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Vero Beach, Florida: What’s the biggest factor behind divorce in India?

Scott J. Schafer 638 Travis Street Vero Beach, FL 32960

Childlessness is the biggest factor for divorce in India while religious stereotyping for social practices such as polygamy can be misleading, studies and Census data show

Roshan Kishore

After the Central government has made clear its opposition to triple talaq among Muslims in an ongoing case in the Supreme Court, the debate around a uniform civil code (UCC) has once again gathered momentum in the country.

Broadly speaking, there are three camps on the whole issue: those who support practices like triple talaq and nikah halala (which forces a Muslim women to consummate marriage with another man before remarrying her divorced husband), like the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board; those who oppose such practices as being un-Islamic but are against imposition of a UCC; and those who want a UCC in place of different personal laws.

Given that the legal and political debate around the UCC is likely to continue for some time, Mint has looked at some statistics and research on divorce in India.

First, census data shows that polygamy among men is not a phenomenon which is restricted to Muslims alone, an impression which is often drawn because of practices like triple talaq under the Muslim Personal Law.

Census data gives the number of currently married male and female population by religious groups. The data shows that the number of currently married women is greater than currently married men among all religious groups. In a world where one man marries one woman, the discrepancy is difficult to explain.

To be sure, it could have been argued that intra-religious mismatch among number of married men and women is a result of inter-religious marriages. However, the overall difference in the number of married women and men, more than 6.5 million, shows that polygamy exists among men in the country. A similar exercise with state-wise data is likely to give misleading results because sex-skewed migration can produce distorted outcomes.

Census data on divorce also shows that Muslims do not have the highest share of divorced women among all religious groups in the country. While Muslims have a higher share of divorced women than Hindus and the all-India average, Christians and Buddhists have a much higher share of divorced women in their population.

Another interesting statistic which emerges is when we club together the categories of divorced and separated women—the latter category represents women who are living separately from their husbands despite the fact that they have not had a legal divorce.

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Once the share of separated women in total population of women is added to the share of divorced women, the Hindu-Muslim gap becomes much smaller. This suggests that while the Hindu law does not allow men to easily terminate their marriages, they might be abandoning them without taking recourse to a legal route such as divorce.

The above data tells us that marital break-up patterns in India do not fit into the common religious stereotyping of Muslims being the community with highest divorces.

Having said this, there are other discernible patterns which can be seen among divorced women in India.

For example a 2016 research paper by Premchand Dommaraju, an assistant professor of sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, has used unit level data from District Level Health Survey-3 (DLHS-3) conducted in 2007-08 to analyse the various factors which could lead to divorce or separation (for a period of more than one year) among women.

The analysis, presented in the form of odds ratio, shows that women with characteristics such as no living sons or no children have a higher probability of facing divorce in comparison with those who have at least one living son. Similarly, women whose husbands have a lower level of education face a higher risk of divorce or separation in comparison with others.

What explains the prevalence of more stable marriages among the relatively better-off in India? While the data suggests that divorce rates have been increasing with time in India, there is some research to suggest that poorer societies have much less stigma associated with remarriage for both men and women.

For example, a 2016 paper based on study of slum clusters in south Delhi by sociologist Shalini Grover shows that remarriage among men and women is neither uncommon nor a taboo among poorer people. Many times, the decisions are driven by practical concerns such as a widowed/single father looking for childcare or a married woman seeking to escape from a violent marriage. While the police is regularly involved to mediate or procure proof of abdication (in the form of complaints), which is often used for remarriage, prohibitive costs keep most away from legal recourse. Grover cites case-histories where even after remarriage, men and women have gone back to live with their earlier partners.

In these pages see here and here, we have also pointed out the gender inequality on questions of marriage and remarriage in the country. Reading the statistics on divorce which have been cited above, along with those in the earlier stories, underlines the point that marital hierarchies in India are too complex to be ascribed to one particular religion or set of laws. Of course, this is not to suggest that vested interests that advocate regressive laws such as triple talaq should continue to be placated.

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Chicago, Illinois: Adult World Inc. accused of false advertising of sexual enhancement products

Jermaine B. Gaffney 1675 Post Avenue Chicago, IN 60607

SAN DIEGO – A retailer is accused of falsely representing various sexual enhancement products as dietary supplements.

JST Distribution LLC filed a complaint on May 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against Adult World Inc. alleging false advertising and unfair competition.

According to the complaint, the defendant sells sexual enhancement supplements such as Black Mamba Premium, Full Throttle on Demand and others. The plaintiff holds Adult World Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly mislabeled its products as dietary supplements despite unlawfully containing hidden drugs and chemical ingredients such as sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks damages, injunctive relief, award of any and all of defendant's profit arising from the foregoing acts and other applicable laws, restitution of defendant's ill-gotten gains, cost and attorney's fees and any other relief the court may deem appropriate. It is represented by Kevin Valsi of Tauller Smith LLP in Los Angeles.

