Podcasts May 31, 2011 at 1:00 am


Re: the HIV+ guy, listeners should be aware that outing someone's HIV status can also be a prosecutable offense in criminal and/or civil court, so people need to be careful around this, as the law hasn't really stabilized on the issue and varies dramatically between jurisdictions.
Everybody should read her awesome blog post roundup of the G-Spot science.
Amazing work by both of you. This is why the internets is great.
Great to hear Jen on the podcast - she was right to give you a hard time, Dan, and you were right to acknowledge that.

I'll also add that I'm another woman who experiences some sort of female version of "blue balls" if I'm extremely aroused and unable to either have sex or masturbate. It's like a pulsing ache that won't go away, and it's both painful and extremely irritating! It only happens under very specific circumstances (I have to be *really* horny) but when it does, it's awful. It would suck to have to deal with that on a regular basis.
To the caller in Episode 241, get your son circumcised. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing/looks better, it's just generally cleaner and all around more, what's the word, nice. Ask yourself this: do you really want your son's dick to look like Snuffleupagus?
We do need more Jen McCreight on this podcast.
Nice podcast. To women who describe themselves as feminists, but for whom the STD-reduction argument for male circumcision works: How would you feel if someone somewhere showed that female circumcision reduced the incidence of some STD? Would that seem like a reasonable argument for female circumcision?
Jen was great! Please have her back, Dan.

@7 As if this was hard to figure out, male and female circumcision are not interchangeable. One supposedly lowers pleasure somewhat and makes men less likely to catch infections, and hey, maybe we shouldn't be so cavalier about doing it to kids, it’s a grey issue. And the other is a misogynistic hate crime. Fuck off.
Do not circumcise your kids. You are cutting a newborns genitals! How can this be okay? Why take the chance that something could go horribly wrong? For YOUR own preference? How do you know that their future partner won't PREFER it uncut. Lots of people do.
@8 Wow. I guess you're one of the folks I was directing that toward. I would argue that it is not a grey issue ... We are mostly comfortable with one, because it's our cultural tradition (and, I agree, it is not a misogynistic hate crime), but they are both on the continuum of forced genital mutilation.
The equivalent of male circumcision on a female body would be to perhaps trim down the labia majora. The equivalent of one of the more typical types of FGM on a male body would be to cut off the entire head of the penis.

Both circumcisions and FGM (calling it "female circumcision" confuses the issue) are instances of cutting off parts of genitalia without (in most cases) the consent of the person being cut. I think they should both be eradicated.

Additionally, it's perfectly possible to choose to be circumcised as an adult - let men make the decision for themselves when they turn 18.
RE: circumcision, I have an opposite concern from the caller. My son is uncircumcised, my husband is circumcised. I worry about the day that my son asks about it and we have to explain that beloved Grandma and Grandpa cut off part of Daddy's penis when he was a baby. Or ditto about a circumcised friend's penis.

I can't explain the decision to circumcise because I see little reason for it. I'm afraid it's going to horrify and freak my son out that doctors cut off parts of penises. Thankfully, the differences between Daddy's penis and son's penis are now so numerous that I don't think he'll zero in on that difference before he's old enough to think in shades of grey and social context.

But wasn't male circumcision promoted in the 19th century as a way to discourage masturbation and decrease sexual pleasure?

There's some very slight scientific evidence that circumcision means a cleaner penis with slightly less risk of infections of all kinds. Or the circumcised-is-prettier argument. But that's not enough for me. Gonna teach my kid good penis hygiene and safe sex and hope he gets a lot of enjoyment from his genitals.
@10 They're on a continuum, yes, but far, far apart on that continuum as #11 shows. My feelings towards male circumcision are of course colored by growing up in the US, but also by the fact that FGM is orders of magnitude more severe and impactful on the person’s life. I'm completely fine with our culture reevaluating it's stance on male circumcision, but equating male circumcision with FGM is ignorant, sexist, and just factually incorrect.
YES! A SKEPTIC! I'm really glad Dan took the time to re-examine the outlandish claims made by that misinformed guest. Well done, Dan! =)

@13 I think there's a misunderstanding here, allow me to be nosy internet-style and try to clear it up. No one is EQUATING circumcision with FGM. The poster, like the podcaster, was using that as an example of an EXTREME of genital mutilation to make a case for how the LESS extreme non-consenting mutilation of male genitalia is not justified for cultural or even health reasons. Forcing men's genitals to conform to an aesthetic image is on the sexism continuum, too, in a way; social ownership of men's bodies. The point that feminists should stand up for men's rights, too, is valid. It's kinda like how gay people need to support kinky straight people, because sexual (and gender) liberation is what's at the heart of the matter for all of us, and it's always good to increase your allies. =)
@13 ... "equating" etc. ... which I did not do. I said they were on a continuum, which you agreed was true.
@11 ... the most accurate equivalent to male circumcision would be something ranging from a partial to a complete hood-ectomy. Trimming the labia would be equivalent to trimming part of the scrotum, at least if we're talking about analogous tissues. The male equivalent of the most horrific kind of FGM would be complete removal of all external genitalia.

Any argument that male circumcision is OK because it isn't that bad implies that a milder form of FGM would be acceptable ... I don't think any of us would support that.

OuterCow: There's no daylight between you and me on the subject of FGM, although I get the sense that you wish there was.
@14: Nicely put.
Jen McCreight was wonderful! You should have her back on the show. I love hearing a science-based skeptical analysis of topics that are too often the subjects of urban legends and confirmation bias.
@14 Nosy bastard! Ok, that was indeed very helpful, ty.

@15 Your #7 comment interchanges the two, but I see better what you're saying now. But "Any argument that male circumcision is OK because it isn't that bad implies that a milder form of FGM would be acceptable ... I don't think any of us would support that." is not true. If FGM was actually as relatively minor as male circumcision is, and we grew up in a society that condoned it, I see no reason to think we wouldn’t be just as fine with it as male circumcision.

We agree on the continuum thing, you just appear to think they're a lot closer together than I do on that continuum. I do apologize for the "Fuck off" comment though, I do see now that I was misconstruing your argument.
Only cut weiners for me, thanks. But I totally support your right to a have a penis that wears a turtleneck!
@18: No problem.

My understanding is that in some parts of the world, FGM is approximately analogous to male circumcision in the U.S. -- partial to complete hood-ectomy -- and I certainly don't support that. I understand that this is still not the same ... we don't use rusty knives or broken glass to circumcise boys at age 13 without anesthetic. (Once again: I am emphatically against FGM in all forms.)

My point is this: There are different kinds of FGM, and we recognize them all as abhorrent, even the least horrific of them. There isn't any "Hey, that's pretty much OK except for ..." We recognize it as without any merit or justification.

So, yes, many of us would probably not readily understand the problem with it if we grew up with it, but it would still be wrong.

