Many good people love the idea that they are helping others - they like the idea even better if they can help others by a large amount. If helping others requires little effort and perhaps some bonus, there is little more that one needs to do to convince them to help someone out. If you add sex to that very same concept, you'll have little trouble finding helpful volunteers. This makes the idea behind the Global Orgasm for Peace extremely appealing. (See www.globalorgasm.org) Thus, I thought I would bring your attention to them.
A few days ago, a very well-meaning and good friend of mine suggested that I participate in the Global Orgasm for Peace. It isn't surprising that my friend would think I would want to be involved; I am an advocate of the masturbate-a-thon and do my own form of activist work that involves sex and sexual education. If I can help people with sex, I'm all for it. My friend sent me a link and I went to the site with enthusiasm, looking forward to a new way to help people while doing what I like to think I do best. I was then met with some unfortunate disappointments.
The people at Global Orgasm for Peace cite studies on Random Event Generators at Princeton University in order to support their idea that human minds can influence matter by concentrating their thoughts during and after orgasm in such a manner that we can reduce levels of violence and work effectively toward peace. They claim that such concentration, or as they call it, "conscientious intent," will somehow affect matter and quantum energy fields in a way that will do things like reduce birth rates and reduce violence in the world between different races, sexes and species.
Interestingly, some things on the site contains elements of sexism and anti-consumerism. They claim that males are naturally violent and cause war more. They state:
The bully-boy Alpha-Mask Men everywhere are still looking for ways to prove their manhood through destruction and slaughter, with the support of global corporations that act without accountability to keep us all divided and fearful.
Part of this doesn't really make much sense - the Alpha Male role is not a mask, it is a reality and sometimes an unfortunate one, but the implied meaning of the above statement is misleading. Many Alpha Males are not necessarily out to harm anyone and aren't likely to ever do so. When we're discussing any social group of animals, including humans, the term "Alpha Male" only refers to a leader. There doesn't have to be any evil traits or malicious behavior that the Alpha Male has nor does it mean such a thing. For an example of human Alpha Males behaving in a peaceful manner even while arranging social roles, we only need to look so far as James Randi having been our Alpha Male at the James Randi Educational Foundation and Phil Plait taking over peacefully while still allowing Randi some room to do the things he wants to get done and play an important role in the community. If the intention of this statement was to imply that men had an Alpha Mask in the sense of them pretending to be Alphas, well, if they're backed by large organizations then it doesn't sound like a mask - they'd still be real Alphas, they just wouldn't be as cool as Randi or Plait.
But, I digress. The point in this statement is clearly to instill some level of fear into the reader to prepare them for the later claims that they plan on making. We can't deny that there are bad people out there and that the world is socially divided (this isn't a shock to anyone, but many people prefer apathy, so dramatically pointing it out is a good attention getter when you're planning to later toss in a few mistruths).
So, what is having an orgasm going to do in order to bring world peace according to the Global Orgasm for Peace?
- lower birth rates
- reduce dependence on "stuff"
- create more harmony amongst
- the rest of the world
According to their website, the creators of Global Orgasm for Peace want people to practice 'conscious intent' in order to bring peace to the world. To support their claims that this works, they claim that scientific studies, including studies with Random Event Generators, support the idea that positive energy from people will change the earth in such a manner as to bring peace to the world. According to the creators, Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell in their video on the site, Each individual cell of a person has energy and quantum energy runs through everything so that if there is an awareness and a conscious intent to change things, then focusing on that during orgasm could lead to change.
As it turns out, there really are studies with "Random Event Generators" that claim that people's awareness will cause change somehow to the global data they claim to be recording. Now, I don't know about everyone else, but I seem to recall that the awareness in the reaction to the attacks on the World Trade Center led to war. But that's not the biggest flaw in this claim - instead, the main problem with this claim is - with so many things happening at once, it would be impossible without some really tremendous awareness about individual lives to even know how much awareness people had about events and how many people are affected by tragedies at any given moment. During 9/11, many other things were happening around the world, including starving people, wars, people meditating, having sex and much, much more.
