Access to Sex as a Human Right

Article by Seldom Wrong, Never in Doubt (Blog) /
November 30, 2011 /
Click here to view original /

Our culture readily accepts the outsourcing of all kinds of domestic services. We happily have our dogs walked, our lawns mowed, or shirts laundered all by people we don’t have breakfast with nor buy a card for on Valentine’s Day; our busy lives are readily propped up by the physical labour of others.

Sex has to be thought of in this way. No, maybe it’s not a romantic assertion, and perhaps not a politically correct one either, but pretending that sex is always about lovemaking and declarations of devotion is a naïve and discriminatory contention.

So “argues” Lauren Rosewarne, lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Melbourne. The quoted paragraphs close her ephemeral article asserting that sex ought to be viewed as a fundamental human right.

We comment briefly, as the times demand.

First, we aren’t citing this to suggest that we’re on a rapid slide down a slippery slope. Note well, gentle readers, the positive signs, small as they are, about chastity. To wit, teenage sexual activity is down per latest surveys. Sex has always been problematic, but the problems don’t always go from bad to worse.

Second, Rosewarne’s position obviously seeks legalization of prostitution. That’s not a new position either, and it’s often been argued from the notion that society should decouple sex and relationship, let alone sex and marriage. Nothing new there.

Most importantly, note well how closely allied Rosewarne’s position is to the reasoning of same-sex marriage advocacy. “Sex is a fundamental human right” =  “marrying the person one loves is a fundamental human right.” Why? Can a free society not prefer some human relationships to others?

Note well the foundational problem in asserting positive rights (the right to food, shelter, medical care, sex) to negative ones (the right to practice religion freely, to speak freely, not to be searched without warrant), these latter essentially the right to be left alone with one’s thoughts, words and property. Extending the notion of rights to the positive category has been a problem for a long time.