We often hear about the so-called dangers of progressive attitudes towards sex. Certain shady elements who shall go unnamed (but who write and blog for conservative sites) are wailing that our society is too sexy, too hedonistic, too sensitive to minority voices and our permissiveness will somehow bring an end to civilization. They spin every new civil right and humanitarian gesture towards minority cultures as the slippery slope to immorality. The hysteria is spread so wide it even extends to future sex, with some academics now trying to prepare for the day sex robots turn against their human overlords. It would all be hilarious if it wasn’t so painfully real that these biases and ignorances dominate public opinion.
The truth is that the real danger comes from sex-negativity. It’s sex-negative culture that is dragging society down, destroying lives, ruining sexual health, and treating people like widgets instead of flesh and blood humans.
In today’s America, a backlash against LGB and gender minorities is rising, fueled in part by volumes of anti-sex propaganda that is being cranked out on wrong wing sites in a lame effort to defend anti-humanitarian discrimination. They claim that a sexually freer world is a dangerous place and constantly re-enforce ideas as old and patriarchal as Freud’s theory of penis envy.
It’s the dark side of anti-sex dogma. Nothing they are fighting
for is moral or good on any rational level.
Even the #MeToo movement is under attack as if victims of sexual assault should all shut up now because we’ve heard enough. The anti-sex contingents want their good old days back — the days when you could abuse women and get away with it. In the US, violence against women historically went unpunished — until the 1920s, it was legal for husbands to rape and beat their wives. It then took US Courts another 50 years finally to treat domestic abuse as a crime instead of a private problem. It still hasn’t brought an end to violence against women, and that’s what #MeToo is really about. It’s about how women have historically been treated as male property, how women have been abused and sexually exploited by men and how it’s still going on behind closed doors from Hollywood to Hyderabad. If you want to stop the violence, the first step is talking about it. If you censor that speech, what you’re really fighting for is returning to the days when women held no agency over their own welfare.
It’s the dark side of anti-sex dogma. Nothing they are fighting for is moral or good on any rational level. It’s all about oppression, suppression, fear, and prejudice. It’s why, in 2018, we’re still fighting many of the same fights our great-grandparents fought. We are still fighting for basic sexual freedoms. We are still fighting for prenatal and reproductive health rights. We are still fighting for abortion rights. We are still fighting for the right not to be abused.
In the 21st century, most people choose to remain willfully ignorant about sex and gender diversity. They never learn the simple civilized rules that rightly should apply to how we treat other human beings, regardless of their race, gender, orientation or ability. It’s an entrenched ignorance that is mainly promoted by people who don’t understand human biology and don’t really care enough about human life to get educated.
Anti-Sex = Anti-Life
Anti-Sex people are Anti-Life at heart. They embrace an elitist, group-think and ideological bias that often poisons life for themselves, their partners, their children and people who don’t accept their ideology. They don’t like the living as much as they like their version of how humans should live. People who don’t conform to their expectations are treated as enemies and dangerous outsiders. They oppose sexual health innovations, like Plan B or the HPV vaccine, and they censor sex education for youth. They don’t want people to have safe lives. They just want them to quit having the kind of sex they don’t approve of.
Sex negativity should be recognized as a form of learned mental illness. As with prejudice and hate, nobody’s born to be sex-negative. You have to be trained to see sex as a bad or dangerous disruption of human life or morality. It isn’t natural or normal to fear sex. Sex-negative dogma refuses to face facts. FACT: we were born to have fun in bed. FACT: we all define the concept of “fun” differently.
Sex negativity makes people sick because they live in bodies with brains which know a lot more about their sex life than they themselves emotionally accept. The brain knows people need sex to feel fulfilled. The brain is so sex-positive it prepares you for orgasms all day long, whether or not you are too inhibited to have them. The brain automatically exercises the penis every morning and throughout the day with spontaneous erections, and gives women hungry throbs deep in the vagina when it’s time to get off. The brain makes hundreds of other microdecisions each delicious biological step of the way. It is a beautiful biological system.
