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  Sex, Sexual Drives, Sexual Intercourse, and Personal Responsibility

                                                                                                        Earth Manifesto Insights

                                                                                                              Dr. Tiffany B. Twain  

                                                                                                            November 2005

Sex is natural.  Sexy is alluring.  The drive to have sex is one of the deepest and most powerful of biological urges, right up there with the drive to survive.

Conservatives seem to have a nasty little feeling that sex is sinful.  They are driven to impose their puritanical perspectives on American society.  Some of them say that the only valid purpose for sex is to reproduce.  Often they imply that sex without the goal of having babies is a prurient and immoral act, rather than a healthy means of loving and communicating, and being intimate in relationship.  Social conservatives have a worldview that says unmarried people should be chaste, and that gay people are subhuman sinners who do not deserve civil rights.  They also act as if they believe that men rightly have authority over women, and that women should be subservient.  Some claim that God tells them that they are right in these ideas, and that they must force their narrow beliefs on society, and help pass laws to intrude into people's private lives, and control the courts to make sure that progressive ideas do not harm society.

The result of this tyranny of conservatism is that women are repressed and denied equality.  They are deprived of the freedom to choose to live their lives the way they want.  Damn the domineering religious right wing for this!

"We easily perceive that the peoples furthest from civilization are the ones where equality between man and woman are furthest apart --- and we consider this one of the signs of savagery. But we are so stupid that we can't see that we thus plainly admit that no civilization can be perfect until exact equality between man and woman is included."

               --- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1895          

Heterosexual men generally have strong sexual urges to have sex with women.  This can be flattering, annoying, or even threatening.  The responsibility for a woman becoming pregnant falls on two people -- a man and a woman -- but the impact of being pregnant falls primarily on the female for the rest of her life.  For this reason, the woman must always be given the right to choose whether to allow an embryo to develop towards viability.

Males are generally more eager to "score", to have sex irresponsibly, and to persuade women to allow them sexual favors, even if it requires pressuring them mercilessly, or getting them intoxicated to take advantage of them.  Sometimes men force themselves on females, or rape them.  It is unconscionable and unacceptable for politicians to NOT strongly oppose sexual violence against women.  Our societies must protect vulnerable women, and give them generous rights rather than discriminating against them.

Women must be given the right to choose to use contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies;  and if circumstances are such that a woman wants to ensure that she does not get pregnant the day after having sex, she should be guaranteed easy access to Plan B emergency contraception.  As a last resort, a woman must be supported in making the emotionally difficult decision to safely choose to terminate a pregnancy by having an abortion in the first trimester, no matter what her reasons may be.  Republican opposition to these rights for women is misogynistic, cynical, unfair, and repugnant.

Promiscuity is a charge leveled at girls and women who are not virgins.  Our societies have a blatant double standard in this regard:  boys will be boys, we say.  Boys want to lose their virginity by persuading a woman to give them permission to sexual advances;  it is an exciting game for them, but it has very serious potential consequences.  The female receptacle of these eager drives has a reputation of chastity to uphold, and must often be cajoled into having sex.  This double standard is perverse and unfair.  Yet it permeates many of our laws.  It is simply wrong, for instance, that our social programs allow men easy access and subsidized use of erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra while opposing easy availability of contraceptives to prevent sexually-transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

In healthcare matters, disease prevention is almost always less expensive and easier than dealing with the diseases and their consequences.  Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from lung cancer, for instance, but most of them would avoid getting lung cancer if they understood and heeded the risks and causative impacts of cigarette smoking.  This is instructive.  We see that desires, compulsions, and addictions lead to negative healthcare impacts, and that prevention is a much better strategy than treatment after the fact.

Likewise, prevention of pregnancy is a far better strategy than being forced to deal with the emotional challenges of choosing to have an abortion, or with the negative social consequences of forcing women to have unwanted children.

Abstinence is one way to prevent pregnancy.  When abstinence fails, as it frequently does, contraception is another important means to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  Let's be frank and honest:  sexual drives are natural and powerful, and we live in times where sexual intercourse is not necessarily linked to reproduction, so the sex act need not be morally regarded as being done only to reproduce.  Contraceptive methods have moved beyond the rhythm method, folks -- and it is ethically wrong to try to prevent contraceptives from being used to protect women from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Once a man's sperm fertilizes an egg, emergency contraception in the form of Plan B is an important way to choose to prevent pregnancy.  Such methods should be openly supported by society, and they should be made easily available.  There are many reasons that a woman may want to choose Plan B.  Men rape women, and seduce them with the help of strong persuasion and intoxicants, and pressure them to have sex, and have sexual intercourse with women who do not want to bear their children.  As a final resort, women must be guaranteed the right to have a safe, legal abortion.

Laws that restrict women's reproductive rights must not be enacted or upheld.  Judges must not be appointed to the Supreme Court who are religious fundamentalists opposing women's freedom to control their own bodies and destinies.

