They say that love makes the world go around……….and that love is the answer to world peace.
But the sad reality is that when people want to express love towards another consenting adult in a sexual way, the same world and society often frown upon it and create moral andlegal frameworks to judge them and punish them. Woman loves a man is fine. Woman loves a woman is not. Man loves a man is not. But if woman is unmarried then she cannot have sex with the man or society makes sure she will be punished and made to suffer consequences—no access to contraception, no access to safe abortion, no legal status for the baby if she continues the pregnancy.
What is it about sex and sexuality that makes religious leaders and politicians go into this frenzy of control and morality ? Some religions actively associate sex with sin and fallen persons. Others which used to be liberal have some new found moral police who are trying to decide sexual norms for others ! The bottom line ( pun intendedJ ) is that sex among humans is not just about procreation. It is about pleasure and it is also about control. Patriarchal societies ensure that there are string social and cultural norms which repress young women’s sexuality –allowing it to be expressed only within the confines of an approved marriage.
If you have never seen it, then do watch Dirty Dancing to see how beautifully it depicts the way social and economic status controls sexuality and also leads to exploitation, since there are different rules for different people.
This is precisely why the Oral Contraceptive Pill was received with such concern and fear in the 1960s. It was seen as a liberating tool—if women could have sex with anyone they wanted to without the fear of getting pregnant, then how would society keep women tied down into the patriarchal marriage system ?
It is the same fear that society now directs towards the medical abortion pill –fear that a woman who is empowered enough to control her own fertility and her own body need not be bound down by absurd social and cultural norms that force her to repress her sexuality and punish her for sexual expressions when the male involved rarely faces any negative consequences.
But all people of all genders, young and old, have a right to enjoy sex and express their sexuality without coercion and free from the fear of an unwanted pregnancy or disease. May this Valentine’s Day, we will celebrate true love, in all its forms and expressions !