Anti-sodomy laws' place in our history still impacts our culture and politics. The idea that a governing group can set a precedent about acceptable sexual desire and behaviors is deeply rooted. These roots are evident as people still struggle to get competent, comprehensive sexual health care and our rights to access birth control for non-procreative sex are more and more in question. The roots are there when teenagers are uninformed about safe sex practices or birth control options and when consensual oral sex between teenagers is considered a crime.
The historical precedent of anti-sodomy laws affects us when judges and juries compare their own sexual values with others when deciding a case. And a deeply troubling effect is that there is still a lack of clarity about defining sexual crimes by coercion, lack of consent and violence rather than sexual morality. The impact is seen in continuing discrimination against sexual diversity of all kinds. The roots of these laws are in each of our relationships and inside our heads as we have been encouraged to feel shame and fear about whether our sexuality is "normal" or not.
Melissa Fritchle is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist& Sex Therapist with a holistic private practice in Capitola, California. She is also an award-winning international sex educator offering workshops and trainings around the world. Follow her blog, Conscious Sexual Self.