Letter to the editor

Sexual ‘freedom’ isn’t so liberating

Carrie Bass’ recent editorial could have been written in 1967. The problem, of course, is that the ’60s and the Sexual Revolution are past history. We can’t be the “first generation to push positive sexuality out into the open,” because our parents already did that. The stodgy, repressed squares of legend are not our parents, but our grandparents. Of course, the Sexual Revolution didn’t create the utopia of happy, healthy, shameless, swinging sex it sought. It left a legacy of sexually transmitted diseases, fatherless children and unstable homes. But rather than admit that the Summer of Love failed to deliver as promised, Carrie believes that the vision still can be realized — it just needs the right cocktail of pharmaceuticals, prophylactics and abortion machinery to work.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider the fact that in any other sphere of life, an activity that requires constant chemical and mechanical intervention is the very definition of “unhealthy.” If my diet requires frequent angioplasty and heavy medication in order to keep me alive, I’m not realizing my culinary needs in a healthy way. Nor do I really need better pharmaceuticals or more efficient access to surgery. I simply need to change my diet. In a similar manner, we don’t consider chemical suppression and mechanical augmentation to be a “healthy” ideal for any of our other bodily systems. Healthy activity doesn’t require blitzing my endocrine or lymphatic systems with chemicals or mechanical augmentation, so why should my reproductive system need this? If we treated sexuality like we treated the rest of health, we’d realize that healthy sexuality shouldn’t require frequent surgery and medication.

The problem is that the enemy of sexual libertines is not the backward Victorian mores of the World War II generation. It is human nature itself. Healthy, humanizing sexuality embraces the natural reproductive, vulnerable character of sex, instead of chemically suppressing and mechanically eliminating its natural fulfillment. An ideal which continually suppresses essential realities of human nature through pharmaceuticals and machinery is fundamentally dehumanizing. Rather than liberating our nature, the ideal of mechanized technique represses it. In my opinion, monogamy and procreation are more liberating.