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the indomitable human spirit

Happy Solstice, sex fans!

I know I’m supposed to be on holiday, but I just couldn’t resist sharing with you this correspondence that typifies the season. It is a true celebration of the indomitable human spirit.

Name: Roman
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: Kansas
I’m a 22 and I have cerebral palsy. My girlfriend has CP too. You say you have experience working with people with disabilities. Do you know about how CP and how it affects our balance and muscle control? Me and my GF have difficulty having sex. Our bodies don’t move like other people. Most of the time we are in wheelchairs and, while sitting is ok, our stiff legs make conventional sex impossible. We have invented ways to get each other off, but when it comes to intercourse we are stumped. We’ve tried different things, but we can’t get the angle right. We’ve looked for ideas on the internet, but nothing.

Kudos to you Roman, and your plucky girlfriend. You kids sound like you’ve got it gonin’ on, I’m really impressed. You’re right, I have some experience with people with disabilities, particularly around the issue of sexuality. And I am familiar with the affects of cerebral palsy on one’s balance and muscle control. So I think I can help you. However, I want you to help me too. I think you could help me and my audience understand and appreciate your situation a bit better.

Here’s why I think this. It’s not often I hear from such an articulate fellow in your particular circumstance. So I want to ask you a few questions. (Any one else out there in my audience who wants to chime in on this, please do!) In the past, most of the people I’ve encountered who have disabling conditions, like CP have been at the mercy of those who care for them at home or in assisted living facilities. So would it be correct for me to guess that you and your girlfriend are living independently? It sounds that way to me. The reason I say that is, one of the most troubling problems folks, like ya’ll, have is finding private time and space for any intimacies of whatever kind. Families and assisted living facilities are notorious for not giving or respecting a client’s privacy.

If you are in an independent living situation and you have enough privacy to engage in intimacies that can get you off, short of intercourse. How do you do you get one another off? Is this done while you’re in your chairs? If you’re actually getting naked with each other, and I hope you are, do you need assistance from someone to achieve this?

Here’s why I’m asking you this. If you are having a person assist you as far as getting out of your cloths and into the sack with each other, would it be out of the question for either of you to ask this person to help you get into position for fucking? I ask this because on one very special occasion a couple I knew some years ago asked me to assist them in their love making. At first, I didn’t know if I was up to the task. Not because I would be freaked out gimps gettin their groove on — not at all. I was concerned that I wouldn’t know what to do, or how to do it. My friends, the couple, told me not to worry, that they would direct me if I helped them manage their limbs and coordinate their movements. I was honored by their request, so I accepted their invitation.

We were all really nervous, me especially. They asked if I would be comfortable being naked with them. This put me on the spot, for sure. It’s not that I was uncomfortable being naked, that’s rarely an issue. But I was strangely uncomfortable being naked with them. Was it professional pride? Did I feel more secure being clothed, less vulnerable that way? Hell, I don’t know. They explained that they didn’t want this to be some kind of clinical thing where I was being a therapist, albeit an unconventional therapist.

In the end I relented. And after a few minutes of feeling really awkward, we lost our inhibitions and got down to business. Just so you know, my friends were right. Had I kept my cloths on, the experience wouldn’t have been the same. While I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, I was remarkably able to experience, in a most intimate way, what it must be like to live in a body that doesn’t respond like my body does. I felt like my friends’ bodies were extensions of my body. And they said they felt the same way; that my body was an extension of their bodies. It was a communion like no other.

My friends kept cracking jokes. Every time I’d topple over trying to get the two lovebirds into position they’d say something like: “is that what it’s like having an able body?” BITCHES! No doubt, the humor and giggling help take the edge off for us all. I know it helped me overcome being so self-conscious. I confess I was a bit embarrassed to be the only able body person present.

What struck me most in all of this was the determination of my friends. I’ve never met anyone more dogged and tenacious…and all to get a little nookie. God bless ‘em!

