Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Are Republican Prudes Still Desperate to Control Your Sex Life?

So far, the Republican primaries have been a decidedly unsexy affair. Candidates have passionately spouted rhetoric against premarital sex, gay sex — even non-procreative sex within marriage. It’s enough to make you wonder if the country has gone to the prudes.

Rick Santorum, who has compared gay sex to bestiality, outdid himself in an interview that resurfaced last week in which he suggested that states should have a right to outlaw birth control since contraceptives are “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” The other Rick, former Texas Gov. Perry, has been an outspoken opponent of gays in the military and the “sin” of homosexuality. Recent dropout Michele Bachmann seemed a messenger from a previous era, what with her belief that homosexuality is “personal enslavement” and her pledge to ban pornography.

Anti-sex rhetoric is hardly new to the Republican Party, of course, which has routinely campaigned to increase the dangers and consequences of sex by restricting access to contraceptives and abortion. But the GOP war on sex also comes at a time when the party’s presidential candidates have perhaps never been more out of step with the sexual beliefs and practices of most Americans.

“The private sexual behavior of all ages, of all political persuasions is getting more liberal,” says Marty Klein, a sex therapist and author of “America’s War on Sex.” “It’s going toward more variety, more partners, more kinky sex, more experimentation and, as the age of first marriage goes up, by definition the amount of premarital sex is going up.” Indeed, “the vast majority of Americans have sex before marriage,” according to a Guttmacher study, and most believe that out-of-wedlock nookie is morally a-OK.