Making War on Making Love

A blog that I read fairly regularly calls it the “War on Fucking.” 


I think the blogger is on to something. As she points out, it is a mistake to look at the right-wing attacks on gays, abortion, “pornography,” “non-traditional” families and the like as separate issues; at base, what these people are against is sex, sexuality, and anything that smacks of acceptance of the role sex plays in human existence.


Her explanation for this war is that those waging it are people who have terrible difficulty controlling their own urges, and who assume that everyone else is having an equally difficult time controlling theirs. If there are not strict—indeed, inviolable—social controls to keep these passions in check, they are sure the result would be social chaos. (This theory may or may not be true, but it sure would help to explain all those child molesting cases involving pastors and choir directors…….). As a result, they live in a state of fear, and they cling tightly to the “eternal verities” provided by highly restrictive religious doctrines and punitive laws, which they see as the only alternative to social disintegration.


A glance at history will demonstrate the effect this fear has had on women and our place in society. Women were seen as uniquely and mysteriously powerful—as magical beings whose appeal could make strong men weak. Thus, the notion that “good” women might actually enjoy sex has been an especially terrifying idea. This is the real root of support for “abstinence education” rather than accurate and effective sex education, of the campaign against Plan B, the “morning after” contraceptive, and more recently (and incredibly) the opposition to inoculation against cervical cancer. In case you haven’t read about this latter controversy, medical scientists have developed a highly effective immunization against cervical cancer. But it must be given to girls before puberty. As the Washington Post recently reported:


“A new vaccine that protects against cervical cancer has set up a clash between health advocates who want to use the shots aggressively to prevent thousands of malignancies and social conservatives who say immunizing teenagers could encourage sexual activity.


Although the vaccine will not become available until next year at the earliest, activists on both sides have begun maneuvering to influence how widely the immunizations will be employed…


Groups working to reduce the toll of the cancer are eagerly awaiting the vaccine and want it to become part of the standard roster of shots that children, especially girls, receive just before puberty. But because the vaccine protects against a sexually transmitted virus, many conservatives oppose making it mandatory, citing fears that it could send a subtle message condoning sexual activity before marriage. Several leading groups that promote abstinence are meeting this week to formulate official policies on the vaccine.”


This war on sexuality and sexual desire is the larger context within which we must understand the ferocious resistance to "legitimizing" gay relationships by allowing same-sex adoptions, marriage or civil unions, even laws protecting gays against discrimination. Because of their single-minded preoccupation with sex, social conservatives do not see the other elements of human relationships; thus they equate any legal recognition of gays with an endorsement of sex—and, in their worldview, “deviant” sex to boot.


It must be hard to live in a world where some sex fiend is hiding behind every bush, waiting to pounce—waiting to defile “pure” women and molest small children. And when you are terrified all the time, it is really hard to be logical, let alone fair or loving.


I’d pity them, if the rest of us weren’t civilians in the line of fire in their War on Fucking.