But if you’re sex negative you may never feel the beauty. Here are some of the biggest ways that sex-negativity drags people down.
Ignorance of Self Builds Inhibitions
Most of us are raised to believe that sex doesn’t — or at least, shouldn’t — matter. It shouldn’t even matter that much in marriage. In fact, nice people shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about sex. As the social narrative goes, if civilization is the sum of our intellectual achievements, then sex is the shameful burden of our primal roots. It’s dirty. It’s something you have to do to have children, so put it off as long as possible and then just close your eyes and do it. Preferably with the lights off. — Sex and the Self
It’s a strange dogma to apply to one of humanity’s greatest and most enduring obsessions. People who buy into the idea that sex isn’t important usually end up with miserable sex lives. They never learn what pleases them, they never learn how to please someone else, and they start becoming neurotic. They may not realize how much it tears them down but once you’ve internalized the belief there’s something nasty about sex, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to find relationship happiness. Sexual inhibitions based on myths about sex — myths like “it’s bad for you to jerk off” or “too much sex is bad” or believing sex doesn’t figure in human health and happiness — are at the heart of a whole lot of personal misery in this world.
Ignorance of Others Builds Blind Beliefs
People who don’t understand their own sexuality have a hell of a time trying to understand other people’s sexuality. Every time I read anti-sex propaganda, I begin underlining in my head all the incredibly dumb and antiquated rationales they use to defend their position — almost all of it boils down to “that’s why my father, grandma and/or preacher said so I’m sticking to it!” OK, perhaps if you grew up when they did, that might make sense because of limited access to scientific evidence. Today, however, a few clicks can update your knowledge base to the 21st century. If you automatically reject the new data, then why other people make the sexual choices they do will always baffle and upset you. You fall back on the blind beliefs you had as a child up instead of the evidence we have today about how sex and gender work. The more confusing and outrageous the world seems to you as sexual mores change, the more you’ll fight an unwinnable war against Father Time because changes in sexual mores are as inevitable as death.
Right Way Sex Is Wrong
One of my favorite sayings is that sex is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Sex is as diverse and personalized as the human who is sexual. But big institutions have warehoused all people into 2 groups: people who do it right and people who do it wrong.
For most of Western history, our religious doctrines, our national laws, our customs, and much of our thinking about sex has simply assumed that missionary position heterosexual intercourse in a monogamous marriage is normal and everything else is a deviation, something that abnormal or sinful people do.
But medical research and scientific evidence have long-since been gathered. They show the only “wrong way” to have sex is to have sex that you or your partner do not enjoy. — Sex and the Self
I’ve witnessed some dramatic sexological changes in the last 30 years that have opened doors to radical sexual honesty. These days, we have huge cadres of researchers and scientists who are laboring to bring more and more scientific evidence about human sex and gender to the forefront. Nonetheless,
Out-dated ideologies still control the debate about sex. Think of all the times one hears so-called experts on matters of love, marriage, and sex say things like:
1. the only right kind of sex is sex between married heterosexuals
2. sex and gender diversity is abnormal
3. LGBT is a choice and an agenda
4. male sexuality is more vigorous and important than female sexuality
5. gender is binary
Lies like these are so frequently repeated that they form the backbone of contemporary public opinions about sex. — Sex and the Self
These entrenched myths increase public anxiety about any changes in the sex/gender status quo.
Sex-Negativity Is Deaf and Blind to Non-Consent
I had an interesting Twitter exchange last week after commenting that I wished the women who accused the President of sexual misconduct got as much mainstream media traction as the woman who dissed Aziz Ansari. One Twitter user quickly tweeted back how former President Clinton slept with Monica Lewinsky, singling out the infamous cigar penetration. I tried to explain that consent is the dividing line between a sex crime and a sexual indiscretion. Lewinksy openly admitted she enjoyed her affair; the women accusing Trump — much like Bill Cosby’s accusers and Harvey Weinstein’s accusers — allege they were molested and traumatized by their encounters. The guy who was tweeting at me just stuck to the cigar scenario, as if a consensual sex act between adults should be viewed as a crime on the same level as grabbing strangers by the genitals. He could not fathom that sex between mutually consenting adults is radically different from sexual contact by coercion.