And I don't have much patience for the medical arguments. I wouldn't have a problem with dirt under my fingernails if you pulled them all out. Not to mention the significant reduction in the incidence of hangnails and fungus. (I am consciously avoiding more loaded examples.)
OK...odd that a biologist doesn't know this, but let's put this to bed once and for all:

No, we don't all start off as girls. We start off as proto-hermaphrodites. Before sexual differentiation takes places, a fetus contains a complete set of structures that can develop into a uterus, vagina, and Fallopian tubes and another complete set of structures that can develop into the vas deferens and epididymis.

Now, it is true that in the absence of masculinizing hormones, the ducts that would develop into the vas deferens and epididymis regress all on their own and the ducts that would develop into the uterus, vagina, and Fallopian tubes will do so, but that doesn't make the fetus a "girl."

We start out as hermaphrodites.

And to afanofcut, let me respond in kind: Don't get your son circumcised. Not only are uncut cocks more aesthetically pleasing, they're just generally more functional and nicer. Do you really want your son's cock to look like a strangulated chicken?

Regarding the STD argument for circumcision: The increased risk for STDs among uncircumcised men is small...smaller than the risk women have for developing breast cancer. If we are going to flay a young boy alive without anesthesia (and make no mistake: It is flaying him...the foreskin is usually not detached from the glans and must be literally torn away before it is cut off) for the miniscule reduction, why are we not performing radical mastectomies on infant girls in order to save them from the horrors of breast cancer?

To OuterCow: You seem to have forgotten that one of the prime reasons that the vast majority of non-Semitic males are circumcised is because it was considered to be a means to reduce masturbation. So the reasons for male and female genital mutilation are the same. If it's a violation of women's sexuality to do it to her, why the double standard?
@OuterCrow TY for post 18--agreeing to disagree and admitting where you misunderstood makes you a much better person than most in your online etiquette at least (text lacks tone and context apart from what the reader inserts and assumes, so it's important to try grasping things from as many perspectives and staying respectful instead of being a self-righteous jerk that too many trolling type knowitalls are). I agree wholeheartedly with the circumcision points made in #21 especially but also in 20... because ultimately, while as parents, religion and the puritan idea of being as sexless apart from baby making as possible to stay "holy" allow us to mutilate infants with no anesthetic in a way that is just plain awful (while our infection risk due to circumcision is small, the difference in STD rate between circ'd and uncirc'd in the US and other sanitary nations--actually even in places with mediocre to poor water but modern technology like India--complications from circumcisions botched and/or infected are greater and longer lasting than the tiny difference in unprotected STD transmission (face it; unprotected sex and STDs equal STDs... the idea that being cut will save you is the very kind of BS that anti-masturbation campaigns toss out, without scientific backing btw, to keep having people mutilate their kids)...

If a guy wants to be cut, let him DECIDE to; I can decide to reduce my breast size, too... and btw, afanofcut, don't know who you've been screwing, but uncut are by comparison AMAZING feeling from the female perspective. They glide smoother, last longer, and all in all make for better experiences than the tight skin on cut folks... having dated someone who had a botched circumcision in the USA, he can't have sex w/o condoms or it is extremely painful, so when he wants kids... he's looking at having an operation to finish it--it also looks really weird. I wouldn't trust a doctor to automatically know what the best look will be for that dick. The uncuts I've seen are far more beautiful and sensual looking than the veiny, less-smooth cut ones (and I mean less smooth when erect in particular--even dildos have squish to them; it shouldn't ACTUALLY be like a bone with just a bit of skin... we like them fleshy!
Okay atheists, I'm going to explain this to you in a way you can understand:

Religions are just like men. Just because men have used falsehoods and fictions to systematically oppress women for thousands upon thousands of years, that doesn't mean I can't let one flagellate me and still get something personally rewarding out of it.
Good show Dan/Jen. Really enjoyed it.

OK - on the discussion: the circumcision argument in the US context is really unsceptical - and it would be great it if became so.

1) Here in Europe, mostly we get circumcised for medical reasons only. ie when it is clinically indicated, then sure. But it isn't routine except for minority religious groups. Strangely our partners seems to deal with this just fine, and maybe it's just the familiarity, but I don't notice the smell either. Funny that.

2) There is a small but measurable risk of death from circumcision: every year, a small number of babies are discovered to be haemophiliacs during the process and die as a result. If that were you as a parent, getting it done for cultural or aesthetic reasons, I wonder how you'd ever sleep again? We should surely all believe in evidence based medicine now: cutting off a foreskin appears to be a medical procedure. Medicine requires this procedure in a very small number of cases only - the rest are nonsense.

3) Bugger it. That's enough surely? Don't do it folks unless your doctor tells you that it is needed. Or you are a male adult and you choose to have it done to yourself.


Jimmy Boy
That religion/spirituality discussion got pretty damned dismissive. I do think it's useful - probably necessary - to be skeptical about everything (even a person's own skepticism), but I don't think person shouldn't be labeled 'silly' or 'wrong' or be dismissed outright just for being a part of a religion or for having spiritual interests or beliefs. They may very well be thinking critically about their beliefs (plenty of people do, and I certainly wish more religious people would), but STILL find those beliefs to be valid for them on a personal level and useful in their life (helping them to understand themselves, to figure out what their philosophy is about the world, to find a community of people to relate to and find support with, etc., etc.).

Does everything really have to be scientifically provable in order to be of any valid use for a person? Do art, literature, and music have to be rooted in hard science in order to be valid and useful for informing a person's world-view, connecting them with others, etc.? Philosophy and psychology aren't hard science. Are they invalid? Does everything that might help a person to formulate a world-view that works for them as an individual have to come from scientific fact? Science is not always sure of itself and it changes and evolves, and truths (especially personal truths) aren't only revealed by facts.

Everybody is different and what helps one person to find their place in the world (skepticism and science for one person; religious participation for another; inklings of spiritual dabbling for another; a combination of any of the former for another person; something entirely unrelated to all of the former options for yet another person) may not be what works for someone else. I absolutely think people should critically analyze region, particularly because it's one of the more dangerous tools for persuasion, manipulation, and mass-control if participants do not think about it and question it. But there's no reason to dismiss everything that's not scientifically provable as silly. To do so would not show critical thinking about the potential functions and uses of things outside of direct scientific provability. Just because something is not scientifically provable does not mean it's invalid or that it's attempting to invalidate science. Rant over.
Dear Dan: Please don't have an atheist on your show to explain why those silly religious people are so darn stupid. There are plenty of intelligent people out there who also have religious beliefs. This show was just plain insulting.
Sorry, implying that there are different kinds of truth (however you define that) is a cop-out; in fact that's what started the whole affair in the first place. Essentially, if there is such a thing as something that can't be studied scientifically on some level, to all intents and purposes it may as well not exist, since we can't study what we can't detect. In addition, since this is a show about sex and relationships, anything that distracts from empirical study is actually counterproductive.

