Home / General / Sex and the Family Farm

Sex and the Family Farm

Comments
/
/
/
429 Views

red-barn-on-the-farm-linda-parker

The bucolic image of the family farm as the rock of American values is something that we can’t escape from in the political season. But as Gabriel Rosenberg points out in this excellent essay, not only does that myth cover up the genocide and ecological catastrophe behind the history of American agriculture, it also erases the panoply of sexual arrangements such lives created.

Rural people applied a make-do attitude not just to work and family, but to sexual intimacy as well. Camps, bunkhouses, lodges, taverns, and saloons were spaces rife with intimate and sexual relations that directly contravened dominant middle-class notions of sexual propriety: homosexuality, sexual barter and commerce, public and semi-public sex, and cross-dressing and gender fluidity.

Country folk were eager to pay for sex as well, and a distinctively rural infrastructure of sexual commerce met their desires. Brothels and prostitutes in rented rooms were common enough in frontier towns, but historians Estelle Freedman and John D’Emilio also describe euphemistically named “hog farms” — farms that also operated as brothels. Matching the mobility of rural populations, other enterprising sex merchants put their brothels on wheels. Many states worked to criminalize “cat wagons,” as the mobile brothels were known, forbidding prostitution in “any such prairie schooner, covered wagon or vehicle,” as a 1899 South Dakota law put it.

Rural spaces were also hotbeds for sexual diversity. Close quarters and cold nights meant that many men slept together, and in timber camps and other gatherings of migrant laborers, proximity led to sex. Historian Peter Boag surveyed reports about camps in the Pacific Northwest and found that reliable reports estimated incidences of same-sex intimacy among men (and often adolescent boys) ranged from common to pervasive.

Similarly, itinerant laborers were a constant source of sexual anxiety among the better sorts in agricultural communities: A hired man might corrupt the farmer’s daughter . . . or his son. Social reformers also fretted that constant exposure to animal sex on farms produced unnatural desires. The sociologist E. A. Ross memorably quoted a Wisconsinite who reported that farm boys “get together in the barn and while away the long winter evenings talking obscenity, telling filthy stories, recounting sex exploits, encouraging one another in vileness, perhaps indulging in unnatural practices.”

What precisely these “unnatural practices” entailed was left unsaid, but decades later Alfred Kinsey would report that homosexuality was most common “in particular rural communities in some of the more remote sections of the country . . . among ranchmen, cattle men, prospectors, lumbermen, and farming groups in general.” Such men often formed complex sexual communities with visible public components such as all-male “stag,” “bull,” and “cowboy” dances as well as stable intergenerational relationships between older “wolves” and “jockers” and younger “punks” and “lambs.”

Rural social events often scandalized middle-class observers. Rural people took the rare sociality afforded by fairs, festivals, and weddings to let loose. Such events rippled with gambling, drink, dance, and sex. Far from quaint, quiet, or orderly affairs, rural public events could be bawdy and rambunctious. Despairing of the corrupting effects of a “whisky, colored to resemble red lemonade,” an 1876 account from Dearborn, Ind., declared, “Thus did an agricultural fair, a promised event of sobriety and chastity, run to the resemblance of a drunken orgie.” Many fair associations responded to these problems by banning alcohol and gambling, but enough rowdiness persisted that in the 1920s the sociologist Alvin Good still bitterly complained, “Even the public dance in the rural community is usually sponsored by the immoral elements, and alcohol is usually consumed in abundance.”

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • N__B

    I’m having a vision of a telegraph-operated Tinder…

    • MAJeff

      Homing pigeons.

      • pianomover

        The 5:37 from Kankakee should be rolling in any minute now.

      • Porlock Junior

        Sure. RFC 1149: A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers

        http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1149

        Published 1 April, 1990. And somewhere there’s a video of a live demo, but I’ve lost track of it.

    • JonH

      So that’s what “hog calling” is really about. I wonder if it’s like a hanky code.

  • pianomover
  • Johnnie

    That scene in The Last Picture Show…

    • galanx

      Only read the book, but McMurtry says that the football coaches had trouble getting the rural boys to stay for after-school practice, because they all wanted to rush home and fornicate with th cows (note cows: nothing queer about Texas country boys).

