Anti-Choicers Get Real About Their Loathing of Female Sexuality


Anti-choicers aren’t even trying to sound reasonable anymore. Since the seventies, the anti-choice movement has gone to great lengths to try to spin their fear and loathing of female sexuality as anything but what it is. Obviously, the most popular gambit has been to claim to have concern for fetal life, but there have been other popular variations: Pretending to have public health motivations for removing evidence-based information from sex education, pretending to believe condoms don’t work, pretending to be concerned about women’s mental health if they exert control over their own bodies. While these derailing tactics are sadly not going anywhere soon, it does seem lately like there’s an uptick in anti-choicers just straight up admitting that they don’t think women should be having sex for any other reason but procreation.

This past week have been a veritable buffet of incidents that demonstrate that anti-choicers simply have a problem with female sexuality and that everything else is noise.

Example #1: Only virgins have a right to control their own bodies. Indiana is looking at passing a mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasound law, which has the added bonus of requiring two if you use the abortion pill. (I guess if you want to minimize your time with your feet in the stirrups and people sticking stuff in your vagina by opting for the pill over the surgical abortion, Indiana will just require you to get back into those stirrups, young lady.) Voters tend to have serious problems with the state requiring women to be penetrated against their will, but Indiana Right to Life legislative director Sue Swayze tried to calm those concerns by arguing that once a penis has been in your vagina, the rest of the world get an all-access pass: “I got pregnant vaginally,” she said, causing me to wonder if we’re expected to congratulate her. “Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”

One does wonder how far Swayze is willing to go with her contention that once you say yes to a penis, you can’t say no to anything else anyone would want to put in there. Do we have to look forward to new anti-choice bills requiring that tennis balls and toothbrushes be shoved up in there? One does hope that Swayze doesn’t learn what oral sex is, because new laws requiring unwieldy objects to be shoved in the sinner’s mouth could get downright dangerous.

Example #2: Always be ovulating. Oklahoma, presumably as a favor to Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby—a surprisingly misogynist organization for having a mostly-female customer base—is considering an (illegal) law that allows employers to refuse to cover contraception. The bill was brought forward at the request of Dr. Dominic Pedulla, because he believes birth control is “poison.” “Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother,” he argued, forgetting the part in medical school where they taught you that the pill does not actually render a woman permanently infertile. “They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity,” he added, because he believes that if women can buy birth control, they must buy it, much in the same way he is required to buy a new car every time he drives by the lot. “And if that wasn’t bad enough,” he continued, “they are being asked to poison their bodies,” stretching the definition of “poison” to include “safe drugs that improve your life,” a definition that encompasses everything from caffeine to aspirin. Needless to say, I’m skeptical that Dr. Pedulla opposes ingesting other safe drugs for life improvement that don’t lead to scary, scary opportunities for women to have sex without worrying about getting pregnant.

Example #3: The female orgasm is unholy, unholy I tell you! As reported by Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel, Allegheny College hosted a sex education seminar called “I Heart the Female Orgasm” in the Ford Memorial Chapel on campus. Chapels are a popular place to hold all sorts of lectures and classes—even my atheist self has had the pleasure of giving talks inside their hallowed halls—for the obvious reason that you can hold a lot of people inside them. In the grown-up world, no big deal.

In the wingnut world, however, it’s time to cue the outrage, because while you filthy feminists may “heart” the female orgasm, anti-choicers strongly believe that God does not. (Which does make one wonder why, if God is so strongly anti-lady-orgasm, he didn’t just make women so they can’t have them in the first place?) Conservative blog The College Fix claimed that open “hearting” of the shameful, shameful female orgasm turned the chapel into a “boudoir of sorts.” Clearly, better sex education is needed on Allegheny campus if students such as blogger Katie McHugh think that talking about sex in public is the same thing as having sex in public. Fox News and The Daily Mail were equally disturbed.

As Baker notes at Jezebel, the only way the outrage makes sense is if you think it’s a given that female sexuality is depraved, unholy, and evil. None of the outraged folks straight up said that, but mostly because they seemed to believe it was a given and that everyone “knows” that the female orgasm is too awful to be discussed in public, much less in the home of the deity they believe invented it. But of course, the rest of us do not actually take it as a given that it’s terrible to be a fan of the female orgasm. On the contrary, some of us actually think female orgasms are nifty and that women are 100 percent entitled to finding consensual, appropriate ways to have as many as they damn well please.

So there you have it, folks: Anti-choicers aren’t even pretending that this isn’t about sex anymore. Which is fine by me! I’m a big fan of honesty, and believe that the debate over reproductive rights would be much more pleasant if the opposition was straightforward and honest about their beliefs. Of course, honesty tends to hurt their cause’s popularity, but that’s a small price to pay in order to be honest, moral people, I’d think.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • Ada Makawee

    and the most shocking of all… lesbians don’t need a penis at all to have multiple orgasms. **gasp**

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Bradshaw/100000539846890 Chris Bradshaw

      well neither do straight women… actually the vast majority of women don’t get orgasms from penetration.

