Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sex is Fun … the Humanity!

Why are conservatives so against sex? Are they simply doing it wrong? Not often enough? Do they want to reduce the competition? Is it a way to appease their guilt? Or do they truly believe that it is a sin to enjoy your life? The latest example of that enmity toward the most natural of acts comes from a surprising place, San Francisco, where conservative parents have led a successful push to block the use of a textbook, Your Health Today, in sex ed classes. Why would they go to these lengths? Apparently the book is too forthright about the fact that people actually have sex for fun and pleasure. The humanity!

As reported by Slate, the book has been called “pornographic” by some of the parents leading the charge, even as a perusal of the key pages in question seem more chaste than many PG-13 movies. The reality is that attempts to repress sexual desire are in fact attempts to control our bodies, and by extension, our minds (which really are a part of our bodies, in my estimation). This starts from a very young age, with gendered clothes, schools and classrooms that work like military boot camps with a smile and less shouting, lines, uniforms and the whole host of institutionalized rules and laws that reinforce the notion of following authority blindly. Sex ed is just the most obvious example of the attempt to control both male and female bodies, though the latter is obviously been at the forefront of biopolitics for as long as history has been written. From blocking access to birth control to outlawing abortions to making some women cover up almost their entire bodies, social rules have reinforced the patriarchal order at the very level of what female bodies are allowed to do and where they are allowed to be.

In any case, trying to repress the sexual desires of teens by not letting them find out about sex is clearly a rather absurd strategy. And given access to much worse information all across the Internet, it is an effort that is so futile, it’s hard to understand why people waste so much time trying to shelter kids of this generation from sex. No credible research has ever shown that abstinence education works, and many studies instead find that teens are more likely to be responsible given correct information about sex, sexually-transmitted diseases, birth control methods and the like. But as long as we have organized religion and conservative movements to return us to some white male fantasy of an erstwhile Eden, we will continue to have these absurd battles over sex and the constant efforts to repress our most natural desire.

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