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It's a bit unfortunate that section 3, which deals (very reasonably IMHO) with a hot-button political topic, is sandwiched between the other sections of fetishes, because it makes it harder to link to for common distribution (as one of the comments noted, lots of people find sex a squick issue, particularly I might add fetishes, including lots of people who argue about gender). Maybe pull it out and post it separately just for linking purposes? (If that IOU gets paid back in a timely manner, maybe unnecessary, but it would certainly help in the meantime.)

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> I don’t see the connection from “the wider definition of sexual activity and display” to “some people literally can’t have an erotic experience unless their partner is dressed head to toe in black leather”.

An analogy. We all have an instinctive drive to eat, right? Pretty basic instinct just like sex.

Okay. Using only classical conditioning around the feeling of hunger: Back derive the existence of people who dislike pork because their culture has taboos around pork and they never ate it growing up. Back derive the difference between knife and fork vs chopsticks. Back derive why we don't just all shove as much food into our mouths as quickly as possible.

You can't because it's not about hunger. It's about an entire social context around eating which is fit not because of how it sates hunger (because it doesn't sate hunger better than just shoving food in your mouth) but because it creates and strengthens social bonds. Sating the underlying physical need IN A SPECIFIC WAY is culturally (or socially or whatever) determined.

Likewise, sex is a fundamentally social activity both in that it's always between at least two people and in that it always takes place in a social context. From there it's unsurprising you have micro-communities with their own sexual norms in the same way you have micro-communities with their own food or eating norms. Including private households that eat in rather strange ways to the rest of us.

That isn't to say there isn't some underlying instinctual part of it or that it's infinitely malleable. A tradition which didn't involve eating food wouldn't last long. But once it solves that basic part (it sates hunger, it produces children) a gigantic superstructure can be built on that edifice with very little reference to the base need.

> I agree it makes total sense that some things that are closely related to sex (eg lingerie) can get sexual valence in and of themselves through something like classical conditioning. But that doesn’t explain why some things not that closely related to sex (at least for most people) can get sexual valence even greater than the actual sex act.

No, you've missed the point. As I pointed out in sub-comments: a lot of things that have no relation to sex are still broadly regarded as sexy. If lingerie is too provocative think of skirts. No man has sex with all the women he sees in skirts or even a large portion of them. And plenty of men have sex with women wearing pants. Yet short skirts are broadly agreed to be sexy. Why? Because it's a socially feminine display.

Trying to back derive sexuality from classical conditioning of PIV intercourse a la machine learning is empirically not what happens.

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

Don't let Jesse Singal hear you claim that puberty blockers are reversible (for cases other than precocious puberty) https://jessesingal.substack.com/p/when-your-epistemic-bubble-pops-unlocked

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I would like to object to the otherwise-fascinating "oral history" linked article for this sentence:

>For example -- and this is very clear in Roman texts -- to punish a person who stole potatoes from his field, a Roman might oblige the person to give him fellatio.

My objection is that potatoes are a New World crop. All meaningfully "Roman" polities were long-gone by the time the Columbian Exchange brought potatoes to Europe, what with Constantinople falling to the Ottomans in 1453, and before that the Byzantine Empire despite being more-or-less institutionally continuous with the Eastern Roman Empire had been much more Greek than Roman at least since the reign of Heraclius (610-641 AD)

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What it seems to me people are addicted to is outrage.

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The Canadian census contains some very important information about trans rights (including a breakdown of trans and non-binary people by age, but that's not what I'm referring to).

Trans people? About half a percent of the population. The non-binary? The same.

So these issues involve 1% of people. Which means almost any other issue you can name affects more people, yet this is the one everyone insists on screaming about constantly.

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"I have also had this particular pleasure, and of course I sympathize with this person, but I also think her statement is literally correct as written. Again, not an expert, not a trauma-focused therapist, etc, but my amateur opinion is you gotta stop re-enacting your trauma. Some transgender activist cyberbullies you - many such cases! - and then you spend the rest of your life trying to own trans activists to prove that they were wrong and you were right and the world is safe again. IOU a post fleshing out this theory in more details sometime in the next few months. But for now, search your feelings, you know it to be true."

I've struggled with this in multiple contexts. I believe that the helpfulness of statements like this depends on the agency the individual possesses. If you have sufficient agency, a statement like this can be helpful. If you do not see yourself as able to stop re-enacting your trauma, this advice is worse than useless-it can reinforce the trauma. I don't know what percentage of folks are in that situation, but I know a number who are (not for transgenderism, but for other issues). For them, this statement sounds a lot like "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

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Children are not allowed to drive, buy alcohol, get married, etc. but you are OK that they have irreversible sexual mutilation (called surgery) or hormonization (hormones damage is permanent, can't be completely reversed! damage occurs in day one). Do you know that the pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed until 21 years old and that it is in charge of evaluation risks, decision making, controlling impulses? There's no informed consent before that age!!!

People mutilating children should be in JAIL!!! They are part of the problem!

What’s your best way to wake-up those who don’t want to open their eyes?

Please share your most effective wake-up strategies.

The more the awakened, the sooner this nightmare will be over!

For example, I start with this video (2 minutes):


(caveat: pot destroys your brain…)

9/11: two "planes", yet the third tower (WTC7) imploded like in a controlled demolition. It was out of reach and all 7 World Trade Center towers destroyed, not the closer towers not belonging to World Trade Center... and the owner, with his 2 grown up siblings, failed to show up for work (never skipped work before)… by the way, he first took an insurance policy for the WTC against terrorism, just months before, when no one was taking them. The inside information about the FUTURE 9/11 event helped masons make trillions by shorting the stock exchange: the records were deleted by the SEC so they wouldn't be prosecuted !!!:

4 min. (0.75 speed):


Where’s the plane for the 2nd Tower (WTC1)?


Controlled demolition?


Why is 9/11 called a Pearl Harbor event? Both Churchill and Roosevelt were masons and plotted to get the reluctant USA into the war by provoking the Japs and letting Pearl Harbor (left the whole fleet defenseless and concentrated there as an easy candy to be taken from a kid, no radar warning from outer islands, etc.) and MUCH MORE:

Please read and watch all of this! Your life depends on it, because there's a plan to murder 95% of the global population by 2050… written on the masonic Georgia guide-stones: “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 … ”

- J6: The fake riot was mason-planned, incited and guided by FBI agents, who broke into the Capitol !!! The same mason-plot was copy-pasted to disband the insurrection against the stolen elections in Brazil! All intel agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA) were founded by masons and are run by them for their own nefarious goals.


