Monday, November 08, 2010

Sex And Shisha

The first thought that flashed across my mind when I laid my eyes upon this gem of an article was: wow, something that combines two of my favorite subjects, sex and shisha. This must be one hell of an article. Turned out I was right, but for the wrong reasons.

Let me say this upfront: smoking is bad. There is no argument from there. It makes man prone to a whole array of heart diseases. Raises the probability of gum, throat and lung cancer. Ruins your teeth. Messes your pharynx. Badly affects your physical fitness. And, yes, it might slow you a little in a sack, if you don’t counter-balance it with cardio workout.

However, it’s really funny and ironic how the subject of smoking (and especially shisha smoke) is handled in the media (and advertisements, commercials, awareness campaigns.. etc..). I’ve written before about a health radio show, in which the presenter rattled off a series of regurgitated stereotypes about shisha and its smokers. And I said then and I say it now: I’ve seen all sorts of horrid anti-smoking ads, I’ve seen the charred lungs, the enshrouded cadavers; wriggled and squirmed on a lip of a huge ashtray to resemble a crushed cigarette. I’ve seen a huge billboard with bullet laid side by side next to a cigarette, with the obvious fatal common effect articulated below: smoking kills. I’ve seen the zombie-like faces of cancer patients in their last days of struggle, (a struggle which, by the way, I completely respect and admire and don’t intend to ridicule or underestimate)…. I’ve seen it all.

But I’m not deterred.

It seems to me that the anti-smoking literature needs to mature, to grow out of its rigid stereotypes, its childish quibbles and stating-the-obvious rhetorics. Smoking, especially shisha smoking, isn’t all about substance dependency and craving chemicals. Forget the ostensible image of fumes inhaled and exhaled. Smoking, and especially shisha smoking, is a way of life. However harmful, wasteful, unpleasant and counterproductive that way may be, it’s still a way of life. You can’t just expect people to drop it and move on because it’s bad.

In other words, if you’re really concerned about smokers and their health. Then be empathetic to them. Try and see things from their point of view.

But this, of course, isn’t happening. What anti-smoking campaigns end up doing is bashing smokers and showing them what retarded, unsightly, selfish, worthless pieces of turd they are. How they’re going to live miserably and die lonely and unloved like smelly dogs.

How do you expect smokers to take you seriously if this is the message you’re getting across?

Now back to the aforesaid article. No doubt this piece of rehashed talking points pushes the fatuousness a little further. Gloatingly basking in the light of the sexual impotence of whoever smoked the pipe, even second-handedly or experimentally.
Smoking is sexual suicide, comes the resounding statement from world-renowned author and sex therapist, Dr Rosie King, with shisha smoking being the root cause of impotency in men in the Middle East.
In a country where the shisha culture is embedded in its social makeup, the news that excessive usage of the water pipe causes impotency in men has seen many a heavy smoker cross his legs in a seemingly protective move.
Sexual suicide. How very intriguing.

The second paragraph reminds me of a session with a world-renowned crime author I’ve attended a couple of years ago. She mentioned how cases of men rape in US prisons are a serious endemic and that whenever she narrates the horrors of these rapes stories all the men in the room cross their legs.

My splayed-legged self at the time thought: how typically womanly of her to think so. It’s probably more of a woman habit to cross legs when she hears of rape or forced intercourse, since, well, your vagina is out front somewhere. On the other hand, we don’t cross our legs because of that. I assure you. We might clinch our butt holes. (probably just to suppress a long due fart), but we don’t cross our legs.

The rare occasions when I had to cross my legs in public (and some of them while I was, indeed, smoking shisha in public) were because I had to hide a raging erection. You see, I’ve developed the compound habit of reading books while smoking. I can hardly do either of them alone. And when I come across a raunchy chapter, I would have to evoke all the turn-offs in the world (including some anti-smoking diatribes), in order to allow my penis to stand at ease and not to make a jerk out of myself.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and governments across the Middle East are upping the efforts to kick the butt. The Egyptian Ministry of Health took a drastic step earlier this year and unveiled a graphic warning label of a drooping cigarette, symbolising the potential for tobacco-induced impotence, plastered on every pack sold throughout the country.
See, Egypt, with its 80 million people and sky-rocking population growth could use the smoke. That’s one more reason to thank the shisha for having curtailed the explosive, almost exponential, increase of birthrate in the Nile country.
Indeed, shisha, the water pipe that burns flavored tobacco, can expose users to the smoke equivalent to five packs of cigarettes, according to statistics from the WHO.
The water pipe can expose users….. We never get to know what that water pipe here means. And how it’s quantified. By time? By the amount of smoke exhaled from the man with the flaccid dick? An hour worth of smoke? Two hours? 15 minutes?
"The more you smoke, the less you poke," she states.
I think this is supposed to be the funny punch-line. If you wanna get the man to react (or act), then get him where it hurts. Under the belt. In the groins. Threaten his sexual self esteem, and encourage his atavistic lust and unlock the beast in him by promising more fulfilling and frequent sex once the water pipe is ditched.

