Michelle Loftus The Anti[bot]iesProfessor Nerrico ENG 220 MW (11-11:50)19 April 2011 I think that Mary Roach would agree with Dr. Lazar Greenfield in his statement found in the journal Surgery News. Although most people were offended and in awe at the content contained in his article, Mary Roach would probably agree. On page thirty-eight she discusses aspects of sex, “The most dramatic example of this biological priority shift is a sexually mediated disregard for pain and physical discomfort. Whatever ails you pretty much stops ailing you during really hot sex. Fevers and muscle aches, Kinsey claimed, briefly abate. Temperature extremes go unnoticed, which must have been a relief for the couples in Kinsey’s attic, as it was, depending on the season, either very hot or very cold up there. Handily, the gag reflex is eliminated, even “among individuals who are quite prone to gag when objects are placed deep in their mouths.” (Objects! Har.)” Roach also believes that something is triggered during sex to make these occurrences happen. Dr. Lazar looks more in depth and connects certain feelings that females receive after sex with ingredients in the semen. He finds, “In fact, they found ingredients in semen that include mood enhancers like estrone, cortisol, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin; a sleep enhancer, melatonin; and of course, sperm” (Lazar). Although Roach never attributes the painlessness during sex to any particular substance, she makes a point that sex in itself produces different feelings. Where Roach and Lazar would differ is with the claim Lazar makes about female students having unprotected sex were significantly less depressed than those using condoms. I think Roach would have researched that more and looked into the frequency of sex, or the positions being used, or any other factors that may play into “good sex”. (Side note: Roach probably would be able to come up with something witty to say back to the chocolates on Valentine’s Day comment.)
Uriel MurilloUdy Udy UdyProf. Nericcio20 April 2011Dr. Greenfield’s “shocking” comment was perhaps not one of his best choices as a professional, and after reading over some of the comments I would understand why those in the medical field would be “aghast” and send in their complaints. I’ll leave the decision making to the pro’s. But I believe that there is plenty to have laughs at when it comes to the medical field, especially in the categories of sex, sex research, sexual organs etc. When the professionalism and serious attitude have come to pass, (like at the end of a well written medical article) both the general public and medical team at the local clinic would agree that humor exists somewhere in the recesses of a routine colonoscopy (yes that was a pun, lighten up). Mary Roach would also agree, as she clearly makes exposing the ridiculous, awkward and downright hysterical aspects of medical practice one of her goals in her essay Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. On page 245 of Bonk, Roach writes, “The human vagina is accustomed to visitors. Even the language of anatomy imbues the organ with an innlike hospitality, the entrance to the structure being named the “vaginal vestibule.” For those of us not wholly acquainted with its meaning, a vestibule is described as “a passage, hall, or antechamber between the outer door and the interior parts of a house or building” or “a reception area." -‘Whaaat?!! Who would dare give such an inviting name to something so private? They should be ashamed!’ Relax Nurse Betty. It’s medical terminology, and yes, there is such thing as medical humor.- Other anatomical features bearing the name include areas of the mouth and ear. Will the idea of an invitational mouth or ear conjure witty remarks? Yes. Should people use this as an excuse to place strange objects into their orifices? No. Should college girls follow the advice of Greenfield’s Valentines discovery? Probably not. A joke is meant to entertain, shed some comic light on research, and promote interest in scientific or medical breakthroughs. In the end…Isn’t that all that really matters?
Emily YbarrondoWednesday April 20th, 2011Paralysis by AnalysisProfessor Nericcio Although yes, it was extremely inappropriate for a surgeon to suggest giving women semen on Valentine’s Day instead of chocolates, I do not really understand why so many people took Dr. Lazar Greenfield so seriously. I found his statements to be humorous. His findings offered practically zero scientific explanation, which a doctor should have. I was not offended by him at all and I do not believe Mary Roach would have been either. I cannot imagine surgeons have a very good sense of humor and this was a sad attempt at a joke. The reason people did not find his humor amusing was because a man wrote it. If a woman had written everything he said I believe it would have been received in a much different way and that is not fair. I assume that Mary Roach would agree that his Valentine’s Day quote was amusing and not at all something to take offense to. Roach writes “even when a researcher carefully explains a sex-related project-its purpose and its value-people may still suspect he or she is a perv” (Roach 13). Clearly Greenfield did not successfully achieve this. People need to relax and not be so uptight about the subject of sex. Roach’s book was aimed at teaching people about sex and making readers feel more comfortable talking about it. However, I do not think that Mary Roach would appreciate Greenfield’s comment about how women who have sex with men and do not use condoms are less depressed then women who do use protection. I believe there are many variables to consider that affect a woman’s sex life. Roach seems to encourage using protection when she discusses oral contraceptives on pages 286-288 and how although being on the pill can lower a woman’s libido, “for many women, the freedom from worrying about pregnancy cancels out any mid-cycle dip in libido.” Semen may be an anti-depressant for women but Roach would have explained the scientific theory and research behind it, which Greenfield lacked to do so. Readers would have taken Greenfield’s research and statements seriously and respected him as a doctor if he had presented his observations and ideas in a more scientific manor. Greenfield was trying to explain the possibility of a closer connection between and a man and a woman during the intimate act of sex and he went about it the wrong way. Many people are not comfortable talking about sex as we have clearly learned from our own experiences and from reading Mary Roach’s book Bonk. Her book and sense of humor just happened to be more effective and was more accepted by readers who actually laughed and appreciated it, whereas Greenfield received the opposite response. We should all strive to have an attitude more like Roach’s.
