Vital Signs

When Sex Conquers Love

Much as I hate to admit it, AIDS czarina Kristine Gebbie got it right. The message to youngsters these days does indeed give the impression that sex is ugly, dirty, and a more perverse than pleasurable experience. Ms. Gebbie bungled only when she took on the role of anti-Victorian-morality crusader.

In the space of a few months, I read about public school teachers who "have sex with" (not merely "seduce") their students; priests who sexually abuse little bows; naval officers who apparently make orgies an annual, celebrated event; and movie stars who take on the names of solemn religious figures to promote videos and books portraying kinky sex. Then there was the ongoing debate over gays in the military, which meant that newspaper and magazine readers were " treated to ever more graphic descriptions concerning the sexual gymnastics performed by homosexuals. Rap music lyricists got accolades for their latest achievement in moving the term 'hos into the mainstream of American lexicon. The Whitney Museum of American Art launched its exhibit "Abject Art: Repulsion and Desire," which managed to outdo even Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Sprinkle, and Madonna. And last August, South Florida installed a "public service" hotline for teenagers (377-TEEN) called "The Link," which promotes sex as a means of getting rid of tension, abortion on demand without parental consent, and homosexuality...

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