Black History Month Special: Valentine’s Day,Conjugal Visits in Prison, Sex and Bonobo Monkeys 1/2

The Orgiastic Origins of Valentine’s Day


From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain. The Roman romantics were drunk and naked young women would actually line up for the men to hit them because they believed this would make them fertile. This party included a matchmaking lottery, in which young men drew the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, um, coupled up for the duration of the festival – or longer. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Pope Gelasius I  combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to expel the pagan rituals. But by then the festival was more a theatrical interpretation of what it once was.



Just like any young dude I like using the word orgiastic, I don’t know if I would enjoy an orgy. I imagine people keep bumping into my elbows and throwing off my stroke, and what is a stroke sans elbow? I don’t know if I would consent to lay down in pools of sweat, better  to sweat then to be sweated on. But anyway I introduce this idea for a specific reason. I read this interesting article:

The Effect of Conjugal Visitation on Sexual Violence in Prison

Using yearly state-level data drawn from a variety of different sources and a pooled cross-sectional time-series research design, we examine whether conjugal visitation attenuates sexual violence in prison. The determination of whether sexual violence in prison is less apt to transpire in states that allow conjugal visitation is theoretically relevant. Feminist theory argues that conjugal visitation has little if any influence on the occurrence of rape and other sexual offences in prison, notwithstanding the gender of the offender and victim, because such offences are crimes of power that are employed by the offender as an instrument to dominate and humiliate the victim. On the other hand, sexual gratification theory postulates that conjugal visitation provides inmates with a means of sexual release. Therefore, conjugal visitation should reduce sexual offending in prison. Results support sexual gratification theory by showing that states permitting conjugal visitation have significantly fewer instances of reported rape and other sexual offences in their prisons. 

You may ask yourself what does Valentines day and conjugal prison have in common aside from the colour pink, human (at least I hope) orifices strange smells in the air, being held down and feelings of shame not much. I think they each make a statement about sex.

Let Me Explain

A conjugal visit is a scheduled period in which an inmate of a prison is permitted to spend several hours or days in private with a visitor, usually their legal spouse. The parties may engage in sexual intercourse, and the generally recognized basis for permitting such visits in modern times is to preserve family bonds, and increase the chances of success for a prisoner’s eventual return to life outside prison. Additionally, they serve as an incentive to motivate inmates to comply with the various day-to-day rules and regulations of the prison, to avoid any infringement which might disqualify them from having a conjugal visit.

Sex is an act, it is also as anyone in  a bad relationship knows a means of exerting power over someone. In a previous posting I talked about the a care home  inviting prostitutes to have sex with disabled residents. This was met with some controversy because on the one hand care workers say the ‘’sex surrogates’’ are ‘’therapeutic’’ and experts claim they are a ‘’basic human right’’. One the other hand the county council feels this is exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people.

Conjugal visits to prisoners helps integrate prisoner with society while they are incarcerated. Not all jails have this privilege because jail is about punishment and free labor that produces billions of dollars each year.

But Wait there’s More

Bonobo_group_hugI see something here, do you see it? Basically I see maybe what you might say is an evolutionary carry-over.  You see sexual intercourse plays a major role in bonobo (monkey)  society, being used as a greeting, a means of forming social bonds, a means of conflict resolution, and post-conflict reconciliation.

We use sex to keep prisoners obedient and help them fall into line. This sounds like operant conditioning gone wrong to me (is a type of learning in which an individual’s behavior is modified by its consequences; the behaviour may change in form, frequency, or strength.) . Prisoners are locked up in cages like animals and to keep them acting right (modify their behaviors by certain consequences or outcomes)  they give them periodic access to yards, working out equipment and sometimes women. Basic Human needs are only tools to get us acting correctly. Valentines days bears a striking resemblance to bonobo monkey behavior: When bonobos come upon a new food source or feeding ground, the increased excitement will usually lead to communal sexual activity, presumably decreasing tension and encouraging peaceful feeding.

So we de-construct social attitudes towards sex to give us insight into things, looking at what people have said is it safe to assume that one popular social misconception (to which I do NOT ascribe) is that:

Disabled people are not really not seen as people. They do not have the mental capacity to be aware of themselves  enough to understand the implications of sexual activity so  when sex acts are performed on them it can be looked at as exploitation and abuse of vulnerable people.  (Unfortunately there are many more  terrible misconceptions about the disabled)

Stay tuned I will wrap this up next post !!!!!!!!!!!!
You’re not ready for where I am about to take this

Sexual intercourse plays a major role in bonobo society, being used as what some scientists perceive as a greeting, a means of forming social bonds, a means of conflict resolution, and postconflict reconciliation.[33] Bonobos are the only nonhuman animal to have been observed engaging in all of the following sexual activities: face-to-face genital sex (although a pair of western gorillas has been photographed performing face-to-face genital sex,[34]) tongue kissing, and oral sex.[35] In scientific literature, the female–female behavior of pressing genitals together is often referred to as GG rubbing or genito–genital rubbing. The sexual activity happens within the immediate community and sometimes outside of it. Bonobos do not form permanent monogamous sexual relationships with individual partners.

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