Wow. What a brilliant reverse psychology and turn of phrase.

Don’t get me wrong, guys. I’m all for scientific research on the subject. But real and comprehensive research. Not crock of shit, un-peer-reviewed research.

14 comments:

Mich said...

It had to be said!!! Bravoooo :-))

Mo said...

You are one hell of an argumentative gem. As a smoker (cigarettes in my case) I felt I have a lawyer now in the mere existence of you. The Egypt example is just enough.
Hats Off! Respect!

KJ said...

As a non smoker I have to disagree with her article :P LOL!

binmugahid said...

There is only one word to describe your writing, immaculate.

abufares said...

Great post DJ.
I think, after reading, that our only hope, as a human race, is to embrace smoking, men, women and children. This is perhaps our only hope of bringing down the out of control fertility rates.

So, DJ, ehem... just out of curiosity :-) reading books still affect you that way?

Dubai Jazz said...

It seems that a person, who goes by the online alias of Ian, had gone into the trouble of posting a long comment here, which for some reason never showed up. And then went ahead and assumed it's me who deleted his comment and I'm silencing his right to voice his opinion in the Dubai Jazz republic. And went further ahead and created a freaking blog and a twitter account only for the sake of posting this precious comment and then he tagged the other commenters above (my valued chorus of cheerleaders!) on twitter and graced them with a link.

http://ianscomment.blogspot.com/2010/11/comment-on-smoking-shisha-and-erectile.html

Fair enough. If it wasn’t for the petulant, drama-queenish, butt-hurt style this person Ian (who had just “stumbled” across the post and knew all the twitter handles of the commenters, go figure), I would have reasoned it’s his sincere interest in spreading awareness about the harms of smoking that propelled him to be so persistent… … But something here tells me there is more to his disconcertion with the blog post than just pure health awareness interest. It’s as if Ian has a personal issue with every erection every smoker has ever had. It’s as if Ian want there to be a causation between smoking and erectile dysfunction (something even the scientific papers he linked to do not establish). What all the Ians in the world could ever prove is that there’s an association, a heightening of risk, a rising of probability. Something I myself do not deny. To quote one of the links: “Smoking may increase the likelihood of moderate or complete erectile dysfunction 2-fold.” … I bet you 10 derhams being constantly butt-hurt and a drama queen may increase erectile dysfunction (or loss of libido) by at least two and a half folds.

Now moving to the part where Ian accused me of not standing to scientific scrutiny. The thing that Ian failed to understand is that I didn’t intend to stand to scientific scrutiny to begin with. The original article wasn’t a scientific article itself: there was only one unverifiable stat that "If you are man in your 40s and a heavy smoker, the chances of you suffering from erectile dysfunction is 25 per cent higher,". That’s it. That’s all the scientific material there is. The rest of the article is just gratuitous attempt at sarcasm (or humor, I guess). So my post (again, to spoon-feed the obvious to Ian) was meant to respond to the gratuitous part, and to question the credibility of the research. (Which, assuming it’s reliable, would still not budge beyond the correlation/association bracket).

And again Ian takes issue with my statement that smoking is a way of life. I guess Ian missed the “shisha” prefix. I have no idea whether smoking cigarettes is a way of life or not. I don’t smoke them. You have never smoked shisha, you have no idea what you’re talking about with regards to it being a way of life or not.

Lastly, Ian, you’re very wrong when you say that it doesn’t matter what I think. You actually proved the point I was trying to make all along. It DOES matter what I think, Ian. Because I’m the intended audience of the anti-smoking campaigns. Who else do you think these campaigns are meant for? the polar bears? The extraterrestrial aliens? It is you whose thinking doesn’t matter in the subject, Ian. Get that into your precious little head :-)

Dubai Jazz said...

Mich, Mo, KJ, Binmugahid and Abu Fares,

Thank you all for commenting. We shall overcome. :D

Faisal Haji said...

Well said, I mean I am a social smoker when it comes to sheesha. I max at 5 per month, but now I will twice about it :P Nicely written

Ian said...

