July 4 And Your Sexual Freedom

Dr. Marty Klein

Dr. Marty Klein

By Marty Klein, Ph.D
Special Guest to the Legal Satyricon

This weekend we celebrate the birthday of our country. Many will do this by participating in a parade, getting drunk, or displaying the Stars & Stripes. But there are other ways to celebrate the sacrifices that have made America the world’s most radical experiment in free speech and free thought.

It’s not the fact that you were born here that makes America great. It’s the principles that America stands for, struggles with, and protects. So this week you’ll be honoring those who have fought and died for America when you:

* Use birth control
* Download porn
* Watch the Sopranos or South Park
* Go to a raunchy comedy club or listen to a raunchy CD
* Have non-intercourse sex
* Get a lapdance at a neighborhood club
* Have sex with someone of a different race
* Have sex with someone of the same gender

Every single one of these acts took a court decision to affirm its legality—many from the Supreme Court. Yes, the same historic court that ended racially segregated public schools was needed to decide that Americans could legally purchase contraceptives, and that whites and blacks could have sex together.

When you live your normal life this week—using condoms, watching grownup TV, shopping in private on the internet, enjoying oral sex, ignoring ads for massage parlors in your local newspaper—you’ll be honoring the lives and hard work of thousands of plaintiffs, lawyers, judges, clerks, and volunteers.

These men and women may not have died in the line of duty, but they are on the front lines, serving our country. We have no medals for Bill Baird, Phil Harvey, Mildred Loving, Sherri Williams, or other heroes who have risked their lives, freedom, money, and sanity to protect our sexual expression. They fought not against a foreign enemy, but against tremendous pressure right here at home—from tyrannical majorities, powerful minorities, vindictive government agents.

These same elements threaten our basic American rights today.

Like other freedoms, sexual freedom isn’t free. Today, on our country’s birthday, let’s remember those mostly-anonymous people who struggled and suffered to make America safer for sexual expression and the commercial and intellectual activities needed to support it.

Let’s also remember the human beings languishing in American jails simply for creating sexually explicit films that millions of grownups have bought to use in their own homes. Our government has spent our money to stop these people from expressing themselves. If these people aren’t political prisoners, who are?

Some will say that our founders didn’t suffer at Valley Forge or die at Lexington & Concord so that your niece can buy rubbers, or a guy down the street can go see a stripper, or you can hear Jon Stewart say “dickhead.”

I say that that’s exactly why people died to create America—a special country in which people have the extraordinary right to do, say, and think things of which their neighbors—and government—disapprove.

4 Responses to July 4 And Your Sexual Freedom

  1. Susan Crippin says:


  2. blueollie says:

    I suppose that when I enjoy seeing a woman in tight spandex, I am benefiting from those who fought to give people the freedom to wear what they want to wear? :)

  3. Dan Steinberg says:

    Since many of those victories are procedural, I’d say a great source of freedoms enjoyed are in the procedural due process fought for every step of the way to keep the from tyrannical majorities, powerful minorities, and (perhaps most importantly) vindictive government agents at bay.

    Since sexual freedom in the courts is all about setting limits on what the government can tell us what do with our minds and bodies let’s not forget Dr. Klein’s freedom to not have to pander to any side of any arguement in the axpression of his choice to not include abortion on the list.

    I’d put it right up there but hey, it’s his freedom to disagree with me and his list so I celebrate his right to do so.


  4. I’m glad that we have those side effects, as I enjoy watching some of them.

    More important, I’m glad that we get some of the other core features which include those side effects. I may not care for miscegenation personally, but I’d sure hate to think that we needed to treat folks differently based on race. (This may be due to the fact that not all of my friends are of the same race I am.)

    And I would really hate to trust the government to decide which {strippers,protesters,offensive speakers} I should be allowed to enjoy.

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