I had a carefree sex life. The next generation will be afraid.

I’ve never had an abortion. But I’ve had a lot of sex. And when I’ve been asked by friends or lovers what my “number” is, I’ve laughed because I’d never thought of counting a full list of partners.

But today I recognize the privilege of not really knowing how many different men I’ve slept with. That’s because I lived in an era where I was fortunate enough to be able to separate my sex life from the rest of me. Putting sex in a little box that I only accessed when the time was right. I had no fears of pregnancy. I was empowered by rights that I knew would protect me if things didn’t go as planned.

Now I realize that the number of sex partners I’ve had defines an era and a mentality we’re all in danger of losing. I’ve been lucky enough to have slept with at least 17 men in my 41 years of life and I think it might mean something positive that I’m not sure if it was more.

Why keep track? Because if I don’t care, it shouldn’t matter at all. This is the freedom and privilege of having had access to abortion and contraception my entire adult life.

Talking about access to abortion needs to take many forms. This has now become a war, and struggles to regain our constitutional rights as women must be manifested on the streets, on the page, and in conversation.

Some LGBTQ+ allies and members of the queer community — a community I admire as a culturally white, cis, straight woman — argue that one benefit of coming out, when you’re able, is that there are so many Where possible, debunking hetero-identifiers can alert people to the fact that they probably know someone who is queer. It is hoped this will help change the notion that homosexuality or gender identity should be dangerous or controversial, rather than a personal story of love and self-affirmation, for those who may have prejudice in their hearts.

The same rules should apply to conversations about abortion, to broaden the conversation and include how we as women approach sex and contraception — as well as the outliers informing our reproductive rights. That’s one way we can fight this war.

We should be bragging about our sex facts like an athlete would brag about his stats. Not out of pride, but out of a need to document the world we live in and the kind of world we want for our children.

I became sexually active when I was 18 and I still am today. I’ve slept with men when I wanted to have sex. And I didn’t sleep with men unless I wanted to have sex. And quite often I took plan B when I was afraid I might be pregnant. I was only on birth control for a year or two in my early twenties, but that was in the early years and the fear of IUDs – which I am fortunately using now – made hormone pills more appealing.

“If every man during sex thought, “Do I want to have children with this woman?” – the idea would be considered patently absurd.”

I can’t remember how many times I took plan B after sex, but I also see this option as a symbol of a freedom and privilege I enjoyed. It is also one that almost no longer exists.

Does that mean I take my rights for granted? What does it mean that for those in more liberal states (like New York, where I’ve lived most of my life) conversations about sex are more of a casual, stress-free topic than for those in states fast banning abortion? What is the responsibility of those who just enjoy sex with a person they find attractive?

I often wonder what my decision would have been if I had become pregnant at a time in my life when I was unable to adequately care for a child. I know having an abortion would be something I would certainly have considered. I also know that I’ve never walked into a sexual encounter thinking – well, if I get pregnant, I’m just going to have an abortion!

I had unique encounters. I’ve had long-term romantic relationships. I had sex with men I never wanted to see again. When I chose to have sex, it was mostly because I felt it was the most sensible way to express some kind of love I felt for the person I was seeing.

All this time I did what I wanted and I never apologized to anyone. Because for me, sex was an extension of a romantic ideal. It was the result of desire, passion – sometimes – and purely carnal motivation.

As do many men.

If every man during sex thought, “Do I want to have children with this woman?” – the idea would be considered patently absurd.

For women, in a country founded on equality, this separation of sex and motherhood, from marriage, must be valued and respected just as much as it is for men.

Many will speak of women’s rights over their bodies. Of how abortion is a health issue. A question of civil rights. And that is of the utmost importance.

But what I’m talking about is our rights as women to enjoy sex for sex’s sake. There is no shame in loving sex. There is no shame in wanting to have a sexual relationship for just one night or for years with nothing but the need to experience pleasure for pleasure’s sake.

Having fun with sex isn’t the most important conversation right now. But it cannot be left unsaid. Our fight to regain women’s equality in this country must be won on as many fronts as possible.

Let’s not forget that we should not only fight for our right to protect the health of our bodies – we should also fight for our right to enjoy our bodies.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/i-had-a-carefree-sex-life-the-next-generation-will-have-fear?source=articles&via=rss I had a carefree sex life. The next generation will be afraid.

Hung

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