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I am slightly paranoid about being a clean bottom

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Name: Carl
Gender: Male
Age: 45
Location: Seattle
I am a 45 year-old gay man who has not bottomed in over 15 years (which included a 10 year monogamous relationship). I am interested in doing bottoming again. However, I am worried about my cleanliness and smell. As a top, it never bothered me that much with my bottom partners, and it was rarely a problem. I never asked them if they prepared ahead of time.

I am slightly paranoid about being clean as a bottom. Should I use an enema, and if so, with what liquid? How does diet help? I am basically vegetarian, although will occasionally eat meat if it’s served to me (no pun intended). Obviously, this apprehension will not help when the time comes because I’ll likely just tighten up. I know this based on past experience.
I could go on with other details but will stop here and see about your reply.

Thanks!

Hey Carl,

Worrying about stuff is just about the best way to mess up a sexual experience of any kind. But I’m sure that you know that already, huh? This is particularly true for someone reacquainting himself with the pleasures of being a bottom.

I’ve written and spoken extensively about this very thing. I’d like to direct your attention to the CATEGORIES section in the sidebar of my site. It’s a pull-down menu. You will notice that the second category is ANAL. Under this is a whole bunch of subcategories. Click on any one of those you will be taken to all the posting I’ve made on that particular subject. Of particular interest to you would probably be my tutorial for being a good bottom: Liberating The B.O.B. Within.

In terms of douching, warm water is all you need. Never use soap. Some people add lemon juice or vinegar (1-2 Tbs per quart) of the warm water. Others dissolve (2 Tbs) of baking soda in a quart of warm water.Ergo Speed Douche

Stay away from commercially produced douches, most contain harmful and irritating chemicals. And trust me, you don’t want that. Besides, commercial douches are expensive and all that packaging is definitely not Eco-friendly. And we all want to be green sodomites, don’t we?

Finally there is always the ever-versatile shower or bath bidet option. You can find one model, the Ergo Speed Douche, in My Stockroom. Look for the Dr Dick’s Stockroom banner in the sidebar of my site.  (Everyone here at Dr Dick Sex Advice is a big fan of the Perfect Fit Brand line of adult products.)  Look for our review of the Ergo Speed Douche HERE.

I also know that a vigorous fucking will introduce more air into a bottom’s rectum expanding it and making for that “OMG, I gotta take a dump” feeling. So take it easy the first few times you get back into the saddle, so to speak, as it were.

Diet can indeed make a difference in the composition of your shit and how you and it smell. But, that being said, you have to realize your bowels are working properly when they eliminate waste from your body, so don’t try and mess with that. And just so you know, there are often some unpleasant side effects to rootin’ around in someone’s hole, regardless how fastidious the bottom is about his hygiene. So why not just relax and if there’s a little mess, clean it up with some soap and water. Its not the end of the world.

Good luck

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Hey, Keep It Clean!

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Hey sex fans,

It’s time for another Product Review Friday. And this week we review a great toy for all you ass fuck bottoms out there.

Before we get to the review, however, I have a few editorial comments. I hear from dozens of people every month with the same issue. They tell me they’d really like to experiment with anal sex, but they are concerned about the potential messiness.

Douching is the answer, of course. I’ve said over and over; keeping it clean where the sun don’t shine is a relatively easy thing to accomplish. Warm water is all you need. Never use soap internally. Some people add lemon juice or vinegar (1-2 Tbs. per quart) of the warm water. Others dissolve (2 Tbs.) of baking soda in a quart of warm water.

I always tell my correspondents to stay away from commercially produced douches; most contain harmful and irritating chemicals. And trust me, you don’t want that. Besides, all those over the counter douches are expensive. And all that packaging is definitely not eco-friendly. And we all want to be green perverts, don’t we?

Today’s product brings something new and affordable to personal anal hygiene market. And it comes from one of our favorite manufacturers, our good friends at Perfect Fit Brand.