Karen Mae RaguineEnglish 220: Robotic, Erotic, Electric, Professor William NericcioSection 220.10: The Decepticon, (GTA Zachary Cavanaugh)Sex is a very sensitive and delicate subject within our society. Mary Roach wrote Bonk for those people who endured ridicule and scrutiny for bringing forth this taboo subject in our society (Roach 14). For all those brave people that participated in the research, she has high respect and empathy for how they feel and for what they will experience after publishing their findings. I feel as if Mary Roach would definitely feel empathy for Dr Lazar Greenfield for making, what some ignorant people would call a perverted statement. He was not fired but ended up resigning due to the fact that he did not want to deal with derision. As I read the article, I think that Mary Roach would definitely agree with the statement of Dr Lazar Greenfield which states, “So there's a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there's a better gift for that day than chocolate” (Hensley). According to Roach, men also gets aroused by semen, this was discovered by a Dutch gynecologist Theodoor Van de Velder. Van de Velder claims after intercourse if a man smells semen within a woman’s breath, it can be very arousing for them (Roach 75). In view of the fact that men and women are both provoked by semen it is a win-win situation for both of them. Roach further argues that having a good active sexual relationship with the significant other can both enhance and create a happy relationship (Roach 26). Both Roach and Greenfield wants to expose that it is natural for people to express themselves in sexual activities with their significant other. They want to exploit this taboo to illustrate that people should not be so ignorant and judgmental of something that we will all participate once in our life. I feel like we should learn to not scrutinize or judge people for what they are interested in exposing to our society because how can we ever learn things if no one is willing to do research on these subjects.
Daisy Nava (The Assholes)Professor NericcioENG 220.620 April 2011After reading the article on Dr. Lazar Greenfield, i didn't really have a reaction to it besides thinking that it was pretty funny that a surgeon presented the idea of women receiving semen as a Valentines day gift. It was unprofessional of him to speak of that in an article because not everyone would think of it as humorous and some would take it to offense. If Mary Roach came across this article, i believe she would of thought it was hilarious since her objective in her book Bonk, is to make people comfortable talking about sex. In Roach's book, Rob Levin, a sex physiologist is accused of being a pervert for studying sex. This is spoken of on page 12 "The unspoken assumption was that he was somehow deriving an illicit thrill from calculating the ion concentrations of vaginal fluids. That people study sex because they are perverts." It's ridiculous how so many individuals who work in the medical field and focus their research and attention on sex are labeled as "perverts". People don't realize that if we didn't have someone constantly doing research on sex we wouldn't find revenues or be up to date with sexual health. Roach and Greenfield are amusing and we need humor once in a while to balance the boring, serious tones with research articles. Roach and Greenfield both want to make readers comfortable with sex because its human nature and something everyone is or will encounter at one point on their life. Sex is a funny subject and it's successful in making several jokes out of. We shouldn't judge people by what they study because in the end, any kind of research benefits us and the future.