It's such a mason manual that they organized the same J6 play in Brazil when it was proven that the voting machines owned by mason Soros, were rigged:



- At least since the 90s, vaccines are weaponized to reduce the population, for example:

1. Adding hCG to infertilize women: lab detected in 30 countries

2. Overpassing the FDA 10 ng limit to human DNA “contamination” by 2000%, thus causing neuro-damage (autism, asperger, tics, dyslexia in 29% of kids, etc.) and childhood cancer epidemic (n.b. leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas)

Check soundchoice.org or videos at bottom after this page:


- COVID was designed as a primer for even more lethal COVID haccines:




- Wake up videos:



- It's genocide for depopulation:


- It’s the masons, who create counterfeited currencies (trillions of dollars and EUROS) and bought the listed corporations, media, healthcare, universities, parties and political careers:


Confessions of ex-illuminati Ronald Bernard (all lodges obey the same master, Satan):


Now, are you really ready for this?:

The full PLAN exposed:


16 laws we need to exit Prison Planet


Pllllleeeeease, on my knees, don’t believe me, just do your own homework by searching the following in yandex.com, mojeek.com (includes crawl date filter and substack search), gigablast.com, startpage.com, duckduckgo.com (not Google, Bing, Yahoo censors). The key terms to test them? Child Satanic Ritual Abuse, Child Satanic Ritual Murder.



If you are a mason or know a mason, ask him to ask his 33° master to put in writing and sign it, who is "the great architect" and that he is not Lucifer. If he refuses, then he’ll know who he is really serving, Satan: tell him to get out of masonry NOW. Sooner or later he’ll be required to trample on a cross to get to a higher degree.

President John Quincy Adams: “Masonry ought forever to be abolished. It is wrong - essentially wrong - a seed of evil, which can never produce any good.”

Confessions of a former mason (Serge Abad-Gallardo):


Confessions of ex-illuminati Ronald Bernard (all lodges obey the same master, Satan):


Confession of 33rd degree master mason - Masons worship deities/demons


Masonry's Satanic Connection


Masonry's Satanic Doctrine | From Their Own Books


Do Freemasons Worship Lucifer? Evidence They Don't Want You To See


Satanic Ritual Abuse and Secret Societies [1995] [VHS]


Satanic Pedophilia Torture and Blood - Dark Satanic Secrets Revealed




The best way to have a real dialogue about vaccines being weaponized to handicap, infertilize and murder the “over-population” is to start with vaccine contamination: nobody could be in favor of contaminated pharmaceuticals.

1. Carcinogen SV40 in Oral Polio Vaccine: they knew it since the 60s but kept distributing it even until 2016 !!!

2. hCG in vaccines to infertilize women detected since the 90s: still going on

3. Thimerosal, aluminum, Mono-sodium Glutamate (MSG) and other NEUROTOXINS

4. Heavy metals

5. Human DNA 2000% in excess of FDA 10 ng limit (main driver towards brain damage like autism/asperger/ticks, leukemia and non-Hodgkin cancer), probably related to point 7 below.

6. Graphene oxide in Flu and COVID shots but now with anything injectable (even dentist anesthesia, hospital IV, etc.).

7. Carcinogenic SV40 genomic sequences and double-stranded DNA in mRNA COVID shots: the hacked DNA in the cell doesn’t stop producing the poison when the cell dies, but its descent continue the poisoning until the haccinated casualty dies.

8. Bluetooth nano-routers injected with COVID vaccines and inserted with swabs (which explains why they rejected the cheaper non-invasive saliva test).

Proof of criminal intent:

Points 7 and 8

Censoring and blocking 30+ COVID cures

Labeling the most lethal batches with a lethal code (howbad.info)

Blocking the real knowledge of effectiveness v. "adverse event" rate

That proves:

A. There's zero Government control

B. There's zero Manufacturer liability

C. There's zero Media coverage

D. All that, during decades and still going on, not only with vaccines but also with medicines, food&beverage additives, etc. Everything, even institutions have been weaponized!

E. There's zero political action to stop that (except RFK2 in the USA)

A school buddy told me "I know you make sense but if I recognize it's true, I won't be able to enjoy life anymore".

16 laws we need to exit Extermination Planet


If we don’t succeed, they’ll succeed with their 6-sword lethal plan fully exposed here:


Change goes in hand with the number of awakened! Thank you for sharing this to save lives!

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Regarding "the modern emphasis on hiding gender" theory - wouldn't that precipitate a rise in non-binary rather than trans identities? Crawling through the barbed wire and live fire of the culture war (and its downstream effects on the medical establishment) to try to change how you're seen seems to signal a very strong reaction to gender cues.

In general, the social contagion theory to explain the rise goes back almost entirely to the 2019 paper by Lisa Littman based on parent reports, which, while not nothing, isn't dispositive of the issue. It has to compete with the old, parsimonious idea that people have always been trans (in roughly the same numbers all the way back at least to Hirschfeld) but didn't have a language for expressing it or forms of doing much about it. So they suffered in silence, or worse.

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They mentioned autistic children because of the overlap...despite the reasonable conclusion that if there is a social component in forming dysphoria then the trans population would have the same ratio of autistic people as the general one or lower. There is also the EDS overlap and an old study that stated that trans people were 2x more likely to be left handed and yet there are not argument about the "trans cult" or "big pharma" transing lefties or eds folks. Curiously I haven't see them say anything about autistic kids being given Aripiprazole or Risperidone.

They claim that Blockers make the kids persist being trans rather than that being the result of how the young person builds their identity. This leads to the obvious question on what would be the mechanism of the blockers that would cause and why this phenomena doesn´t happen to the other populations that are given these medicines.

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"On the submissive side of the slash, picking a high dominance mate also seems adaptive. An - using the term as shorthand - "alpha" male or female both have improved access to resources, provide improved protection to offspring, and produce children with a better chance of reproducing etc."

What's the explanation for male subs? I suppose in an environment where Princesses wanted to copulate peasant males while beating them with whips, "sub" traits would be evolutionarily favorable, but this basically never happened. If an evolutionary explanation only works for half the population and you need some other explanation X to explain the rest, Occam's razor says it should be all X.

"I realize these goals are sort of in competition, in the sense that allowing people to transition raises the visibility of transgender which might contribute to transgender being more common"

Why "might?" Does anyone seriously think this is caused by some novel chemical or something?

"Hmm - this casts doubt on whether the practice of systematically preventing children from seeing nude men and women is ... optimal. Oh well, not my problem...

Seems plausible. The more you keep kids in the dark about what normal sex is, the more they have to speculate, get things weirdly wrong, and then end up crystallizing those wrong guesses as fetishes."

This is an interesting theory, though I don't think the timing works out.

At a recent LessWrong meeting we were talking about how in the Good Old Days it used to be perfectly normal for kids to watch their parents having sex. At that exact moment a stranger passed by and gave us a funny look.

It's too bad Republican politicians have to pretend the problem in schools is "sexual content" in general, but them's the ways of the Median Voter Theorem.

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I strongly suspect that oral sex got more popular in the mid-20th century, because most people started having access to showers.

If you're on a "bath every 1-2 weeks" hygiene cycle, I assume oral sex will be less appealing.

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I kinda wish the original post had better defined what a fetish is. Is it something far beyond the range of erotic sex? Because I agree with Erusian, but that’s without knowing exactly what you mean by fetish.