You didn’t miss the earlier Perfect Fit Brand review, did you? The Fat Boy Cock Extender is probably the most popular review we’ve done this year. And you can find it and all our reviews archived on my review site, Dr Dick Sex Toy Reviews.

Now let’s check in with Dr Dick Review Crew member, Brad, for his review.

Ergo Speed Douche —— $21.93

Brad

Those who follow my reviews know that I’m a straight guy who really gets off on ass play. I make a point of saying I’m straight, because so many people assume if a guy is into his butt hole, he’s gotta be gay. Nonsense! The days of making that uninformed leap are over. More and more straight guys are discovering their prostate and living to tell the story.

I’m also a personal trainer and it just blows me away how much my clients, both women and men, confide in me about their sex life. When this first began to happen I was like; “Whoa, TMI, for chrissake!” But then I got used to it. I guess personal training is the new confessional.

Anyhow, the reason I bring this up is one of the things I hear most, from both women and men, is; “I want to try anal.” Every one of my clients is astonished to learn that I love being the bottom in ass play. Guys are like; “But dude, you’re straight.” And gals are all like; “Damn, I always pictured you as a top.” Whatever! So many preconceived ideas about sex and sex roles, what’s up with that?

The problem most people have with butt sex is the personal hygiene part. All the butt pirate wannabes imagine this is an unpleasant task mostly because they don’t know shit, pardon the pun, about keeping themselves clean down there.

That’s why I am so glad that I got the Ergo Speed Douche to review. I now have a great product to turn my clients on to when we have this discussion.

The Ergo Speed Douche is about as simple and straightforward a design as possible. It’s a bulb and a nozzle! But don’t let the simplicity fool you; a lot of thought went into creating this essential tool for us bottoms.

I confess I’ve blown through a half dozen other bulb-type douches in my time. So I can say with confidence that not all these puppies are created equal. First, most bulbs are too small. Their limited capacity means you have to load it more than once. Not good! The Ergo Speed Douche holds a generous 11 ounces and is made of medical grade PVC, so you get a LONG steady blast.

Another really annoying problem is all the other bulb-type douches I’ve tried push water IN when you squeeze, just like they ought to. But then they suck it back OUT when you let go of the bulb. This creates the dreaded backflow. You want to void the douche into the toilet or down the shower drain, not back into the bulb. Get it? The Ergo Speed Douche eliminates this problem with its unique one-way air valve on the bottom of the bulb. This prevents the backflow of water into the bulb.

Another common problem with lesser bulb-type douches is the nozzle-to-bulb connection. If that is flimsy or poorly designed it can pop off mid cleaning. Again, not good! No such problem with the Ergo Speed Douche though. This thing is built to last. The nozzle screws into the bulb nice and tight, as it ought to and it stays connected.

The Ergo Speed Douche has a bendable 6” nozzle. It is made of phthalate-free TPR (thermal Plastic Rubber). Being flexible is important, because it makes it more comfortable to use. But care has to be taken that you don’t bend the nozzle so much that it crimps. There is a bit of a learning curve with all anal hygiene products, so don’t get frustrated if, at first, you find this a bit awkward. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be as easy as falling off a log.

Remember, it’s all about the flow. The Ergo Speed Douche nozzle tip has four holes that diffuse the stream giving you the most out of each squeeze. This douche does more than simply fill your hole with water; the four-way spray will actually gives you a rinse too.

It’s essential that you keep your Ergo Speed Douche clean. Remember where it’s been! Warm soapy water is fine for quick cleanups. But you’ll want to sanitize it from time to time too. This is easily done with a 10% bleach solution. Detach that nozzle from the bulb and immerse both parts. Be sure to flush the bleach solution from both parts before your next use. Easy peasy!
Full Review HERE!

ENJOY

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Clean Up On Aisle 6!

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Name: Leonel
Gender: Male
Age: 32
Location: DC
How much wear and tear does anal sex cause to the rectum? Are there long-term hazards other than the chance of infection from poor hygiene?

