Tag Archives: American Men

Unplugging Because. . .

Technology, like sex, has a love/scare relationship with most Americans.

Until relatively recently, sex has been something that you just did not speak about in anything remotely resembling polite company. Not only did Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds with a nightstand between them, but most of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television have to do with sex.

The flip side to that, however, is that while sex might not have been a public subject, it was the thing most on the minds of American men and women. Porn thrived, especially with the arrival of the internet and the ability of people to buy it anonymously. You couldn’t talk about it, but it was used to sell everything from cars and toothpaste to fridges and massagers.*

Things haven’t changed all that much, but it has become a bit less of a taboo in public discussion. Or at least, my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Talking About Sex, and her friends seem to have no trouble talking about this kind of thing anywhere and everywhere.

I’m thinking technology is beginning to occupy a similar place in the American psyche. Not so much its existence, but, rather its use.What's the point of things like the National Day of Unplugging? Are we that scared of what the internet, in particular, and technology, in general, can offer to us?

More and more people are joining movements like the National Day of Unplugging, which was held early last month. The point of it was to abjure technology from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8. Ironically, folks who participated took photos of themselves and posted them on the National Day of Unplugging website to talk about “I unplug to. . . ”

I’m assuming ironic-deafness is a prerequisite to becoming a Luddite.

This whole thing reminds me of people who used to say, “I never watch television, except maybe a few hours of Masterpiece Theater on PBS.” Mostly folks said that to make it look like they were too smart, too sophisticated to debase their minds with the common drivel the rest of us enjoyed.

I suspect these folks are probably the same ones who won’t use an e-reader because they only read “real” books.

So, really, what’s the point? It’s not like any of these people are going to unplug for the rest of their lives. It seems to me that the whole point of this unplugging is to plug back in and then broadcast to one and all how virtuous you were because you put down your smartphone for a while.

It might have something to do with the fact that people don’t trust themselves very much. They use programs that block the internet or blank their web browsers so they won’t fool around when they should be working. They keep checking their messages and e-mail during meals with other people.

Even if you have always-on connection, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, yeah?

Mostly, I think the attraction of these sorts of things lies in the fact that, for most people, the idea of change is scary. And technology is all about change, about doing things differently, more efficiently, on a wider scale than before, seeing new things in your lives that had always been there, but were never noticed.

Dudes and dudettes get caught up in the world and begin racing toward the future with eyes open, but stop every once in a while, stumble, and realize just how much change we’ve been through and still face.

The strong smile, assess and continue. The weak unplug.

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Love You Long Time

“We’ve got 10 minutes,” she said, waggling her eyebrows. “You wanna. . . ” “Sure,” I said. “But what are you going to do with the other nine minutes and 17 seconds?”

It’s a running joke. What can I say?

Still, I did bring that up for a (somewhat) serious reason. Taking a good look around the sexual landscape these days, it seems that most American men and women think good sex has to last a long, long time. Longer even than the taste in certain chewing gum. (What? I had to throw in a pop culture reference sometime. Don’t hate me. It’s in my contract.)

According to a number of surveys, a majority of American men and women expect sex (from penetration to ejaculation [don’t you just love my professional-speak euphemisms?]) to last for at least 30 minutes. Sounds good, no? No, actually. Thanks to a study conducted among 50 full members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, which include psychologists, physicians, social workers, marriage/family therapists and nurses who have collectively seen thousands of patients over several decades, we learn that good sex should probably be lasting all of between three and 13 minutes. Total.

Sort of a comedown, yeah? (No pun intended.)

“A man’s or woman’s interpretation of his or her sexual functioning as well as the partner’s relies on personal beliefs developed in part from society’s messages, formal and informal,” the researchers said. “”Unfortunately, today’s popular culture has reinforced stereotypes about sexual activity. Many men and women seem to believe the fantasy model of large penises, rock-hard erections and all-night-long intercourse. “

Past research has found that a large percentage of men and women, who responded, wanted sex to last 30 minutes or longer.

“This seems a situation ripe for disappointment and dissatisfaction,” said lead author Eric Corty, associate professor of psychology. “With this survey, we hope to dispel such fantasies and encourage men and women with realistic data about acceptable sexual intercourse, thus preventing sexual disappointments and dysfunctions.”

Darn. And here I was believing in the fantasy of rock-hard abs. I’ve been working so very hard on that two-pack. What? I figured a six pack was out of the question. But two? Why not? Or maybe not. I’m still not sure.

Anyway, this looks like another example where the media we see influences us in what we come to believe, which then, in turn, influences the media to put out that sort of thing. A veritable feedback loop of epic proportions. Okay, that pun was intended.

Now the question becomes: How do I let my sweet lady know the lovemaster might be coming up a little long in the average? (Oh, come on. You’ve got to know I intended those puns.)

— Richard

— Richard

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