Re: memetics-digest VI #106

Thu, 26 Nov 1998 08:58:55 -0500 (EST)

Subject: Re: memetics-digest VI #106
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 08:58:55 -0500 (EST)

On Wed, 25 Nov 1998 15:57:15 GMT Soclab2 <> wrote:
> >

> If we accept the two premises that (1) nowadays, most people have sex
in the missionary position; (2) and we
> evolved from animals that have sex in the, ahem, "animal" position,
we reach an interesting point. If you think about
> it (ooh, go on), topologically speaking the two abovementioned
positions are the only possible ones. Now, there
> cannot have been a smooth evolution from one position to the other -
there has to be a discrete jump. Assuming we
> disregard the unlikelihood that one couple "invented" this meme and
all examples of it since have evolved by
> imitation from them - it means that there has been a great deal of
creation of the "missionary position" meme over
> the world (before it spread like wildfire memetically, presumably by
dint of Victoriana [does anyone know?])

Thinking again about this last night, I remembered that I came
across a preprint of an article coming out in Journal of Sex
Research (via JSR friend). In fact it may even be publised by
now. I'll see if I can dig it out for you.

Basically the article is on 'sexual styles'. These are not
strict anatomical particulars but general ..erm.. behavioural
profiles I think is possibly the expression. There are 3 (or
maybe 4, my memory is failing me). There are definitely 2 called
'Trance' and 'Engagement'. 'Engagers' if I remember rightly have
more sexual partners than other stylists.

I'm currently doing some work on student 'learning styles'. Again
these are broad behavioural profiles. The question for memetics
is to what degree these things are imitated or learned, versus to
what extent they are emergent properties of basic personality
traits (genetic? I daren't comment). I've been trying to show
that students copy their learning styles from their colleagues,
and have been failing miserably to find any evidence for this.
The dictum in edu.res. circles is that learning styles are
personality linked and therefore not readily transmissible.

The point is that if sexual styles are also personality linked,
then orientation (in the literal sense of the word) may be
something more deeply genetically seated. So to find an inventor
of the missionary position may be.... well, less pertinent than
asking why general sexual styles changed (if indeed they did).

The missionary position, in short, may be a spandrel.


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