Re: Baby-making

1

Also, 35 is the age when you become Officially Old because that is the age when your risk of having a fetus with Down Syndrome (1 in 250 if you're 35, I think?) will exceed your risk of miscarrying from the amnio. Or at least, your risk of miscarrying from an amnio, back when "35" was first tossed around in ominous tones.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 11:34 AM
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That's really interesting. From traveling in adoption circles, I sort of take infertility as a given more than I should, and so it's interesting to see her analysis.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 11:45 AM
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I wanted to send that to all my friends posting the article on how having kids screws your academic career.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 11:53 AM
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That article really clarified something for me that I'd always sort of known but never really thought through enough to understand, that having a first baby at forty seems unlikely and difficult, while accidentally having another kid at forty when you'd planned to be done with having kids seems all too easy. And of course, the population of women having their first kids at fortyish includes everyone with a previously undiagnosed fertility problem that would have shown up if they'd tried to have their first kids at thirty. Once you take the people who have had fertility issues all along out of the picture, and are just looking at the effects of age on someone who was unproblematically fertile when younger, late thirties to forty and a little older isn't implausibly late for having kids at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:00 PM
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I wonder how many unplanned pregnancies that bad data resulted in- "Oh, we can skip the birth control this time, I'm 40 anyway, what are the chances?"


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:11 PM
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That is indeed interesting. It's really remarkable that the I haven't read the article yet because the page was so flash- and ad-heavy that it basically froze my computer. However! The mobile site is much nicer, so much so that I'd strongly suggest changing the link in the OP. Oh, how I loathe the ad-supported model that has come to dominate the internet.

Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies of modern women, but they are not. When I mention this to friends and associates, by far the most common reaction is: "No ... No way. Really?"

This was basically my reaction. WTF. Every journalist who's uncritically repeated those statistics needs to be ... well, I don't know, but something unpleasant.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:14 PM
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I wonder how many unplanned pregnancies that bad data resulted in- "Oh, we can skip the birth control this time, I'm 40 anyway, what are the chances?"

This happened recently to me and Madame Deladier, who is late 40's. The first sign we noticed of pregnancy was the miscarriage. We feel like we dodged a bullet.


Posted by: Édouard Daladier | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:42 PM
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Purely out of nosiness, how late 40s is late? 45? 47?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:50 PM
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8: 47


Posted by: Édouard Daladier | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:54 PM
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Very interesting.

I lost a 9 week pregnancy about a month ago, one week after I turned forty. We found out I was pregnant four days before my husband's urology appointment, having ruled out blocked tubes and trouble ovulating for me. It was my first pregnancy, and it took us about nine months of trying (timed intercourse, me peeing on a huge number of LH test strips, basal temperature).

I've hung out on a lot of infertility boards in the last few months (my newest, conceiving after miscarriage), and it seems that the population does seem to be older.

Still, I'm glad that we can get pregnant. I was beginning to think for awhile that it just wasn't going to happen.


Posted by: 'stina | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 12:56 PM
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11

My mom had me at 44, so I never believed that stuff anyways.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 1:26 PM
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12

I need to take birth control for how long now? Poop.


Posted by: jackmormon | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 1:50 PM
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13

Oh sure. Just as I've finally made peace with having only one, now you're gonna tell me there's still time to have another?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 2:06 PM
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13: It's ok, Di -- as I just found out from my local paper yesterday, it's not child abuse to only have one child.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2013/06/23/1-author-mom-sets-record-straight-on-only-children.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 2:11 PM
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||
I'm watching on FB as a former elementary school teacher of mine posts candid pictures of her 13yo granddaughter, whose mother comments on each one the way she thinks the girl looks ugly in it. Grandma responds, repeatedly, "But look how happy she is!"
:-(
|>

I agree with Heebie that the pressure to be anxious about reproduction is largely socially fabricated. Everyone keeps passing around that Slate thing about how having children is bad for female academics at just about every point in their careers. I can see friends of mine getting treated profoundly differently, by students and colleagues, after having babies, and I don't envy the position they're in. There is also the corollary that childless academic women get to hear about all the miserable old dried-up lonely workaholic crones on campus who should haunt us when we prioritize career over mating. For some reason, my male friends of my age do not report being asked when they intend to reproduce on an extremely regular basis.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 2:38 PM
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For some reason, my male friends of my age do not report being asked when they intend to reproduce on an extremely regular basis.

You don't think men are regularly having this conversation?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 2:47 PM
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Yeah I certainly got asked about it, and know men who have tried to hurry things up out of concern for the consequences for the kid of they wait. Probably an order of magnitude less intense, at least, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 2:58 PM
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For some reason, my male friends of my age do not report being asked when they intend to reproduce on an extremely regular basis.