We tried several positions. Luckily, my friends had upped the dose of their muscle relaxant medications so they were a bit more pliable. One position that seemed to work particularly well was having my friends lying on their sides facing each other. I helped the woman swing one of her legs over her guy. I was then able to scoot their pelvises together and guide his dick into her pussy. Then all I needed to do is bounce them a little. It was brilliant, even though it was the hardest I ever worked for a fuck — and it wasn’t even me who was doing the fucking.

We were all completely exhausted by the experience. My friends were enormously grateful and I was blissed out. It took them days to recover, but at least they achieved what they so desperately wanted. Did they ever attempt intercourse again? I don’t know. They may have discovered that fucking, especially if it takes that much concentration and energy may not be worth it. Maybe they realized that full-on fucking is not necessarily for full-on sexual enjoyment. I mean my friend was expert at eating out his girlfriend. All I had to do is help him in into position. And she got off on it big time…oh and so did he…the randy little bugger!

So, Roman, I didn’t mean to go on and on like that. Sorry if I got off topic. I just wanted to tell you that story because I thought it might suggest to you and your girlfriend the idea of having someone help you guys fuck. It’s worth a try, right?

Good luck

Joining The Resistance

Name: Green Guy
Gender: Male
Age: 44
Location: Lowell, MA
Dr. Dick I am an African American gay man who was reared in a very psychologically abusive and conservative southern environment. I am very inexperienced with relationships, dating and sex. In fact, I have been celibate for the last five years, trying to figure out how I got so psychologically fucked up and what to do about it. I was in therapy for quite a while, but I still have many issues to deal with, including trusting men. I would like to be in a healthy relationship, but I don’t even know where to start. I feel that my personal life has been a total disaster. I want to change things around, but I feel utterly lost. Although I am professionally successful, I have serious issues with my body. I am somewhat overweight, but have recently joined a gym to get in shape. I just feel totally hideous, and depressed (I am on medication), and don’t believe any guy would ever be interested in me. Please help!!

Holy Cow, darlin’, you sure do know how to let it all hang out, huh? Did you notice how may superlatives you used: “very abusive, many issues, total disaster, serious issues, totally hideous” to mention a few. It’s clear to me, and probably any other human that comes near you, that you are soooo not ready for a relationship. In fact, if you are as icky and psychologically fucked up as you say, if you can’t trust anyone, if you’re a dating klutz, if you are totally hideous and misshapen, then why not just let it go and spare any other person the torture of being involved with you? You’re right, what guy in his right mind would be interested in the likes of you?

Ok, you see what I’m doing here? I’m joining the resistance. You want to pile it on yourself, swell. I’ll join you. I’ll pile on too and together we’ll heap on the insults and contempt until you can’t stand it any more, until you reach your tolerance for self abuse (and not the good kind). And from what I can gather, that’s gonna take some piling on. Of course, you could quit this self-abuse at any time. Seems to me 44 years of negative and undercutting behavior is plenty…even for you.

None of us is without our issues, my friend, least of all me. But to navigate social situations, even casual ones, one needs to be able to judge what the traffic can bear. If you come on like gangbusters, like you did in your message to me, you’re finished even before you begin.

Whatever therapy you did in the past, it either didn’t work or it didn’t have any lasting effects. Find a therapist that will challenge you not stroke you. Find someone that will jump on your shit, someone who will care enough about you to disallow you from hurting yourself with such cruel remarks about yourself.

When I have a client like you in my private practice I always lay down the law. For every self-critical thing you say about yourself, you must say something nice about yourself. That shuts the client up in a hurry. Once he or she is quiet enough to listen we start pulling apart the tangle of their self-hatred.

You were abused as a kid. Sadly, so are lots of kids. But that’s in the past. I’m sure you have scars, but who doesn’t have scar tissue. You don’t know how to interact with others socially, that a skill that can be learned. You’re fat and out of shape? You’re going to the gym to address that. You’re depressed even on antidepressants? Well, no wonder you’re sick of yourself. And that has got to stop, NOW.

Before you consider asking anyone else to love you — with all your flaws — you’re gonna have to learn to love yourself — with all your flaws. If you can’t do that, then don’t expect anyone else to do it before you do. Get off your pity pot and get to work. You say you are successful in your professional life. (Frankly I don’t see how that’s possible given the litany of your liabilities.) But for the sake of argument, let’s say you are telling the truth. How did you come to be a successful professional without at least some redeeming qualities? That is unless you are a professional executioner, or a professional hit man, or a politician.

