Archive for the ‘Sex Positive’ Category

 

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Rally in San Jose, CA after the CA Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 in 2009.

Like that sign said 6 years ago at a protest in San Jose, this is not over and we will win. In fact, right before Pride weekend, we did win and the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, that, for the first time in America’s history, homosexual couples can get married in all fifty states and all states must recognize other state’s gay marriages.

While this is great news for all supporters of marriage equality, and it is time to celebrate as Chief Justice Roberts has said,  I fear it could be just a moment of celebration before a potential onslaught of adversity against gay and lesbian couples. While liberty and justice have gotten a win for the short term, this narrow victory will likely incense conservatives for years to come.

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Let me unpack Supreme Court voting a bit for anyone not familiar with it. While you only need a 5-person majority to make a decision and pass laws that is seen as something to avoid at all costs, especially when core civil liberties or civil rights are on the line. Usually, the majority strives for at least a 6-7 person vote in favor, ideally a unanimous vote if the issue is seen as very important and/or hotly contested.

The best analogies I can give to illustrate what I mean are the desegregation of schools and creation of abortion rights. When Brown v. Board of Education was decided in 1954, desegregation did not have wide support across the country like it did today, it was hotly contested because it dealt with highly important civil rights and civil liberty issues. Desegregation was so important that Chief Justice Warren did everything he could to get a unanimous 9-0 decision, including pulling a justice back to the bench for the vote, even though he had just suffered a heart attack and was on medical leave. Want to know why Brown v. Board of Education was never challenged? That is why.

Another core civil liberty is one’s right to be sovereign over their own body, including your right to an abortion should you choose to do so. When the issue first went before the Supreme Court back in 1973, they did not present the same united front that they had with Brown. When it came to abortion rights, the court could only muster up a 7-2 vote in Roe v. Wade, thus beginning more than a forty year onslaught on women’s reproductive rights that continues to this day. Notice the difference those two votes makes? Now ask yourself how confident you feel about Friday’s 5-4 decision. Then ask yourself how confident you feel about the fact that the legal precedent it builds on, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was decided not on the merits of the case but by standing alone. In Hollingsworth, the Court looked at who was the plaintiff in the case, felt they had no business to bring that suit, and said, effectively, ‘you can’t stand in this court room, get the hell out of here;’ without any care to the legality of marriage equality. That is being decided on standing.

Right now, marriage equality is legal because of a 5-4 decision that builds off a technical foul, and of course decades of other cases like Lawrence v. Texas, Bowers v. Hardwick, and the aptly named Loving v. Virginia. A 5-4 decision is better than a 4-5, it is better than nothing – but it is the next-best thing to nothing and historically in America that is a recipe for decades of legal battles.

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Well said, who is next?

I hope this explains why I may be celebrating less than other pride revelers. I worry about what is to come and the vitriol spawned by a divisive 5-4 decision. Still, 5-4 is the best we could hope for this with current court as it is the most conservative in US history. If that trend continues then I am *very* worried for the future of marriage equality.

 

 

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Hey readers, I’ve recently begun wondering if my blog might be too diverse in focus for my readership and I am debating limiting my focus on this blog and starting another one for other posts or possibly something else. As a person who has many focuses in life and does many things I wanted a blog that reflects that, but I worry people might feel spammed with posts that are not relevant to their interests (you are here for DIY but I just keep posting about politics, or vice versa).

Here is your chance and your place to tell me what you come here for and what you’d like to see more of. You can choose up to 3 options on the poll and even add your own options if I missed something.

I’m a very sex positive person, which for me means embracing the full gamut of what sexuality can be. Sure, it might not all be for me, but I am not one to yuck anyone’s yum (but of course hard limits of legality must exist).

Talking about being sex positive, I am a huge supporter of birth control, and I don’t just mean the pill.The pill is wonderful, except it is pretty easy to mess it up by forgetting to take regularly and it has lots of side effects from the huge injection of hormones. IUD’s work better from my experience with partners using different methods, but they also have drawbacks. The main advantage to many IUDs is they are hormone-free, but if they aren’t inserted right or get jossled they may stop working (as happened to a former partner). There are also female condoms, diaphragms, and some weird mutated nicotine patch thing. Being male, my options are much more limited and haven’t improved much for about a century.

As a guy it is incumbent on you to have condoms if you expect to have sex. While some people love spermicide I avoid it like the plague out of a kindness to my partners. Spermicide has been shown to increase inflammation of vaginal tissue and increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Now, that increased risk of HIV transmission is only relevant if you are having sex with multiple partners and people are not getting regularly tested; if you are HIV free an increased risk of passing on HIV is a non-issue. According to recent estimates men make up 1/3 of US contraceptive use even though the only non-surgical options we have are condoms and spermicide. Most guys are not willing to consider a vasectomy a type of birth control.

But thankfully there is another option, a new method is being approved for use in America, Vasalgel. This is a gel product that is injected into the tubing of the vas deferens, similar to RISUG. Vasalgel is technically a surgery but it doesn’t permanently alter the body and in every phase of the study done so far is totally reversible. RISUG, the predecessor of Vasalgel, has been used without incident in India for over a decade but it still awaiting official approval. You may be wondering how it works, and unfortunately I cannot tell you because the exact mechanism is still not known. What is known is that it somehow negates the sperm before they ever become ejaculate and leave the penis, potentially annihilating HIV in the process. My main question now is, does one still ejaculate without any sperm, or once your sperm have been de-ionized?

Guys, if you are as interested in a hormone-free, condomless, reversible birth control that may also prevent the spread of HIV you should sign up on their email list and maybe donate some money. I’m signed up to be a human tester if they need it. I cannot wait for this to get FDA approval.