Dubaijazz,

I really do not understand what you imply by your comments about why I wrote my comment, and I don't know why you insist on addressing me in a sarcastic manner. You are right. The drive is not to spread awareness. I would not do this by responding to a blog posting. You say you did not delete the comment, and I will have to take your word for it. There might be then an alternative explanation regarding why my comment showed on the blog at one time, but then disappeared. Server glitch? Blogger site glitch?

This is a topic that I have studied and researched for a while. I was just searching yesterday the topic of impotence and smoking using different combinations of keywords (try to enter "impotence waterpipe" in Google and see), and your blog posting came up in the matches. It was not the first match. I did not click on the link at first because the name of the link gave me the impression that it might be a music or song posting with that title (a jazz piece, for example). But searching other keywords came up with your posting again more than once, and at one point I clicked on the link and found out the content of the posting.

The problem is that your posting attempts to eviscerate the online website article for your perceived incredibility of their claims. I agree with you that the article in question is not scientific, but that is not surprising. The website itself is not a scientific portal for the publication of scientific research. The main idea of the article however, is not without merit based on the available evidence elsewhere. I do not know what your background is, but if you are interested, I urge you to look at that evidence from the sources. I somehow do not get the feel you are interested, because your goal seems to me to stand up for your so-called "way of life". There are some publications (on the topic of waterpipe smoking) by other centers by the way and also by the WHO that you can look up, if you want.

You somehow do not think that a link or association is a strong enough evidence. But that is how the entire current medical wisdom functions regarding so many issues. They do rely on epidemiologic and other studies and they employ statistical analyses to determine whether the associations are real and significant or whether they are random. The 2001 paper in the Journal of Urology is a strong paper that reviewed all the evidence in the published medical literature on this specific topic.

At the end of your posting you said: "I’m all for scientific research on the subject. But real and comprehensive research. Not crock of shit, un-peer-reviewed research." But when provided with samples of genuine studies or research, you seemed to skim through them quickly coming out with the impression that they are not sufficient.

Discovering your presence on Twitter was not hard by the way. Just enter "Dubai Jazz" in Google and see. And it also took 20 seconds to search for the commenters by their names (which are obvious in the comments or the Blogger profiles)(and using "twitter" as a second search word in Google).

Ian said...

Dubaijazz,

I really do not understand what you imply by your comments about why I wrote my comment, and I don't know why you insist on addressing me in a sarcastic manner. You are right. The drive is not to spread awareness. I would not do this by responding to a blog posting. You say you did not delete the comment, and I will have to take your word for it. There might be then an alternative explanation regarding why my comment showed on the blog at one time, but then disappeared. Server glitch? Blogger site glitch?

This is a topic that I have studied and researched for a while. I was just searching yesterday the topic of impotence and smoking using different combinations of keywords (try to enter "impotence waterpipe" in Google and see), and your blog posting came up in the matches. It was not the first match. I did not click on the link at first because the name of the link gave me the impression that it might be a music or song posting with that title (a jazz piece, for example). But searching other keywords came up with your posting again more than once, and at one point I clicked on the link and found out the content of the posting.

The problem is that your posting attempts to eviscerate the online website article for your perceived incredibility of their claims. I agree with you that the article in question is not scientific, but that is not surprising. The website itself is not a scientific portal for the publication of scientific research. The main idea of the article however, is not without merit based on the available evidence elsewhere. I do not know what your background is, but if you are interested, I urge you to look at that evidence from the sources. I somehow do not get the feel you are interested, because your goal seems to me to stand up for your so-called "way of life". There are some publications (on the topic of waterpipe smoking) by other centers by the way and also by the WHO that you can look up, if you want.

You somehow do not think that a link or association is a strong enough evidence. But that is how the entire current medical wisdom functions regarding so many issues. They do rely on epidemiologic and other studies and they employ statistical analyses to determine whether the associations are real and significant or whether they are random. The 2001 paper in the Journal of Urology is a strong paper that reviewed all the evidence in the published medical literature on this specific topic.

At the end of your posting you said: "I’m all for scientific research on the subject. But real and comprehensive research. Not crock of shit, un-peer-reviewed research." But when provided with samples of genuine studies or research, you seemed to skim through them quickly coming out with the impression that they are not sufficient.

Discovering your presence on Twitter was not hard by the way. Just enter "Dubai Jazz" in Google and see. And it also took 20 seconds to search for the commenters by their names (which are obvious in the comments or the Blogger profiles)(and using "twitter" as a second search word in Google).

Dubai Jazz said...

It seems Ian is having trouble posting here, so I'm posting this comment on his behalf(which I received in my inbox).

