Increasing Sexual Freedom

Sexual freedom has been increasing in America and the West generally. Homosexual marriage is now accepted. On the face of it, it is good for people to be more free. But as Barry Schwartz points out in The Paradox of Choice (book and Ted Talk), a growing abundance of choices can be problematic.

Gay people seem more prevalent, as well as more accepted, than they were several decades ago. The obvious explanation is that they have come out of the closet. Perhaps, though, part of the reason there seem to be more gay people today is that there are in fact more of them. It is hard to see how the existence of more gay people could be distinguished from greater visibility of gay people due to their hiding less.

It might be objected that it is not even meaningful to talk of how many gay people there are, because, as Gore Vidal said in his essay "The Birds and the Bees"?, there are no gay people, only various sexual activities. Someone might engage in a single homosexual activity without being gay, for instance. Someone might have engaged in such activities when in college, but not since. Was such a person gay then, but no longer gay? What of someone who claims to be gay but never engages in any gay sexual activities? How could we be sure whether such a person was gay or not?

Charles Blow, in Sexual Attraction and Fluidity, reports on studies by the market research firm YouGov in Britain and in the U.S. that suggest that homosexuality is increasing and complete heterosexuality is decreasing.

The British study, for instance, found that 88% of people 60+ years old said they were completely heterosexual, whereas only 46% of people 18-24 years old claimed to be completely heterosexual. How this should be interpreted is not entirely clear. Conceivably, people's sexual identities become more clear-cut as they grow older; one can imagine (though it does not seem very plausible) that had the 60+ year olds been interviewed back when they were 18 to 24, they would have responded the same way as today's young people. It may be that young people with bisexual, gay, or lesbian leanings are more willing to admit it, whereas members of the older generation, with the same leanings, are too inhibited to admit to them. Though that might account for some difference, perhaps a few percentage points, it seems unlikely to account for the enormous difference found. Another possibility, perhaps the most straightforward one, is that in the past the great majority of British people were strictly heterosexual, whereas today, an increasing proportion of the younger generations are not. (The trend is fairly steady across age groups. For instance, the proportion claiming to be completely heterosexual was 88% for ages 60+, 78% for ages 40-59, 58% for ages 25-39, and 46% for ages 18-24.)

We are left with some interesting questions. Is the proportion of heterosexuals in the population declining, and the proportion of gays and bisexuals increasing? If so, why is this happening? Where will it lead? Should we be concerned about it?

When a politician in a small town in northern Sweden recently suggested that it subsidize one-hour sex breaks for local employees, Swedes — and people around the world — reacted with a mixture of astonishment, glee and derision. ...
Even the skeptics in Overtornea acknowledged that something positive had come from the debate. Tomas Vedestig, a left-leaning councilman, said he was fed up with the global attention the proposal had generated. But he added: “We talk more openly about sex and relationships now. It is no longer taboo.
- DAN BILEFSKY and CHRISTINA ANDERSON, Swedish Town Rejects Proposal to Grant Sex Leave to Workers, NYT, MAY 18, 2017

For Mr. Kramer, New York in the 1960s and ’70s was a haven of sexual revolution, which he both participated in and later criticized. ...

He fell in love with a man named David Webster, who did not want to settle monogamously with him. In response, Mr. Kramer wrote a devastating 1978 satirical novel called “Faggots,” which depicted a demimonde of men destroying themselves in wanton pleasure. The book sold well but made Mr. Kramer a pariah.

“People were so angry and offended,” Dr. Mass said. “I don’t think there is a positive image of a gay person, not one, in the entire novel. Larry seemed to have this ridiculously outdated romantic notion of sexuality and its relationship to love, monogamy. He was this total misfit in this expanding world of gay promiscuity and the sexual revolution.”

Three years later, the emergence of a new disease made the book seem prescient, and provided a purpose for Mr. Kramer’s wrath. ...

