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Why worry about sexual freedom when the country is in chaos?

September 18, 2011

We have to worry because our personal lives are in danger, and our most fundamental human rights are at risk.

When we feel our world is out of control, we look frantically for something we can control.  And the first choice is usually something personal; our weight, our clothes, our job, our dwelling.  And when you’re the government, the first choice for distracting your constituents from the mess you’ve made is sex panic and restrictions on personal freedoms.

Worrying about our youth sending sexy messages to one another is much more manageable than what to do about three wars.

Restricting access to birth control by declaring that to do so is a way to stop people from sexual expression is easier to “sell” than why we gave so much money to AIG.

Pointing at certain relationships and declaring that allowing them to exist will mean the end of families as we know them is a fear we can deal with by prohibiting them, rather than prohibit the exportation of jobs and production.

Spending time inside our communities debating the definition of a word is much easier than trying to change society.  Fine-tuning an incident response program is more instantly fulfilling than trying to change the environment that establishes the need for that program.

Faced with a project of intimidating proportions we delay facing the project by first organizing our office or desk or file cabinet.

When the magnitude of a loss or a threat is so great that the mind cannot fully grasp it and continue to function, we find comfort in the distractions of what might be characterized as mindless behaviors.  Thus, a newly bereaved person can find comfort in organizing socks in a drawer or meticulously applying makeup or body creams.

Trillions of dollars in debt.  I don’t think we even learned trillion when I was in school.  Our bond ratings dropping and the stock market crashing.  What does that mean for my world?  How do we fix it?  How can I even worry about it when I don’t understand it?

And so, faced with individual helplessness and change we may not understand, we do what societies have done since recorded history – we try to restrict sexual expression and seek to punish those who don’t conform with a rigid standard imposed by anonymous (or not-so-anonymous) self-hating rabble-rousers.

Change is happening all around us and it will continue to happen with us or without us. So let us focus on looking toward the future – identifying our goals and then looking at the things that have to change for us to reach those goals.

In that context, the opportunity that we see is to create a safe space for conversation; for the discussions that will allow society to accept the inevitable change and move forward without anxiety.

Society will change.  We can help make that change more positive and, in the process, secure our fundamental human right to sexual freedom.

Celebrations and discussions like “Sexual Outlaws:  The Prohibition of Pleasure” focus the conversation on both the current restrictions and the tools available to us to create that safe space for the conversations that will diminish society’s anxieties.

Join us on Sexual Freedom Day, either in Washington, DC or right where you are and have a conversation about the change you envision, the world you’d like to see.

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