As for the question of it being insulting, tough. If you're not willing to examine your beliefs from a reality-based standpoint, you've got nothing to say in this situation.
re: female ejaculation - listen to this!
Science is a religion. To believe science will, or is even capable of, providing all the answers is a faith. It's ok to have a faith! We all believe something. But please, acknowledge that your faith biases you as much as any other.
Hey Mr Bleeto - says you, eh? So science is a religion?

Let's see now.

1) Ability to change position in the light of evidence: Religion - No; Science - yes - it is built into the fabric of the concept;

2) Is rational: Science - yes; Religion - clearly not;

3) Requires faith (that is - belief in things that have no evidence for them): Religion - by definition, yes; Science, by definition, not.

Sience may provide 'all the answers' but I've never met anyone who thinks it likely...because there will always be more questions.

But what other method is there for knowing what is true and what is not than checking verifiable facts? Shall we take the word of some strange men in dresses? Shall we just believe whatever feels good to us? How can we know what is true other than checking it?

Your argument is an (old and tired) exercise sophistry.
Hi dfgafdgfd,

Can you not see that there is a world of difference between the truth claims made by religion (generally on pain of eternal damnation if you get them wrong) and art, literature and music, which make no such. What facts are there to test with the arts? Whether Jesus Christ died and rose again is a truth claim - that ultimately should be tested. It's either true or it isn't.

Philosophy and psychology aren't hard science.

Where they make truth claims they become hard science. And where they don't they don't add much to anything at all.

You have presented a classic false equivalence there.

So religious people who get upset when religion is contemptuously dismissed might understand how those of us who have so dismissed it, view the whole business.

Here's how I see it:

Religion is a a great big, money making, guilt driving piece of charlatanism: generally it makes a bunch of very big claims which have zero evidence. People are often damaged in direct proportion to how involved they become with religions. In addition, religion harms minorities, causes war, persecution and murder (and always has). It opresses women in particular. And it lies constantly. Worse, it lies and impacts public policy - and it does so by design. I can't think of anything more damning to say than that.

So if you want to be religious, well go ahead. But...you are tainted by association. Your bed fellows include some deeply unpleasant people and practices. Reasonable people will continue to call those people and their unpleasant practices.

I'm an athiest and a big fan of science.

I wouldn't call science a religion, but there is certainly a degree of faith involved. Our perceptions and understanding of the world can often be faulty and biased, and occaisonally scientific findings that we thought were as good as proven turn out to be wrong. We don't really KNOW how it all works. Science helps point us in the right direction, but, let's face it, we are a bunch of feeble little specks in a vast universe. We can't even predict the weather on our own planet very accurately. I just think we should have a little humility when it comes to the supposed human capacity for "logic" and "rationality".

I don't think people are stupid or pathetic for using spirituality or religion to answer existential questions about their lives. Religion causes a lot of problems in the world, that's for sure, but I don't think intolerance of any and all religion is a good way to combat those problems. It just encourages the religious to be even more reactionary.
I think Dan kinda blew off the caller who was wondering whether his kid would one day feel uncomfortable or self-conscious if the uncut state of his penis was different from other kids'. Dan totally disagreed that kids noticed each other's penises. Nonsense. Boys change in locker rooms together, get ready for the pool together, etc. My stepson is 26 and uncircumcised. When he was about 12/13/14, he was so uncomfortable with being "different" that he asked his dad to look into whether he could still go through the procedure. That passed with time, and, as far as I know, he's happy with what he's got now. I'm not saying that this alone is a reason to circumcise your kid, but Dan could acknowledge that one issue that goes into the decision.
With "that passed with time, " I meant my stepson's self-conscious feelings about his uncut penis. Not sure if that was clear.
Ugh, please don't have that hypocritical twit back on the show. She was there to challenge you on some ignorant commentary on a previous podcast, but then calls a religion "silly"; a religion of which she is admittedly ignorant.

Look, I get that as a culturally Catholic atheist, you have a narrow view of the variety of religious and spiritual experiences of the rest of the world. You said that you didn't feel any pull to seek out another religion when you left Catholicism. Your guest so contemptuously surmised that only silly people with mortality anxiety could be drawn to religious practice. Some of us however, feel drawn to express the awe of the numinous, and communion with spirit/the divine/invisible friend(s).

I am really shocked that you chose to dismiss Wicca as something silly. Especially when Wicca is a sex positive, woman positive, queer positive spirituality. Wiccans aren't out at the polls trying to take away your civil rights. Wiccans aren't denying your rights to marry, adopt children. Wiccans aren't beating the shit out of trans people in a McDonalds either.

So, way to go in perpetuating more misinformation about a minority religion. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you'd shit on people who are, on the whole, supportive of all the things you believe in.
To the lady with the Wiccan boyfriend,
First, not all Wiccan traditions use the kiss in initiations, but those who do it is really important to them.
Second, you might want to talk to him about it, ask about the meaning to him, let him know your problems with it, etc.
a few comments on squirting!
- squirting is NOT always accompanied by orgasms.
- it IS possible to pee while you're sexually around so yes you can pee instead of squirt.
- there are "love blankets," that are completely waterproof can be used to save your bed and furniture. you can finally feel liberated and free to squirt as you please!
- preventing squirting (especially for prolonged periods) can be used as torture if anyone into BDSM is looking for a new idea. perhaps this is like the female equivalent of blue balls!
dinosox - I understand your points - I really do: I was profoundly religious for 30 years.

However, my exposure to the world of rationalism has brought me up sharp and taught me to challenge some of my very basic assumptions.

For example: I now think it is arrogant to believe lazily things for which there is no evidence. I think it is much more humble to say (as science does): this is what we think we know - but when new evidence comes along we will change our view. It is an old canard that science claims to know everything, or to have absolute truth. Science regularly changes and refines as new evidence is made available. That is the beauty of the paradigm: it has a self correction mechanism built in.

Religion really does not.

So sure it's not perfect: we go long periods with scientific sacred cows that are eventually sacrificed. But when that happens, it will be at the altar of rationality, with a test tube in one hand, and the weight of hard gathered, repeatable empirical evidence in the other - not some god-driven agenda hiding sneakily in the back ground.

So I also, respectfully, disagree with accomodationism to religion. Religion has had a free pass - for ever. The religious squeal loudly if challenged: "you can't say that: it's offensive!" But intrinsic to the practice of almost every religion (and yes, I'd absolutrely include Budhism in there) is division, sectarianism, violence, exploitation and opression.

I believe the only way forward is to stay focused on the substance, ignore the distraction of the tone trolling which the religious nearly always introduce - and continue to point out that, as has been noted so many times, without evidence, truth claims can (and should in fact) be ignored.

