I think sexual ecstasy is overrated.
                              —Monty Python

Right wing men, I would venture, are like most men. They like sex. They like having it on a regular basis. Some will go to ridiculous lengths to obtain sex, licit or illicit. The sex drive is hardwired into our DNA, and political ideology does nothing to tamp it down.

Jimmy Swaggart railed against the perils of fornication.  He then went and paid for prostitutes.  (But hey, at least he wasn't gay.)

Ted Haggard railed against homosexuality.  He then went and paid for rent boys.  (Which was eleventy million times worse than what Jimmy Swaggart did.)

And Rush Limbaugh?  Well, when you're caught in a Third World country known for sex tourism with a bag-full of Viagra, I don't think one has to stretch one's imagination much to create a plausible story for the reason behind Limbaugh's visit.

So, it's not the sex.  Everyone loves sex, or most everyone.  Everyone, or most everyone, wants sex, at least here in the "liberated" West.  (I will have to do some more research to see what studies have been done on male and female sexuality in what we consider "repressed" societies, and the views towards sexual pleasure among men and women.)  Evangelical husband-and-wife teams write books on the joys of matrimonial sex, and how to keep the home fires burning so that no one strays off the marital bed.

(From what I remember of my "marriage" class in Catholic high school, the Church's teaching is that every sex act between a husband and wife—and yes, you'd better be married, otherwise it's fornication and a sin in the eyes of God and man—should be open to the possibility of conception.  You shouldn't have sex just for fun.  Which isn't quite what I remember from my high school years.  Much fun was had by, if not one and all, then one and a hell of a lot.)

It's not the sex.  It's the power.

Sex is powerful.  At its best, it's liberating, bringing the participants closer to what we can call the "divine".  It has to be powerful stuff to keep the species going, to keep us willing to invest time, energy, resources to raising the offspring that sometimes result from sexual union, which is an amazing commitment.  Sex between two partners who are in tune on levels beyond the sexual plane—emotionally, intellectually, physically—can be one of the most potent things on this earth, joining them in a way that few other things can.  Sex sells.  And most people are buying.

At its worst, sex is oppressive, with the weaker partner kept in a mental and sexual bondage to the stronger, unable to break away due to upbringing, conditioning, fear, or any variety of reasons.  Sex becomes a mode of control, of the exertion of power on the part of the dominant partner, a way to mark one's "property", to ensure that the weaker partner never forgets his or her place.  Again, sex is powerful stuff, both for good and ill.

It's the power of human sexuality—and the exercise of that power free of religious or political constraints—that frightens the right wing.  That it has a patriarchal mindset is merely a truism.  And nothing threatens that patriarchal control as much as female sexuality.  For centuries the Christian church taught that women were wild sexual beasts, put on earth to tempt hapless males from God's path.  Nocturnal emissions were the work of succubi, female demons sent to drain men of their essence.  Woman was the source of all of man's ills, stemming from Eve's initial disobedience, and her temptation of Adam into the same disobedience.  Female sexuality has always been a source of insecurity to the Western man, a source of danger, and something that had to be controlled strictly, lest society careened out of its groove.

With every advance that women make—sexually, politically, economically—the patriarchal mindset suffers another defeat, another existential blow.  It's on its last legs, at least in the West, and in its death throes thrashes about like a dying lion.  But it's not a lion in the prime of his life, killed in a hunt; it's an old, toothless, limp animal, feebly striking out, its blows failing to land, looked on with pity if not laughter.

While women have every right and reason to react with anger at the ire being directed their way by the likes of Rush Limbaugh for wanting contraception covered by all employer health plans—as well as, not quite inexplicably, by his female defenders like Patricia Heaton—they should take comfort and more than a bit of satisfied joy that the majority of their fellow citizens don't view female sexuality as the right wing does.  It's one more nail in the coffin of the conservative movement.  And it's one that they hammered in themselves.

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