You see you can’t have it both ways. If you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your professional life, then you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your private life. With the help of this new therapist you’re gonna get — the one who is not going to let you get away with your shit — you’re gonna learn how to marshal and channel the aptitudes you have that make you successful in one area of your life, to make you a success the other areas of your life.

Good luck

Name: Jose
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: Norwalk, CT
how can i approuch a good stripper to get into sex? even tho they just strip some do more off work. How do I know they are willing to do it?

I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that English is not your first language, right Jose? I think I understand what you are asking. Let’s just hope the women you approach will also understand you’re meaning.

So OK, you know this fine stripper and you want to have sex with her, right? Swell! First thing you oughta know is that not all strippers are hookers. Some simply strip because they make really good money. They don’t sell sex, mostly because they don’t have to. The strippers that do offer sexual favors for a fee, don’t do so where they strip. It’s bad for business and, I hasten to point out, it’s against the law— except if you’re in Nevada — and you’re not.

There are two real good ways to go about this hunt for stripper sex. First, you could ask the vixen out on a real date. Personally I think this is the best way of going about gettin laid by any woman. If the woman, stripper or whatever, is available for a date, and you’re not a totally creepy putz, she might take you up on the offer. Just remember, many strippers already have a boyfriend, and he wouldn’t look kindly on you trying to hustle his filly, if you catch my drift.

Also, some stripping establishments prohibit their employees from fucking with the customers. If that’s the policy at the joint you frequent, let it go. Don’t pester the woman for something that will jeopardize her job. However, if she does accept the date, and all goes well, and you charm the pants off her, literally, you just might get a little slap and tickle. I just hope we’re clear on the concept that if any woman, especially a sex worker, accepts a dinner invitation it is not the same thing as saying she’ll fuck you, right? GOOD!

The second option is to ask the stripper if she does escort work on the side. Again, some stripping establishments prohibit their strippers from fraternizing with customers in any way, shape or form, especially fucking them. You ought also know that if the woman in question is indeed an escort as well as a stripper, your “date” with her is gonna cost ya. These women are professionals; so you’d do well to treat them with the respect you’d offer any other professional woman.

Never, under any circumstance, offer to pay a stripper…or any woman for that matter…for sex. That would be pandering prostitution, and that’s against the law. If the woman in question is an escort, she will be exchanging her time, the pleasure of her company and her expertise for money; not sex for money. Get it? If she’s smart she won’t give you a second chance to get this right. So if you fuck up asking her the first time you may be out of luck forever.

My advice to you is, figure out ahead of time which way you want to go on this — a real date or escort hook up. Then approach her like a gentleman. If she’s not interested, respect her decision to decline your offer with grace and dignity.

Good luck

Dr Dick’s Sex Positive Doctrine

No podcast today; instead there’s this…

Have you ever wondered about the term, sex positive? If you’re like me you see it all over the place, especially on sex-related sites. I confess I use it way more often than I should. It’s become one of those industry buzzwords that has, over time, become so fuzzy around the edges that it’s now virtually meaningless. In fact, if the truth be known, I believe the term sex positive has been taken over by the sex Taliban who have made it a cover for their strict code of political correctness. Oddly enough, this is the very antithesis of its original meaning.

If you want to shame someone in the sex field—be it a sex worker, blogger or adult product manufacturer—you label that person as sex-negative. You may not know anything about that person other than you were offended by something they did, said or made. But still, you hurl the epithet as if you were exorcising a heretic. This is a very powerful tool for keeping people in my industry in line. But I’ve begun to wonder, who is setting themselves up as the arbiter of what is and what is not sex positive? I have to ask: What is the agenda? I mean, could compulsory ideological purity of some artificial standards of thought or behavior be “positive” anything? I say, no!

Like all good ideas that have gone bad due to overuse—or worse, sloppy use—the sex positive concept once had meaning that was life-affirming and enriching. Sex positive has been in the lexicon at least since the mid-1950s. It frequently appears in journals and research papers to describe a movement that examines and advocates for all the other beneficial aspects of sex beyond reproduction.

