File this one in the growing pile of evidence that our culture is a sewer. Widely read blog BuzzFeed.com posted an interactive piece yesterday entitled "What's Your Sex Number?: The ultimate 'purity test' for the modern age." The author of the piece, one Summer Anne Burton, was kind enough to warn readers that the piece is NSFW. I share that same warning regarding the following.
The piece is a checklist in which readers can input whether or not they have participated in various sex acts. They are then scored based upon the answers. The list starts out innocent enough. Have you ever hugged someone? What about kissed? But by the end, readers are asked such questions as whether or not they have had sex while high on various substances, been urinated or defecated upon during sex, fantasized about sex with a relative, or--and this is the showstopper--fantasized about sex with an animal.
If you haven't done these things, you might be a square. At least according to BuzzFeed. I scored an 80-something out of 200, and my results page said: "You’re really good at what you do (wink), but you’re not interested in freaky for freaky’s sake. Bonus: this quiz just gave you a few new ideas." Flattery will get you nowhere, BuzzFeed. I still have no interest in a special trip to the farm. Lest you think this piece was written by some errant stringer, Summer Anne Burton is BuzzFeed's "Managing Editorial Director."
Coincidentally, I saw this piece on my Facebook feed after getting out of a class in which we discussed Dr. Alfred Kinsey. Dr. Kinsey's magnum opus, the 1948 work Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, changed the way we view human sexuality. The problem is that far from the dispassionate scientist he claimed to be, Kinsey was himself a sexual deviant who wished to rid society of laws penalizing people for sexual perversions. He used populations of prisoners and prostitutes for his surveys, passing the results off as representative. Most notoriously, he paid a pederast for data about bring children to orgasm through acts of molestation. In the section of his work devoted to the "art" of the interview, Kinsey tells the reader that a scientist must convince his subject to reveal private information by convincing him that "he, as a scientist, offers no objection to any type of sexual behavior in which the subject could possibly have been involved," and that "the confidences of the record will be kept without question." This confidence extended to the case of the sexual predator who gave Kinsey his data set on the orgasms of children. Part of the interview procedure was to throw in questions about "animal contacts." Such acts were the pleasure of mainly "farm boys," per Kinsey's book. If it is dispassionate scientific fact that some people get too close with their sheep, my own sexual deviance is nothing. Or so Kinsey's interviewees and readers comes to understand.
The goal, of course, was to break down repressed middle class morality. I couldn't help but think of Kinsey's project as I filled out the BuzzFeed survey. In the judgment free society which we have created, we apparently need to be reminded that, no, thinking about sex with animals is not normal. I'd hate to think I need to more closely guard my mini schnauzer.