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The Sex Police and You: Dumb Sex Laws and How They Affect Us

Posted Sep 12 2008 3:31am
“The people's good is the highest law.”
Cicero

“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing
for the things it has forbidden to itself.”
Oscar Wilde

Whatever it is you’re doing right now, just stop it! That’s right; stop it right now, because I’m willing to bet even money that whatever it is, it’s illegal somewhere in the U.S.

* Are you using a vibrator in Texas? Then you may as well go directly to jail. Do not pass go, and forget about collecting $200.

* Are you having oral sex in Georgia? Your partner probably thinks it’s pretty peachy, but not if they’re in law enforcement.

* Are you sharing the joys of self-pleasuring in Connecticut? Pull over and assume the position, because you, my friend, are a sex offender.

* And here’s my personal favorite: If you and your lover/spouse are staying at a hotel in Hastings, Nebraska, you may not sleep together in the nude. And if you do have sex there, you must both be clothed. I can’t help wondering if that means you have to wear Pilgrim costumes?

Here’s the saddest one of all: A couple in the South wrote to ask me for help because a local Court is trying to take away their children. And what was their so-called “crime”? Going to a swing club. Apparently, this makes you an unfit parent.

All of us are used to the media working itself into a lather and taking great pleasure in warning us about all these horrible sex offenders who roam our streets and put not only our children, but all of us in jeopardy. Point of fact, we're ALL sex offenders, so welcome to the club. Say it loud: “I'm offensive and proud!” Now when I say this, please don't think that I'm trivializing sexual aggression or violence. But don’t these outdated laws do just that when they seem to lump the occasional swinger together with child and serial rapists into the same category? How is this fair and balanced?

“Yes, Dr. J, but how do these stupid laws affect me?” Truthfully, they probably won’t, UNLESS you’re involved in a messy divorce, or want to run for office or happen to get on the bad side of some ambitious DA who wants to be perceived as your community’s moral guardian. These are situations in which the Sex Police thrive.


Oral and anal sex between consenting adults is still illegal in 18 states, including Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia (so much for Virginia being for lovers!). OMG! The Doc was just vacationing in Massachusetts! Imagine all the laws I must have broken. Oopsie!

To be fair, many of these laws are left over from the sex phobic 1800s, when sex was blamed for everything from insanity to warts (apparently things haven’t changed very much, have they?). But these 19th century laws have remained on our 21st century books because they still serve a purpose: Theory #1: They’re very handy to have around when you want to go after someone and can’t find any other ammunition to use against them; especially when you want to take someone’s kid away, discredit them, or most especially if you want to punish them and can’t find anything else that they’ve done wrong. That’s where these good old, bad old sex laws come in handy! Theory #2: Given today’s political climate, perhaps politicians don’t want to raise the issue of repealing these old laws for fear that the mere act of bringing up the subject gives the appearance of their being too interested in sex. Can’t have that now, can we?

Most people assume that “sodomy” laws are only used to persecute Gays—while this is mostly true, it’s not always the case: these laws are also used to deny custody in divorce cases (oblige hubby with a blow job, and you might lose your kid). And keep in mind that sodomy laws apply to opposite-sex couples as much as to same-sex couples.

Even if these laws only affected, for instance, left-handed Lithuanian Lesbians, all of us should still care! Why? Because as long as governments can control private sex acts between consenting adults, all of us are vulnerable. Sure, we can laugh at the antics of the Sex Police, but there’s a really scary thing happening: right this very moment, both our government and private interest groups are working hard to limit your access to contraception, to sexual information on the Net, and to sex-oriented chat rooms. They even want to prevent you from taking sexy photos of your lover. Hey, if they can get away with passing anti-sex laws, they’ll keep going until they get what they really want, and the direction they seem to be going in is to forbid sex to everyone. Why? Perhaps they feel (as many do) that it’s more fun when it’s forbidden.

So how can you safeguard your sexual freedom and keep the Sex Police from beating down your door and dragging you away in your own handcuffs? Google “sex laws” and find out what’s going on with the laws where you live. Then fire up your email machine and let your local representatives know that you’re paying attention – and that you vote.
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What's up next week? Democracy in Action: A chance to vote on future topics

With Pleasure (the kind that’s still legal in most states)

Dr. J

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