What multiple orgasms can teach us about our sexual lives

This is on in a series of short essays that will ultimately wind up in one or more chapters of my book Civilizations and Its Contents. A short precise of the book can be found here. This essay follows up some of the ideas in “You’re The Top: Active and Receptive Modes of Being in Life and Sex” Click here to read this essay full screen.  Continue reading

Patriarchy, homophobia and sexual fluidity in women

It is commonly held that sexual orientation varies in degrees rather than kind. Some men and women are exclusively interested in sex with their own sex; some are exclusively interested in sex and love with the opposite sex, while many of us fall somewhere between these two poles, being little more or less interested in our own sex or the opposite sex. Kinsey claimed that his research found that that most men and women were not at the far poles of his seven point sexual orientation scale but somewhere in the middle Yet it appears that women tend to be more sexually fluid than men. The percentage of women who have had sex with women is higher than the percentage of men who have had sex with men. More importantly, it appears that women are far more likely than men to pursue sex with both men and women during some… Continue reading

What a just war against Hamas would look like.

I am concerned about what Israel has been doing and might do in Gaza. Some aspects of Israel’s current policy is morally dubious. At the same time the issues here are far more complicated than most people seem to recognize and what Israel is doing is, at that point, not totally clear. I think charges that Israel is engaging in genocide or ethnic cleansing, are at this point, and to be blunt, absurd. Israel does have a right to respond with military force to the Hamas’ attack. But it should do so in a limited way, and one that respects the moral rules of warfare that prohibit targeting civilians. And that means, among other things, that it must provide or allow others to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza’s caught up in the war. Its unwillingness to do so now is, also to be blunt, morally indefensible. Here is how I… Continue reading

You can’t help free Palestine by embracing Hamas

I’ve been paying attention to what is going on in the Middle East not the reaction of people in the US and Europe to it. So I’ve been late to see some of the horrible reactions here and and there. If you are a critic of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians and a supporter of Palestinian statehood–or even of a one state bi-national solution–you should be appalled by and furious at Hamas’ attack this week. Not just because it was a deliberate and brazen violation of the rights of non-combatants and because the murder of innocent men, women, and children violates the rights of the same moral code and religious beliefs that serve as the basis of any call for justice for Palestinians. But because  the attack was not aimed at securing Palestinian rights but rather at killing every Israeli Hamas soldiers encountered. The nature of the attack  confirms  that… Continue reading

Thoughts on the War Between Hamas and Israel

I’m terribly distressed at the war in the Middle East. Already almost 1000 soldiers and civilians have died on both sides. And the likelihood is that the war will continue for some time, with far more death and destruction. As the war goes on, Israel’s military might means that death and destruction will fall heavily of Palestinian soldiers and civilians. I’m also distressed at the one-side reaction of much of the press and also of so many of my Jewish friends, even those who have been critical of Israel in the past. I want to start with three conclusions, which I will defend here and no doubt in further conversation. Hamas is fighting a legitimate war. It has a right to launch war on Israel in the current state of affairs. The idea that it was an “unprovoked” attack is absurd. Hamas is not always fighting legitimately. It is clearly… Continue reading

Not Having to Think About Race And Racism Is White Privilege

So the “wonderful” thing about being a white person in the United States is that you don’t have to think about it, or racism, if you don’t want to. You can form your political opinions without giving a second thought. You can write policy analysis as if race has no impact on education, or on access to health care or housing or jobs, or anything else we value—and until relatively recently,  almost no one will criticize you and say you are missing something. You can work in business without thinking about how your employment policies or where you are located affect Black people differently than white people. You can practice medicine without thinking about how the experience of being Black in America might affect the health of your patients. I know this from personal experience. I did this kind of work without thinking about race and racism. Even now, I… Continue reading

The PA Budget: A Disgrace and Dereliction of Duty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 25, 2021 Contact: Adrienne Standley standley@pennbpc.org 717-805-8466 Statement by Marc Stier, Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center The General Fund budget being presented today is a disgrace and a dereliction of duty. The state is flush with more than $10 billion in our federal and state tax dollars which could be spent both to help those who have been left behind by the pandemic and to take a first step toward addressing the deep inequities that long preceded it. But the Republican leaders of the PA General Assembly plan to leave that money in the bank. About $7.5 billion of the funds available will be reserved to provide one more temporary fix to budget deficits created not by the pandemic but by ten years of Republican-led fiscal mismanagement that includes deep cuts to corporate taxes which now cost the state $4 billion per year in new… Continue reading

Learning from our bodies and failure

One of the endlessly appealing profoundly mistaken ideas found in science fiction is that idea that we human beings could take a pill or have a capsule or micro-chip inserted into our brains and then immediately have all kinds of faculties and capacities we previously did not have. This idea was prominent in The Matrix films, for example. But it certainly didn’t start there. I’m going to argue here that this idea is based on a particular kind of mind-body dualism that is ultimately rooted in ideas put forward by Socrates in some of the Platonic dialogues (although the extent to which Plato embraced these ideas is very much questionable). And I’m going to conclude that is a profoundly problematic idea that encourages us to think of our lives in ways that leads us to (1) misunderstand and become despondent about our bodies and (2) fail to understand how important… Continue reading

The Cruelty of Our Times

The worst part of our times is that cruelty, which has always come too easily to human beings, has now become the accepted mode of too much of our lives. And for so many reasons. Because we are so divided politically and so threatened by the other side we want to obliterate them. Because we are so threatened by the other side that we can’t abide anyone on our side who doesn’t think and talk exactly as we do, or who fails to rise to the same level of indignation at some offense that we do. Because we talk to so many people at a mediated distance, which makes it impossible to see the immediate harm we do to others with our words. Because political conflict, economic struggles, and endless choices make us so uncertain of ourselves and our future that we seek the constant affirmation that comes with showing… Continue reading