September 23rd, 2010

A Montage of Sexual Freedom

September 23 (today) is National Sexual Freedom Day! The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, whose mission is to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right, has organized a celebration of Sexual Freedom Day at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, at which time it will also unveil its 2010 State of Sexual Freedom in the US Report. I am delighted that said event(s) happen to be local to me, so I will be attending them in part later this afternoon.

In the meantime, Woodhull has also invited bloggers to participate in a Blog Carnival honoring Sexual Freedom Day. This post represents my enthusiastic participation!

It seems to me I have blogged here a number of times about topics related to sexual freedom—indeed, it is a central tenet of what I have aimed for this blog to encapsulate. When I learned of the Blog Carnival (thank you to Elizabeth Wood for the heads up), it occurred to me to excerpt things from these past posts on topics that seem to me related to sexual freedom and present them in montage form.

I have chosen the categories below directly from the list of Key Issues at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation website to use as headings to organize these passages from past posts. Not everything I find relevant and significant to sexual freedom is encompassed here, of course. Some of it I haven’t written about, or haven’t written about yet. : ) But at least in part, this is an excerpted representation of articulations I have posted on The Green Light District pertaining to sexual freedom.


Because beyond all the (numerous and significant) practical implications I find so disturbing about abstinence-only sex education, philosophically speaking there is a basic premise of the perspective and rhetoric that profoundly doesn’t resonate with me.

Frequently the focus/discussion is on “sex before you get married.” For quite a while I’ve found the “before you get married” part of this rhetoric notable. Before you get married—because, of course, you’re going to get married.

Um…what if you don’t get married (or legally can’t where you choose to live)? What if you don’t want to get married? What if that doesn’t feel like a prominent focus in your life at this time, and you’re not sure it ever will? Does that mean sex is just out of the question for you?

The assertion that these two things are exclusively connected actually makes me feel a little bit queasy. The idea of taking something as fundamental, inherent, and personal as sexuality and forcing it into a rigid, in some ways arguably arbitrary as far as sex is concerned, social standard seems appalling to me. I am not arguing against marriage. I am not saying people shouldn’t get married, or that marriage is irrelevant, or aiming to denigrate it in any way. I am lamenting the idea that marriage, the social construct, should or would be the predecessor or controller of sexuality, an inextricable, wholly individualized, absolutely fundamental aspect of life itself.
(-from “Reverence Where Reverence Is Due,” 4/3/09)


The recognition in me now is that within a religious context, the idea of sex being a sin is rooted in the centuries-old postulation of a fundamental separation between the body and the spirit—with the body being the pathway to “sin.” Said view perceives “fleshly desires”—of which sex is decidedly one of the most prominent—as something to be transcended in the name of and in order to access the “spirit.”

In my perspective this claim is fundamentally flawed in its adherence to a view of separation/compartmentalization within the human being. Wholeness is, to me, congruent with spiritual realization. The “divide and conquer” mentality within ourselves inevitably leads away from this and results in myriad inauthenticities and suffering. When something as intrinsic and fundamental as sexuality is repressed or vilified, it creates a substantial internal rift. Repression does not equal obliteration.

Further, the expansion I have experienced in this area seems to have offered a clear perception that rather than simply being “acceptable,” sexuality is sacred. (Of course on some level everything is.) Being so fundamental and connected to life and humanity offers it enormous potential as a pathway to consciousness/the Divine.
(-from “Repression, Sexuality, Service, and Gratitude,” 7/18/09)


I understand there has been a resistance to and subsequent shortage of stocking this title on the actual shelves of bookstores due to its categorization as erotica — which I respond to with a combination of dumfounded bafflement, infuriated frustration, and frankly, heartbreak. The idea of people missing out on the experience of this book because of a pervasive ignorance (in regard to what is allowed to be classified as “literary”) and a puritanical repressiveness (in regard to sexuality) in this society almost makes me want to cry. It also strikes me as a maddening irony that Donna is exactly the kind of artist who aims to and has delivered on the aim to propagate beautiful, exquisite art (in this case writing) that is sexually honest and explicit—yet (some) book retailers are failing to wake up to this, choosing instead to allow the drudgery of the woefully sexually repressed culture in which we live to perpetuate its disservice of failing to embrace this kind of artistic expression.
(-from “Gift of the Amorous Woman,” 8/5/08)


