Religion

For a Catholic, Rick Santorum Sure Does Like to Talk About Sex

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As a blogger, I could not ask for a more interesting presidential candidate than Rick Santorum. Not only does he exhibit latent ambitions to preach from the pulpit; he also LOVES to talk about sex.

While most candidates will talk around matters of sex and sexuality, Rick goes right for it. He takes on sexuality with the passion of someone who, well, spends an awful lot of time thinking about the many kinds of sexual acts we’re supposedly not meant to engage in.

Santorum’s most recent foray into the bedroom had to do with birth control. No, not whether affordable birth control should be made available to all women, or whether the government has any role in providing it. He takes on the age-old religious question of whether birth control, in itself, is morally acceptable.

Never mind that, at one time or another, more than 95% of women in the U.S. use or have used birth control. Sure you want to go there, Rick?

According to Santorum, the use of birth control (and he makes no qualification for any exceptions that I’ve seen) is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Although following this, he does concede that “conjugal” sex between a married people is acceptable, he asserts that sex is really all about reproduction.

While I’ll agree that, if you want a baby, the easiest way to go about it is to have sex, I think that the argument about sex only being for reproduction is weak at best. Believe it or not, it was my mom, Linda Brendle (yes, the Southern Baptist one), who raised the question about whether mules (most of which are born sterile) have sexual urges or engage in sexual activity.

First of all, talking with my mom about mule sex is a little weird, but that didn’t catch me off guard as much as her ruminations about the soundness of a GOP candidate’s positions on sexuality.

But back to the matter at hand, I looked it up and sure enough, mules not only exhibit sexual urges, but they also actually have sex. Why, you ask, given the fact that there’s no reproductive value in a sterile species having such urges?

Ask Rick Santorum. He seems to be the expert.

Then there’s the matter of situational sterility. I can tell you first-hand that being “fixed” does absolutely nothing to stem one’s sexual urges. Having two kids, a full-time job and turning forty, on the other hand, tends to take a bit of a toll. But the only thing different about post-vasectomy sex is the absence of additional babies, for which I’m deeply grateful.

I also think back to the two male cats we used to have named Miles and Lenny. Both were fixed, and as I mentioned, they were both dudes. But at least once a day, I’d look over to find Miles humping Lenny’s face. So if the way God meant sex to be was between only two married cats – er, I mean people – then why in the world would my pets engage in gay, sterile, face humping?

I digress.

The point is that sex, sexual attraction and all that comes with it is clearly about so much more than making babies. It’s about emotional bonding. It can also be pretty freaking fun. If it were only about babies, then other species would never engage in same-sex acts (which they do), inherently sterile species wouldn’t even want to have sex (which they do), and my gay cats would not have used each others’ faces for seat cushions (which they totally did, a lot).

Rather than imposing some divine moral intent over the whole of sexuality, why can’t we look at it as a powerful act between two God-created creatures that should be treated as such? It’s fun and awesome and all that, but it also has  the potential along with it both to create and destroy life. It can bring people together, and it can tear them apart. And it can do both whether a couple is or isn’t married. I could elaborate, but I think we all get the point here.

Ultimately, I can’t help but feel that Santorum’s take on birth control falls along the same lines as the Texas and Virginia laws which require women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds before considering an abortion. Both tend to objectify the woman, compromising her rights for a moral agenda, largely put in place by straight (?) white middle-aged men.

I’m glad that Rick Santorum is willing to talk about sex. Now, if we can only get him and his ilk to talk about women as equals…

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