Lest you thought it was an ordinary day—think twice! Today, Thursday, September 23, has been declared Sexual Freedom Day. The Woodhull Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C , is a leader in the push for sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.
A day-long event sponsored by the foundation will release its first annual State of Sexual Freedom in the U.S. report, which discusses steps the country can take to establish sexual rights for all citizens, regardless of gender or orientation. The report also explores the relationship between goverment policies and reproductive rights, sexual expression, child rearing, and marriage, among other things. 7 Sex Truths Everyone Should Know
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Those of us living outside of D.C. have decided to celebrate the day by commemorating the foundation's namesake, Victoria Claflin Woodhull, an American suffragist who fought for women's rights in the mid-1800s while working as one of the first female Wall Street brokers.
While dealing with men who deemed her an immoral, "un-chaperoned woman," Woodhull was instrumental in the rise of many sexual freedoms the people living today can enjoy. In 1870, she and her sister, Tennessee, founded Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, which gave them a platform for communicating their "scandalous" ideas. These include:
Free love: You heard us correctly. A hundred years before hippies got it on at Woodstock, Woodhull announced that women had the right to reject marriage, and that both women and men have the right to sexual pleasure. "When woman rises... into the ownership and control of her sexual organs," Woodhull said, "And man is obliged to respect this freedom, then will this instinct become pure and holy." She Wants More: Dealing With Sex Drive Differences
The right of women to divorce: After realizing she was stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship with an alcoholic, Woodhull wanted out. Feeling frustrated by the difficulty of getting a divorce, Woodhull entered an extramarital affair that lasted for three years. While we wouldn't recommend cheating, we thank our lucky stars for the relative ease of ending marriages, and being happy, without turning to infidelity.
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Banishing the double standard: Woodhull's husband was a notorious womanizer. Why, she wondered, did people shrug off his affairs while condemning hers?
When not publishing widely-lambasted articles advocating short skirts, sex education, vegetarianism and licensed prostitution, Woodhull was working on her campaign for President of the United States. We can only imagine the type of policies she would have implemented had the people in power allowed her to run!