Korean Gender Reader

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Not only is this poster simply cool, but the 3rd Montreal AmérAsia Film Festival it advertises will playing during my birthday too. So why does it bug me so?

I think, because I’m so used to seeing women in such mildly Orientalist imagery, that for the life of me I can’t imagine an East-Asian guy with the same expression and pose. Or is that just me?

Either way, see the end of this post for some Occidentalist imagery to compare (and of course, I wish nothing but the best for the festival!). Meanwhile, here are this week’s links, and one long discussion:

1) The Photoshop issue

Paula, a professional model, responds to last week’s post on excessive and unnecessary photoshopping in Korea at Noona Blog: Seoul. Like she says, photoshopping is the photographer’s or client’s prerogative, but still: what’s usually done to her pictures can hardly be considered an improvement!

2) How Nicki Minaj kicked open the door for 2NE1

I confess, I never heard of Nicki Minaj before reading this post of Latoya Paterson’s at Racialicous. But now that I have, then I’m not going to forget anytime soon. I’m also convinced that there’s a genuine opportunity for 2NE1 (투애니원) to succeed in the US market where so many other K-pop acts have failed. As she explains (source, right):

After watching good artists try and fail to make it in the US market, I began trying to find a pattern. Why was this happening? The reasons vary – particularly because artists often use their entry to the US as a kind of reinvention, which can be risky – but a big component is that American marketers/listeners had no idea what to do with them.

But, luckily for 2NE1, they have a secret weapon: Nicki Minaj.

It may seem strange to look at Nicki Minaj as the the person who put a crack in the Billboard ceiling big enough for 2NE1 to break through to the top spot, but it is her inherent strangeness and genrelessness that is opening the door for other women artists to bend the rules.

And a little later:

Both Minaj and 2NE1 are also combatting societal scripts about what women of color can be. While Minaj occupies a space defined by feminist contradictions, she still actively defies the proper “place” for a black woman in the broader pop music space. Considering the limited spaces where black women are allowed to appear, it’s remarkable how Minaj has carved out a space for herself in both urban markets and the fashion industry. 2NE1 is facing off against stereotypes around Asian American women – particularly the submissive stereotypes that would push them out of the more aggressive sides of the pop and hip-hop scenes.

Read the rest there. Also, for anyone further interested in why BoA (보아) and Rain (Bi; 비) failed in the US, email me for a copy of “Playing the Race and Sexuality Cards in the Transnational Pop Game: Korean Music Videos for the US Market” by Eun-Young Jung in Journal of Popular Music Studies Volume 22, Issue 2, pages 219–236, June 2010, which covers both in some detail. Or, for something less academic, you may like this recent post on Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) by Natalie at Seoulbeats, which gave me a renewed appreciation of how different 2NE1 really are compared to most Korean girl-groups.

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3) There really is no difference between men’s and women’s maths abilities

For those of you that didn’t already know, the notion that there was any innate biological differences in maths ability between the sexes has long since been thoroughly debunked. But, as io9 explains:

Until now, there was [still] maybe a sliver of statistical data to support the existence of this gender gap — nothing remotely convincing, mind you, but just enough that the idea couldn’t be entirely dismissed out of hand. While most who studied the issue pointed for cultural or social reasons why girls might lag behind boys in math performance, there was still room for biological theories to be proposed.

Now though, a new study has debunked even that data too, as you can read about here.

Related, also consider this post of mine from 2008 about how gender differences in maths ability show a direct relationship with a countries level of sexual equality (i.e. the more egalitarian the less – if any – difference there is), and #4 here on a recent, albeit very limited survey that suggests that men’s greater spatial ability similarly decreases the more power women have in a society.

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4) Obligatory post about that sex survey (or, sexuality and parenthood in Korea)

For those of you that have been living in a cave for the last week:

South Koreans are the least sexually active among people in 13 countries surveyed in an international online poll, a global pharmaceutical company said Monday.

Eli Lilly and Co.’s Seoul office said Korean couples over 34 have sex an average of 1.04 times a week, citing the survey based on data collected from 12,063 people worldwide including 1,005 South Koreans.

