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Culture Warriors vs. Sex for Pleasure: Why the Right Wing is Wrong When it Comes to Sex

If prescribing to dogmatic absolutes worked, then the most conservative Christian red states wouldn’t have the highest rates of teen pregnancy, divorce and porn consumption.

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Though 99% of U.S. women use birth control, all four GOP presidential finalists flashed their conservative anti-pleasure cred by siding with Catholic bishops against contraception. Opponents actually scored points by slamming frontrunner Mitt Romney for not, when governor of Massachusetts, exempting Catholic-affiliated hospitals from making rape victims aware of emergency contraception, which prevents ovulation, thus pregnancy. Compassionate conservatism is so yesteryear.

Absurd media coverage of whose rights trumps whose in controlling women’s sexual and reproductive health, includes MSNBC’s Morning Joe featuring an all-male panel debating about the all-male panel testifying before Congress against President’s Obama’s insurance mandate for contraception coverage. Republicans refused to allow the one female witness for preventative healthcare equality. So Democrats convened a separate panel, where Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke testified on behalf of the many women who suffer humiliation and unconscionable consequences from moral-conscience blocked access to prescribed birth control. One such story involved Fluke’s friend, a 32-year-old lesbian who had to have her ovary surgically removed after a ruptured cyst, and is headed for early menopause and infertility.

Fluke was thanked for speaking out by the moral voice of the conservative movement and GOP leader, Rush Limbaugh, who called her a “slut” and “prostitute” for wanting to have “sexy, sexy time on my dime,” as Daily Show’s Jon Stewart puts it. The multimillionaire media mogul spent 53 hours over three days on his national radio show hammering away on private citizen Fluke for having SO much sex. Working himself up into a lurid frenzy, he wondered who bought her condoms in sixth grade and how she could even walk from so much sex, suggesting her parents should be ashamed, and demanding she and the rest of the feminazis post their gang bang on video so he and his millions of dittoheads could watch. Fox News’ equally indignant O’Reilly whined for days how he shouldn’t have to pay his hard earned money for Fluke’s recreational sex.

Besides, as Santorum’s billionaire benefactor pointed out, the best contraception is an aspirin between your knees, and how costly is that? Goes to show the retro right’s fixation on the womb isn’t about the fetus, but about making sure sluts are punished for enjoying sex. Making sure there’s no such thing as consequence-free sex is what unites theocons against both gay and reproductive rights, even masturbation, which the anti-choice American Life League calls the “gateway drug.” Must oppose any public health, education and rights policy that strengthens healthy sexuality for all in our free society—just too many  other people having sex for fun.

Despite drama by hyperventilating traditionalists—like the sex-obsessed American Family Association’s media blitz for JC Penny to fire “open homosexual” Ellen DeGeneres as its spokesperson—the root of societal breakdown has more to do with unfettered capitalism and unfinished revolutions than two grooms in a tux, friends with benefits, condoms on a banana, or Monica Lewinsky’s cigar. Although the “anything-goes, if it feels good do it” sixties is a tattered punching bag, liberalism not only ushered in free-love rebels, but also groundbreaking equality for women, queers, and ethnic minorities.

Gender and sexuality has evolved along with technologies like automobiles and the Internet, economic shifts, and social justice. America, grounded in equality and plurality, rises from the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How can you have freedom without sexual freedom? Our national stability and family honor doesn’t rest on hypocritical sexual traditions like enforcing a genital view of female virtue, or whose peg goes in which hole. And increasingly the civilized world is recognizing the right to pleasure for youth, elderly, the disabled, and transgendered. To reach humanity’s highest ideals, permission trumps repression.

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