  • BiloSagdiyev

    http://www.theonion.com/video/joad-cressbeckler-homosexuality-a-necessity-on-col-20844

    “We called it ‘warm skin family’… only uttered it once, but then we knew.”

  • ThrottleJockey

    Rural spaces were also hotbeds for sexual diversity. Close quarters and cold nights meant that many men slept together, and in timber camps and other gatherings of migrant laborers, proximity led to sex. Historian Peter Boag surveyed reports about camps in the Pacific Northwest and found that reliable reports estimated incidences of same-sex intimacy among men (and often adolescent boys) ranged from common to pervasive.

    This brings up a bit of a chicken-and-egg question. Did homosexual men seek out remote rural areas for employment?

    Or did remote areas devoid of women encourage men to practice homosexuality?

    • Thom

      Judging from comparative evidence in African history, it is both. The earliest scholarly discussions of same-sex practices in modern Africa were about the prevalence of older men and boys in “mine marriages” on the gold mines. The men practiced these marriages, which included a non-penetrative form of sex that was common for young boys and girls, partly to avoid losing their wages to feared “town women,” and so that they could build their rural life with a wife or wives and children. This has been widely discussed in scholarship about Southern Africa since the 1980s. More recent scholarship, however, has shown many types of same sex practices in African history, from ancient times to the present, and has shown that same-sex practices are as common in Africa as elswhere, and that they include a small but significant number, as elsewhere, whose primary desire runs along same sex lines. See the work of Marc Epprecht.

      • Porlock Junior

        these marriages, which included a non-penetrative form of sex that was common for young boys and girls,

        Itercrural? See, there’s a name for it. (Asking for a friend.)(Umm, that is to say, on behalf of)

        ETA: A common practice in classic Greek and Roman culture. So I’ve read. I am not a classicist.

        • Thom

          Yes, I have seen intercrural as the term in English. In Zulu it is soma or hlobongo, and Mark Hunter, who writes about this practice in Love in the time of AIDS, translates it as “thigh sex.”

    • MAJeff

      Did homosexual men seek out remote rural areas for employment?

      No need to do so if they were seeking same-sex encounters. Urban areas provided plenty of opportunities, particularly as industrial migration led to a gender imbalance, with cities like New York having significantly more men than women. (As I recall, Chauncey’s Gay New York discusses this, but it’s in my office.)

    • AMK

      In timber camps and other gatherings of migrant laborers, proximity led to sex

      It seems a lot like Ben Carson saying guys turn gay in prison. No…they were gay, then got sent to prison.

      Some gay men who are fashion designers and the like spend lots of time in close proximity to lots of beautiful women. It doesn’t “lead to sex.”

      • Thirtyish

        There is a difference between actually being gay on one hand and men having sex with other men due to availability and propinquity on the other. Many, if not most, of the men having sex with other men in these frontier arrangements were not gay. And there have surely been countless gay and lesbian individuals over the years who never had sex with a person of their sexual preference.

        • AMK

          Maybe the guys in these timber camps would never identify as “gay” for cultural reasons (“No, I was on top” etc..), but if you consent to having sex with other men because of “availability,” then you’re not heterosexual. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but you gotta call a spade a spade.

          And sure, lots gay people have been in heterosexual marriages and had kids, but that’s because they often didn’t have a choice to live openly as themselves until recently.

          • Thirtyish

            but if you consent to having sex with other men because of “availability,” then you’re not heterosexual. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but you gotta call a spade a spade.

            Incorrect. Over time, more primarily heterosexual men have had sex with other men than primarily homosexual men have.

            • AMK

              Primarily heterosexual men

              So, bisexual? I guess by “heterosexual” I mean “exclusively heterosexual.” I think the issue is that there are just a lot more bisexuals out there than I realize.

              • Thirtyish

                But even “exclusively heterosexual” men (if we grant that such a thing even exists) can and will have sex with another man if that’s the only option available. It seems as though you’re working off of a conception of homosexuality that is quite recent. Most people are–and always have been–mostly what we would currently consider heterosexual, but that has never stopped anyone from having sex with a person of the same sex. Have you read the book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey? If not, I definitely recommend it–it explains the phenomenon I’m attempting to in great detail.

                • DrDick

                  But even “exclusively heterosexual” men (if we grant that such a thing even exists)

                  It may or may not (unknowable at present), but is likely rather rare. Same sex sexuality is far from rare and routinely engaged in by those who consider themselves “heterosexual.”

