Independence Day and Sexual Freedom

Today’s our country’s birthday. Happy Birthday America!

It’s a good day to remind ourselves how free we are. And to consider the astounding fact that we have more sexual options than almost any other society in the history of the world. I don’t know how your mother, priest, or neighbor feels, but as far as the American government is concerned:

* You’re free to choose any sexual partner you wish. (1)
* You’re free to associate with other adults at private sex clubs. (2)
* You’re free to watch any film, hear any song, see any play, read any book involving sex. (3)
* You’re free to use any form of contraception you wish. (4)
* You’re free to have your child get sex education in public school. (5)
* You’re free to get comprehensive sexual health care: pap smears, breast exams, contraception, STD testing, and counseling. (6)
* You’re free to publicly acknowledge your alternative sexual lifestyle. (7, 7a)
* You’re free to use the internet to find partners for sex, sexy chat, or advice about sexual lifestyles. (8)
* You’re free to publish scientific research on sexual orientation, sexual identity, and sexual behavior. (9)
* You’re free to publish scientific research on the incidence and causes of sexual violence, date rape, and sexual assault. (10)
* You’re free to have medication prescribed for your depression or anxiety. (11)
* You’re free to get expensive, intrusive fertility treatments. (12, 12a)
* You’re free to watch as much internet porn as you like. (13)

There are, however, limits to these various freedoms. They’re typically imposed on you by those who don’t trust your sexuality—and perhaps not their own, either. These restrictions do NOT celebrate America’s freedoms.

1. As long as you don’t pay for sex, or accept money for sex.
2. As long as the local city council, zoning board, or district attorney hasn’t prevented the club’s existence.
3. As long as the religious right or “progressive” left hasn’t decided you can’t.
4. As long as your local pharmacist is willing to fill your prescription.
5. Unfortunately, it’s about 50-50 whether the sex “education” course is oriented to reality or to fantasy-based “abstinence” curriculum that actually increase problematic sexual outcomes.
6. As long as you can pay for it, and can find a local provider to take your money.
7. As long as you don’t get involved in a child custody suit, where your ex-spouse’s lawyer will use it against you.
7a. As long as your current boss doesn’t believe your former employment as a stripper, porn actress, or other sex work disqualifies you from current employment.
8. As long as you don’t engage in age role-play with strangers in a chat room—who, if they’re vigilantes or undercover cops, will pursue you and use the judicial system to ultimately register you as a sex offender.
9. As long as some group doesn’t decide that your work is “dangerous,” “biased,” or “hate speech,” in which case they will use social media and in-person threats to make your life miserable.
10. As long as you don’t teach at an American university, where supposedly “feminist” students will try to get you disciplined or fired for creating “unsafe spaces” and facilitating conversations they find upsetting.
11. As long as you don’t mind your physician being ignorant about the drug’s sexual side effects.
12. As long as you don’t mind your physician’s inability or unwillingness to ask detailed questions about your sexual behavior that could make the treatment unnecessary.
12a. As long as you don’t mind possibly destroying your sexual relationship in your quest to conceive ASAP.
13. As long as you’re able to navigate the fraudulent field of “porn addiction;” and can resist the demonstrably false idea that watching porn leads to both rape and erectile dysfunction; and can negotiate with a mate who feels she has the right to a porn-free home (supported, of course, by your couples therapist, who has never taken as much as a 1-hour clinical course on pornography).

HONORABLE MENTION

While we’re thinking about sexual freedom, let’s remember some of the many people who suffered to give us the sexual rights we do have:

* Bill Baird: Birth control pioneer who eventually prevailed in Baird v Eisenstat, legalizing contraception for single adults;
* Margaret Sanger: Opened the first American birth control clinic, prosecuted and exiled;
* Lenny Bruce: Entertainer arrested multiple times and ultimately destroyed for using “obscene” words onstage;
* Judy Blume: Author of teen novels that actually portray sex and sexual feelings accurately—one of the most censored authors in American history;
* Alfred Kinsey: Sex researcher hounded not only in life, but in death as well by conspiracy theorists such as Judith Reisman;
* Robert Mapplethorpe, Jock Sturges, & Sally Mann: photographers whose sexually-themed work outraged people who weren’t content to simply not look;
* Phil Harvey: Philanthropist and businessman whose years of resistance to federal prosecution changed American law—and facilitated the sale of sex products through the U.S. mail.

Thanks to individuals like these, and to our Founders, for establishing and maintaining our extraordinary level of sexual freedom.

Happy Birthday America!

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