Before I start this very late friday/saturday post, I’m quickly going to share two new features I’m going to add at least to all upcoming posts- I’m going to add tooltips every time I introduce a piece of jargon to that post, allowing you to better understand what I’m saying in my essay posts just by hovering your mouse over a piece of jargon, without you reading every previous post, or me cross-linking my own posts or linking wikipedia extraneously to explain jargon. This becomes more and more necessary as I move into cool advanced topics like sexual agency, homosexuality, polygamy, relationship assumptions, youth sexualisation, and all that cool stuff. I’m also adding a glossary to collect these terms in, with attribution where I can figure it out. Anyway, on with the show. (and yes, the necessity of these new features is partly why it’s so late)
Sexual liberation as a concept/philosophy, or the belief in sexual freedom, is based on the foundation that sex acts should be founded and evaluated on mutual and equal consent, and the right to sexual agency of the partners involved. Sexual liberation as a concept grew out of sexual liberation as an event1– that is, the widespread availability of effective birth control.
Because it assumes that everyone in a sexual relationship is equal, sexual liberation necessarily overlaps with women’s rights and gay rights- women’s rights because it rejects male domination of sexual relationships and asserts the right to deny sex, and gay rights because it evaluates partnership based on consent and self-utility, not based on community standards or social norms.
Feminists maintain the necessity of adequate birth control for gender equality because of the inherently disproportionate impact of pregnancy. Sex, it is argued, is not a choice for women so long as it is a choice tied so inherently to pregnancy. The low risk of pregnancy with redundant birth control grants women sexual agency in straight or bisexual relationships2.
Sexual liberation also implies not just the ability to make sexual choices, but the evaluation of those choices based on how informed they are. Consent cannot be said to be mutual if one person is more informed than another, so all decisions must be evaluated not only on the degree to which all people involved agree, but also the relative understanding of all parties that agree. Some people may not be informed enough to make many decisions without some serious psychological growth- such as children- and thus can’t be said to be capable of complicated choices. This likely informs our views on the sexual agency of children, and sheltered adults, and adults who are relatively speaking extremely inexperienced.
Sexual agency faces many opposing beliefs- for example, the conception of women as gatekeepers to sex, the belief in marriage as the only form of sexual consent, the view of non-harmful sexual choices as taboo, and the implication of (selective) sexual non-agency.
As a fair warning, if you find sexual liberation to be a concept you can’t support, you’ll likely find most of what I write on this blog extremely distasteful.
1As a historical event, sexual liberation refers to the availability of various types of temporary birth control, but most notably the condom and the combined contraceptive pill. This availability spawned the philosophy of sexual liberation.
2Yes, I know a bisexual relationship requires at least three people. Monogamy (not to be confused with exclusivity) is not only a sexual assumption, but also a sexual choice, and therefore optional if we buy into sexual liberation.
note: Until an explanation tag is included in HTML specifications, I do not want to hear about my blatant appropriation of abbrevriation tags. Those of you who do not know what HTML is can now return to your regularly scheduled blog.