Read the rest at the Korea Herald, and some discussion of it at the Marmot’s Hole. Personally though, I’m extremely wary of surveys like these, especially if I know nothing about their methodology. What’s more, when just a 5 minute search of my books – let alone Google – reveals dozens of figures ranging between 1 and 2-3 times a week for US married couples, then “news” articles like this, poring over differences of national differences of less than 0.1% a week, is clearly only good for headlines.

Another problem is that the term “married couples” doesn’t take their ages into account, whereas – however politically incorrect it sounds – it’s well known that women’s libidos generally decline in their 30s, whereas men’s stay the same.  Also, it doesn’t take into account whether the couple has had children or not, which is a huge deal in Korea.

Why? Well, with the proviso that I haven’t studied sexuality in specifically Korean marriages as much as I should have by now, and that of course the Koreans I’ve spoken to about it aren’t a representative sample, I and especially my wife have spoken candidly about it with many (she’s worked from home for 5 years, and has known many couples in the 3 apartment buildings we’ve lived in), and I don’t think it’s just confirmation bias on our part when they consistently speak of having sex more like once per month or even year, and consider that perfectly normal.

But to be sure, it’s difficult for any married couple to get back into the swing of things after having a child. As explained on p. 362 of Our Sexuality (2002), by Robert Crooks and Karla Baur for instance (source, right):

In the first three months after delivery, over 80% of new mothers experienced one or more sexual problems, and at six months 64% were still having difficulty. The most common concerns were decreased sexual interest, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse. An author of a book about pregnancy warns women to be prepared for their sex lives to be “downright crummy” for up to a year. “Mother Nature” is using her entire arsenal of tricks, from hormones to humility, to keep you focused on your baby and not on getting pregnant again”.

Things like breastfeeding can be a bit of a turn-off too, as Jenny at Geek in Heels is finding:

I also now have tremendous difficulty seeing my breasts as sexual objects. Yes, I know that women’s breasts are designed to feed and nourish the young, and any sexual uses should be considered secondary functions. But the sudden transition from years and years — from the moment I donned my first bra — of their being sexual objects to asexual tools that spend hours each day dangling from the mouth of a babe (or from the ends of a breast pump) is pretty brutal. Whenever my husband looks at them with *that look*, all I can think is, “These floppy things? Can we lay off of them because you’re only reminding me of the kids and that does little to turn me on.”

Yes, the boobies will be expelled from all sexual acts — by my request — until I can start disassociating them from my children.

Just as, and maybe even more important are the lifestyle changes, especially the lack of sleep. Factor in Korean men working such long hours too, to the extent that the Ministry of Health and Welfare notoriously told them to go home at 7pm on Wednesdays to, well, fuck their wives, and the fact that there’s a huge prostitution industry in Korea (see here for the ensuing effect on marriages), then it’s easy to appreciate why Korean marriages in particular might be relatively sexless after the birth of a child.

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Having said that, Korean marriages shouldn’t invariably be doomed to sexlessness though. Consider the following from p. 361 of Our Sexuality (my emphasis):

Couples are commonly advised that intercourse can resume after the flow of the reddish uterine discharge, called lochia, has stopped and after episiotomy incisions or vaginal tears have healed, usually about three to four weeks. However, most couples wait to resume intercourse after six to eight weeks following birth.

Also:

Typically, women and men with more positive attitudes about sex in general show more sexual interest and earlier resumption of intercourse than do others with more negative attitudes about sexuality.

In other words, US couples at least generally expect to and want to resume regularly having sex again after the birth of a child, whereas Korean couples expect to have it much less often, if at all. In saying that, I hate to perpetuate a “US/West = Good, Korea = Bad” dichotomy beloved of expat blogs, but when very similar lifestyles and attitudes produce the same result even in “sex-crazed” Japan too, then it’s time to call a spade a spade:

While Japan has an enormous sex-related industry, married couples don’t seem to do it that often (According to a Durex Survey, Japan ranks last internationally in terms of sexual activity.) And this would be the case in many modern societies as well. So for the last two years, author Sumie Kawakami gathered interviews of various Japanese women to depict this one aspect of society: Her latest book, Goodbye Madame Butterfly: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman by the superb Chin Music Press portrays eleven sex lives in painstaking detail.