Olivia Sugiura - DecepticonsProfessor NerricioEng 220April 20,2011After reading the article posted in the New York Times and comparing it to Mary roach’s Bonk, I think the ideas coincide quite well. To make a statement so bold as to say that there is a better gift than chocolates on Valentine’s Day is humorous and faces society with truth. The context of the statement was a simple gesture and suggestion based on his findings and opinions. He was not intentionally slandering any one person. Similarly, Roach suffers negative critique in her book due to her blunt attitude. She takes a different approach to addressing sex and science that is universally understood. In one of Roach’s chapters she focuses on the topic of female arousal and the positive and negative affects of enhancers. Drugs like bremelanotide and Apomorphine increase sexual activity and esires, but has side affects which link to depression and nausea. The title of the chapter explains it all. Women are complicated! We cannot be either happy or sad without having to impose drugs into our body. It is the mind over vagina. Dr. Lazar Greenfield’s comment that semen is a mood enhancer would be agreeable with Roach and her studies. If the solution were a mere sample of semen, then Mary Roach would most likely be a candidate. Why should women have to explore other techniques to satisfy their sexual needs when there is a more interesting link in science and sex? The exploitation of sexual studies should not be shocking to other doctors and professors. Bonk was a catalyst and has continued to open the minds to more people about sex. Dr. Greenfield’s comment may have been unexpected but I think the measures that the issue was taken were too personal. We need more individuals like Roach and Greenfield to face us with the reality of science and sex.
Kelsey Perez Professor NericcioParalysis by Analysis20 April 2011Medical discoveries and scientific findings should have slim limitation to how they are expressed and presented especially in The New York Times, scientific editorial. We are all human, (well with the exception of a few us who are Robots) who transition and development in the same way. We are emotional and sexual beings. Being able to talk about discoveries such as the one Dr. Greenfield made in regard to human sexual behavior should be acceptable in such a magazine; as Greenfields states, it mainly reaches mature audiences. Their judgment toward Greenfield seems irrational considering his strong professionalism toward women. The real issue here is why these doctors are having a problem dealing with the statement on whether semen or chocolate is a better valentine’s gift. This should be the least of their worries. I strongly feel Mary Roach would agree with Dr. Greenfield, and feel no sorrow for it, as they seem to share strong common characteristics, the ability to pronounce and share strange discoveries about human sexuality. Mary Roach is openly able to discuss issues such as female masturbation “In a follow up study, Masters and Johnson outfitted a squadron of masturbating women, six in all, with cervical caps that had been filled with a substance similar to semen: same surface tension, same density. The substance is radiopaque, meaning that it would show up on X-rays. So if indeed it were sucked into the uterus during the women’s orgasms, the researchers would be able to document it.” (Roach 105) Now, I wonder what the surgeons would say if they saw this published? It’s absurd that a question like this has to be asked. Roach is proud to present information on such a sensitive topic for many. Dr. Lazar Greenfield stated that his many apologies had been ignored, and therefore felt the need to resign to refrain from continuing a disruptive issue. I understand the struggle, coming back from a mistake especially in the professional world, but his response was adequate to claim he did not mean for the intent of the information to be interpreted in such a way. Nowhere did he state, he supported such claims (college girls and unprotected sex), however the facts were simply being presented. This type of information is human nature, it shall be accepted.
Tori CuseoProfessor NerricioEnglish 220: Da Illiterate$21 April 2011While Mary Roach clearly understands sex from a scientific point of view, and therefore would undoubtedly acknowledge Dr. Greenfield’s research on semen’s immensely positive effects on women during sexual intercourse, she proves in Bonk that women can achieve climax and the healthy benefits of sexual stimulation without a man at all. Roach describes an instance in ancient Greece where sexually frustrated widows, “were especially prone to hysteria…[and] the cure, logically enough, was to contrive a climax” (214). This story is actually part of the chapter subtitled, “Masturbating For Health”. Masturbation and clitoral stimulation can bring a climax- and therefore, the mental benefits like slower rates of stress, breast and prostate cancer, and other diseases (218)- just as readily as sexual intercourse. Greenfield and Roach seem to disagree on this matter, since he suggests semen, not the intercourse or climax, provides mental benefits for women. Lazar Greenfield claims in his article that semen lead to less depressed women, and therefore less suicide attempts. He explains that it’s not the promiscuity that causes this increased happiness, since abstinent women and women who use condoms are, "just as depressed" and suicidal (qtd. Marcus, Orosnky). He essentially condones unprotected sex among all women, not just women intending to conceive, and that any woman not having sex or even having protected sex should, scientifically speaking, be suicidal. On one hand, I understand he wanted to prove the benefits of semen in the female body, but he simply took it too far. Mary Roach may respect his findings, but I highly doubt she would agree with his ultimate conclusion.