I think it’s relevant to quote what Nobel Prize winning poet Octavio Paz wrote about eroticism in his great essay from 1971, At Table and in Bed:

“The American erotic movement is steeped in morality, pedagogy, good social intentions, and progressive politics. All this, along with its popular, democratic character, distinguishes it both from other eroticizing movements of Western history and from the tradition of that intellectual lineage, descending from the Marquis de Sade to Georges Bataille, that has conceived of eroticism as violence and transgression. By contrast with the somber visions of Sade or the philosophical pessimism of Bataille, the optimism of the American rebels is striking. By breaking with Puritan morality, which condemned the lower half of our bodies to a clandestine existence, the erotic rebellion has brought about a change with odd but unquestionable moral overtones. It is not a matter of *knowing* something that was hidden but *recognizing* it, in the legal sense of the word. This recognition is a consecration of sex as nature. Recognition embraces all exceptions, deviations, and perversions: they are legitimate because they are natural inclinations. There are no exceptions: everything is natural. This represents a legitimation of the forbidden and secret aspects of eroticism, something that would have scandalized Bataille.

The erotic rebellion affirms that the passions we call antinatural, the traditional “sins against nature” are natural and hence legitimate. Its critics reply that the passions against nature and the other perversions are exceptions, violations of normality: disorders and illnesses to be brought under control by means of the psychoanalyst’s couch, the strait-jacket of the mental asylum, or prison bars. These critics must be reminded, once again, that “nature” and “normality” are conventions. But the rebels must be informed that eroticism is not natural but social sex. The idea of the dissidents is based on a confusion between the natural and the social, between sexuality and eroticism. Sexuality is animal; it is a natural function, whereas eroticism develops within society. The former belongs to the realm of biology, the latter to that of culture. Its essence is the imaginary: eroticism is a metaphor a sexuality. There is a dividing line between eroticism and sexuality--the word *like*. Eroticism is a representation, a ceremony of transfiguration: men and women make love *like* lions, eagles, doves, or praying mantises; neither lions nor praying mantises make love like human beings. We humans see ourselves in animals; animals do not see themselves in humans. By contemplating itself, humanity changes itself and changes sexuality. Eroticism is not brute sex but sex transfigured by the imagination: rite, theater. For this reason, it is inseparable from perversion and deviation. Apart from being impossible, a natural eroticism would be a regression to animal sexuality. This would end Fourier’s “manias” and Sade’s “penchants,” but also the most innocent caresses, the bouquet, and the kiss.”

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

re: Comments That Were Very Angry About My Introductory Paragraph:

"people who ruined their lives with opioids"

I didn't notice this first time around and while I'm not "angry" I'm pointing out that many ruined lives were helped along by certain doctors familiar with characteristics of opioids and frailties of human nature. Also, certain pharm companies that at some point realized what was happening and turned a blind eye. Lastly, we can also thank multiple U.S. government agencies and China.

On the other hand accepting majority responsibility for our current adverse situation is the most probable way of moving on to something better. imo

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"The Paperclip Hipster" sounds like the name of someone's Substack.

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

It seems a little on the nose that the guy quoting the continental philosopher jams in way too many words for a single paragraph...

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

>But it becomes less complicated again when the child spontaneously requests something, their parents agree, their doctors agree, and all medical guideline-making organizations agree

If all medical guideline-making organisations said that more obvious abuse of children was okay, would you believe it?

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> This is going to sound insensitive, but as far as “bad US medical policies” go, 2,500 children having their lives low-key ruined is nothing. I can think of a dozen US medical policies that are much worse than that! I wrote here about how bad IRB policies probably kill about 50,000 people per year!

This whole paragraph feels a bit too much like an all-purpose argument against caring about anything at all. You're dying of a heart attack? Big deal, bad IRB policies kill about 50,000 people a year!

While maintaining some perspective on the scales of different problems is important, it doesn't mean people aren't allowed to care about anything except the biggest problem. Bringing up the existence bigger problem Y in the context of a discussion about smaller problem X is usually an unreasonable move.

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"The failure to allow human challenge trials for COVID vaccines probably killed about 10,000 people; the decision to delay the vaccine an extra few weeks to influence the 2020 election probably killed about 1,000."

This could use a link to the the reasoning behind these numbers imo.

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Is there any evidence that Aella's surveys are remotely representative of the population at large?

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I'm a bit impressed how Cthulhu twisted the classical conservative "think of the children" meme into "think of the *autistic* children" version, designed to appeal to the liberal sentiments about the rights of neurodivergent people. This seem to be an effective move from the informational warfare perspective: first aggregate your base, then try to form weird alliances in attempts to shatter the enemy coalition.

Of course, it would've been much more effective if there actually were a huge number of cases where doctors and parents imposed medical transition on autistic children who are just ambivalent about gender and do not express any desire to change it from the one that was assigned them at birth. While, as far as I know, in reality the most controversial cases are when the child really wants to transition, doctors agree and its the parent(s) who are against. But even scaremongering about the mere possibility can confuse some people here and there, making them change sides. I applaud to whoever came up with this memetic mutation and sincierly hope that they would put their genius to less evil means.

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Given all that is in this post, have you ever considered 'transing out' of being a 'libertarian'?

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"I have also had this particular pleasure, and of course I sympathize with this person, but I also think her statement is literally correct as written. Cf. Toxoplasma of Rage. And again, not an expert, not a trauma-focused therapist, etc, but my amateur opinion is you gotta stop re-enacting your trauma. Some transgender activist cyberbullies you - many such cases! - and then you spend the rest of your life trying to own trans activists to prove that they were wrong and you were right and the world is safe again. IOU a post fleshing out this theory in more details sometime in the next few months. But for now, search your feelings, you know it to be true."

This is so true. Coming from the other side of having Issues with Blanchardians and attempting to show people how bad Blanchardians are, I've eventually concluded that I just need to stop because it doesn't achieve anything. Yet I keep seeing "opportunities" to get the Final Proof, even though they turn out to be mirages. For the last year or so I've been saying that I just need to wrap up some final things and then leave that area forever.

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The growth in the use of medical interventions for transgender children over the past twenty years or so has faced far lower barriers than would have been the case for non-transgender equivalents. The evidence base really doesn't seem to be strong.

So even if you're much more interested in saving lives through reforming IRBs, or allowing human challenge trials, you should be a bit interested in how transgender medicine has managed to escape regulatory paralysis.

The answer might just be that (as with eugenics a century ago?) as long as something is sufficiently Progressive-coded, the normal rules don't apply. So Scott and everyone else should stop talking about these issues in public, and focus on planting infiltration agents deep in the heart of left-wing organisations. Unsullied individuals, with no record of wrongthink. The march through the institutions must begin.

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I got quoted! Does that make me mainstream?

But I was hoping somebody would kick the tyres of my "most fetish is super stimulation" hypothesis.

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>This is going to sound insensitive, but as far as “bad US medical policies” go, 2,500 children having their lives low-key ruined is nothing.

Dead serious question - can we by this logic also completely disregard the murder of trans people as an issue of any kind of special significance given the fact that the overwhelming majority of murders are not committed against trans people, and that trans murders are even more insignificant compared to the number of preventable deaths each year? And also trans suicides? Absolute drop in the ocean.

