The Myth of Deferred Male Gratification and the Genocide of Mothers

Rabbi Daniel Lapin

They really make it too easy, but hey, we’ll take it. At least we’re not reduced to inventing news so that we have something to criticize, condemn, and attack. All we have to do is sit back, listen, and report. It couldn’t be easier. Seriously. It’s almost as if they’re trying to score points for their opposition.

Take as an example this gem, captured by Right Wing Watch. Meet Daniel Lapin, who is called by Right Wing Watch “the Religious Right’s favorite rabbi” though he fashions himself “America’s rabbi”; and James Dobson, Focus on the Family’s founder, who apparently agrees with Lapin’s website bio that he is one of the most “brilliant/eloquent” speakers in the country. Dobson wasn’t going to let this valuable weapon escape without striking a blow for backwards thinking. Old culture warrior Dobson, the man who says tolerance and diversity are “buzzwords”, has long claimed that marriage is the foundation of Western Civilization. It is no surprise therefore that he got Lapin to tell him that contraception has caused the collapse of American civilization. Who knew? :

Dobson: How did we get in this mess? I mean, we can all see that something is going wrong, but why now? What’s going on right now?

Lapin: Again it is the tug of sexuality; it is not an accident. Future historians might say that the big dividing line between a time when American values really meant something and a time that we look today with unconcealed dismay at our own prospects, when do you think that began? Wouldn’t you agree that most people somewhere in the 1960s, back then in the ’60s perhaps one of the most notable events and I think its significance can hardly be exaggerated was the arrival of the birth control tablet in the early ’60s. What that did for the very first time is it created the possibility of perpetual male adolescence, it made it possible for the first time for men to really never grow up and essentially it transformed masculinity with all the implications of honor and respect and courage and the ability to defer gratification, everything that we think of as responsible masculinity, and got transformed into a very simple question, ‘did you remember to take your pill honey’?

So much for propaganda. Here are some facts from Wikipedia:

On June 10, 1957, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Enovid 10 mg (9.85 mg norethynodrel and 150 µg mestranol) for menstrual disorders, based on data from its use by more than 600 women. Numerous additional contraceptive trials showed Enovid at 10, 5, and 2.5 mg doses to be highly effective. On July 23, 1959, Searle filed a supplemental application to add contraception as an approved indication for 10, 5, and 2.5 mg doses of Enovid. The FDA refused to consider the application until Searle agreed to withdraw the lower dosage forms from the application. On May 9, 1960, the FDA announced it would approve Enovid 10 mg for contraceptive use, which it did on June 23, 1960, by which time Enovid 10 mg had been in general use for three years during which time, by conservative estimate, at least half a million women had used it.

Although FDA-approved for contraceptive use, Searle never marketed Enovid 10 mg as a contraceptive. Eight months later, on February 15, 1961, the FDA approved Enovid 5 mg for contraceptive use. In July 1961, Searle finally began marketing Enovid 5 mg (5 mg norethynodrel and 75 µg mestranol) to physicians as a contraceptive.

Although the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive in 1960, contraceptives were not available to married women in all states until Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965 and were not available to unmarried women in all states until Eisenstadt v. Baird in 1972.

So while oral contraceptives first became available in the 1960s as Rabbi Lapin says, married women could not take them until 1965, half-way through Lapin’s critical decade, and they were not available to unmarried women in every state until 1972, two years post Lapin’s critical decade, which makes the 1960s, well…much less critical.

But that’s not all. Another problem with Lapin’s reasoning is that there is no evidence that men have ever sought to control their needs, that is, to practice abstinence. Obviously, in Lapin and Dobson’s perfect world a man could not just “whack-off” since every sperm is sacred and all that. The thing is, men were just as able and just as likely to have sex before as after birth control. The only difference really, is that then women got pregnant as a result, and before modern medicine, often died (which was no problem for good Christian men since a good Christian man would just get another wife and keep spewing offspring until she died, ad infinitum), and that now, women do not get pregnant as often. Whereas women were once produced a child about every 15 months, women on the pill have a less than 1% risk of pregnancy if taken correctly which is 1% more than abstinence but abstinence seems almost never to be “done correctly”. Women still die, of course, from complications of pregnancy, and Republicans insist they must die, as no unborn infant must be allowed to do.