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Reno, Nevada: Wilhelm Reich Museum open for season

Joe A. Bunch 3727 Camden Street Reno, NV 89501

According to museum staff, few places in the world combine the intellectual fascination and raw natural beauty of Orgonon, home of one of the 20th century’s most controversial figures, Austrian born physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich.

Now maintained as the Wilhelm Reich Museum, Orgonon is a historic site and nature preserve comprising 175 acres of fields and woodland, a system of trails, a Conference Center, and the Orgone Energy Observatory.

The museum represents the life and work of physicianscientist Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The collections contain period furnishings, scientific instruments, paintings and works of art on paper, photographic materials, personal items, textiles and library materials. The library contains several thousand published volumes, journals, and reports. Forty-six original paintings by Reich, several original drawings and a Kaethe Kollwitz woodcut, scientific charts, and an original blueprint are also within the museum collections.

Children can explore a hands-on Discovery Room. And the observatory roof provides spectacular vistas of the region’s open skies, lakes, and surrounding countryside.

Reich’s tomb, with its dramatic bronze portrait bust, is in a forest clearing nearby.

A bookstore/gift shop gives access to all Reich’s published work.

The observatory is open in July and August, Wednesday through Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. and in September, Saturdays only from 1 to 5 p.m. Special tours year-round are available by appointment.

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New York, New York: Science helps Pakistani man to double his penis size with testosterone injections

Chester J. Hostetler 2932 Abia Martin Drive New York, NY 10011

Science is one of humanity’s most interesting enterprises because it is uniquely positioned to answer certain fundamental questions, such as: What is life? How old is the universe? aaaaaand how do I double my penis size?

Let’s consider that last one for a second. Just how does one double one’s penis size anyway?

Now, I’m SURE all our male readers are perfectly happy with their penis size, and have no feelings of inadequacy whatsoever about their manhood. It’s not like that’s part of the universal male experience or anything like that.

All the same, let’s assume there was some man out there somewhere, who for some bizarre reason wanted to make his penis even bigger. What can science tell this man about his junk?

A recent case study managed to shed some light on the nascent field of giant cock science: a Pakistani man was having some hormonal issues, including a lack of body hair, an inability to grow a full beard, and a less-than-average amount of morning erections.

It should also be mentioned – and there’s no good way to put this – the doctors noted that the man had a seriously tiny weenie for a man of his age, about the size of a child’s.

It turns out the poor guy had an undiagnosed case of hypogonadism, which is a condition linked to low testosterone production. Testosterone is considered to be “a critical hormone for sexual, cognitive, and body function and development”. As part of his treatment, he got a series of testosterone injections over several months.

And his penis doubled in size. Doubled! As did his balls.

Hopefully he felt a little bit better after getting that result. No doubt there are many men in the world who would pay tens of thousands of dollars for a series of injections that would give them a similar result.

In any case, testosterone injections are serious stuff, and aren’t meant to be used for cosmetic purposes. The endocrine system is crucial to many aspects of health, and is linked to many different kinds of cancer.

So keep that in mind before you go trying to find an intravenous testosterone drip for your johnson.

And always remember fellas: it’s not about the size of the boat; it’s about the motion of the ocean.

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Chicago, Illinois: Inside the Orgone Box

Anthony D. Lopez 1131 Oakmound Drive Chicago, IL 60605

In the classic confessional memoir “The God That Failed,” Arthur Koestler describes some of the characters who made up the constituency of his Communist Party group in Berlin in the early 1930s:

“Among other members of our cell, I remember Dr. Wilhelm Reich. He . . . had just published a book called ‘The Function of the Orgasm,’ in which he had expounded the theory that the sexual frustration of the proletariat caused a thwarting of its political consciousness; only through a full, uninhibited release of the sexual urge could the working class realize its revolutionary potentialities and historic mission; the whole thing was less cockeyed than it sounds.”

Pausing briefly to ask oneself how the word “cockeyed” translates into Berlin vernacular, one next inquires how the theory could have been more preposterous than at first appeared. Apart from his life of tireless and sensational debauchery, Koestler himself was famous for hitching his wagon to various movements of the paranormal and the extrasensory; he might have been expected to give Reich’s oddball theories a try even as both men spun off from the dying planet of Soviet Communism. But what is extraordinary is the number of apparently level and careful people who, in pursuit of the better and bigger orgasm, were prepared to lower themselves into Reich’s jerry-built “orgone box” and await blissful developments. One is not so surprised to read of the enthusiasm of try-anything-once artists like Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, William Burroughs and Norman Mailer. But how must Albert Einstein have felt, while engaged on his two weeks of study of orgone properties? (He did at least conclude that the “box” was an insult to the laws of physics.) Did Saul Bellow not succumb to the queasy feeling that he might be looking like a sap?

