Paying For Sex With Your Taxes

Rush Limbaugh has sparked an intense controversy with his sexist, misogynistic, and immoral statements about Sandra Fluke’s testimony supporting mandated provision of contraceptives by health insurers.   Besides his horrendous comments and personal attacks against Sandra Fluke, his comments also begat a strange, terribly misinformed notion that American taxpayers are paying for women to get free contraception, in essence, we are all paying for women to have sex.

First of all, the foundation of this argument is totally bogus.  Taxpayers are not paying for anything here.  Insurers are paying for it.  These insurers pass the cost of free contraception (just as they do free pre-natal care, yearly physicals, etc) onto employers in the form of insurance premiums.  The employers then pay their portion of the premiums and the employee pays their’s.  Nowhere does the taxpayer pay one penny for contraceptives, except for government programs like Medicaid.

So Limbaugh’s argument, which is being taken up by the religious right, is false.  I might give him and others the benefit of doubt that they are just clueless, but I find it hard to believe that anyone in the public sphere, especially legislators, are ignorant of the reality.  They are simple liars, lying to promote their particular political agendas.

But, for sake of argument, let’s assume that Limbaugh’s argument it valid and that taxpayer money is being spent to provide contraceptives.  If that is the case, then it is no different than paying for Viagra for old, impotent men.  Why should we pay for these men to have sex?  There isn’t even any corollary argument for it, as with contraceptive.  Contraceptives prevent pregnancy, STDs (in the case of condoms), help some women regulate periods and treat ovarian cysts. Viagra has no other benefit except to give a man a hard-on.  So all these aging white men can stop getting viagra at taxpayer expense.  I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to pay for Rush Limbaugh to have sex, never mind actually watching him do it on video (as he suggested Sandra Fluke do).

Of course, the above argument is just a spurious as Limbaugh’s.  The real lesson here is that this is one more attempt by privileged men to control women.  The latest outrage is taking place in Arizona (that hotbed of radical religious inspired insanity).  Read Rebecca Watson’s take on the new law that would force doctors to lie to their female patients about the health of their unborn child.

If you don’t think that there is a war on women being waged by the religious right and the GOP (which have become one and the same), there have been dozens of similar attempts to allow the state to control a woman’s body.  For a party that claims that they are for less government and putting a stop to government’s intrusion into our personal lives, they sure don’t seem to think that applies to women.  I supposed that as long as the government isn’t trying to regulate your guns or property, everything else is fair game.

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Another WTF! Moment, Brought to You by the Catholic Church

According to the BBC, Former Belgian Bishop, Roger Vangheluwe, has gone public with his explanation for the molestation of two of his nephews.  While Fr. Vangheluwe freely admits that he engaged in sexual relations with his two nephews for 13 years, he contended that, “It had nothing to do with sexuality.”

When asked how the abuse began he stated:

“As with all families, when they came to visit, the nephews slept with me. It began as a game with the boys. It was never a question of rape.”

“I don’t have the impression at all that I am a pedophile,” he said. “It was really just a small relationship. I did not have the feeling that my nephew was against it, quite the contrary. It was not brutal sex.”

I don’t know what kind of family the former bishop was brought up in, but I certainly don’t find that kind of activity to be normal; as he tries to make it out to be.

This is a grown man who preyed on the most vulnerable of our society; children.  He was a trusted adult, more specifically, a family member.  He played a “game” with them that involved sexual contact.  These were children who did not have the capacity to understand what the real point of the “game” was.  They were emotionally unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the powerful emotions that they surely must have felt.  For this douche-bag to say that this wasn’t a question of rape is beyond the pale.  For him to insist that he didn’t feel that his nephew was against it is obscene.  Children are unable to make such judgments.  Kids will go along with a trusted adult in anything because, as children, they rely on the adults who care for them to guide them and teach them.

The really sad part about this case is that he cannot be charged with a crime because too much time has passed.  I think the laws should be changed, where the statute of limitations on child abuse should be equal to the life span of the victim.Roger Vangheluwe is nothing but a sick, abusive man.  There are no excuses.  There are no rationalizations.