Many medical experts testified in the court cases that preceded this Supreme Court case (and during the legislative process of the bill’s becoming law) that this ban was, for one thing, vague, so that they wouldn’t always be sure exactly what it covered (putting their medical and professional discretion at obvious risk), and for another thing, covered procedures that may be used as early as 12 weeks into a pregnancy if the doctor determines it is the safest and/or most advantageous procedure to use.

How does the doctor determine this? I don’t know, because I’m not a doctor. And neither are the legislators that voted for this law’s passage, the president that signed it into law, or the justices who today allowed for it to be upheld.

In effect this country has just allowed the government to override doctors and medical professionals in making a health care decision which can be life-and-death or directly related to severe and significant health conditions for its female citizens. At this moment I utterly fail to see how that can be a service of a democracy.
(-from “The Supreme Court and the World of Form,” 4/18/07)


It continues to astonish me how automatically people appear to dismiss, denigrate, and outright attack things of a sexual nature that they either know little about or simply assume must be “bad” or “wrong” because society postulates, either overtly or tacitly, some disapproval of them. What, exactly, is the argument against the practice of consensual activities between adults that is not causing harm to others?

. . . Examine the attitudes about sex and sexuality that you have naturally absorbed from the mainstream culture and consider how you feel about them. If you find yourself feeling judgment, ask yourself why you believe you are in a position to judge what is right and wrong sexually and that others should act in accordance with those beliefs as well?

. . . What if someone decided that something you consensually enjoy sexually was “wrong” and “indecent” and quite simply not allowed anymore?
(-from “Somewhere Between Frustration and Oneness,” 3/1/07)


Could it be, again, that this is about sex and certain underlying biases or associations we have with it?

I feel as though I would appreciate it if this were at least recognized. There seems to be an automatic “prostitution is bad, wrong, exploitative, harmful” perspective throughout virtually the entirety of society that seems to me to rest on little more than, “well, that’s just the way it is.” Why? Why is sex so much different from all the other myriad services that aren’t even blinked at when they are commodified and used in the context of (rampant) capitalism?
(-from “Perception, Profession, and Decriminalization,” 5/24/09)


Fearing sex as a subject and our children’s eventual exposure to it as a healthy, intrinsic part of life seems indicative to me of a distortion in perspective. It is not sex itself that is problematic but our fears and issues around it of which we are not consciously aware and/or which we have not worked through, and this seems especially relevant to me in relation to how we are teaching and the messages we are sending young people about this aspect of life. Especially if we feel a fear or resistance around sexuality, I invite us all to take a deep breath and sincerely examine what is truly there and what resistances or inhibitions we encounter in relation to the subject—and to eventually explore the idea of feeling enthusiastic about nurturing the open, individualized, integrated, authentic, eventual sexual selves of all youth and indeed all individuals.
(-from “An Invitation (Perhaps a Plea) to Explore…,” 9/21/10)

The particular mention I give here is to the sex educators, to those who have devoted their academic and/or intellectual resources and capabilities to our sexual health and wellness with utmost respect for the pleasure, beauty, and importance of sexuality. I find what seems to be the societal lack of appreciation for them truly astounding, and I personally feel profound gratitude for the work they do in this area that is so dear to my own sensibility as well.

To the sincere, earnest, caring, thoughtful, enthusiastic, hard-working sex educators of the world—thank you.
(-from “To the Sex Educators,” 2/27/10)

To all, have a beautiful Sexual Freedom Day. : )


*The Woodhull site actually says “Integration of Sex with Religion”; I changed the wording to “Spirituality” here for purposes of personal resonance.

“The perception that divides you from her is a lie, for some reason you never asked why…this is not a black and white world, to be alive I say the colors must swirl, and I believe that maybe today, we will all get to appreciate, yes we will all get to appreciate, the beauty of gray…”
-LIVE “The Beauty of Gray”


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