      • SamMcCall

        I can have multiple orgasms through intercourse and certain forms of foreplay. I am lucky. And I’m glad I’m not a man, no offense. I am also sick of the old white man patriarchy trying to oppress women and make us feel ashamed of our sexuality. It’s so draconian. And scary.

    • Mindy McIndy

      And we don’t get pregnant when we have sex, which is one of the many upsides of being a lesbian.

  • http://twitter.com/skohayes Sko Hayes

    I’m actually kind of glad the antis are “coming out” with the real reasons they’re against any kind of choice for women.
    They think sex is yucky, so EVERYONE must think sex is yucky.
    But the ones who think the female orgasm is yucky need their heads examined. That’s the greatest thing to happen to women since we crawled out of the ooze!

    • SamMcCall

      DEFINITELY!

  • jen

    I would love to see one of our ‘freedom of choice’ favoring legal genii … draft up some legal protections for women all over…BY passing laws that state a women who makes it known she does NOT wish to become pregnant CAN prosecute any man who impregnates her! If we as women cannot obtain the contraception we need and desire, we cannot obtain termination services safely and humanely, then we as women should have EVERY right to prosecute a man who introduces the genetic material that initiates a pregnancy in spite of the woman’s objections! Our eggs are not roaming the streets and accosting helpless sperm!! Our eggs are tucked far away and out of the way. There is ONLY ONE genetic material that can initiate that pregnancy.. THAT is the LAW I am waiting for! The anti-sperm amendment!! Mandatory neutering for all MEN as early as genetically possible. They will have the option to harvest seed and store it for a later date when TWO parties agree that the time is right. Defrost and introduce! Other than that an unplanned pregnancy is a crime committed by an unauthorized MALE and should be prosecuted! Seems simple to me!

    • http://twitter.com/BigSofty2 Big Softy

      There doesn’t appear to be much difference between your bigotry and that of the misogynist right.
      Way to alienate 50% of your potential supporters Jen.

      • jen

        Lmao.. I think I was just trying to make a point. An equally unrealistic and intrusive point.. :) Its funny how easily 36 laws and reg.s can be passed impeding on a woman’s sexual health choices but one or two comments about regulating a man’s ‘baby batter’ and knickers are promptly in a twist. ;) I think I may have made my point… just maybe. >.<

        • SamMcCall

          Well, Jen, didn’t you know? We’re just incubators for the future generation. When will we get that through our feeble little brains? (SARCASM, obviously). Yet some actually believe that.

        • http://twitter.com/BigSofty2 Big Softy

          I’m just as vociferous when it comes to defending a woman’s parts.

      • FacePalm4Jebus

        “Big Softy”? Are we bitter about something? ;-)

        • http://twitter.com/BigSofty2 Big Softy

          Not at all. If I were I would have over-compensated and chosen an intimidating macho nick like Longjohn Hardrod.

    • SamMcCall

      I know you’re being facetious, but you made me laugh my arse off. Great point.

    • Bruce Sikkema

      Jen: My lawyer will talk to your lawyer, and all of this will be in an airtight contract.

  • cmarie

    re example #3. let’s say a sex education seminar was being held in your school’s chapel, lecture hall or classrooms titled “I heart ejaculation”. Perhaps you wouldn’t find it the least bit offensive. If not, congratulations. At least you’re consistent in your beliefs and can’t be accused of considering male sexuality depraved, unholy and evil.

    • http://twitter.com/DonnaDiva Donna Gratehouse

      I wouldn’t find it the least bit offensive.

    • http://twitter.com/JenGStarr Jennifer Starr

      I don’t see why that would be offensive in the least. Sex should be pleasurable for both men and women–it’s natural and we shouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it.

    • http://twitter.com/AmandaMarcotte Amanda Marcotte

      I really don’t understand men who think sex is a zero sum game, and think that women must agree. In the real world, women who have sex with men generally want those men to enjoy it! I certainly do.

      Anyway, if you think hearting the female orgasm somehow precludes hearting the male orgasm (which is more than ejaculation), I have one thing to say. Sex: UR Doing It Wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/SallyStrange Sally Strange

      Yeah… chalk me up as another person who can’t quite fathom what’s offensive about hearting ejaculation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ali.taylor.330 Ali Taylor

      “I Heart Ejaculation” might make me giggle a little, ’cause I’m immature sometimes. But the general concept wouldn’t offend me.

      • SamMcCall

        I agree. Although in my Human Sexualty course, I did laugh, cackle really, when the man in the masturbation video orgasmed. I was the only one in a class of nearly 200 people. I wasn’t judging. I just couldn’t help it. I was a 20 year old kid.

