Can Obama Cure America's Fear Of Sex?

 

One of the things I’ve noticed as a feminist – and as someone with an interest in all things sex-related – about the new president-elect of the United States is this: people are interested in his sex life with his wife.


While initially I found this troublesome and annoying (personally I am much more interested in Obama’s stance on the Israel/Palestine conflict than in the idea of him screwing his wife on Bush’s old desk – REALLY!) I’ve started to look at it as being a dubious side effect of something much more positive – even refreshing, after the stiflingly sex-negative attitude of the Bush administration.


Think about it. What room is there for joking about the sex life of the president when the president takes a ruthlessly oppressive tack towards sexuality? From enforcing the global gag rule to the constant attacks on womens’ reproductive rights to – shudder – abstinence-only education, the Bush administration has hardly turned America into an enlightened place where healthy discourse about sexuality is encouraged, to the point where people can have a sense of humor about the sex life of the president.


Obama’s presidency has from day one been so radically different from Bush’s that Americans (well, all of my American friends and family anyway) are practically (if not literally) giddy with it. Giggly jokes about Obama being fuckable and Michelle’s modest-yet-sexy red dress come largely not from a place of disrespect, but of relief – relief that for the first time in eight years, the global gag rule has been repealed, and the president of the united states is pro-choice and supports comprehensive sex education for teenagers. And while he didn’t have the gay community’s back on the marriage issue, he DOES support gay couples’ right to adopt – not quite good enough for most queer activists (like myself), but still, a significant start.