Remembering that almost all pro-trans policies are anchored back to violence against trans people/trans suicide and a "need" to fully "include" transwomen (meaning they literally have to be treated as actual women by all people and institutions) to prevent this, at least by bona fide trans activists. Yes, this literally includes trans women being allowed to compete in women's sports and everything more significant.

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On a lighter note, how come are you still getting ads? Get uBlock right now!

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I doubt Zizek's claim that anything can acquire a sexual connotation. I don't think anybody has a fetish for integration by parts.

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I was partly just teasing! I am a 72 year old who pines for the days when none of this stuff got talked about. Wittgenstein's famous; ".... those things of which we cannot speak, we must be silent" is one of my favourite quotes....(although I may be misapplying it here.) I am not blind to the upsides of the times....the internet is a marvel and internet discourse is too - for those with the right personality blend of curiosity and skepticism (which unfortunately is only a small minority of folk).

I tend to think of Western liberalism as a great invention but - Icarus-like - one that does not know when enough is enough. I am a pessimist about the future of Liberty.

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Only about 5000 kids kill themselves every year in the U.S. It's really not that many lives lost, and should be #3445 on our list of things to worry about, and yet parents obsessively dwell on this, providing a conveniently captured audience of endless articles about how social networks increase teen isolation and depression and lead to increased suicidal ideation. By some estimates only one in every 100-200 suicide attempts are successful, so parents who worry a lot about their kid brooding and talking about wanting to die are being silly, right?

I think something similar's going on with some people's obsessive focus on gender issues. It's a very important piece of data you link to that "only" about 1500 kids start (not get, start getting) on puberty blockers every year (although I'd want to understand their methodology better). But if you are a parent who worries about transgender trends because you suspect they're socially contagious, then you tend to see it as a pipeline that works something like --

1. It's initially trend-setting, and then inevitably just popular, to be nonbinary or trans.

2. Lots and lots of kids go through the phase of "questioning their gender" just as in earlier generations they would go through being goths or something.

3. Out of that large mass, a much smaller number insist on socially transitioning and not merely "self-identifying".

4. Out of that smaller number, a much smaller number will get a dysphoria diagnosis from an "affirming" gender clinic.

5. Out of those, a much smaller number will start on puberty blockers (and then later probably on hormones).

Is there evidence for a huge increase in 1 and 2? Yes; plenty of anecdotal evidence like "the current cohort of 12-15 year old girls in my friend/family circle are virtually all in some level of gender dysphoria." (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27612664) but also surveys like the NCHA (https://www.acha.org/NCHA/ACHA-NCHA_Data/Publications_and_Reports/NCHA/Data/Reports_ACHA-NCHAIII.aspx). 2022: 3.5% of college students self-identify as transgender. In 2016, that was 1.8%, in 2011 it was 0.2% (the wording of the questions changed, so don't take it as a straightforward comparison, see reports for details).

If as a parent you're worried about 5, does it make sense to worry about a huge increase in 1-2 given that only 1.5k of new kids get 5 every year? Maybe if you suspect that the funneling process from 1 to 5 is not random. If "omg im so nonbinary" is a current social game among adolescents, then millions of adolescents will play the social game and phase out of it, but thousands will get caught up in it with increasing levels of seriousness fueled by feelings of self-inadequacy and not belonging. Those will be the kids with autistic traits, the relatively socially inept, those who are prone to obsessive self-dwelling, those who feel alienated from the romantic culture of their peers, etc.

Of course if you believe that gender identity is innate and growing levels of 1-2 are just helping more kids figure it out, then it's all nonsense. But if you do see it as socially contagious...

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I did not get 3, lol. I expected some people would get worked up about "Scott snide-swiping about the opioid-crises". Actually I raised an eyebrow when first reading the essay: OxyContin started a national catastrophe killing 500,000 people in the USofA and still going strong; strong enough to reduce national life-expectancy in this land of the free. And Scott dares to compare it with this most pointless luxury debate "gender"?! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opioid_epidemic_in_the_United_States - But yeah, I have boomer priorities. Take over, TitaniaMcGrath: https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/july-2023/jesus-christ-was-a-trans-woman/

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> "But it becomes less complicated again when the child spontaneously requests something[...]"

This seems weirdly charitable. In my experience, having observed online communities, it's more like children are being held by the ankle and veritably dunked in the river of gender ideology. Rather than 'spontaneously requesting something' it's more like Derren Brown's Red BMX Bike sketch.

I want to recognize that you immediately go on to say that the explosion of transgender individuals is disconcerting, I'm not trying to mischaracterize your opinion.

> "The biggest studies suggest that about 98% of children who take puberty blockers do later go on to transition[...]"

Here's another one where you quickly double back to nuance and indicate that there's probably something wrong with the study, but I don't think the percentage that you quoted is right. I couldn't find a 98% anywhere in the study, I think you might've wanted 94%(?)...

Anyway, based on the median age and length of study, most of these kids were eight when logged and thirteen on latest snapshot. The impression I've gotten from folks who are spreading retransition horror stories is that these regrets tend to show up later-on in life. I'm not advocating for anything, so consider this a good faith attempt to steelman the opposition.

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Regarding your “proves too much”...doesn’t your preferred explanation of “resembles sexual motions and happens near the genitals” prove too much as well, or at least raise the question of why THESE behaviors and not others which could also fit the criteria? For instance, riding a mechanical bull, which has motions similar to sex yet isn’t a fetish I’ve ever heard of.

To me at least part of the explanation for “why spanking and not stubbing your toe,” “why urination and not a Slip N Slide,” etc, is psychological: fetish behaviors tend to involve complicated feelings such as shame (no one is disciplined by toe-stubbing but people are disciplined by spanking), disgust, powerlessness, etc.

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Some of us still remember when genital mutilation was considered a bad thing.

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Okay, I'm calling shenanigans on this article about oral sex:

"What are the earliest traces of fellatio?

A well-known French paleontologist by the name of Yves Coppens suggested that the famous Lucy (the first prehistoric woman) practiced a sort of "paleo-fellatio." But the first clear real traces of fellatio are from ancient Egypt. Many of the more stellar examples are in the British Museum, where we find the famous myth of Osiris and Iris: Osiris was killed by his brother and cut into pieces. His sister Iris put the pieces together but, by chance, the penis was missing. An artificial penis was made out of clay, and Iris "blew" life back into Osiris by sucking it. There are explicit images of this myth."

Now, there may be (probably are) variant versions of this myth; certainly, that Set cut Osiris into pieces, scattered the pieces, and that Isis searched them out and reconstructed them is the main myth, and I think I've read one where indeed Osiris gets an artificial penis because that part was missing.