                • cpinva

                  “But even “exclusively heterosexual” men (if we grant that such a thing even exists) can and will have sex with another man if that’s the only option available.”

                  that’s more along the lines of what I was thinking. I identify as heterosexual, and have never (at least not consciously) been attracted to another man. however, were I to find myself in a situation totally devoid of women, for a long period of time, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if other guys started looking better and better. nature of the beast.

              • Thom

                Scholars in this field suggest that there are several types of things going on that need to be analyzed. There is identification according to sexual desire and those are the categories of heterosexual and homosexual and so forth. But those, these scholars tell us, are very recent ways of understanding ourselves, Then again, many people placed in the kinds of situations discussed here will express their sexual desire in a variety of ways. Also, it is misleading to think of sex only as penetration. In any case, it turns out that there are many people who identify as heterosexual but have engaged in various types of intimacy with people of the same sex, and this number is often larger than the number who primarily desire sex partners of the same sex. I think “exclusively heterosexual” would have to imply that a man never touches another man in any respect, or a woman never touches a woman.

                I see Thirtyish and Dr. Dick beat me to these thoughts.

                • Thirtyish

                  Piggybacking, I also think it’s a mistake to think about sexuality exclusively in terms of sexual activities, as it leaves no room for the role that internal sexuality and desire play. Countless people whose desires have been primarily same-sex in character have only engaged in actual sexual activity within opposite-sex arrangements.

                • Pseudonym

                  What kind of sexual activity is “piggybacking”? Do I want to know?

                • In their sties with all their backing, they don’t know what goes on around.

                • Thirtyish

                  This “damn good whacking” is starting to sound a little dirty!

                • Origami Isopod

                  What kind of sexual activity is “piggybacking”? Do I want to know?

                  Ask David Cameron.

              • Origami Isopod

                Sexual orientation is a spectrum, not a binary (or trinary, if you will). Look up “Kinsey scale.”

      • DrDick

        This assumes facts not only not in evidence, but nonexistent. The available data clearly indicates that, while their is considerable individual variation, human sexuality is really very fluid rather than fixed. Homosexual activity was ubiquitous among sailors in the 17th through 19th centuries (hence Churchill’s “rum, buggery, and the lash!”, even among men who were exclusively heterosexual on land. It was also common among masters and apprentices during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

        • Thirtyish

          Exactly. The classification of sexuality into discrete categories like “heterosexual” and “homosexual” is barely even a century old, if that.

          • Thom

            In one of the Epprecht books I was referring to he asks where does homosexuality come from and gives two answers. First, Africa, because that’s where people come from. Second, Germany, because that’s where the term “homosexuality” was coined, in 1869.

          • DrDick

            A bit more than that, but only dates back to the late 18th-early 19th century.

            • As the tide falls, one sees all craft ebbing.

              • The Dark God of Time

                What, are you some sort of sexual psychopath?

                • N__B

                  “sexual” is unneeded in that sentence.

        • Dylan Kinzer

          Trollly Trooolio!

        • Woodrowfan

          and the sailor in charge of taking care of the livestock on-board sailing ships during long voyages was known as the “duck fucker.”

      • ThrottleJockey

        IF it makes it easier AMK, it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” thing, even if I initially phrased it that way. It could be that beyond whatever biological determinants of sexual preference exist (genes, amniotic fluid, etc) that there are sociological determinants as well. As such sexual preference exists along a spectrum and our position on it is fluid based on a multiplicity of biological, sociological, psychological and environmental factors.

        This wouldn’t mean that people aren’t “born this way” it would merely mean we’re all born this way…it would also help explain why some people are firmly bi-sexual and others merely experiment with bi-sexuality.

        • AMK

          Ok I guess this clarifies things….maybe. But I still have a hard time thinking that there’s an “environmental” determinant beyond (perhaps) some kind of early childhood conditioning. A bunch of grown men don’t arrive at a timber camp attracted to women and then, sans women, start fooling around with each other at night because there are no women and their orientation has actually changed to fit the sex ratios of that particular environment—like some fish or frogs or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. They arrive at the timber camp being bisexual/ish/curious already, and then “discovering it” more fully or acting on it because the circumstances allow.

