Freedom of Information Day

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You may not know this but today, March 16, is Freedom of Information Day. I didn’t know it until recently and it got me thinking about how, when it comes to sexuality, so much information is censored and certainly not free.

As a sexuality educator I have had to deal with those in the world who do not believe in or support what I do. Just a couple weeks ago I was told I could not use the word “masturbation” at a workshop I have been asked to do in June. Other words I have been asked not to use recently include “condom,” “ejaculation,” and “orgasm.”

People crave information about sex. If you look at Human Sexuality classes at colleges and universities they are almost all standing room only. When I was a kid we used to go to the library and try to take a peek at the books we thought talked about sex. Now there is the internet, vast and wide and while that is a good thing, the downside is that there is a lot of misinformation out there and there are just as many websites promoting a negative view of sexuality as there are sex positive sites. It can be difficult to know which to believe and not get lost in a world where everything is only a click away.

Sometimes I think I live in a different world as a sexuality educator. Words, topics, conversations that seem normal and are an everyday experience in my world, not only put other people off, but often shock them and when I come across the wrong person I am reminded if not told in no uncertain terms how many people want to control access to information and education about sexuality if not eliminate it entirely. The young men and women who are undergraduate students today are the first who have had only the government mandated abstinence only sex education throughout their academic careers. They are leaving home vastly unprepared and undereducated about sexuality including sexual health and are engaging in behaviors they never learned puts them at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Sexual rights are human rights. All persons have the right to accurate, non-judgmental information about sexuality. What I don’t understand is why more people are not fighting for their right to this information and why they allow it to be censored.  I urge you all to consider how being denied information on sexuality and sexual health would impact your life not just on Freedom of Information Day but everyday.

One thought on “Freedom of Information Day

  1. I would turn this around. At the workshop, tell the audience that YOU have been told that you cannot use certain words.

    Ask them to guess the first 12-letter word, that means “self pleasure”, begins with M (and sounds similar to a word that means chewing: mastication).

    Further, tell the audience that since you cannot say it, you will use the euphemism “m-word”, and that whenever they hear it, everyone is to shout out the word. Ask the audience if anyone has not (a) heard it before (b) knows what it means.

    This way you keep your part of the bargain, and the audience will enjoy standing up to authority.

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