As we all know by now, ass play is not just for the gays any more. And while there have been strong taboos surrounding anal sex in the past, mainly because ass fuckin was associated with homosexuality, these taboos are finally and rapidly breaking down. And not a moment too soon!

It is important to remember that while some people find the idea of cornholein’pegging006.jpg repugnant, others find it stimulating, exciting, and a normal part of their sexual intimacy. And since all of us have assholes and each one comes equipped with a load of pleasure-giving nerve endings, people of both genders and all sexual persuasions are discovering the joys of anal play. Be it a finger, a dildo, pegging, a butt plug or a good old-fashioned dick-in-the-ass fucking; ass play is all the rage.

Studies suggest that somewhere between 50 – 60% of gay men have anal sex on a regular basis. A slightly small percent of straight folks are now experimenting with butt play. Commercially produced porn, particularly of the straight variety, is now brimming over with back door action. Curiously enough, only a few years ago, this was a relatively rare fetish. Now it’s like totally mainstream. Funny how things like that change so quickly.

In terms of wear and tear and long-term hazards, I’d say that if you treat your hole with the respect it deserves; you can be sure that it will give you a lifetime of pleasure. But be aware that different sexually charged orifices — asshole, mouth, cunt — have different tolerance levels for what they can endure. We’d all do well to respect these individual limits.

The first thing to say about anal sex, particularly casual butt-fucking, is always use a condom and use lots of water-based lubricant. This will be your front line protection against HIV and other STI’s. Your ass is a very receptive place, but the tissues therein are also pretty delicate. It’s not uncommon to develop cuts and fissures that can become infected if a modicum of care isn’t used during ass play — with yourself or another. That’s why Dr Dick always suggests that you get to know your hole and its limits before your share your be-hind with someone else.

butt-fuck102.jpgA man’s ass has something very unique that a chick’s ass does have. It’s his prostate. We’ve talked a lot about this in the past, but here’s a brief overview. A guy’s prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland a couple inches inside his hole. When massaged by a finger, dildo or a cock it is the source of incredible sensations. Even though women don’t have a prostate, anal stimulation can be just as pleasurable for them. One word of caution though; gals, be sure to keep whatever you’ve had in your ass — fingers, toys, what have you — out of your pussy. To do otherwise, will invite a yeast infection, like candida, don’t ‘cha know.

Because the inside of our ass and rectum doesn’t have the same sort of sensory nerve endings that we have on our skin, we can damage our innards by inserting sharp or rough objects in our ass. So always trim your fingernails before playing with yourself or others.

Never put anything up your ass that could slip in and get caught behind your anal sphincter. Your toys should be long enough, have a flared end, or a handle that you can keep hold of. Of course, never insert anything in your bum that could break.

I always recommend that the novice ass fucker start his or her ass exploration with a finger or two. This cuts down on the expense of buying toys, at least until you discover if you like this kind of play or not. Once you’ve got the hang of digital stimulation and you’ve discovered all the joy spots you can reach, you can move on to the vast array of toys and implements that are especially designed for your butt pleasure. If you’re stumped by what toys to buy, check out my Product Review Page or my Sex Toy Awareness feature for some ideas. Of course your ass play may include a nice stiff cock, but it doesn’t have to.

Name: Michael
Gender: Male
Age: 23
Location: Minneapolis
I’m a 23-year-old bisexual paraplegic. Hey ya have to be available for whatever comes your way when you’re in a chair, right? I got this way in a really stupid alcohol related diving accident three years ago. So ok, I fucked up.
I was just getting my groove on sexually before the accident, nothing serious, fooled around with my cousin Jack and got a severe case of blue balls with this chick, Amber, I used to date. Anyhow, I’m finding it hard to connect with guys or girls for a bit of fun so I thought I’d write you and ask for advice. By the way, the equipment still works, sort of.
I think most people think disabled people can’t have or don’t want sex. I would like to have a relationship with someone who doesn’t pity me, but is hot for me. I have this really developed upper body, like a gymnast, and people tell me I have a handsome face. That should be enough to get me laid, right? Is there such a thing as a wheelchair fetish?