          I mean, I’m “exclusively heterosexual”, in the sense that I’ve never been attracted to another man. I’ve been in overnight situations where there are lots of men around and no women, and I just go without sex….the idea of a man does not start to seem any more appealing. Maybe I’m a much rarer breed than I thought.

          • scott_theotherone

            Or maybe you’d find that if those overnight situations weren’t merely a matter of 48 or 72 hours that things—the circumstances, your urges—might begin to seem a bit different.

            • Thirtyish

              Yes. A lot of people like to think that, because they identify as a certain sexual orientation, they would never be tempted by something else. Suffice it to say that I don’t believe that: humans are nothing if not flexible to their environments when they have to be, and adaptable.

          • osminog

            You should also consider the fact that beyond attraction and desire, sex can really just come down to a matter of mechanics; one can still go through the motions, as it were, in the absence of attraction/desire and for all sorts of reasons, including just to get off.

        • Yeah, there’s a lot of different opinions on this, and they frequently aren’t very well backed up by reality.

          The oldest (and still commonly held) model was that same-sex conduct was simply deviant, and that there was no such thing as a homosexual beyond a persistent, shameless deviant.

          The most common model today (among Americans) is that there are homosexuals and heterosexuals, and that these are innate and immutable identities. This might also fit with the “born in the wrong body” concept for transgender. This is better, but it still ends up labeling a lot of people as deviant.

          Even the Kinsey model of a spectrum from ‘complete heterosexual’ to ‘complete homosexual’ is pretty flawed, albeit still more progressive than the above. It still tends to go hand in hand with innate/immutable assumptions.

          Like you say, the current scientific consensus is the unsatisfying but honest “human sexuality is really complicated; there are innate parts and learned parts; there are immutable parts and mutable parts; there are numerous biological and psychological influences; we know a lot of things that are probably true and a lot of things that are probably false, but not enough to stitch together into a coherent whole”.

          • Dylan Kinzer

            Troll!

  • And then the sukebind bloomed…

    • c u n d gulag

      And bonded…

      It’s like a stupid joke we early-70’s suburban HS jocks used to tell when we wrestled, and/or played any other sport against our more rural counter-parts:
      The only way to figure out who’s who, is to seperate them with a crowbar!

      • Dennis Orphen

        There’s a idea for a Rawhide Kid vs The Wrecker Marvel Max comic.

  • MPAVictoria

    Someone should send this to Rod Dreher just to watch him freak.

    • Origami Isopod

      Thank you, that was the best laugh I’ve had so far today.

  • About 30 years ago, driving east on the US route a few miles out of Joplin, MO, I passed a small building graced by a roadside sign (one of those ones on wheels, with rearrangeable plastic letters) advertising “Hospitality / $25 an hour”.

    Which I thought was mighty kind of the good folks thereabouts.

    • Hogan

      Ladies of negotiable affection.

      • Card-carrying Seamstresses.

        • Hogan

          A stitch in time will cost you a dime. All night alterations for a dollar.

  • SP

    I look forward to the dance scene in the director’s cut of Back to the Future III.
    Incidentally, I didn’t realize until decades later that the band in that scene was ZZ Top.

    • Thom

      Did they play La Grange in the movie?

  • Dear Penthouse Farmhouse,

    I never thought this would happen to me but……

    • citizen

      KILLED it.

    • DrDick

      And this article does not even address the issue of pervasive bestiality in rural communities (one of the most common offenses in Puritan New England).

      • Thirtyish

        To be honest, that’s where I initially assumed this was going (only to find I was mistaken…maybe):

        Social reformers also fretted that constant exposure to animal sex on farms produced unnatural desires. The sociologist E. A. Ross memorably quoted a Wisconsinite who reported that farm boys “get together in the barn and while away the long winter evenings talking obscenity, telling filthy stories, recounting sex exploits, encouraging one another in vileness, perhaps indulging in unnatural practices.”

      • JMP

        Indeed, I used to think that the idea that rural men liked to fuck farm animals was an unfair stereotype, until some rural guys like Neal Horsley and Thad Cochran made me realize that I was wrong, the stereotype is in fact totally fair.

        • Ronan

          I don’t know , you’re going to have to define fair here. For a stereotype to be fair I think you need a majority (51%) engaging in the practice in question. Do 51% of rural folk fuck animals ?