Kevin YouEnglish 220: Robotic, Erotic, Electric, Professor William NericcioSection 220.03: The Anti-(Bot)ies (GTA, Tara Stillions Whitehead)21 April 2011Freedom of speech is a right given by our founding fathers to the American people. Exercising this right, however, can be detrimental, such as this case with the distinguished cardiovascular surgeon - Dr. Lazar Greenfield. Both Dr. Greenfield and Mary Roach are subject to criticism due to their research about sex. In our society, anything affiliated with sex is dubbed as taboo or inappropriate material, but people cannot hide their interest in such material by either criticizing the authors or secretly enjoying their findings. Compared to other societies, the American society seems less open-minded about sex. According to Mary Roach in Bonk, Taiwan may be “more matter-of-fact about sex and nakedness than we are in States” (Roach 152). Also, from her trip to Taiwan, she noticed that there were condoms in the Taipei hotel rooms like “the way American hotel rooms have shower caps and Bibles” (Roach 152). Like Dr. Greenfield, people may also bombard Roach with ridicule and disapproving criticisms after reading this comment, but people should simply consider these statements as research observations that may provide future benefit rather than criticizing them immediately.The comparison that Dr. Greenfield made about replacing chocolate with semen for Valentine’s Day was rather comedic and humorous, but people seemed to be taking the comment too seriously as everyone will start giving semen as Valentine presents. Yuck! If a comedian stated the exact same comment, the reaction may be light-hearted and completely different. On the other hand, coming from a distinguished, educated surgeon, the comment harmed his reputation. Therefore, we have seen that this freedom of speech may not always work to our advantage, especially with published works about sex. But then again, why are Americans so “aghast” by the subject of sex?
Isabel RuizENG 220Professor NericcioApril 21, 2011Extra Credit AssignmentPrompt: “Using a passage from Mary Roach's BONK that we did NOT go over in class, do a critique of the ideas/issues/conflicts contained in the NEW YORK TIMES story linked to in your ARTKIVE posting. Comment directly onto the OBSCENE MACHINE blog using the 'comments' link at the bottom of the posting....” Debatable Sex Issues After having read the article on the New York Times titled, “Prominent Surgeon Resigns Post After Backlash Over Editorial”, by Scott Hensley, I understood what all the commotions was about. Of what I understood, Dr. Lazar Greenfield wrote an article which came out in a scientific journal called Surgery News. This article was sexist, unprofessional, and unscientific and it caused so many arguments that he had to resign. Basically, the article was about how he believes that the only way for a woman to get to a point of pleasure is by vagina to penis intercourse. According to Hensley, Greenfield made statements claiming that, “the virtues of semen [were] a mood-enhancer for women”. Like Hensley, Pauline W. Chen also wrote an article on this issue and titled it, “Sexism Charges Divide Surgeons’ Group”. She also summarized the content of Greenfield’s article and stated that Greenfield wrote that “female college students who had been exposed to semen were less depressed than their peers who had not...”. This was a ridiculous hypothesis for him to have made because in order to test his hypothesis he would have had to consider all variables such as sexual preferences, age, gender, etc. and even then it’s not sufficient information to come up with that conclusion. Greenfield’s finally statement basically came down to him claiming that you should be straight to be happier. Mary Roach’s “Bonk” is a book that clearly contradicts Greenfield’s statements/hypothesis. The chapter that I connected it to is titled, “Dating the Penis Camera- Can Woman find happiness with a machine?”. I felt like this chapter went perfectly with this issue because just by reading it I could find out what Mary Roach’s take on the situation would be. If Roach claimed that a machine could make love to woman then she would disagree with Greenfield because her statement would be that a man can be replaced by a machine. If she claimed that a machine couldn’t be able to make love to a machine then she agreed with Greenfield in claiming that nothing can replace the pleasure given from a man to a woman. Luckily, she indeed claimed that a machine could make love to a woman just as good as a man could and it can be seen in the following prompt from her book: “Alzate was creating vaginal orgasms, but you couldn’t use a penis-camera to bring them on. A male organ in the missionary position travels parallel to the vaginal walls, not at an angle. To prove that their subjects’ orgasms were not being caused by traction creating by the thrusting motions of the researchers fingers, Alzate and Londono set up a separate “simulated intercourse” test. This time no one came...” (pg. 50).I felt like this prompt contradicted that ideas that Greenfield had come up with because she is giving great exemplification of how easily the man can be replaced when it comes to sex. Her chapter also covers how having sexual intercourse isn’t actually much pleasure for the woman as much as it is for the man. Basically, Mary Roach claims that penetration doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with giving pleasure to a woman, all that needs to be found for that is a woman’s “sweet spot”(pg. 49). This topic of woman’s pleasure was a topic discussed in my Women Studies 101 class last semester. We covered that the woman’s pleasure comes from the clitoris which isn’t something that is forcibly only between a man and a woman. In conclusion, I believe Mary Bonks chapter is a perfect exemplification of why Greenfield’s statement is not only unethical and unprofessional but also ignorant