I'm not that sorry if this offends: somehow some offense is needed, given the distance we have to travel and how easily offended some people are. I too used to be offended by people challenging my irrationality. But I am profoundly grateful now to those who ignored my whining and calmly continued to focus on susbtance and point out the paucity of my arguments.
Hi Tonja: does Wicca make unsubstantiated truth claims?

Just wondering...
Leave Wiccans allooooooooooooooooooooooooone!

Naked smooching? Cool! Where do I sign up?

On the other hand: consuming what your priest assures you are the blood and flesh of your God, then going back to your seat to worship the device on which he was tortured to death? I'm sorry, but that is just beyond sick.
JimmyBoy: Like! Religious extended family, but not raised religious. Spent way too much time trying to accommodate, and now have no patience for accommodation. Which is not to say that I have no patience for religion, just for aggressive, evangelical ignorance.
The touchy conversation about religion and science is far more interesting than the touchy conversation about circumcision.
@Jimmy Boy - Could you give me an example of what you mean by unsubstantiated claims?

It is difficult to describe Wicca (and other neo-Pagan faiths) to someone with an Abrahamic faith POV, but here are some highlights:

Wicca is a religion of orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. There is no holy book, no prophesies. Practice is what makes someone Wiccan, not belief. Wicca is also loosely organized and decentralized. Wiccans have no pope, no bishops or other religious authority. Religious groups or covens are small, independent and autonomous.

Also, Wiccan holidays are based on an agricultural calendar - observable cycles in nature. I'm not sure what came first - the religious observation leading to a reliance on science or if it was a grounding in science that led to particular religious practices which honor the physical sciences, but science is embraced. I can't think of a single Wiccan who doesn't accept evolutionary theory and other physical sciences as givens.

Does that answer your question?
A specific answer to Dan and Jen's implied rhetorical question about why every educated, smart and rational person isn't an atheist...my own, very personal reason: 4 years ago my only child, a first grader, died suddenly.

Before: Having rejected childhood christian ridiculousness in my teens, become a quasi-agnostic adult (not realy caring enough to commit to pure atheism).

After: I need some kind of meaning and hope in my life to live with this; after a lot of searching gravitated to my own agey buddhist mix.

Perhaps it's complete bullshit, but I figure I'm allowed. And if you've never lived through a child's death, let alone your only child...well, your judgment doesn't mean much. Find someone whose kid dropped dead to discover a whole new level of pain that essentially never goes away.
Dan -- it was great to hear Jen on the show, I thought she added interesting insight into the show.

As to science being a religion .. BULLPUCKY. True enough science doesn't know it all, nor does it always get it right. But science looks at evidence and then makes conclusions, unlike religion that starts with a conclusion and looks for evidence. And here is the KEY difference, when science encounters new evidence that disproves prior conclusions, it discards the prior conclusion in favor of the new evidence based conclusion. When religion encounters evidence that disproves it's conclusion it discards the evidence in favor of it's concluion.

I'm sorry your child died. I'm also sorry that embracing silliness as truth makes you feel better.

Oh, and fuck you for asserting that people who have not suffered through your particular pain are qualified to comment of the validity of your particular bullshit.
Viola, my father died when I was fifteen. He died because my family has a terrible history with cardiovascular problems, he was a smoker, and he never went to the doctor when he had his first heart attack, nor did he tell anyone that anything was wrong. Science gave me answers while my minister just patted me on the knee and patronizingly said that "God has a plan." Science gave me far more peace than the idea of a white haired old sky fairy who kills randomly for secretive, unknowable reasons.
Jimmy - comment 31 - that is one of the best summaries of religion i have seen - good work.

For some reason, trying to spout nice platitudes to someone who has revealed something tragic over the internet just feels empty and hollow. I tried two or three versions of an opening paragraph with an 'I'm sorry for your loss' theme, but they all sounded hollow and inadequate. The sentiment is there.

You're certainly allowed. I think if you quizzed Jen and Dan, they'd both have freedom of conscience and expression at the top of the list of things that they value - including when they are extended to positions they disagree with very strongly.

So I don't think anyone on the secular/atheist side of the fence is ever going to tell you you're not allowed to hold zany beliefs.

That doesn't mean that we'd put your beliefs and their justifications beyond scrutiny, however.

I'm sure that there has been times in the past where a mother's child died, and that this caused her to lose faith - because any universe constructed to be fair, or to follow the laws of Karma, could not be so cruel as to allow an innocent child to die: To such a grieving mother, perhaps only an indifferent world, or a world commanded over by an evil God, would make sense.

I can understand the need to find meaning and hope. But it is not only possible to find these in the absence of wacky metaphysics - we're actually better off doing things that way.

Ironically, I'd like to use the religious metaphor.

Founding hope and meaning on unsubstantiated metaphysics (Gods, afterlives, karma, reincarnation, etc) is the man who built his home on a foundation of loose soil. It was easy to shift, and he built his home quickly.

Founding hope and meaning on substantiated, evidence-based reasoning (naturalism, for example) is the man who built his home on a foundation of stone. It's harder work than building a home on loose soil, but the foundation is stronger.

When a hurricane came through the land, the home of the man who built his home on soil was obliterated. But the home of the man who built his home on stone held true because it was locked firmly on a strong foundation.

I doubt anything can compare to the loss of a child. However, there will - doubtless - be future pains and sufferings in your life. In that respect, Buddhism has things bang to rights.

So what happens if something else happens. Perhaps you'll get breast cancer, as my mother recently has done (she's responding very, very well to treatment, however - we caught it very early).

To me, understanding that life is fleeting and that the bad things that happen are not sent to us intentionally means that we can still strive, and expect to succeed, to make and enjoy a better life for ourselves and the people around us.

The absence of an afterlife or a reincarnation cycle has caused me to re-evaluate intuitive assumptions about what makes something meaningful - with the conclusion that something doesn't have to last for ever in order to be meaningful. Life and consciousness don't last forever, but they still hold meaning and consequence so long as they do. Meaningfulness, purpose, value - these things are a consequence of existence, not eternity.

For a while there, before we had the results back from my mother's surgery, I was very concerned that she would die.

The fear, the stress, the anxiety, the sense of very-nearly-already-grieving were all very heavy burdens.

The fact of the matter that my mother still existed, and would always have existed, and that she loved me and I her... That took the edge off the anxiety and the fear.

It didn't remove them, and nor should it - we should experience anxiety, fear and grief at the prospect of the loss of a loved one. But it made them bearable.

And I was able to bear them all the stronger with the knowledge that the worldview that enabled this was based on rock-solid evidence and not an unsupported, fluffly, metaphysical narrative that, in your own words, perhaps might be complete bullshit.

And I didn't have to try and reconcile and understanding for why a loving God would visit my mother with such a debilitating illness, or what she could have done in her life (or any past life) that would justify that level of karmic retribution.


I had real answers, and a real plan of treatment, and a real understanding of the risks involved.