          • DrDick

            It really depends on where you are talking about. It is pretty common in some cultures, but that does not seem to be prevalent. Research on the topic is fairly limited and potentially problematic, for obvious reasons. It was obviously fairly common in colonial America, which suggests that the same was true in Britain.

            • Ronan

              Do some cultures actively sanction or encourage it ? Or is it just they don’t try and explicitly restrict it ?

              • DrDick

                To my knowledge, no culture positively sanctions it. The ones that I know of where this is common are simply permissive in this regard (and often not regarding sex with actual humans).

        • DrS

          Did horsely have sex with a mule cause he knew he couldn’t get it pregnant?

      • grouchomarxist

        We’ll never know how much heartbreak has been caused at Texas A & M by mistaken assumptions about the meaning of “animal husbandry”.

        • Origami Isopod

          “…until they caught him at it one day…”

  • leftwingfox

    Makes me wonder what would have happened to gay rights in this country if these all weren’t buried under a community-enforced shame, denial and hypocrisy.

  • Dennis Orphen

    What wave of feminism are the women of Hee-Haw?

  • CrunchyFrog

    When I started the article I was expecting a discussion of how rural, isolated farm houses are much more likely to have various forms of child sexual abuse – especially in communities of overt sexual repression. Something the counselors and social workers in those communities are well aware of.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      It ties in together though. I can’t link but I read recently that rural doctors in mid-20th century had to treat some kids for dehydration because of all the enemas they were getting at home after that became socially permissible.

      • Origami Isopod

        That’s horrible.

        Though I don’t think that the sexual freedom of the historical rural US is directly connected to sexual abuse in that setting, other than that there was very little social oversight of anyone. Child abuse was rampant everywhere, including large cities. Per this paper, while the most egregious abuses were sometimes punished by law throughout US history, child abuse was not defined as a social problem and there was no organized movement against it until the 1870s.

        • Srsly Dad Y

          Oh yeah, fair enough (and interesting paper). I guess like the OP I was just pushing back against the binary of rural innocence/urban decadence that arose with mass immigration and urbanization.

  • pianomover

    Get off me pa your crushing my smokes!

  • BiloSagdiyev

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revere,_North_Carolina

    Town formerly known as Sodom Laurel. Last I read up on it, the story was that the logging camp was full of all sorts of goings-on, and after the missionary stomped off (like Frank Burns, in my imagination) the people said, fine, if you think it’s Sodom, that’s what we’ll call it!

    What I’m curious about is the ideology and propaganda that the rural areas are wholesome and upright, and it’s only in the big cities where the sin and vice are.

    • Naw, it’s just that urbanites aren’t the filthy lying two-faced hypocrites that uncultured, uneducated, delusional & idiotic hicks are. A few generations in the city w/ a respite from the inbreeding may marginally improve their sad existences.

      And yes, it’s propaganda. “Real” ‘Murkins vs. “money & media” city slicker values. That’s why rural votes are better than city votes, electoral majorities be damned.

  • DrDick

    Now you are making me long for our bucolic agrarian past! Things sure had changed by the 1960s.

  • Ronan

    It’s a very interesting article, but to play devils advocate a bit. What it seems to me to describe is a process that emerged in a number of places, the modernisation of society and extension of bourgeoisie values, eventually the construction of an ideal type (both in family and societal organisation) that was historical nonsense but served a particular political purpose.
    So you had much more restrictive notions on gender roles and sexuality than was the case historically. You had the agricultural expansion on to common lands and dispossession of the peasantry (in the US case of the natives). But both of these also had long term positive as well as negative consequences. The first plausibly helped to undermine the “chaotic and dysfunctional” ‘relationships the author describes, which were also ripe for exploitation, domination and abuse. The lot of the peasantry wasn’t a pleasant one. The second helped modernise the economy and shift from a subsistence based society.
    So could we get to the neo bourgeoisie situation we have today, without first going through the processes and myth creations described above?

    • Ahuitzotl

      Oh I think an ideal type always existed (varying the ideal with the era) – that restrictive notions on gender & sex arose from the increasing requirement for control due to industrialisation

      • Origami Isopod

        Agreed. The reforms were as much if not more for the benefit of future rural employers as they were for the targets of the reforms themselves.

