Are American Women Allowed to Have Sex Because They Want It?
To acknowledge that women desire sex is beyond the pale in America
I write periodically that Americans are paralyzed by sex—we can’t teach our kids to enjoy sex, we can’t imagine adolescents having sex, we can’t watch real sex in movies—certainly not gay sex, even when the audience claims to accept gay sex (i.e., are Democrats). And Republicans double down on abhorrence—denial—of teen sex (see Bristol Palin); frigidity as the Republican feminine ideal (cf.Cindy McCain and Callista Gingrich); denial of gayness among Republicans; and hypocrisy and cheating as the Republican version of open marriage.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that one of the two leading Republican candidates for president abhors contraception and believes sex’s only purpose is to procreate; and that Republicans think a woman who seeks contraception should not only have her boss exercise control over her right to do so, but is a whore suitable only for the rest of us to watch having sex. No Republican has rebuked Rush Limbaugh for making those comments.* And, by the way, watch Democrats and liberal commentators argue that contraception should be covered because women often use it for health reasons other than preventing pregnancy.
Interpretation? Even liberal Americans won’t endorse—even express—the idea that single women should be permitted to have sex as they will.
What sexual revolution?
P.S. (March 2, 2012)
The New York Times opinion piece on this matter (by Louise Trubek) is titled “The Unfinished Fight Over Contraception” and begins, “Can we still be arguing about a woman’s ability to control her own fertility.” That it should begin, “Can we still be arguing about a woman’s ability to have and enjoy sex” would be unthinkable, since even Times readers would consider such a headline—and the idea behind it—too racy, provocative, radical, and unsupportable.
P.S.S. (March 3, 2012)
Times columnist Charles Blow is the first I’ve seen to focus on sex:
The kind of conservatism that Santorum represents has been described as a war on women, but I would rephrase that. It’s a war on sex beyond the confines of traditional marriage and strict heterosexuality in which women, particularly poor ones, and gays, particularly open ones, are likely to suffer the greatest casualties.
But Blow is not all the way there; Santorum is against sex per se, marital sex included.