But the version I'm most familiar with is that Isis eventually finds the missing penis and uses it to impregnate herself, thus Horus is born to avenge his father's death. Not fellatio. (Though Horus and Set in another myth do get involved in weird mpreg via semen on lettuce which is unwittingly consumed):

"In a key episode in the conflict, Set sexually abuses Horus. Set's violation is partly meant to degrade his rival, but it also involves homosexual desire, in keeping with one of Set's major characteristics, his forceful and indiscriminate sexuality. In the earliest account of this episode, in a fragmentary Middle Kingdom papyrus, the sexual encounter begins when Set asks to have sex with Horus, who agrees on the condition that Set will give Horus some of his strength. The encounter puts Horus in danger, because in Egyptian tradition semen is a potent and dangerous substance, akin to poison. According to some texts, Set's semen enters Horus's body and makes him ill, but in "Contendings", Horus thwarts Set by catching Set's semen in his hands. Isis retaliates by putting Horus's semen on lettuce-leaves that Set eats. Set's defeat becomes apparent when this semen appears on his forehead as a golden disk. He has been impregnated with his rival's seed and as a result "gives birth" to the disk. In "Contendings", Thoth takes the disk and places it on his own head; other accounts imply that Thoth himself was produced by this anomalous birth."

That's why the oxyrhyncus fish is venerated - it's the place where the penis was found! Or eaten, depending on the version of the myth:

"Oxyrhynchus lies west of the main course of the Nile on the Bahr Yussef, a branch that terminates in Lake Moeris and the Faiyum oasis. In ancient Egyptian times, there was a city on the site called Per-Medjed, named after the medjed, a species of elephantfish of the Nile worshipped there as the fish that ate the penis of Osiris. It was the capital of the 19th Upper Egyptian Nome."

"Once Osiris is made whole, Isis conceives his son and rightful heir, Horus. One ambiguous spell in the Coffin Texts may indicate that Isis is impregnated by a flash of lightning, while in other sources, Isis, still in bird form, fans breath and life into Osiris's body with her wings and copulates with him. Osiris's revival is apparently not permanent, and after this point in the story he is only mentioned as the ruler of the Duat, the distant and mysterious realm of the dead. Although he lives on only in the Duat, he and the kingship he stands for will, in a sense, be reborn in his son.

...The cohesive account by Plutarch, which deals mainly with this portion of the myth, differs in many respects from the known Egyptian sources.

...Plutarch also states that Set steals and dismembers the corpse only after Isis has retrieved it. Isis then finds and buries each piece of her husband's body, with the exception of the penis, which she has to reconstruct with magic, because the original was eaten by fish in the river. According to Plutarch, this is the reason the Egyptians had a taboo against eating fish. In Egyptian accounts, however, the penis of Osiris is found intact, and the only close parallel with this part of Plutarch's story is in "The Tale of Two Brothers", a folk tale from the New Kingdom with similarities to the Osiris myth.

A final difference in Plutarch's account is Horus's birth. The form of Horus that avenges his father has been conceived and born before Osiris's death. It is a premature and weak second child, Harpocrates, who is born from Osiris's posthumous union with Isis. Here, two of the separate forms of Horus that exist in Egyptian tradition have been given distinct positions within Plutarch's version of the myth."

We've thrashed out the 'potatoes in Classical Rome' nonsense further down. I know it's from 2000 and it's really clickbait (read all about sexy sexy!) but honestly, is there *no* rigour at all in even opinion pieces? Never mind that they don't seem to know the distinction between fellatio and irrumatio. Tsk! Somebody needs to bone up on their Catullus!

Time to quote some Swinburne, from "Dolores" (or, as GKC characterised it, "Ruskin’s dark and doubtful decision to accept Catholic art but not Catholic ethics had borne rapid or even flagrant fruit by the time that Swinburne, writing about a harlot, composed a learned and sympathetic and indecent parody on the Litany of the Blessed Virgin"):


"We shift and bedeck and bedrape us,

Thou art noble and nude and antique;

Libitina thy mother, Priapus

Thy father, a Tuscan and Greek.

We play with light loves in the portal,

And wince and relent and refrain;

Loves die, and we know thee immortal,

Our Lady of Pain.

On thy bosom though many a kiss be,

There are none such as knew it of old.

Was it Alciphron once or Arisbe,

Male ringlets or feminine gold,

That thy lips met with under the statue,

Whence a look shot out sharp after thieves

From the eyes of the garden-god at you

Across the fig-leaves?

Then still, through dry seasons and moister,

One god had a wreath to his shrine;

Then love was the pearl of his oyster,

And Venus rose red out of wine.

We have all done amiss, choosing rather

Such loves as the wise gods disdain;

Intercede for us thou with thy father,

Our Lady of Pain.

In spring he had crowns of his garden,

Red corn in the heat of the year,

Then hoary green olives that harden

When the grape-blossom freezes with fear;

And milk-budded myrtles with Venus

And vine-leaves with Bacchus he trod;

And ye said, "We have seen, he hath seen us,

A visible God."

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

I have to say that I greatly enjoy how, in a post that was mostly about something else, Scott took a moment to lay one of the most thorough intellectual smack downs I've ever seen against the anti-gender-affirming-care movement. That group has been very loud, rude, and intellectually overconfident in the online places I frequent lately, so it was a very enjoyable read. It evoked the same sort of emotions in me as a scene from a movie or TV show where the hero defeats a swaggering bully.

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My takeaway from that comment section was that even though Scott's post was explicitly invoking fetishes as a metaphor for AI, approximately nobody was more interested in the AI metaphor that in the fetishes themselves.

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Apologies in advance for being one more voice chiming in on the introductory paragraph...

(1) I appreciate the explanation of your object-level position here.

I used to be pretty skeptical of what seemed like the transgender movement's overreach, but my position has shifted over the past couple years, mostly because of my first hand experience.

Rationalist-adjacent discussions of this topic are often frustrating, because I see people making arguments that I might've once believed myself, but the experiences that changed my own mind are just more easily dismissed anecdotes to them.

For instance, I thought the case for "ROGD" as a kind of "social contagion" was convincing because the standard explanation for gender issues suddenly arising in clusters of friends seemed so far-fetched. That case became much less convincing when I came out to my own friends, learned a few things about them in response, and realized I was seeing the standard explanation play out in front of me exactly as described.

(2) It's hard to know what anyone means when they talk about the effects of some intervention (or lack thereof) being "irreversible".

Especially since many aspects of transition are about countering effects of natal puberty! For example, testosterone causes a deeper voice and body hair; those effects are sometimes cited as "irreversible", at least when they happen to FTM detransitioners. But those effects can be countered with voice training and laser/electrolysis, albeit with limitations and at the cost of significant pain, effort, and expense.

Learning about Facial Feminization Surgery was a big factor in my choice to transition, because it meant my chiseled, Adonis-like features wouldn't necessarily prevent me from ever being read visually as a woman. But it comes with all the drawbacks that accompany any major surgery: risk of infection or injury or complications of anesthesia, slow and painful recovery, huge medical bills, etc.

As unfortunate as those costs are, they make it easier to quantify at least some of the value of early treatment. When the risk of denying puberty blockers is just "it'll be harder for them to blend in in the future", that's easy to handwave away: yeah, they might get called "sir" more often, but how can you compare that to medical stuff like a possible effect on bone density? But when it's "transitioning in the future will require surgeries X, Y, Z to correct the changes that could've been avoided", the costs of early and late treatment can be compared more directly.

(3) Changes in available treatment can cause changes in the apparent size of the population needing treatment.

