Umm, yes.’ (Mama, have you lost your mind?)

‘Well some men like to lick the plate.’

Now this analogy took a few seconds to hit home with me. And then, wham!

WTF! My mum was attempting to discuss oral sex with me. I was in my late teens as I recollect. You can imagine the thoughts conjured up about my parents then. Yeuch! I guess she figured I was mature enough to realise that what two consenting adults did in their own time was not my business. I was. I still am.

In my early teens I had gone to confession and told the priest that I had investigated ‘down there’. Yup, I did. I was under the impression that if I died before I confessed God would ask me about my ‘sins’ in front of everyone in heaven. And what a red neck that would be. Better just get rid of it now. So to speak.

And the priest’s answer? ‘Were you on your own?’ Seriously. I was shocked. I thought I had discovered something that only I knew about and it turns out people did these things together and it had a name. He did commend me on such a frank confession which I was quite chuffed about!

There is a point to my embarrassing disclosure. You might not be embarrassed but I am. But I figure the truth is out there. And maybe it’s time we acknowledged a few home truths.

Like, for example, that girls do have that little hooded area of orgasmic pleasure that they are aware of and, if lucky, some man will one day be aware of too and act on a couple of instructions. It may be a penile stub in comparison to the ‘magnificence’ of the erect penis – all 12 inches worth, according to some men.

Both appendages are there. Belonging to the individual. To them. No other.

Reminds me of when my husband looked in the rear view mirror of our car a long many a year ago and commented to one of the kids for the umpteenth time, ‘Stop picking your nose.’

Her babyish answer of, ‘My nose’, soon shut him up. Touche.

Mr Kellogg (1852-1943) had some rather strange and worrying practices. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_Kellogg

Here’s an excerpt (from Mr Kellogg’s own book) in case you don’t follow links.

A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.

further

a method of treatment [to prevent masturbation] … and we have employed it with entire satisfaction. It consists in the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together, and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur, and the slight irritation thus produced acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice

and

In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid (phenol) to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.

He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages and electrical shock.[7]

In his Ladies’ Guide in Health and Disease, for nymphomania, he recommended

Cool sitz baths; the cool enema; a spare diet; the application of blisters and other irritants to the sensitive parts of the sexual organs, the removal of the clitoris and nymphae…

 

 

 

Some cultures still carry out female circumcision. And sew up the vaginal opening, allowing only for menstrual flow.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jul/25/female-circumcision-children-british-law

At what point in history did it become the case that our preoccupation with sex reduced it to something so abhorrent that remedial measures should be taken to ensure minimum pleasure? And control?

Excerpts from the article, in case you don’t link.

Cleanliness, neatness of appearance and the increased sexual pleasure for the man are all motivations for the practice. But the desire to conform to tradition is the most powerful motive. The rite of passage, condemned by many Islamic scholars, predates both the Koran and the Bible and possibly even Judaism, appearing in the 2nd century BC

“FGM is not confined to African countries. It has no basis in Christianity, it has no basis in Islam; none of Muhammad’s daughters had it done. For some parents it is enough to let them know that and they will drop it completely. Everyone needs to understand that every child, no matter what the background or creed, is protected by this law in this land.”

“FGM has a social function and until this is understood by social services and other bodies they will never stop it. It is a power negotiation mechanism, that women use to ensure respect from men. It prevents rape of daughters and is a social tool to allow women to regain some power in patriarchal societies….”

This has led me on to some research that I’m not going to include here because it does not answer the question of why we as a world deem it appropriate to interfere with another person’s body.

I could go on about rape; about sexual harassment of many kinds and of both sexes; about why we think it’s ok to judge others based on their sexuality; or ok to judge on so many counts from  colour, nationality  to creed; about why we, as a species, allow victimisation in all its myriad forms.

Where did we inherit the right to discriminate against another person? Period.

How far back must we go to ascertain the truth in when it became a god-given right of anyone?

In fact, aren’t we told, ‘‘judge not lest you be judged’?

