Around July 4, everyone’s thinking about freedom. And when it comes to sexuality, Americans have a lot. Here are sex-related rights we’ve acquired just in the last 20 years. Today…
~ You can buy condoms practically everywhere, and without a prescription.
~ An unmarried couple can check into a hotel without explanation or apology.
~ You can buy or stream virtually any musical recording, regardless of sexual lyrics.
~ You can marry a partner of any gender and any race.
~ You can have any kind of adult sex inside your own home.
~ Under specified circumstances, health insurance will cover much of the cost of contraception, abortion, erection drugs, fertility treatment, and sterilization.
~ You can serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.
~ You can advertise erection drugs, tampons, lubricants, and other sexual health products on TV and radio.
Every single one of these rights is valuable. None of these freedoms were acquired without a political struggle. And yet this isn’t nearly enough.
MORE FREEDOM, PLEASE
Here are some other sex-related freedoms I wish for every American—whether they choose to exercise them or not. The freedom to…
~ To look at porn without registering with the government (which is now required in Louisiana and Virginia, with more states to come).
~ To use sex-related keywords on Google and Twitter.
~ To consult fertility specialists who are trained in sexuality, not just biology and chemistry.
~ To get an abortion for any reason before a fetus is viable. And to be free of the bizarre, meaningless concept of “unborn child” in public policy debates.
~ To consult a clinical professional (e.g., psychologist, physician, nurse) whose training emphasized clinical expertise far above social justice concerns.
~ To quote established, peer-reviewed science whose findings are uncomfortable for some people (e.g., regarding sex differences, or how teen girls identifying as transsexual tend to cluster in certain schools).
~ To access peer-reviewed science whose conclusions discomfort political activists (which is becoming more difficult, as respected scientific journals are now retracting articles with solid evidence leading to conclusions some people find “hurtful”).
~ To be free of the requirement to name your pronouns on forms or applications (when it would be illegal to require someone to name their religion, fertility status, or age). And no, “decline to state” doesn’t satisfy this—would you be satisfied being asked on a job or school form how often you read the Bible, as long as you’re allowed to “decline to state”?
~ To ask questions about, or disagree with, others’ opinions and beliefs, without being labelled misogynist or “X-phobic (trans, homo, ace, etc.). Name-calling is a weak substitute for logic and facts when disagreeing with a point of view.
Sexual freedom will always be controversial. It will always come with responsibility. But that responsibility does not require that no one’s feelings be hurt. Rather, it means continually creating and re-creating an environment in which people can discuss ideas, finding new meanings in sexual expression—and new ways for people to live together when they disagree, enjoying their own sexual freedom while tolerating others’.
Like short videos about sexual topics like infidelity, sexual orientation, menopause, and threesomes? See my channel at www.youtube.com/@Marty_Klein/videos.