I’ve been using the term since 1981 when I opened my practice in Clinical Sexology and Sexual Health Care. The opening words of my mission statement read: “I affirm the fundamental goodness of sexuality in human life, both as a personal need and as an interpersonal bond.” Way back then, I was flush with my quixotic pursuit to stand steadfast against all the cultural pressures to negate or denigrate sexuality and pleasure. I dedicated myself to spreading the gospel that healthy attitudes toward sex not only affect a person’s sex life, but his/her ability to relate well with others.

This came relatively easy for me, because I’d learned something very important about evangelization in my life as a Catholic priest. (Another quixotic pursuit, but we’ll have to save the details of that misadventure for another time.) One of the first things one learns in seminary is how to proselytize, to sow the seeds of a creed, and then nurture them taking root by endless repetition of the articles of faith. Of course there is a downside to this, too. Repetition fosters mindlessness, stifles creative thought, and worse makes things boring.

But the creed statements of the world’s three great monotheistic religions are masterful works of theological art.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam!
Allaahu Akbar!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the of the Holy Spirit!

Each contains the most profound kernel of religious truth the believer needs to know, but all are easy enough for a child to learn. And like I said, the secret is in the repetition. For the true devotee, these creedal statements are uttered dozens of times a day and to great effect.

Early on in my career as a sexologist, I decided to put the principles I learned in the Church into disseminating my new belief system. First, keep the message simple! I settled on: “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” This has been my mantra for decades. It contains everything you need to know about being sex positive, but it’s easy enough for a child to learn. Even now, I close each of my podcasts with this same article of faith. To this day it soothes me to hear myself say these words. And it comforts me in the same way blessing myself did in my priestly days.

Despite my apprehensions, I continue to be an apostle of the sex positive doctrine. I know that even though my industry has corrupted the concept, others have yet to hear the good news. And there’s something almost spiritual about seeing someone grasp the idea for the first time. Let me tell you about one such instance. Some while ago I was asked to offer a workshop for a group of doctors on the topic: Health Care Concerns Of Sexually Diverse Populations. Unfortunately, just a handful of doctors attended the workshop—which was pretty disconcerting, considering all the work I’d put into the presentation. I guess that’s why kinksters and pervs, as well as your run-of-the-mill queer folk, are often frustrated in their search for sensitive and lifestyle-attuned healing and helping professionals.

Since the group of doctors attending was so small, I decided to ask them to pull their chairs in a circle so that our time together could be a bit more informal and intimate. Frankly, I’ve never found it easy talking to doctors about sex; and discussing kinky sex was surely going to be very tricky. So, I decided to start off as gently as I could. My opening remarks included the phrases “sex positive” and “kink positive.”

Sitting as close to my audience as I was, I could see at once that these fundamental concepts weren’t registering with them. I was astonished. Here was a group of physicians, each with a large urban practice. Could they really be this out of touch? I quickly checked in with them to see if my perception was correct. I was right! None of them had heard the term, sex positive. The two who hazarded a guess at its meaning thought it had something to do with being HIV+. I had my work cut out for me.

I decided to share my creed with them. “Sex is Good—and Good Sex is Even Better.” I asked them repeat it with me as if I were teaching a catechism to children. Surprisingly, they did so without resistance. After we repeated the mantra a couple more times, I exposed them to the sex positive doctrine unencumbered by political correctness.

