Exploitative Title Award

“Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist”

I clicked on the headline anticipating some kind of something about Ahmadinejad being preposterously inflammatory.

In fact, the story was a report on an ethnography of sexuality practices of the Aka and Ngandu people in central Africa.

And in fact, masturbation and homosexuality possibly do exist. It’s just that ethnographers do not know how such desire is experienced in these communities where there is no language describing it and no community practices that leave room for it. Besides the mysterious visits “into town” where some kind of desire could possible be acted upon? In the city?

So it’s not that these things don’t exist. It’s that the people live in a society and speak a language that does not offer space for their articulation. So where does same-sex desire go? Or, is this proof that such desire really is hereditary, with the genes for it manifesting in other social groups?

In any case, this whole article was refreshingly nuanced about a topic that so many treat like a Marvel superhero comic. There’s good sex and bad sex, forever at war for dominance of human terrain. All be-spandexed and steroidal.

Also, why the Atlantic editors put this in the health channel and not the new “The Sexes” channel is beyond me. But I’m just an unfrozen caveman formerly academic blogger.

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