This reduces Lapin’s argument to this one issue alone: a woman’s right to control her own uterus. Oral contraceptives give women the ability to not get pregnant, which is really a big deal when you think about it, since before oral contraceptives there was nothing comparable throughout the entirely of history – thousands of years – that had come before. It also takes a great deal of power away from the virile (or is that viral?) Christian male.

There is no evidence at all that oral contraceptives have made men less than they had been, that it has emasculated them: we see no evidence of “honor and respect and courage” being tied to the production of children (it’s mostly unrestrained lust and some energetic thrusting) and certainly no evidence of “the ability to defer gratification”! The claim that men held back from intercourse before the widespread availability of the pill is a myth and as a result women were baby-making machines to be used up and replaced so that man could continue gratify his needs. The Old Testament recognizes this, feeling it necessary to point out the only time a man cannot have sex with a woman – her period.

Yet despite this widespread genocide of mothers, known to Republicans as “the good old days”, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is claiming that birth control “is unrelated to the basic needs of health care”! As Rachel Maddow said a couple of days ago,

“Mitt Romney is campaigning saying that he would like to end-all family support at the federal level and eliminate that,” he said. “And Rick Santorum says he would like to make contraception illegal. And the Republican party is waging a war on contraception, and that is where the discussion is at.”

Of course, here as in so many areas (e.g. marriage equality), Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of history, as a new Public Religion Research Institute poll shows that “A majority (55%) of Americans agree that ’employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception and birth control at no cost.’”

How to explain James Dobson’s and Rabbi Lapin’s rage?

The issue seems to be the tangled mess that is the paradox of religious conservatism’s obsession with sex, a lascivious fascination for combined with revulsion of. Look at the poor bastards, saddled by their God with an insatiable need for something – a vagina – that is by biblical decree a thing of Satan. How do these poor Christian men even retain their sanity when faced by such impossible choices? It’s no wonder they’re half-crazed and driving the rest of us crazy with their incoherent and nonsensical ranting. What they need isn’t a war on sexuality, or even a Bible to thump, or a fake war on Christianity, but a good Twelve-Step Program. They look down on homosexuality as something unwholesome but if there is an unhealthy lifestyle out there it is the Fundamentalist Way.

12 Replies to “The Myth of Deferred Male Gratification and the Genocide of Mothers”

  1. This guy just offers proof that there are ignorant nincompoops in every religion who can’t help twisting historical facts to resemble their own twisted minds and besides, since they’re twisting them for god, . . what could be the harm, eh?

  2. Well said…I like the 12-step idea, although I think far too many of them are too “addicted” to admit to their “creator” that they have a “problem” (as in the 1st Step).

    The one thing the good old 60’s (especially 65′ and on) gave women was their voice. It is the first time in modern history (note, modern) where women had a real weapon to fight male establishment rule. Women said 3 little words to them loud and proud: Male Chauvinist Pig!

    Women gave voice to their new found power in their on-going struggle (the battle of the sexes) and “revolted” by taking birth control. It did not cause men to become perpetual adolescents, instead, gave men a voice to become “grown ups”; men now could enjoy (via woman’s choice) to actually become “partners” with their wives instead of “rulers” over their bodies. The males specie no longer had to keep their persona of “male chauvinist pig” swagger as the were actually “enjoying” females in a new light …one that did not force them to act like…well, don’t make me say it again…

    It’s very simple. Any male born after 1965 “grokked” (to use a 60’s term) this new and different world; men who’s mama did not teach them to behave better than their prior MCP role model wound up as the big losers …those males have now become the extinct dinosaurs of our specie.

    (better known as “Prickasaurous Rex”, Klingon’s, as in “dream on, Klingon”,etc.).

  3. I seem to recall this Lapin being excerpted several times over at FSTDT. He doesn’t sound much like an actual Jew, but he’s pretty harey.

    The threat of a baby has long been used to keep unmarried women celibate; the actuality of many babies, a means to keep married women from achieving anything outside the home. The Pill made quite an inroad with that; I remember well the spoiled squalls from the authoritarian phallogogues and their Stepford twunts over that. It’s also the case that of the women I knew who were on the old high-dosage pill, not one ever had an abortion, because those didn’t prevent implantation; they actually prevented ovulation (and therefore zygotes). Anyone genuinely concerned about fertilized eggs would be pressing for the return of these pills. But noooo….