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Moreover, even the physiological difficulties may not be as great as they may appear. As commenter Jo recently mentioned on another post for instance, and which is confirmed by similar anecdotes in my books:

I remember watching a documentary about breast feeding, an interview was shown with a wet nurse, she said that she gains great pleasure from breast feeding, even breast feeding other people’s babies. She was asked if the pleasure was at all sexual, and she replied that it was a mildly sexual experience for her. – touch, sexual feelings, pleasure are extremely complicated, the feeling toward a family member and a sexual feeling are not necessarily dichotomous, this may be a construction, there may be some, very un-sinister, overlap, in this case allowing for ‘uncle fans’ to deny the sexual element of their affection, and for touch between father and daughter to be slightly confusing. Maybe we should try not to separate ‘sexual feelings’ from all other feelings.

Also, I can’t find the source sorry, but distinctly remember reading somewhere that many mothers and fathers actually get incredibly turned on at the fact, which is quite logical when you think about it. But don’t get me wrong: I absolutely don’t intend for the above quote to be an indirect critique or comment on Jenny’s experience and feelings about breastfeeding. Rather, just again to stress that nothing is set sexuality-wise, and how crucial societal and personal attitudes are.

And on that note, again I can’t stress enough that of course there will be many exceptions to all the above, and that it’s overwhelmingly based on just what my wife and I have personally heard from Korean couples. So, please let me know how that matches – or doesn’t match! – your own experiences and/or what you’ve heard, and, now that my winter vacation has started (메롱~), I promise not to be so reticent in the comments if you do!

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5) White female academics suggest minority women with white men are sluts and gold-diggers

From Shanghai Shiok:

A reader, frustrated with how I constantly deny that my white male/Asian female relationship follows certain “societal streams,” pointed me to an article which he believed would enlighten me on the nature of my relationship and others like mine.

The article summarizes a new study which is flat out absurd, insensitive, bigoted, and racist — but since it’s conducted under the dignified umbrella of academic research, it’s perfectly acceptable to put these ideas out there.

Two privileged white female academics get together and make powerful statements about women who they deem unprivileged. These nuggets of wisdom include the suggestion that unprivileged women exchange their bodies for the material benefits and social status associated with the privileged white men whom these academics feel are most suited to their own caste. At a minimum, their study “proves” that privileged white women (like themselves) wouldn’t jump into those white guys’ beds as quickly as those coloured hussies. After all, they have statistics to prove it.

Read the rest there, and you may also find my “Real & Presumed Causes of Racism Against Interracial Couples in Korea” post interesting.

Finally, I can understand wanting to make a university more “international”-looking, but this Korean homepage probably overdoes it:

In contrast, the English and Chinese websites both feature the same 10 Caucasian guys, and 1 Southeast-Asian(?) one!

15 thoughts on “Korean Gender Reader

  1. Hmmm….I still do not get nor see any of the kpop artist succeeding anytime soon in the US no matter how well their fans push for that “world domination”. Get real. We are just a major market that the moneygrubbers want their hands on, but their music is not different apart from the language so why the insistence that kpop is “better”? That’s an insult that will not play in the US. We’ve been down this lane in the 90’s with boy and girl groups. They are getting voted off reality shows. Hello?

    We don’t need kpop as the artists we like reflect us as being a part of a global community and not the ROK.

  2. Your link on women’s libido sends us to an unrelated article from the Economist on the relationship between attractiveness and social and work success . . . and even so, I sincerely doubt that most women start to experience major drops in sex drive in their 30s. Most sources I’ve found link major drops in libido in women to menopause. It would really make very little sense to have a natural drop in libido during our thirties, when we’re still at childbearing age, wouldn’t it? Women generally report higher levels of sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido, but this is usually temporary. Low libido as a chronic problem in adult women is actually pretty low, around 5-15%. Any other major drops in women’s libido in their 30’s is also probably due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. So in other words, temporary.

    • From the Economist article:

      Ms Hakim suggests that women have more erotic capital than men to start with, mainly because they have had to work at it for centuries. But women have the erotic upper hand for another reason: the male “sexual deficit”. Despite the fact that both sexes are more sexually active than ever before, from the age of about 30 women’s libido tends to fall off while men’s does not. Because women have less interest in sex than men, it is, to put it crudely, a seller’s market. In the power dynamic of couples, controlling access to sex is more important than earning more money, says Ms Hakim. It is the woman’s main bargaining chip, as most still earn less than their partners. Feminists who want women to throw away their femininity are overlooking a powerful asset, Ms Hakim argues.