For the Catholic Church’s part, it has stated that the cleric:

“…had been ordered to leave Belgium and undergo spiritual and psychological treatment.The disgraced cleric has not been defrocked but the Vatican spokesman added that it was “obvious” he would not be allowed to practice as a priest while he was undergoing treatment.”

In other words, nothing is going to be done to hold him accountable in any way.  And people wonder why I’m an atheist.

 

The Shame of the Shame of Sex

I had an amazing, day-long conversation on FB with an old, dear friend and a new friend of hers that she introduced me to.  The conversation was about sex.  It ranged from the innate beauty of the penis,  the importance (or lack thereof) of penis size, the the sensitivity and depth of the vaginal canal, female ejaculation,  what constitutes real intimacy,  the consciousness  shattering of shared mutual orgasms, to my new friend (a woman) giving me male masturbation advice that included interesting and clever devices.

There was mutual agreement that the shame associated with sex in our society is almost always motivated by males trying to maintain their supposed privilege where they feel that they have control over women, especially their sexuality.  This we all also agreed is complete and utter bullshit.

I’ve said it before here, anything that happens between consenting adults, regardless of gender, orientation, or numbers of people involved, is perfectly OK and, more importantly, perfectly natural.

In the end, intimacy, both physical and emotional, come down to the following:  openness, honesty, and respect.  One of these lovely women mentioned to me that she had problems with men because they viewed her openness as a invitation to hit on her.  She said that she never could figure out the rules.  I told her that I have three rules, which are stated above: openness, honesty, and respect.  And those rules apply to all relationships of all types, not just sexual ones.

It was one of the most fascinating and stimulating (pun intended) conversations I’ve ever had.  I found it so refreshing to be able to talk to women who were so comfortable with their sexuality and so confident in themselves.  They are both also very articulate and intelligentand they showed great respect to myself and each other.  I find these traits in a women to be irresistibly attractive.

The problem with many men is that they find these traits in women to be highly threatening.  They can’t deal with a woman who is so secure and comfortable in her sexuality.  I believe it truly frightens them.  It is because they have this false sense of privilege that leads them to believe that they must control the women in their lives.

Personally, I find it liberating, fascinating, and beautiful.

Oh and I learned something else very interesting in the discussion yesterday.  One of the women has studied the sexual practices and mores of ancient societies.  Did you know that women in ancient  Greece loved small penises?  They considered large penises grotesque.  As Spock would say, fascinating!

How comfortable are you with your sexuality?  How about with the sexuality of others?   Comments are most welcomed and encouraged.

 

What We Can Learn From Bonobos

There is an article at Physorg.com that discusses the peaceful bonobos, a species with which we share more than 98% of our genetic material.  Violence has never been observed within bonobo communities and it seems that they have perfected a wonderful way of dealing with tension among members.

“One way bonobos deal with conflict and tension is to have sex. Yes, they’re the ultimate hippies–they make love, not war. “Whenever things get tense in the bonobo world, they’ll usually have some kind of sociosexual activity and this seems to really help everybody get along. But another one of the ways that they sort of have this peaceful society is they’re naturally more tolerant. They share more, and if one of them gets upset, it’s not just sex but they can also hug and comfort one another.””

Let us all take a page from the bonobo play book.  Hugs and sex for everyone!  Get out there and spread the love!

Comments on Atheism and Gender Equality

Here is an illuminating comment on my earlier post from a reader, Sas, and my reply:

  1. Thanks for this . I have been appalled by some men’s attitudes – I left Christianity hoping for an equal world and was horrified to see the same old crap in the atheist camp. ” girls are naturally less intelligent that’s why they go to church ” No you twat, church has free childcare and you don’t get touched up.Treat women right and they’ll join you.Also try to understand that liking men and sex doesn’t mean they will sleep with any man – ESP not the older ones who think we are gagging for a father figure…wpid-94fe68a35b9b4a2c0ba2445621a62470-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  2. Ps lots of men don’t like sex and will make you feel bad for asking for it. Strangely they lie about that to their male friends.wpid-6f2daef3a2c555a4bdb80036526e0f36-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Sas | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply
  3. Sas, I agree with you completely. Men need to understand that just because a woman is sexually liberated doesn’t mean she will sleep with everyone, especially them. Yes, biology is powerful. Yes, males evolved to try to have sex with as many females as possible in order to pass on their genes. But to use this as an excuse to treat women solely as sexual objects is disingenuous and wrong. This only supports the theists’ contention that atheists are all amoral darwinists. We are moral creatures who have the benefit of intelligence and rational thought to rise above our evolutionary imperatives, especially when they interfere with our ability to responsibly interact with each other.wpid-402c429e71fcb15b380d58cd3ca72867-2011-02-8-16-27.jpg Comment by Jay Walker | February 8, 2011 | Edit | Reply

The Sensible Religious Reaction to Sexual Abuse? Blame The Victim, of Course.

