It can be awkward when your government sits you down for a sex talk.
Brazil’s Health Minister, Jose Temporao, is urging the citizenry to have more sex, citing evidence that it lowers blood pressure. He’s also on record as a supporter of safe sex and eating your veggies.
While I’m certain the average Brazilian is already having as much sex as he or she can without government encouragement, this seems a reasonably healthy state intervention in the national sex life.
It contrasts sharply with the anti-fun stance of Iranian officialdom, with cleric Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi commingling the geological and the theological to causally link women wearing revealing clothing and earthquakes.
The imam’s goofy theory inspired Indiana blogger Jen McCreight to get on Facebook and organize this past Monday’s Boobquake, in which she encouraged women worldwide to show a bit of cleavage and see if they could get a seismic rise out of the Earth.
I watched with purely professional interest, hoping for a perhaps defiant flash mob outside the Iranian embassy here in Ottawa, but no such luck.
Meanwhile, a Boobquake rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery was a study in attitudinal diversity as a few women decided to go over-the-topless while others complained that men were looking. The country is unlikely to achieve sexual consensus any time soon.
Homosexuality, abortion and birth control were all once illegal here, and our current federal government still seems squeamish. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney personally deleted references to homosexuality and same-sex marriage from the new citizenship guide, and International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has provoked an outcry in some quarters by excluding abortion from maternal health programs in developing countries.
It can swing the other way, too, as some citizens find their government entirely too kinky. Witness the Ontario government’s new sex education curriculum, hastily withdrawn for retooling last week after some church groups and parents complained the content was both too sexy and too educational.
Public libraries are constant sexual battlegrounds. The American Libraries Association has released its 2009 list of most complained about books, and the children’s book And Tango Makes Three, based on the true story of a same-sex penguin couple in New York’s Central Park Zoo, was one of the most controversial for the fourth year running.
Pierre Trudeau’s declaration that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation is often quoted, but the separation of libido and state is not so easily achieved. Before voting for a candidate, it might be wise to consider your sexual compatibility should he or she come out on top.
Steve Collins offers his best guesses on relationships for Metro every two weeks.