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Jewish World Review Sept. 11, 2000 / 10 Elul 5760

Don Feder

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On being an enemy of sex -- QUEEN VICTORIA, move over. An online magazine, to which retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong contributes, has named me one of "The 100 Worst Enemies of Sex."

And what exactly is an adversary of eros (visions of me going around dousing couples in parked cars with cold water)? According to the e-magazine The Position (pun presumably intended), we are anti-sexual "crusaders," "morally self-righteous" and united by the belief that "sexuality is a cultural enemy."

The list includes Pope John Paul II, Dr. Laura, Mother Angelica, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (for supposedly taking the fun out of Times Square), anti-porn feminist Andrea Dworkin and Oprah (who's indicted for talking about victims of sexual exploitation -- what a downer!).

My write-up condemns me for opposing "same-sex unions, condom distribution at high schools and unrestricted access to abortion." As they say in the hood: Yeah, that's right, I'm bad.

The enemies-list issue also contains an article by Spong (for 22 year Episcopal archbishop of Newark, N.J.) belaboring the Rev. Jerry Falwell for being so, well -- biblical on issues like homosexuality. On the lighter side, retired porn-star Annie Sprinkle offers her choices for the best X-rated videos of the past 25 years.

The Position is Penthouse meets the Gore campaign. Among its regular contributors are Spong, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, a man whose background includes performing in live sex shows and managing topless bars, and Angela Gardner, identified as a co-founder of the Renaissance Transgender Association.

While the publication is a bit outre, there isn't much in it that your average sex educator, abortion-rights crusader, National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient or Democratic consultant could disagree with. For the Larry Flynt left, if you're not peeling grapes at an orgy, or handing out towels at a massage parlor, you are an enemy of sex -- uptight, censorious, and hounded by the fear that somewhere, someone is having fun.

Victorians withered at the charge of impropriety. In the 1950s, "un-American" was the worst epithet that could be hurled at an adversary -- it being understood that all decent people loved their country.

Today, progressives cannot conceive of a more stinging rebuke than calling someone anti-sex. Copulation is their obsession, the focus of their existence. Nothing must be allowed to impede it -- neither morals, manners nor such pragmatic considerations as social good.

All of the minor inconveniences associated with unrestrained sexual expression (out-of-wedlock births, soaring rates of venereal disease, rape, sexual abuse and the exploitation of children) are blamed, of course, on the foes of feel-good, malefactors such as myself.

If only we'd allow the distribution condoms in grade school, if only sex-ed started in kindergarten (and was taught with Sprinkle's favorite videos), if only we'd stop making people feel guilty about barnyard behavior, we could finally achieve sexual utopia.

Then again, from The Position's perspective, is anything ever enough? In America of the '90s, we are well into to the Age of Concupiscence.

Thirty years ago, who could have imagined that by the end of the century schools would be handing out prophylactics like erasers, the Boy Scouts would be flogged through the streets for maintaining a moral code, hard-core pornography would be accessible at home via the Internet, Vermont would formalize same-sex liaisons and the president of the United States would have recently auditioned for the roadshow revival of "Oh! Calcutta."

As citadel after citadel falls to the sexual revolution, all its propagandists can do is kvetch. Poor things. What there're looking for they won't find in X-rated videos, personal ads or porn shops. Sex should be an expression of something more exalted, not a thing divorced from everything else.

They are like hamsters spinning faster and faster on an erotic exercise wheel, wearing themselves out while getting nowhere. For them, sex is a drug that requires larger and more exotic doses while providing a sensation on the edge of emptiness.

With friends like these, sex doesn't need enemies.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest books are Who is afraid of the Religious Right? ($15.95) and A Jewish conservative looks at pagan America ($9.95). To receive an autographed copy, send a check or money order to: Don Feder, The Boston Herald, 1 Herald Sq., Boston, Mass. 02106. Doing so will help fund JWR, if so noted. He is also available as a guest speaker. To comment on this column please click here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate