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April 27, 2017

Legal Scholar Geoffrey Stone to Keynote Sexual Freedom Summit

ARLINGTON, VA—Every adult-related conference wants to score big-name speakers who'll attract attendees and, with any luck, actually have something vital to say to the adult sexual community, and this year, the Woodhull Foundation's Sexual Freedom Summit has scored one of the best to give its keynote address: distinguished legal scholar Geoffrey R. Stone, author of the book that should be in every sex-positive person's library, Sex and The Constitution. As Stone notes in the preface to the book's first section, "For more than two centuries, Americans have fought divisive social, political and constitutional battles over laws regulating sex, obscenity, contraception, abortion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage. These conflicts have been divisive in no small part because of the central role religion has played in our laws governing sex"—and it is that seemingly simple concept that Stone deals with on virtually every page of this latest work, in an amount of detail that few have previously attempted, none more successfully than Stone. AVN Senior Editor and Chief Legal Analyst Mark Kernes recently acquired a copy of Sex and The Constitution for review, and the first thing he noted is that its subtitle, "Sex, Religion and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century" is misleading—in a very good way. "While it's certainly important to know how sex and all of its ramifications—porn, birth control, abortion, homosexuality, etc.—were dealt with in this country's founding years, Sex and The Constitution actually begins its look at human sexuality much farther back than the 16th century," he noted. "Stone begins his examination of human beings' schizophrenic attitudes towards sex and its intricacies in the sixth century B.C. with the ancient Greeks, where he notes, among other observations, that 'Classical Greek morality and law focused not on sexual sin, but on whether an individual's conduct was harmful to others,' adding that, 'The Greek gods indulged freely in sexual pleasure,' and 'The Greeks approached the human form with no sense that nudity was inherently shameful'—and let's remember, the Greeks are considered the progenitors of Western culture. Their philosophers, their literary works and their political systems are still studied today—and with Stone's research, we can now study their sexual morality and morés as well." Stone also delves into early Jewish sexual behaviors; the sexual attitudes of the pre- and post-Christian Roman Empire; the views of early Christian philosophers (some of whom were sexual satyrs before they were made saints) and the sex-based conflicts within early Christian seminaries; the Middle Ages, which started out sexually repressive but eventually became freer—until the Church swooped in and closed off sexual expression, leading to the Dark Ages, which in turn led to the Enlightenment, in part because sexual repression came to be seen as not only anti-human but also anti-intellectual. Jumping ahead to the founding of America, Stone notes that early settlers came over from Europe with essentially two sexual philosophies: The Puritans, who were incredibly repressive, and the settlers in Virginia and the southern territories, who had much more liberal attitudes not only about sex but about sexual literature. In fact, in talking about the creation of the Declaration of Independence, Stone implies but stops just short of declaring that when its text states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," that that "Happiness" actually refers to sexual intercourse. The point is, hearing Stone expound on his studies of how various societies handled sex throughout history is likely to be an experience not to be missed by today's freethinkers—and his thoughts about how the current Congress, not to mention the Supreme Court, will deal with sexual issues as the Trump administration consolidates its power should provide fodder for lively discussion throughout the Summit. The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit will be held August 3-6 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA. Registration for the conference and the hotel can be found here.  

 
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