Counterpoint: I feel like almost every male professor I know under the age of 40 has had at least one kid in the last 18 months or so. Every conference I go to now, it's guys talking about babies.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 3:15 PM
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I got stuck at a dinner last winter between two big deal (female) profs who quizzed me about my age and reproductive plans. Both encouraged me not to wait "too long." I did some mental guesswork, and I think they both had theirs in their late 30s/early 40s. One of my bosses reminds me repeatedly that she had her kid at roughly my age. So helpful! Thanks! I'll keep that in mind!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 3:23 PM
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20

12 was Roberta's exact reaction to that article.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 4:22 PM
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21

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Some kid came to daycare this morning with breakfast smeared all over his face. Clearly his parents had had it, and weren't going to pick the battle of cleaning his face on top of whatever morning they'd had.

Hawaiian Punch went up to him and said, "You have food here and here and here." Then she went to the sensory tub and grabbed a sponge, and went and cleaned his face off.

The teacher said that she, the parents, and the aides were all just watching with raised eyebrows to see how it panned out. The boy let her clean his face, and then she put the sponge back where it belongs.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 4:30 PM
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Interesting and certainly fits with the whole "get back in your baby making box, woman!" Thing going on.

The dismissal of the birth defect thing is a bit casual though. 87% of babies are fine! - um, one in seven are not ...


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:00 PM
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I'm sort of disappointed we got to 20 comments without any sperm-and/or-surrogacy volunteering. Where is our community spirit these days?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:06 PM
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24

And then she groomed his coat and ate the fleas.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:18 PM
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24 to 23?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:27 PM
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19 tends to be my reaction to most such talk. The assumption that one of course wants and intends to have children informs both ends of the spectrum, whether it's "don't wait too long" or "oh, you can wait a bit longer."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:32 PM
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get back in your baby making box, woman!

I'M FLEXIBLE BUT I CAN'T DEFY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, BUB


Posted by: OPINIONATED CONTORTIONIST | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:33 PM
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28

Thorn, I'll be happy to knock you up, but you'll have to make the trip here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:35 PM
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29

Huh. Sensory tubs aren't as interesting as they sound.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:48 PM
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28: There's no good reason for ME to have a baby, but other people seem into that sort of thing. I think the same probably goes for traveling to North Carolina in June, though I've done it before,


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:54 PM
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23: I got old. When I first started commenting here, I would have rented out my womb in a heartbeat because I liked pregnancy so much. But now I'm just so tired.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:56 PM
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32

And I should probably admit that 23 was in response to 20, because I was amazed that apo was commenting sincerely and not offering to impregnate anyone, so at least I can rest easy now.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:57 PM
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33

oh yeah, baby-- damn, I knew I'd forgotten to do something...


Posted by: backwardsinheels | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 5:59 PM
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34

I don't see why you couldn't just mail some frozen sperm. I think you just need liquid nitrogen, a thermos, and the link to herpy.net.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:01 PM
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35

There's no wikipedia article on sensory tubs. How can this be?


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:21 PM
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At the end of the article, she quotes SNL and I think it's funny:

"According to author Sylvia Hewlett, career women shouldn't wait to have babies, because our fertility takes a steep drop-off after age 27," Tina Fey said during a "Weekend Update" sketch. "And Sylvia's right; I definitely should have had a baby when I was 27, living in Chicago over a biker bar, pulling down a cool $12,000 a year. That would have worked out great." Rachel Dratch said, "Yeah. Sylvia, um, thanks for reminding me that I have to hurry up and have a baby. Uh, me and my four cats will get right on that."

"My neighbor has this adorable, cute little Chinese baby that speaks Italian," noted Amy Poehler. "So, you know, I'll just buy one of those." Maya Rudolph rounded out the rant: "Yeah, Sylvia, maybe your next book should tell men our age to stop playing Grand Theft Auto III and holding out for the chick from Alias." ("You're not gonna get the chick from Alias," Fey advised.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:23 PM
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36: Concluding remark from the end there:

Eleven years later, these four women have eight children among them, all but one born when they were older than 35. It's good to be right.

Oh, well, thank god they had babies!

I know, I get it, the discussion is for women who want to have babies, but honestly, the subtext is so off-putting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:39 PM
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Well, given the alternative of being miserable old dried-up lonely workaholic crones (nicely put, AWB), those ladies really dodged a bullet.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:51 PM
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39

Heh, I'm glad I'm not alone in hearing the {clang}.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 6:57 PM
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40

Who wants to be a workaholic, anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 7:04 PM
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41

Workahol is the curse of the opiate classes for 15 minutes.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 7:38 PM
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42

Andy Workahol's childhood home isn't far from my office.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-13 7:44 PM
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43

I'm in love with a miserable dried up workaholic old crone right now and she's wonderful.