Is it too easy to simply speculate that men will make fools of themselves for the sake of sex? As Christopher Turner notices in his very amusing and intelligent book, “Adventures in the Orgasmatron,” George Orwell, not usually associated with promiscuity of any kind, included central elements of the Reichian theory and program almost uncritically in the pages of “1984.” The terrifying inquisitor O’Brien tells the cowering Winston Smith: “The sex instinct will be eradicated. . . . We shall abolish orgasm.” And Winston’s intensely promiscuous girlfriend, Julia, explains why the Party needs sexual repression:

“When you make love you’re using up energy. And afterward you feel happy and don’t give a damn for anything. They can’t bear you to feel like that. They want you bursting with energy all the time. All this marching up and down and cheering is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and Three Year Plans and all the rest of that bollocks?”

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Orwell’s relationship with the libidinous was, as we know, a generally distraught one. Did his private resentment on this score inhibit him from seeing that a really clever ruling class would saturate its subjects with all sorts of treats, from the erotic to the narcotic, and enlist them in their own soft slavery by means of hedonism? (Toward the end of his life, this suggestive point was actually put to him in a letter from his old French teacher at Eton, who enclosed a copy of his own latest novel, “Brave New World.”)

An alternative explanation for the temporary success of Reich, especially among American intellectuals both of the Marxisant stripe and of the do-it-yourself “organic community” sort, is that he was able to propose an essentially mechanical and “scientific” solution to a psychological problem, yet a mechanical solution that could be easily assembled and employed at home. Arriving in the United States in 1939 as one of the many dissident Freudians and heterodox Marxists to have escaped Hitler (and in his own case, also Stalin), Reich was quick to announce the invention of the “orgone energy accumulator.” This device or contraption took the form of a wooden cupboard lined with metal and insulated with steel wool. It was about the size of a telephone booth. In his movie “Sleeper,” Woody Allen satirically referred to the humble resulting structure as “the Orgasmatron”: a ridiculous name deftly annexed by Turner. But the real terms used by Reich to promote the cupboard of ecstasy — “orgastic potency”; “orgone energy” — were hardly less hyperbolic.

Turner, an editor at Cabinet magazine, is clearly right to connect the Reich movement to the early stirrings of the postwar sexual revolution: a development that might have occurred naturally and that could well have been apolitical. However, a series of hysterically comic figures on the American right (and one or two rather sinister ones as well, like Senator Joseph McCarthy) claimed to see the figure of Alfred Kinsey, say, as a frontman for a wider conspiracy to sap American morals. It wasn’t long before agents from the F.B.I. and the Immigration and Naturalization Service were calling on Reich, either to ask him about subversive characters he might know, or about his own political past and affiliations. In a way, he made the perfect boogeyman for J. Edgar Hoover, who managed to amass a file of hundreds of pages on a man who must have seemed the perfect fusion of Red menace and sexual pervert. (One wishes that Reich had had time to do a psychosexual profile of Hoover.) What the investigators actually found, however, was a man whose breach with his Communist past was complete: stating firmly (this was in late 1953) that he favored the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg even though he might “not have wanted to be the executioner.” This may have owed something to a need to overcompensate, and even to impress authority, but we know from other sources that in many ways Reich was quite conservative. According to Paul Robinson in “The Freudian Left”: “Reich seemed to fear his would-be admirers even more than his critics. He was haunted by the thought that men with dirty minds would misuse his authority.” He not only disliked pornography but — in what must count as a startling departure from Viennese theory and practice — was opposed to dirty jokes, believing that sexual emancipation would make them obsolete. In addition, he “abhorred” homosexuality.

“Adventures in the Orgasmatron” has many fine and engaging passages, but I think my favorite must be this one, in which Alfred Kazin describes the pathetic trust in Reich shown by the writer Isaac Rosenfeld. Has there ever been a better description of the baffled naïveté of so many “New York intellectuals”?:

“Isaac’s orgone box stood up in the midst of an enormous confusion of bedclothes, review copies, manuscripts, children and the many people who went in and out of the room as if it were the bathroom. Belligerently sitting inside his orgone box, daring philistines to laugh, Isaac nevertheless looked lost, as if he were waiting in his telephone booth for a call that was not coming through.” This book will change the way in which we employ that increasingly lazy phrase about “thinking outside the box.”

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