He carried on regardless... warning that... sexual promiscuity is an invitation for the next deadly virus....
- JOHN LELAND, Twilight of a Difficult Man: Larry Kramer and the Birth of AIDS Activism, NYT, MAY 19, 2017

Mr. Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, acting first as justice minister and then prime minister, repealed laws against homosexuality in 1969, legislation he introduced by saying: “I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
- IAN AUSTEN, Victims of Canada’s ‘Gay Purge’ to Get Apology from Trudeau, NYT, NOV. 21, 2017

Of course, Moore goes straight to the bestiality argument. “Do you know,” he asks, “that bestiality—the relationship between man and beast—is prohibited in every state?” Press interrupts to ask if he is comparing homosexuality with bestiality, and Moore says yes: “It’s the same thing…It is a moral precept on which this country is founded.”
- DAVID CORN, Watch Roy Moore, the Latest GOP Star, Argue for Criminalizing Homosexuality, Mother Jones, SEP. 27, 2017

Later in the interview, when Press asked why the government should ban what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes, Moore compared gay sex to bestiality.
"Just because it's done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law. Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast is prohibited in every state?" Moore asked.
"Did I ask you about having sex with a cow?" Press responded.
"No you didn't," Moore said.
"Or a horse, or a dog?" Press asked.
"It's the same thing," Moore said.
"No it's not. You mean homosexuality is same thing as bestiality?" Press asked.
"It is a moral precept upon which this country was founded," Moore said.
- Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski, Senate candidate Roy Moore in 2005: 'Homosexual conduct should be illegal', CNN, September 22, 2017

So when David Epstein, a Columbia University political scientist, was charged last week with third-degree incest for allegedly shagging his adult daughter, the blogosphere erupted. Conservatives called it another sign of moral chaos. Liberals said it was gross but shouldn't be prosecuted. One side defends the privacy of all consensual sex; the other side sees an inexorable descent from homosexuality to incest.
Let's try to come up with something better. If gay sex is OK, how can incest be wrong? ...
The incest taboo is strong enough to withstand the occasional reckless fool, and I don't want cops poking around in people's sex lives. But incest is wrong. There's a rational basis to forbid it. And we shouldn't be afraid to say so.
- William Saletan, Incest Is Cancer, Slate, DEC. 14 2010 [Saletan happily concocts an argument against incest that accommodates homosexuality; he fails to note it also accommodates bestiality.]

… A sexual revolution has no end to it. It leads to a homosexual revolution. And it gets worse, and it gets more vile, and it gets more vicious. And listen: Polygamy is gonna be free game. Pedophilia is gonna be free game. Because these guys are gonna get out of prison, look at the judge and say, “Hey, I feel naturally attracted to little boys and little girls.” As sick as that is, it’s gonna happen…
- HEMANT MEHTA, Pastor: The Sexual Revolution Leads to Homosexuality, Bestiality, and Bonnaroo, Friendly Atheist, Patheos, JUNE 22, 2017

An executive from A&E told TheWrap that Nancy Dubuc, CEO of A&E Networks, ultimately decided to suspend Robertson from the filming of “Duck Dynasty” because of his comparison of homosexuality to bestiality.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” Robertson told GQ’s Drew Magary about immorality. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men ... Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
- Cavan Sieczkowski, Phil Robertson’s Comparison Of Homosexuality And Bestiality Pushed A&E Over The Edge, Huffington Post, 12/20/2013

Carson Compared Same-Sex Marriage To Bestiality And NAMBLA . During an interview with Sean Hannity, Carson said, “Well, my thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition. So it's not something that's against gays. It's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society. It has significant ramifications.” [Fox Nation, 4/1/2013 , VIDEO]
- Human Rights Campaign, Ben Carson: Compares Same-Sex Marriage to Bestiality (on 11/21/17)

"Bestiality is not my thing," Kameny wrote. "But it seems to be a harmless foible or idiosyncrasy of some people. So, as long as the animal doesn’t mind (and the animal rarely does), I don’t mind, and I don’t see why anyone else should."
- quoted in Homosexuality and bestiality, Conservapedia (on 11/21/17)

With the slogan, “It’s forbidden to forbid,” the movement rebelled against authority and fought against imperialism, capitalism, racism, sexism and homophobia. Some also argued for abolishing age-of-consent laws, saying that doing so would liberate children from the domination of their parents and allow them to be full, sexual beings.

Mr. Matzneff was one of the leading writers to advocate the legalization of sex with children. ...
Libération, the newspaper co-founded by Sartre, championed pedophiles as a discriminated minority and ran personal ads by adults seeking children for sex. ...
For years, though less aggressive than Libération, Le Monde, the centrist newspaper, published a weekly column by Mr. Matzneff and articles defending those accused of having sex with underage partners, including one in 1977 that was signed by Sartre, de Beauvoir and Barthes. While the right attacked pedophiles, some of its leaders were close to Mr. Matzneff.
- Norimitsu Onishi, A Victim’s Account Fuels a Reckoning Over Abuse of Children in France, NYT, Published Jan. 7, 2020, Updated Jan. 8, 2020

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