And I had a real worldview, that provided me a real means of coping with the stresses of life.

There are better foundations to a worldview than 'I needed hope and meaning, and this was enough'.

Start with evidence and reason. It is a stronger foundation, and once you've done the hard work of digging in the hope and meaning will flow as natural consequences.

Or, you know, TL;DR, what the fuck do I know, preachy little secular atheist trying to give a sermon online. Arrogant little prick that I am. Best to be ignored and dismissed, yes?

Much ado about squirt.
Viola, I have friend who lost her faith when her child died. Death is the only thing we humans have in common... our friends, our loved ones, our parents, and sometimes, tragically, our children, die. Then we ourselves die. Death surrounds us.

Please don't pretend that you have some unique insight into religion because you have experienced tragedy and loss in your life. Do you realize how many people have?

Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, and you have a right to yours, and that would be true whether your son died or not.

That doesn't mean it's right to derail a perfectly civil religious debate on a thread by telling everyone to shut up because you've suffered a loss.
Boy come back a day later and clearly some buttons got pushed. Damn. Not clear how this derailed anything--I just provided one personal reason why someone might have a spiritual perspective...since that was the rhetorical question posed by Jen and Dan in the podcast.

Is it not civil to mention tragedy in one's reasons? Shit happens. And we all find our own ways to make peace with the shit that happens to us. And since my way of finding peace doesn't impact any other than me, I'm not sure why some folks got their panties in a bunch and seem upset. I'm not trying to convince anyone I'm right, and so am highly amused by those trying to 'reason' me out of it.
I wish that Dan's guest could have articulated herself in a manner keeping with all the degrees she has. I could barely understand her in between all her nervous laughter and babbling. It was not only highly annoying, but it was hard to take her critique of Dan's interview with a prior guest seriously sounding like a school girl. From what I *could* understand, she had some good points. Obviously, the written word is more her strong suit. Please don't have her on again.
Tonja CA: thank you for your reply - very much appreciated. I'm a Brit and know of a few Wiccans (but haven't discussed their world view yet: would love to do so).

My question about whether Wicca makes unsubstantiated truth claims was (perhaps obviously) made with a big chip on my shoulder about the total waste of my first 30 years of life, spent trying to believe claims made with no evidence.

So even now, I listen to all kinds of religious types, who say things like: get in touch with your inner being and connect with nature. And I think: well - lovely - but does that actually mean anything? Because until it does, then it is pointless.

So I understand that Wicca is religion or philosophy closely focused on the natural world. I also though thought that Wiccans believed in verious power sources which are undemonstrated and perhaps deities whose existence is nearly as likely as santa.

So to the extent that adults want to believe anything they want that does not result in them harming other people - just fine.

But the moment that children are taught lies, say, or claims are made to the vulnerable about things that cannot be demonstrated, then suddenly it's not so innocent.

I don't know about Wicca - other than a passing, likely broadly right but wrong on specifics, knowledge. But if it does make claims that cannot be proven using a reasonable method then...I have a big issue, and that's not so unreasonable. Of course it does not undermine the many good things that Wiccan's might do - in the same way that donations from Christians to the project I'm involved in, in Sierra Leone, are very welcome.

But we can be totally wrong in what we believe, and still be trying very hard to be good neighbours, stewards of this earth etc..
Viola: you think you've been unreasonably jumped on here. However, perhaps I can show you why it was not so unreasonable?

Perhaps it's complete bullshit, but I figure I'm allowed.

Absolutely. And it is a straw man to suggest otherwise. No one I know of would deny your right to believe anything you like. It is a big distraction to put up this argument.

And if you've never lived through a child's death, let alone your only child...well, your judgment doesn't mean much.

Your judgement on what? The topic of the day might be described as the valdity of religion, perhaps. So - if it is judgement on this topic, then you are clearly way off track.

We have all suffered as human beings. Some more than others. Some have experienced huge suffering, as you have, for which only deep sympathy can be felt.

But it is just wrong, plain nonsense, to suggest that this gives the sufferer some higher perspective on the truths (or otherwise) of religion. It clearly does not and to suggest it does is patronising and crass.

Find someone whose kid dropped dead to discover a whole new level of pain that essentially never goes away.

Absolutely: it is inconceivable to anyone who has not been through it. Unless you have had the experience yourself, then you cannot know what this is like. Anyone who suggests otherwise is kidding themselves.

But it still doesn't make you an expert or authority on spirituality. And your statement your judgment doesn't mean much does seem to suggest that this is what you think.

If not, then why mention the details of your suffering, because: with all due respect - they are as relevant here as me becoming an atheist because of trauma I had with my little boy when he was a baby. It's just anecdote, and smacks of self indulgence. Of course: self indulgence is entirely understandable - but it is going to get called.

So our suffering definitely does not give us a right to a higher platform in this debate: let's just to stick to what we know and leave the personal stuff at home, unless it directly changes or illuminates the facts. If you believe fairy stories and want to admit to that on a public forum - particularly if you then justify it with the very public airing of your own very private suffering...then the reaction was really to be expected.

Is that harsh? Well...read it all again - your own post - and remember how often atheists run into people arguing this kind of thing...

I suspect I'm wasting my time here because several others tried to explain this to you and it went right over your head... But anyway.

since my way of finding peace doesn't impact any other than me,

Are you absolutely certain? Do you support groups who make unsusbtantiated truth claims? Do you give money to any religious groups? Does your belief in things that aren't likey to be true change the way you behave at all?

I'm not sure why some folks got their panties in a bunch

It's because you tried to intimidate the opposition in a public debate with a pre-emptive poor me story. It's really bad etiquette to do that. Who could reasonably feel anything but horror and anguish at your loss? Likewise who could feel anything but slightly nauseous at your crass use of that trauma in such a lame and public way? With all due respect it denigrates the significance of your loss to do so.

Could I propose that this is not the type of place to deal with the very reasonable issues you are likely to be living with?
JimmyBoy @31

Philosophy and psychology aren't hard science.

Where they make truth claims they become hard science. And where they don't they don't add much to anything at all.

I think this is the point of demarcation between people who accept spirituality (whether or not they experience it themselves) and people who don't.

I think philosophy and psychology add a lot to life. I think spirituality and religion can add a lot to life. Not because they're necessarily true, but because they can add richness and depth to life. I can sort of understand believing that philosophy/psychology/spirituality/religion "don't add much to anything at all." I just know that, for me, that would be a bleaker way of experiencing the world than I now experience.
Hi Canadian Nurse - thanks for posting: I've really enjoyed this threat.

So on your point there: I think this is the point of demarcation between people who accept spirituality (whether or not they experience it themselves) and people who don't.

