Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
This goes out to our sexually-hung up religious readers. I’m talking about the sex-obsessed purity crowd: The type of people who want to see a world populated by virgin twenty or thirty somethings. I’m talking about the type who makes their teenage daughters wear purity rings and attend father/daughter purity balls where they promise to refrain from sex until marriage. This is the crowd that pushes for abstinence only education and dreads the thought of their kid knowing how to use a condom.
My question for you is this:
If a cure for all STDs with no side-effects was discovered tomorrow and made available to all at zero cost or some new technology made it completely impossible get pregnant, or impregnate someone else without wanting to with no side effects, would you consider it a bad thing?
The answer to this hypothetical question is a resounding no! Removing the unwanted consequences from sexual encounters would be a positive development. Any development that maximizes personal freedom and ends negative societal consequences should be celebrated. It is a wonderful development that birth control has so greatly reduced the risk of unwanted pregnancies and that we are able to test for STDs and cure the majority of them.
I cannot imagine any sane person disagreeing with this but apparently many do and they have a disturbing level of political clout in this country. One organization with over a billion members worldwide is explicitly anti-birth control. In all fairness if Catholics were better about practicing what their church preached, there would be a lot more of them.
Those who answer my question with “yes” simply cannot stand the idea of people having the freedom to violate their prohibitions. They think that living in fear of HIV is a good thing! They’d rather have disease and unplanned pregnancies as ammunition in the culture war they are losing. Science will continue to remove the risks from sex and people will continue to reject Victorian sexual repression.
My question, of course, is just a hypothetical exercise. We live in a world where sexual encounters can produce unintended consequences. However, with care these can be avoided. I advocate sexual freedom accompanied by personal responsibility. People should be free to enjoy sex with other consenting adults but must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Treat others ethically and honestly and demand the same.
[Editor’s note: Thank you Jim Wilson. I’d like to rant a bit now. Purity Ring balls are creepy and ineffective! The following come from HERE:
Purity Balls are a very elegant and elaborate purity ceremony. It is elaborate in that it is symbolic of a wedding. A purity ball is thrown for daughters and their fathers. The daughters come dressed in beautiful gowns and the fathers come dressed in tuxedos. It is an evening full of dancing, cake, prayer and most important, the presenting of purity rings or other purity items, such as a necklace or bracelet, by the fathers to their daughters. Fathers make a vow and promise to protect their daughters and guard their virginity. As the fathers are making these vows and promises, they present a purity ring (or other item) to their daughters. These daughters are then under their fathers guard and protection until they are married and replace their purity ring with a wedding ring. The daughters promise their fathers that they will stay pure.
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod was considered by many to be unholy because it prevented God from expressing His displeasure on people and buildings as he saw fit? In one case a preacher blamed Franklin’s lightning rod of creating the Massachusetts earthquake of 1755. Get a grip! Science has made life better for human kind. Any advance that reduces pain and suffering should be celebrated, not restricted. Religious people who prevent their daughters from getting vaccinated against a virus that causes cervical cancer are not to be respected as parents.]