  • Nick never Nick

    In the late 1990s my father rented a room from an 80+ woman who had lived in an isolated region of a remote Oregon county for her entire life. They sometimes talked about what things were like when she was young — at one point she mentioned that there used to be a rancher way out on one of the benches who lived alone and would wear dresses.

    • Thirtyish

      That reminds me–I read the novel “Main Street” (published 1920) by Sinclair Lewis last summer. It’s set in a very small, agrarian community immediately post-WWI. One of the characters is a young man who presents as very effeminate and has certain stereotypical mannerisms that we might consider “gay” today–he occasionally dresses in women’s clothes, his few friends are mostly women, and he later goes off to New York to work as a costume designer. Yet he’s presented as a romantic interest for the novel’s female protagonist, and said protagonist comes very close to sleeping with him. It was absolutely fascinating from the perspective of someone reading the story a century later.

  • Tr-tr-tr-tra la la la la

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    the “joe from Lowell” comment at 5:43 must be a nym-jacking

    • N__B

      There has been activity on a number of threads by someone ignorant enough to not know that the Russians did the bulk of the work defeating Nazi Germany. Draw your own conclusions.

    • Thirtyish

      Despite what some others think, I’m confident that Jennie was here yesterday, so…yeah.

      • Thirtyish

        And I’d wager a good bet that “Dylan Kinzer” above is also Jennie.

  • proportionwheel

    Everybody masturbates. The hand you do it with is the same gender as the rest of you, regardless of what fantasy is going on in your head. People, regardless of other preferences, like and seek orgasms, and will do whatever it takes to get them, including the use of animals, devices, or people of the un-preferred sex. Categories like “homosexual” and “heterosexual” are social constructs, and only make sense within the immediate culture that they are a part of (in other words, in reality, they don’t make sense at all). Also, IANAS (I am not a scholar).

    • Ronan

      Is it that the categories are constructs, but the urges (attractions to a specific sex) are to some degree biological ? Even if you accept attraction is also socially conditioned to some extent, and sexuality exists on a spectrum, do people generally still have preferences ?
      So imagine a society with no social conditioning on sexuality, no categorisation, as clear a slate as you could have. Would sexual relationships be primarily fluid, across gender, or would sexual preferences still self categorise to some degree ?

      • proportionwheel

        Well, preferences as I used the term above are almost certainly biological, I have no argument with that. And people do have them. So no, a perfectly clear slate of cultural constructs wouldn’t make behavior perfectly fluid. But speculating about what fraction of 19th or 18th century farmhands were “heterosexual” or “homosexual” (as implied, at least, upthread) is nonsensical. People do what ever’s convenient to get orgasms. And absent today’s cultural categories, why not avail oneself of available means? The presently familiar categories sort of require people to decide which one they belong to, and that may not have been true a century or three ago.

        • Ronan

          “And absent today’s cultural categories, why not avail oneself of available means? ”

          On an individual basis, I don’t disagree. On a societal one though , did we need these constructions. Not necessarily on sexuality, but monogamy, romantic love, the “traditional” conception of the family. The plethora of bourgeoisie norms. Did we need them to discipline ourselves into societal stability ?

          • proportionwheel

            I, in my completely non-scholarly way, assume that of course society will always construct such norms, and always has, and maybe they’re necessary. Certainly they aren’t going away, although they do change with time of course. But before our culture built the current versions of the “homosexual” or “heterosexual” categories, wouldn’t it have been easier for men who were primarily attracted to women to settle for second best? That’s all I’m trying to say.

            • Ronan

              Oh yeah, I don’t disagree. I just don’t know anything about the history of this stuff. Interesting though, I might have to get one of the books recommended above. Thanks for the insights.

        • DrDick

          Actually, even that is problematic. The available, very limited evidence, evidence indicates about a 50/50 contribution from genetics and environmental factors (in the broadest possible sense) in determining sexual preference.

    • You could pick any item out of the Sears catalog and there’s probably someone out there who wants to have sex with it.

      • N__B

        Possibly not the garbage disposals.

        • Hogan

          In the old days you could order dynamite from the Sears catalog. We can probably add that to the list.

          • N__B

            Speaking of which, the last I heard Sears was being destroyed by a libertarian moron CEO. Not that I really care, but it’s vaguely sad to see an old institution run into the ground by a bro.

