In a world where the Creation Museum has financial supporters as well as visitors, and rich, uninformed white men still think they can make decisions about women's bodies, it is so damn good to hear somebody like Jocelyn Elders (former U.S. Surgeon General) speak rationally about sex. Dr. Elders is, by the way, 74 years old now but she maintains her educated candor about sexual matters. It's so refreshing to know she's out there.
She spoke recently at the SisterSong conference, and got two standing ovations. Why? Well here's a sampling of some of the things she said (these are taken from a marvelous post at Feministing.com):
"We're sexual beings from the time we're born until we die, and we need to make sure we understand our sexuality and realize that sex is about more than procreation."
"If men went through menopause, we'd know everything about it, but we still don't even know if we should be taking hormones."
On people who say condoms aren't 100% reliable: "Condoms will break, but I can assure you that vows of abstinence will break more easily than condoms."
What is not refreshing to realize is that she would be even less welcome in today's narrow-minded White House than she was in the Clinton administration (which caved to panicked right-wing idiots over her remark about masturbation being natural and something that "perhaps should be taught"). Why are any of her remarks grounds for fear?
People think I'm a snob when I say that this country has adolescent views on sex. I'm not saying that there aren't other countries that could use some enlightenment as well. But when you consider that remarks like those quoted above do not encourage anything illegal, do not promote violence, and simply reflect a dispassionate view of human sexual behavior, it's disheartening to realize how many Americans would find her line of thinking objectionable or even immoral. How is it that we have existed so long on this earth without coming to terms with our sexuality? And what will it take for grounded, mature minds like Dr. Elders' to be understood and respected?
When are we going to shake off the Biblical mysteries bullshit and look at who we really are?