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Why Is Rick Santorum Obsessed With Your Sex Life?

Most Republicans like to talk about contraception and sexuality without actually talking about sex. Santorum seems to revel in it--and it freaks the GOP out.

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And right on cue,  here is a message about goings-on involving aspirin down there from Santorum's sponsor, Foster Friess:

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Santorum supporter and donor Foster Friess talking with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, 16 February 2012

It's Santorum's internal Penthouse Forum that skeeves people out; even Newt Gingrich, who is the only candidate who has admitted to have done sex that's "not supposed to be", seems to regard Santorum's views on gender issues as inappropriately focused on physical differences. This week, responding to Santorum's insistence that, "naturally", women would be a distraction in combat, Gingrich said, "I just think that Rick completely misunderstands the nature of modern warfare."

But the discomfort about sexuality shared by politicians and their constituents has radically different implications for government policies having to do with sex – at least, when it comes to conservatives. Liberal politicians who believe in the right to gay marriage and free access to birth control  are in the mainstream (since 2010, polls have repeatedly shown a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage; while  a poll this week showed that very nearly two thirds of people support health insurance coverage of birth control).

When a conservative politician decides he doesn't want to think about people having sex, he (and it is usually "he") lends support to policies that suggest you shouldn't have it.

But when a typical American decides he doesn't want to think about people having sex, he or she just doesn't want to watch.

Ana Marie Cox is political columnist for the Guardian US. The founding editor of the blog Wonkette, she has written about Washington and national politics for a variety of outlets, including Playboy, GQ, Time, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

 
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