If transition for me had meant what I gather it meant a generation earlier—convince a team of doctors and psychologists that I was the "right" kind of patient (i.e. a straight woman trapped in an effeminate man's body), then present as a woman in public full-time for two years, then get genital surgery and hormones—I wouldn't have bothered.

But instead, what it meant was find an informed consent clinic, start hormones, see how I felt about them, start voice therapy and hair removal, gradually change my presentation to keep pace with the physiological changes, and plan for surgeries as I felt the need to, knowing that there were a lot of options and my insurance would cover any of them. That change in treatment protocol is what ultimately made me visible to the medical system, surveys, etc., as a trans person.

I suspect the difference is even more dramatic for trans men: having to present as a man for an extended time without the help of any masculine physical features seems like it would've been even less appealing than the equivalent for trans women (at least we can use makeup!), as would the options for further treatment at the end of it. So I'm not surprised that more young natal women are coming out as trans men, now that it's possible for them to look and sound pretty damn male in a short time.

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I didn't weigh in last time so I'll share some anecdotal experience.

On nature versus nurture, regardless of any defacto predisposition or early-life influence, I am confident that exposure to stimulus even later in life can ignite indulgence in fetishism. That stimulus being pornography. I had developed an unhealthy addiction and habit from my teens through my 20s, and throughout, consumption of fetish content expanded and escalated. Most shared a dominance/submission theme (for instance, I never cared about "feet" in and of themselves, but somewhere along the way, I started viewing foot worship). The majority of the content was hitherto of no interest or seemed weird/off-putting, and it's hard to nail down the essence of what I would have liked at the outset. My theory is that dominance and submission, in either direction, can be exciting to most people to some variable extent, as a kind of primal kernel, and that leaning into it can facilitate development of other fetishes in service of that primary (not a universal theory of fetishism, as obviously many aren't interested in D/s at all and have one specific fetish). I also think that culture informs preferences, as suggested by statistics shared by pornhub and the like.

The popular view seems to be that the mind does not "unkink", but I mostly disagree. I stopped watching pornography some time ago, and lo and behold, I am much less interested in kink. Some element of it can still excite me if I focus on it, but not nearly at the same level as before. By extension, I am able to better enjoy "vanilla" activity and have a greater interest in that.

In my experience it's better for my psyche. It's unclear to me if that is more-so owing to cutting out porn or cutting out fetish content. I suspect the latter, and moreover, I strongly suspect that fetish content is far more addicting, to the extent that porn need not be the vehicle for that to be addicting and by extension problematic.

So put me in the camp of "fetishism might be bad, actually", as it can lead to an addictive cycle. The mistake addicts make is to seek validation for their state as their "identity" to avoid curbing addictive behavior, usually by refusing to acknowledge addiction. Not to say it's not possible to safely enjoy kink.

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

I don't know a ton about this subject, so these are intended as questions from a parent who has thought about what I would think if one of my kids wanted to medically transition, but who hasn't had to address the issue in reality. Scott writes:

"The biggest studies suggest that about 98% of children who take puberty blockers do later go on to transition (nothing in real life is 98%, so I assume something is wrong with this study, but things do seem to lean towards a vast majority continuing). An optimistic interpretation is that the screening process is very good and they’re only given to people who really want them; a pessimistic interpretation is that they push children further onto the transgender path. I don’t think whatever “pushing” doctors can do is enough to produce these kinds of numbers - compare the success rate of doctors/parents trying to push kids away from transgender! - so I lean towards the optimistic interpretation. That makes it even clearer that we should do the reversible thing (which helps 98% of people and reversibly harms 2% of people) and not the irreversible thing (which helps 2% of people and irreversibly harms 98% of people)."

1) Scott writes: " compare the success rate of doctors/parents trying to push kids away from transgender." Are there any doctors trying to push kids away from transgender? Do we know the success rate? The "left-handedness" example, if true, suggests that there was always a large reservoir of potential trans people out there, but that most of them were nudged into leading reasonably successful lives as their assigned at birth gender. Do we have any data on whether people who grew up as their assigned gender in the 80s were happier or sadder than trans people today?

2) The general thrust of this article is that if a person voluntarily transitions after blockers and living as an NB or trans kid, then transition is a good idea. And I get the voluntary argument. But the counterargument is that a lot of kids are uncomfortable with the stress of puberty, but go on to lead happy lives as their assigned gender, while avoiding the medical stress of transition, likely infertility, possible inability to orgasm, etc.

My biggest concern if my own kid were proposing this is that as far as I know, we don't really have a control group of how many kids go on to lead well adjusted lives as their assigned gender if they go through puberty vs. not.

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What is the evidence that anti transgender activists, in general, are "ruining their lives" (like opium addicts)? Isn't this a position that many have attracted a following over (just like any other issue potentially)? How are they re enacting their traumas? What traumas do they have? (I mean, sure, people spend lots of time (you can say waste, if you like) arguing about all kinds of things on the Internet, but that is the nature of the Internet.)

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

It's a very weird thing to see intellectually serious and rigorous people respond to a demand that we attempt to treat (often not permanent) mental illness via invasive medical treatment that messes with bone growth and the entire endocrine system, and then major reconstructive surgery that often renders the patient sterile and without the ability to experience sexual pleasure (the efficacy for both of which we have a tiny and messy and politically compromised body of evidence), and then the reordering of our entire society, with anything but a very firm "are you super 100% sure that you've tried literally everything else first?"

And it's even weirder to see them not ask that question, and then argue that in fact the burden of proof about whether this demand is appropriate is on those who are really concerned that it might not be. And it gets even weirder when the demand for this course of action starts coming on behalf of children and teens, and these intellectually serious and rigorous people still don't bat an eye, even when the rate of desistance from this mental illness is still as yet unknown, but anecdotally seems pretty high.

But the very weirdest part to me, is that the ISAR's, who unless they have been living under a rock, know very well that this demand is no longer just coming from individuals, but from tax-payer funded schools and governments, who literally, and I mean this in the truest most classic sense of the word, conspire to introduce the concepts and ideas that might influence one onto the path of this mental illness to children and teens without the knowledge of their parents, conspire to hide from parents the work they are doing to accommodate this demand from those who claim this illness, and who conspire to take away the parental rights of parents who disagree with this course of action. They also must know that California has introduced a bill that would allow the state to take away a child from parents who do not go along with this.

And yet, still, the response? "You are a loser/addict/insane for caring about this. And also I won't engage with this it all until you produce evidence that this unproven, controversial, religiously sensitive, politically and financially compromised, career-killing-for-researchers/clinicians-who-dissent-from-the-status-quo course of treatment is ineffective or not worth the cost".

But it's actually not that weird, when I really think about it. Because this is the person and this is the place and these are the people that have taught me more than anything else about the overwhelming power of the in-group to make you compromise yourself intellectually.

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

In which Scott, after years of trying to promote the values of honesty, truth-seeking and charity, accedes to the heckler's veto. If a bad actor is trying to maliciously destroy your life because you have different opinions from them, then simply stop publicly expressing the opinions they hate so much i.e. give the bullies exactly what they want.