I just don't know what spirituality means any more: for me, as a very devout Christian, it used to be a term that was used to differentiate between quasi 'good' and 'bad' people. My church used to use the term 'non-spritual' in a highly derogatory way about people who weren't following their (narrow, bigoted) path. Am I spiritual because I find wonder in the natural world? (I live on a beach, on a beautiful island just off the French coast: our natural surroundings are exquisite). If that's spirituality - fine: though the spirit bit is a bit misleading in that definition. But if it means 'god' in some form, then...

I just cannot understand how believing things that aren't true is in any way a good thing! Apart form anything else it allows those who would use religion/spirituality for evil ends that free pass I object to so strongly (and there is no shortage of such people).

How can believing things that aren't true give us "richness" or "depth"? I think they give us laziness and arrogance, such that we can then, without question, assert things like: being gay is evil; or god wants you to give your cash to me, your parasitic priest/minister; or god will heal you (and when he doesn't, it was just his will - and his will is a mystery).

This is all bad. Can you nail this for me in hard terms because I genuinely do not see it. Where is the richness and depth of life that comes from religion? I see mental degredation (the Jesuits are right: reason and faith are enemies); I see deep immorality; I see opression of women and minorities; I see murder and bloodshed; I see lies and equivocation in the face of true evil (so many examples).

Looking at it the other way: when I realised what a big old con the whole sick profiteering edifice was, then all the beauty of the services, the incense, the mysticism, the funny dresses and the archaic language became so transparent a trap. And the liberation I felt as I rose from that mental quagmire was stupendous. Truly I was blind, and now, just occasionally, I see.

So - just my view (but I'm not alone): it doesn't have to be bleak when reality kicks in...apart from anything else, death became far less frightening for me. I just don't want it to hurt (modern science can help a bit there perhaps), and I want to do a load more stuff before I get there. And then worm food. Happy days. Happy with every one I get: what a fantastic world we live in!
And that should have been - this thread not threat!

Nice mansplain (and I don't even know if you're a man or not). You sound like the dimwit from the UK who took offense at the Ig Nobel prizes because they somehow made science look undignified, even though scientists in general tend to be fans of the Igs.

Don't ever visit ERV's blog. Your head'll explode.
Viola was unreasonably jumped on here. She gave her own religious/spiritual story which should be allowed. I'm an atheist myself, but I don't expect everyone to share my (non)belief system. I don't begrudge anyone finding solace in something spiritual as long as that spiritual thang isn't shoved down my throat. I seriously don't get where all this hate is coming from.
Nordica: another classic attempt to derail the conversation with a straw man and distraction from substance.

Who said Viola should not be allowed to say anything she wants?

If what she says is objectionable, then it might well get objected to. But there was no attempt to silence her. It is actually deeply objectionable to make the accusation. It did not happen.

And who begrudges her finding solace anywhere she wants to? Or asks that she believes what someone else believes? No one that I read. You implictly suggested that this had happened. It did not.

We just objected to her attempting to hijack the conversation in the crass way she did. Her story did not give her the right to tell the rest of us well, your judgment doesn't mean much.

That's a really irritating thing to say.

Several of us objected to her logic. But there was no attempt to intimidate or to coerce. We took issue carefully with her argument and her manner of arguing. Both were deeply problematic. Saying so is entirely reasonable.

Or are we not allowed to point out the problems in her argument because of her trauma? The implicit suggestion is that we should censor ourselves here. This wasn't just a story put out there of one person's position: we were told clearly that our judgement doesn't mean much because we haven't had her (horrible) experience.

Did you actually read the thread at all? That this was the problem, was explicitly pointed out several times.

And there was no hate: (don't be so melodramatic) - just a refusal to be bullied by such a naked appeal to emotion.
No, nobody is telling viola to delete her comment, but attacks for making her comment make her much less likely to make similar
Comments in the future, which is akin to silencing her. I don't understand the accusations that she derailed this debate with her own personal story. I personally did not feel that way is all I'm saying.
OK - I understand what you are saying Nordica: but the well, your judgment doesn't mean much comment was absolutely central to what she said. She didn't take it back but accused those who didn't like it of getting their panties in a wad. Well she can proper piss off for that truly crap response. Really: that's just rubbish.

Then you said:

She gave her own religious/spiritual story which should be allowed

You are saying - implicitly, but very clearly - that there was a suggestion that some (maybe me?) thought she should not be allowed to make such a comment. Not what you meant? Well - it is what you said...

To help understand the strength of the reaction: this is a very common tactic adopted by many Chrstians in particular (I note you say you aren't one), where they raise a straw man about atheists, say ("they want to ban religion" for eg) and turn themselves into the victims. It's really not cool. This seems to be in a simlar vein:an implicit suggestion that she is not being allowed to hold a view.

The word "attacks" is also pretty strong here. If there were any, they have been explained at (massive) length now - without any further discussion of the arugments put forward: just a bit pf whining about how we've jumped on her. Well - the arguments are still there to be discussed if anyone wants to it.

The reason I felt she derailed the debate was laid out a couple of times above: we could discuss those points if you wanted?

The derailing came with the "I've had a terrible experience; I therefore have a superior claim in this debate; I dare any of you to take me on with my horrible trauma". (Go and re-read her post if you still disagree and walk me through how she was actually saying something else)

Well - it's been done a zillion times elsewhere, and now therefore it gets a strong reaction.

You may have noticed...


And ,no, I don't want anyone to censor themselves. If this is your reaction to her, express it. I was just surprised myself that her comment evoked so much emotion and that people felt their whole conversation was derailed by her. I didn't have that reaction but that's just me. As for my use of the word "hate"', where I come from saying "fuck you" to someone is kinda hateful.
Nordica: can you see why there was the reaction to her comment: well, your judgment doesn't mean much?

If not - we're going nowhere with this one.

Repeating that you don't want anyone to censor themselves is just evading the discussion: you say - we jumped on her; I say - in excrutiating detail - this is why we did. You say: I was surprised she was jumped on. That's not really much of a contribution: you've already made that point and I spent ages explaining why we did.

Why not actually explore the points made? We can perhaps guess that you did not mean to express yourself the way you did. Possibly Viola didn't either. But you did say the things quoted - and the argument has been put forward that it was reasonable to understand them, in a specific way.

Rather than just repeating that you were surprised at the emotion evoked (which is pretty quickly not much of an argument: we got that - and explained why the reaction occured...), how about perhaps explaining why the interpretation of the words written was unreasonable, say?

I'd not tell someome to fuck off either as a first gambit: but I totally understand the emotion that takes someone there, particularly having participated in 50 such discussions previously and become very tired of these tactics. I don't find it that hateful either by the way...and it was one comment in a much larger population - all expressing the same sentiment: this is not an OK way to argue. We reject the attempt to shut us up by dragging out a personal tragedy.

It was an utterly crass way to conduct the conversation. I've had a dreadful trauma; therefore my experience means I get to be right irrespective of what anyone else thinks.

