[LMB] Betan control of pregnancy

Beatrice Otter beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com
Sun Nov 8 22:10:19 GMT 2015

On 11/8/2015 6:29 AM, Elizabeth Stowe wrote:
> Damien: Cordelia pushed her into going to Beta.  As for being creeped out,
> Kareen seems to regret nothing about her experience, and she's an adult.
> Why are you creeped out for her?  Do you want to lecture her about what
> she did with her body?
> es: If Kareen were a living woman I met casually, I certainly wouldn't say anything. Fortunately, she's a character and I'm a reader.
> Anyone who turns herself (Kareen between Memory and A Civil Campaign) or is turned by others (Tej in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance) to an institution for an officially impelled first sexual experience creeps me out. Neither girl showed a need for therapy.
Um.  I think we have, here, the root of the disagreement.  You seem to 
think that /the first sexual experience/ was required or somehow 
coerced, instead of just the implant and the academic portion.  Which, 
if it were true, would definitely be creepy, but I have no idea how you 
came up with that idea.

Actually, thinking further and rereading the passage in question, I 
think I have reconstructed your reasoning. 1) a contraceptive implant is 
required on Beta (we don't know that it's required for visitors like 
Kareen, but it may have been). 2) as a 17-18 year old woman, right after 
she got the implant and her hymen cut, she went out and had sex with a 
professional, and so sex must have been part of the package--it wasn't 
just an academic course and an implant, it was an academic course and an 
implant and sex with a licensed professional, which she only got to 
choose man, woman, or herm.

And, if you are correct in assuming that the practical experience was 
required, that would indeed be creepy.  But aside from them happening at 
the same time, I don't see /any/ evidence for that theory, and we have 
Lois' words extra-canonically saying that was not the case.  I wouldn't 
personally have gone to a professional ... but if I were in Kareen's 
shoes I might have.  Her boyfriend had many sexual and psychological 
traumas that would make sex a minefield, especially first-time sex; I 
can see why Kareen would have wanted to turn to someone else to get her 
first time out of the way with so she could go into her first time *with 
Mark* with as few nerves as possible and with some idea of what she was 
doing.  (How much do you want to bet that if Mark were more 
together--if, say, Mirror Dance never happened with its associated 
traumas--that Kareen would have chosen to lose her virginity with Mark 

She was a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, who has been in a 
sexually repressive society all her life.  And now she's in a place 
where she can try anything she wants, nobody will care as long as she's 
not hurting herself or anyone else, and it will never get back to her 
parents (she thinks).  And where there's no possibility of any sort of 
negative repercussions.  If she /hadn't/ experimented at least a little, 
I'd be wondering if she were asexual (i.e. not interested in sexual 
intercourse at all).  And right after getting the implant and the 
academic instruction would be the logical time to do it, wouldn't it?

> To me it's similar to Tony and Claire first being matched by Dr. Yei (Falling Free), then told they would have subsequent babies with other partners. Institutions work towards their goals, using individuals as they go.
In Falling Free, they are required to have sex and don't get to choose 
their partners.  (They are also having a lot of sex extracurricularly, 
as it were.)  There is no evidence that Kareen has been coerced or 
required to have sex in any way.  We don't even know if she was coerced 
or required to get the implant and have the academic sex ed part--it's 
required for Betans, but we have no idea if they require long-term 
student visitors to do it.

Beatrice Otter

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list