Posted by: David Lloyd George | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 3:35 AM
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There's no wikipedia article on sensory tubs. How can this be?

I am just assuming that it's like a sensory deprivation tank but smaller (you know, for kids). ("NO Hawaiian Punch! You will take your nap NOW or you GO IN THE COFFIN AGAIN!")


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 4:00 AM
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43: You're prime ministerial because she comments here, or why?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 4:21 AM
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re: 44

Like wee Skinner boxes.

Or the child-friendly Skinner approved variant, the 'air crib':

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/september-10/skinner-air-crib.html


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 4:28 AM
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because she comments here, or why?

The descriptor "workaholic" suggests otherwise.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 5:05 AM
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48

"Wonderful" also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 5:06 AM
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Interesting. I am not surprised that infertility is overstated, though I am about the age of the data. The other source of data is from fertility clinics, which is also a highly selective population, and allows for scaremongering claims such as: 100% of 40 year old women who visit fertility clinics have trouble conceiving.

-Some other points: In Victorian England, the average age of final birth was 39. My own family has extensive records going back to the 1500s, and if women didn't die in childbirth, they usually had their last child in the mid to late 40s, and on at least on occasion, at 50. Since most women these days aren't trying to have their 12th kid at 46, it's hard to know how many women are fertile at that age.

-Age of marriage in Northern Europe from the middle ages to the 19th century was far higher than it was for much of the 20th century, with men marrying on average around age 29-30, and women around age 27-28. Having a first child at 30 wasn't all that uncommon. In fact, the 1950s was remarkable in that it was a low-point for marriage age pretty much across the Western world, rather than a stable norm we've deviated from because of feminism and socialism.

-Female age is often blamed for infertility, but male age can play as much of a factor, especially given that male sperm counts are plummeting, probably due to eating out of microwaved tupperware.

-Finally, it's hard to separate out general infertility from age related infertility, since women who have fertility problems will generally take much longer to get pregnant. Also, as mentioned, undiagnosed fertility problems not discovered until later are blamed on age when they may be due to other factors.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 5:37 AM
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Oh! finally, according to a friend who worked at PP, after 18-24, the highest rates of abortion are women ages 34-45.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 5:40 AM
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50 probably fits pretty well with the stats on women choosing to place infants for adoption, though I've never seen a full breakdown. I know that early 20s and mid-30s are more common than the teen moms people assume are the typical birthmothers.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 6:14 AM
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Speaking of babies, my excitement at getting to see my niece for the first time is certainly tempered by my sister's constant FB posts defending her bigoted gender essentialism. They're all coming out of nowhere too -- either people are constantly PMing her to criticize her reactionary politics (which seems unlikely) or she is feeling really defensive because she knows she's wrong.

Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 6:46 AM
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Is she generally politically on the same page as you? If not, there's an awful lot of gender essentialism that's just standard background noise. As in the Astronaut card.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 6:49 AM
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We certainly have a lot more overlap than many siblings, but she is extremely, militantly anti-trans. It's so fucking bizarre. She's like a caricature of all the worst aspects of the Second Wave. I try to ignore those aspects of her politics & life as much as possible, but it is really, really grating. I don't want to just block her on FB, as I would like to keep up with other aspects of her life, and my niece's life.

Other people have their "one Republican friend" -- I have my "one insanely transphobic feminist relative."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 6:55 AM
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52: Is there time for Sifu and Blume to forward you the card they got so you can use it to one-up her? I stand by my off-blog suggestions to just breathe and ignore what you need to ignore to keep the focus on the baby. There is plenty of time left for growth and change but just this chance for you to see the baby as she is now and connect with your sister over that. (et fucking c. And ignore me if you need to!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 6:56 AM
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55: Ha, that would be perfect. Sifu & Blume, what brand is the card? I mean, it's a little late, unless I repurposed it as a 1st birthday card.

Yeah, I suppose I should just suck it up. That is clearly the best and most mature course of action.

