Warning: This might not be safe to watch or listen to at work.
A few months ago after being scheduled to speak at Reasonfest 2013 on the topic of being a Black atheist, Greta Christina and David Fitzgerald asked if I wanted to participate in the Godless Perverts Story Hour GPSH. Before this, I had never talked openly about sex in front of a crowd, so I jumped at the opportunity! (I think we should do things that scare us from time to time.) I was raised in a sex-negative environment and I was very ignorant about human sexuality until I became an atheist (still learning more every day). Participating in this event awakened in me a real desire to promote sex-positivity.
So, without further ado, I would like to share my GPSH reading with you. Ignore my shaky voice and listen to my story. Like I said before I had never spoken about such things with such a wide audience, so I was nervous. Nevertheless, enjoy “My Orgasm”.
Transcript (some minor edits made on the spot):
It starts with a warm, tingly feeling in my toes. As I stand here trying to think of an accurate way to describe it, the only analogy that comes to mind is electricity. Then, if the proper sensation is maintained, the warm tingle quickly moves up my legs until the current hits the fuse box and then waves of electricity cascade through my body.. all the way to my fingertips and the top of my head. On a lucky day, this will happen multiple times. In very simple terms that’s my orgasm.
Why am I talking about this? BECAUSE I CAN. I was raised in a very religious, high control group. You’ve probably heard of them- Jehovah’s Witnesses. When sex was brought up it was about the DON’Ts of sex. Don’t have sex before marriage. Don’t masturbate. Don’t have gay sex. Don’t have oral sex. Don’t have sex with someone you are not married to which of course excludes threesomes, orgies and the like. And then they quoted disturbing scriptures like Ezekiel 23:20 which says, “She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of and whose semen was like that of horses”. So yes, one of my first lessons on sex involved donkey balls and horse semen. I remember having the “birds and bees” talk with my mother but all it really consisted of was “boys have penises and girls have vaginas”. I don’t think she even touched on the actual mechanics.. how the penis and vagina worked in concert to achieve this thing called “sex”. Not to mention how vaginas worked with vaginas, penises and anal sex any type of oral sex… you catch my drift. Of course gay/lesbian sex was not discussed except to point out that that was sinful. I was also told that masturbation is a no-no, but I didn’t get a clear explanation of what masturbation was. I was so sheltered that I didn’t even know until I was a teenager, that I even had another hole down there and had no clue the joys of the clitoris. When my mother had The Talk with me she did say not to touch down there except for when I peed or bathed and NEVER let anyone else touch me down there. I actually was too young at the time to even know why a person would touch down there if not to pee or bathe so I accepted it with no questions… but it wasn’t even my job to ask such questions. It’s a parent’s job to preemptively address the feelings that will eventually come up. Unfortunately when I got older and started have urges.. I was completely ignorant as to what I should do about those feelings both physically and psychologically. This is what religion does to a lot of young people. We’re taught to wait until we get married to have sex. Then we go into the situation completely unprepared for what’s going to happen. I’m not just talking condoms and bodily fluids, but also the emotions. Lots of us aren’t exclusively heterosexual or are sexually fluid with our orientation.
I was a devout Christian. I wanted to “save” myself for marriage even though at age 21, I found myself very horny. I moved out of my parent’s house that year and I remember seeing my first porn. (Hallelujah to the internet). Sadly though, aside from the horse semen scripture and my mother’s inadequate sex talk, porn was my first real sex education. I don’t know if it was my age or the freedom of not living with my parents or if it was the fact that I started college that year and found myself around “men”, but my libido shot through the roof! Along with secular education (biological anthropology, cosmology, etc.), my sex drive is another big reason I became an atheist. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that at the end of 2001 I was more concerned with sex than I was with God, but, I assumed I could repent later and all would be well.
So.. I did it and it was fabulous. Orgasms were fun and I wanted a lot of them. As luck would have it, I met a nice Atheist man. He was cute and also brilliant. I wasn’t concerned with his disbelief in God, I was a Jehovah’s Witness after all, I’d just convert him. That obviously didn’t work out as planned. We ended up taking several classes together and I suddenly had someone who helped make concepts like evolution plausible! And I got to have sex with him! I felt like a very lucky girl. I ended up marrying this Atheist man (to my parent’s dismay) and we’re still together 12 years later and I’m still in awe of him. Even after I shrugged off my god-belief, I still had sexual hang-ups. I didn’t masturbate until several years into my marriage because I thought it would be “icky” and I was embarrassed by the concept. Luckily, I got over that. I now consider myself “sex-positive” which is “an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is ‘an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation’ [...] The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference”. Growing up in a restrictive religious environment where sex was only spoken of in hushed tones or as sinful, while also putting absolute restrictions on masturbation is unacceptable and unhealthy. I’m happy that as an HIV medical case manager I am able to provide safer sex education on a regular basis.
