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Sex

Relax, there’s no porn here.   If that’s what you’re after, you’re in the wrong place.

But we do like sex, in all it’s variety, and talking about it.  Not just this week’s politician caught with his pants down – we’re interested of course, but everyone else is blogging about that.  We’re more likely to write about Bill Clinton wrestling with “Don’t ask don’t tell” in the armed services, than about him doing the same with Monica Lewinsky.

We have a view about sex and politics.  It’s a simple one.   Unless someone is physically harming another without their consent, the state should get out of the bedroom.  Right out. The government should not just allow people to engage in all types of consensual sex, watch porn and pay prostitutes, it should stop subsidizing sex.  That means not paying for contraception, abortion or sex therapy.  It should stop providing sex education.  It should stop encouraging people to have, or not have, children.   All these things are important but they are private choices which should be made by free individuals without coercion.  They are no business of government.  We’ll write more about this.

We’ll be alerting readers to thinkers with interesting things to say about sex.  People like the Soviet historian Robert Conquest, the late marijuana activist Peter McWilliams, and the transgendered scientist Joan Roughgarden,

Getting the state out of our sex lives is a serious business, but sex itself is fun.  Reading and writing about it should be too.  We like the poems of Gavin Ewart, the novels of John Updike, and the short stories of Alan Bennett.   We like to read what the Archbishop of Canturbury has to say about homosexuality, and then watch him struggle to resolve the problem of gay bishops in his church.

Perhaps it’s prurient, but reading about the sex lives of the rich and famous is also fun.  Who wouldn’t be interested in Philip Larkin’s tangled love life and his fascination with porn, Kingsley Amis’s menage a trois, the unusual trajectory of the great singer Tom Robinson’s sex life, Harold MacMillan’s cuckolding, or Gold Meir’s promiscuity?   Visit ripe-tomato.org regularly, and you’ll learn about all of them and more.

If we’ve whetted your appetite, click sex in the right hand “categories” box?

Jim Thornton

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2013 11:33 pm

    I like the choice of subject and how they deal with it, generally I like the a liberal point of view on sex, but I don’t agree with all of it.
    The statements are too sweeping and there must be more clarity on legal boundaries.

    Agreed: a government should allow people to engage in all types of consensual sex, watch porn and pay prostitutes – within legal boundaries
    (both have to consent and that includes that no minors are involved unless e.g. they are both consenting minors of +15 or so).
    So the legal boundaries are set – then for the rest government has to stay away.

    As for contraception, abortion or sex therapy: maybe in the US it’s different, but I think all that is covered by insurances and in Europe most people are supposed to be insured, so that’s where a government indeed has no role to play.
    Include in that also any decision making on having children.
    Except for some legislation (abortion is highly risky if done in a late stage of pregnancy, not to mention the ethics of doing this; most people do agree that such should be done in the first 12-16? weeks and not be allowed later).
    But I guess that’s the legal boundaries anyway – one cannot do without that. And perhaps that’s not what the article is arguing about?
    And what about circumcision: the point is, if there’s no medical necessity to do so, it does unnecessary bodily harm so there’s another legal boundary.

    What I disagree with is that a government should stop providing sex education. I think it is part of school education and in that way it is part of governments’ duties.
    I would not be comfortable to leave sex education entirely to private schools; you would end up with kids having no sex education at all – think of the very religious schools – and this would make them very vulnerable.
    IF government should entirely retreat on that area, it would leave a huge space for kids to be brain-washed on religion AND be kept in the dark about sex. We know what that can lead do.

    I look forward to read more.

  2. March 31, 2013 10:34 pm

    Jim – you have what I think is a fairly rare take on all this! Can I ask, is this part of a wider stance on freedom, politics and so on, i.e. is this “freemarket sexuality”, “sexual libertarianism” or some such? Many people who agree with you on abortion and the sex industry would not agree on sex education, which is why I’m fascinated.

    I would disagree that pornography and prostitution can be lumped together as part of “the bedroom” of which the state should stay out of. Or perhaps the state should stay out of it, but society should not. The sort of social troubles and abuses that accompany either make them more than individual choices – “no man is an island.”

    Finally, I know well your own take on abortion! But interested to see you feel the state shouldn’t pay; choice for the wealthy only? Or is this a way of forcing women (and perhaps men too) to consider whether they can afford the consequences of their actions, in which case, is it really much different to “forcing” a lady to bear the child? Meaning, if you think the cost of a private abortion would be enough to stop someone taking the risk of pregnancy, why doesn’t the much greater financial and physical cost of having a child do the same?

  3. April 1, 2013 9:01 am

    Morning Tom and Xannasan, – Sex education. The problem is parents justifiably disagree over what they want, and the state does it badly and displaces parental sex ed. http://ripe-tomato.org/2012/12/06/sex-education/

    Porn and prostitution – So crack down on the abuses that accompany them, which is happening.The law’s a muddle but de facto we’ve got pretty near the right place. The problem is drug policy. But that’s another topic!

    Paying for abortion. Why subsidise it, as if we want more. There are loads of things the state doesn’t buy for the poor – food, drink, holidays, football tickets. And charitable abortion providers would appear. I’d volunteer. More here http://ripe-tomato.org/2012/10/07/abortion-again/

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