The other fucked up thing is that one of my 1st cousins (someone I am not close to at all, who lives halfway across the country) just lost her baby to SIDS. Which, as you will remember, happened to my friend a couple of years ago, and was the most horrifyingly brutal thing I've ever experienced. So, that's my other reminder not to take anything for granted.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:00 AM
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Reading that card again, I'm not sure she would see the irony. It's really the feminism of fools over there, I'm telling you.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:02 AM
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57: Total guess here, but I suspect what she's grappling with is not really anything about trans people but about how she perceives herself and her own identity. I'm not sure it helps at all to think of it like that, but I know several people from sexual and other minority groups that I'd have expected to be cool with trans issues who were very much not and I think it has more to do with needing to believe in and strengthen their own self-definitions than anything else.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:05 AM
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Did everyone see the picture of the desert fox from the Nat'l Geo photo contest? I am just going to concentrate on that today.

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2013/entries/206824/view/


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:05 AM
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NMM to voting rights enforcement.

|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:14 AM
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Thanks for trying to cheer me up, knecht!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 7:23 AM
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I read a very good book about miscarriage and age and pregnancy. It's interesting how little we know, and how much we think we know we from looking only at challenging cases.

Or of what's out of what's perceived as ordinary. My mom had four kids; no one thought she was an old high-risk mom when she had #4 at age 33. But most of my friend didn't have four kids, and if they started having kids in their twenties, they were done well before 33. So I'm an outlier (among those friends without PhDs.), and thus maybe 'old.'

The objine I saw when we started trying, however, was great. "You're 32 and in excellent health. To have a baby, just have a lot of sex."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-25-13 12:42 PM
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63

Doesn't this put total lie to the common claim that no man ever really wants to have sex with any woman over the age of 35 because EVOLUTION?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:28 AM
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64

Good point!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:29 AM
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63: Not unless women were routinely fertile past 35 in the ancestral environment (which might well also be true, but is not strictly implied by the fact that it happens now).

Also that claim can be directly empirically refuted, so if anyone were going to change their minds based on the evidence they likely would have done so by now.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:32 AM
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Also that claim can be directly empirically refuted

Nah, all the evidence can be explained as liberal men defying their genuine evolution-driven libidos to make a political point. Didn't Ogged once post something asking why liberal men claimed to be attracted to objectively unattractive actresses, back in the good old days of trolling his own blog?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:37 AM
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what heebie finds funny is pretty illustrative of her mindset, Tina fey or amy poehler, dont see any difference between unfunny racists, glad their 30 rock was closed down but sure buy your foster kids abroad then be surprised when they sleep with their husbands growing up, one reaps what one sows like


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:42 AM
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heebie hope you'll let me know who deletes so that i wont garass you undeservedly


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:42 AM
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harass


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:43 AM
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66: Anything can be explained away. Doesn't mean there isn't empirical evidence.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 8:47 AM
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Also that claim can be directly empirically refuted, so if anyone were going to change their minds based on the evidence they likely would have done so by now.

I believe most people bringing empirics into this are on the opposite side, claiming that statistics show that men prefer younger women as sexual partners and exhibit significant drop off in interest in sexual partners who are over the age of 35 (or 40, or 45, or whatever number is used in whatever study). And I don't doubt those statistics, but the OP seems to cut against the EVOLUTION! story that's commonly given to explain the statistics. At least somewhat.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 9:56 AM
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You could probably make a very good evolutionary theory over the fact that heterosexual porn depicting women who are apparently older than 25 or so is named so as to focus attention of the status of those women as being of proven reproductive ability.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 10:01 AM
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I am prime ministerial because it's good to remember that a liberal was once prime minister. Also, Megan Lloyd George.

And my DUWC has a husband too


Posted by: David Lloyd George | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 10:34 AM
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74

71: NINETEEN.


Posted by: OPINIONATED JOHN DERBYSHIRE | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 10:38 AM
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71 describes a much weaker claim than 63.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 12:39 PM
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74: Twelve.


Posted by: Opinonated John Ruskin | Link to this comment | 06-26-13 1:04 PM
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I believe most people bringing empirics into this are on the opposite side, claiming that statistics show that men prefer younger women as sexual partners and exhibit significant drop off in interest in sexual partners who are over the age of 35 (or 40, or 45, or whatever number is used in whatever study). And I don't doubt those statistics, but the OP seems to cut against the EVOLUTION! story that's commonly given to explain the statistics. At least somewhat.

Are there statistics that show this? I mean, in terms of actual behavior, not in terms of poorly designed lab studies where male undergrads men pick which photo they'd rather jerk off to? To really look at how sexually desirable women over 40 are, you'd have to see 1) how often men and women over 40 are having sex (inc. amount of sex and number of partners), 2) if there's a significant difference between amount of sex had and amount of sex desired, and 3) the age of the partners they're having sex with. For this to be meaningful, N would have to be a rather large number.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 06-27-13 2:37 AM
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