You’re a fuckin’ treasure, darlin’! I mean it. If you come across as upbeat self-effacing, humorous and sexy in person as you do in this message you shouldn’t have any problems getting laid. Ahhh, but of course, writing for online sex advice from a total stranger is probably a whole lot easier than wheeling up to another hot dude or sizzlin’ chick and suggesting a torrid session of the old slap and tickle, huh?

Yet despite the inherent discomfort and difficulty of being that upfront, that’s preciselywheelchair8.jpg what’s gonna get you laid. It’s all in the presentation Michael. Self-confidence and charm trumps disability every time. Unfortunately, many people think that “paralyzed from the waist down” means “there’s nothin’ goin on down there.” It’s your job to change their perception about that. Now, I’m not suggesting you be a dick about this. Just be your own sweet self and put it out there as natural as can be. You’re entitled to some good lovin’, just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us, you’re gonna have to learn how to ask for what you want.

While I completely understand you’re not looking for a mercy fuck from someone who will take you out of pity. There may be a number of potential partners out there who’d jump your bones as a novelty…at least at first. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at these folks if I were you. Because a novelty fuck is a teachable moment when you can show the benighted dude or chick what you can do.

paraplegic1.jpgIf you see yourself as a sexual being and put out a sex-positive vibe, I am confident that you will connect with folks. Make eye contact and smile. If you’re leering at her tits or focused on his package, you’re objectifying a potential partner. You don’t want that to happen to you, so don’t do it to anyone else. Consider coming up with a few choice lines that’ll call attention to all the sexual things you can do. Like, “The old legs don’t work so good, but there’s nothing wrong with my mouth and tongue.” Get the picture?

As for wheelchair fetishists, they’re out there honey. Just like the amputee/devotee fetishists I’ve talked/written about. There are even paraplegic porn stars. Just think, this could be the beginning of a whole new career move for you.

Do an internet search using the key words wheelchair fetish. I did and found a couple of really amazing sites: www.gimpsgonewild.com and www.paracathy.com. Check ‘em out.

Just remember, each of us has one kind of disability or another, yours just happens to be really obvious.

Name: Maggie
Gender: female
Age: 36
Location: Reno
I’m faced with a real problem. I consider myself pretty open minded about most things, including sex. Hell, I live and work in Reno, for god sake. I’ve encountered my share of kinksters in my day, but mostly at a distance. Now the kink is right on my doorstep, or should I say right in my bed. My muscular, well-built boyfriend, a guy who does erotic dancing for a living, wants to wear diapers in our sex play. WTF? I never saw this coming. I thought this guy was a normal as they came till last week when he showed up at my place wearing diapers under his workout pants and he wanted me to baby him. I pretty much lost it. Help me understand what’s going on here.

What we have here, darling, is a fella with a diaper fetish, but you’ve already figured that much out on your own, right? This particular fetish is associated with a paraphilia called infantilism. It seems to be growing in popularity, or at least it’s way more out of the closet these days than ever before. The internet offers several sites that cater to Adult Babies and Diaper Lovers. (The shorthand being: AB/DLs) They feature adult sized baby things — diapers, clothes and baby toys, you name it.

Why would anyone, least of all your hunky stripper boyfriend, be into this? Well, there’sadult_baby004.jpg lots of speculation about that — ranging from traumatic early life experiences to the simple desire to be babied. So I guess you’ll just have to ask him what’s up with him, because the source of his urges may be very particular to him.

I want to quickly point out that none of this actually involves real babies or children. And while infantilism and diaper fetishes are pretty benign as far as fetishes go; I certainly can see how the eroticism in a relationship can go right out the window when such a thing is introduced by surprise. I mean, if you are all hot for this dude because he’s hunky and masculine and stuff, and he surprises you with diapers and wants you to mother him; that could easily put the kibosh on the whole sex thing right away.

