i didn’t mean for the first post to be about sex.

…or DID i?

turns out today is national sexual freedom day, and the woodhull freedom foundation has announced a blog carnival in response. and carnivals (except for when they have to do with insane clown posse or projectile-vomiting cotton candy) are always fun, right?

the questions posed by the folks at woodhull: what does sexual freedom as a human right mean to you? what legislative or social changes would you like to see to promote sexual freedom?

let’s talk about the word freedom for a second. it’s at the top of this page in big spray-painted letters, but it’s a concept i tend to struggle with. the world itself has been so co-opted – when i see it in the name of an organization or rally, it usually means thinly-veiled right-wing nationalism and xenophobia. (remember “freedom fries,” anyone?)

but freedom as i believe in it means liberation. freedom FROM oppressive systems, and freedom TO live fulfilling lives that celebrate our whole selves and all that makes us human. and part of that for many, many people is sex. not to mention it’s where the majority of us got our start on this planet.

it’s important for me to remember, borrowing heavily from gayle rubin, that sex and sexuality is not just repressed, but also oppressed. there’s a social hierarchy of what kind of sex is and isn’t okay, and groups of people (queers, kinky people, polyamorous folks, sex workers, etc) are marginalized based on what kind of sex they’re having. aside from the obvious example of prostitution being illegal, there is plenty of legislation in this country governing sex – from sodomy laws to states in which you can buy guns but not vibrators.

queer and trans liberation, for me, are inextricably bound up with sexual freedom. mainstream LGB folks will protest time and time again that it isn’t about what we do in bed. but you know what? it is. it is about who we fuck – and who we love, and who we are. i can bet you that 90% of homophobia is rooted in fear and disgust of gay SEX. and so much of transphobia relies on panic over what’s in our pants.

so, bear with me for a second and imagine the alternative. imagine a world where people believed in the ethical slut‘s proclamation that “sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.” not “good for you in the context of marriage,” or “good for you in a loving, monogamous relationship,” or “good for you when done by straight people.” just good for you, period.

imagine a world where children were given full information about sex, how their bodies work, how to protect themselves, how to say no AND how to say yes. imagine if consent wasn’t a radical idea. if condoms, gloves, and dental dams were given out in schools. a world without the “slut/stud” double standard, where women’s bodies weren’t seen as material objects and used to sell consumer products. a world where it was safe for people of all genders to walk alone at night wearing whatever they please. a world where sex work was not only decriminalized but safe, accepted as a legitimate profession, and unionized. a world where rape and sexual abuse were no longer woven into the fabric of our culture. a world where people weren’t still dying of AIDS.

in my ideal world, the diversity of sexuality would be considered beautiful, and anything consensual would be acceptable. everyone would have agency, and everyone would have fun.

besides, how much of a better place could the world be if we were all sexually satisfied?

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About Ira Sass

Ira Sass is a mid-twenties, queer, white, transmasculine, secular-raised jew from new england. He feels pretentious calling himself a writer and activist (as well as writing in third person) but is going to do it anyway. He enjoys eating burritos, single-parenting his crazy cat, and dancing to early ’90s jams.
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2 Responses to i didn’t mean for the first post to be about sex.

  1. liam says:

    wonderful. i’m working on living in the world you describe, day by day.

  2. Otr says:

    Hallelujah and amen! I would love to hear you say this out loud.

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