Sexual morality can be a pretty touchy subject. And I'm not one to apologize for my opinions so here it is: I don't approve of casual sex. I didn't for myself throughout my youth, and I definitely won't for my own children. I'm not judging ... but I'm also not approving.
I have my reasons and guess what? I had them long before I ever dreamed I'd set foot in a church. My brother is the same way, proving that this is how our very liberal parents - a pediatrician and a child therapist - raised us. You don't need to be Christian (or Muslim, or Jewish, etc.) to believe that sex is best saved for marriage or at least for very serious, committed, "we-might-actually-get-married-someday" relationships. All you have to do is consider the facts. Even those who choose to engage in risky behavior themselves would not want their children to do so, and what does that say about what they *really* think of casual sex?
- STDs are rampant, and still dangerous. The large majority of sexually active adults in the U.S. have or will have HPV. Oral HPV - which is difficult to test for - can lead to deadly oral and throat cancers. When my husband rotated through the oral cancer ward of Barnes, half the people there were smokers and half of them had contracted HPV through oral sex. ... um, no thanks!
- Pregnancy and STDs cannot be prevented through use of contraceptive devices. In my super-liberal high school we learned ALL about all the different forms of contraception. Knowing the facts made me MUCH less likely to have even considered casual sex. All the teacher had to do was point out the rate at which people get pregnant using condoms... and then remind us that you can only get pregnant two days a month, whereas STDs can be transmitted at any time.
- Personal physical autonomy is worth valuing. Who doesn't want their children to value their bodies and selves? Really, when a moral or value has stuck around for a long time, there just may be something to it. And double really - there are very few people out there worth giving yourself to, or risking your health for. Very few.
- Class. Yup, I think it's classier not to share yourself physically in casual situations. And what I've seen over the years is that if you *do* share yourself too casually, many good potential partners just won't be attracted enough to you to commit. I'm not talking about the whole "I slept with him too soon and he lost interest" thing - obviously that guy wasn't husband material anyway. I'm talking about guys who themselves have treated sex as something special, and who want a wife (and future mother) who feels the same way, and who will be able to help raise their children accordingly and do so with authenticity. And this is not just for the ladies. I once let things end with a guy who suggested sex early in our relationship. It made me sad to think sex wasn't special for him. It also made me wonder how many sexual partners he'd had.
Anyway, I walked the walk all throughout college. My husband and I dated for five long years before we got married and we saved ourselves for that special night. We now have an amazing intimate physical act available to us as a reaffirmation of our marriage. We also have never had to worry about an unplanned pregnancy or STDs. And I never run into anyone who knows my husband as intimately as I do - ever.
Fellow parents with these values - and lets be honest, we *all* have these values when it comes to our own children - should absolutely be in favor of gay marriage. Aside from all the other compelling reasons (freedom, equal rights, government not making personal decisions for individual citizens...), we as the guardians and protectors of today's children have a sacred responsibility to safeguard their physical and emotional health.
If I have a gay child, it is imperative to me that he (or she) be able to view his sexuality as normal, and healthy, and not so different from that modeled by his parents. In a world where the media, the music industry, and peers will all be telling my child that casual sex is "cool" and "amazing" and just generally assumed, I will need everything in my arsenal to convince my children that their bodies are worth saving. The very last thing I'll want is for any of them to ever to view marriage as unavailable to them. I will want - need - each child to be able to have that dream of finding the Right Person and making a lifelong commitment to that person alone, forsaking all others. I want all of my children to know that committed relationships are absolutely for them, in every possible sense.
We have a future generation of children to raise, and many of them will be gay. Those children deserve to dream of and prepare for a life involving all of the wonders of committed companionship, including marriage. They deserve and they must have the option of viewing their bodies and their intimate selves as worth saving. In short, they deserve equality. Shame on us if we deny them.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Sugar cookies are what my husband (a lab guy) would call "low-yield." They take about five times as much work as chocolate chip cookies and let's be honest: They're not *quite* as tasty. Even these - and these are soft and moist with a little-something-extra in the cream cheese frosting - aren't something you'd OD on like you would a batch of perfect chocolate chip cookies.
Growing up I tried many sugar cookie recipes and most of them failed. The dough was a disaster to roll out, or the cookies were dry and flavorless. Then one Valentine's Day in college my then-just-boyfriend's perfect sister Melissa sent him THE MOST AMAZING SUGAR COOKIES EVER. I remember trying some with Hillary and marveling that my husband's sister was apparently (somewhat unsurprisingly) as perfect as he was, and so were her cookies. Melissa has a generous heart and has shared several fantastic recipes with me over the years. I'm delighted to say that this was one of them. Try them - they roll out easily, cut easily ... they take a bit of time but the work is easy (and fun!).
Still, a single sugar cookie (or two) is a perfect compliment to coffee and kids LOVE them. Plus, they're just so festive; I feel compelled to make them on certain occasions. Valentine's Day is the big one, but sometimes I'll get a holiday hankering for cute green-frosted trees with ornament sprinkles. They also make good favors for bridal or baby showers, or even weddings. Just always, always, always calculate plenty of time.
|This Valentine's Day - for Miriam's 2nd Birthday|
|Hillary's Bridal Shower|
Soft Sugar Cookies
1.5 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter, minus 1 tbsp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional - double if you love almond flavor)
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Split in half and refrigerate both halves for at least an hour but not more than two hours (plastic wrap works great for storing in the fridge). Working with one half at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.
Tip: After you get it just slightly flattened but still very thick, pick it up and re-flour the surface underneath it before continuing. If dough is particularly sticky, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, spread with hand, and flip floured portion over onto floured surface before you continue rolling.
Roll to 1/4 inch thick which is actually sort of thick. Cut with cookie cutters.
Tip: If the dough is sticking to the cutter, dip the cutter in flour.
Bake at 375 for 6 minutes. You want the very, very edge to JUST be turning light brown if you look REALLY hard for it, but *NO MORE*. Remove and cool completely before frosting.
** The original recipe calls for two sticks, but I discovered by accident that the dough is even easier to roll if you omit 1 tbsp of butter, and the cookies are not too dry because the frosting moistens and softens them as it sets.
As for the frosting, credit Kelly with the brilliant idea of using cream cheese frosting on sugar cookies for added flavor. Um, yes please! Credit her with introducing me to the Sprinkles Cupcakes cream cheese frosting recipe as well. Mmmm... I use about half cup less of powdered sugar because I prefer savory to sweet. The original recipes is:
Sprinkles Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter
1 (8 oz) packaged cream cheese
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
To frost the cookies, it works best to use a butter knife and put a dollup in the middle, then gently push it out towards the edges. Apply sprinkles before the icing has set, so that they stick well. Once the icing has set (2 hours?) you should be able to layer the cookies on top of each other to transport them, and the cookies themselves should be softer as they absorb moisture from the frosting. The very best flavor of the cookies will be a full day later once the moisture from the icing has softened the cookie. They will then taste fantastic for 3-4 more days, and storing at room temp is just fine.