After you published your detailed fisking of Charles (excuse me, "Charlotte") Clymer's bullshit article about how false rape accusations are rarer than comet strikes, people tried to destroy your career, livelihood and life. At the time, do you think it would have been appropriate for someone to say to you "Scott, it's not worth it. Just let the bad actors spread known falsehoods which are damaging to the social fabric, what's the big deal? If you're going to sell your soul, consider how much you're getting for it."

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I admittedly find it a bit odd and slightly amusing that my comment shows up in "Alternative Theories Of Fetishes" (and not e.g. "Commenters Describing Their Own Fetishes"), since it wasn't intended as a counterpoint to your article at all. As you say, it can't be a general explanation, and it wasn't meant to be one - if it were presented as a general theory of kinks, anyone who would be into thrills or horror would be a submissive masochist, which they clearly aren't. It really was just addressing the (relatively common) narrative that submissives are generally shameful about sexuality, which doesn't particularly match my experience with the BDSM subculture.

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Bit of a strawman to only talk about minors when a serious issue is the way women's rights are being eroded

Freedom of speech, freedom to explore philosophical thought, denial of science are all also non-trivial side-effects of the orthodoxy being forced upon us.

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"And it seems unfair to deflect their anger by pointing out it was a joke, when I feel the joke has a core of truth."

Seems to me as though some of these people are living proof of that core of truth.

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I'm confused about the general relativity analogy Zizek used. If you throw a massive object into an initially flat region of space, it becomes curved, and I can't think of any reasonable way to not consider the matter to have caused the curvature. The distribution of matter (and light and stuff) doesn't uniquely determine the curvature of spacetime (e.g. black holes and gravitational waves exist), but that doesn't mean the relationship that is there isn't causal. Possibly Zizek saw the Einstein field equation, in the form f(g) = T (for some function f I can't remember the details of), where g describes the shape of spacetime and T its contents, and concluded that because it's an equation, and equality is symmetrical, this is just an arbitrary relationship not a causal one, but that's how everything in physics works.

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Aug 30, 2023·edited Aug 30, 2023

My hypothesis is actually that raising kids in a more gender-neutral environment and/or with more blank-slateist gender beliefs is often delaying the start of gender dysphoria until puberty. I believe this was true for both myself (on the HSTS transmasculine spectrum) and Zack M. Davis. This may be especially likely for children with ADHD and autism, who may be less susceptible to picking up gender socialization from their peers. Based partly on the Stone Butch Disco podcast and Kay/Candice Brown’s blog, my model predicts the following:

1. Before puberty, some kids are naturally very GNC relative to their assigned sex. In an environment with a rigid view of binary gender and gendered behaviors, many of these kids develop distress/dysphoria about the ways they don’t fit. Some of them come up with the idea that they must be, for example, a boy in a girl’s body. Some, especially the more neurotypical kids, are socialized into behaving “appropriately” for their assigned sex. In a more gender-neutral environment without knowledge of transness, GNC kids can behave as they like, are less likely to develop dysphoria, and are more often cis-by-default.

2. Some of the aforementioned GNC kids develop gender dysphoria at puberty, along with some kids who weren’t all that GNC before puberty (may be impacted by socialization and/or located in a different part of the brain from the behavioral aspects.) If they were raised gender-neutrally, this gender dysphoria may seem to come out of nowhere (“Rapid onset gender dysphoria”). With knowledge of transness, they are able to identify their gender dysphoria. Some of the GNC kids raised in a rigidly gendered environment may “desist” from transgender identification at puberty and grow up to be cis (by default?) GNC adults. Others have worsening gender dysphoria with puberty and want to medically transition.

Something else to note is that many people identify as transgender and/or nonbinary without gender dysphoria. Plenty also have relatively low levels of dysphoria and do not pursue medical transition.

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I skipped this article originally when I first saw your ad hoc explanations for the fetishes, because I think you've limited yourself to spinning in circles by trying to get at the phenomenon through Pavlov and Darwin rather than looking at the symbolic associations. I think most sexual fetishes (like fetishes proper) are symbolic — sex represents some value to people and something else that has a similar valency/connotation to what is abstractly exciting about sex will arouse them. For instance, people may like binding because sex entails vulnerability and violation, spanking because sex includes lack of agency and pleasure for an other, excreta because sex includes intimacy and shame, and so on. Not that all sex has these elements or that all these elements are recognized or appreciated by others (I theorize that "Cartoony" fetishes allow escapism and flexibility of physicality that you may find in intimacy but that is especially noticed by the autistic, who are sensitive to touch), but you'll have more fruitful thinking about people (not AI) with these associations rather than appealing to physicalism and evolution, especially the latter. I know that these are essentially the rules of narrative, which is not your all's thing because you distrust it (narrative is the real counterpart to logic, not emotion, as the rationalist claims) but that makes it no less real in the mental operations of people.

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Well, people actually *do* develop fetishes about burns. Candle/wax-play! (Come to that, foot-torture fetishism also exists, but I guess that's more parsimoniously explained by "foot fetish + pain fetish" than a specific stubbed-toe mechanism.)

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Rather surprised to see that the people most offended to be told that they talk too much about gender are on the right rather than the left.

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There is no such thing as dressing like a woman. There is only dressing like a woman of a time, place, and culture.

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> A hundred years ago, it might have felt obvious that oral sex was a fetish; a hundred years from now, it might feel obvious that BDSM isn’t.

In my circles at least, this already seems to be happening. The next generation of local (non-directly-BDSM-involved) people I talk to seems to lean very hard into thinking of most of the stuff I get down to as normal. I say "most", because a very common conversation I have with people I'm newly introduced to involves them being non-chalant regarding my rope/impact/electro activities (Oh yeah; everyone does that) and utterly scanadlized by the fact that I have multiple partners (wait, do they know about each other? and they're all _ok_ with that??).

Purely anecdotal obviously.

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There’s a good (free-to-access) episode of the Fifth Column podcast where Michael Moynihan talks to Jon Ronson about various things, including a rather heartbreaking section on Graham Lineham’s self-destruction over trans. He and Ronson were once good friends. Now, not.

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There’s a good (free-to-access) episode of the Fifth Column podcast where Michael Moynihan talks to Jon Ronson about various things, including a rather heartbreaking section on Graham Lineham’s self-destruction over trans. He and Ronson were once good friends. Now, not.

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Aug 31, 2023·edited Aug 31, 2023

At the risk of totally missing the point of #3, Scott, are you aware at all of those Swedish documentaries which demonstrated that puberty blockers are not reversible, that there has never existed any actual scientific evidence that puberty blockers are reversible (this is just some shit that people at gender clinics keep saying, and referring to each other's impressive-sounding clinics as evidence), and that the side effects are in some cases intolerably severe (one girl in one of the docus had her spine collapse, as in her vertebrae became porous and broke)? They were a pretty big deal outside of diehard trans rights circles when they popped a year or two back.