  • Sex Is Good! Sex is a positive force in human development; the pursuit of pleasure, including sexual pleasure, is at the very foundation of a harmonious society.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The individual makes that determination. For example, what I decide is good sex for me, may be boring sex to someone else. And their good sex may be hair-raising to me. In other words, consensual sexual expression is a basic human right regardless of the form that expression takes. And it’s not appropriate for me, or anyone else, to call into question someone else’s consensual affectional choices.
  • Sex Is Good! Everyone has a right to clear, unambiguous sexual health information. It must be presented in a nonjudgmental way, particularly from his or her health care providers. And sexual health encompasses a lot more then just disease prevention, and contraception.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! The focus is on the affirmative aspects of sexuality, like sexual pleasure. Sexual wellbeing is more than simply being able to perform. It also means taking responsibility for one’s eroticism as an integral part of one’s personality and involvement with others.
  • Sex Is Good! Each person is unique and that must be respected. Our aim as healing and helping professionals is to provide information and guidance that will help the individual approach his/her unique sexuality in a realistic and responsible manner. This will foster his/her independent growth, personal integrity, as well as provide a more joyful experience of living.
  • And Good Sex Is Even Better! Between the extremes of total sexual repression and relentless sexual pursuit, a person can find that unique place, where he/she is free to live a life of self-respect, enjoyment and love.

Finally I told them they ought to think creatively how they could adapt this concept to their own practice. It was up to each of them to make this creed their own. As it turned out, this primer was just the thing to open my planned discussion of health of kinksters.

In a way this experience was a bit of a spiritual reawakening for me, too. Despite my misgivings about the contamination of the sex positive doctrine by malicious people bent on using it as a weapon against those they disagree with. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to watch these sex positive novices hear, and then embrace, the message for the first time. It was nothing short of a religious experience.

Treasure Trove

Hey sex fans,

Another edition of Product Review Friday is coming your way. Today, besides having a bunch of great products to tell you about, we welcome a new manufacturer to our review family. I’m delighted to introduce you to System JO, the company behind the products we review for you today.

Dr Dick Review Crew members, Joy & Dixie and yours truly, me, Dr Dick, will do the honors

System JO Men Adrenaline Shaving Cream —— $11.42

Dr Dick
I have the pleasure of introducing you to a fantastic new shaving product from the good people at System JO. It’s their Adrenaline Shaving Cream for men. This stuff is so cool. It comes out of the handsomely designed plastic squeeze bottle with the pop-up dispenser in the lid, as a gel. At first I thought there was some mistake. The package says “cream”, but look, it’s actually a gel. I began to rub the droplet I dispensed in my left palm with the tip of my fingers in my right hand. Miraculously, the gel turns into this very fine slick cream. It is so slick and fine that I didn’t need to more than a few drops to make enough cream to cover my entire beard. Damn, this stuff is phenomenal, I thought to myself. But the proof of a good shave cream, at least to my mind, is in the shave itself, not merely in the consistency of the product.

As I discovered with my very first use that Adrenaline Shaving Cream excels in delivering a close comfortable shave. I have pretty sensitive skin, but I didn’t experience any irritation when using Adrenaline Shaving Cream and my skin felt fantastic after each use. Like I said, a small amount covers a large area and it coats my skin nicely. Unlike all those dense shaving foams out there , this product allows your razor will glide along effortlessly. It won’t clog your razor and it rinses off your razor easily.

If you’re prone to razor burn, ingrown hairs and/or shaving bumps Adrenaline Shaving Cream is the ideal product for you. It’s enhanced with aloe vera, but it also contains parabens and glycerin.  If you have concerns about these ingredients, you may need to look elsewhere.

I’m happy I got the unscented formula for review, because that would have been my preference. However it also comes in cucumber and musk scents. There is also a companion line of shave cream for women.
Full Review HERE

System JO Men Deodorant With Pheromone —— $13.80

Dr Dick
Next up is the Men Deodorant With Pheromone. This product comes in a distinctive roll-on container. Do you remember when most all deodorants came in roll-on form? I do and I really miss having them around. Nowadays, it’s mostly messy gels and chalky sticks that don’t appeal to me all that much. I also don’t like that almost all deodorants these days have an intense scent to them. If I want to wear a scent I’ll chose my own, thank you very much.

So right off the bat Men Deodorant With Pheromone has a lot of the competition beat. It is a very effective deodorant, by the way. And that’s what I judge a deodorant by; it’s effectiveness at preventing body odor.

Now, Men Deodorant With Pheromone is different from the other deodorants you’ll likely find on your local store’s shelves in as much as it contains Androstenl.  The System JO website says this is a potent natural attractant that provokes a strong sexual response. OK, but how does one go about testing such a thing, I asked myself.