So I gotta ask, are you into this guy enough to try and understand and perhaps even indulge his particular kink? Or is this just too much, even for an open-minded gal like you, to bear? If you want to go the route of trying to understand, I do have some thoughts.

If you can abide a little diaper play with the BF, I think he’d be eternally grateful. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to come out to you like he did. I do encourage, however, that you to set some boundaries. Let him know, in no uncertain terms, what you will and will not tolerate. Then stick to your guns. You might want to suggest a trade off; you’ll indulge him his diapers and whatnot just as long as his freak doesn’t cross over into your intimate sex life together.

Name: Edmond
Gender: male
Age: 30
Location: Sidney
I want to try jelqing. What do you know about it? Does it really work?

Jelqing refers to various repetitive massage techniques that claim to increase the size — both in length and girth of a guys cock. The origin of the word is unclear; some say it’s a corruption of “jerk-off”. I doubt that, but whatever!

The folks promoting these exercises refer to them as “natural” because they don’t involve any of the myriad stretching and pumping devices that are available. The claim is that all you need to “grow” your johnson is your two hands, some lubricant and a whole lot of free time every single day.

i_love_my_penis.jpgLike all the other products and devices designed to appeal to all the guys who suffer from big-penis envy, jelqing has spawned a substantial internet industry. There are endless tutorials, guides and programs…at a substantial cost, designed to assist men in implementing these very simple exercises.

There are jelqing online communities, message boards and forums for devotees to update each other on the gains they are making in size. They also share their own custom-developed exercises. No doubt because this is a do-it-yourself sort of deal, jelqing has become the most popular penis enlargement method in America.

There’s a basic jelqing daily workout that lasts from 30-60 minutes. The exercises start with a warm bath or a hot compress applied to the cock to increases blood flow. This gets your schlong ready for the exercises that follow. You can only jelq when your dick semi-erect, don’t ‘cha know. It won’t work if you got a full-on stiffy.

Apply lubricant to your dick. Then firmly grip and completely encircle the base of your cock, ensuring that blood flowing into your dick doesn’t escape, ya know, kinda like using your hand as a cockring. Then you milk your member moving your hand towards your dickhead forcing the blood toward the end of the cock. This is supposed to expand things and make you “grow” a bigger one. The average workout usually consists of around 100-200 of these movements. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

The proponents of jelqing insist this is not jack off session, although one can see how it can easily become one. If these exercises stimulate you to the point where you shoot your wad, that’s pretty much the end that exercise period. Also, if you’re jelqing too much or too hard you could hurt yourself and be in bigger trouble than havin’ mini meat. The claim is that after several months of this, you should see a size increase, both in girth or length. I seriously doubt that, since what you gain in length you pay for is loss of girth.

I am told that effective jelqing demands an hour or more each day for at least a year for exercises to be effective. I mean, who has that kind of free time on his hands? No wonder most men fail to complete their jelqing programs.

So I suppose if having a bigger cock is worth the time necessary to “grow” one with this kind of program, knock yourself out. It seems an utter waste of time to me.

Good luck ya’ll

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Beyond breadwinners and homemakers, we need to examine how same-sex couples divide housework

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Housework is often understood as a gendered negotiation based on the traditional roles of homemaker (feminine) and breadwinner (masculine). While gender norms have shifted dramatically in the past few decades, theories of housework are still stuck on this 1950s model.

Shifting family structures, including the rising number of same-sex marriages in recent years, mean our understanding of housework needs updating. In our recent study, we highlight that current theories of housework do not adequately address dynamics in same-sex couples.

We present our own approach, arguing that all couples adopt different roles at different life points, and some reject traditional gender identities altogether.