If orgasm really did have a tremendous effect on global happenings, then global activity would reflect orgasmic trends. This means that surges in orgasm activity that would normally happen from 6-8 AM and 8-11 PM in each time zone with large groups of people as well as changes in which orgasms likely happen more often, like in the fall and winter in regions with extreme seasonal changes. In fact, with some interesting global data and some educated guesses, the people making these claims should account for the sheer amount of orgasms that occur per minute. Here's some data for a guestimate on that*:
- Global Population, 6,747,000,000 people
- 70% of that are adults
- 60% of adults are in a relationship
- The average couple has sex 3x per week
- 78% of adults masturbate on an average of 2x per week
- orgasms occur approx. 1.2 times per sexual encounter per person
This means that assuming the above information is close to accurate, then approximately 1,889,160 orgasms occur per minute. Assuming that orgasms really do affect some sort of energy around the planet, why would it make more sense for said energy to respond to the attempts made by the Global Orgasm people and not the other nearly two million people who are orgasming in the same moment along with their thoughts? It does not seem to be the case that it would.
Another thing to note is that the website for Global Orgasm for Peace has some anti-corporate, anti-capitalistic sentiments, if you could call it that, which makes it quite interesting when you find that Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell actually have something to sell. They have places on their site that link to http://www.redefiningseduction.com/ - a place that advertises a book the couple wrote based on the same concepts they advertise with the Global Orgasm for Peace along with other concepts that imply that men are sources of more potential violence than women and their book is a part of a 'fourth wave of feminism' in which women become sexual leaders because of men's apparent lack of ability to refrain from malicious acts. Here's something from the top of the page of that site:
Evolutionary Revolution gives Darwinian cultural permission to all women to use their forgotten biological power to initiate seduction. Hence, she will select her mate and guide him to mindfulness. Women can create loving and effective partnerships, stop the male war habit, help men to redefine "progress" and reduce their need of ‘stuff’.
This statement seems very clearly sexist to me, implying that men are somehow out of control in their violence and that women are inherently less violent and need to guide all men around as if they're incapable of understanding concepts that would prevent them from being violent or maladaptive in some way. This idea is used to support the idea that women should be sexual initiators more frequently. I'm not sure what they think the "Evolutionary Revolution" is, or why we would need cultural permission for women to 'select her mate,' but I suspect this statement is an attempt to make something sound scientifically and logically convincing without containing real information.
Something to note that they claim on their site and video is Darwin's Theory failed to outline the role of sex in the species and that he overlooks what Sheehan claims is a tendency for the female to always be the sexual initiator in most species of animals. This is actually quite a dishonest claim for two reasons. Darwin actually did write on sex and evolution; he just didn't elaborate much on courtship habits. This is most likely because Darwin couldn't have had enough information on courtship habits to even know if the male or the female initiated mating most of the time. In fact, even today there's not really enough available information to have a clear stance on who's the initiator in most courtship rituals in the Kingdom Animalia. But to be fair, there are studies that have shown women to already be the initiators in most human courtship routines. That's from studies done in only the last decade and it is very unlikely that Darwin would have known that. We definitely didn't have to know that in order for women to start initiating sexual encounters!
I see the efforts of Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell as not only misinformed but also dishonest and harmful. Their site not only spreads information that is untrue, but they are also conning people out of money for a book that reinforces sexist attitudes. They are guiding people to do something far less productive toward bringing on world peace than so many other activities that we have available to us that might actually make a difference. Now, I'm not one to discourage orgasms - orgasms are healthy and we need them as humans. However, orgasms are not going to bring world peace in the manner that Sheehan and Reffell claim they will.
*Naturally, these calculations are based on educated guesses and data not as precise as I hope we will have someday. I've had my math checked by three people and one person said the number seemed high. Although, when checking the information via other means it seemed consistent. The purpose of coming up with the number was to emphasize that large numbers of people are orgasming at any given moment and that this is important to consider regarding the claims made on the website.