Can't you see why we would react as we did - particularly as there was no subsequent recognition that this is just not acceptable?

If you don't agree - perhaps could we discuss the points (ie the substance) I've been making? ie I've explained why I (and perhaps others) had the reaction I did, and why I felt it derailed the conversation: you could explain why we over-reacted, or...? I'm pretty clear now (thanks) that you were surprised at the reaction...any more points to make there?


Btw, Jimmy, I was writing response #63 while you were posting #62, so 63 was not my response to 62. I’m starting to get why emotions are running so high on this issue – sorry, but I can be a little slow on the uptake ;) You and I (and probably the others here) are coming from different places in that you have had 50-some conversations about this, and I have not. Now I understand how Viola’s comments hit a hot button for you and others. Not being one who regularly (or ever, really ) argues about atheism/non-atheism, I was completely unmoved when Viola said, “your judgment doesn’t mean much.” Buddists’, Christians’ etc. judgment of me means nothing to me, so I would not expect them to care about nonbelievers’ judgment of them. So, I didn’t take her comment personally. But I now understand how this comment offended you and others. For the same reasons of not having a vast experience of participating in the believers/nonbelievers debate, I did not see her comment as derailing at all. I did not see her comment as an attempt to shut you up at all. But I now understand that you have seen the comment she made many times in the past as a means of derailing a perfectly good debate, and you’re rightfully sick of it. So, we’re just coming from different places, which is why I was surprised at what I initially found to be hostile and overly emotional response but now understand in the context of your (and others’) past experience with this issue.
Hey Guys and Gals, RICK SANTORUM is running for President.

Hey Nordica...look at that: and by being gracious in your response, you make me feel like an idiot at pursuing something which ultimately is trivial (and does have the very real context of a dead child hiding in there...which, of course, is truly unimaginable - whatever the debate might throw up).

I do get a bit raw: but that's my problem, not anyone elses!

I take my hat off to you. Thank you.
Jimmy Boy -
I guess the big difference between Wicca and the Big Three Monotheisms is that you don't have to believe anything to be Wiccan.
Wicca does honor a God and a Goddess, but there is no set rules as to how the God and Goddess are supposed to be viewed. There is a broad spectrum of "belief" from Wiccans who think the God and Goddess are Jungian archetypes; others are polytheists who believe that there are many Gods and Goddesses who are separate and individual deities; and yet others believe that the various Gods and Goddesses from the world's mythologies are simply facets of "The God" or "The Goddess" - some refer to this theory as the Disco Ball Theory of God/dess.

So, Wicca (and other neo-pagan faiths) are highly personal because experience, not dogma is what is valued. It can sound very airy fairy, but really, Wicca doesn't require one to leave their critical thinking at the door.

Within Wicca, people are very careful to make the distinction between personal experience and fact. Someone might share that a particular God or Goddess told them to do X. This doesn't mean every Wiccan is expected to do X. Even the individual with the experience of having a God or Goddess tell them to do something can exercise free will and not do X. The only things you will find everyone agrees on are facts that can be supported with academic research (i.e. archaeological digs find papyrii and statues that document how a particular God/dess was worshipped in a particular place and time).

Though I am not a parent myself, I know several Pagan families and they are careful to allow their children self-determination when it comes to spirituality. They will teach their children, "this is what we do/practice/believe" but there is a strong emphasis on the individual finding what is right for them, even if it means being an agnostic or atheist.
:Sigh: I have a few points to make, belatedly. I just came back to listen to this week's podcast when I noticed a truckload of comments here, and read for a while:

I think that philosophical discussions between people of faith and atheists are all well and good. I am a polytheist reconstructing a religion of the past. People take me to task for that A LOT. It is their right to do that. It is a little offbeat, and if I can't defend my beliefs, then maybe I should rethink them.

But is it really necessary to categorically dismiss all people who practice religion as irrational and silly ON A SEX PODCAST? Is this really the time and place? Can't I get my weekly fix of relationship, sex, and physiology advice without being insulted for something that has nothing to do with any of that? The venue, not the opinion itself, is what bugged me.

On a related note- a lot of the atheists are missing the point here. Many of you, I am sure, do not believe in God, Goddess, Gods, or whatever because you have seen no evidence of any of that. Fine. Nobody should believe something without having experienced a reason to believe it. However, most atheists I have met have concluded that this means that nobody else ever has, either. People with religions keep being asked why we believe things that are not true. Obviously, we don't think we do. That's like a Christian asking a pagan why they failed to understand that the Bible proves paganism to be wrong. (Which they do a lot, by the way.)

I have had a lot of odd things happen in my life. Examining all of my experiences, some of which are pretty out there, I came to a conclusion about the nature of reality. Someone with different experiences will doubtless come to a different conclusion. Moreover, scientists do it too. There are various pieces of data that make sense, can be replicated in the lab, and seem to be true, that don't work well if other similarly replicatable pieces of data are also true. Physics is a great one for this. Does that mean that one of these things is wrong? Maybe, but really it just means we don't have all the information yet.

Which leads to another thing: (I'll shut up soon, I swear) Not all people who have a religious belief system are anti-science. There doesn't need to be a conflict. I'm not really sure how the idea that there are things more powerful than humans at work in the universe means throwing physical laws out the window.

I totally side with the guest on one thing, though- if you are not a believer, then the religion is not the place for you.
#12 Why are so many parents scared to talk to their children about the world they live in? I never get folks who say "how will I explain it to my child...".

You sit down and tell them the truth, leaving out certain details if they aren't really age appropriate.

More likely, your kid won't see his dad's penis much (hopefully) as he gets older.

BTW: I agree that male circumcision is barbaric and should never be done on a child because he can't give consent.

For those who are so worried about the STDs or visual appeal, let the boy decide for himself when he's a man if he want's to lop off.
yeeeahh, I never felt compelled to leave a comment until now. The 'Wiccan' bit did leave me a bit cheesed. I'll admit though that I'm amused by the comments here how many people are casting opinions about Pagans without really knowing anything about them. It's like pulling shit from your ass and calling it peanut brittle.

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that some pagans, as with any subculture, has some crazy wack-jobs. They always find their way onto the presses too, but judging pagans by photos, rumors, or knowing one dude who played D & D too long in his parent's basement would be like judging the whole gay community based off of the floats from a gay pride parade (my favorite being the leather boys).

With regards to what Pagans (and Wiccans, which are a kind of Pagan) believe in, that will run the gambit. Some believe in multiple "imaginary forces", some are very science based, and a few would call themselves athiests. It's all good, the cool thing about Paganism is it's your path, you drive your own damn bus and you get to decide what you believe in. As to why... well in the words of one of my athiest pagan friends, he does rituals because they feel good. It helps him work through his stuff. Many people in Paganism see magic and ritual not as 'spooky spook forces', but as psychological tools to help them mark, celebrate, or mourn, or whatever. I figure, if it's not harming anyone, and people are cool with each other I don't care who or what they call their higher power, even if they don't have one at all.