Simply, there is no single way to explain the role of gender in housework. Our theories and data analysis need updating to account for the more diverse ways people behave as men and women in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.

Housework in theory

Existing theories of housework argue that domestic labour is one way to perform gender for oneself and one’s partner within heterosexual couples. The basic assumption is that individuals are socialised from birth into gender roles that dictate appropriate feminine and masculine behaviours.

Traditional gender roles teach young girls that women are responsible for the physical and mental work of ensuring household chores are completed. By contrast, breadwinner roles teach young boys that masculinity is tied to providing for the family economically.

Traditional housework divisions relegate men to a narrow set of housework tasks – maintenance of the home, yard work and home repair.

Existing theories of housework suggest individuals are socialised into traditional gender roles from birth.

Feminist literature has challenged these ideas, arguing that domestic and economic work should not be distributed based on gender.

Young people today are more likely than older generations to reject traditionally gendered expectations in favour of more equal divisions of paid and domestic work. Yet we know that gender remains a major factor in unpaid divisions of household labour.

Housework and same-sex couples

Research shows that same-sex couples have more equitable divisions of housework than heterosexual couples, but the partner who engages in more childcare also does more “feminine” housework tasks. However, the question of how to explain these divisions remains.

Existing theories assume same-sex couples either behave just as heterosexual couples, with one specialising in the home and one in the workforce, or do not divide housework by gender at all.

One argument is that same-sex couples are able to negotiate housework in the “absence” of gender. As the argument goes, one partner does the washing, dishes and vacuuming not because they are male or female but because they prefer these chores, have less money or spend less time at work.

Existing studies show that same-sex couples have more equitable housework divisions than heterosexual couples.

However, we argue that same-sex couples’ housework divisions and relationship dynamics may function in more complicated ways, rather than simply doing or undoing heterosexual gender dynamics.

Women, regardless of sexual orientation, may view a clean and well-dressed table as one way to be a “good” woman. But, for others, housework may tap into more nuanced gender relations. For example, resisting the urge to constantly tidy up after children and partners may, for some women, be a form of feminist rebellion, a challenge to patriarchal norms.

Same-sex couples may have more scope to engage in a greater diversity of housework tasks, without the boundaries of heterosexual norms of “feminine” and “masculine” chores. But their performance of these chores is often interpreted through traditional gender norms (for example, gay men clean, cook and decorate as a sign of femininity) that have homophobic connotations.

Applying heterosexual norms to same-sex couples housework negotiations is fraught with false gendered assumptions and homophobia.

Cultural narratives of gender

To fully explain the way same-sex couples might negotiate housework, we need to leave our old theories of gender behind.

Take two examples. The idea that men using power tools to feel a rush of masculinity is evident in our cultural narratives. Similarly, the notion that women bake cupcakes to shower their families with feminine love is also ingrained in our traditional gender norms.

If we switch the genders here – have women use power tools to be feminine and men bake cupcakes to be masculine – we can see that the logic of these theories falls flat. Of course, men bake and women use tools, but how these tap into gender identities is lacking from existing research.

Men may bake to show care for their partners and this action may tap into other dimensions of masculinity (such as caring and nurturing). Gay men may engage in baking and lesbian women in using power tools as a way to tap into different dimensions of their masculinity and femininity (such as care or empowerment), not to demonstrate their rejection of either gender identity.

Or, housework may have less to do with gender among modern heterosexual and same-sex couples and more to do with preferences, leisure and relaxation.

Important questions

As ideas of gender as a simple binary (masculinity and femininity) are increasingly challenged, the question of how gender affects couples’ housework divisions is important. Existing studies on gender and housework ask standard questions about gender (male/female/other) but fail to ask detailed questions about gender identities and gender expressions on a continuum.

Within same-sex couples, housework is less likely to be a source of patriarchal domination, but that doesn’t mean gender is absent from negotiations. Today’s adults were raised in the context of our society’s gender norms, and being in a non-heterosexual relationship requires a re-evaluation of these norms.