So in closing, I’m thankful for my libido and orgasms helping to override my concern with “God”. They ultimately helped lead me to my Atheism.Read More
In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence.
Sunday was Mother’s Day, one of the worst days of the year for me emotionally, and not because my mother has died (although I still grieve for her). My biological family disowned me because I rejected the religion that they chose for me at birth. When I talk about this with others, especially those that haven’t been through it, they usually say, “Get over them. They don’t deserve you. Make a new family“. If you have a recipe for making a new family, by all means share!
This “make a new family” is not a simple feat, especially while you are grieving the old one. When a person loses a child, you wouldn’t tell them to “get over it, make another child”. Family is not an easily replaceable group of people. Because of the abandonment I felt from my bio family (which is still a pain I experience daily), I go into every new relationship expecting them to reject me. I feel fear about connecting with people on a deep level. I know that’s illogical, but it’s how I feel nevertheless. Recently, a couple of people I know via Facebook have reminded me “I have reached out to you and even given you my number, but you never called”. It’s not because I don’t want them in my life, I think I have developed some kind of phobia. I constantly ask myself why this new person even likes me. We evolved to have a preference for the organisms most closely linked to us genetically. Our parents are the source of our DNA. As children we are literally a part of them. As I grew up, my parents expressed deep love for me. My mother always had an endless supply of hugs. My father was an excellent provider. My older brother never picked on me and even let me live with him for a while as an adult. Those people rejected me. So, I feel I rightly have trepidation adopting a new family, even if it is more logical. So, I can’t just “get over them”.
log·i·cal: Reasoning or capable of reasoning in a clear and consistent manner.
I imagine a “logical” family as one that comes about with few expectations of love and acceptance but does happen after much time and effort. There is more reason involved to get to the point of love. More time is taken to determine if pursuing the relationship is worth the effort. I heard my mother’s heartbeat. I knew her smell. I bonded with her and didn’t have a choice in the matter. With new friends, we aren’t already connected on that deep level (although at times it feels like it). Friends, the logical family, takes time. We tend to have common interests and worldviews. We grow to love each other. I believe it takes a lot of time and a large emotional investment to build a relationship as close as the one we have with family. I never forget that my bio family rejected me despite the odds, despite their natural inclination, so the fear of rejection after I’ve bonded with my “logical” family is a real one and sometimes it seems like it would be easier to not get that close to anyone again.
I should probably flesh this out this topic more, but it’s late and naturally my mother and family have been on my mind. A blog of mine wherein I write a hypothetical letter to my estranged mother was widely circulated yesterday and a common thread in the comments was, “make a new family”. I want to. Recently I hooked up with some fabulous ladies and we are starting an internet show that’s just 5 atheist chicks hanging out. I feel an instant bond with them and I will try to cultivate more relationships like this in the future.
I’m not sure what my primary thesis is. It’s mostly that, I was born into love with my bio family and they rejected me. I understand that making new friends and “family” makes logical sense. Still, I’m afraid of being hurt. I don’t want to be rejected by my logical family either. It’s not so easy to “make a new one”.
I wrote this in response to the April 16 article by Hemant Mehta,
“Why We Should Fear the Evangelical Adoption Boom“:
In this article the Hemant Mehta exposes the dangers of the evangelical adoption boom. The main point of the article was the heinous prevalence of abuse by evangelical adoptive parents. As both an atheist foster-adoptive parent and critic of Christianity though, I have to admit that this isn’t the norm. I know dozens of Christian adoptive parents and they certainly don’t abuse their children. What IS common is the insidious nature of of some Christians making their children their projects: adopting to “lead their child to Christ.” If any of these friends happens upon this post, I am not accusing you personally of this or anything I am about to write, and am not invalidating the love I know you have for your children. These are general impressions I gained having been on both the Christian and secular sides of the adoption community.
I was still a devout Christian when we started the foster-adoption process. Getting my kids was one of the biggest factors in my rejecting Christianity. My indignation finally got past my “faith”; why was I forced to be a band-aid for god’s mistakes? People meant well, but “god has a plan” hit my last nerve. What kind of plan is it to cause systemic racism and social injustice which keeps birth parents in a vicious cycle, just to bring the children to a white couple who was somewhat well off? “I’m praying for them.” That’s nice, they don’t need prayer they need action. They need financial support, a lot of patience, time, hard work, tears, therapy and love. “God meant him/her to be ours.” REALLY?! God screwed up birth parents and a child’s life to fulfill YOUR desire for a child?!
Adoption is a band-aid, while social justice is the cure. I am all but against international adoption due to widespread corruption, and the social injustice involved. The $40,000 you spend fulfilling your desire for a baby could finance the family staying together who is only giving up their child due to poverty. I am also all but against domestic infant adoption, because of the social injustice involved in pressuring young mothers to give up their child to a well-off white couple, because *you know we can’t have any welfare queen and babies now*. International and domestic infant adoptions are also popular because people don’t want to deal with “damaged” kids, but rather want cute babies. They aren’t willing to risk the pain of loving and losing a child if fostering ends in reunification rather than adoption, because it’s about their needs and not the needs of children. Yes, my heart has been broken in a million pieces by my children and their “damage”, but foster-adoption is about the fact that every child deserves a loving home, and isn’t about my needs and wants. It is the most difficult thing I have ever done and surely ever will do, but what is life if lived in a sterile bubble?