I guess what irritated me about Dan and his guest was the guaffawing over how 'ignorant and silly' people are who feel or choose to believe that there is/are a higher power/s. Fucking hell like anyone has all the answers... Whenever someone tells me 'SCIENCE IS GOD' I think back to the beginning of the 20th century and it's predictions about how that century will end, that all pests will be eradicated, the world would be domesticated, and everything will be controled and wonderful. I'm sure what we believe about the world today isn't quite spot on, because in the end we're all stupid apes living on a tiny world in a vast universe.

Anyway, being that it's pride month I'd wish to encourage everyone to celebrate diversity, even those with philosophical or spiritual beliefs that differ from yours.

oh and footnote, gay pagans throw the BEST PARTIES EVER!
It's a bummer to see bigoted, closed-minded, ill-informed intolerance from anyone, but someone it's especially disappointing to see it coming from science-minded people/skeptics/atheists, because I'd like to think they know better, since they've been widely attacked for so long. Why do things have to be so black-and-white? I'd love for more religious people to analyze their own beliefs and use more objectivity (which plenty do, though not enough), because that would make the world a *lot* saner, but I don't think doing so would point to one correct conclusion of giving up their religion (or religion/spirituality) entirely. And I'd like to see more skeptics and atheists and scientists - in *addition* to recognizing frequent harms and objective untruths that can come about via religion/spirituality - be able to consider the possible *useful* (or even beneficial) sides that religion/spirituality can bring about for *some people*, even if they don't personally find it relevant.

One additional note: just because someone has religious and/or spiritual interest doesn't necessarily mean that person takes it as empirical fact. Plenty of people do respect scientific knowledge and view their particular religious/spiritual interests as symbolic or metaphorical (with those symbols or metaphors helpfully informing parts of their life), while still thinking analytically.

Gist is... why so much generalizing?
To the Vag DP lady...it is totally awesome! My husband thinks so as well. It will require a bit of patience and a lot of lube but well worth the effort!
On a side note...I would start with one boy and one toy. That way when it doesn't fit the first time (and it won't) no one has hurt feelings when he is thrown off the bed for the remainder of the encounter.
And buy lube...like a ton of lube, you will be glad you did.
the caller who left a response message about this on the last podcast stated Dan Savage was ignoring the science.
But you have to look at the WHOLE science of the study done in Africa: the men who were circumcised also received basic sex education. So, the scientific proof would be that basic sex education leads to lower HIV rates (....and please don't refute that).
The other point he made was that Female Genital Mutilation is performed to inhibit a woman's sexuality.
Dr Kellog, the driving force of the popularity of male circumcision in America, recommended circumcision specifically for that (to inhibit and curtail masturbation, etc....). I'm not comparing FGM to male circumcision, just the ideas prevalent behind both.

Just wanted to respond to the "science" of the caller's statements....

....and for the record: I am in my late 30s and uncircumcised. I thought a lot about getting it done when I was younger (because I thought I looked 'different' and felt weird).... I was worried about what it was going to be like since I was 'different'.... and then I started having sex. ...and realized everyone is different.
Most people I have been with, male and female, cannot tell I am not cut. Unless you are bowing before someone's cock and staring at it reverently to worship it, and hey you may be doing that, you won't notice and or care--- it's a penis and it does what a penis does.
Also, if you are in the gym and catch me walking from the shower and it's cold, my dick may look a little different (and by the way: so does yours).
Let's just all admit that it is a personal preference.
Yo fellow lovers of Dan,

I just finished listening to this episode and was inspired to come and leave a post about the circumcision thing and the double penetration one as well...

Firstly, let’s start with the topic that seems to have been mostly ignored, except for 'forcrimeinitaly'.

I was surprised Dan didn't seem to know much as I imagine that he might have seen two dicks in one arse, 2d1a, so it is not much of a leap to move to 2d1v.

I have played around with this and firstly it feels good, for all concerned. It makes the pussy nice and tight and really alright. One thing to consider is how well can your pussy expand and how big are the dicks you are going to put into it...

I think the advice Dan gives for preparing for anal sex is pretty appropriate for preparing for 2 real dicks... start off really slow with only one dick and lots of toys that gradually get larger...

This allows for baby steps to be taken and see just how big you can go... once you have an understanding or your limits and what feels good, then, you can start auditioning dicks until you find one that you are comfortable with.

Happy expanding... of your horizons that is...

Now onto the topic of the hour...

I don't really have much to add to the ethical side of the debate, that seems to have been fairly well covered. However, I do have a bit of a twist in the usual story.

My parents couldn’t decide what to do about my dick in regards to circumcision. The background is that I was born in the mid '70’s in Australia, and apparently attitudes where changing from being for to being against. (My brother who is two years younger is uncut.) For completeness, there was no religious impetus forcing their decision, so in the end they took a punt both ways.

I ended up being half circumcised.

I tend get a lot of blank looks when I tell people, so I generally have to show them. (Dan, pictures available on request). Anyway, I don’t seem to be able to add them here, so, I have a foreskin that when my dick is flaccid, finishes near the end of the glans. However, when erect, withdraws out of the way leaving the head exposed. (However, when really cold, I do manage to get a full foreskin :)

There seem to be a few advantages of this that I can see.
1. No annoying dripping after peeing
2. When masturbating, I still have enough foreskin that I can use that to run back and forth over the corona
3. Easy to clean
4. Good party talking point when the conversation dries up
5. Doesn’t collect fluff

The last one I made up. I have no idea if anyone else’s collects fluff… perhaps a later topic.

Hope you found this interesting, it’s my first post…

Anyway, been great talking with you guys.
You may have been the first person to publically use the word ‘solodex’. I understood it immediately and thought it was funny as hell. But there was no definition for it on Urban Dictionary, that great beacon of public knowledge. So I posted it, with full credit to you: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.ph…
I'm annoyed that some people think all Wiccans/Pagans are somehow anti-science. I belong to a small Wiccan tradition with three scientists as members one of whom received her PHD in biochemistry from Oxford. You can believe in atoms and protons and also believe in the numinous. It's ok.

Also while many of us believe in beings we refer to as gods we are not going to tell you those gods ever make frogs fall from the sky or destroy all life on earth with a flood then repopulate with just two of every species. No I cannot scientifically prove gods exist and I don't think you will have a life any less fulfilling than mine if you don't believe in them.

But to the topic, Wicca is pretty sex-positive and one of the founders was interested in nudism and BDSM so there are sexually charged rituals that some people perform. The caller will have to ask herself "Am I ok with my BF having a sexual experience with someone else that doesn't involve intercourse?" "Am I ok with my BF being naked around other adults?" "Would it be ok for him to be on a nude beach without me?"

As someone pointed out

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