This can create flexibility in how gender is expressed to the outside world, to people’s partners, and to themselves. And identifying to what extent gender remains coupled to inequality is important, especially given that housework inequality jeopardises relationship quality regardless of sexuality.

Complete Article HERE!

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Federal courts ask: What is the meaning of ‘sex’?

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Existing prohibitions against discrimination ‘because of sex,’ already provide a civil rights umbrella wide enough to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender identity, some judges are beginning to say.

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A number of federal courts have begun to ask a question that has become more and more subtle over the past few years: What is the meaning of ‘sex’?

It’s a question that has in many ways evolved out of the storms of cultural change that have surrounded the country’s shifting ideas about human sexuality and gender over the past few decades. Many of these culminated in the US Supreme Court’s landmark 5-to-4 decision in 2015, in which a bare majority declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

On the one hand, the high court’s epoch-changing decision that legalized same-sex marriage created the kind of situation that inevitably arises out of rapid cultural change. Today, neither the federal government nor some 28 states offer any explicit civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBTQ), either in the workplace or any other arena of daily life.

“It is constitutionally jarring to know that, in most states, a lesbian couple can get married on Saturday and be fired from their jobs on Monday, without legal redress,” notes the legal scholar William Eskridge, professor at Yale Law School in New Haven, Conn.

And many throughout the country, even those with liberal-leaning views, continue to be uneasy about the presence of transgender people in certain sensitive places, including school bathrooms and locker rooms.

On Friday, President Trump issued a policy memo that would disqualify most transgender people from serving in the military, after tweeting about his plans to issue such a ban last July. As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reported to the president in February, the administration is concerned that the presence of transgender soldiers could “undermine readiness,” “disrupt unit cohesion,” and create unreasonable health care costs for the military, echoing arguments used in the past for other groups.

At least four federal courts have found this reasoning constitutionally jarring as well, potentially violating the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Yet beyond sweeping constitutional questions which regulate what the government can do to its citizens, the nation’s evolving definitions of sex, marriage, and gender have also been quietly transforming the nation’s civil rights laws, which regulate how citizens live their common lives together.

Title VII and Title IX

Indeed, a number of federal courts have recently begun to weigh in on a vigorous and relatively new legal idea, simmering for the past few years in federal civil rights cases but only now beginning to take a more defined legal shape.

There may be no need to press Congress and the majority of state legislatures to change their statutes and explicitly add LGBTQ people to their lists of protected classes. (Traditionally, these include race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.) Existing prohibitions against discrimination “because of sex,” already provide a civil rights umbrella wide enough to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender identity, some judges are beginning to say.

The Obama administration took this position in 2016, telling the nation’s public schools that transgender students should be able to use the bathroom of their choice, a directive that interpreted Title IX’s prohibitions against sex discrimination as covering transgender identity.

Last April, the US Court of Appeals of the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, which includes nine justices nominated by Republican presidents and five by President Ronald Reagan, also embraced this idea. In an 8-to-3 decision that spanned the panel’s ideological spectrum, the full court ruled that the Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination in the workplace also included any based on sexual orientation.

Last month, the Second Circuit in New York issued a similar ruling. “Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted,” wrote Chief Judge Robert Katzmann for the 10-3 majority. It would be impossible “for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without taking sex into account,” he continued.

Such an evolving legal definition of sex could again reshape the nation’s legal landscape. “Potentially a lot is at stake,” says Professor Eskridge. “Depending how broadly you go, this idea could affect dozens of state statutes and dozens of federal statutes, the chief of which are Title VII and Title IX,” sections in the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act that forbids discrimination both in the workplace and in public schools.

Original intent

On the surface, the debate over the meaning of “sex” in these cases divides legal thinkers into classic liberal and conservative approaches to the law. Those who focus on the “original intent” of laws and the precise words of the legal text have generally rejected the expansive lines of thinking about the definition of sex.