Also, surely the argument that "This is going to sound insensitive, but as far as “bad US medical policies” go, 2,500 children having their lives low-key ruined is nothing" cuts both ways?! Couldn't a person on your opponents' side just as reasonably say "yeah, well, even if 2,500 children having their lives low-key ruined by being declined puberty blockers and having to transition after age 18, that's nothing"? I mean, if the numbers are so low that a wrong decision here is irrelevant, surely it's irrelevant *regardless of the specific decision* and you can just let your opponents have their way? Epsilon is epsilon.

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> the decision to delay the vaccine an extra few weeks to influence the 2020 election probably killed about 1,000.

It's disappointing to see you repeat this canard when IIRC, ACX was the place where I originally saw it refuted in the first place! I'm not sure whether my memory is playing tricks on me, or whether you've forgotten your own writing.

Anyway, AIUI, the original plan was to conduct an interim analysis after 32 cases, but the problem with that is that a small number of cases means low statistical power, and hence a higher risk of the vaccines falsely being found to not be statistically significantly effective. Additionally, the FDA expressed concerns that 32 cases would not be sufficient.

In October, COVID surged again and they realized that they would soon have a lot more cases, so they might as well wait a bit to get more data and set a new target of 62 cases in order to have a higher chance of success. It's only coincidence that the data for the new analysis threshold happened to become available soon after election day. And the CEO of Pfizer has explicitly said that they would have announced the results whenever they happened to become available, regardless of the election timing.

If there were any villains in the story, it would be the FDA, but it seems like they had a point about the original threshold being underpowered. (Or at least, they expected it to be, since noone knew at the time that the data would show such a large effect.) But even if they were, the FDA holding things back isn't exactly news.

This whole thing seems below your usual standards.

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The precautionary principle makes very little sense, but to the extent that it is getting at a legitimate argument, I don't possibly see how it can favor giving children puberty blockers over not doing that. "The precautionary principle says you should never change anything" is possibly the single most common complaint against it. The idea that it's reversible, and this is sufficient, is A) based on what seems to be weak evidence all things considered, and B) ignores any other potential downsides.

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Can't seem to find this articulated in the comments, so just to put it out there:

Best I can tell, most people decide if they are trans based on the masculine/feminine traits they possess, compared with the traits of their peers, as well as general gender expectations. So, assuming that that is the case: Puberty Blockers + Time = Less masculine/feminine in relation to peers/expectations = More likely to transition. This would be a perfectly acceptable chain if that was how people understood puberty blockers to work, but unfortunately not everyone catches it, so the idea that puberty blockers serve as impartial stallers persists. I don't really blame kids or parents for this, but doctors should be well aware of this stuff, and pass the word along to anyone who's seeking a presciption. It's just good medical practice, and pretty easy to accomplish.

Also, what's up with the "2,500 children having their lives low key ruined is nothing"? What a weird argument to make. If puberty blockers really take off as a standard treatment, that number could balloon way past 2,500 but also... It's kids, man. Every mistake is way worse when you do it to kids.

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Hi, not set up for USA texting. (I'm UK).


Responding to your text request.

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Did white women express concerns about their physical safety with black women, or was it just an "ick" issue like what prompted separate drinking fountains?

On transwomen being assaulted, are you referring to prison rape? It's my understanding that this happens to inmates of all orientations, and it would be nice if it didn't happen at all. If you have some statistical evidence of transwomen being regularly assaulted in men's bathrooms or lockers I'd be interested to see it.

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“By analogy, one should also 'desubstantialize' sexuality: sexuality is not a kind of traumatic substantial Thing, which the subject cannot attain directly; it is nothing but the formal structure of failure which, in principle, can 'contaminate' any activity. So, again, when we are engaged in an activity which fails to attain its goal directly, and gets caught in a repetitive vicious cycle, this activity is automatically sexualized - a rather vulgar everyday example: if, instead of simply shaking my friend's hand, I were to squeeze his palm repeatedly for no apparent reason, this repetitive gesture would undoubtedly be experienced by him or her as sexualized in an obscene way.”

This is gibberish isn’t it. Sexuality is assumed to be a substance which just isn’t proven - although philosophy is generally incoherent on substance anyway.

Then we must “desubstantialize” sexuality. Why? Because sexuality is a “formal structure of failure”. Google that because it may be a technical philosophical term and you won’t find anything except buildings collapsing. So who knows why failure even comes into this, or why this failure is considered to contaminate anything.

The last example is unconvincing. Is it true that weirdly handshaking like that is automatically sexual? Maybe but only because it might be.

Do French people see the repetitive cheek kissing with which they greet each other as sexual? No, although other cultures might. Anyway they kiss their mothers like that. And work colleagues.

That follows from this claim “when we are engaged in an activity which fails to attain its goal directly, and gets caught in a repetitive vicious cycle, this activity is automatically sexualized”

No it isn’t. That could describe OCD patterns, or a failed training regime. Or lots more activities that fail to meet their goal, most of which aren’t sexualised.

It’s fairly typical of philosophical texts to do this, pummelling you with unproven claims, non sequiturs, new terms and so on. After a while you think “there’s a lot of shit here so some out it must stick” even if none of it does.

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Interestingly, John Boyne (author of "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas") has just issued a public apology to Graham Linehan for having earlier condemned him for his trans-critical views.


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Brilliant and useful original post. Interesting to me how there is no mention of Freud?

Luckily I am here to set you all straight. Freud says: "If we now address ourselves to the question of what circumstances have the power to frustrate the carrying out of the pleasure principle we will tread safer and better known ground" (37) He continues: "[Pleasure principle] ... under the influence of the instinct of ego for self preservation it is replaced by the 'reality principle"" "during the development of the ego ... all energy is from instincts"(38). it continues: "particular instincts ... prove irreconcilable with the ... comprehensive unity of the ego." This of course leads to the idea, "if [the sexual impulses] succeed in fighting ... to a direct or substitutive gratification...(ie come to conscious awareness) the result is pain." So the theory goes, the pleasure principle must be repressed for the sake of the psychic factor called reality principle. Thus the child's developing psyche foregoes instant gratification despite the the sexual impulses remaining unconsiously. These desires ie pleasure principle are unconscious ie not controlled(because repressed). When the repressed, underdeveloped because unconscious energies force through to consciousness they are "experienced by the ego as pain."(38) Neurotic individuals identify pain as pleasure because the ego is identified with the reality principle which wants to repress sexual drives (unconscious pleasure principle) for the ego unity. So if the child wants to repress the libido instincts for ego unity, the libido still remains. It's like a confusion of the pleasure principle and the reality principle. The repressed libido is "violated" because it is unconscious and not in the control of the patient. "All Neurotic pain is pleasure that cannot be experienced as such" (Freud 37)

Sigmund Freud "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" then appears to go on (havent read it fully) to use the theory to illustrate how how dreams indicate the patient's effort to free the mind from the pain of the unconscious stimuli. Ie the dream makes energies no longer avoidable and the task, Freud says "becomes binding" the psychic material so that it can be weakened, separated and dealt with.

Freud says a lot more and I cannot be certain I have not bastardized it through misconception. The point is Freud would call a fetish a complex, which is a psychic confusion or twist, that develops from repressed material. I get the sense that the the pleasure principle being a source of pain that needs to be bound to another factor is the explanation.

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