  4. “Look at the poor bastards, saddled by their God with an insatiable need for something – a vagina – that is by biblical decree a thing of Satan.”

    While I might agree that this could be THEIR viewpoint (they don’t even know the Bible), nowhere in the Bible does it call a vagina – or women by implication – a thing of Satan. There is not even the implication. I don’t know where they get stupid ideas like that… probably a control thing by their preachers. The closest I can think of is Eve being punished for (I don’t agree with this – it’s one of the misogynistic errors in the Bible) being weak and trusting, and helping Adam to fall.

    This should be made clear… that such attitudes are not typical for other Christians (although I do admit many churches often try to teach crap like that – like the sex for procreation only lie).

  5. This is sadly all about men who worry about their own sexuality and are misogynists to boot. The Rabbi is unrepresentative of Jewish thinking, much less the thinking of mature individuals. Dobson and the Rabbi see women as “Temptresses” luring the poor male with their sexual wiles. Misogyny and Right Wing Religionists go hand in hand preaching a doctrine of hatred of women and their sexuality. It goes without saying that invariably these men are terrible sexual partners.

  6. In the alternative universe these fools occupy, up is down and white is black. They are obviously threatened by the empowerment of women as the result of birth control and institutions like Planned Parenthood that provide it among other benefits. They are trying to turn the clock way back on not just women’s rights but on the rights of workers, racial and
    religious minorities, and immigrants. The era they long for is one in which many women died from feminine ailments as well as frequent childbirth that wore down their bodies. When I was 3, my own mother nearly died shortly after giving birth to my youngest brother. Fortunately, the attending doctor was able to save her life and she has lived to a ripe old age. I know of other folks I grew up with who were not so fortunate, and their situations along with mine strengthen my belief in the value of Planned Parenthood, among other organizations that promote women’s health. It is utterly disgusting that anyone anywhere approves of sacrificing women on the altar of religious fanaticism.

  7. Srsly, can we just grow up about sexuality? I’m so very tired of these snotty little boys running around in adult-sized bodies.

  8. So what happened to condoms in this equation? Condoms have been around for much longer than the pill so why hadn’t that brought about the end of civilization?

  9. Barry Lynn was on a Diane Reem Show (a panel) this morning (you can listen to the discussion at her website)on the “war on women”. Rev Barry (also an attorney for those of you not familiar with his work) made the point that the new health care laws pertaining to the contraception rule (birth control)V religious belief/institutions, contain OVER 200 EXEMPTIONS for these folks…”But no!” he said, “That’s not enough for the Catholic Church” as he nailed them to their own cross…it was beautiful!

    A link to a talk Lynn gave recently in Naples FL…

    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/feb/07/other-side-speaker-illustrates-need-separation-chu/

  10. Is Rabbi Lapin saying that in order for boys to mature into men, all of the women of child-bearing age on earth must keep themselves at the ready for procreation? If this is the case he makes, I’m having a Planet of the Apes meets the birth control pill kinda vision – > a matriarchal society where males are kept in cages; only the finest male specimens, of course. Fascinating religious extremist position, there boy-Rabbi.

    Also, Rabbi Lapin: “Again it is the tug of sexuality…” I call naughty part innuendo on the use of tug in such close proximity to sexuality. Pornful, I mean, scornful.

  11. Women(Eve) was in cahoots with Satan and got Adam thrown out of the garden of Eden.

    Not saying I agree, of course. Adam didn’t have to eat the apple. He most likely wanted sex, and thought eating the apple was the fastest way to get there. Maybe that’s where the phrase, the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? But he did and they were gone
    And Cain was born 9 months later, because these was NO birth control.
    And look were no birth control got us.
    A murderer.

  12. LOL – this has always amused me, that I was taught growing up that women are “Evil Temptresses” and yet were too moral to ever want or enjoy sex, and would only stoop so low for their husband’s benefit or because it might give then a child. Ever grateful to have been naturally inclined to be socially unacceptable . . . ;0)

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