“I think the better answer, the cleaner answer is just, let Congress go ahead and change the laws,” says Mark Goldfeder, senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory Law School in Atlanta. And there’s virtue in hashing out such questions through a political process rather than letting a panel of judges make such society-shaping decisions.

Indeed, this was part of the reasoning behind a three-judge panel in the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which came to the opposite conclusion. In a 2-to-1 decision, the majority said that discrimination “because of sex” and discrimination based on sexual orientation were two different things. The disagreement among appeals courts could invite a potential Supreme Court review, scholars say.

But the history of the legal concept of “sex discrimination” unfolded in a much more complex way, many observers note, and conservative jurisprudence, too, has played a key role in the evolving definitions of “sex” that almost immediately began to widen over time.

“There’s been this natural progression of the law,” says Susan Eisenberg, managing partner at the Miami office of Cozen O’Connor. As a trial attorney who has been defending companies from civil rights complaints for more than two decades, she’s has watched as the concept of “sex” in discrimination cases has evolved over time, changing the ways she defends her clients.

The evolution of civil rights law

In the first decade after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, she and others point out, the “original intent” of the prohibition against sex discrimination was clear. The nation’s elite law schools and medical schools were often reserved for male applicants only, single women could be denied leases and bank accounts, and the nation understood its merit-based workplace as the natural domain of men alone.

But by the 1970s, people began to claim that sexual harassment in the workplace also violated Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination, and the Supreme Court agreed, declaring “a hostile work environment” as a violation of Title VII.

By the end of the 1980s, the Supreme Court found that discrimination based on “gender stereotypes” was also a violation of civil rights laws – in this case a woman who was passed up for promotion because she did not act feminine enough.

“She argued: that’s discrimination against me on the basis of my sex,” says Steve Sanders, a professor at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. “They’re not discriminating against me as a woman per se, but they’re discriminating against me because I failed to demonstrate certain stereotypes of what it means to be a woman, and the Supreme Court accepted that.”

And the nation’s high court broadened the definition even further in 1998, ruling unanimously that Title VII’s workplace protections covered sexual harassment between members of the same sex – a key decision, says Ms. Eisenberg, citing a passage that in many ways redefined her job.

“Statutory prohibitions often go beyond the principal evil to cover reasonably comparable evils, and it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority in the case Oncale v. Sundowner, explaining the expanding definition of sex in this area of civil rights law.

“The sexual orientation cases that we’re now seeing basically takes the logic of these cases one step further,” says Professor Sanders. “If you’re a man, the social stereotype and the social expectation is that you will want to have sex with a woman, that you will want to have a relationship and a marriage with a woman. But, no, you defy that gender stereotype about what it means to be a man, because you’re attracted to other men.”

“Well, if the idea that men should only be attracted to women and women should only be attracted to men is a form of gender stereotyping, ergo, the logic goes, it’s covered by Title VII,” he says.

The Trump administration, however, maintains that while the Justice Department “is committed to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of all individuals,” in these case it remains “committed to the fundamental principle that the courts cannot expand the law beyond what Congress has provided,” said Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley in February.

‘Lack of clarity can prove expensive’

Corporate attorneys say most businesses have already instituted their own antidiscrimination policies. “But though many have adopted these, only voluntarily, the unevenness, the irregularity of anti-discrimination laws, I think is very challenging for the business community to grapple with,” says Darren Rosenblum, professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in New York. “So I think there is an imperative to clarify the law on this point. That’s what they need first and foremost, because the lack of clarity can prove expensive, figuring out which norms to follow.”

Even so, Eisenberg points out that given the ways in which the high court has redefined the meaning of sex in past precedents, today simple claims of “gender stereotyping” already covers most claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“And if you’ve got people who are being discriminated against just because they’re not part of a protected characteristic, that’s just not good management,” Eisenberg says. “It’s not good for recruiting, it’s not good for maintaining employees, it’s not good all the way around.”

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