      Considering that women’s fertility so dramatically declines in their 30s, then actually I think it’s quite logical that their libido would also decline.

      • I am still looking for any other source that says women’s libido declines in their thirties, and this is still the only mention. The only thing I can find is that women’s libido tends to decline at menopause, which makes way more sense than in their thirties, when many women are still quite capeable of concieving and bearing children. (Men’s fertility declines as well, I like to remind people – and so does their libido) Even so, it still affects less than half of women . . . Many women experience temporary declines in libido, but menopause is the only time in which many (not even most) women experience a major decline. Women actually experience slower dips in the hormones associated with sex drive than men, too, meaning we’re more likely to experience a slower change in our libidos.
        If anything, however, women’s 30’s have been associated with greater sexual satisfaction. Kinsey and other researchers found that women actually have more orgasms and reach them more easily in their 30s – hardly something suggesting a lack of libido.

        • I admit that I haven’t looked for any other source for that yet, and that it was also the first time I’ve come across it. I also agree that it’s much logical (and there’s much more evidence) for women’s libido declining at menopause than in their 30s. Still, I do think you’re greatly understating the decline in women’s fertility that begins in their late-20s (from here):

          Fertility declines by nearly half as women progress from their early twenties to their late thirties, according to the study, published in the Human Reproduction journal.

          This means that women aged 19 to 26 are twice as likely to get pregnant during their monthly “fertile windows” as women aged between 35 and 39.

          Also (from here):

          Doctors have long known that a woman’s fertility drops sharply in her mid to late 30s, but the effect of age on male fertility is less well understood. Among women, miscarriage rates typically double to 40% between the ages of 20 and 40.

          And doing some reading on Wikipedia when my wife was pregnant, I was amazed at how quickly a woman’s chances of having a baby with Down’s Syndrome increases over her 30s and early-40s:

          Maternal age influences the chances of conceiving a baby with Down syndrome. At maternal age 20 to 24, the probability is one in 1562; at age 35 to 39 the probability is one in 214, and above age 45 the probability is one in 19.[39] Although the probability increases with maternal age, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35, reflecting the overall fertility of that age group. Recent data also suggest that paternal age, especially beyond 42,[41] also increases the risk of Down syndrome manifesting.

          So, I’m not for a moment disputing that men’s fertility also declines, and indeed that second link (the first I was looking for!) was about how it does so much earlier and dramatically than previously thought. But despite that, it’s still later and much less so than women.

          Just like people’s sexuality and libido don’t suddenly turn on at the magical age of 18, in light of all the above then I don’t think women’s fertility and libido are essentially unchanged from sexual maturity to menopause either (although menopause is still a big deal of course). Not that I’m saying you’d disagree, but, well, that’s why that point in the Economist struck such a chord with me.

          As for women getting greater sexual satisfaction etc. in their 30s, let me give you the answer I gave when my Korean teacher asked the same thing in class once (me having a rep as the “science guy”!): there’s simply no evolutionary and/or physiological reason as to why they should. That’s not at all to say that they don’t get greater sexual satisfaction at that age though (although I think it’s a bit of an urban myth myself), but if it is true then I’d argue that most likely it’s because your average 30-something woman is probably much more sexually-experienced and confident than she was 10 years ago (certainly *cough* I am!).

          Finally, this was the first I heard of Catherine Hakim, and actually I thought her work made a lot of sense, especially in a Korean context (I’ve been planning a big post along those lines ever since I read these reviews). Why do you think her work (the book reviewed? Something else she’s done?) is problematic?

          • Catherine Hakim, who is collegues with the reknowned Satoshi Kanazawa (sarcasm on HIGH! for a refresher, this is a guy who totally missuesed a previous health survey to “scientifically prove” that black women were objectively less attractive . . . which earned Psychology Today a black eye when it appeared on his blog for them) at the London School of Economics (Apparently they’re a lot less rigorous when it comes to social scientists).

            Her books have mostly dealt with “erotic capital” and I will freely admit I haven’t read them. However, she seems to have expanded the traditional idea of erotic capital in a way that many social scientists would disagree with (charm? dressing neatly? These are erotic capital rather than social?) and taken some relatively uncontroversial notions (women are evaluated in terms of attractiveness more often than men), some slightly bizarre theories (conservative anglo-protestant christianity is in an unholy alliance with feminism to destroy women’s erotic capital), and some outright strange conclusions (therefore women should really exploit their erotic capital and use their wiles to get stuff from dudes). It’s seriously as if she never heard of second and third wave feminism. She’s fully committed to the idea that men want sex, women don’t, and so women should exploit men’s desire for sex to get stuff.

