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Sex on the Brain

[whitespace] Risky sex, Dr. Laura, abstinence, TV habits, and other thoughts

By Bob Harris

A NEW STUDY SHOWS that if you watch Jerry Springer, you're actually more likely to wind up on his show. Consider: In an effort to prevent the spread of AIDS, some labcoats at Emory University just examined the TV habits of teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 18 to see how what they watch might correlate with risky behavior. I don't know what they're expecting to find that we don't already know. Like, what?--Home Improvement guru Bob Vila is a major turn-on, or there's something really subtle about Dan Rather's smile that spurs a hormone rush in young babes watching the CBS Evening News?

Nope.

Guess what? What they found was that teenage girls who watch TV shows portraying women as sex objects are more likely to engage in risky sex. Apparently people who watch 90210 think that's how many sex partners they're supposed to have.

Surprisingly, how much TV they watch isn't a factor at all. So there's nothing intrinsically dangerous about sitting in front of a vacuum tube all day, except possibly choking on flying insects hunting for food along your permanently slackened jaw. A little butterscotch on your uvula and suddenly you're a human No-Pest Strip.

But at least we now know for sure there's a direct relationship between what you watch and what you do. Which advertisers have known for years. Duh.

Unfortunately, the study failed to determine cause and effect. So for now, the only thing TV definitely causes is an empty skull. There's a reason they call it a vacuum tube.

ABSTINENCE as a realistic approach to adult sexuality is often about as practical as using dry tinder to put out a fire. But if a civil case filed last week is resolved in the plaintiff's favor, saying no next time you want to varnish the shillelagh means not only that you can forget about disease and pregnancy, but that you can also avoid a lawsuit.

As you may know, people actually pay me to say all this stuff. Real money. Just for slapping words together until some of them stick.

What a scam.

Most people in talk radio think abstinence is a brilliant idea. It's especially cool to get advice on trouser etiquette from somebody like Dr. Laura, whose daily presence exudes all the sparkle and charm of Catholic grade school and then suddenly shows up on the Internet displaying more pink than Owens-Corning.

As my comedian buddy Mike Irwin points out, Dr. Laura's sexual prescriptions, taken together, aren't exactly realistic. Like, you're supposed to (a) remain a virgin until marriage, and (b) avoid marriage until you're mature, which (c) takes until you're at least 30. So, no one should have sex until they're 30.

Not just with her. With anybody.

I'm not saying you should drop the puck for a game of hip hockey with just anybody who owns a stick and gloves. I'm saying the reproductive drive is one of the three primal urges that preserve the species, the other two being (a) hunger and (b) wanting to pelt the Rolling Stones with chicken bones for charging $200 a pop for their No (Social) Security tour.

Excuse me, but that's a stronger argument for euthanasia than Dr. Kevorkian's games of Pin the Tail on the Forearm will ever make.

But I digress.

ANYHOW. Self-righteousness and hypocrisy only get you so far. Unless you've got a good attorney, that is. Case in point: Last week, a guy named Peter Wallis sued his girlfriend for getting pregnant without his consent. With him, he means. To be exact, he charges Kellie Smith with "intentionally acquiring and misusing" his DNA. Uh, unless I'm missing something, seems like the dude is fairly complicit here. I mean, what did he think was going on? Donkey Kong? Still, the case is worth watching.

If the lawsuit succeeds, you'll need a signed letter of intent to play more than just college football. If it fails, P.W. is stuck having to pay to raise the kid he fathered.

And with reasoning skills this poor, I think there's only one way a Peter this big is gonna make enough money for that: national syndication.

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From the December 10-16, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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