The Public Act of Sex

No act has greater public consequences than the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Few greater fictions exist than the idea that such an act is a purely private act. 

This idea is an extremely pervasive one. But unmedicated sex is the beginning of all public acts, of all public consequences, of all public life. Indeed, the public only exists because there are persons comprising it, and there are only persons because of sex.

Ironically, the only way in which society as a whole could treat sex as a truly private act, would be for the government to enter bedrooms, by providing hormone pills and artificial devices to prevent the natural consequences of sex. Sex in society can only become truly “private” through public intervention.

And yet we hear claims that the government should “get out of the bedroom.” We hear claims that the right to have sex the way you want it falls under a right to privacy. I’m not convinced.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Public Act of Sex

  1. That’s a tricky question. I suppose one easy distinction would be that pertaining only to the specific persons involved in the act, vs. that pertaining to the broader community. Of course, nothing is strictly confined to either of these, so it’s tricky laying out a clear line

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  2. “No act has greater public consequences than the act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Few greater fictions exist than the idea that such an act is a purely private act. ”

    Response: Perhaps the actual act of sexual intercourse – itself – is not the real target here. For instance, if a heterosexual couple that is bilaterally sterile, for unmedicated and natural reasons, I do not see the necessity of their sex as necessitating public results. Theirs is an example of sex without the possibility of being public (aside from some miracle). Perhaps one could hold that such a couple’s act nonetheless necessitates public consequences, but certainly not any more public consequences than, say, some private contract.

    But I am guessing, what you mean by sexual intercourse, you mean that fertile heterosexual couples, lacking sufficient means of contraception, who have sex, are risking public consequences by having sex. The risk of making a third party is sufficient to make it a public consequence – or potential public consequence – right?

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