Monday, December 04, 2006

Holy Crap Where Did She Go?

It's going to be hit-and-miss until the New Year, folks, but just to keep you thinking...

News 2 Use -- Controversial Issues Edition

Our Brains -- Should We Thank Sexual Outlaws?

The idea of interbreeding with another species gives us instinctual heebie-jeebies. But it seems more and more likely that the key genetic development in the human brain came to us courtesy of interbreeding with Neanderthals.

So…what species can we interbreed with now, to make the next evolutionary jump in your speculative romance? Paranormal creatures like vampires? Mythological remnants of elves and fairies? Aliens? Genetic engineered mixes with animals? Machine intelligence? Go forth and write!

Social Exclusion Actually Hurts Brain Function

Studies measuring the magnetic fields inside the brain show that people who are rejected or excluded from social interaction actually undergo neurological changes, resulting in poor decision-making and impaired learning processes.

So when we socially marginalize and demonize any group -- homosexuals, for example, or romance authors -- we create huge problems. Huge. Measurable. Neurological. When you are creating that near-future setting for your speculative romance, consider how any sexual outcasts you create may act. If your near-future society marginalizes people who sleep with vampires, chances are those people engage in risky, and possibly violent, behavior.

Global Sex Study Reports Dubious View of Women and Sex

A study of sexual practices and habits in 59 countries paints a pretty damn dim picture for women. Incidents of venereal disease and other sex-related health problems are linked less to promiscuity, and more to issues of poverty, mobility and gender equality. And while monogamy remains the basic rule, women are far less likely to have multiple sexual partners than men -- especially where social situations leave women in poverty and inequality. This results in such lovely statistics as these --

  • HIV rates climb rapidly for married women in underdeveloped countries, as they are put at risk by their husbands' behavior and their inability to control their sexual lives in marriage.

  • First sexual experiences remain traumatic and coercive in cultures that value women's sexual purity and therefore marry them off young.

  • In poorer nations, sex is still seen as less of a personal choice and more of a survival strategy.

  • In industrialized nations, where gender equality has resulted in parity of multiple sexual partnerships, women enjoy a higher standard of sexual health.

    The next time you consider the romantic aspects of an alien culture that values virginity, or begin to build the sexual history of your heroine, remember this study. There's nothing romantic about sexual inequality.

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