Woodhull Foundation celebrates Sexual Freedom Day today on the anniversary of Victoria Woodhull's birthday. In case you didn't know the foundation has a very simple mission: "To affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right".
Woodhull Foundation envisions a world that recognizes sexual freedom as the fundamental human right of all individuals to develop and express their unique sexuality; to be personally autonomous with regard to bodily integrity and expression; and to enjoy sexual dignity, privacy and consensual sexual expression without societal or governmental interference, coercion or stigmatization.
So why do I celebrate? Aside from being on the Advisory Council for Woodhull, I am a firm believer in the mission. I suspect some of this came from coming of age in the 1960's when the "free love" movement was reborn. Additionally, I had the amazing opportunity to experience the Gay Liberation movement of the 1970's at it's peak just prior to the outbreak of HIV/AIDS.
I once heard author Jack Fritscher refer to this period as the "time between Penicillin and the plague". It was a heady time for a young gay man and though some of it remains a blur in my memory, I wouldn't have traded it for anything.
Through some strange twist of fate, I managed to survive the era and remain to this day HIV-. The lessons learned then were important and I believe are often forgotten today. A whole generation looked at that time and many threw out the baby with the bathwater. They shut down their sexuality and withdrew. True it was safer, but you can still be safe and enjoy the fullness of your sexuality.
I have tried to carry this message in every endeavor I am involved with. I firmly believe in sexual freedom, and know that it is something that can be safe and still rich and enjoyable. I teach classes and write on many aspects of sexuality from BDSM to vanilla sex. My message is always one of responsibility, safety and most of all encouraging people to experience a full and authentic sex life.
Yes, I know it isn't quite a wild as the 1970's, but my generation has matured and some of them have managed to keep the spirit that first charmed them out of the closet and into the mainstream of LGBT sexuality alive. Sexual freedom is precious to me, and I fight for it energetically. For me it is the freedom to express myself with a partner or partners in a sexual/sensual/erotic way. I respect the idea of consensual acts as well as the venue of consensual space and still manage to have a wonderful time.
It is a freedom born of communication, respect, creativity and a bit or twisted ingenuity. It is a message I hope to share with others. Like the actress Rosalind Russel says in the movie Auntie Mame, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Feast and enjoy!