Penis on loan from Rush

I’m not exactly sure how I missed this before the holiday weekend, but news like this never gets old:

It’s not every day that a U.S. senator gives a lecture and slide show about risky sexual activities — complete with gross pictures of the naughty bits.

This was Sen. Tom Coburn’s lecture on sexually transmitted diseases, held yesterday for the young congressional staff in the place where such things are talked about: the basement — in this case, of the Capitol. It is no small thing to ask an intern who is trying his best to mimic a working adult to come to a lecture like this in the middle of a workday, considering the danger of being transported back to the blushing days of high school sex ed.


For the first few minutes, it worked, as Coburn flipped through slides showing dry facts and figures about STDs, that 2 of every 3 new cases occur in people younger than 25, that most occur in people with multiple sexual partners. Then Coburn got serious. He flipped to his next slide. It showed a part of the male anatomy but not as a science textbook drawing; this was the real thing, and a particularly sorry example; it looked like it had been left outside by mistake and then rusted in some unnatural way, with scaly dry spots, and warts on an angry red background.

This image was now projected up on a wall of the U.S. Capitol, and the mood shifted instantly. None of the 160 or so audience members shrieked, or giggled, or ran out of the room. They’re not 15 anymore, and this is a professional environment. The chatter stopped; everyone looked straight ahead, or down at their BlackBerries. A large number of women crossed their arms over their chests. Most everyone seemed encapsulated in the bit of air around them, afraid to move or touch the person sitting next to them. The half-eaten slices of pizza, now cooling on laps, seemed deeply unappetizing.

Professional?: yes. Bright?: maybe not.

Coburn always offers to see people in private after the lecture, and his staff say 10 or so people always take him up on it and many more ask follow-up questions after his lectures. No doubt at the very least he’s filling in basic gaps in knowledge.

“You keep mentioning the word ‘monogamy’,” a staffer named Roland Foster recalls one young woman asking after a lecture. “What is that?”

“That’s when you have sex with only one partner,” Coburn responded.

“You mean at a time?”

Somebody get that female staffers phone number for Bill Clinton. He’ll know what to do.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....