The Answer Guy Online

Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

People Are Still Having Sex

There's a virus out there (the HPV virus, the same one linked to genital warts) that has been linked to cancer, and a vaccine is being developed that may by a big help in containing it. Who could be against this? The Family Research Council, that's who.

They hate sex. They think of it as nasty, dirty business. They wish people, other than themselves of course, would stop having it. Never mind that being an anti-sex activist makes about as much sense as being an anti-tornado activist. There is a deep urge in many people, especially religious people, to punish other people for having sex.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital sex," [Family Research Council's Bridgette] Maher claims. Yes, folks, the only thing that's stopping your teen daughter from rampant sex is the idea that she'll get cancer 40 years later from a virus she has most likely never heard of.

Outfits like this spend the bulk of their time talking about abortion. However, most of them don't care all that much about babies, because if they did, they'd be doing what they could to make terminating a pregnancy a less attractive option to women who found themselves pregnant. They certainly wouldn't be putting their support behind things like a thankfully scrapped adoption law in Florida that required women to publish the names of all their sexual partners in the newspaper before giving up a child for adoption. When it comes down to it, most of them aren't really about preserving lives. Most of them are enthusiastic death penalty supporters, loud cheerleaders for wars both actual and theoretical, and not terribly fond of human rights advocates or other do-gooders who advocate for better treatment of the poor and disadvantaged.

They don't tend to like gays because they are generally incapable of thinking about same-sex relationships in anything but the most crude sexual terms, defining them exclusively in terms of who they choose (or do not choose) to have sex with. A lot of their tracts spend a lot of time talking about deviant gay sex; many of them probably spend more time thinking and talking about abhorrent sodomy than actual gay people do. I know "homophobes must secretly be gay" thing is a bit overused, but someone who describes gay sex as "pure heroin" makes me wonder if the guy is not only gay, but a junkie.

Many of them - whether secretly or not-so-secretly - would like to see birth control disappear. You can see some of them making fatuous claims about birth control methods, describing them as "abortifacients," in defenses of pharmacists who try to deny women access to contraception or even in arguments to outlaw birth control, period.

They are even uncomfortable with educating children honestly about sex and sexuality because they think that trying to keep them in the dark will somehow suppress human sexual urges, which suggests not only a profound ignornace of biology and human nature but a stupefying amnesia regarding their own adolescence as well. Better informed teenagers have fewer pregnancies, and consequently, are less likely to feel the need to have an abortion. Would we rather see them get all their information about sex from the schoolyard, or from television?

Are all these things true of every individual supporter of recriminalizing abortion? No. Some of them have genuine concern for humans or potential humans. Some are more reasonable about sex education, some less fixated on persecuting gays. But these different facets of anti-sex ideology are true at some level of essentially every person who serves as a prominent public face of the pro-life movment in America.

It's common for pro-choice types to claim that the movement is just a bunch of men who want absolute control over women. I'd concede that there is an element of that, but the gender gap on the issue is not as large as many commonly think. Moreover, that "control" factor wouldn't explain why there are so many women involved in the movement or why these same men and women spend so much energy demonizing gay men in particular.

These people think sex is evil. A necessary evil for continuation of the species, but an evil nonetheless.

The physical and mental travails of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are a consequence of sex, as is the financial burden of child-rearing, as well as the potential ravages and social stigma of sexually transmitted diseases; they are all appropriate punishments for women who do not remain sexually pure. The biological double standard thwarts their ability to punish men in quite the same way, though at least the threat of sexually transmitted diseases ports across the genders. Birth control to them is cheating, and condom use is cheating. So is any homosexual activity, any act of oral sex or anal sex, or any variety of masturbation.

It is only in this profoundly twisted context that opposing vaccines for sexually transmitted diseases makes any sense; some of them value anything they think might lead to preserving some theoretical sexual purity that death, even on a potentially grand scale, is a small price to pay.

It must drive these folks nuts to know that wherever they are, there are lots of people having sex around them.


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