        • nettwench14

          I probably would have done the same thing! I remember in a sexuality class (much smaller) when we were going around the room offering up euphemisms for masturbation – we were busting our guts laughing!

    • SamMcCall

      It’s not offensive. I took a Human Sexuality course in college, in which my professor showed us a very clinical video of a woman masturbating and how her body reacts to orgasm. And one of a man masturbating and how his body reacts. So NOT offensive. But I went to a very liberal university. Don’t like it. Don’t have to watch it nor take a course that clearly states it’s about *GASP* sexuality! And it was funny how no one in that class wanted to admit to masturbating. God, our society is really uptight about sex.

      • bj_survivor

        And it was funny how no one in that class wanted to admit to masturbating.

        That’s always engendered reflexive eyerolling in me. Anyone who says they don’t masturbate (unless they’re asexual) is either lying or is seriously fucked up. Personally, I wouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t masturbate (unless they’re asexual).

        • SamMcCall

          Exactly. And my roommate at college, when I told her everyone masturbates, she claimed she didn’t and neither did anyone she knew. That it was “sick” and “perverted”.

          Girl must’ve not been lying when she said she didn’t because when she lost her virginity, she had to ask me what an orgasm felt like. How do you explain something like that? There is no way of explaining it unless you’re my former prof, explaining it in clinical terms. Yeah, I agree with you.

          • bj_survivor

            …That it was “sick” and “perverted”.

            I have never understood this line of thinking at all. Who, exactly, is hurt when we masturbate? Jesus didn’t say word one against masturbation, abortion, or homosexuality, though he did rail against greed, pious posturing, and adultery, transgressions for which the fundnuts are overwhelmingly guilty.

  • Pingback: Anti-Choicers Get Real About Their Loathing of Female Sexuality | Coffee Party Feminists | Scoop.it

  • Pingback: Anti-Choicers Get Real About Their Loathing of Female Sexuality | Dare To Be A Feminist | Scoop.it

  • Pingback: Anti-Choicers Get Real About Their Loathing of Female Sexuality | Sex Positive | Scoop.it

  • http://twitter.com/GreenEyedLilo Jayelle

    If one believes in a creator God, one should probably conclude that said God had a purpose for issuing women a clitoris.

    • SamMcCall

      Exactly the point I try to make to the strict fundies who believe sex is only for procreation. As I say to them, if that is true, why did God, in His infinite wisdom, give women a clitoris? The only organ in the body that is PURELY for sexual pleasure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ella.warnock.7 Ella Warnock

    My “potential” identity was never motherhood. Ever. At all. Motherhood is what would have “contradicted” my identity. And it’s frankly insulting for any man to expound on what he thinks my purpose in life is.

    • SamMcCall

      I agree. I don’t want kids either. My husband and I have no desire, no drive for it. I love my niece more than my own life but kids aren’t for us. I use the Copper T IUD as of now, but eventually, hubs is going to get the fix. Nothing is 100%, however, even sterilization. Which is WHY abortion should always remain SAFE and LEGAL. These fundies want us to go back to being nothing more than broodmares tied to a stove. It’s sad. Thankfully, at least where I live, most people don’t have such draconian ideas.

    • nettwench14

      Darn straight. I never wanted kids, and knew I never wanted kids even when I asked to have my tubes tied at the age of 19! Of course, no one would do it when I was so young, but I never changed my mind. It’s completely insulting to find I’m supposed to have no purpose beyond procreation! Hey, not if i have a CHOICE about it.

      • Bruce Sikkema

        Hey, my sister got it done in her early 20′s, but then my mother was a senior M.D. at Student Health.

  • Pingback: Anti-Choicers Get Real About Their Loathing of Female Sexuality | Let's Get Sex Positive | Scoop.it

  • http://www.facebook.com/ali.taylor.330 Ali Taylor

    Ugh, Sue Swayze. The first time I heard that ‘I got pregnant vaginally’ quote, I thought “wow, that chick must be a blast at parties.”

    • Bruce Sikkema

      Well, just how the hell else can you get pregnant?

  • http://twitter.com/Herbeatittude HerbyAttitude

    Oh Amanda. You should know God didn’t invent the female orgasm. Satan did of course. That’s why it has to be put a stop to. I’m sure all the men who are so uptight about it are doing their best to make sure it happens as little as possible in their bedrooms…

  • Bruce Sikkema

    Jen: Before you an I have sex, my lawyer will talk to your lawyer, and we will have a signed contract defining responility for contraception.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zeldatron Zelda Lin

    “Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother”?!?!? I can’t believe an actual doctor said something that stupid and demeaning. Does that mean if a woman is infertile, she is less of a person?