On Guns and Dildos

The suppression of sexual education in schools comes in many different forms, some more obvious than others. At the most obvious end of the spectrum we have schools that practice abstinence-only “education” or forbid teachers from showing students how to use certain forms of contraception (one clever guy got around this restriction by making a video demonstrating how to put a “sock” on his “foot”).But there are other laws that also suppress sex education in schools that don’t target teachers. Take, for instance, the University of Texas’s ban on dildos in the classroom.

I started thinking about this ban because of UT graduate Jessica Jin’s plan to protest the college’s impending campus-carry law by encouraging all students there to carry dildos around her alma mater (she’s calling it the “Campus [DILDO] Carry“. The idea behind the protest is, of course, that banning dildos on a university campus is absurd, especially when that campus is going to allow students to bring their deadly weapons into an institution of higher learning. But Jessica’s protest also brings to light the disturbing truth behind what seems to be the majority attitude about sex in the United States: for some reason, we think that learning about sex is more harmful to our moral fiber than having easy access to a death machine.

The University of Texas’s dildo ban is upheld by the state’s penal code, which prohibits the promotion or sale of “any obscene material or obscene device.” The law defines the phrase “obscene device” as “a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs” (emphasis mine). (By the way, it’s also illegal to own more than six of these “obscene devices.”) What blows my mind is that Texas could have the gall to pass this law, and not limit the amount of “death devices” that people are allowed to own. Frankly, the thought that legislators in Texas are more concerned with peoples’ ability to own lethal weapons and carry them around in public than they are with those peoples’ ability to have satisfying, consensual and fun sex lives is sickening. The University of Texas’s dildo ban paired with its new open-carry law clearly says: “we care neither about our students’ safety nor their health.”

You might be thinking: okay, fine, guns probably are not the best for a person’s health (if you don’t believe me, you’re two to three times more likely to be shot and/or commit suicide if you own a gun – even Fox News agrees), but what do dildos have to do with health? When you think about it, though, dildos have everything to do with health. If you want to create an environment where students can have open conversations about sex and sexual health and consent, you can’t ban objects associated with those topics. A ban on dildos not only bans those objects, but bans conversations associated with those objects and topics of sex in general. Good sex is based on open and honest conversations between people, but the University of Texas’s ban on sexual objects sends the message that it doesn’t want its students to talk about sex. The dildo ban silences the voices of many of its students that do want to talk about sex and implies that such conversations are at best shameful or at worst forbidden.

If you believe in comprehensive sex education and/or sexual health, I encourage you to find out the dildo policy of your high school or University. If there is a ban, it’s definitely worth asking why. You might get silly answers about school-appropriateness and distraction and impure thoughts, but we all know that’s bullshit. Because anyone could say that about guns on school campuses, too. The truth behind dildo bans is that Americans are afraid of sex, and it’s time to start changing that. It’s time for everyone to start bringing a dildo to class.

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