Saturday, January 2, 2016


Historians of the twenty-first century will look back with well-placed scorn on the shallow-minded days of the early twentieth century when football games and petting parties were considered the most important elements of a college education.

--Mary Eileen Ahern, 1934


G. Verloren said...

I always liked the basic notion of petting parties. The concept always struck me as a refreshingly nonsexual form of social intimacy.

Although to be fair, in actuality the term ended up being applied euphemistically to quite a broad range of activities, many not nearly so innocent...

Ahh, well. C'est la vie.

David said...

As far as I understand, petting might be best described as clothed (or semi-clothed) foreplay. What is nonsexual about that? Noncoital, maybe, but not nonsexual.

G. Verloren said...

Best described? Hardly.

I routinely pet some of the people closest to me with absolutely no sexual element involved whatsoever.

We pet our cats and dogs with no sexual element. Our ape ancestors and relatives groomed and caressed each other with no sexual element. Snuggling together on a couch and talking or watching a movie while petting one another isn't remotely like foreplay.

I'm so tired of the sorts of notions that posit everything must necessarily revolve around or exist in service to sex. Such silly Freudian nonsense.

Intimacy and sexuality are distinct things. Individuals can associate them with each other (or even completely dissociate them from one another), but there is no necessary intrinsic relationship between the two.

Certainly some people view their intimacy as being in service to their sexuality. But there are plenty of others who view sex as an extension of their intimacy. And there are even some who view the two as unrelated behaviors entirely.

David said...

I would say that this disagreement is simply typical of the ambiguities and disharmonies inherent in human relations. There is no right or wrong here. But in my own defense, I will say a) that I'm not alone in regarding something like petting as essentially a form of sexual exploration; b) I'm also probably not alone in finding it liberating to be frank about the sexual element; and c) it's probably a difference of attitude that everyone involved should clear up without judgment before beginning any petting. Someone of my attitude should avoid petting with someone of yours, and vice versa.