PZ Myers wrote on his blog today of a Catholic priest who was removed from his position on the board of an anti-abortion group, stepped down from his diocese and was transferred to another one, apparently because he had sex with, wait for it… an adult woman (you were expecting something else, perhaps?).

The Church’s repeated description of the victim as an “adult woman” made it seem like the victim was somehow less victimized that, say a child or adult man. If this weren’t screwed up enough as it is, the people who rushed to defend the scrofulous priest went to such low depths of depravity that Dante would have had to create a new circle of hell just for them. Here is what they had to say:

“I think these women are shameful. Their attack will probably backfire on them. They are possessed with evil and it seems that they are getting worse whenever someone disagrees with them. They seem very vindictive in character and self-righteous. They don’t seem credible to me.

I have known Fr. Tom personally for more than 13 years and I can assure you of Father’s devotion to the unborn. I have never seen him falter in his ministry as a priest. Being exposed to demons is not an easy thing. Sometimes the demons will purposely twist the bodies of their victims that will have their sexual parts touch the one who is trying to remove the demons. This, I am sure must have happened several times to Father Tom. Many of the women who are possessed also have other mental problems like ADHD and Bi-polar and these people lie very often just to get attention.”

The fact that these comments were from apparently average Catholics on a blog about the subject makes it seem that the rot at the heart of the Catholic Church has spread not just through the priesthood, but to the parishioners as well. The sooner this two thousand year old monstrosity goes the way of the dodo, the better.

Sex Acts Shouldn’t be a Moral Issue

Sex is one of the most basic activities that we as humans engage in. Next to quest for water, food, and shelter, sex is the most compelling force that drives our actions and emotions. That may sound crass to some, but sexual desire takes many forms such as our longing for romance, companionship, affection, and love of other caring adults.

Here I define sex as responsible, consensual, non-coercive sexual and social relations between adults that takes place in private. This definition applies no matter if the adults involved be straight, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual, transgender, or polyamorous; monogamous or non-monogamous. No sexual act, as long as it is agreed to by all involved, is prohibited and all such sexual acts are considered morally neutral.

I say in the title of this entry that sex acts shouldn’t be a moral issue, but our sexual freedom is and should be. Just as access to shelter, water, and food are moral issues, in that no one can justly keep these things from us, so too is sexual freedom a moral issue. No one has the right to keep us from engaging in responsible, non-coercive and consensual sexual relationships with other adults, or dictate how those relationships must, or must not, be expressed.

There are many people who would try to deny the right of sexual freedom to others based strictly on their own, almost exclusively, religiously motivated beliefs. These people try to make a moral issue out of social and sexual relationships and activities that they have no compelling interest in. How are they harmed or affected by what transpires in petto between responsible and consenting adults? The reality, of course, is that they are not harmed in any way, and any effect the imagined sexual activities of others may have on them is their own issue to deal with, not a matter for public discussion and government interference.

I find it interesting that the same people who attempt to legislate sexual morality are often the same people who cry the loudest about the government interfering with their rights to own firearms, their access to health care, or trying to take away their precious social security and Medicare (where are government programs created by the federal government and which no one has an intrinsic right to).

These same people don’t want to be told by the government how to live their lives and yet they have no problems trying to get that same government to tell others what sexual acts they can and can’t engage in.

The right to practice sexual freedom, as I’ve defined it here, is an intrinsic right that no one except the parties involved have any compelling interest in or standing on. The kinds of relationships that responsible, consenting adults enter into, the sexual acts they engage in, and the various orientations and numbers of people involved in those relationships are sacrosanct as long as they are engaged in openly, honestly and without any coercion.