Bea Campbell? Doesn’t she just drive you up the wall?
Today’s exciting story is all about the shock! horror! media reaction to the fact that some NHS trusts are giving sperm donors a “helping hand” by providing porn, mostly in the form of smutty magazines, in sperm donation clinics.
OK. Hardly surprising and, given that the total budget for this activity is reported as coming in at under £1,000 a year, that doesn’t feel terribly excessive. In fact, on simple cost grounds, critics of this activity really haven’t a leg to stand on. As one defendant of this practice pointed out today on the Beeb: SOME men actually need such stimulation.
That includes blokes for whom the thought of jerking off to order in clinical surroundings is just too much, as well as those for whom such activity is required because they have been diagnosed with a medical condition for which the prognosis is future infertility or lowered sperm count. Getting serious for a moment: if you have prostate cancer, you are a) more likely to wish to preserve sperm for future use and b) less likely to be able to produce it to order. Sort of a catch 22.
In fact, if the provision of porn results in the need for even one fewer high-tech medical intervention in the course of the process, it probably pays for itself. Ah, but, what about dignity? A host of arguments are instantly trotted out from imposition on staff, degrading of women, porn barons seeking to expand their evil empire…and the rest.
The worst comment I heard on this today was Bea Campbell, on two grounds. First was the patronising and belittling way in which she described the entire process. Sure, Bea: it is obvious that you think the very idea of blokes masturbating is silly and shouldn’t be allowed…but maybe it would be better if you were just that much less obvious about it.
Second was the dishonest way in which she erected (oooer Missus!) straw men to have a go at. “Surely you’re not saying that men need this material in order to be able to masturbate?” Er, no. No-one ever said that was true of all men – just as no-one has suggested that men unwilling to use such material would be forced to use it.
Simply that SOME men might need it in order to perform.
Ditto gay men. “Surely you’re not saying…” came back Ms Campbell. Er, no. No-one was saying anything of the sort. At risk of repetition: all that anyone has ever said is that SOME men may find the material useful.
And the alternative? Well, it seems that its OK for them to masturbate, so long as they manage to do so inspired by their own internal fantasies. This is not degrading, or a problem – although listening to Ms Bea, I could not help wondering if she thought the entire process ought not to ressenble some sort of dairy production line, with sperm rather than milk as the end product.
Perhaps the men ought really to lie back and ponder on the role of women in the workforce, circa. 1939-1980, whilst seeking ejaculatory closure.
And therein lies the stupidity, the dishonesty of this criticism. I can certainly see how undesirable it woul be for a bloke awaiting an operation on his big toe to lie around a ward, reading jazz mags, and scaring the nurses. The word “inappropriate” springs to mind.
But when it comes to sperm donation, the entire aim of the process is erection and ejaculation. That is a sexual function – and sexual function happens best when an individual is aroused. What arouses individuals? How about thoughts and images of desirable sex partners, with or without sex added?
OK if kept in the mind…not OK on paper? How ludicrous. Twould serve Ms Campbell right if the next survey looked at what men deprived of visual stimulus thought about in order to achieve orgasm…and discovered that at least half of them were fantasising violence and animals.
Or perhaps then we would move on to a demand that only sperm produced by blokes thinking nice thoughts be allowed?