I first used Men Deodorant With Pheromone after I had taken a shower one day. It applies very easily, there is no staining, no running, no dripping, no chalky mess and there’s no discernible scent. I left the bathroom to dress myself. I sat on the bed to put on my socks and suddenly my dog, Ginger, jumps up on the bed and makes a beeline for my armpits. She seemed to be unable to get enough of the thing she was trying to smell. I started to laugh and just as suddenly as she was on the bed, she was off. Once on the floor she vigorously shook her head, flapping here ears and then sneezed. This is very unusual behavior for her. But then again, she’s a hunting dog, so she’s all nose.

Clearly there was something in the Men Deodorant With Pheromone that I was unable to detect, but that Ginger was wild for. It had to be the Men Deodorant With Pheromone, because she’s never exhibited that kind of behavior with any other deodorant I’ve ever used.
Full Review HERE

System JO Mild Clitoral Gel —— $18.25
System JO Wild Clitoral Gel —— $19.12

Joy & Dixie
Joy: “We’re going to review two products at once. The reason for this is that both products are basically the same thing with one important difference.”
Dixie: “The two products are: System JO Mild Clitoral Gel and Wild Clitoral Gel. You can probably guess that the important difference that Joy mentioned is intensity of the stimulation. By the way they also have ‘Light’ and an ‘Atomic’ version of the same product.”
Joy: “Both of the products boost sensation when applied to your clit. The active ingredient appears to be peppermint; so at least it a natural product. I’m very reluctant to apply something full of chemicals to my joy-spot. The peppermint also gives the products a mild minty fragrance.”
Dixie: “Joy’s joy-spot! Isn’t she clever? I guess I’d have to call mine; Dixie’s delicious-spot. Whatever you call your clit this Clitoral Gel will get your motor purrin’ real nice. The object, of course is to get the one that works best for you. We both tried each product. We both began by rubbing a couple of drops of the Mild Clitoral Gel directly to our clits. Then we waited for it to produce the promised warming and cooling sensation that tingles. Nothing much happened that either Joy or I could notice. We both looked at each other and kind of sighed. Are our clits that desensitized, we wondered? Could be, we guessed.”
Joy: “So we tried the Wild Clitoral Gel next. We applied the same amount in the same way as the first test. This time, BINGO! We both could feel the sensations within a minute, both warming and cooling. The peppermint was doing its thing. None of this is overwhelming in any sense of the word. Nor is it a particularly long lasting effect, which is a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be feeing this kind of sensation for too long.”
Dixie: “Both the Mild Clitoral Gel and Wild Clitoral Gel are silicone-based, which makes for a very nice silky texture, much like a silicone-based lube. This, however, brings one word of warning to mind. If you are using either of these products with a silicone toy, like a vibrator, be sure to sheath your toy in a condom first. There’s minimal packaging, which I really appreciate. The small tube containing the gel is inside a simple paper package that is recyclable.”
Full Review HERE


Human Rights + Sexual Rights = Sexual Freedom

On this the first annual National Sexual Freedom Day, sponsored by The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, I’d like to propose something quite radical. I suggest that our sexual freedoms, here in the United States, are intricately linked to universal sexual rights. And I contend that the notion of universal sexual rights is at its core a respect for human rights and human dignity.

In a world wracked by poverty, disease and war; where we threaten our very existence with climate altering pollution, nuclear proliferation and extreme population growth; is there room to talk about human rights that include sexual rights and sexual freedom?

I emphatically answer yes! In fact, I assert that sexual inequality and oppression is at the heart of many of the world’s problems. I contend that trying to address human rights without including the essential component of sexual rights and sexual freedom is ultimately doomed to failure.

An absence of sexual rights and sexual freedom leads to domestic and societal violence; human trafficking; suicide; a rise in Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs); unplanned pregnancies, abortion, and sexual dysfunction.

You know how we are always being encouraged to Think Globally and Act Locally? Well while we busy ourselves securing and celebrating our sexual rights here in this nation, I think we’d do well to focus some of our attention on how our struggle binds us to the rest of the human community.