            As near as I can tell without access to her latest book, the “libido declines in the 30s” thing really comes from a survey suggesting women’s interest in “erotic games” declines, and one reviewer indicated that these “erotic games” were things like one-night stands. I can’t say I’d be really super surprised hearing that women’s interest in things like one-night stands declines in a period when many women are partnered or married . . . At any rate, it was published for general audiences, so there’s not really many academic reviews. Here’s a quick link to mainstream reviews of Honey Money: http://theomnivore.co.uk/book/7477-Honey_Money_The_Power_of_Erotic_Capital/Default.aspx Or, if you really want to have fun, search for her on Jezebel.

            I don’t deny that women’s fertility declines in their thirties, but I do object to the cultural dialog about it. For example, for all the talk about how a group of women a decade younger than another group is twice as likely to concieve, many, if not most women in the second group still have a pretty decent chance at natural conception. Figures are distorted because most tend to present a woman’s chance of getting pregnant in a given month, which makes the change in fertility look most dramatic. A 35-year old woman actually still has a 94% chance of getting pregnant within three years if she’s out to make a baby. At 38 years of age, which is well after the peak baby-making years, a woman still has a 77% chance of concieving. You get pregnant faster when you’re younger, and there are fewer risks. But in the UK, for example, birth rates for women in their thirties have actually risen in the past few years, and women over 40 make up a decent percentage of women seeking abortions. Yes, part of this is due to better fertility treatments, but some of the problem is the fact that we’re constantly telling women that if you don’t have babies, like, yesterday, you’ll be barren forever, especially as we pretend that men are fertile until they die. So I totally acknowledge that women’s fertility peaks in the early-mid twenties and declines in the late thirties, but again, the way this information is presented and used is . . . well, not right, especially when we ignore similar if slower declines in men’s fertility. But we don’t talk about the decline in men’s fertility at all, even as we tell women that they’ll be sad and alone if they don’t hurry up and pop out a kid.

            I totally agree with you that increased sexual satisfaction among women in their 30s is probably not biological or physiological, but rather due to greater sexual confidence, skill, and comfort. But women are probably not reporting that they like sex more and are more satisfied AND they want less of it. If there’s any difference in libido at all, I think most of it will be attributable to pregnancy and childrearing stresses rather than a real, instrinsic decline in the desire for sex. Even at menopause, only about 45% of women report loss of libido. And again, as men age, there are all sorts of associated changes with their libido and performance, including frequency of masturbation, wet dreams, angle of erection, ability to maintain erection, impotence, etc as androgen levels drop. Not saying that declines and changes are exactly the same, but they occur in both sexes, and only one gender has been told that they shouldn’t like or enjoy sex anyway.

  3. Most of my students (6-7 years old) tell me that they sleep in a bed with their mothers, while their father is in another bed or room entirely. I’m neither married nor a mother, but when they first started telling me that, my reaction was to think that the parents must not have sex very often.

    Sometimes they will come in to school and make me blush though by telling me that something like their mommy didn’t sleep in the bed with them and soon they will have a new baby in the house. Super bad when one of my students comes out with things like this because she’s my manager’s daughter. Oh my! Perhaps a good day to ask for a raise!

    • I lived with a host family that did something similar, and it’s quite common here. Of course, historically most families would have slept together, or had women and children sleeping communally in one room while the men slept communally in another (common in lots of places, I should note, not just Korea). There’s sometimes also a practical aspect to it, if the husband routinely comes home late (and/or drunk from 회식). But it’s certainly also deployed as a sex avoidance strategy here, too . . .

  4. Interesting discussion.
    ..have to say that I’ve little faith in studies about sexual desire/behavior/increase/decline/satisfaction and so forth.

    Stats (for virtually every purpose) are so often skewed to meet the writer’s bias. I trust my personal experience, which is:
    **I entered the world of sexual experience just prior to college; well educated on birth control and risks. At that age ..libido was working..just fine.

