Saturday, May 03, 2008

Orgasms for everyone!

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Today's constitutional curiosity, from the BBC:

A woman from the governing party in Ecuador has proposed that a women's right to enjoy sexual happiness should be enshrined in the country's law.

Her suggestion has provoked a lively debate in conservative Ecuador.

Maria Soledad Vela, who is helping to rewrite the constitution, says women have traditionally been seen as mere sexual objects or child bearers.

Now, she says, women should have the right to make free, responsible and informed decisions about sex lives.

I'm all for that, but it's not clear to me what exactly such a right would entail.

Needless to say, "her comments have provoked a lively response -- mostly, unsurprisingly, from men," with one of her male colleagues snarkily "[accusing] her of trying to decree orgasm by law."

"Vela [has] responded to the criticism, saying she had never requested the right to an orgasm -- merely the right to enjoy sex in a free, fair and more open society. She explained that sex was a difficult subject to discuss in Ecuador and that what she wanted were clearer laws covering life, health and sexual education."

I'm all for that, too -- and that's a bit clearer. I'm not sure sex and sexuality should ever be a constitutional matter, but, in general, laws liberating women from sexual oppression -- in this case, historical oppression that continues to the present day -- ought to be welcomed.

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