            • Denverite

              I am sad. The Sears on State Street used to be across from where I worked, and it was my total go-to in such situations as “crap, it’s my kid’s first Christmas and I need to get something”; “anniversary day! I wonder if Sears sells thongs?” and “oh fuck I forgot pants I need to go buy some pants.”

              The last bit isn’t even joking. It’s happened thrice.

              (I usually run into work when I have early morning meetings.)

              • N__B

                On two different occasions I have been on site and destroyed my pants* in a situation where I didn’t have time to go home before the next meeting. In Manhattan, I was reduced once by an Army/Navy store and once by a Gap, but if I were elsewhere I could see myself heading to a Sears.

                *Big rips high up, not brown stains.

                • Hogan

                  I was reduced

                  Either you mean “rescued” or I’m never buying pants at Army/Navy or The Gap.

                • N__B

                  I meant rescued. I swear I typed rescued. But autocorrect was sent here because some of us don’t get to wait until the inferno to be buried in burning pitch.

                • Ahuitzotl

                  so, no informal bris, then?

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                yeah, the Sears thing sucks on a couple of levels for me: the company was sick and libertarian idjit CEO’s answer was the modern equivalent of setting leeches… and growing up there was a lot of Sears stuff around- my brother and I were outfitted in Toughskins, mom and dad had Sears appliances and I still use a lot of dad’s Craftsman tools- plus some of my own

                everything gets different though

        • Ahuitzotl

          oh no, that’s actually a recognised* subset of the castration kink. Presumably only fulfilled once.
          .
          .
          * for limited values of recognised

      • DrDick

        Rule 34 is, if anything, too limited.

  • Ronan

    Wrong place

  • Woodrowfan

    OK, how many old dirty joke punchlines would this research explain, starting with “Thursday is your day in the barrel.” “But that’s awkward, in that position how can I kiss her?” “Ten dollars, same as in town” “which one of you roosters is wearing the rubber?” “It’s the cat!”

    • N__B

      “Number 47!”

    • Denverite

      My dad used the “it’s just my time in the barrel” line in the past month.

      *shivers*

    • Origami Isopod

      “He was using my board.”

  • Pseudonym
  • TheBreeze

    lyrics from Spinal Tap masterpiece:

    Sex Farm
    Spinal Tap

    Workin’ on a sex farm
    Tryin’ to raise some hard love
    Gettin’ out my pitch fork
    Pokin’ your hay

    Scratchin’ in your hen house
    Sniffin’ at your feedbag
    Slippin’ out your back door
    Leavin’ my spray

    Sex farm woman, I’m gonna mow you down
    Sex farm woman, I’ll rake and hoe you down
    Sex farm woman
    Don’t you see my silo risin’ high, high, high?

    Workin’ on a sex farm
    Hosin’ down your barn door
    Botherin’ your livestock
    They know what I need

    Workin’ up a hot sweat
    Crouchin’ in your pea patch
    Plowin’ through your bean field
    Plantin’ my seed

    Sex farm woman, I’ll be your hired hand
    Sex farm woman, I’ll let my offer stand
    Sex farm woman
    Don’t you hear my tractor rumblin’ by, by, by?

    Workin’ on a sex farm
    Tryin’ to raise some hard love
    Gettin’ out my pitch fork
    Pokin’ your hay

    • Hogan

      Guys, this commenter shames our ancestors for not getting to this reference sooner.

      +1

      • Pseudonym
        • Hogan

          I shame my ancestors.

          • Ahuitzotl

            Our ancestors are used to it by now.
            .
            Ever since we stopped worshipping the God-King, really

        • TheBreeze

          Heheh. Missed it. I did skim through the comments to see. Must’ve missed yours.

          “Welcome Spinal Tap straight from HELL!”

          • Pseudonym

            Yeah, a blind YouTube link probably wasn’t the best way to make the reference.

  • galanx

    Gore Vidal told a story of one of his New York colleagues in the 50s, doing a lecture tour out west, hooked up with a young cowboy, and was afterward castigating himself for his own degradation.
    “The young cowhand shook his head wonderingly, and said “That’s the difference between us and you Eastern guys- you do this ’cause you’re sick, and we do it ’cause we’re horny.””

It is main inner container footer text