Dubaijazz,

I really do not understand what you imply by your comments about why I wrote my comment, and I don't know why you insist on addressing me in a sarcastic manner. You are right. The drive is not to spread awareness. I would not do this by responding to a blog posting. You say you did not delete the comment, and I will have to take your word for it. There might be then an alternative explanation regarding why my comment showed on the blog at one time, but then disappeared. Server glitch? Blogger site glitch?

This is a topic that I have studied and researched for a while. I was just searching yesterday the topic of impotence and smoking using different combinations of keywords (try to enter "impotence waterpipe" in Google and see), and your blog posting came up in the matches. It was not the first match. I did not click on the link at first because the name of the link gave me the impression that it might be a music or song posting with that title (a jazz piece, for example). But searching other keywords came up with your posting again more than once, and at one point I clicked on the link and found out the content of the posting.

The problem is that your posting attempts to eviscerate the online website article for your perceived incredibility of their claims. I agree with you that the article in question is not scientific, but that is not surprising. The website itself is not a scientific portal for the publication of scientific research. The main idea of the article however, is not without merit based on the available evidence elsewhere. I do not know what your background is, but if you are interested, I urge you to look at that evidence from the sources. I somehow do not get the feel you are interested, because your goal seems to me to stand up for your so-called "way of life". There are some publications (on the topic of waterpipe smoking) by other centers by the way and also by the WHO that you can look up, if you want.

You somehow do not think that a link or association is a strong enough evidence. But that is how the entire current medical wisdom functions regarding so many issues. They do rely on epidemiologic and other studies and they employ statistical analyses to determine whether the associations are real and significant or whether they are random. The 2001 paper in the Journal of Urology is a strong paper that reviewed all the evidence in the published medical literature on this specific topic.

At the end of your posting you said: "I’m all for scientific research on the subject. But real and comprehensive research. Not crock of shit, un-peer-reviewed research." But when provided with samples of genuine studies or research, you seemed to skim through them quickly coming out with the impression that they are not sufficient.

Discovering your presence on Twitter was not hard by the way. Just enter "Dubai Jazz" in Google and see. And it also took 20 seconds to search for the commenters by their names (which are obvious in the comments or the Blogger profiles)(and using "twitter" as a second search word in Google).

Dubai Jazz said...

@ Faisal,

5 times per month only?

Man you're light weight :p

Just kidding...

Faisal Haji said...

Well, I think of sheesha as a social activity and with all the busy schedule I have, my social life is at an all time low! So, whenever I hang out with my friends, I do Sheesha (or as my Canuks call it Hookah) :D

;P

Mo said...

I don't know if smoking actually causes impotency, but I most certainly have read it and come across it multiple times. I never bothered to get into fact checking mode. I always think of these things as, some people will fare better than others - as with everything.

I've been a smoker since I was 14 and only quit when I hit 30 (almost 3 years ago). I gotta tell ya, I got a raging libido and smoking has never ever ever been an issue.

I even had the occasional feeling that I was abnormal in my sexual appetite. I could never get enough. Erection? No problem. It's instant on-command. My wife prides herself to being able to call upon me whenever she wants.. and I don't know if it's her or me.. but who cares, right?

But impotence is about procreation.. and for five years, we never wanted children. No birth control pills and no condoms. Yup, yup.. pull out method and then of course the face/body/mouth shots. Hey, this is a graphic subject..

Point is, after 10 years, I started feeling insecure about myself. Could it be that I am actually impotent? I mean, how could I never have had a mistake happen all this time? I'm talking, 10 years with the same partner.

These feelings of insecurity started when we finally decided it was time to have a baby. Sure enough though, the moment it was decided, pregnancy followed.

I don't know if my story is unique or what it is. What I do know is this: in my case, smoking for about 15 years did not make me impotent. Looking at my family (older generations), I can't help but think that it's a very silly conclusion (smoking causing impotence).

But, I think the whole impotence thing is probably far more interesting than telling people you will die of lung cancer with a picture of a blackened lungs. It doesn't do anything for anyone. It simply doesn't work.

Also, I don't understand why smokers feel that others should "understand how they feel". The truth of the matter is, smokers are selfish bastards who have no regard for others and think they are entitled. This is particularly for cigarette smokers. Shisha smokers don't have the same issue, since they frequent shisha smoking places and as such, don't force their nasty habits on others while in their company (e.g. nice dinner with friends, someone lights up).

It's hard to understand what non-smokers feel until you actually move back to their side. I think what we need is more ambassadors of smokers who quit, who can then explain to smokers how it affects people around them.

Here's one: cigarette smoke makes me feel like I'm suffocating. Literally. I can't breathe. Now, I don't find this to be 'annoying'. I find it to be a serious problem. When I was a smoker, I always thought of those complaining about my cigarettes to be whingers.

It's a whole other perspective.