At some point in history deities of both genders were worshipped for their attributes. At some point in history nature was embraced and recognised for its wonders and the processes of life.

At some point it changed.

We became preoccupied with what everyone else was doing in privacy with their own bodies. We became preoccupied with everyone else’s perceived flaws of nature or appearance or sexuality.

Is it because we live in a male-dominated, patriarchal world?

It would seem to be men predominantly who have proscribed the acceptable terms of a woman’s sexuality. Or indeed anyone who does not conform to a defined macho sense of maleness so you’re buggered if you’re gay. Pun actually unintended. But I thought, what the hell.

Let’s face it men, generally, are the biggest wankers of all time and I mean that it in its correct usage. Might it be that rather than women suffering from penis envy men suffer from clitoral and vaginal envy? Two surely is better than one. And think of how quickly we recover after climax. What’s not to envy? Ready to go again, darling? How emasculating.

Now before you go off on one yes, it does sound like I’m having a go at men. Even my own husband has just said so. ‘But I’ve not finished!’ I said to him. *rolls eyes*

Earlier my sixteen year old daughter read out to me something she received via email/text.

This is an excerpt from a poet at http://inkskinned.tumblr.com/

I’ve just followed. I can’t find a link to this piece of writing. It’s excellent. It’s strong. But I’m selecting this part to underline what so many women feel.

An open letter to the ‘nice guy’ who tried to hit me because I stopped him from taking home a drunk girl who was begging him to leave her alone (or: why you should never ask a poet if she’s really an ugly cocksucker or if that’s just her day job):

you wanna know why we don’t let nice men into our beds? Because we rarely find them.

They’re out there, I know it, but they’re not the ones wetting themselves when a woman asks ‘why do you think that?’ instead of sitting back and letting him laugh with his buddies about femi-nazis. They’re out there and they’re probably as pissed as we are that at least one third of their population has openly admitted there are times when they think it’s okay to force their significant other to have sex: they’re out there, and the sad thing is, if you’re a male, you’re statistically not one of them. As far as we know, you don’t exist. You are a white knight only you believe in.

The thing about oppression is that it can only last for so long. You are not making yourself dominant, you’re making yourself weak. I’ve seen men crumble because they feel uncomfortable when they get hit on by other men as if the stench of their own mistakes is strangling them. I’ve seen them get impassioned because a teacher preferred females and I’ve laughed because I had eight other classes where it was reversed and in all of those eight, it went uncontested.…I’ve seen boys growl about women’s history month and had to wonder if they’ve ever held a textbook where the only names of girls are tiny footnotes. I’ve seen fathers ask why the  curriculum I use for my six-year-olds is carefully gender neutral, why I let his son play at cooking or his daughter be a doctor.

I have never heard a mother complain except to beg me to get her little girl to talk more, to do more, to succeed – do you see? Do you see?

Now the last few weeks I’ve been involved in something of a private education programme thingy that might come back to bite me on the arse. But I’m doing it because education is the way forward. And it’s not the first time I’ve been bitten on the arse. Whole other story.

Speaking

Discussing.

Honesty.

And most of all love.

It’s hate that is at the root of everything I’ve read recently that has scandalised me.

And why?

We care so much about a woman’s tickly bits that we’ll mutilate.

We care so much about other people’s sexuality that we vilify.

We care so much about the colour of a person’s skin that we decry.

We care so much about the name of the religions that divide that we cannot unite.

We are a scared humanity, a humanity filled with petty differences. So petty that we cannot use the power of our own voices and select our own futures.

We inherit politicians who sometimes act wrongly under threat of disclosure about their sexual exploits. Name them, I dare you. Numerous.

Let’s lay off the sex, colour, religion and get down to the truth of this world. It is temporal. It is troubled. It is temporary.

I, for one, am taking the log out of my own eye before commenting on another’s splinter.

Except where truth and lies perpetuate cruelty.

Hatred and lies hurt. Truth will set us free.

In the words of Rabbie Burns – not rabbi Burns! –

O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!