The sexual conservatism that gained ground during the second Bush administration has not been liberated by Obama’s policies. While abstinence-only programs are slowly being removed, some issues, such as birth control rights, have recently gotten worse—much worse, said sex therapist Marty Klein: “The fact that contraception is back on the public policy agenda is shocking, to say the least, and it represents an extraordinary victory in the war on abortion and in terms of a reconceptualization of what sexual health means.”
What’s the Big Idea?
American sexuality traces two distinct tracks, says Klein. In the public arena, policy on sexual issues is more conservative now than anytime in the past 25 years. In the bedroom, however, there is “more variety, more experimentation, more sex toys, more non-monogamy than ever before.” Klein says the most dangerous aspect of the war on sex is not the erosion of humane sex laws but of democracy itself. When sexual desire is attacked on moral grounds, those who oppose more restrictive laws naturally feel hesitant to come forward and ask their legislators not to restrict, for example, adult shops and strip clubs.