Ultimately, the psychological damage these Christian ideas do to adopted children is what needs to be examined. I’ve heard first-hand how these ideas have psychologically impacted adult adoptees. Especially the one about all the upheaval in their lives being “god’s will.” My message to my children will be, “I don’t know why shit happens, but it wasn’t your fault. I am here for you now, I love you and I am never going to leave you.” Even if you never “get saved” and become the model child and citizen I once imagined in my naïve dreams that I would parent.Read More
Facebook news feeds quickly spread both real news and misinformation, so it’s important to keep in mind the Red Flags of Quackery. When I got the following in my news feed the other day, I saw the perfect opportunity to do some skeptical research and write a blog article on it. Unfortunately my narrative hook had some readers thinking I was promoting the very quackery that I was attempting to dispel; this is the reworked version of that article.
Imitinef Mercilet (sic) is a medicine which cures blood cancer. It’s available free of cost at “Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai” Create Awareness…
It might help someone…
Imatinib, also known by its trade names Gleevec or Glivec, is used in the treatment of multiple cancers. It prevents the growth of cancer cells by targeting the tyrosine kinase enzyme, a protein kinases, that can become stuck in the “on” position and cause unregulated growth of the cell, which is a necessary step for the development of cancer. Therefore, kinase inhibitors, such as Imatinib, are often effective cancer treatments. Touted as a “magic bullet” by Time magazine, kinase inhibitors are amazing, but they are not a cure. The development of resistance and the lack of tumor response in the general population have researchers continuing to work on their improvement.
The Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai does exist. According to their non-profit organization’s website (bold emphasis added,) “The Cancer Institute, Adyar, Chennai, India is a Hospital and Research Institute delivering free cancer care for thousands of poor patients over the past 50 years.”
Under the Glivec International Patient Assistance Programme (GIPAP), Glivec/Imatinib has been given without cost to about 900 patients at the Cancer Institute and approximately 16,500 in all of India. I don’t have confirmation from their website, but I’m betting you still need to qualify for the “free” part – and that’s poor by India’s standards, where 40% of the population earns under $1.25 a day. According to their website, that is 60% of their patients. By my standards, if you have a job with a computer and a Facebook account, you don’t qualify, but you can donate.
In an article regarding the generic version of Glivec, Dr. V Shanta, Chairperson of the Cancer Institute, says, “…they (Novartis) have been providing Imatinib completely free of cost to our patients. Of course, the ‘enhanced one’ is not available for free distribution.”
I also saw a nice bit of skepticism extoled by the Chairperson, Dr. V Chanta at her speech to the 24th Convocation of The TamilNadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University on August 15, 2012:
The use of tradition medicine – Ayurveda, homeopathy, sidha, unnani, etc. are being promoted and financially being supported by government. The application of these alternative medicines need scientific appraisal. They have never undergone the rigorous evaluations and scientific checks used in allopathy. It should be mandatory for alternative medicine to be evaluated in controlled clinical trials especially when they are being used in major chronic illness like cancer and many others.
Gilvec/Imatinib is not a cure and it’s not free. In fact it’s been called “gratuitously expensive”, costing $92,000 a year in the US. However, on April 1, 2013, Swiss drug maker Novartis lost its patent protection for Glivec in India – opening the way for generic versions to be manufactured there. Seen as a win in a country with 350 million people living below that country’s poverty line, it remains to be seen whether India will now be shut out of future innovations. The U.S. industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, has threatened, “Protecting intellectual property is fundamental to the discovery of new medicines. To solve the real health challenges of India’s patients, it is critically important that India promote a policy environment that supports continued research and development of new medicines.”
I feel there is some balance that must be met between the monetary reward for research and the needs of the patient to be able to access the fruits of that research. But that is another topic for another day.
So when you get this on your newsfeed, please correct them:
Imatinib is one of many tyrosine-kinase inhibitors used in the treatment of multiple cancers; most notably chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). It is not a cure for everyone. It is available to the poor for free at The Cancer Institute, Adyar, Chennai, India. So donate, it might help someone.
Please comment, either here or on our Facebook page. Or you may send your questions to Freethoughtify(at)gmail.com, subject line: Heather
Cancer Institute (WIA) Foundation, Inc.
SASTRA University grants Rs 54 lakh for Cancer Institute upgrade
Shot in the arm for generics, say oncologists
Novartis fails to patent Glivec (Gleevec) in India
Novartis loses landmark India cancer drug patent case
What Does India’s Poverty Line Actually Measure?