It’s this refusal to acknowledge the moral importance of mutual consent in sexual encounters that crashed Rachel Denhollander’s world after she was assaulted by now-convicted sex criminal Larry Nassar. In a recent interview, Denhollander said that when she turned to her church for comfort and support, she was shamed and silenced.
“Church is one of the least safe places to acknowledge abuse because the way it is counseled is, more often than not, damaging to the victim,” said Denhollander, who now works as a lawyer in Kentucky. “There is an abhorrent lack of knowledge for the damage and devastation that sexual assault brings. It is with deep regret that I say the church is one of the worst places to go for help.” link
Not only does sex-negativity create sex criminals, it supports sex criminals by blaming victims for getting assaulted in the first place. In their worldview, all disempowered people, whether LGBT, disabled, sex-workers or plain vanilla cis-female either deserved to be abused or are expected to shut up and not disturb the status quo of privileged cis-men. The person against whom a sin was committed is treated as the sinner.
Needless to say, people who remain willfully blind and deaf to consent issues are the most likely to harbor sex criminals in their midst — and, even more tragically, are likely to be people who hide the true stories of their own traumas at the hands of relatives or clergy-people for fear of being blamed and shamed the way Ms. Denhollander was. This is the darkest and saddest piece of sex-negative philosophy: it unquestioningly accepts the rights of predators to prey as long as the predators belong to their churches, clubs and circles of privilege.
Sex-Negativity Stalls Human Progress
When you are taught there is only one right way to do something, and that you may only do it when you join a club, and the message is repeated to you in all the movies, tv shows, commercials and sermons you are exposed to, you believe it. You believe it so much that you may believe it even in the face of scientific facts that prove the whole club thing exists to sucker you, and that you can actually do that thing any way you like without negative repercussions. Not only do lash-backs against sexual freedom require paradoxical thinking, they reflect how little people know about the flow of sex history. Things change! Things advance! Life is about forward progress!
So, for example, today we know that gay marriage won’t destroy straight marriage, women’s rights won’t oppress men, and that the U.S. will not fall apart morally if people are allowed to conduct their private sex lives as they wish.
If we read sex history, we also know that America was a sexually freer country until Protestant zealots started clamping their dirty hands all over the land of the free in the 19th century, creating anti-sex laws like the Comstock Law of 1875 and the Mann Act in 1910. These acts and others instigated the witch-hunting of sexual nonconformists.
Here are two factoids from American history which show that our country started out with a clearer, more rational vision of personal freedom on matters of sex
— Washington, Jefferson and other framers of the U.S. Constitution viewed marriage and sexuality as matters of religious belief. They didn’t want the government to get involved in your sex life.
— Polygamy was legal in the United States until Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862 as part of a political crusade against Mormonism. — Sex for Grown-Ups
Of course, before laws were written to deliberately control people’s sex lives, there were other monumental inequities, such as indifference to children’s rights and property rights over women. There has never been a society yet that was based on the facts about sex. It’s somewhat understandable because we didn’t have a lot of scientific facts about sex and gender until the last hundred years. But we have facts today.
Sex-positive people hold a much brighter future for humanity in our hands. It’s time for the world to wake up from the dark slumber of their ignorance and follow our light.
Check out Sex for Grown-Ups and Sex and the Self to learn the facts we know about sex and gender. I condensed 10 years of intensive medical and social science research into two eye-opening slim volumes of reader-friendly facts. They’re also the first books to acknowledge LGBTQI, poly, swing, and BDSM as normal variations in the human sexual equation.