    **the 20’s were equally *high energy* and ripe with exploration. In retrospect…I would say that most of the pleasure/satisfaction was from being, and having, physically FIT partners, not so much the technique.
    (some may read that as shallow…but having a muscular, toned partner IS a factor in satisfaction) Libido *may* occur on it’s own…but it’s spark is easier ignited when the partner is inspiring.

    **Married and had (one & only) child at 32.
    BOOM. The next 6 years (sexually) were a combination of exhaustion, frustration…and dread.
    Tired from work & childcare…frustrated that I still worked hard to stay fit while my husband let-it-go and dread that I might possibly end up pregnant again…cementing me into a cycle of fatigue.

    Libido? oh it was still there…but there was no incentive, quite the opposite…the threat of consequence coupled with a couch potato sufficiently killed any budding desires.
    Libido was not diminished by any medical standard, it was either self-service or risky-lack-of-passion.
    Bet the researchers don’t list a box titled: “Dammit, I don’t want sex unless it’s GOOD sex.” ;)

    **the 40’s … and now peri-menopause. I can attest that I STILL very much have a Libido. I’m experienced and fit and intend to keep enjoying giving, and receiving, this dynamic human experience (appropriate circumstance, of course..haha) …and the stat reports can say all they want that “women want less sex” while completely ignoring WHY & WITH WHOM they want less sex.

    (Thanks for your articles. I rarely post, but I do read. cheers~)

  5. “Couples are commonly advised that intercourse can resume after the flow of the reddish uterine discharge, called lochia, has stopped and after episiotomy incisions or vaginal tears have healed, usually about three to four weeks. However, most couples wait to resume intercourse after six to eight weeks following birth.

    Also:

    Typically, women and men with more positive attitudes about sex in general show more sexual interest and earlier resumption of intercourse than do others with more negative attitudes about sexuality.

    In other words, US couples at least generally expect to and want to resume regularly having sex again after the birth of a child, whereas Korean couples expect to have it much less often, if at all. In saying that, I hate to perpetuate a “US/West = Good, Korea = Bad” dichotomy beloved of expat blogs, but when very similar lifestyles and attitudes produce the same result even in “sex-crazed” Japan too, then it’s time to call a spade a spade:”

    REGARDING having sex after birth, even in the US it’s recommended that people do it after 6 weeks, when the lochia turns white (it progresses from rubra/red, serosa/pink, and alba/white). This is because after 6 weeks the cervix completely closes and minimizes infection risk for the women. I’m studying nursing in a university right now. We at least recommend people to use condoms during intercourse right after birth for infection risk.

    Korea has its own postpartum traditions, and its focus is minimizing the risk of ill health on both the baby and the mother. So not having sex is actually good in the aspect of women’s health. Of course, as a health professional, we know that not all people follow this, but you can’t really follow the dichotomy of US/West = good and Korea= bad if you don’t know the health aspects as well as the cultural aspect.

    • Sorry, but I find much of your comment problematic. First, because you seem to be hung up on dates, which completely misses the point: it doesn’t matter whatsoever if the quote says three to four weeks, three to four months, or even longer. What to take away from the quote I gave is that “US couples at least generally expect to and want to resume regularly having sex again after the birth of a child”, regardless of when they actually start doing so, and what’s more the source I quote goes on to explain that the overwhelming majority do.

      Don’t get me wrong: I’m not at all advocating having sexual intercourse as soon as possible after childbirth, and I did acknowledge the physiological and psychological difficulties in doing so. I also take your point about why 6 weeks is recommended, and indeed actually my wife and I actually started about 10-12 weeks later, and with condoms because she feared the pill’s effects on her breastmilk (based on my own investigation, she had actually nothing to worry about, but of course she’s the boss!). But resume we did, and happily, as do hundreds of millions of other recent parents.

      So, I find it strange that “health professionals” such as yourself advocate no sex at all, although I understand if you actually meant before 6 weeks or something. But either way, just because “Korea has its own postpartum traditions” doesn’t mean that they’re somehow above criticism, and indeed the practice of the mother not bathing for several weeks, say, made some sense in 1951, but is completely unnecessary in 2011. In particular, if those traditions are so focused on the health and welfare of the mother and baby that they effectively – and unnecessarily – discourage the couple from resuming sex at all (as you imply), then it’s high time they were reconsidered.

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