I offer three examples of what I’m talking about. I invite you to consider how a myopic sexual rights and sexual freedom agenda, divorced from the overarching issues of human, economic and social rights, can be ineffectual and even counterproductive.


In 2008 the research community was all aflutter about ‘conclusive’ evidence linking HIV transmission and uncircumcised males. While I’m certainly not ready to take this data on face value, let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, that the link is conclusive. A massive campaign of circumcision was proposed as the best means of HIV prevention. The medical community would descend on epicenters of the disease, scalpels in hand; ready to eliminate the offending foreskins from every male in sight, young and old.

But wait, there’s a problem. Most HIV/AIDS epicenters are in underdeveloped countries. In these places, access to enough clean water to drink or attend to even the most basic personal hygiene, like daily cleaning under one’s foreskin, remains an enormous chronic problem. Without first addressing the problem of unfettered access to clean water and adequate sanitation, which according to The United Nations is a basic human right, further disease prevention efforts are doomed.

I mean, what are the chances that surgical intervention would succeed—one that would involve significant and sophisticated aftercare—if there is not even enough clean water for drinking and bathing?

These well-meaning medical personnel suggest imposing a strategy that not only works against nature—our foreskins do have a purpose after all: a healthy prepuce is a natural deterrent to infection. But this intervention would also violate long-held cultural and societal norms—circumcision is abhorrent to many of these same cultures. Wouldn’t this proposed prevention effort to stem the tide actually make matters worse?


Indentured sex work is another indicator of how human rights, sexual rights and sexual freedom are intertwined. Until the economic and educational opportunities for women throughout the world improve—which is a basic human right according to The United Nations—women will remain chattel. Families in economically depressed areas of the world will continue to be pressured to sell their daughters (and sons) simply to subsist.

Closing brothels and stigmatizing prostitutes overlooks the more pressing human rights concerns at play here. Sex is a commodity because there is a voracious market. Men from developed nations descend on the populations of less developed nations to satisfy sexual proclivities with partners they are prohibited from enjoying in their own country. Young women (and boys) in developing countries are viewed as exploitable and disposable, because they don’t have the same civil protections afforded their peers in the developed world. And runaway population growth in countries that deprive their women and girls access to education and contraception inevitably creates a never-ending supply of hapless replacements.

Addressing the endemic gender inequality in many societies is key. Equal access to education and economic resources must come before, or at least hand in hand with any serious sexual liberation effort.


Finally, people in the developed world enjoy a certain level of affluence and economic stability which allows them to indulge in sex recreationally. Thanks to effective birth control methods we can ignore the procreative aspects of sex and replace it with a means of expressing a myriad of other human needs. Not least among these are status, self-esteem and self-expression.

If we’re trying to prove something to ourselves, or others, by the way we conduct our sexual lives, simple prohibitions against certain sex practices won’t work. If I’m convinced that unprotected sex with multiple partners and sharing bodily fluids is edgy, cool fun, without serious consequence, as it’s portrayed in porn; I will be more likely to express myself the same way. This is especially true for young people who are already feeling invincible.

Case in point: there has been a startling uptick in seroconversions among young people, particularly gay men, which indicates that disease prevention efforts, even in the world’s most affluent societies, are simply not up to the task. It’s not that there is a scarcity of resources, quite the contrary. It is more likely that these efforts are not connected to a fundamental understanding of the role sexuality plays in the general population. I believe that sexual expression and sexual pleasure are the overarching issues here. These too are fundamental human rights.

No amount of safer sex proselytizing is going to prevail unless and until we look at why and how we express ourselves sexually. As we unravel this complex jumble of motivations and behaviors, effective prevention strategies will manifest themselves clearly. We must develop a sex-positive message; one that celebrates sexuality, builds self-esteem and counteracts the prevailing media messages of sex with no consequences.


National Sexual Freedom Day brings into focus the micro-strategies needed to combat a macro problem. But it also shows that we cannot work for and celebrate sexual freedom in a vacuum. It’s imperative that we see how global health and wellbeing is completely dependent on basic human rights, including sexual rights that include gender and reproductive rights, the elimination of sexual exploitation and the freedom of sexual expression.