We are essentially in the middle of an extremely costly and highly divisive religious war over the question of whether we should force unwilling pregnant women into motherhood.  Shall we honor every pregnant woman's rights, needs, desires, and choices?  Shall we prohibit them the option to choose not to become a mother?  Shall we allow them access to safe, legal abortions?

The religious war over abortion rights and the consequences of anti-choice activities consume billions of dollars a year.  Millions of unwanted pregnancies occur annually, with devastating consequences for individuals, and for our social structure, and for our Earthly environment.

The anti-abortion war must end.  We have a multitude of problems that are far more pressing.  The devastating consequences of our environmental ignorance and arrogance are changing our world in ways we have yet to fully comprehend.  We simply cannot afford to divert our attention, our time, and our resources into forcing unwilling women to bear unwanted children.

Religious fundamentalism is the primary force opposing a woman's freedom to choose whether or not to keep a fertilized embryo, however conceived, until it becomes a viable fetus.  Women should not be treated as subordinate beings.  They were not created to be subservient to men's desires.  Almost all of the holy books and sacred scriptures of the world's nine major religions were written by men between 1,400 B.C. and 1,400 A.D. -- i.e., long ago, in ancient times.  These writings are interpreted today by people in religious establishments that are overwhelmingly oriented towards worldviews that are male supremacist.  Religious establishments are almost invariably patriarchal, anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, and obsessed with male-authoritarian self-righteousness.  If men got pregnant instead of women, you can bet that abortion would be regarded as a sacrament, instead of a wrongful act!

Another anachronistic notion is that mankind must "be fruitful and multiply".  This Biblical idea reflects an outmoded moral opinion, and a special interest of Churches in spawning more believers.  It conflicts with the modern reality that civilization does not need more people, and that rapidly growing human numbers and rampant consumerism are overwhelming the natural world, threatening the well-being of all life on Earth.

Religions seek to provide explanation and guidance to mankind.  They got in the moralizing business early on, and ever since then religion has been used to manipulate people to exert power and influence over their lives.

Men invented God in their own human image, with uniquely human traits of intelligence, love, jealousy, obsession with sin, judgmental wrath, envy, and obedience.  These are not fundamental characteristics of the Universe.

We know that our solar system and home planet were formed 10 billion years after the Universe burst forth, and we know that Homo sapiens evolved as a species more than four billion years later, in very recent geological time.  This we know.  All explanations of God in anthropocentric and anthropomorphic terms that do not encompass these facts are simplistic and ignorant.  They are desperate wishful thinking.

Religion was an early stage in our quest for understanding.  But we have progressed far beyond the rudimentary superstitious explanations that are so naively postulated by religious dogma.  All concepts of "God" that do not encompass the unfathomable eons of existence prior to humanity's reign on Earth are solipsistic and inadequate.  And to the extent that they are becoming harmful to the continued prosperity and well-being of humankind, they must be rejected.

Today, religious fundamentalism seems to be having an odd resurgence, making an antediluvian power play, despite the obtuse absurdity of its mythological assertions and its narrow-mindedness in denying fairer and truer understandings.  It is as if conservatives believe that we can make the world a better place by sticking their heads in the sand, turning back the clock to more unenlightened days and contradicting scientific understandings and opposing progressive social change.

It is as though True Believers really think that embracing Creationist ignorance and reactionary social mores will make society better, rather than just creating greater inequity, injustice, discrimination, poverty, social unrest, and overpopulation.  It is far more probable that a better plan is to embrace progressive adaptation in dealing with the accelerating pace of change that is unfolding with new technology, evolving urban and population demographics, and changing social and environmental circumstances.

One of the founding principles of our Constitutional Bill of Rights was the First Amendment that spells out the freedom of religion.  This is the freedom of citizens to believe whatever they want to believe, but not the freedom to impose their beliefs on others.  The First Amendment is not a right to deny others the freedom to believe whatever they like.  We cannot allow religious evangelists the power to impose their anachronistic beliefs on our educational system and our society!

Truth and understanding differ from belief, gospel, ideology, doctrine, and dogma in that they are open to examining underlying evidence and more realistic and more accurate perspectives.  We should embrace the authentic, not merely the orthodox!

"Dick" Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, and the scheming cabal of so-called neo-conservatives use their cheerleader puppet George W. Bush to accomplish their narrow, controlling, wrong-headed goals.  "What, Me Worry?" says George Bush, figuratively;  he disingenuously claims that God tells him what to do, but we can trust that the voices he hears are not those of a divine being.  No, they are really anthropocentric voices, ones that represent greed, power, domination, male authoritarianism, deception, dishonest motivations, harsh intolerance, and evangelical self-righteousness.

We must transcend these retrogressive ideas of our leaders, and transform our country into one with a more fair and forward-thinking future!


     Dr. Tiffany Twain